For Wendi

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Wendi, I made this for you. I think the green tint is better than the black and white. I didn’t add more colour because I think it looks more striking just linear. What do you think?

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You can find Wendi’s blog *here*.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

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Posted in Art, Friendship, life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Some photos (Update)

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Unfortunately, my vintage 1990’s¬†Paloma Picasso glasses broke – due to old age – while they were trying to fit in my new lenses. But I am happy that they offered me another pair (above photo; description: medium sized, roundish-squarish, ombre frames, navy at the top running down to see-through shell-pink at the bottom) which I picked out and chose, after seeing one of the staff wearing them! for no extra. Officially the others weren’t allowed insurance so this was great customer service.

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As you can see in the above photos, John got new glasses too! We always go to the opticians, doctors and dentists together. Which isn’t as romantic as it sounds, it’s just easier that way with my mobility problems and him not driving ūüėČ but, ironically, we usually have a good time, probably because we’re not sitting in front of the noisy box with the moving pictures which John adores…¬†Description: John’s glasses are glossy black and make him look like a Pro Writer.¬†

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Dear Grandad built his own summerhouse back in the ’80’s when I was a kid. When he passed on Dad took his summerhouse and put it up in our garden; it’d be him who’d paint it every few years to keep it looking smart and to protect the wood, but he’s not with us anymore. With my damaged hip and back I can’t do that much but I had a go at painting the summerhouse this early autumn – because it was either try or let the summerhouse die. It is already falling apart and needs nailing in places and the window frames fixing with sealant and wooden strips. I mostly sat down to sand and then paint it and for no longer than 2 x hours. Every morning, first thing. The Cuprinol ‘Cedar’ although advertised as a deep-red goes on neon-orange and dries to rust. Strange that. Even Twiglet (photo right) had to inspect.¬†sft_bday_280217_01 I’ve still got the right side to do, and John, the high and awkward bits. I want it finished before the really wet and snowy weather comes.

I love my mum’s ‘Toad In The Hole’, a sausage and batter dish. Mine, made in September, is not as good as hers – the batter came out too thick, perhaps because of using almond milk instead of diary? (Too much diary annoys my allergies). Photos below.

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Healthwise, I have another MRI, this time for my hip, scheduled later this month. My physio (chiro in some countries) believes I have a labral tear. Something that should have been done 11 years ago…

Want to see some flowers?

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This one guards the front door ūüėČ

The other flowers are coming in the next post. Hope to see you then!

Love Faith + Oscar Dandelion + Pack xo

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

For Tre + Jernee

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I hope you like this Tre.

I know how precious our dogs (and pets) are to us. My 1st Chihuahua, Sugar, had been with me for 15 years, through some turbulent times too. They are indeed precious.

With much love, Faith xo

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…and here is a simpler one ~

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In response to https://acorneredgurl.com/2018/10/01/my-heart/

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

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Posted in Art, Friendship, life | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Red Shoes (short story) #14 Epilogue

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Dear reader, I had said I’d publish this short story in ONE GO, but it ran away with me, growing into a longish short story – too long for one sitting! So, I’m breaking it up into 3 or 4¬†as-many-as-it-takes parts, to be published every Sunday (the usual day when I posted The Hotel Unicus series). I’ll be rating it 16+ due to the mature themes, but as is my way there is more mystery in the absence of gory details, which terrify me. Horror/mystery/pretanatural. I hope you like it.


Have you missed Part Thirteen?

Part 13

Part 12

Part 11

Part 10

Part 9

Part 8

Part 7

Part 6

Part 5

Part 4

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1

Just to re-cap…..

My own grandmother had sold me to the devil. I thought of the twin girls I’d given birth to and given up for adoption when I was sixteen. They were safe. However, if there would be a 2nd daughter of my 2nd daughter, she too would be taken. And, of course, the curse would be handed down to her 2nd granddaughter if there was to be one.

I asked Lilly to drive me to my most favourite place to die.

Hilltop Wood – an ancient wood of oaks, beeches, birches and sycamores, located on a tall grassy slope – overlooked the city.


~ Part Fourteen

Epilogue ~

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As I drifted onward, I still saw the remnants of the wondrous sunset, I held onto them for comfort because I was deeply afraid of where I was going. Lilly’s words repeated themselves,

“You know Fran, Gran didn’t mean to… She was tricked.”

“You know Fran, Gran didn’t mean to… She was tricked.”

“You know Fran, Gran didn’t mean to… She was tricked.”

I knew. I knew that was true from what Gran had said.¬†She had already consented to the Red Shoes Twins’ bargain terms before she’d heard them. And, had agreed to them post departure. While in the state of dying from this world.

I inwardly bitterly laughed. If that meant the terms of agreement were then made void, why was I dying?

The wondrous, beautiful sunset rippled. The burning blood-red sun sent out a flash of white brilliance. The last view I’d had from being seated in the Victorian pavilion on the hill above the city with the mesmerising sunset before me, returned.

Will stood before me, on the grassy slope overlooking the city, at the edge of the pavilion. I could see him clearly; he was smiling at me and I realised, to my surprise and relief, that he looked entirely human. Dressed in his Catholic priest’s attire, as if about to address his congregation. Not only human about his kind eyes. The gaping wound in his forehead from the stiletto heel of the demon shoes no longer there. He was whole again like before Hell had burnt him. I felt a gathering excitement, then heard the convoluted hushed voices that weren’t making sense.

Then, one sentence made itself discernible: “She broke their curses – saw through their lies.”

Yes. Yes, I had; it was true. I’d seen their deception. But what was happening now?

My body was pain-free, weightless, as if I was connected to it by a thread. There was a pressing question: Did I want to continue living in this earthly material world? The answer was easy: Yes, I did. Even though I ached for my own children every day, I did.

I had the pleasant sensation of slipping into a warm and much loved coat on a cold day. I blinked and could see them all. They stood either side of Will and I’ve never seen such a joyful group of people before – or since – with their relaxed body postures and smiling, glowing faces. A few were vaguely familiar from the accounts in Will’s files. One, other than Will, I certainly recognised from long ago photographs:¬†Isabelle Andersen. Still young, wearing the same clothes and looking the same, as if she’d just stepped out of the photo. Just no longer in shades of black and white.

“Thank you Fran.” She said.

Happy tears were streaming down my face, I felt them on my cheeks, saw one drip onto my clasped hands pressed against my chin.

I felt unburdened for the first time in weeks, I looked at the Red Shoes and – not surprisingly – found them gone.

GONE!

I turned to share my exuberance with Lilly who had been sitting beside me on the wooden seat. But she was partially concealed behind wisps of white mist, oblivious to my current state. Somehow I knew this was for her own sake, this was the way things worked; we were inhabiting the same world but existing on different planes. Her grieving sobs pained me. I hoped I really was returning to my old life – it seemed I would be.

The people before me – twenty or so – were vying for my attention, to voice their thanks to me for releasing them. They were thanking me in their native languages and some in strange words of unknown countries to me. However, most of them were Italians and I wondered about their stories and the origin of the Red Shoes.

The shoes were, after all, according to the stamp on their soles, made in Italy. A hot place but not as hot as Hell. Though, without a doubt, the demons residing in them were made in The Really Hot Place – stamped on their backsides or otherwise.

“See you in church!” Will said above the din.

I found my voice: “I would like that!” I answered back.

Then the people melted away into the dwindling colours of the sunset. But, I wasn’t alone because I could see Lilly as clear as day. I took hold of her hand and gently squeezed.

