Mallow Castle, County Cork, Ireland

Mallow Castle is a 33-acre site composed of gardens and parkland on which three buildings sit: the remains of a 16th-century fortified house (pictured above), a 19th-century mansion to the north, and the ruins of a 13th-century castle to the east. The fortified house is a long rectangular three-storey building, with two polygonal towers on the north-west and south-west corners. It is early Jacobean in style, featuring high gables, stepped battlements, and mullioned windows. The wings of the house project from the center of the south and north walls, with the entrance in the north wing. The design of the house was to provide a field of fire around it entirely.

The 16th-century  fortified house is believed to have been built by Sir Thomas Norreys before his death in 1599. Following his death, his niece Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Jephson inherited the house, with their family remaining in Mallow for almost 400 years. It was placed under siege by Richard Butler, Lord Mountgarret, in 1642 during the Irish Confederate Wars and did not fall. It was captured in 1645 by James Tuchet, Lord Castlehaven. The house was badly damaged by fire during the Williamite War and subsequently abandoned by the Jephsons. The Jephsons built the new mansion house on the site of the older castle’s stable block.

What the Hell is Modern Architecture? Part Two: Mid-Century Madness

Hello friends! It’s everybody’s favorite time of the 20th century, kudos to Mad Men

For the purpose of this post, Mid-Century starts in the late 1930s and goes through about 1960. While the 60s were integral to the concept of “Mid-Century Modernism” to people who shop at Design Within Reach, it really belongs to the period known as Late Modernism, which will be the subject of next week’s post. 

Where we left off with our beloved modernists two weeks ago, World War II was just starting. Coincidentally, it turns out dictators really like columns and stuff (who knew), and so Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius fled to the US where they responded to the hostile takeover of their countries by committing a benevolent takeover of the major American universities.  

Though the architecture of fascism was overwhelmingly traditional, (with the exception of Italian Futurism) modernism has still been deemed “fascist” by the ill-informed for over fifty years. Go figure. 

The Second World War had a major impact on the field of architecture. For one, it destroyed previous socioeconomic orders, and the horrific use of technology to commit so many heinous atrocities undermined its central position in the previous ideas of technocratic utopia. The machine for living in had a bad taste in its mouth, now. 

In addition, in Europe, the destruction of so many urban communities during the war left a vacuum for housing projects, many of which failed and most of which were completely insensitive to people’s aesthetic needs post-tragedy. 

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. One of the pinnacle struggles of midcentury was the battle to continue old norms (the International Style of 1920s Europe) and to pave new frontiers. Meanwhile, in non-western countries, this prewar architecture spread like wildfire, partially as a reaction against the 19th century traditionalism they inherited from colonialism. In countries like Finland, Brazil, and Mexico, there was considerable effort to balance new modern aesthetics with national identities and climates. 

But back to the Bauhaus babes: Gropius (and later Marcel Breuer) were both invited to teach at Harvard, effectively ending that school’s history of Beaux Arts classicism. 

Gropius’ arrival did something else for American architecture: with the exception of Richard Neutra & Co. on the west coast and Wright in the Midwest, American architecture was relatively stale innovation-wise on the East Coast, and bringing Gropius in kickstarted architectural change in that region

Gropius’ students, sick of the rather boring eclecticism of the time, flocked to hear the new European ideas, including future stars Paul Rudolph (my personal bae), IM Pei, and Philip Johnson, who would all go on to be icons of Late Modernism (and to some extents, its scapegoats.)

Enter the Saarinens

Meanwhile in the Midwest, where actual progress happened in lieu of lectures, the Finnish-born architect Eliel Saarinen and his son, Eero, effectively kickstarted the aesthetics of the mid-century. Eliel, a figure of the previous generation, shifted his attention to American design late in life, but Eero seemed to have been born into the American jet-set ideal. 

Saarinen the Younger established his reputation when he won the competition to build the 1947 Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri aka:

The 1950s were a period of (highly idealized) prosperity and optimism (despite the constant threat of nuclear winter) with a focus on scientific progress and good ol’ American ingenuity. 

It was said ingenuity that enabled new methods of construction, including the wall of glass. One of the pinnacle examples of this progress and optimism was the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan begun by Saarinen the Elder and finished by Saarinen the Younger in 1948. 

It was in this building that the processes of American manufacturing, management, and industry were canonized in architectural form - the building, seemingly weightless, floats above a green, minimal lawn. 

Meanwhile, Mies

Meanwhile, Mies van der Rohe, was spending 1939-1956 building the new campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. Mies was very fond of the craftsmanship of American steel manufacturing, and used the steel beam as a way to articulate his functional ideals with a finesse like no other. 

The glass box of the Institute’s Crown Hall was fervently egalitarian in that it was supposed to be good for anything and everything, and neutral to the concept of place and the specificity of internal function. 

(The irony of Mies’ buildings and their honesty of expression, is that the fire code of the time required that steel be surrounded by fireproofing, and therefore the steel visual on buildings such as Crown Hall, is, in fact, a decorative effect, something not lost on later theorists such as Robert Venturi.)

Mies’ seminal work of the period was the famous Farnsworth House (1945-51), where he applied the cool sleekness of his academic and industrial buildings to residential design. 

Perhaps Mies is most infamous in the long run for his tall skyscrapers, the most famous of which is the Seagram Building (New York City, 1954-8), which he designed with the help of Gropius acolyte Philip Johnson. 

The building owes its debts to Sullivan, who over half a century before, used appearance to express the ideal of its structure, an idea Mies evolved into “lying in order to tell the truth” - his steel frame hid within it wind bracing and other engineering necessities; the mullions separating the windows are applied, rather than structural necessity. 

While Mies’ aesthetic would be elevated to the epitome of American corporate style, it continued in the tradition of the Deutsches Werkbund of early modernity, which believed that industrial technique should be worn on the sleeve of architectural form. 

Unfortunately, the Miesian ideal was taken up by countless (often garbage) imitators, which reduced his finesse to mere uniformity, resulting in the endlessly replicating “glass box downtowns” of the 60s and 70s. The criticisms of later theorists that Mies left out the messiness of life within the glass structure, weren’t entirely invalid, but much of the time the ad nauseum replication of glass boxes are the faults of Mies’ imitators rather than Mies himself. 

Meanwhile, in Brazil and Finland

Brazil and Finland are perhaps the most notable of the nations to have adopted modernism after the pre-war German-French-American trichotomy, because their national architectural figures have contributed so much to the architecture of the time. 

Brazil’s strongman, Oscar Niemeyer, was born in Rio de Janeiro, and studied architecture at the Escola Nacional des Belas Artes. His architecture was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier, and featured a heavy use of reinforced concrete. Niemeyer was a believer in constructing “monuments” - architecture that stood out from its surroundings, and the concept that architecture should be infused with social idealism. 

Niemeyer’s most famous buildings were those built for the deal city of Brazil’s new capital, Brasilia. Built with Socialist ideas, such as the government owning apartments and leasing them to employees, and that the common worker and the top officials would share the same public spaces, the project, which was constructed hundreds of miles out in the middle of nowhere, aimed to bring a higher quality of life to a rural region.  

Unfortunately, his leftist politics resulted in his exile from Brazil, when Castelo Branco usurped the previous president and made Brazil a dictatorship until 1985. Oh well. 


In Finland, home of the Saarinens, the architect Alvar Aalto was quietly straight killing it at modern architecture. Unamused by the cold corporatism of the endlessly replicating glass box, Aalto and his contemporaries sought to infuse the vernacular traditions of their country, pre-industrial rusticism, and environmental consciousness with the sleekness of modernism

(This was easier to achieve in the Nordic countries, where rabid industrialization had not yet ruined natural resources such as timber.)

Aalto’s remarkable sensitivity to his clients and their anticipated behavior within his dwellings combined with his keen sense of place made his architecture successful during a time dominated by the necessity of post-war building making (in place of lasting architecture.)  

The sensitivity to the Earth, and the desire to embed his buildings fully into their environment (rather than make them objects on the lawn as was the modern tradition in Europe at the time), set Aalto apart from his contemporaries, and deeply inspired many young architects of midcentury, most notably Louis Kahn. 

But that’s not why y’all came here. Y’all came here for this:

On the Pop Side of Things: What Most People Think of When They Hear “Mid Century Modern”

While Gropius lectured, Mies built his boxes, Wright got weird with the Guggenheim, Aalto and Niemeyer led their countries as pioneers, and Corbu hid in Europe (butthurt that he was used for his input on the design of the United Nations building but never received the official commission- basically, he got catfished by the UN) the endless sprawl of the suburbs inched across the US, and the Federal Highway Act paved the way for a new way of life: sitting in the car a lot.

What most people associate with mid-century modernism are the “retro” vibes of the 50s - the Eames rocker, the fanciful signs, and the space-age hotels. What they don’t realize is that much of this beloved imagery existed outside the architectural canon, in the realm of folk or commercial architecture.

Suddenly, the world of motels, supermarkets, diners, and more sprung up seemingly overnight. The architecture of this time was designed to get people’s attention, and not much more - which is perhaps why it is so endearing. Originating from Southern California, this style was known as “Googie,” “Space Age,” and “Atomic Age” architecture, inspired by the events that transpired as part of the Space Race, and the pop culture surrounding the events of the Cold War.

Also originating in California, the ideal of the Mid-Century Modern House was canonized in the Case Study Houses (built for Arts & Architecture Magazine, made famous by the photographs of Julius Schulman), the houses of Richard Neutra, and the affordable tract home plans put together by architects such as Joseph Eichler, and Palmer & Kilmer.  

It makes sense that such architecture originated in California, a state that adopted the automobile with a fervent efficiency and built its best-known city of Los Angeles around it.

The unique decor made by companies like furniture giants Knoll and Herman Miller, fit right at home in such adventurous houses. Herman Miller hired the famous duo Charles and Ray Eames to design many lines of chairs and other furniture which have become iconic in and of themselves.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

The Eames’ designs took the functionalism of modernism and infused it with fanciful coziness which became instantly appealing. The Eames’ chairs dared onlookers to sit in them, and were designed to excel at their purpose: to be sat in. These attributes, along with the slick futuristic design, have made Eames-design furniture timeless and highly desirable, even today.

While the Eameses were the most famous of the mid-century designers, the work of architects such as Eero Saarinen, and designers like George Nelson and Isamu Noguchi, should not be left out as well:

The fanciful nature of Mid-Century Modern design has seen a resurge in recent years, as younger generations delight in its charming simplicity and thoughtful execution for the first time.

Mid-century was the period during which American corporate zeitgeist, pop culture, and technological innovation reached its peak in the public eye. However, a new generation of architects were coming of age, whose sculptural monumentality would send a wave of dissent through the world of modernism, thrusting it into the period known as Late Modernism. 

Which is what we’ll get to next week! 

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post on Mid-Century Modernism! I’m sorry I couldn’t post an ugly house this Thursday, as it was Thanksgiving and drama was high. Trust me, the upcoming Michigan Monstrosity is well worth the wait. 

As a side note, for all of you who submitted a logo proposal to me, I am going through the entries (all 200 of them) and will select a winner soon, so stay tuned!

Like this post? Want to see more like it, and get behind-the-scenes access to all things McMansionHell? Consider supporting me on Patreon! 

This Is Us- Chapter 12

Faith Comes Home 

Claire could tell there was something on in Jamie’s mind and he was hesitating to discuss it. They were putting Faith’s toys back in her storage chest while she brushed her teeth.

“Is there something wrong?” Claire finally asked, not knowing any better way to begin.

Jamie dropped the truck he had been holding to the box with a thunk and turned to her. He realized she was genuinely apprehensive so he smiled in reassurance.

“It’s no’ much, Sassenach, but Saturday next is the Quarter Day Festival at Lallybroch.”

Claire looked at him blankly.

“Tis my home, where Ian, Jenny and their bairns live, where I grew up. I normally visit every couple of weeks and stay the weekend, I havena been back since…well, ye ken.” He grinned at her.

“Mmh?” Claire wondered if he was trying to tell her he would be away for a time.

“Aye. It’s in honor of the old days when the laird of the Fraser lands would call all the tenants to him to pay rents and catch up with friends and neighbors. My family puts it on once a year. We have some traditional games and special ones for the children, pony rides, there’s usually an afternoon game of shinty or footie. In the evening, we host a smaller gathering with food and drink, great music. A welcome to the warmer weather.”

“Sounds lovely.” Claire said a little longingly.

“The thing is…this year it will be a bit different. Slainte will be sponsoring it, using it as a celebration of our first year so it will be larger than usual, better funded, too. We leased a large field that joins wi’ ours for more room. My cousin Jared, the one who gave me a start when I lived in Paris, will be coming. He’s showcasing some smaller vineyards that he thinks should be better known. The band this year is really good, we’ve a large tent for the dinner and dancing. The Quarter Day games will be open to the public more or less, but the evening celebration will be on the grounds at Lallybroch and is just three hundred or so, by invitation only.” Jamie explained.

Claire’s eyebrows rose up inviting him to spit it out.

“I need to be there a couple of days before and maybe a day after. I am wondering if it would be a good time for the lassie to meet my family?” Jamie asked, a look of hopeful anticipation in his eyes. Claire hesitated.

“Won’t you have your hands full? I can’t imagine having a toddler in tow would be convenient.” She’d tried to picture it.

Claire also tried to ignore the implications of Faith being somewhere other than with her for any length of time. They’d never been separated overnight before.

She had thought she was prepared for this, knowing some day Faith and her father would have a relationship like this, separate from her; but she felt unexpectedly shut out all the same.

“It is a busy time,” he agreed, “but there’s also many hands around to help. She would love it there and I would love to show you my home and have ye meet my kin. Will you and the lass come with me? Spend a few days at my home? We’ve plenty of room. You and Faith can take the laird’s chamber? It’s quiet and private; I’ll bunk in with the lads, they won’t mind.” Hopeful eyes met surprised ones.

Claire ignored the happy dance that started jumping inside. Jamie often spoke of his family and colleagues at work; she couldn’t help but be curious about them.

