Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (43) The Stable Girl and the River Warden (Part 01)
The traditional seaside resort of Sharpington-by-Sea suited her very well with its Victorian Pier, seafront hotels, crazy golf, The Palladium ballroom, well maintained gardens, promenade, theatre and illuminations, all the usual things to have a great time by the seaside, as well as amusement arcades and of course the Sharpington Fun Park and it was Emma Goldup’s hometown.
She was 23 years of age and was a pretty girl, with fine blonde hair and was only a tiny little thing, four foot eleven if she had her hair up.
Emma was the only child of a local couple with several businesses in the town and a huge house in the grand neighbourhood of Granite Hill, which in a nod to San Francisco the locals nicknamed Nob Hill.
But when she finished her expensive education she had no interest in working for any of the family businesses and got a job working in a small riding school at Brooke Side Farm on the outskirts of town, between Sharpington and the Dulcets.
The Dulcets were a collection of villages and hamlets comprising of Dulcet Meadow, Dulcet St Mary, Dulcet Green and Dulcet-on-Brooke to name but a few and Brooke Side Farm was quaintly situated on the Sharpington side of the River Brooke.
Her parents were outraged when she chose to be a stable girl, her father offered to buy the riding school and let her run it but she forbade him from doing any such thing and threatened never to speak to either of them again if he did.
She just wanted to work with horses and when she wasn’t working she could be seen sat astride a great Honey coloured colt called Paris.
But the most remarkable thing about Emma was that in spite of her parent’s wealth and snobbery she had no airs and graces whatsoever.
One day she was riding Paris along the bridle path when she saw a familiar face
“Morning Mr Goodman”
“Morning Emma” he replied
She always called him Mr. Goodman even though it was 7 years since he retired from teaching.
He retired from teaching the same time she left school when she was 16.
She had no idea where he was headed but she knew one thing for sure and that was that he was doing something good for someone.
She had never met a more appropriately named human being because he really was a good man.
Emma liked him very much but he was her second best favourite man because she liked someone else better, Harrison McQuiston.
She had met him the first time back in May and it had been such a beautiful morning that she rode considerably further and longer than originally intended so on the way back to the Brooke Side Farm Emma decided to walk the horse part of the way to give Paris a little breather.
So she was walking Paris alongside the River Brooke and both she and the horse were spattered in mud.
Emma was chatting away to Paris when there was a bit of a commotion ahead of them and a man suddenly appeared from the bushes causing Emma’s horse to rear up.
“Whoa! Steady boy” she said as she tried to calm him down.
“Alright” Emma said softy patting the horse’s neck “Good boy”
Once she had complete control she led him by the bridle.
“I’m so sorry” the man said
“We didn’t mean to startle you”
“We?” Emma queried
“Yes” he said “I’m not alone”
“Excellent” she thought “I’ve stumbled upon the local nutter”
At which point a King Charles spaniel emerged from the bushes and she laughed.
“Meet Charlie” he said
“Well hello Charlie” Emma said
“We really are sorry for startling you” Harrison said
“That’s ok, no harm done” she said