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I attended a service of Will’s. I brought my family and friends too. Fatima, brought up in the Muslim faith and a relapsing atheist before the incident of the Red Shoes, thoroughly enjoyed the ornate, mysterious Catholic ambience. Gran, a regular of the local Methodist church and best friends with its reverend, grumbled about Mary being revered because the mother of Christ wasn’t God. Mum, with an embarrassed red face, tried to quieten her. Brian, who hadn’t ever given religion much thought, hung on every word of Father Will Mulford’s sermon. In a nearby row sat the androgynous woman with the short blonde hair and purple coat, who’d I’d not long ago exchanged words with in the park. She no longer looked dishevelled and dirty, her clothes were casual but clean. Dougi Woods and his daughter, Nadine Briggs, sat next to one another in the row before us. He wore a pink shirt and dark brown trousers; she, a yellow tea dress covered in a print of tiny birds and a big cream flower in her black curly hair. In another row sat an elderly woman beside the elegant Joy¬†Lapierre, she appeared older than her companion. I eventually realised she was Isabelle – Joy’s older sister. For a moment I thought it cruel to bring back a young woman in an old woman’s body, but I then supposed it had to be so because otherwise it wouldn’t have made sense in this world. It would have been jarring to have two sisters with half a century between them. At least, I concluded, the sisters would have a little time to reconnect.

When I returned to my body and returned to my life everything had changed. People I knew were different, I knew I was different. Some things were different in subtle ways, such as the neighbour across the road being a dog lover instead of a cat lady; the sign over the men’s barbers, down the road, being written in a another font and bearing another name for an altogether different kind of shop; and, Alfred was more sprightly because of a changed diet – “The wonder of dandelions!” Gran proudly declared. And, some situations were hugely different: there was another prime minister, of English, Scottish and Italian heritage, but equally disliked as the previous one; and I was passionate about going back to school to train as a psychologist because I really wanted to help others. Good, bad, indifferent, many things were something else now. When I eventually got round to speaking with everyone I knew who had been effected by the Red Shoes, they were still aware of what had passed and noticed the changes around them. But they didn’t note the subtle changes in themselves.

There was a moment when Will and I were alone, standing outside the church door, watching the others leave down the path while some talked to one another in small groups, dotted about the grass.

“Your dreams were real, Fran.” He said.

“I wasn’t sure about that.” I replied. “Whether they were figments of my imagination or some kind of horrid reality. Whether what you and Isabelle said were words of advice…”

“What I said to you… It helped, didn’t it?” He said.

“About how to set myself free, regardless of the Shoes?” I asked and he nodded. I continued: “About being brave and finding truths buried deep within me. Yes, I did, I managed to; and I truly thank you for your help. What happened to the boy I loved and the guilt I carried about giving up my babies. That was too difficult to live with, I had to bury that in order to just go on, day by day. I wasn’t able to face those truths. It was like nearing an enormous blazing fire in which, inside its centre, lay the intense pain caused by those memories and guilt. The nearer to the fire I tried, the more burnt I became. I wasn’t able to reach its centre so I gave up. I was almost successful in erasing them from my memory but it didn’t do me any favours.”

We looked over at Lilly who was chatting away to the woman in the purple coat. I noticed she was flirting by her laughter and smiles. Not once did the glasses slip down her retrouss√© nose. A girl, eight or nine years of age, with long pale blonde plaits down her back, went up to the woman and gently pulled on her purple coat, vying for her attention. The woman was fixed on whatever Lilly was saying, but she then turned to the child and, judging by her smile, said something nice. The girl called out: “Saffron! Aunty Rosemary says to come and ask her yourself!”

“Saffron and Sage. Their parents bring them to my church every Sunday. Lovely, happy girls, as beautiful as their mother.” Will said.

I looked round for a fair haired woman but saw none. Instead, by the gate, stood a middle-aged, dark haired couple with the other girl beside them. She looked the same as the other apart from her dress being green instead of blue, and the ribbons in her plaited hair being green instead of blue. A peal of laughter followed her as she ran up to join her twin.

“You can throw that guilt on the fire. There’s nothing to be guilty about.” Will said.

