Darlene Foster's Blog

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Dot is featured on Ani’s Advent Calendar today. Read her letter and leave a comment. I will be away until the New Year but will check in from time to time. Dot, Paul and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

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Dot last year. Not happy as a reindeer.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

We haven’t had any Christmas cards yet. We don’t get many except the ones we get by email, The two-legs says there used to be loads of them when the boys were at home, and she’d have to make a special trip to recycle most of them afterwards.

She says that the email ones are probably better for the forests, but she sighs anyway. It isn’t easy giving up the things you enjoy, even when you know it is for the best. But she loves trees better than cards and they last longer. Except when she keeps them for years and years…

And she does keep some of them. Every year, when she gets the trimmings out for the tree, she takes them out of the box and I watch her. Sometimes she smiles, sometimes there is a stray tear, but she always goes all soft.

She likes letters. Not…

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Notre Dame de Paris – Our Lady of Paris

I love visiting cathedrals, especially those full of history. They each have stories to tell and represent the culture of the area. A fascinating cathedral is Notre Dame de Paris and I was delighted to see it, inside and out, during our visit in May. The Notre Dame Cathedral, with its fine sculptures and stained glass windows, was one of the very first Gothic cathedrals and is 800 years old. It has been through so much, including being plundered during the French Revolution and used as a storage facility. If those walls could talk.

Amazing sculptures adorning the exterior. Note the intricate detail.

The rib vaults of the nave

One of many gorgeous stained glass windows

It is breathtakingly beautiful inside. I was fortunate to hear the choir singing during mass while I was there. The hordes of tourists made it difficult to get pictures inside but I managed to take a short video to give you an idea of the magnificence of the place.

The next day we returned to the area and our friends took us to a quaint pastry shop, La Maison ODETTE, where we enjoyed a perfect cup of tea and melt in your mouth choux a la cremes on the top floor. The shutters were opened and we had a perfect view of the cathedral!! A quintessential French experience I will never forget.


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Our view of Notre Dame from the top floor of Odette

Odette is located opposite the charming Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church, one of the oldest in Paris.

Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre Church (Church of Saint Julian the Poor)

I did not see the hunchback, but I certainly understand how Victor Hugo was inspired. My dream of visiting Notre Dame Cathedral was fulfilled.

I was invited to do a book reading and signing at a local coffee shop called Cakes ‘n’ Bakes near my home in Spain. It was a huge success. Many cups of coffee, tea, delicious treats and books were sold to happy customers. The children enjoyed the two readings and everyone had a fun time. A great way to spend an afternoon. I was pleased to see Amanda’s travel adventures in the hands of many new readers. There will be some Amanda books under the tree this Christmas as well. One grandmother said she was going to read the books she bought, then send them off to her grandchildren. Here are a few pictures of the day and two short videos of me reading, thanks to Maureen Moss.

Cakes ‘n’ Bakes coffee shop in Los Dolses

Lemon meringue cupcakes

A happy customer

Eager listeners

Christmas shopping

Books and yummy cakes

Christine, the proprietor with her homemade mince tarts. So popular she had to make another batch mid-afternoon.

Salted caramel brownies to die for

A fellow author and supporter

 

Thank you to everyone who attended in person and in spirit!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and family.

I am incredibly thankful for all those who support my writing endeavours!

I am pleased to be a guest of Allan Hudson on his blog South Branch Scribbler, where I share some background on Amanda and a childhood anecdote.

Guest Author Darlene Foster of Alberta

The Scribbler is honoured to have Darlene Foster, an award winning author, as our guest this week. She has agreed to a 4Q interview and offered to share an excerpt from Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind, the sixth book in the Amanda Travels series.
4Q: For those unfamiliar with your heroine, Amanda Ross, tell us about her.
DF: Amanda Jane Ross is a twelve-year-old girl from Calgary, Alberta. She lives with her mom and dad, both accountants and partners in an accounting firm. They work long hours. Her life is pretty ordinary. An only child, she is bored and lonely. She enjoys cooking, often prepares the meals at home, loves to read and has a great imagination. She wishes for travel and excitement on her twelfth birthday as she blows out all the candles on her cake.
Read more of the interview here

Thanks Allan!

 

I am excited to be featured in International Living in an article by Tricia Mitchel. Tricia also has an awesome travel blog, that is worth checking out.

Sun and Laidback Living with a Portable Income in Spain By 

Children’s book author Darlene Foster longed to escape to a sunny, snow-free spot in retirement. So, four years ago, she and her husband, Paul, bid farewell to Vancouver, Canada. After living there for 25 years, they decided to start a new life in southeastern Spain.

Darlene and Paul visited Spain a few times, and eventually bought an apartment in a beach town on the Costa Blanca. “It is a lovely neighborhood overlooking an abandoned lemon grove that provides a home to many birds including egrets, parakeets, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, peacocks, and even the occasional hoopoe,” Darlene says. “I enjoy sitting on my terrace, listening to the birds, reading, or writing and chatting to my neighbors as they walk by. It’s a wonderful life.”

