Carsfold has recently opened its new theatre and the Town’s Women’s Guild is to present its first live performances – the pantomime ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ – over Christmas.
DI Harry Falconer has managed to duck two days spent over the festive season in the Carmichael household by pleading other commitments, but treating the whole family, himself included, to tickets to the first performance, on Boxing Day.
But he seems to be able to do nothing straight forward, and when tragedy strikes in the very first Act, he is catapulted back into his professional role with a vengeance: and on a Bank Holiday, too.
Christmas Eve – one thirty in the morning
All the participants in the forthcoming tale were asleep, all excitement and anticipation that had kept this state at bay, now calmed by regular breathing and bright, hopeful dreams of the morrow.
But, no, one figure is still not abed. There is one still up, and in the Carsfold Community Theatre. Incongruously dressed in the costume of a pantomime cow, she has deserted her partner so late, and made her way to this location, for a little extra rehearsal for one of her parts, to be premiered on Boxing Day. Kate Kerridge did many things fanatically, and her partner, realising this, had long since made his way to bed, and thus to sleep, unwilling to wait up for her return, which he expected to be very late indeed.
Outside, the night was crisp, with frost twinkling in the moonlight, turning each leaf and blade of glass into a precious jewel which could never be replicated by human hands. It was a peaceful night, cold but beautiful. In fact, all was calm, all was bright.
The sound of sleigh bells was not yet discernible, and there were no reindeer in sight up above, but it would not be long before there was plenty of creeping about, accompanied by the furtive stuffing of stockings and pillow cases, to keep the legend alive for yet another year.