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The Red Shoes Twins were restless, desperate, and because of certain recent changes, in foul moods. They’d hunted in all directions. Either the souls were not desirous and desirable or they rejected their overtures. Humans could be soul destroying! Some days later they found a wanton and vulnerable soul and a new love affair began.

Fatima later said the finicky Star Hotel Manager, Nigel Pemble, had been fired for wearing stilettos at work.

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* The End *


 

.:::::::::: Did you like it? I hope so. If you haven’t already, it’s best to read the parts in the correct sequence. That way you won’t have missed anything. ::::::::::

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rs05

…………to be continued!

animated-horror-ghost-33 Did you enjoy this story?

If so, I’d love to hear from you! gif_tongue_teeth_shoes

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Words: 1,730

Inspired by: My own red Italian shoes (in another life when my life was more high heels than wheels).

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The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen

The Red Shoes, the film, 1948

Animated gifs from giphy.com and gifandgif.eu

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oscar_story_leaves_100

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in short story, Short Story Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Embroidery

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For you who like to embroider! My *NEW* Embroidery page.

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Quote | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Red Shoes (short story) #13

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Dear reader, I had said I’d publish this short story in ONE GO, but it ran away with me, growing into a longish short story – too long for one sitting! So, I’m breaking it up into 3 or 4¬†as-many-as-it-takes parts, to be published every Sunday (the usual day when I posted The Hotel Unicus series). I’ll be rating it 16+ due to the mature themes, but as is my way there is more mystery in the absence of gory details, which terrify me. Horror/mystery/pretanatural. I hope you like it.


Have you missed Part Twelve?

Part 12

Part 11

Part 10

Part 9

Part 8

Part 7

Part 6

Part 5

Part 4

Part 3

Part 2

Part 1

Just to re-cap…..

“Gran, tell us your story. How you got to know the Red Shoes?”

It hurt me extracting the truth from her.

She blotted her eyes and swigged her tea. “Alright then, I will tell you…exactly how it happened. But, girl, don’t say I didn’t warn you: It’s not pretty. I don’t know whether you will ever forgive me either.”

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“How did you get them off?” Lilly asked.

Then there was a splash as my friend’s glasses dropped in her tea.


~ Part Thirteen ~

I think I should caution readers that I’ve written about sensitive issues such as untimely death and giving up children for adoption. If you think you may become too upset, please refrain from reading.

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Lilly retrieved her glasses from the depths of her tea-filled cup. It would have been, otherwise, if not for the grim occasion, a moment for smiles.

“There is nothing I regret more than those shoes. And the bargain I was forced to make.” Gran said.

I didn’t want to believe the words just uttered from my grandmother’s mouth. The bargain she was forced to make. What the hell was going on? I wondered while my stomach knotted. I’d read all of Will’s files inside and out; there was no mention of bargains. “What do you mean Gran?” I said when I was able to find my voice again. “What bargain?”

I’d already guessed with whom.

“I was young, I was desperate, I didn’t want my life to end. I had years and years spanning before me.”

I stared at her, willing her to go on, trying not to lose my cool.

“The last day they held me prisoner and I knew I was dying, I called out to them. I didn’t know what exactly it was this evil power…but then I saw them.”

“The Red Shoes Twins.” Lilly said in hushed tones.

“The Red Shoes Twins.” Gran echoed. “I was alone in my bedroom – still not yet married to your grandfather, still living at my parents’ – and I couldn’t sleep. The pain in my feet, travelling up my legs – hot and burning like fire – kept me awake, while all the time I was sliding towards death. I just knew I wouldn’t be alive come morning.

“I called out to them, ‘Demons whatever you are, show yourselves!’ though my voice couldn’t have been louder than a whisper, that near to death I was. Next, I called them cowards, I asked why they were doing this to me, then, I said: ‘What do you want from me to stop all this?’

