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Leopard December 14 - January 15 front coverA Leopard double issue gives us a great opportunity to include a larger-than-usual number of features from writers passionate about local, people, places and events. This festive edition is no exception!

It’s panto season again - and oh no, I’m not going to say “Oh yes, it is...” But, as an ardent panto-goer, I am going to say how interested I was to read Annie Woolridge’s feature on the history of pantomime at HMT - and particularly that the theatre’s very first production upon opening, in 1906, was a four-hour extravaganza featuring Red Riding Hood and friends.

If, as you raise a glass to toast in the New Year, you’ve ever wondered about where the word ‘Hogmanay’ comes from, Stephen Davy-Osborne can shed some light, after meeting an Orkney man who has travelled the world to find out. Reminiscence is a strong theme at this time of year, and Celia Craig revisits her childhood games in Gourdon, while Bill Anderson looks back with a chuckle on a lifetime of music making.

Mark Chalmers celebrates an iconic piece of engineering once familiar in our local quarries, and Bob Mitchell pays tribute to a Keith mother-of-twelve, whose personal family tragedy during the First World War reflected the sorrows of so many others - emotions recorded at the time by Jill May’s poet great-grandmother, Jeanie C Mathieson. And continuing on a literary note, Ron Smith laments the short life of the ‘Bard of Banffshire’, while Poets’ Corner anticipates the end of January, with two personal tributes to a slightly better-known Bard!

A very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year from the Leopard team.

Judy Mackie, Editor