This is a short play, written for local radio. The gloomy subject matter and difficult SFX meant that it wasn't deemed suitable for broadcast, but I still feel it has something to say about our community. I will be interested to see if it speaks to anyone outside that community! I have removed the titles of, and quotations from, the Country and Western songs so beloved of the Cumbrian farming community- go into any kitchen in our area and the radio will be playing country music! The play really needs the music, but I'm sure readers can guess at the songs though! Come to think of it, that won't have made it a good candidate for broadcast either!
SCENE ONE: EXT. COUNTRY ROAD, LATE AFTERNOON / EARLY EVENING.
GRAMS COUNTRY MUSIC, WORDS NOT EASILY DISTINGUISHABLE, ESTABLISH TUNE AND FADE UNDER
FX FADE IN BIRDSONG AND COUNTRYSIDE SOUNDS. SPORTS CAR APPROACHES, GOING FAST, BRAKES, CHANGES DOWN FOR A BEND, ACCELERATES AWAY.
HORSE APPROACHES, AND UP TO THE MIKE, WE HEAR DANIEL MURMURING AWAY TO IT, BUT CAN’T DISTINGUISH WORDS. ANOTHER CAR APPROACHES, GOING MUCH TOO FAST, HITS BRAKES HARD, THEN ROARS AWAY.
HORSE WHINNIES, REARS, DANCES, SNORTS
DANIEL: (V.O. CONTINUING DISTURBED HORSE NOISES) Steady lad, calm down, there, there. Dimwit townie offcomer! Good lad, there, there. Daft southerner- can’t drive on country roads. Shouldn’t be allowed. We should send em back where they belong- there, there, that’s better. No consideration, not like it used to be. Alright boy, let’s stop clarting about and get along home to see Mother. Nicely now, there there.
FX HORSE RECOVERS COMPOSURE, HOOVES FADE OUT
SCENE TWO; INT. FARM KITCHEN.
GRAMS COUNTRY MUSIC ON KITCHEN RADIO, FADES UNDER AND WE HEAR PEGGY SINGING ALONG AND TALKING TO HERSELF OVER THE SOUNDS OF KETTLE AND CUPS
PEGGY: Sometimes de dum de dum a woman- you’re telling me!…
FX (AWAY) BOOTS ON MAT, SLAPPING ARMS, BLOWING ON HANDS
DANIEL: (Away) ….bloody offcomers, stupid townie drivers, shouldn’t be allowed on our roads
PEGGY: There are times…(Calls out) In the kitchen dear. I’ve made you a nice cup of tea. You must be frozen! It’s like winter out there- we used to have proper springs when we were young- warm, like.
DANIEL: (Coming up to mike) Aye, and we didn’t have daft beggars from the city driving like maniacs on our country roads. I’m stottin’! Some ignorant moron nearly knocked me off. These off-comers- they’ve got no idea, no consideration, they shouldn’t be let loose on our roads. Poor Sultan, he was that spooked I thought he’d have us both in the ditch.
PEGGY: Yes dear. You be careful when you go out to the Parish Council meeting later tonight then- there’s a heavy frost forecast- it says on the radio!
DANIEL: Aye, it’s starvation out there now. But I’ll be fine lass, that young Caleb has been out with his gritter.
PEGGY: By, they must think it’s going to be bad- you don’t get the gritting lorries out in March too often. You saw him then did you?
DANIEL: Aye I saw him, just after this maniac nearly had us both killed. And what a difference- he slowed down and stopped when he saw us and waited till we were past the bend, then he gives me a wave- touches his cap almost- and he’s off again. He always was a nice boy.
PEGGY: Not the sharpest knife in the box, but still.
PEGGY: Nothing dear, just thinking I’ll get you to sharpen this old knife for me when you’ve got time.
DANIEL: You women- you can’t keep your mind on one thing for more than a minute! That’s Gordon Armstrong’s son- turned into a grand lad, he has. Salt of the earth, the Armstrongs- all six boys.
PEGGY: Yes dear, we know the Armstrongs- doesn’t seem that long ago they were running around with their backsides out of their breeches!
DANIEL: They were a good family!
PEGGY: …and their mother running after anything else in britches!
DANIEL: I don’t know what’s got into you Peggy, you don’t know what you’re talking about half the time. You women will listen to gossip. You should stick to cooking- at least you’re good at that! (an attempt at reconciliation) … and that smells grand! Dish it up lass; I have to be out again in half an hour.
SCENE THREE: INT. TO EXT. FARMYARD, NIGHT.
FX DOOR OPENS ONTO NIGHT NOISES: DOG BARKS IN DISTANCE, THE “KEWICK” OF A TAWNY OWL (NOT THE WOOO)
PEGGY: Be careful, mind now.
FX FOOTSTEPS CROSS GRAVEL, A CAR DOOR IS OPENED AND SLAMMED SHUT. LANDROVER STARTS UP AND DRIVES OFF. FADE OUT
SCENE FOUR: EXT TO INT. LANDROVER ON COUNTRY ROAD, NIGHT.
GRAMS COUNTRY MUSIC, ON CAR RADIO OVER ENGINE NOISE, DANIEL HUMMING ALONG
FX ENGINE NOISE CHANGES, TYRES SCREECH
DANIEL: What the hell…..
FX GRINDING CRASHING NOISES, ENGINE DIES. TICKING NOISE OF METAL COOLING.
SCENE FIVE: INT POLICE PATROL CAR
FX ENGINE NOISE, RADIO STATIC
CONTROL ROOM VOICE: RTC reported Northern Sector, B759, north of Dixon’s Farm. Is any unit in the vicinity?
OFFICER 1: November Charlie 9 2, we’ll be right there Bob, can’t be more’n two minutes away. Add us to the log.
FX SIREN SWITCHED ON
OFFICER 1: November Charlie 9 2, can you show us at scene please Bob.
FX CAR PULLS UP, ENGINE SWITCHED OFF, DOORS SLAM, TWO SETS OF FOOTSTEPS APPROACH.
OFFICER 2: First crash of the night eh. Oh Christ, that looks like old Daniel Graham’s Landrover. Shout of the ambulance Jack!
OFFICER 1: Afraid so, and it looks like he’s gone.
OFFICER 2: How am I going to tell Peggy?
OFFICER 1: I can’t understand it , there isn’t…..wasn’t a more careful driver in the whole county.
OFFICER 2: And the road’s been gritted!
FX FOOTSTEPS ON A GRITTED, ICY ROAD
OFFICER 1: Hang on though, bring that torch over here Sam. It looks like there’s a section that hasn’t been gritted, just before the bend!
GRAMS COUNTRY MUSIC, CRESCENDO THEN FADE OUT
Gordon Wilson of Kirkbride for help with dialect
Paul Crouch of Swindon for advice on police jargon