“I had on my bedside lamp but it was still too dark to see properly. I heard, what seemed to be footsteps; the clattering of stilettos, against pavement. But, I was indoors, the room’s floor was covered in carpet. There wasn’t a pavement or road that near. So, there I was, listening to the clatter of walking stilettos – from I don’t know where. I was sitting up on the bed, not in it, and my glance returned to the Red Shoes. They were not there. I was looking harder, wanting to know if my eyes were deceiving me… Then, I saw them.

“A sudden stench of something like rotten eggs filled the room accompanying them. They were the size of small dogs or large feet, glistening and white like slugs, with winding arms or tentacles like sucking worms. Their eyes, white and protruding; fixed on me. The sucking worms couldn’t keep still; winding, unwinding around my ankles and feet. Tightening and loosening their grip. One demon to each foot. One of them opened a perfectly round mouth, displaying a black hole with needle like teeth, and screamed. I thought it was about to bite my toes.

“Instead, the other one spoke to me, in a voice almost human; in a tone that was silken and slimy befitting itself: ‘My twin here wants to bite off all your toes. But me, I like a bargain. What do you say, do you want to bargain? We can bargain and you could keep your life – a bit longer.’

“I wasn’t able to really understand anything anymore. Part of me wanted to give up and die. To be done with the pain and fear. Then, there was a part of me who yearned to be a mother, to have a fulfilling life.

“The demon was mentioning children, just like it had read my mind. ‘Children! Ah, children! We love children. Unlike you they don’t question what they see or hear. Do you want to bargain? We can bargain. You could live a bit longer.’

“At that time I no longer saw what was around me in the room. The dark shapes of the furniture, the curtains at the nearby window, me, them – that had all faded away. I was in a long tunnel. Travelling in a dark space in which a far off circle of bright light beckoned. Then, I was remembering I wanted to be a mother one day. If I went then my life would be over and motherhood would never happen.

‘Ah! I see you do want to bargain! Excellent! Agree to our terms and you can live a bit longer.’

“I thought about the children I would bear one day. I found myself nodding and consenting.

“Then I comprehended the rest of what it was saying: ‘Agree to our terms and you can live a bit longer. A modest payment really. One that doesn’t directly effect you. Give us your 2nd granddaughter and her 2nd granddaughter and her 2nd granddaughter…’

“I was nodding. It was already too late.”

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I left Gran’s garden in a haze. Speechless, heartbroken, betrayed and in despair. I felt I had nowhere now to turn. My own grandmother had sold me to the devil. I thought of the twin girls I’d given birth to and given up for adoption when I was sixteen. They were safe. However, if there would be a 2nd daughter of my 2nd daughter, she too would be taken. And, of course, the curse would be handed down to her 2nd granddaughter if there was to be one.

I held onto Lilly’s arm as I needed help walking. She was crying buckets and had removed her slipping spectacles altogether. We sat in her car for the longest time while I consoled her. Then I asked her to drive me to my most favourite place to die.

Hilltop Wood – an ancient wood of oaks, beeches, birches and sycamores, located on a tall grassy slope – overlooked the city. This special wood was where I played as a child, rode my bicycles, walked with family and friends. Carved my name together with that of my school sweetheart inside a heart in the aged trunk of a beech tree. And, when he suddenly died in a road accident, aged just sixteen, I’d taken a leaf from that tree and pressed it flat in my diary. A small keepsake to remember him by. I wasn’t encouraged to keep our babies. My mother and Gran had persuaded me to give them up for adoption, where they can be properly loved, because I was far too young to bring up twin babies and because Steve was dead and wouldn’t be able to help and because certain life opportunities would pass me by. I was afraid without Steve. His untimely death took a part of me too.

I did not dare think of him for years. And no one would speak to me about my children. Stored away, I walked the city’s streets when I could not sleep.

If my own grandmother had not unwittingly sold my soul maybe that would have been my truth? The truth being the guilt I carried with me, that of giving up my own children. My truth ticket to get out of Hell.