Likely, those who he’d told about Faith were curious about her, too. The more she thought of it, the better the idea seemed. Arriving at a time when everyone would be busy preparing for the Quarter Day festivities would cast the spotlight on something other than Faith and that would be more relaxing. Less pressure on host and guest alike and she did want to meet Jamie’s family.

“You aren’t worried about the press? Especially if it’s a promo event of a sort for Slainte?”

“I’m no so worrit about the day, you’ll be two in the midst of the crowd. I’ll be running sunup to sunrise, if ye see me a’tall, I’ll likely be on a field at a distance. You and she will go round to the different games and spectator areas– she’ll find it great fun to watch. We’ve no’ invited any press for the evening party, besides, the lass will be asleep by the time the dinner and dancing starts.  There’s been no a peep about ye or the lass, lately. I’ve no been doing the same publicity events. When ye arena out at parties and galas the press tends to forget about yer existence. It’s easier to keep a low profile than most people credit. If ye dinna do much, then no one finds ye all the interesting anymore. No one is poking their nebs into my business or yours at the moment.”

Claire understood his thinking in this regard.

“What happens if she calls you Da in front of everyone?”

Claire thought she’d made an excellent point but that damned Scot just smiled in pure happiness.

“I’d like nothing more,” he said with a chuckle, “and in front of family, well, they ken so it’s expected, aye? If that happens Quarter Day during the games and it’s clear she’s speaking of me, and if someone overhears it, we’ll just tell them she calls everyone Da.” His eyebrows wriggled up and down, which was his way of winking, having never learned the fine art of closing only one lid.

Claire laughed at that considering how long it took Faith to do it for him in the first place. Hearing him put it that way it did seem unlikely that such a scenario would unfold but if it did that was a plausible explanation.

“All right, Jamie, we’d love to go with you, thank you. It sounds like fun.”


As they rounded the bend Claire let out a gasp spotting the manse in the distance.  

“Oh, Jamie, it’s beautiful.”

Larger than she expected but enchanting with the blending of architectural styles of different eras, she could now see the kitchen gardens set near the side yard, and in the distance rows of flowers along winding paths.  

“Aye.” He’d agreed, glancing in the rearview, Faith was still out like a light.

Her face pressed hard into the side of the car seat, she’d wake warm and soft with little crease lines from the fabric.

Jamie’s hands shook a tiny bit and he could feel his heartbeat speeding up.

He was bringing his daughter home. Ah Dhia that his Da could only have lived to see this day!

The baying of a hound announced their arrival before the car had even circled the drive.

Claire watched as a little girl and an older boy emerged from the house followed closely by a small, dark haired woman.

As Jamie put the car in park, Faith started to wake.

Jamie greeted wee Jamie and Maggie first but then reached into the back seat, hoisting a still sleepy Faith up, resting her on his hip.

She’d want to stretch her legs in a minute or two but for now he snuggled her up against him.

Jenny threw her arms around him, taking care to not startle Faith.

“Oh, tis wonderful to have ye home, a brathair!” Jenny waited a beat or two for Faith to turn toward her.

“Hello Faith, darling, I’m yer Auntie Jenny. It’s lovely to meet you,” she said tickling Faith’s leg.

Faith blinked, noticing her new surroundings and the radiant smile of the woman next to her, just taking everything in.

Claire was rounding the car to introduce herself when, to everyone’s surprise, Faith launched herself straight into Jenny.

Jenny, emitted a small oomph and Faith grabbed hold of her aunt’s hair, securing herself firmly.

Claire watched Jenny’s eyes close as she buried her face in Faith’s neck breathing her in as she held her.

With a start Claire realized Jenny had never expected to be able to hold her brother’s child in her arms, hadn’t believed she’d be an aunt any time soon.

She’d known it would matter, but she hadn’t appreciated just how much. Unconditional love and joy for their daughter poured from Jenny.

Claire’s eyes stung and she had to force air through the tightness in her throat. She glanced away from Jenny and toward Jamie. That was a mistake. Fathomless blue pierced her heart, reading her perfectly, knowing and not concerned that she would read him the same. Overwhelmed, it was she who looked away.

The dog she’d heard earlier barked again.

“Ooh, dog?” Faith asked tentatively, confused by the size of the enormous beast ambling toward them.

“Oh, aye, Faith that’ll be Bran, he’s a braw laddie.”

The dog’s ears pricked up hearing Jamie’s voice and he came to greet his master. Jamie was on his knees rubbing ears and scratching Bran’s back.

Jenny let Faith down and she promptly join her father playing with the dog. Claire and Jenny smiled at one another.

“If he had a saddle, she’d ride him everywhere, I expect.” Claire said a little wistfully.

Jenny noticed Claire’s eyes stayed on Jamie as she said it. Jamie laughed.

“Aye, Sassenach, he’s a fair hand rounding up the sheep but gentle, Bran would let her, too. Wouldn’t you, ye lovely wee marsh-mellow?”

By this point the dog had overturned in ecstasy, legs straight up in the air as Faith rubbed his huge belly.  

Claire pulled her eyes away from the scene and introduced herself to Jenny, Jamie’s namesake and Maggie. Maggie was a couple of years older than Faith but Kitty and she were around the same age. Though, Kitty was just waking up from her nap and Ian was with her.

Eventually, they managed to corral everyone inside and sort out various bags, rooms, porta crib assignments and the like. Claire and Faith settled into the enormous Laird’s Room. It’s warm wooden panels, marble fireplace and canopy bed bespoke a forgotten era. The mullioned windows opened onto a view of the fields far beyond and the crumbling tower upon which the family title, Broch Tuarach was based.

In the two days leading up to Quarter Day, Claire came to appreciate Lallybroch as a living thing. Teeming with animals, plants and people everywhere, of course, but the home itself had a personality all it’s own.

Comforting, warm, it talked to you, did you care to listen to it. Even with workmen rushing about and dozens of small details to track and follow, the peace of the place settled over her and seeped into her bones.

Visually and especially for the niece of an antiquarian, full of treasures to explore. Every room in Lallybroch was crammed with Fraser family history. Bibles with ancient family trees, broadswords, chamber pots, targes, old candelabras, butter churns, soap molds, brass tubs, dirks, tartans, old plates and furniture, first edition books, framed letters going back hundreds of years to say nothing of the very impressive wine cellar with offerings from at least a hundred years ago.

Each generation of Frasers, it seemed, had produced at least one artist and walls and shelves all over Lallybroch bore the fruits of their combined labors. A mural adorned one whole wall of the Laird’s chamber, courtesy of Ellen MacKenzie Fraser. It was an elaborate landscape, almost as captivating as the one outside her window.

In Jamie’s generation, that artist had been his older brother, Willie. Claire could see, based on the work that he produced before dying so young, that he would have been quite special, even in this family of creative souls. Several of his paintings and beautiful wood carvings were hung in various rooms.

Over the next couple of days, the house filled. Murtagh and Fergus arrived and Jared Fraser came in from Paris that evening. All of them had summarily been put to work, even her, ensuring that everything for the Quarter Day Festival was in the ready.

There had been no obvious plan in assigning various tasks, she would have sworn that was true. Yet each Fraser had made an effort to find something that needed to be done with Faith, or with her.

