Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Ambitious Parents

Bunty Pargeter was more than happy to offer two stables at Vaysey Pastures to the Penges. In fact, she wished she had more liveries like them – or at least with their discipline and large disposable income.

Bruce and Betty Penge epitomised upward mobility. Although he left school with no qualifications, by means of evening classes and fervent networking, Bruce rose from desk clerk at the Vale of Vaysey Building Society to Manager of its Snood Parva Branch.

Similarly, by visible hard work and guile, Betty had risen from dinner lady at St Mildred’s Girls to School Secretary - and virtually ran the place.

Spiritually, the Penges were children of the 1980’s with pure Thatcherite values.

Their acquisition of worldly goods progressed in an orderly sequence, as though dictated by a programme on Bruce’s laptop.

The ascent of the property ladder began early. A detached executive home in the desirable semi-rural
village of Charmpit was eventually acquired, decorated and filled with consumer durables.

This was followed by a large and prestigious sports utility vehicle and the births at an interval of eighteen months of Kellie-Mae and Bambi–Louise.

Bruce and Betty’s golden-haired poppets wanted for nothing. From their first breath, however, they both knew the score: do as well as mummy and daddy require and the world will be your oyster.

Accordingly as time passed, precocious baby and toddler achievements were crossed off the list.

Sitting up, walking and talking came exceptionally quickly as did socialisation at nursery, tot’s aerobics and swimming.

School presented fresh opportunities for each to compete and excel, from starring as Mary in the Nativity play to coming top in class and being head girl.

By the time they were six and eight, the Penge sisters already had a track record of success and impressive CVs.

The reward for a particularly good set of exam results one year was a pony each.

In addition to matching skewbalds, Kylie and Beyonce, Bruce cheerfully funded endless tack, equipment and clothing plus full livery, sundry lessons and a shiny new trailer.

Each week was now even fuller. Not only had the sisters to be transported between school, jazz tap, flute and drama, but now the ponies needed to be exercised and riding lessons fitted in an already crammed schedule.

The girls were soon regulars at the pony club and their proud parents now stood at the edge of the arena offering encouragement in flat work and jumping classes and competitions.

Soon enough Kellie-Mae and Bambi-Louise kept their part of the bargain and regularly brought home impressive heaps of red rosettes.

Betty Penge stood next to Brenda Hilton as both her girls beat the Hilton twins in the Eights-and-under Combined Training and smiled: “Of course, it’s a lot of time, effort and money Brenda dear, but we only do it because our Kellie-Mae and Bambi-Louise do love it so.

She lied.

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