Monday, August 10, 2020

A dream realised

Hello everyone,

Despite really enjoying them and having managed to participate in every one of them in 2019, this year, because of several reasons, I haven't been able to participate in the SF Collectors Forum's challenges.
To try and remedy this, today I bring you a story in which I tried to cover the first three prompts that were proposed for 2020: History, Interior Design and Couples.

This is my first story in a long time (though not much of a story really, more like a succession of scenes...) and I hope that you enjoy it.
You might notice that the story mentions the Spring Festival, and this should give you an idea of how overdue it is, haha...

Thank you in advance for reading!

It was, once again, time for the yearly Spring Festival in the village of Arcfield, and Charles and Camilla Hunter-Smyth were taking the opportunity to spend a rare afternoon with only the two of them together, as their older children, Isabella and Hector, were busy with their friends elsewhere in the village and had even taken their baby siblings with them. The triplets were quite lively, so this gave the couple a chance to relax a bit and enjoy both each other's company and the festival amenities. Both of them were usually very busy, with Charles being a banker in the city and spending a lot of time away from the village and Camilla having lately been absorbed by her personal long-time project, the future opening of her shoe and accessory shop, so it was truly a wonderful chance for them to spend some quality time together.

The only problem was that, as they were calmly taking a stroll together, Camilla's heart and mind didn't seem to be in it. She had been distracted and distant ever since they had left the house, and Charles wasn't sure what could possibly be the problem. He had asked, of course, but her replies had been evasive, her smiles distant as she assured him that he hadn't done anything wrong. After spending some time looking at the different festival stands and activities, the couple finally reached the forest clearing where an enormous and mysterious tree stump could be found, on top of which the villagers held the most important events of Arcfield and of its yearly festivals.
This year, a play was being represented on top of the mysterious and huge tree stump.
It was about the origins of the village, with young Aidan Osborne playing the part of the founder of Arcfield.

The stories told about said founder were diverse and most were quite ambiguous; some stated he had been a weary exile forced to leave his home because of some sort of disaster, either natural or magical in nature depending on the source, while according to other tales he had been an explorer and adventurer, always in search of mysteries and unexplored lands and realms.

Be it as it may, both the stories and the few pieces of writing that existed about him and that were safely guarded in Arcfield's small library, some of which had allegedly been written by the founder himself, seemed to indicate that he had been a young bear by the name of Erastus. They also seemed to coincide that he had got lost in the woods to the south of Arcfield and had almost perished of hunger and thirst, but that the forest spirits had taken pity on him and showed him the way out. The most down-to-earth interpretations of the tale seemed to think that said spirits had just been hallucinations Erastus had experienced due to both exhaustion and food and drink deprivation.

All tales coincided, however, that when he had finally exited the forest he had found himself in a beautiful green plain where he had witnessed a most grand and marvelous rainbow in the sky, which was the scene currently being represented by young Aidan. Just a coincidence or a last gift from the forest spirits? Nobody knew, but most believed that wonderful vision was the reason why he had decided to give the village he had founded in that beautiful field, surrounded by both the woods and the sea, the name of "Arcfield", inspired by the beautiful and multi-coloured arc he had seen over a green, lush field.

Many of the villagers thought that the current mayor, Nicholas McFarlane, might be a descendant of Erastus himself, but young Aidan's father, Jason Osborne, after having a bit too much blackcurrant wine at Wilbur Robinson's pub, had been heard saying that that it was
in fact his family who descended from Erastus. Who could know in the present day what the truth really was, though? Maybe only the spirits themselves knew, and if they did, they surely didn't care enough to appear and say it.

The only thing about the play that currently worried Charles was the fact that his wife didn't seem interested in it at all. After they left the clearing, both of them still silent, they ran into the candy and popcorn carts owned by the López couple, César and Mariela.
Both of them were very well-liked by everyone in the village, not only because of the delicious home-made treats they sold in their colourful carts, but because they were generally very cheery and kind people, always available for a nice chat and a good laugh. They were also excellent party planners, and a lot of villagers counted on them when it came to organise a big event. It didn't matter if it was going to be a colourful children's party or an elegant wedding reception, the López were the couple to go to.

When Charles took a look at the delicious-looking lollipops César was selling, he got an idea. Smiling, he approached the vendor while calling for Camilla, who was already walking away ahead of him.

"Wait a moment, my love. There's something I'd like to buy from César".

"Whatever you need, Carlos!" César was smiling brightly, as usual, and gestured theatrically toward his sweets. "Tell me amigo mío, how can I help you make your day a little sweeter?"

"It's not my day I want to sweeten, César, but my wife's. Can I have that heart-shaped lollipop?"

"But of course!"

"Oh, darling!" Camilla exclaimed, looking with a surprised expression at the heart-shaped lollipop her husband had just bought for her. "Thank you so much! But what have I done to deserve such a treat?"

"You don't need to do anything in particular to deserve it, my dearest." said Charles, smiling calmly. "You do so much every day for our family already. You seem worried today, so I wanted to try and cheer you up. You do know that I'm here for you, right? I know that I'm often away from home because of my job, but if there is anything I can help you with..."

In the meantime, the López couple were looking at the Hunter-Smyths and listening to their conversation with a smile on their faces. Seeing the sweet moment between the couple unfold, Mariela approached her husband and lovingly reached for his hand.

"Oh, my love!" Camilla took the lollipop from Charles' hand and quickly went to embrace him and kiss him on the cheek. "You're such a darling! Thank you so much. I know you're there for me, and I'm sorry that I'm so distracted today. I'm just worried about the preparations to open my shoe and accessory shop. There's still so much to do and plan, and so many things that could go wrong! And what if the shop isn't a success and all this hard work is for nothing...?"

"That won't happen, Milla" replied Charles, smiling contentedly. "You're the most organised and disciplined person I know. I'm sure everything will go flawlessly, as everything you do, and that your store will be a huge success. And I'll be there to help you, every step of the way".

Camilla smiled back at him, and embraced him even tighter.

"I do love you so much, Charles...!"

"And I you, my dearest".

And with the worries out of Camilla's head, for a little while at least, the two were able to enjoy the rest of their afternoon together at the Spring Festival.

As the days passed, the preparations for the grand opening of Camilla's shop were quickly progressing. It had been a while since Camilla had asked her now good friend, Ariadna Andes, for her opinion on the wallpaper that she should use for her future shop, and as she wanted her shop to look both cheerful and modern, the two of them had agreed on the one featuring the boldest colours.

It had taken a while for the wallpaper to arrive to the village, as the postal service was quite slow, but it had been quickly installed afterwards. Then, Camilla, Charles and Ariadna had been working hard on cleaning the premises of the future shop. Arthur Waters was also often there, helping with several odd jobs that required the skillset of a handyman such as himself. Camilla was still feeling unsure about the placement of the furniture that was still to arrive, and kept proposing alternatives to her husband and good friend, who tried their best to reassure her.

It was very exciting when the stock she had ordered started arriving at last! The furniture wasn't ready yet, but at least Camilla was able to take a good look at what she would be selling in her shop. She had received several types of shoe polish and even brushes with excellent quality bristles. The shoes themselves were all amazingly made, the material soft and flexible, and she was very pleased. Her baby triplets, Thomas, Gerard and Georgina, seemed to like them, too!

When the displays and the rest of the stock arrived at last, the whole family helped set everything up. Opening day was coming up and it took Camilla quite a long time to finally decide where everything would go! She wouldn't only be selling shoes, but jewellery, accessories and handbags as well, so she needed a lot of space to display everything.

Charles helped with the stand where the shoes and handbags would be displayed, Hector carefully set the mirror in its future proper place, and Isabella was delighted as she carefully set the lovely accessories her mother had ordered from a famous manufacturer in the city on the display table, lovingly looking at each piece before carefully setting all of them down in an aesthetically pleasing way. Isabella had a very good eye for these things, it was an innate quality of her, and Camilla fully trusted it. 

The display table itself was a great piece of furniture and perfect for the store, as the surface on the top could be gently spun around and allowed to better check the pieces displayed on it without having to move around the table.

And so, after a lot of hard work and effort, Camilla Hunter-Smyth's shoe and accessory shop was ready to open. Everything was in its place, the cash register ready and working as well.

As she took a final look at her store before closing the door on the last night before the grand opening, Camilla felt a curious feeling, a mix of anxiety, happiness and anticipation. Opening her own shop had been a longtime dream of hers, and now it was finally going to become true. It had been her hard work that had made it possible, but also the invaluable help, advice and encouragement of her family and friends, and for that she would always be grateful. She wondered if her little business would be successful, and she sure hoped it would. She thought it better to think positively, as her husband had advised, and she decided that she would deal with things as they came her way and try not to worry too much in advance.

As she walked the short distance to her home under Arcfield's starry night sky, she felt quite at peace. She was almost at home when the smile that had been gracing her lips suddenly vanished. She had forgotten one most important thing. What was her store going to be called?! She had completely forgotten to think of a catchy name!

It was too late now. She would have to sleep on it. If she managed to get a wink of sleep that night, that was!

Oh, no!


The End, for now!

Hope you enjoyed this story! I'm a bit out of practice, but I hope it was enjoyable nonetheless!

Since the story ended just before opening day, I'm thinking of making a Part 2 of sorts to illustrate either the opening day or just one day at the shoe and accessory shop. And, as Camilla's realised towards the end of the story, I'll have to think of a name for the shop, haha!

Thank you once again everyone for reading, and have a nice week!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

August 2020 Calendar Picture

Hello everyone,

Since it's August already, here's this month's page in the Sylvanian Families official calendar.

Very nice picture this month! We can see several young Sylvanians out at night, stargazing. So many shooting stars! I love the starry sky and the way everyone is looking at it in wonder. Lovely alternative outfits, as always! They're also warming themselves by the fire (I guess it gets chillier at night in Sylvania!) and roasting marshmallows. I don't think they stayed up too late, as they have a couple of their baby siblings with them!

I hope you're all having a wonderful month of August and staying safe and healthy!

Have a great rest of the week!