“Oh, what have we here?” Claire said the next morning, finding Murtagh, wrists deep in bread dough. All the children, including her daughter, standing around the table or kneeling on chairs punching and kneading the dough.

“Rolls!” Exclaimed Maggie.

“Toast!” said Faith.

“It’ll be lumps of paste if ye don’t attend to yer business, weans.” Murtagh grunted.

“Hit it harder!” wee Jamie encouraged.

“Like that?” Faith was smacking the table for all she was worth by that point, in imitation of her cousins.  She was enjoying the novelty of staying in a house with children her age to play with.

“Excellent.” Murtagh declared as Claire poured her tea to steep.

“Miss Kitty?” Murtagh asked. The littlest Murray raised her head, “will ye grab the baking sheets?”

Claire was almost done fixing her mug but the industrious elves at the table had not stopped in their work.

“Aye, that’s perfect, James.” Murtagh said to young Jamie. “Ye got all the letters in yer whole name done wi’out any help. Now we’ll have to see if the letters’ll hold when baked?”

“Mooo!” said Faith.

Claire’s spoon scraped the cup as she looked up. Faith was sitting in Murtagh’s lap as he put the finishing touches on his creation.

Claire looked over his shoulder. He’d made a perfect rendition of a herd of highland coo. In bread, no less.

“Och, lassie, can ye tell me how many coos are going into the oven?” He and Faith put finger to figure and began the tally.

Claire laughed out loud at the scene. A less likely preschool teacher she’d never seen and yet his sweetness was undeniable, despite looking like a grumpus. She kissed the top of his head on her way back out to the fields. She couldn’t help it.

Yesterday, she’d wandered to the kailyard near sunset to find Fergus and Ian coming over the rise, pulling Kitty and Faith in a red wagon returning from evening set up at the public fields.

Fireflies had come out and were starting to blink on and off.

“Kits and Faith, look up, my ladies and see how the flying stars have come out to greet you.” Fergus was saying.

“Ooh, Uncan, look!” Faith exclaimed.

For some reason Ian’s name and title had blended into one word.  Ian stopped the wagon next to the rear door just as Jamie came out to meet them.

“Oh, aye, Neath, quite bonnie.” Ian agreed, blending the words Faith and niece.

Jamie laughed delightedly guessing he’d just missed an Uncan exchange.

He looked so content. Almost part of the landscape himself, with the deep purple of twilight behind his red hair, arm draped in casual familiarity over Ian’s shoulders.

“Da, Da, Da…” Faith started chanting. Jamie made  Scottish noise as he plucked her from the wagon and flung her up into the air. She squealed as he easily caught her again, kissing her forehead.

“Sassenach!” He exclaimed when he caught sight of her.

He wandered toward her and the three of them relaxed against one another and watched the light show until the cool air drove them toward home.

Claire had never been anywhere like Lallybroch, it’s warmth and love spilling from every nook and cranny. She could feel it’s magic weaving around her heart.

The night before the Quarter Day Festival, the family staying at the house gathered together for a more formal dinner, as tomorrow evening each would be far too busy to really spend much time with one another.

The children ate at the table in the kitchen tended to by Laoghaire, the Fraser nanny, while the adults gathered in the study for a pre-dinner drink.

Everyone was busy talking in small groups and catching up.

Claire wandered over to a four panel wooden carved screen. She recognized the illustrations as Treasure Island with pirate ships, smugglers caves, rearing stallions, snakes popping out of trees, an elaborate map. It was  beautifully rendered, polished to a high sheen.

Ian saw her interest and walked over to her. Claire caught the sound of the mismatched steps. Jamie told her he lost a leg after a rare infection could not be controlled by any other means but an amputation below the knee. He moved quite well, everything considered.

“That’s Willie’s work. He and Murtagh.” He told her.

Claire glanced behind Ian and looked at the small bearded man on the couch talking with Fergus, Jamie’s sales manager. Where everyone fit into the family relationship-wise, was something she was still a little fuzzy on.

Her expression must have conveyed her surprise.

“Ooch, Murtagh is a graduate of the Edinburgh School of Fine Arts. He’s a verra fine artist.” Ian confirmed. “He taught Willie the carving. Many happy an hour they’d spent together that way. Murtagh discovered that it didna pay too well, though. So his job is in marketing and promotions but he still has the skills to do fine work. Come to think of it, Murtagh and Willie made Jamie a Noah’s Ark full of all the animals one year for his birthday. I’ll see if I can get it down for wee Faith, she’d like to play with it I expect.”  

“When is his birthday, Jamie’s I mean?” She found herself asking.  

“Just the past month, May 1.” Ian told her.

Claire gave a little start. Faith’s had been May 12.

She still wasn’t sure that she had done the right thing in that regard. Their meeting had been so new at that point that she hadn’t been able to find the right way to ask Jamie without it sounding like she was trying to put false pressure on him to declare Faith as his own publically. Neither one of them was ready for that discussion and wouldn’t be until the relationship between all three of them had a chance to season itself.

They both knew that once back in the spotlight, their ability to move about the city anonymously would be lost. Loathe to squander this peaceful time together, fearing what might happen should they get caught up in a media storm once more, in the end Claire said nothing about it. It would change everything between them and there was a risk that it would destabilize whatever future path they had hoped to travel.

So while Claire had been planning on a little celebration, inviting a few children from the daycare and Joe, a few of her close work friends, she never completed those plans. There was no way to explain Jamie’s presence.

Until Jamie and she were ready to talk about amending the birth certificate and what came next, Claire had resolved to steer clear of any conversational topic that might force the discussion before he was ready. It didn’t matter in the larger scheme of things, Faith was so young, after all, she’d never remember one way or the other.

Well, obviously it was not so easily resolved, she still felt a bit guilty not saying anything about it. But then a thought struck her. She rolled her memory back over the time frame and couldn’t remember where Jamie was on either day. Though he hadn’t come back here, to Lallybroch, and Jenny hadn’t come into the city either.

Claire reached out to touch Ian’s arm. He looked down seeing an expression of eagerness in her face.

“Ian, do you think I have time to do something in the kitchen just before dinner starts?”  


The evening meal was lovely, she quite liked all the Fraser men. Fergus had been a wee scamp growing up and he still had a mischievous glint in his eyes but he was incredibly appealing.  

She learned that Jamie had discovered him living in a makeshift housing area in a run down section of Martinique near where Jamie had been staying. Jamie was employed by a large chain of resorts with properties all over the Caribbean.

He’d been leading a special two week training programme for employees from all over the islands and spent a good deal of his downtime walking around on the Island. He’d caught Fergus, who was fourteen at the time and an orphan, trying to pick his pocket.

“I would have succeeded if not for that girl in that suit with the little–” at this Fergus made a gesture to convey some kind of fastening at the chest and at the hips.

Jamie laughed wicked and low, a sound that melted Claire’s insides, he caught his sister’s censorious look though and cleared his throat.

“She turned his head in exactly the wrong direction and he caught me red handed.” His accent held a lovely lilting quality.

Jamie chimed in with the rest of the story.

“I forced him to come wi’ me by telling him I’d call the cops on him otherwise.  I made him sign up for a correspondence course to finish school and put him to work behind the bar with me. The best bar back I ever had. He kent his job and the clientele and made sure we had what we needed in stock every week. Even now, he reads a room better than anyone else I’ve ever met. Charming sod, ye could sell rain to a Scot.” Jamie said in obvious affection, Fergus gave a little smile to hear the praise.

Just then the children came bursting forth from their after dinner game of flashlight tag. Leery, leading Kitty and Faith by hand rushed to try and catch the older ones from interrupting dinner, but no one minded the kids.  

“Miss Claire, the…in the back, it’s ready.” Leery said. Claire made her excuses, informing the group that she’d be back shortly.

Just as she was putting the finishing touches on the simple pound cake with fresh strawberries and cream that she had set to bake and then cool while they ate, Jenny came in to see what was what.

Her eyebrows rose in surprise as she took in Claire’s additions to the icing and arrangement of the candles.

“My brother led me to believe yer no’ much of a cook?” Jenny realized that might have sounded a bit harsh and smiled to lessen the impact.

“Oh, I’m not.” Claire agreed unconcerned. “But I can make a cake!” She declared happily but then a little anxious frown crossed her features.

“I –er– hope you don’t mind, dinner was delicious and whatever you have for dessert is sure to be, too.  But both Jamie and Faith have birthdays in May, hers was the 12th. I didn’t have a party for her; it seemed too complicated. I couldn’t have the party you see, without inviting Jamie, that wouldn’t be right.  But, then, I couldn’t figure out how exactly to explain his presence there either. Here, it’s just family and everyone knows so I thought we could have one cake they could share so he’d get to celebrate with her? That is so long as you–er wouldn’t mind?” Claire finished a little lamely.

Claire realized too late that Jamie’s company employed most of his family members and  he’d likely already had a celebration for his birthday at work. Her face grew a little pink. Her fingers beat out an anxious tattoo on the counter.

Jenny looked at her for a long moment, this newcomer who her brother watched with his heart in his eyes.  

She had a very good idea what he would think of Claire’s gesture and swallowed the sigh that formed on her lips, no help for it, then.

Jenny’s only path here was forward, to welcome her as she had welcomed Jamie and just hope what she saw in his eyes would soon be reflected in Claire’s.

Smiling broadly, Jenny said, “No, Claire, ‘tis a wonderful idea. He’ll love it.”

Jenny went in first to pour glasses of some of Jared’s excellent chilled champagne. Ian gave her raised eyebrows, which she answered in kind.

Jamie’s eyes grew wide as he watched Claire enter with a cake which she placed in front of him.

His birthday had been weeks, a lifetime ago.

Faith, fascinated by the cake had exclaimed “ooh!” and came to explore what her parents were up to.

Claire picked Faith up and placed her in his lap.

Jamie noticed that Jenny had come to stand just behind him and his heart beats tripped over themselves when he felt her hand on his shoulder. Jenny knew then, whatever Claire had planned, and thought he might need some moral support.

It was then Jamie saw the icing in the center had a “J” with two horizontal lines so that the centerline of the J formed the centerline of an “F.”

Claire smiled reassuringly when she saw his expression then gently touched her fork to her glass. Holding everyone’s attention, she looked at each face around the table and then spoke from her heart.

“I wanted to thank you all for inviting us to celebrate Quarter Day with you. I know we’ve only been here a short time, but there is a special feeling, being here. I spent my childhood with my Uncle Lamb. He was an antiquities scholar and we lived for short periods of time in many places. I didn’t move to England after Faith was born. I–well, it wasn’t really my home, you see. I’m not sure I ever really had one. Scotland became my choice because even though they’d never met, it was home to my daughter’s father.”

Jamie made a soft sound that carried loudly in the silent room.

“When I learned that Jamie and Faith shared a birthday month, eleven days apart, I thought maybe you might be willing to indulge me and we could celebrate their birthdays together, even if it’s a little late. I’d like to propose a toast, if I could, then we can light the candles and sing?”

At this Claire raised her glass, joined by everyone but Jamie, whose hands were holding Faith.  

“To your lovely home and family. These last few days…” Claire’s voice started to warble and she cleared it. “Thank you for opening your hearts to our daughter, for giving her a sense of her history and her place.  I couldn’t have imagined anything quite as wonderful as this but the hope that she’d find something like it…. this is why I stayed in Scotland. Mothers’ hearts are full of dreams for their children, some come true, some never do. My dream is that one day she will come to love it here as you do and to know that it is as much her home as yours. To Lallybroch.”

Jenny’s eyes flew to her brother; his face was buried in the back of Faith’s hair. She knew he wasn’t able to look at anyone.

She felt him shudder and her hand tightened on his shoulder.

She had begun to see, all too well, what it was in Claire that had so captivated him.

If there was a dry eye around that dining room table, it likely belonged to one of the children.

As for the adults, well, there wasn’t one to be found as the family lit the candles, sung their happys and father and daughter leaned in to blow out the candles.


locations - the riddle house, little hangleton, england

He let himself in to the cavernous kitchen. Frank has not entered in for many years; nevertheless, although it was very dark, he remembered where the hall was, and he groped his way towards it, his nostrils full of the smell of decay, ears pricked for any sound of footsteps or voices from overhead. He reached the hall, which was a little lighter owing to the large mullioned windows on either side of the front door, and started to climb the stairs, blessing the dust that lay thick upon the stone, because it muffled the sound of his feet and stick.

anonymous asked:

So Haven, there are rumors that Tom is looking for a countryside home. The English countryside is stunning. What kind of home do you think he’d want for himself? Something big and airy with lots of light? Or something quaint and private? I love that he seems to be entering a new stage in life and reaping the rewards of his hard work. A puppy and a country home! ♥️ After what he’s been through, he more than deserves it 😊

There are??? Just because he may have gotten a dog? 

The internet.  Gotta love it.  Or not.





I kind of blacked out there for a minute.  



Yeah, he deserves it, blah blah blah.


A little tenderness

Based on “Imagine Thorin helping you untie your braids” from ImaginexHobbit.

Mood song: “Kiss Me,” Ed Sheeran

Dedicated to the lovely @spookynightfury xo


The somber silence that falls over the little house, so strange after the tumultuous events of the day, reflects the weariness and the ill fortune of the company, and you sink into a chair beside the woodstove to wait for nightfall.

Bard, your unwilling host, stands with his son at a window, watching the sun crawl toward its setting and listening with a keen ear for any sign of the Master’s spies or – worse still – the city guard. His daughters have retreated to a corner where the younger girl observes the dwarves with avid curiosity in her wide eyes and her elder sister attempts to distract her with needlework.

The dwarves themselves have settled in as comfortably as they can given the cramped space, finding seats on every available chair, bench, and step, and now only the occasional low murmur of talk passes between them while they, too, watch and wait.

Only Thorin still stands, his arms crossed and his brow heavy, his body radiating the restless energy of a caged animal. When his eyes chance to meet yours, the anger and frustration simmering in their depths seem to bore into you, and feeling yourself an intruder upon his thoughts, you quickly look away…too quickly to see his expression turn regretful.

You little know how often his thoughts turn to you in quiet moments or the part you play in his dreams of a successful quest, of peaceful times when he might show you the softness he can now little afford, and he can only wish back the careless glare while he watches you staring pensively out of the mullioned window and fidgeting with your hair.

The leather thongs that secure your braids are still damp from the river and hopelessly tangled by your hurried habit of tying new knots on top of the old ones, only becoming tighter as you work at them in growing frustration. Unexpectedly, a hand rests lightly on your shoulder, and the lush baritone that always sparks pleasant flutters in your stomach is close behind you.

“Allow me?”

Keep reading

Remember Me | 3

Prompt: When 27 year old Riley Matthews receives a letter in the mail from her 17 year old self she’s reminded of a pact she made with her group of friends on Prom night. Curious to see if any of them will stick to the pact, she heads back home to New York City for the weekend. [Italic paragraphs ~ indicate flashbacks]
Rating: M [no smut but there will be cursing and adult themes, as they are in their late 20′s in this AU, so don’t read if that’s not your cup of tea.]
Pairings: Mentions of Rucas, Smarkle (have yet to decide on Maya/Zay)
Previous Chapter: Prologue | One | Two
Word Count: 4,060
Chapter: Three


6 years ago

The small velvet box felt like it was burning a hole in Farkle’s pocket as he made his way through the lobby of Minkus International. Right now he should’ve been on his way to pick up Isadora for dinner. It was their 9-year anniversary and he had quite the special night planned for them. Most 8th grade couples don’t make it past freshman year of high school but he and Isadora were different. It was obvious, not just to them, but to everyone around that they were simply meant to be. And now that they were both graduated from college and back in New York City there was only one thing on his mind. But first he had to see what his father wanted to talk to him about.

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The Prize, Ch. 8

Summary: AU Tom, set in early 19th c. London.  Madeleine and Tom have known each other since they were teenagers (her brother is married to his sister). Can they overcome their fears and choose each other?  

Genre: Romance/Angst/Drama (Written as an experiment in the heaving bosom/bodice ripper vein)

Rating: T (non-explicit sexuality/mild violence in later chapters)

Author’s Notes: Friendly reminder that I am not a “W”riter, I always feel like I can’t describe what I see, and your imagination needs to be on High right now.  Only half beta’d, all mistakes are mine. I promised I would post it before I went to bed and I’m exhausted, should probably go back and edit when I have fresh eyes.  

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7

“Tom!” she exclaimed upon seeing him enter the library, “Come see what Fred- uh, Mr.Kingston has brought me!”

His Christian name.  

She had just caught herself using his Christian name.

And she was cradling an armful of new books.

That were from him.

Tom wanted to march over to her and tear them from her hands, throw them into the fire, wipe every trace of memory about that man from her mind.

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anonymous asked:

I love you and you're wonderful. Your blog always brings a smile to my face, no matter how bad my day has been:) Thank you for that. And you're writing is A+++ I use it as a reward for studying:)

Anon, you are the most actual sweetest, and this comment brought a smile to my face after a rubbish day.

Study hard~

“But I don’t want to,” said Ereinion Gil-Galad, pouting his most appealing pout. 

“You cannot be king of a realm you do not know,” said his father. “Now name the seven rivers that feed the Gelion in Ossiriand.”

“But!” said Ereinion. “But how can I come to know our lands through books and scrolls? To know a country one must walk its roads, drink from its rivers and lay down in its green fields. One must talk with a land’s people on matters great and small.”

“That is an excellent point,” said High King Fingon. “For all that you stole it from your Uncle Maglor’s verse. Well remembered all the same.” He glanced at the bright diamonds of green forest and blue sky shown through the mullioned windows of his study and tried to quiet the longing in his own heart. “A king must also know when to compromise,” he declared at last. “Go pack your saddlebags; it’s time to introduce you to your realms.”

Three weeks later, Fingon and Ereinion stood in that same study, endeavouring to take their scolding with an appropriately kingly mien. Fingon’s husband, who was sat behind Fingon’s desk with his flesh and metal fingers steepled and his eyes shining disconcertingly, cleared his throat. “Well?”

“When you were Ereinion’s age, your father would vanish into the wilds with you at the drop of a hat,” Fingon said defensively. “He wouldn’t even trouble to leave a note.” He gestured to the scrap parchment he had left pinned to his desk with a hunting knife, almost a month before. 

“In Valinor,” said Maedhros. “Do you know what’s interesting about Valinor? There are no dragons there.”

“The dragon was unanticipated,” Fingon said, rather wishing that he were back in Ard-Galen, facing the beast again full grown. His husband’s fangs were as sharp as the dragon’s and his tongue was sharper still.

Unanticipated? So unanticipated you had no choice but to engage in personal combat? He could have died. You could have died!”

“I drew you a picture, Da,” Ereinion said sheepishly, which halted Maedhros’ tirade as abruptly as a volley of arrows halted a dragon’s charge. 

“Thank you, Ereinion,” he managed, the fell light in his eyes dimming as Ereinion held up his gift in nervous, taloned hands. 

“I highlighted the interesting anatomical features and potential weak points,” he said proudly. “Also I drew me with a flamey sword and Papa in a magic dragon helmet and the long one is you.”

“It’s very good. Is that your Papa’s bow? And is the structure of the patagium accurate? That’s excellent. Go call for a bath, Ereinion. You both stink of sulphur.”

“I am sorry,” Fingon said, when Ereinion had left the room. “But no harm was done.”

Maedhros smiled ruefully. “I suppose I of all people can’t criticise you for strolling in and out of danger. Just leave our son at home next time.”

“I will.” Fingon tracked sooty footprints across the carpet as he strolled around the desk to kiss Maedhros’ cheek. He left an ashy smudge there too. “We must place a better watch upon Ard-Galen.”

“Agreed. And distribute copies of this-” Maedhros held up Ereinion’s picture “-to every unit.” Running his fingers over the scrawled, clumsy lines, he added; “We’re pining the original up in the pantry.”

The Prize, Ch.7

Summary: AU Tom, set in early 19th c. London.  Madeleine and Tom have known each other since they were teenagers (her brother is married to his sister). Can they overcome their fears and choose each other?  

Genre: Romance/Angst/Drama (Written as an experiment in the heaving bosom/bodice ripper vein)

Rating: T (non-explicit sexuality/mild violence in later chapters)

Author’s Notes: Thank you to @i-wanna-be-toms-body-pillow for her continued enthusiasm and assistance. I’m still surprised that people are interested in this story.  Thank you for the kind words.  I really enjoyed writing this chapter, the beginning kind of had me hot and bothered. ;)

Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6

The library was always the first place she went.  It was her domain, her refuge, her kingdom.  After time away, her heart would beat a little faster in anticipation as she made her way down the hall.  Stepping over the threshold was to be transported.  No matter the frustration of things great and small, no matter the pain of life and loss, she always found respite here.  She walked through the room, sighing contentedly, her hands caressing the spines of her treasures, shelf by shelf, feeling the binding against her palms, the smooth edges of the lettering.  Deep breaths filled her lungs, the scent of dust and memories and dried lavender relaxing her.  A few favorites, for she had many, were picked up with reverence and pressed to her chest, embraced as a beloved.  Among them were gifts from her parents and she traced her fingertips over the words they had left on the inside cover.  

“I missed you,” she told them.  And she heard them all respond in whispers, each page rustling softly in her ears, the cooing intimate words of a lover meant only for her.  

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Erised: Hogwarts AU Oneshot

Victor Nikiforov, the Durmstrang Champion, died in the Third Task of the Triwizard Tournament of 1792. Years later, Yuuri Katsuki discovers a strange mirror that allows him to reconnect with his lost love.

The story behind Albus Dumbledore’s warning to Harry of the danger of spending too long in front of the mirror in The Philosopher’s Stone.

Yuuri walked purposefully through the moonlit corridor, his footsteps muted against the hard stone floor, his robe sighing as it fluttered behind him. The summer air, sweetened by the perfume of night-blooming plants, was warm, disturbed by only the lightest of breezes and the occasional splash from the distant Black Lake as the mermaids leapt from the water in one of their endless games, safe from the prying eyes of students under the cover of darkness.

Yuuri continued walking, his whole being focussed only on his destination. The torches weren’t lit, but the moonlight slanting through the high mullioned windows was as bright as day, illuminating the tapestries that lined the wall, painting their vivid colours in silver and black; the portraits, their colours also drained, nodded solemnly at Yuuri as he passed. One of them, an ancient and weathered man with a kneazle draped around his shoulders like a scarf, looked up as Yuuri passed and spoke in his gravelly voice, “Professor Katsuki! A fine night for perambulating, a fine night!”

Yuuri nodded and smiled, not pausing in his stride. The thought entered his head that it was very different to wander the corridors as a teacher, permitted to be out at all hours, than it had been as a student, sneaking out for a midnight rendezvous at the Black Lake, where the ship had stood…

When Yuuri reached the suit of armour at the end of the corridor, he knew he was close. A small black cat approached him silently, making him pause; it wound briefly around his ankles, purring like a miniature thunderstorm, and then continued on its nightly explorations.

There, at the end of the corridor; there was the door, ancient and nondescript. Yuuri approached, his footsteps quickening as he drew closer, and finally he closed his hand around the cold iron of the handle, pulling the door open, and stepped inside.

The abandoned classroom was not dusty, though it had been when Yuuri had discovered it two weeks ago whilst attempting to find an errant Hufflepuff, who had been missing at curfew and sparked a castle-wide alarm; they had been discovered unharmed in the greenhouses, apparently unaware that it had even grown dark, let alone that it was hours past curfew.

The vaulted ceiling was high, and the windows were large, allowing the moonlight free access to the huge, ornate mirror that stood in the centre of the room, bouncing off the strange inscription around the edge and silvering the glass.

As Yuuri approached, his heartbeat thrumming, a corner of his mind noted that he ought to try and work out what the inscription said one day, as it might give him a clue as to the origin of this wondrous artefact. Yuuri kept his eyes averted as he approached and sat down in front of the mirror, folding his legs under himself in a tailor’s seat, and settling his robes around him more comfortably.

Then, finally, he looked up, and any thought he may have had of further examining the mirror instantly vanished.

In front of him, so close that Yuuri felt his breath catch in his throat, there was a young man, his long silver hair tied behind his head, his clear blue eyes shining as he smiled his heart shaped smile.

Yuuri felt his heart contract with pain and a terrible joy. Victor was still wearing the blood-red Durmstrang uniform he had worn all those years ago, the day they had first met, and he was smiling with the pure happiness that Yuuri knew he was the only one to ever see, the only one to ever provoke.

Yuuri smiled back, his heart breaking again as it had done every night since he had found the mirror, and reached out to trace the lips that he had kissed a thousand times, so long ago now.

And, as he did every night, Yuuri tried to repress the terrible memories of the last time he had kissed Victor, the last day, the terrible final moments…

Victor had been so tall, so proud, so strong as he had kissed Yuuri before the Third Task, before being called away. Yuuri had run to the stands, sitting next to Yuuko and Takeshi, and talking to them before hearing the crowd hush as the commentator announced the start of the event.

‘The Champions’, he told them, ‘will be facing a variety of magical beasts, and they will not know which until they step into the arena!’ The crowd had cheered, pennants in the colours of the three schools snapping in the warm breeze, as the first two Champions had faced an acromantula and a troll in turn, both acquitting themselves well, both clearly warned in advance (against all the rules of the tournament).

Yuuri felt his heart seize with terror. Victor, he knew, had refused the help he had been offered, stating with iron clad certainty that the point of the tournament was not to cheat, but to strive and to win with pride and honesty.

And then, it had been Victor’s turn, and the audience were suddenly shielded behind one-way-sight charms that popped into existence as they watched, casting a slight haze as though on a hot summer’s day between the stands and the arena.

Victor had stepped into the arena, so young, so beautiful, and had stood facing the empty ground in front of him.

And then his opponent was released, and Victor looked at it in shock, straight in its enormous yellow eye…

The next memories were a blur. Victor falling, his red robes splayed across the ground like a bloody wound. The chaos as the cockatrice had leapt at the judges, the subsequent carnage as one student after another had been caught by its gaze as it ran behind the one-way-sight charms, leaving a final death toll of twenty eight before it had finally been subdued by the handlers.

And Yuuri’s utter incomprehension, his shock and disbelief. He had known champions died in this tournament, known that Victor had been prepared for that eventuality, but Victor was… He was Victor. So strong, so vital, so entirely alive that death seemed something that could never take him, could never penetrate the shining joy that hung around him like a patronus.

Yuuri hadn’t even been able to go to the funeral, which was held in Durmstrang, and which would not allow any Briton access after they orchestrated the death of one of their own.

Yuuri shook himself, wrenching his mind back to the present. In a low voice, he began to tell Victor of the day’s happenings, of the two second years who had accidentally set fire to his Charms classroom, and the fourth year Ravenclaw who had read ahead in her textbooks and tried human transfiguration on herself in order to get ahead for the next year. Her spectacular peacock tail, Yuuri told Victor, would be gone by the next morning, but he suspected that the teasing would continue long beyond that.

And Victor smiled, and laughed silently behind the glass, his eyes shining and his hair dancing behind him.

Yuuri told him that tomorrow, the students were going home for the holidays, and that he could come more often. Every day, maybe, if Victor wanted.

Victor’s youthful, unchanged face kept smiling, and he reached a hand out towards Yuuri as though in supplication.


The next night, Yuuri returned, retracing his steps through the now silent castle, passing the same portraits and the same armour, his steps hurrying along without regard for the nightly silence.

And there was the door, and the high windows, and the mirror….

And there was Victor, smiling again, the echo of the love that had never died and would never let Yuuri go.

Yuuri sat down, his eyes hungry, his robes swirling about him in a soft pool of fabric.

Yuuri reached out for the glass, smiling, and reflected that with no classes to teach, he could stay here as long as he wanted, and that now not even the morning sun could tear him away against his will.


When the school caretaker found Professor Katsuki a month after the end of term, his body was cold. He was in a small abandoned classroom, laid out on the floor with his hand outstretched towards an old, ornate mirror, as though trying to reach into it and draw something out. His robes had collected dust, as though he hadn’t moved for several days.

After the funeral, the caretaker had told the Headmaster of the mirror, and it had been moved to a new location, where no errant soul could stumble upon it. The story of the death of Yuuri Katsuki had been passed down from Headmaster to Headmaster, a cautionary tale of the terrible power of the Mirror of Erised.

And half a world away, as close as the other side of the mirror, Yuuri Katsuki, young and whole again, had finally closed the distance between himself and Victor, and their tears had mingled as they had kissed, and laughed, and held each other.

You think the dead we love ever truly leave us?Albus Dumbledore, The Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling

There’s lots of big design credit in the little details. Paint window mullions to match the shade of painted kitchen cabinets. It’s a small way to add extra personalization to a kitchen.

Cabinet paint color: Ralph Lauren Rue Royale

Customer and Training Center Hartford, Connecticut. Architect: Barkow Leibinger Cable stayed steel mullion #curtainwall 📷: @the_donnies

thebaconsandwichofregret  asked:

prompts: either Penny and Tennis or Scott and Drive In Movie

part one of ?

informal sequel to An Elegant Escapade

title pending

Creighton-Ward Manor has guestrooms to spare, even when there are seven guests in total. It’s probably just a coincidence that John’s happens to face the tennis court; that the high, white-mullioned window seems as though it’s aligned perfectly with the center line, neat and bright and pointed straight at him.

The tennis court did not exist a week ago.

Keep reading

Deconstructing the PR Cycle

I got some comments on my Google hits post about how the 7 million (or 3.2 mullioned spending where you are) items meant that people were interested in Meghan.

It doesn’t mean that. The number is just counting posts about Meghan (including tweets by UFO Paranormal accounts and Footwearnews posts). it doesn’t say anything about how popular she is.

To get a sense of her popularity, we need to look at Google Trends (or IMbd’s StarMeter, which I don’t have access to right now).

Here’s her Google trend line since October 1st:

That big peak is late October/early November. It’s HUGE but you can see that she’s been kind of flatlining since. Interest in her has gone down a lot, although you can kind of discern a couple of “bumps” here and there.

I got curious and decided to figure out what caused the “bumps.” That was actually harder than I expected. The “increased interest” incidents were not what I thought they were.

For starters, that big bump isn’t, as I thought, when the relationship was outed. The big peak is actually the statement. That was what caused a big splash.

And the other peaks are either “dates” or pics with Harry (which I expected) or reports that she’s “met” members of the royal family. I did NOT expect the latter as we in the fandom have mostly dismissed these stories as totally fake. 

I was particularly struck by that “met Charles” peak in late October. I barely remember that article, but apparently it got a lot of attention when the relationship was outed.

So none of the “increased interest” bumps have to do with Meghan (not even the nudes!). They all have to do with either Harry or the rest of his family.

The other thing I noticed is that these “increased interest” bumps are rather, er, evenly spaced. We get two per month – one early in the month and the other in the middle – and the Harry one always precedes the family one. 

That’s when I got kind of suspicious.

The big November peak makes the graph hard to read, so I decided to zoom in and check out the trend line since December 1st. Here’s the graph, with the Harry dates and family meets (even the ones that didn’t move the needle much, like poor George’s) labeled.

That’s a pattern right there.

I decided to check if Meg’s others “signature” articles were also on a pattern. Here’s the above graph with Meg’s pap walks inserted.

Yep, the pap walks come out in cycles too.

So that’s the pattern. She bumps up interest at the beginning of the cycle with a Harry date or pic, then she has a pap walk and a family meet rumor to keep the interest high. Then there’s another pap walk at the end of the month, which is also when we get the beauty/lifestyle articles and the “friends” articles. Then the cycle starts again with another Harry date or pic.

Sometimes the cycle breaks, as it did on the third week of March, when Megs missed her second monthly pap walk. Why, you ask? The Westminster attack happened on March 22nd. Skipping the pap walk was smart.

Overall, however, this is a very disciplined gang (except for Lainey who goes rogue once in a while) and they keep to their schedule come hell or high water. Remember that January 12 pap walk that got backdated to December and we all thought that was a mistake because Megs had to “be in London” for her Kate meet? It wasn’t. The pap walk was required by the schedule.

The pap walks are not the only things that are on cycle though. Here are the “date” articles (two per month, one at the beginning and one in the middle, like clockwork) and the essays. Note that the essay dates jump around. That’s because many (MLK, IWD, V-day) are linked to holidays. She always puts out one “big” one per month, however, pubs have their own schedule so sometimes she gets a smaller one at the end of the month (Game Changers in December and “freckles” in March)

The weirdest part of this is that even stuff that I assumed was bad luck (like the Toronto detour) or the tabs making mischief (old V-day article appearing on the press) or independently making stupid crap up (Norway, ”love cave” and “dino date”) is actually part of her pr cycle. She’s feeding ALL of this stuff to the tabs. ALL OF IT.

NONE of this is organic. It’s all a well-run pr machine.

Remember how we all think she’s being quiet on IG and not posting anymore? And everyone thinks that’s because KP told her to keep the social posts down?

Well, we’re all wrong.

Guess what? She puts out at least one IG post (on either her personal IG or the Tig) that gets pushed out to the press per cycle. Like the essays, the dates vary because they’re often linked to holidays, but there’s always at least one.

And those engagement rumors all from “friends” and “sources”? One per cycle, always at the end/start of the cycle to “hook” the audience into paying attention to the next cycle. 

These two may very well be having the romance of the century behind the scenes, but nothing we’ve seen is “real.” It’s all a pr construct. Relationships don’t fall into place like this. You don’t schedule your dates for the beginning of the month and meet a family member every month (on the second week of the month). You don’t suddenly decide to get engaged at the end of every month.

And, mind you, most of these articles allege that the date (or family meet) occurs either the previous day or a few days ago. They (except for the supposed Charles meet in October) don’t pretend to tell you about something that happened several weeks or months ago. They are all supposedly contemporaneous. 

“Supposedly” being the key word here.

You can spot the pattern with all of her stuff, the humanitarian articles (once a month), the “friends” articles (once a month), the “good with kids” articles (once a month), the merchandise pimping (one high-end time and one low-end item and she wears each item twice per cycle and then once on the previous/next cycle). Some articles are “perennials” and get pushed out every month (”style sisters” with Kate, IG pics of Cory’s apartment, food/travel expert). 

Same crap, different month.

So if you’re wondering why people talk about the pics being old or the stories being fake this is why. The whole thing is fake. ALL OF IT.

I didn’t add November because that statement spike makes the Google trend all wonky, but the same cycle appears in November. She’s been doing this since the very beginning.

This is why people are so bored and sick of her. The royal fandom is like Groundhog Day now. Everything gets recycled and repeated every single freaking month and none of it feels or sounds real.

And that’s one of the (many!) problems I have with Meghan. The whole point of the royals is that they’re not supposed to be a reality show with fake storylines and made up “characters” and events. They’re supposed to be real people with real duties that they carry out.

If I wanted fake meetings with the heir to the throne and made up dates with the spare, I’d watch the royals on E!