Date: 20 Aug 1995 Location: No 76 Oxford Road Sexton Oxfordshire
It is evening in Sexton, a small village just outside Oxford in the English countryside. Along the Oxford
Road that runs through the village there is a row of terraced houses owned by our characters. Clifton Wells, a local estate agent who lives at No 76, decides to hold a party to welcome David and Eloise Deeds, a recently married couple who moved into number 82 with their one-year old son Paul. Being very busy himself, he asks his neighbour at No 78, retired researcher Brian Bayford to organise the party for him. Also invited are Francesca Freeman, a widowed, retired teacher who lives at number 84 and Andrea Chatsworth, a PhD student from Liverpool, who has just inherited number 80 after the recent death of her mother from cancer. Brian has gone about the task with his usual vigour, pressganging the other neighbours into helping with the food and drink. He has organised a bridge and chess evening to keep the guest amused and to exercise their grey matter. When you learn a little more about Brian you will understand why he organised the evening how he did, but unbeknown to him and the other guests there will be more for them to wrestle with than kings and queens, but can you unmask the knave, or is it knaves?
Miss Andrea Chatsworth BSc – 24, is studying for a PhD in Radiochemistry at Liverpool University. She was born in Hammersmith, but moved to Sexton at the age of 12, when her father got a job at the Government-run Agricultural Research Centre in Sexton. She is now resident in Liverpool, but has returned to Sexton for a short summer break and to deal with her mother’s estate. She inherited a house, No 80 Oxford Road, two months ago, on the death of her mother, who died of throat cancer. She is staying at No 80 during her summer break.
Cllr Dr Brian Bayford PhD BSc – 55 is a retired physicist, who worked at the Agricultural Research Centre in Sexton. He is single; with his only living relative being his younger, married brother, Andrew who lives in Australia. Brian has not seen Andrew since he emigrated in 1960. Brian took early retirement on grounds of ill health after having a nervous breakdown in 1990. He works as a writer of Crosswords, books on Steam Engines, and articles for Bridge and Chess Magazines. He is highly involved in the local community, being:
- a member of Sexton Rural District Council since 1983 and Chairman since 1987 (as an Independent),
- a keen environmentalist and member of both the Council for the Protection of Rural England and Friends of the Earth,
- Captain of Oxfordshire County Chess Team,
- Captain, Chairman & Secretary of Sexton Chess Club,
- Founder, Chairman & Secretary of Sexton Bridge club (which meets at his house every Tuesday),
- Founder, Chairman & Secretary of Sexton Branch of the Society of Left-Handers, which is affiliated to the National Society. As yet the Sexton Branch has no members, although Brian is working on it. He has tried the rest of the cast, but they are all right handed,
- Keen Gardener – member of the Sexton Garden Society. Current goal is to get Sexton elected as “Best Kept Village of 1996”, because it is too late to get it this year.
Brian has lived at No 78 Oxford Road since he moved to Sexton on taking up an appointment at the Research Centre in 1965.
Cllr Clifton Wells – 38 married Charlotte Reid in 1980 and divorced her in 1993. They have no children. He is a director of the Estate Agent Kingston and Wells, which covers Oxford and surrounding areas, including Sexton. His father is joint founder and now the Managing Director. The “Kingston” of Kingston and Wells was Miss Harriet Kingston, who is now Mrs Wells, Clifton’s mother. He was elected to Oxfordshire County Council, as a Conservative, in 1990 and has served there ever since. He moved to his Present Address, No 76 Oxford Road, Sexton, Oxfordshire, in 1993 soon after his divorce.
Dr David Deeds PhD, MSc. BSc. – 25 gained a BSc. degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge in 1991 and completed his doctorate, also at Cambridge, in 1994. He has worked at the Research Centre, his first appointment outside academia, since September 1994. He married Eloise on 14 November 1993. They have one child, Paul, aged 1. He and Eloise delayed their honeymoon until after Paul was born. They then had two weeks in Kenya, in November 1994, leaving Paul with David’s mother. David is a strong chess player, regularly playing against Brian Bayford either at the Sexton Chess Club, where he is a member, or in his or Brian’s homes. He does a lot of gardening and handyman work for Francesca Freeman and also drives her around. He moved in to number 82, with his wife, on taking up an appointment at the Research Centre.
Mrs Eloise Deeds – 28 gave birth to a son, Paul on 14 May 1994. She was a successful sales manager in her father’s toy business before she became pregnant. She has recently returned to her job, part time. Francesca Freeman looks after Paul when she goes off to work. She does ironing for Francesca, who has arthritis in her right hand. She is a good bridge player, having played at club level in Cambridge. She is a member of the Sexton Bridge Club. She lives with David and Paul at No 82.
Francesca Freeman BSc. Dip Ed – 77 is a retired schoolteacher and a member of Sexton Bridge Club. She was born Francesca Vittori, in Walthamstow, East London, of Italian parents. She gained Teaching Certificate from Birkbeck College, then a BSc in Biochemistry at Imperial College. She started a PhD, visiting Kenya as part of her studies, where she was attached to a local hospital near Nairobi. There she learned some nursing skills, although she never took any formal qualifications. She had to cut short her trip because of the threat of war, which broke out soon after her return to England. She was interned almost immediately, when her father wrote an article on why Britain should not go to war with Italy. She was released when she publicly disassociated herself from her father’s remarks and stated that the Italians should overthrow Mussolini and charge him with war crimes. She taught Chemistry at various schools during the war and was evacuated to Devon. She returned to East London after the war. In 1946 she met and married Horace Freemen (20), a sergeant in the Royal Artillery. Francesca continued to teach until she started a family in 1948. She had five sons between 1948 and 1956. The eldest, Horace junior and next eldest Peter were killed in a car crash in 1966. The others, Mark, James and Andrew all emigrated and now live in Australia, South Africa and the USA respectively. In 1958, her husband was made redundant and she returned to teaching, in junior schools, so that she could continue to raise her family. Two years later Horace managed to get a job as a security guard at the Agricultural Research Station in Sexton. It was then that they moved to their present address. She continued to teach in junior schools until she retired in 1983. Horace continued working at the Research Station until he retired on health grounds in 1990. Soon after his retirement, Horace was diagnosed with throat cancer and his health deteriorated rapidly. Francesca nursed Horace until he died on November 29th 1991.