Ralfie and Jemima

Ralfie and Jemima

Saturday 5 November 2016

Midnight, Moonlight and Magic (Pt 2)

It was a month before Halloween and high time for Hester Hogwart to find a venue for her magical workshop. She still hadn't found the right place and time was ticking. She had to send out the invitations next week or surely none of the women would be free to participate!

She was walking through a remote part of the woods and just starting to question her endeavour when she arrived at a magnificent clearing. 

"This is it!" she rejoiced. She loved the place. It was surrounded by two large black trees and several pumpkin patches. The soil underneath her feet felt soft as it was covered by a thick layer of moss. Hester felt intensely happy now. She had found the perfect spot!

Now maybe you might be wondering why Hester is interested in teaching a seminar on a night as special as Halloween when she could go trick-or-treating with her children, or taking a trip on her broom along with her magical sisters. Well, I guess you could say Hester is on a mission. 

She feels that even nowadays witches are being stigmatised in certain parts of sylvanian society as being evil, troublemakers, or simply quirky to an extreme. Her wish is to bring magic closer to the average sylvanian woman, and thus dispel all kinds of prejudice concerning the wizarding world. And what better timing for such an event than All Hallows' Eve when magic is all around?

On the evening of the 31st Hester and Hamish arrived at around 8 pm to prepare. They brought a worktable and chairs and had to organise all the utensils, candles and jars and bowls containing ingredients. 

Hester's basket was filled with moss and paper scrolls. One of them stuck out. They were certificates she had made for the participants which they would receive after the completion of the course.

"And I believe we're done, Hester," said Hamish after placing the last item on the table. It was nearly nine o'clock.

"Thank you Ham," Hester said and gave her husband a kiss on the snout. 

"Good luck dear and have a lovely time," said Hamish as he left.

Hester was nervous. She started to talk to her broom and warm him up a little, but she didn't get very far as the participants arrived early.

"Ladies...!" she exclaimed and the rest of her greeting got stuck inside her throat because she was so touched that they had followed her instructions and had bought warm clothing and a broom!  

The participants were Julie Periwinkle (Jemima's mom) in a grey dress, Orangine Peachblossom (confectioner and mother of Portia and Paul) in a pink dress and Julie's best friend Teresa Babblebrook (kindergarten teacher and mother of five) in a  dark blue one.

Then followed lots of friendly kissing on cheeks...

...and a whole lot of oohing and aahing over the sparkly woollen dresses.

Hester knew they would be working to a very tight schedule, so they got right to it. 

First of all Hester explained to them what it meant to be part of the wizarding world and that there were rules all witches and wizards were expected to follow.

During the second lesson she showed them how to collect and distinguish different kinds of healing moss. Teresa enjoyed this lesson a lot and listened intently. She felt it was a very practical thing for her to know since she dealt with little children that tend to fell down and scrape open their knees during playtime.

Next was a lesson in crystal ball gazing. 
Each mom got a chance to practice.

The moon shone down upon the ladies as Hester started to talk about potion ingredients. On the table in front of her lay a dead frog, a dead mouse and a magic mushroom. The women were surprised and happy to hear that Hester only used ingredients of animals that had died of old age; she never actually killed animals for her potions. "Most people aren't aware of this," she explained, "but you can be a witch and an animal lover."

After chopping up the dead frog they had a Herbology class during which they ate Hester's homemade bat cookies and drank some witchy juice. (I'm not sure what it was made of, but Julie downed two glasses.)

The ladies were starting to realise that a witch needed to be well educated in so many different subjects.

Next on the list was a lesson in fortune telling using ancient tarot cards and candles.

Then followed a little seance using Hester's ouija board and planchette. For those of you who don't know, a seance is a session to make contact with the spirit realm. The front of a ouija board contains all the letters of the alphabet. During a seance all participants touch the little wooden pointer called a planchette and this enables the spirit to talk to them through the board. 
Excuse my bluntness, but Teresa, Julie and Orangine were so giddy and fearful during the session, they almost peed their pants

Hester allowed Herbie the rat to witness the seance from the table. He looked up from his cheese now and then in a casual manner. He didn't give a hoot about contacting the dead.

Finally it was time to grab their brooms. Hester told them how important it is to have a good realtionship with your broom. It must be talked to and used regularly or else it will get bored and suffer from depression. You may caress its bristles, polish its handle and never ever leave it outside in the rain, or it might get mouldy.

Then there was a Q&A session during which Orangine pointed to the bristles of her broom and said, "Part of broomie's bristles seem to be cut off. I only realised this after I had bought it. Is it a bad thing? Would you go back to the store and exchange it?" 

Hester shook her head. "Oh no, I wouldn't consider this a flaw at all. On the contrary, it gives him personality. He should be able to perform just as well as the others." 

Orangine was relieved.

After the Q&A Hester showed the ladies how to mount their brooms. This was a rather wobbly business and they felt quite awkward. Since their brooms were actual magic brooms, they started to hover as soon as they put their legs around the handle. It's like learning to ride a bike or roller skating for the first time. You have to develop a feel for it and learn to keep your balance.

"Now, I won't teach you girls to fly around tonight, because it would be irresponsible of me after just one lesson in mounting and with no further training." Julie, Orangine and Teresa were first disappointed and then relieved. What a blessing to have a friend and tutor that was safety-conscious. None of them was keen to return home with a swollen ankle. 

The highlight of the evening came with Hester's flying performance. She sat on her broom so serenely and controlled it so well. She looked like a fish swimming in water. It was magical and very, very beautiful and the ladies had to wipe away a tear or two.

Last but not least they were asked to each cook a potion or brew they could take home. They were allowed to flip through Hester's recipe books. 

Hester decided to make it a competition. The winner would receive another flying lesson

Julie, Orangine and Teresa were keen to make use of what they had learnt during that evening. Julie decided to cook tentacle soup, as it had always fascinated her, ever since she had been to Hester's house and seen it simmer on her stove. Teresa made some slime punch. She wanted to cook something she considered particulary exotic in order to impress her children. Orangine was making something that contained apples. What was she doing??

While the three of them were leaning over their cauldrons Hester was cooking bone soup. It steamed and hissed. 

It wasn't hard to choose a winner when the ladies had finished their brews. While Teresa and Julie had worked very conscientiously, the clear winner was Orangine who had actually managed to come up with a recipe of her own. 

She had merged a recipe for poison apples with another one containing antidotes for all kinds of venoms to create a healing apple brew! This way you could eat an apple and heal yourself from a snake or a spider bite!

Hester was ecstatic to have such a creative mind in her group. And Julie and Teresa couldn't wait to  congratulate her.

"Well done, my dear! Well done!!" said Hester. Orangine beamed with pleasure.

"Thank you. Thank you so much! You know, at first I wasn't sure whether I should attend the workshop. I thought I would make a fool of myself. But now I am so happy! I've truly enjoyed myself tonight, gotten a thrilling insight into something totally new and also made new friends!"

It was the best compliment Hester could have wished for.

They collected all the cauldrons and utensils and hid them underneath a large bush for the night because they were too tired to carry everything back to Hesters'. It was very very late at night, or should I say very early in the morning??

They had a group hug and promised to keep in touch.

Finally the ladies walked home. They  felt very tired and very fulfilled. They were all holding their certificates, except Hester who was carrying Herbie and his beloved loaf of cheese.

*** THE END ***

I hope you have all enjoyed this story.  

Please note that I will soon be posting a giveaway
so if you enjoy my blog posts and featured items  

stay tuned!! :)

A special thank you to Jill for the gorgeous woollen dresses 

and to Heike for the four magnificent witchy cauldrons!


  1. Endlich... ich hatte schon befürchtet, ich müsste bis nächstes Halloween warten... *lach* Meine Güte, da hat Hester aber ordentlich Programm in ihren Workshop gepackt, der Stoff hätte ja glatt mehrere Abende ausgefüllt. Aber sie hatte natürlich drei außergewöhnliche Schülerinnen, die toll mitgemacht haben und ohne Zweifel begeistert waren. Hut ab vor Orangine die offensichtlich ein magisches Naturtalent ist. Und auch Hut ab vor der Dame im Hintergrund, die bei diesem Abenteuer für Regie, Drehbuch und Aufnahmeleitung zuständig war... und für die tolle Flugszene. And the Oscar for Special Effects goes to... Nina!!! ;O) Und Hester hat in jedem Fall ihr Ziel erreicht und viel für den Ruf der magischen Welt getan.

    Liebe Grüße
    Flutterby und Birgit

    1. Höhö, nein, die Zeit vergeht in Riverside nicht so langsam wie bei Drora's Skellies. :D Meistens, jedenfalls...

      Hester ist froh über Deine abschliessenden Worte. Sie hat ihre ganze Energie in diesen Abend gesteckt und muss sich jetzt erstmal ausruhen. Und ich auch!! :)

  2. Aww, I love this story! Hester picked a great setting for her little class, it looks very magical. I am glad to hear that Hester loves animals and does not hurt them to get what she needs for her potions. I think that Orangine really deserved to win because of her creativity of her potion.

    1. Hester says thankyou for your kind words and Orangine is asking whether she can send you one of her healing apples!

  3. It really is lamentable that Halloween comes only once a year. Such a lovely story accompanied by beautiful photos. I loved to see Hester flying on her magic broom. She is the kindest witch on earth. Even Baalatova who's about the oldest witch existing, would like to have that magical apple recipe.
    Hugs, Drora

    1. Orangine, Hester and I are really grateful for Baalatova's and your feedback!

      Yes, it is sad to have Halloween go by, yet Hester is happy to be able to rest now. And anyway, the next big celebration (christmas!) is just around the corner...!

  4. Nice story and scenes.

  5. Wow Nina!! Your story is even better than I expected! The scenery was perfect,the pictures are so good! You managed to create a feeling of magic and mystery. As usual, I enjoyed reading your story and looking at your detailed pictures. I loved to see Hester flying on her broom. Congratulations Nina! I wonder if Orangine was able to lift her broom from the ground after the flying lesson she won for her recipe.

    1. Thank you so much, Cutata!! :))

      This was, so far, one of the most complicated stories to shoot and write, but also the most enjoyable. I had to shoot all the scenes with the photo camera in one hand and an electric torch in the other, as only this gave the photos the magical look that you can see in my post. It wouldn't have looked as nice if I had taken the photographs using flash or even at daytime, although it would have been a lot easier. :D

      Hester had a lot of fun flying in front of the others, as she could see how much they were enjoying it. Orangine hasn't attended her second flying lesson yet, but I think it's only because she wants to give Hester some time to relax after all her hard work.

  6. What a big job you have done. Such a lovely story and so many photos. I liked very much. The Halloween atmosphere was perfect. Hugs from Siiri, Iivari and Sirkka

    1. Hester says thank you to you, Siiri and Iivari for your recognition and appreciation of our work! ♥ Halloween is the most important time of the year for Hester, so she tried to create a special evening for everyone to remember.

  7. Hey Nina,

    I'm finally back at the internet - yippieh!!! And it was so great to read your new stories. I adore your Halloween story. Every Picture was gorgeous, I can't tell which I liked the most, but maybe the one with the tarot cards and the first one - it looks so mysterious!
    Many greetings und dir einen wundervollen Tag,
    Kyra :)

    1. Thank you very much, Kyra!! :)) It's great to have you back and to read your stories and feedback again!! :))

      Hester says the tarot cards are very special as they were given to her by her grandmother.

  8. New to reading your blog! Really enjoyed your story! 😊

    1. WELCOME and thank you very much! :)

  9. Such beautiful photos and excitement. I wonder what the bat cookies tasted like. This must have taken you a very long time and its amazing as always, Sarah

    1. Thank you Sarah, it took me ages.... But it was a lot of fun. :D

      Hester tells me the bat cookies taste like shortbread!