First word by Judy Mackie, Editor
Welcome to the ‘big beast’ – our festive double issue, which has come around far too quickly, but has been a real joy to edit.
As a huge Dickens fan, I hope you like our cover image as much as I do. It’s an absolute gem, symbolising the fun and capers that have taken place at local dances down the centuries. Once such annual event during the early 20thcentury was the Granary Ball, at Ballindalloch, which John Dunn has detailed inside knowledge of!
At this fairy-tale time of year, local magician and entertainer Jeff Burns conjures up some enchanting tales about Aberdeen’s historical contribution to the world of magic.
And ’tis also the season for our long-standing columnist, Norman Harper, to present his personal review of 2015.
Throughout its 41-year history, Leopard has celebrated the diverse lives of local people, many humbly born, who have often had an impact far beyond their native North-east.
Inside, you can read of several such folk, described by Peter Donaldson, Martin Pucci, Graeme Milne and Jim Pirie.
James Cameron Weir continues his occasional ‘veteran veterinary’ series with a toe-curling tale, quirkily illustrated by Norman Matheson.
We have a larger-than-usual ‘Poets’ Corner’ with celebratory contributions from Sandy Inglis, Heather Chalmers and Bill Mackie, while, in ‘Leopard Tale’, David Reid gives a gently humorous Doric spin to the nativity story.
Talking of creative writing, I hope all you talented amateur writers out there will consider entering the Toulmin Prize 2016. As you’ll read in ‘Folk’, the closing date is 31 March, so there’s plenty of time to start writing. But don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourselves at some of the sparkling events highlighted in ‘What’s On’ and ‘Diary’.
A very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year from the Leopard team.