Read the rest of the article here-

https://internationalliving.com/sun-and-laidback-living-with-a-portable-income-in-spain-fyl/

I always feel sad on November 11. I can never understand the futility of war and wonder why the world can’t live in peace. I also believe that we should not forget those who lost their lives in armed conflict.

When I was in Holland, I visited a Canadian War Memorial Cemetery and wrote about it on my blog. Even after all this time, the Dutch people continue to be grateful to the Canadians for their part in liberating their country. I was proud, saddened and extremely moved by this visit. I could not stop the tears.

https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/remembering-in-holland/

I love this video of the children in Holland paying respect to those who helped to liberate their country.

This year marks 100 years since the end of World War I, and yet it seems we have not learned a thing.

Check out this very informative post on a friend’s blog about the end of the war that continued up to the very last minute and in some cases beyond.

http://bitaboutbritain.com/ww1-armistice-1918/

I believe it is important to read about these things so we do not forget. Maybe one day we will learn.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Robert Laurence Binyon

This is my entry in Stevie Turner’s November short-story competition. Let me know what you think. Why not send in one of your own.

https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/share-your-short-story-november/

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The Special Date

Decision made, she laid out her clothes and applied two coats of a subtle shade of melon nail polish to each fingernail and toenail with meticulous detail. Retiring early, the mirror reflected a well-rested woman the following morning. This pleased her. It was important that she look her best for this date.

A girl needs to get her beauty sleep you know, she could hear her mother say.

What would Mother think about this date? Did it matter? Mother passed away many years ago. Why did she still feel the need for her mother’s approval? Was it because she didn’t get it as a young girl, trying so hard to please?

She returned to the mirror and stopped thinking about such things while she dabbed ivory concealer under her eyes and on various spots on her face.

Get rid of those dark circles and spider veins, and ten years will be erased, she assured herself. Like an artist putting the finishing touches to a masterpiece, she applied the rest of her makeup. She needed to look perfect.

Would he appreciate the effort? she wondered while slipping on her new black underwear; bikini panties and a lace push up bra. She glanced at the full-length mirror. Not many women her age could wear this stuff and look good. She kept her body toned by working out regularly and she watched her diet for the most part. She looked closer, noticed a few bulges here and there, and planned to forgo dessert in the future. Although, she was sure he wouldn’t mind.

She stepped into the slinky little black dress with ease, pulled up the zipper in the back and took another look in the mirror. The cleavage looked inviting. Perhaps it was a bit much though. She didn’t want to send out the wrong message. She reached for her favourite silk scarf and tied it loosely around her neck. The black, grey and melon swirls complemented her nail polish. Pleased with the result, she smiled at the reflection in the mirror.

A giddy feeling came over her, making her feel like a school girl. Perhaps she should have a drink, or better still, something light to eat. There was no point being nervous. It will be all right, she reassured herself. She nibbled on a piece of Brie on a slice of a baguette topped with a chunk of cantaloupe while sipping a small glass of chardonnay.

“A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou,” she murmured to herself.

She looked in the mirror once more to fix her hair and felt a burning sensation in her chest. Her breath started to come in short gasps. The recognizable signs of panic began to take over.

I can’t go through with this. What will people think, what will they say?

She wanted to stay home, go back to bed and forget everything. Those old enemies, tears, were about to revisit her.

“Stop it!” she shouted out loud at the confused image in the mirror.

When are you going to stop worrying about what other people think, you stupid woman? 

She managed to pull herself together in time to save her makeup from running. What was she thinking? She certainly didn’t have time to redo it. All she had to do was look lovely, say the right things and keep cool for a couple of hours, and it would soon be over. She reminded herself that she was doing this for him and he was special.

After running a brush through her nutmeg coloured hair, she applied a light coat of hairspray to the bob. She liked the colour of her hair and refreshed the roots every four weeks. She could not understand women who let their hair go grey and grinned when she thought of women not much older than herself with shades of pink and blue-grey hair. They would bury her with nutmeg coloured hair.

She lined her lips with a pencil to make them look fuller and filled them in with lipstick, a melon shade to match the nail polish and scarf. Taking the new, long black jacket off the hanger, she slipped it on over her short dress. It was well tailored and fit her toned body perfectly. He was sure to be impressed.

Something simple but elegant would be the best choice for jewellery. She rummaged through her jewellery box and found a small pair of black pearl earrings that would do the trick. She tried a couple of pins on the lapel of the jacket but nothing looked right, not the butterfly or the cat or the rose. Time was running out. She slammed the lid of the jewellery box as she decided not to wear a pin.

The limousine arrived to pick her up. A quick spray of her favourite perfume before she slipped on her black patent pumps and she was ready. Making her way downstairs, she felt faint and grasped the railing for support. Would she be able to do this? She had never done anything like this before. She took one last look in the hallway mirror, smiled faintly and took a deep breath. She could do this. He was worth it.

Heads turned as an attractive woman walked into the funeral service to say goodbye to the only man she had ever loved; her husband of the past forty years.

 

 

 


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