Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Treasure

All the liveries spoke very highly of the new girl: “so helpful and energetic”.

Patsy Pottle agreed with Tiffany Lampwick that she was "an absolute treasure: nothing’s too much trouble”.

Even Enid Possett, the senior girl who had worked for Miss Pargeter from the very beginning, had to admit Eve was “quite a find”.

Overcoming her usual resistance to change,
Enid found her young colleague a welcome addition. Eve was more than willing to take on arduous jobs around the yard, including the some of the messier stables and turning out the more boisterous mares.Enid found it refreshing that her hardworking helper was so eager to learn.

After a remarkably short time, Enid found herself imparting her knowledge, gleaned from decades working with horses, to the youngster who seemed so grateful and keen to benefit from her experience.

So close did they become, that
Enid even let Eve sit with her in her holy of holies in her corner of the tack room and share her lunchtime sandwiches and flask of tea.

Within weeks, Eve had offered to help by arriving early to open up the yard. She also gave
Enid a well-deserved break by being the one to stay late and lock up.

After watching
Enid teaching the young ones a few times, she also offered to deputise when required. Enid was only too happy to let Eve share the burden.

By her long hours and cheerful hard work, Eve gradually won the hearts of most of the liveries young and old. More of them turned to Eve with requests for help or advice.

Most agreed that she was “more with-it than dear old
Enid” who tended to be a little brusque if not downright grumpy and whose remedy for most ailments was a good old bran mash or poultice. Eve was more at ease with modern trends, from shock-wave therapy to reiki.

Bunty Pargeter herself came to realise that Eve Harriman was a valuable addition to her staff.

All the liveries and even dear old
Enid spoke so highly of her. She seemed reliability itself and, unlike some staff, was always willing to put herself out.

Uniquely, Eve was also computer literate and able to help in the office when the new-fangled pc crashed “or whatever it was it did”.

Before long, she wondered what she did without her bright young assistant. When Bunty returned from her holiday in Skiathos, distracted as to whether she should throw in the towel at Vaysey Pastures and return to run a taverna with her new friend Costas, she had found Eve particularly sympathetic and supportive. In fact Eve “virtually ran the office” for those weeks.

By December Bunty had concluded that dear Eve was quite irreplaceable and, at the yard Christmas party at the Red Lion, made the surprise announcement to liveries and staff that “in recognition of her sterling work since arriving earlier in the year, Miss Harriman would be appointed Yard Manager”.

All the liveries looked straight at
Enid and Patsy Pottle remarked “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night”.

To everyone’s surprise however
Enid said nothing and just sipped her snowball. Later, as Bert Postlethwaite led the traditional conga, Enid slipped away unnoticed. No-one at the yard saw Enid again.

Gathering outside the church in Wibble following her funeral on a cold March morning, the consensus amongst the liveries was that, although the death certificate referred to pneumonia, Enid Possett’s heart had been broken.

Ironically, Eve did not return to the yard after Christmas either.

It emerged that Miss Harriman had run off with Mr. Penge, a longstanding livery and the respected manager of the Snood Parva Branch of the Vale of Vaysey Building Society. Eve had grown to know Bruce Penge whilst giving riding lessons to his two daughters at the yard.

Miss Harriman and Mr Penge were now thought to be running a bed and breakfast in Cromer.

When the news broke, Patsy Pottle commented wryly “Not such a treasure then, Miss Pargeter?"

No comments: