Whilst Annie Sugden tended her Aga, Matt Skilbeck tended his sheep and Walter silently supped at The Woolpack, elsewhere in Beckindale, things were not so serene...
ARMED MEN IN WAGES SNATCH
A security van on its way to deliver wages to NY Estates was held up by armed robbers on a lonely road near Beckindale yesterday.
The masked gunmen, who were also carrying explosives, drove a herd of cows into the path of the security van, forcing it to stop, and then threatened to blow up the vehicle unless the guards handed over the money.
The gunmen escaped into the trees with £10,000 and police believe they had a getaway vehicle parked nearby.
"I don't know what I'm going to tell my employees," said NY Estates Manager Mr Alan Turner. "We don't have enough money on the premises to pay their wages, and many of them have wives and children to support."
The police would like to hear from anyone who has noticed an unusual or suspiciously parked vehicle in the Beckindale area recently.
Oh dear. Could this next story be related?
RECORD PRICE PAID FOR FARMLAND
Thirty acres of land previously owned by Mr Clifford Longthorn were put up for auction this week by Golding & Sons, the auctioneers, and achieved the record price of £1,600 an acre.
The land, which adjoins Emmerdale Farm run by Mr Jack Sugden, and property belonging to NY Estates, was bought by Mr Harry Mowlam, an ex-quarry owner.
"I'm delighted," said Mr Mowlam. "This is my first venture into farming and I'm planning to put sheep on the land.
"It was quite a battle, but the other bidders dropped out in the end. £1,600 an acre seems a fair price to me."
Mr Sugden, who was also bidding for the land, was not available for comment...
Meanwhile, Alan Turner and NY Estates were, once again, not exactly the community's pet loves...
TODDLERS POISONED IN CROP SPRAYING ROW
Twelve Beckindale toddlers, all members of the Beckindale Playgroup, were being treated for poisoning last night after a crop spraying incident.
It is thought that the children, all suffering from sickness, diarrhoea and skin rashes, were exposed to a pesticide used in crop spraying while they were on a nature walk in woods near the village.
"I think it's disgraceful," said playgroup leader Mrs Dolly Skilbeck, whose two-year-old son Sam is now being treated by the doctor. "Anyone irresponsible enough to spray their crops in a high wind when there are children about ought to be locked up."
Mr Alan Turner, manager of NY Estates, on whose land the incident occurred, said he was mystified by the whole thing.
"I know nothing about it," he said from the estate office near Beckindale. "All my employees are highly trained and experienced men. There is no way they'd spray the crops in harmful conditions. The children are probably suffering from food poisoning or some sort of virus."
Wasn't there any good news? Well, yes, young Jackie Merrick, recently out of hospital after being run down by the aforementioned Mr Alan Turner, had come sixth at the local sheepdog trials, and in the year of Live Aid, Beckindale had organised its own musical effort to help the starving...
BAND PLAYS TO FEED THE HUNGRY
The starving thousands in Ethiopia are to benefit from a charity concert held in Beckindale last week.
The Hotten and District Brass Band assembled outside The Woolpack Inn in Beckindale High Street and kept the villagers entertained with a medley of popular tunes.
The weather smiled on the proceedings and Mr Amos Brearly, landlord of the Woolpack, was kept busy all afternoon serving drinks and snacks to the thirsty crowds.
"All the profits will be going to Ethiopia," said Mr Brearly, "and I'm very proud to do my bit."
"It was a grand day," said band member Seth Armstrong, who played the triangle. "I reckon everyone enjoyed it."
And, on another positive note (perhaps), the Beckindale Players were planning their next venture:
BECKINDALE PLAYERS SEARCH FOR A TOAD
The Beckindale Players have announced this year's Pantomime Production is to be Toad Of Toad Hall. Rehearsals are due to start in the village hall soon.
Anyone interested in taking part should contact the Rev Donald Hinton on Beckindale 6347. All the villagers are looking forward to what should be another splendid production from the Beckindale Players.
Do you recognise the faces behind the masks?