I’d never really had that option – had I? – that of finding my own truth to set me free.

I stumbled along the path – bumping against the trunks of trees, tripping over exposed tree roots – Lilly’s protective arm around me as we headed for the summit. My energy was diminishing fast. We passed my beech tree and I fleetingly touched the etched heart for the last time. Inside the Victorian gazebo, made of black-painted, filigree-patterned wrought iron and a red-tiled roof, we sat on the long wooden seat and viewed the city.

“Thank you Lilly for being the best friend a person could have.” I said.

“Thank you Fran for being my friend.” Lilly said, squeezing my hand.

I lent my head against her shoulder. I shivered violently. Coldness had seeped into my core.

The sun set, sending out a profusion of coral, lavender and gold colours, it was truly wondrous.

“You know Fran, Gran didn’t mean to… She was tricked.”

“I know.” I whispered. “I forgive her.” My vision blurred so I closed my tired eyes. “I forgive my family for telling me to give up my children. I forgive Steve for leaving me because he didn’t mean to, but it was his time. I forgive myself for giving up my children. I will always love them even though I’m not in their lives.” I tried squeezing Lilly’s hand. “I love you too, Bestie. Get your glasses fixed.”

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:::::::::: YES! TO BE CONTINUED. NEXT WEEK IS THE EPILOGUE ::::::::::

ps.

Will catch up with everyone soon. Been busy sleeping + writing. Love you. xo

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rs05

…………to be continued!

animated-horror-ghost-33 Did you enjoy this story?

If so, I’d love to hear from you! gif_tongue_teeth_shoes

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Words: 1,425

Inspired by: My own red Italian shoes (in another life when my life was more high heels than wheels).

.

The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen

The Red Shoes, the film, 1948

Animated gifs from giphy.com and gifandgif.eu

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oscar_story_leaves_100

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in short story, Short Story Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

These Pictures (sharing photos)

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Above: I cannot recall the name of this cactus right now – someone knowledgeable did tell me! Anyway, I’m so excited she bloomed!!! Look how beautiful her cream-coloured flowers are. Photographed next to some friends.

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Above: Various Sempervivum planted in a violet/pink planter. Look at the numerous pink flowers.

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Above: Back to the indoor succulents. These are the few I bought at great prices from the cactus club (BCSS) meeting in July. Magarisa, remember, I said I’d post them? LOL. The bottom three are different sub-types of Haworthia. The top (from left to right) include 1st, …….; 2nd, Titanopsis; 3rd, Adromischus cooperi; 4th, the fuzzy Setosa.

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Above: Various succulents and cacti including a Ferocactus (bottom-right); a Haworthia attenuata (bottom-middle); a flowering¬†Gymnocalycium baldianum (bottom-left) ; a Senecio mandraliscae (top-right); an Aloe (top-middle); a Jade (top-left). Bottom of photo – a small but vibrant lemon tree with amethyst gem stones. If anyone has advice on growing lemon trees I’d be most appreciative.

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Above: An apple crumble I made Wednesday night. I included golden sugar, Canadian maple syrup (imported from Quebec), nutmeg and cinnamon and small cooking-apples from our own garden – yes, we have apple trees! It turned out to be my best crumble yet.

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Above: I recently had an eye test. I wanted to have the new lenses put in my fabulous vintage glasses. They said they couldn’t include insurance… Well, now they say the frames are broken. I don’t know exactly how. I’ll know more in a day or two. I hope I can fix them and wear them again.

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Above: This recently came up in my ‘memory’ photo feed on the kindle. Me in a black sun hat clutching purple wild flowers, 2014.

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Above: There he is the lordship himself. Little Lord Oscar Dandelion. Came up in today’s memory feed, 2015. Gosh, time speeds up after a certain age.

Thanks for dropping by.

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Copyright Faith McCord 2018

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.

Posted in Art, Cactus and succulent plants, life, nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments