Cinderelli Investigates: Clowning Around

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*sings badly* TRAGEDY!!! When you see a clown and you start to frown it’s TRAGEDY!!! When you start to cry and you don’t know why, it’s hard to bare, and no one can help you, you’d better beware!

That’s right, that lovable fan favourite is back: the Tragic Clown! We all loved him so much in TS1 that the thoughtful gurus decided he needed to make a comeback in TS4! We’re so happy and thankful, right? ….RIGHT???

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Well… maybe ‘happy’ isn’t quite the appropriate word to use. Wearing the tragic clown clothing actually makes your sim desperately unhappy. And it doesn’t just affect the wearer. All the sims around the tragic sim will also be overwhelmed with sadness. Poor Parker!

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clown

At first, I have to admit, I was not amused to hear this sim was making a comeback. The Tragic Clown really irritated me in TS1! Some players have found his incessant crying annoying, and his self-loathing to be really quite upsetting. The Tragic Clown really brings down the mood and it’s understandable that some people want to avoid him.

(Video credit: SimsVip)

I actually considered just… not patching. Nope. Not doing it! I’ll stick with the egg hunt and growfruit thank you very much! But then… funnily enough… the Tragic Clown started to appeal to me. I guess it appealed to me in a sentimental way… why is the poor clown so sad? Why can’t he be cheered up? Is he suffering from depression?

This made me want to accept the clown and his mopey ways. He can’t help being sad. Like how people with depression in real life can be snappy and emotional, this clown is suffering in the same way, and needs our love and support. Even when he seems to reject it. ❤

And so… it became Cinderelli-sim's mission to, not cheer up the clown, but to befriend him in her own charming and… slightly annoying… fashion. I had Cinderelli-sim look at the tragic clown painting and summon one of these mopey wanderers.

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The first clown that appeared was too smart to stick around to be Cinderelli-sims guinea-pig and immediately vanished into thin air. Okaysies. Maybe it was time for Cinderelli to take off that clown suit?

Attempt number 2 produced a very quirky looking character. I’m not sure why he wasn’t wearing the suit and make-up, but he did have the clown hair, and I kind of liked his unusual look. Maybe this clown was trying to dress ‘normally’ to fit in? Maybe if he acted happy, he would feel happy?

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So, I set about befriending this hapless soul. I knew better than to try the obvious ‘cheer up’ interactions (those never worked well in TS1) but I aimed at getting to know his interests and talking about those. Sadly, everytime I had a small amount of success and started to build up the relationship bar, one of the pair would put their foot in their mouth and the relationship would take a nose-dive. *sigh*

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Cinderelli-sim is not the sort to give up easily when she has set her mind to something! And I really was starting to like this hopeless, awkward character. So it was time for Plan B! I took advantage of the Get Together club system to start a clown club! I set the club rules to encourage friendly and cheerful behaviours and invited the clown, Alan, back to the house. It took a while to convince him to join the club, but eventually the relationship bar was high enough for him to accept. Once he joined Cinderelli’s Happy Clown Cult… *cough*… I mean Club, it didn’t take long to build up their relationship and Alan the Clown really seemed to cheer up! Yippie!

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I felt like Alan was now rehabilitated, I really like the shape of his face, so Cinderelli asked him to move in! He’s evil, like Parker, so I figured they would get along well and maybe Alan could act as a role model for the young ghost-child. However, while Cinderelli accepts their evil traits, she wants them to focus on their more positive abilities! Alan is creative, and since he clearly likes music, she thinks he should focus on his DJ and comedy skills. He has now joined the entertainer career! Also, for those who want to know how Parker is getting along, while I was completing the growfruit challenge, Parker has reached level 10 with his violin lessons, and he is an A student! When we get the kids’ themed stuff pack, I’m going to treat him to some new goodies as a reward.

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The Kensington Family – Rise and Shine

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Charles Kensington frowned. Every time he saw is children they seemed to have their heads down over a book. They were working too hard, he thought, they needed to get outside and do something active and fun. Over breakfast, he mentioned it to his wife.

‘Hmmmm…’ Bess said distractedly, as she thumbed the screen of her phone, ‘Yes, they have been working very hard.’

‘What is so important on that phone, Bess?’ Charles demanded irritably.

His wife sighed, ‘Dear, you know the business can’t run itself. I need to arrange things. If I don’t have any stock, I can’t make any sales.’ She didn’t tell him she was actually arranging to meet her new acquaintance at the spa, he wouldn’t understand the social demands of running a business anyway.

Charles wanted to press the issue further but had to get to work.

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Charles worked as an officer in the military. He had previously had a senior role at a large base, but had been re-stationed closer to his new home. The new base was small, and his commanding officer had warned him that it wouldn’t be up to his usual standards.

Charles found the base easily, it was close to a campground and seemed very public. In fact, the campers seemed to be using it freely as a kind of youth hostel! There were all kinds of quaint notices posted on corkboards around the site, from advertisements for cheap camping equipment to flyers for gigs.

There didn’t appear to be an officer in charge of all this chaos, so Charles busied himself with working out and practicing his chess skills.

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A few hours passed by and Charles finally determined that nobody was in charge. He decided to speak to some of the teens who will milling around so freely and find out what was going on.

‘Oh, so you’re the new scout leader?’ one small boy asked enthusiastically.

Charles felt completely bemused. Was he at the wrong building? No… he didn’t think so. So what was going on?

Feeling hungry after his work-out, he made his way to the mess hall and helped himself to some of the food. Unfortunately he soon began to feel ill. What kind of berries had been in that pie? He made his way to the medical room but couldn’t find anyone there either! He helped himself to some medicine, swearing to find out who was supposed to be responsible for the place and give them a piece of his mind! Finally, he collapsed into one of the cots. He’d sleep off his illness, then he would find out what was going on with the place!

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While her husband was having a small breakdown at the new military barracks, Bess was blissfully unaware of his uncomfortable situation. She spend the morning searching online auction houses for more stock to sell at her store, then decided she had worked hard enough for one day and it was time to meet her new friend at the spa.

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Astor had acted non-committal on the phone, but Bess was pleased to find her new friend had called the spa ahead and listed her as one of her guests. The spa was nicer than Bess had expected, she ordered herself a drink and some snacks from the bar and sat by the pool while she waited for Astor.

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Astor finally showed up (fashionably late, Bess thought admiringly) and the new friends decided to take a yoga class. Perhaps not the best move on a stomach full of tapas and cocktails, but Bess enjoyed herself nonetheless. Astor seemed keen on getting the attention of a rather frumpy looking man, much to Bess’ bemusement, but the man seemed oblivious to her charms.

(note: if you’re curious to find out why Astor was trying to get Geoffrey Landgraab’s attention you can find a clue here.)

As the evening grew darker, the two women enjoyed a late meal and a few more drinks together. Astor was keen to hear more about Bess’ royal connections, and told her about her husband’s career as a politician.

‘Really,’ she sighed, ‘he has done everything he can for this town but his colleagues are far too small-minded to understand his vision. If he just had the proper funding…’ she eyes Bess meaningfully.

Bess nodded sympathetically, but she wasn’t really interested in local politics, it just seemed like a lot of puffed-up men who enjoyed arguing with one another. And they were always nagging the family to show up at some boring event or another. As Astor continued to chatter about her family it suddenly dawned on Bess who the woman was! She knew she recognised her from somewhere. There had been a bit of a scandal when the son of a high-born socialite had married a sexy young movie star instead of the nice Simford University graduate he was supposed to be engaged to. The rumour was that the girl had married him for his money and connections. Well… this made her new friend seem suddenly much more interesting. Especially if her mother-in-law was the worldly Felicity Phillips!

Hmmm… perhaps her new home would be more interesting than she had expected.

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Charles arrived home late after a long drive back from the barracks. He was still a bit ill so he grabbed himself a hot drink. There was no sign of his wife, but the housekeeper was in the kitchen eating supper.

‘How was your new job?’ Florence asked politely.

Charles laughed and shook his head, ‘Ah, don’t ask! It was terrible.’

‘Oh dear,’ Florence sighed, ‘Well, I’m sure if anyone can improve it, it will be you.’

Charles nodded thoughtfully and watched her as she began to clear up the dinner plates. Perhaps he could make the best of the situation after all.

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Note/Disclaimer: If We Shadows Have Offended

A quick note/disclaimer: I just wanted to explain a little that none of my Sims are ‘real people’ Sims. None of my characters or stories are making any kind of critical comment or intentional political message. I’m just telling different stories and using the world around me, and drawing history, for inspiration. So my Swan family, while inspired loosely by European history, are not in any way commenting on current issues. And my Kensington family are not intended to reflect the real Royal Family, I just like my Sims to have a range of different backgrounds. While I use names like ‘James’ and ‘Charles’, I just randomly picked traditional royal names for my sims. There is a ‘queen’ and she is based to some extent on the real Queen (who I adore), but she is only inspired-by and not a reflection-of the actual Queen.

Also, I really like to vaguely draw on different cultures in my game, to have a nice diverse mix of Sims and characters. I always worry that I might accidentally offend someone by completely misrepresenting their culture, so I just want to say this is no way intentional. My experience of other cultures does have its limits, so there may be a bit of stereotyping, and I apologise in advance for that.

Ultimately, my game is my game. I’m imagining stories to amuse myself. For a long time I was wary of sharing my stories with the world because I worried that my ignorance might offend someone. People showed an interest in my game, and I figured I’d share in the hopes that I might entertain some of you for a while. My intentions are no more than this.

Finally, I just like telling stories and imagining what my Sims might be thinking. None of the views expressed by my Sims should be taken as my own. My only philosophy is that people should be good, and have good intentions. But of course the definition of being ‘good’ is open to interpretation too.

Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.

News: Restaurant Game Pack and Kid’s Stuff Pack CONFIRMED!!!

Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

Ok… well maybe there are a few drops, even if the information floodgates haven’t exactly opened. We have a short announcement video which introduces the themes for the next couple of months:

The initial reaction is mixed.

Many of us have been asking for restaurants and more content for children, and the gurus have just confirmed this. We asked them to break the #SimsNewsDrought and they did! So… why are some of us still mad?

Well… it has been several months since the last game pack, Spa Day, and many of us assumed we’d get these approximately every 6 months (so twice a year). Then SimGuruNinja teased a while back with a tweet about being hungry for info (which we will never ever never let him forget).

For simmers who were used to getting new content at least twice a month during the TS3 Store days, it feels like this has been a huge content dry spell. This was made worse by there being a news drought too, with players literally begging for info. I think this long wait has made players feel increasingly frustrated, and the gurus have been put under more and more pressure to give us some info. Now they finally have given us solid information, actually confirming the next two packs, some of us feel like this isn’t enough. We expected toddlers. We expected trailers! We’d been given waaaaaaay too much time to speculate and we’d got ourselves all hyped! So the news we finally have (which would normally be great) has left some of us kind of deflated.

It’s clear the gurus are walking a tightrope between being silenced from those in the marketing/law/evil-gremlin departments at EA (you know who you are *scowls*), and the players who they don’t want to disappoint.

They are trying.

They clearly did this because we’ve been begging for info. They’re trying something new. And if we turn our noses up at their attempts to share more openly with us, maybe they just won’t bother trying anymore and will give us info when they’re ready to and not a drop before!

I’m someone who likes to plan ahead, know what to expect and when to expect it. I like to know exactly what I’m getting so I don’t get hyped for something and ultimately get disappointed. This news and content drought has been kiiiiiillllllliiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnggggg mmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! And even though my initial reaction to the video was…

Wut?

I’m now thinking I’m really glad they confirmed that we’ll be getting a game pack based on restaurants (which I really want) and a kids’ stuff pack. And I know I’ll be getting these in the next couple of months.

I’m not sure why there was such a long content dry spell, but I hope that if this happens again (plz no) that the gurus will keep us in the loop and just be a bit more open and honest with us. Let us know if there will be no new packs the next month, so we won’t be kept in the dark. Tell us if there has been some kind of delay. I don’t expect them to tell us everything, because they need to be able to surprise us with details too. But if they just let us know ‘Hey, no new paid content in September but you can expect news in October!’ then at least we have an idea of what is going on. It’s no fun speculating and playing reindeer games if they never give us anything concrete.

*looks forward to the trailer and blog for restaurants*

The Kensington Family – Tricks of the Trade

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Bess may have married into royalty, but she wasn’t the sort to sit around doing nothing while spending someone else’s money. So she took some of her own savings and invested them into a new business. Her masters degree in Art History meant that she was good at dating and valuating old furniture and décor, so she decided to put her skill to good use and open an antiques store. Her contacts told her the most exclusive commercial area was in the French Quarter in Newcrest and she found a pretty and spacious building next to the park.

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When Bess arrived promptly to start setting up she was happy to find that her carefully chosen furniture had already arrived. The delivery company had even left her a complementary bottle of champagne! How thoughtful of them, she would certainly recommend them to her friends. It was worth paying the extra money to feel reassured that her precious cargo wouldn’t get knocked and bashed by clumsy delivery drivers.

Bess had taken a lot of time to choose the best pieces she could find. They had been expensive, and almost blown her budget, but her plan was to aim for quality over quantity. Anyone could fill a store full of cheap junk, but Bess believed that if she offered her clients only the finest examples, they would trust her more in the long term. After spending most of the day carefully arranging the few items of furniture, Bess finally opened the shop.

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Nobody seemed to be coming in. After half an hour of smiling warmly at the door, Bess realised she would have to do a little more work to drum up interest. She ventured outside and tried to engage some passers-by.

‘Good afternoon,’ she sang confidently, blocking another lady’s path, ‘Can I interest you in some of the finest examples of furniture from the Court of Versimmes?’

The woman returned her greeting but her wide smile seemed at odds with her narrowed eyes. ‘I would love to but I really don’t have time, I have a spa appointment at three.’

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But Bess was more accustomed to giving people the brush-off than being on the receiving end. She gave a dismissive laugh, ‘Important people are never on time for spa appointments. They can wait for you, dear.’

Astor Dixon, who was always happy to receive a compliment, found herself caught in a social trap. She couldn’t insist on her spa appointment because that would be admitting she wasn’t important! ‘I suppose they can wait a little while,’ she contested gracefully, ‘did you say Versimmes?’

‘Oh yes,’ Bess enthused, ‘I had the pleasure of staying at the palace while I was visiting the Duke. When I heard he was selling some of the furniture I simply had to offer to take it, we can’t let it fall into the hands of any old riff-raff now, can we?’

‘Of course not!’ Astor agreed, her ego flushing at the thought of owning a piece of furniture from the Palace of Versimmes. Her social survival instincts were kicking in too, she had been having trouble trying to make the right kind of friends to help her husband’s political career, and here was an opportunity to befriend someone with the most elite contacts.

‘You would be doing me the greatest favour if you would take a look around,’ Bess purred. She knew she had the woman hooked!

What could Astor do!? Refusing to make a purchase would make her appear like she couldn’t afford it (and she most certainly could!), but by buying something she was both investing in a new contact and she would own a great item to boast about at dinner parties! Of course she bought something!

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The Kensington Family – Down to Earth

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The Kensington family are the richest family in my game but most of their money is tied up in inherited property. Although they are connected to royalty, the Kensingtons are quite down-to-earth and enjoy being part of the local community. They had been living in another part of the country but their old house needed restoration work, so they have moved back to Windenburg into one of the family mansions.

[Note: This stunning house was built by connorwaters123 and is available on the gallery. It is called ‘The Windenburg Estate’.]

On the first morning of their week, James was the first to wake up. It was still dark outside but he dragged himself down to the kitchen to grab breakfast before going outside for a jog. He loves being outdoors and wanted to check out the local fishing spots. As he ran, he spotted a promising camping zone which he noted to check out later.

[Note: I love how gangly he looks when he runs, such an awkward-looking teen!]

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He was surprised to spot someone walking up the country lane so early at that time in the morning. He slowed down, it was a young girl and she seemed a bit lost.

‘Hello there,’ he said smiling and trying to look unthreatening.

The girl looked a little uncertain at first, ‘I’m just waiting for my Dad. He should be here in a minute.’

James noticed she had an accent, ‘I’m glad you are ok. I thought for a moment you were lost and were going to ask me for directions.’

The girl raised an eyebrow questioningly, ‘And what if I was?’

James ran a hand through his hair looking embarrassed. ‘I wouldn’t have been able to help,’ he admitted, ‘I have only just moved here and was taking a look around.’

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An older man strolled up the road towards them. ‘Gabriella!’ he called out, ‘you silly child, you were only around the corner!’

The girl laughed then and gave James a shy grin, ‘I guess we both need to work on our geography! We’ve just moved here too. I took a stroll to the bottom of our garden and…’ she blushed, ‘I guess our garden is a little larger than I expected. I did get lost.’

She hugged her father affectionately, ‘Sorry Papa! Thank you for coming to rescue me.’

‘From the berries and the brambles?’ he teased, ‘I’m just glad you called me. Who is your friend?’

‘James, sir,’ he extended his hand respectfully.

The man shook his hand firmly, ‘Antoni Verona. Thank you for rescuing my daughter but we really must be going now.’

James nodded, ‘It was a pleasure to meet you both.’

‘Nice to meet you, James,’ the girl smiled warmly.

Well, that was a pleasant start to the day, thought James.

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The Swan Family – Inspiring Change

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Amalie and Pierre arrived at Simspeare & Co early in the morning. Pierre was instantly in love! He looked through the shelves of dusty old books curiously, everything looked so interesting. He thumbed a mildewed copy of Voltaire thoughtfully.

‘They have a café,’ Amalie pointed to a sign, ‘perhaps we should get a drink and see if there’s anyone we can talk to?’

Pierre agreed and they ordered coffee and pastries. The café was comfortable and homely, and the lady behind the counter was friendly and cheerful.

‘There is a room upstairs for writers to use,’ she explained pleasantly, ‘you are free to use it whenever you like, as long as nobody is using it already.’

‘That’s awfully kind of you,’ Amalie said, smiling.

‘It works well for us,’ explained the barista, ‘artists use our room for free, and if they are successful, we can say, “So and so used to write here”. The artists leave us notes and poems, you can see them on the wall over there.’

Pierre looked around curiously, he was already feeling inspired by all these relics of starving artists! The writer’s room was small and crowded, but it was piled high with interesting books and it was comfortable. The vintage typewriter helped him to get into the mood to write, he imagined all the poets and authors who had sat there before him, all the things they had written, and soon the words were flowing easily.

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Amalie waited patiently downstairs, she felt comfortable in the quiet and studious surroundings, and the smell of freshly ground coffee reminded her of her old town… before things had changed.

She was staring thoughtfully out of the dappled glass of the old window, lost in memories, when she spotted a familiar figure: it was her new friend Adelia! Amalie leapt out of her chair and hurried down the stairs.

‘Adelia!’ She called as she ran along the path, out of breath, ‘Adelia!’

‘Amalie! What are you doing here!?’ Adelia exclaimed as she threw her arms around her friend in surprise.

Amalie explained that her nephew was writing in the bookstore and Adelia agreed to join her for a coffee to keep her company while she waited.

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It was getting late, and Amalie ventured upstairs to check on Pierre’s progress.

‘How are you getting on?’ she asked tentatively.

‘Really well,’ Pierre enthused, ‘I’m really happy with what I have so far!’

‘I knew you were brilliant,’ Amalie cried, ‘let’s hear what you have so far.’

She sat down on the cot to listen and Adelia joined her. Pierre read out his short story to them both.

‘Goodness,’ Adelia gasped looking at them both with a tear glistening in the corner of her eye, ‘have you really suffered through all of that?’

Amalie nodded grimly.

‘And your sister,’ Adelia gasped, ‘She’s really in prison just for protesting against everything they’ve done?’

‘Yes,’ Pierre whispered, he was a little embarrassed by Adelia’s emotional reaction. Of course, he welled up every time he thought about things, but he lived with it every day and had forgotten how shocking it would be to someone encountering the story for the first time.

‘You must finish this!’ Adelia insisted firmly. ‘Even if you don’t publish it yet, you must write it all down.’

Pierre nodded and stared closely at the typewriter keys.

‘Come on,’ Adelia whispered to Amalie, ‘let’s leave him to it. There is always someone here, he can stay until he’s finished.’

Amalie looked back at Pierre uncertainly.

‘He will be fine,’ Adelia insisted, steering her from the room gently.

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Pierre took a break. He visited the bathroom and then went back to the café for something to eat.

‘How are you getting along?’ the barista asked kindly.

‘Good, thank you,’ Pierre said thankfully, ordering his food, ‘just give me a shout when you’re ready to kick me out and close up.’

The woman waved his hand away when he tried to pay, ‘You can stay until you’re finished. There will be someone here all night and you can leave when your ready. Or stay. It’s fine. Just remember us when you are a famous author!’

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It was getting late, Pierre sat back down at the typewriter thoughtfully. How could he finish a story that hadn’t ended yet? Then inspiration struck him and he tapped out the last few pages in a rush. Suddenly he felt overwhelmingly tired and he climbed into the cot, falling asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

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Pierre got home in the early hours of the morning. Amalie was waiting for him. He felt disgusting, and needed a long shower, but he was pleased with himself for accomplishing something. He also felt relieved, like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

‘The bookstore have agreed to help me get it published,’ he told his aunt, ‘but I don’t know if I should. What if it causes trouble for mum?’

‘Pierre,’ she said, throwing his arms around him, ‘I think you should publish it. Juliet will be so proud of you. Look at everything she did for her country. Look at all the things she risked to stand up for what is right. Publish it. She would want you to.’

And he did.

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The Swan Family – Different Strokes

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Pierre woke up feeling discontent, the positive feelings of the previous day had vanished and he had a horrible sense of foreboding. He was worried about his mother, stuck in jail back in his old country. He was worried about his aunt, she was sick, and too stubborn to see a real doctor. And he felt generally frustrated that he couldn’t do anything to help anyone. The people at his new school were nice, they didn’t ask awkward questions, but they also didn’t understand what he was going through.

And he was hungry.

He found his aunt Amalie in the shop and they finished off the last of the chocolate strawberries in the office. ‘Waste not, want not!’ as his grandma used to say.

Amalie knew he was upset: not that he tried to hide it from her, she could always tell.

‘Why don’t you write about how you feel?’ she suggested. It wasn’t a bad idea.

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‘I know!’ Amalie leapt up suddenly, ‘I’ll make us breakfast! I’ve collected lots of vegetables, and there’s a grill outside by the lake… we’ll have a picnic!’

‘Great,’ Pierre whispered under his breath as she dashed out of the room.

Amalie enthusiastically gathered her supplies and took them down to the lakeside, it was a bit of an unusual mix of vegetables but at least they hadn’t cost a penny! She chopped them and mashed them together and created vegetable burgers which she cooked on the community grill. Ok, so it wasn’t exactly haute cuisine, but it was… healthy! And nutritious! And most importantly to them right then… free.

Pierre and Estelle were not as enthusiastic.

‘How many frogs did you put in this?’ Estelle remarked as she wrinkled her nose at the smell.

‘Only two,’ Amalie joked, ‘Now, sit down and eat your frog burgers, they’re good for you!’ Then she looked seriously at her sister for a moment, ‘You need to eat well, Estelle, you haven’t been looking well lately.’

‘Frog burgers and flattery,’ quipped Estelle as she sat down on the bench, ‘I am a lucky woman today!’

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Amalie started to clear up, and took the remaining vegetables back to the house. Giving Pierre and Estelle chance to talk.

‘You look better,’ Pierre whispered, glancing back towards the house to check Amalie was out of earshot. ‘Did you get some medicine?’

‘I did. I don’t know what it was but I feel fine now.’ Estelle pushed his hair back from his face with a concerned expression, ‘How are you? You look tired, I hope you haven’t caught it!’

‘I’m just feeling a bit down today,’ Pierre admitted, pushing the food around on his plate, ‘I’m worried about Mum, frustrated I can’t help her. Amalie suggested I write about it.’

‘You should!’ Estelle enthused, ‘You’re a great writer, and it will help you get your feelings out.’

‘Ok, I’ll try it,’ he said, getting up to leave, ‘I have to get to school now. Make sure you don’t overdo it today.’

‘Yeah…’ Estelle said, watching him leave. She looked down at her plate of mush, then back at the house. There was no sign of her sister. Estelle slipped away before Amalie came back to force her to eat the frog burgers.

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Estelle had spotted a small bar at the other side of Newcrest, she was sure she could pick up something to eat there. Amalie was being too conservative, she thought, they didn’t need to worry so much about money now the gallery was doing quite well. Of course, maybe interest would drop when the novelty of a new shop wore off, but they seemed to be acquiring a small group of loyal customers, so she was sure one plate of bar food wouldn’t hurt!

The bar was quiet that early in the day, Estelle didn’t care! She had the bartender all to herself, and enjoyed some snacks and several cocktails. She also got to enjoy playing darts, unharassed.

[Note: this is a multi-purpose lot, I used my Free Bartender mod to get the NPC to show up. I’m really happy with how well it’s working out.]

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‘Umm… where’s the bathroom?’ Estelle wondered [A silly architect had forgotten to add one to the bar *cough*].

‘You have to use the one next door at the cinema,’ the bartender explained apologetically.

Fine, thought Estelle, but I’m taking my drinks with me!

As she came out of the bathroom, she was excited to see the woman from the gallery, Ulrike. She was looking at some collectable superhero toys.

‘You collect kid’s toys?’ Estelle asked sceptically.

‘I sure do,’ Ulrike replied proudly with a twinkle in her eye, ‘don’t you?’

‘No, I don’t,’ she laughed.

‘Weirdo,’ Ulrike smirked and turned back to the shelf.

‘So… are you going to buy one of these toys?’ Estelle teased.

‘Collectables.’ Ulrike corrected, ‘And yeah, I would but I’m after the limited edition Silver Supersim and this dumb store doesn’t have it.’

Estelle watched curiously as Ulrike got into an argument with the woman restocking the shelves. Estelle didn’t understand half of what they were saying, but Ulrike seemed to get a good deal on one of the figures.

‘Want to grab a drink?’

Ulrike agreed and they made their way back to the bar. Estelle asked Ulrike about her job but she was evasive.

‘When I was at art school, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,’ said Ulrike with enthusiasm, ‘I played games, and I loved comics, and I had this whole series of superhero games planned out in a comic-book style. They would have been brilliant. But…’ she waved her hand and a stony look fell across her features, ‘…things happened. And now I take whatever work gets thrown at me.’

She shrugged and finished her drink, ‘I have to go. But we’ll catch up again sometime. Let me know if you get any more of those painting.’

Estelle stirred her drink thoughtfully, there was more to Ulrike than she’d realised.

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Back at home Amalie had spent the day painting at the lakeside. She’d heard about a bookstore at the other side of town that supported new writers, and she was excited to tell Pierre about it. Hopefully he would agree to visit with her the next day.

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The Swan Family – Wet Paint

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Week 1 of their new life in Newcrest was going well for the Swan family. They had sold several paintings and had made a small profit. They hoped they would have enough to pay their bill at the end of the week, and if they were lucky, they would be able to buy better art supplies too.

Only… Estelle was feeling increasingly exhausted. She’d invested a lot of energy into the new business and, despite her can-do attitude, she was subconsciously worrying about what they would do if they failed. There were options. There would always be options. But none of them seemed particularly desirable. She opened the store and took a seat outside in the fresh morning air.

‘I’m going to greet people as they walk past,’ she called to her sister who was painting in the gallery, ‘I’ll try and encourage some passers-by to look around.’

She leaned back and allowed the breeze to cool her skin, why was she so hot? She really must stop doing too much. Poor Estelle couldn’t rest for long, the shop was soon full of new customers that needed greeting and entertaining. The new customers seemed very impressed by the Simayan Eggs they had brought from their home country, the sisters had chosen to sell a couple of the less valuable items from their collection, to raise some extra money. They also seemed to act as a novelty, attracting customer’s interest.

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One of the customers caught Estelle’s interest, she recognised something of herself in the woman, who was staring back at her with a sceptical expression. Estelle knew immediately that they would either be great friends… or enemies.

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Amalie was working on painting she finally felt proud of when she became aware of a customer watching her. She preferred painting in solitude, upstairs in the apartment, but Estelle insisted it was good for business to have customers actually see her painting. But the attention often made her uncomfortable, and put her off her work. Embarrassed, she glanced over her shoulder to find it was the lady she had met earlier in the week, Adelia Clausen.

‘I’m sorry,’ Adelia laughed apologetically, ‘I didn’t mean to distract you. It’s just…’

‘Yes?’ prompted Amalie anxiously, quickly looking back at her canvass to try and spot whatever mistake she had made.

Adelia’s eyes moved slowly across the canvass and Amalie held her breath, waiting to hear the criticism.

‘It’s just… You are very talented, you know?’ said Adelia finally, ‘I really like what you are doing here. Maybe I could put you in contact with some of my friends? I know some art collectors, and I have a friend at the community gallery who might like to put on an exhibition of your work one day. She’s always looking for new talent, and it will help you to get yourself known in the area. How would you feel about that?’

‘That… that would be wonderful!’ Amalie spluttered.

‘I’m happy to help,’ Adelia smiled kindly, ‘I know what it’s like to be a new face in town, what it’s like to worry about fitting in, to have the locals staring at you and asking awkward questions. And I know how hard it can be to start a business from scratch, so I want to help in any way I can.’

‘Thank you,’ said Amalie softly, her eyes felt hot and she turned back to her painting quickly before her new friend saw her cry.

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The gallery was very busy, several customers were waiting to make purchases. Estelle suddenly felt very dizzy, she swayed as her vision was momentarily clouded by fuzzy black dots. It passed as soon as it had appeared, and she looked around for her next customer.

Estelle spotted the woman waiting coolly near one of the more expensive paintings, she tried to act nonchalant as she rang up her purchase.

‘Reminds me of Simcasso,’ the woman said abruptly as she gave her details, ‘ring me if you get any more like this.’

Estelle looked curiously at the business card the woman shoved into her hand before she prowled out of the door, her name was ‘Ulrike Faust’. But the card was vague about her actual job, she was somehow connected to the art world but it wasn’t clear if she was an artist or a dealer or… what? Estelle shrugged, vagueness wasn’t an uncommon trait among creative people. She moved on to the next customer thoughtfully.

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Amalie finished the painting she had been working on and hung it on the wall, she felt very pleased with it. The paint was still wet, but she soon found Adelia Clausen inspecting it closely.

Amalie approached her shyly.

Adelia smiled, a little embarrassed, ‘Can I buy it now? I know it’s not dry yet, but I’m so nervous that someone else will buy it before me!’

‘Of course! I’ll have it wrapped and put aside for you as soon as it is dry.’ Amalie crossed out the price and wrote ‘SOLD’ on the label.

Adelia sighed gratefully, ‘Thank you so much, you know how it is when you see a piece of art and fall in love with it. Listen, when I come to pick it up we’ll go out for brunch, my treat!’

Amalie nodded eagerly. Although she was a bit of a loner, and liked time on her own, she really liked Adelia and hoped they could be friends.

[Note: most of this happened autonomously, I was really happy that Adelia decided to purchase the painting when she had been ‘admiring’ it earlier while Amalie was painting it.]

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Estelle had another dizzy spell, perhaps she needed to eat. It was almost time to close the gallery, so she grabbed a chocolate covered strawberry and went to rest in the office for a few minutes. Pierre arrived home and joined her in the office to do his homework.

‘How is school?’ she asked, trying to mask her tiredness.

‘Really good,’ Pierre said happily, ‘the other students are nice, I might meet up with some of them at the weekend.’

‘And the work? Is it hard?’ Estelle demanded.

‘Hard enough, Tatie,’ laughed Pierre, ‘but not too hard.’

‘You should write to your mother.’

‘I did. I wrote to her yesterday.’

‘You should write again,’ Estelle chided, ‘What does she have to look forward to? You should write to her every day.’

Pierre sighed and turned to face his aunt, ‘And what about you, Tatie? Have you wrote to her yet?’

Estelle looked away. Pierre sighed and sat down next to her. ‘She’d want to hear from you too, you know.’

His aunt didn’t say anything, just looked back at him with a clouded expression.

‘What’s wrong with your face?’ Pierre gasped suddenly, trying to check her temperature as she batted his hands away from her head, ‘Tatie, are you sick?’

‘I’m fine. I’m just tired.’

‘You’re covered in spots! You need to see a doctor!’

‘I can’t afford a doctor,’ Estelle snapped.

‘What will we do if you get ill?’ Pierre insisted, ‘You think Amalie can run the gallery herself? How will she have time to paint? Do you expect me to give up school?’

‘Of course not!’ Estelle cried. ‘Ok, ok, ok. I heard some customers talking about an apothecary, I think it’s on the other side of town, I’ll go there. But I don’t want you to mention this to Amalie, she’ll only worry.’

‘Fine,’ agreed Pierre, ‘As long as you go today.’

Estelle agreed. Her head was still spinning, maybe it was a good idea to get some medicine.

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The apothecary was somewhere on the other side of Newcrest, Estelle figured it would be with all the other alternative health businesses. She finally found it down a side street. It was full of all kinds of strange objects and jars containing things she didn’t recognise. Which of these things was she supposed to buy?

Eventually she settled on something that appeared to be some kind of immune system booster, it said it cured dizziness and tiredness, and it was cheaper than seeing a doctor so she figured it was worth a try.

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By the time Estelle arrived home she was still feeling tired but a little less dizzy, she hoped the medicine was helping and decided to try and sleep it off. Upstairs she found Amalie and Pierre chatting happily as they painted and played music. Estelle was pleased they both seemed content in their new home. It didn’t matter what happened to her, as long as her family were happy. She would work until she collapsed if it mean Pierre and Amalia didn’t have to worry about bills, or where their next meal would come from.

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The Swan Family – A Good Show

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As rosy-fingered Dawn brought light to the world, Estelle was feeling optimistic about the day ahead. Sure, she was a little tired after her late night, but she was excited to open the gallery for the first time. They only had a few paintings to sell, but if successful, they would have the funds to buy some more canvases and better quality paint. Estelle went downstairs early to prepare for their grand opening. She spent the remainder of their budget serving sparkling drinks and modest but delicious nibbles to impress their customers (and hopefully get them tispy enough that they wouldn’t notice the marks left by the low quality brushes).

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Upstairs, Amalie was feeling nervous: she knew the paintings were not her best work and she was embarrassed about their quality. She worried what the customers would think of them. What if they didn’t sell any? What would they do for money then?

Pierre too was feeling nervous, it was his first day at the new high-school and he didn’t know what to expect. What if the students were more advanced? What if they made fun of his accent or the way he dressed? What would he say if they asked questions about his parents or his old life?

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Pierre left for school, trying to look confident for his aunts’ sake if not for his own. Likewise, Amalie ventured down to the shop and nervously picked up a brush, she busied herself with a new painting and tried not to glance anxiously at the door.

Not long after opening, a small steam of customers began to trickle in. The locals were a curious bunch and were keen to investigate the new shop. Estelle may have had a drink or two to hide her own nervousness, and she bustled charmingly amongst the new people, just as curious about them as they were about her.

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Amalie was shy by nature and was beginning to feel a bit overwhelmed. She finished her painting and went to pick up a snack where she found some children eating all the macaroons! It was an art gallery, not a nursery! Where were these children’s parents!?

‘Kayla! Lena! That food isn’t just for you,’ said a laughing voice behind Amalie and she turned to find a sweet-faced lady smiling apologetically at her.

The girls giggled, ‘Sorry mum!’

‘I’m sorry,’ said the lady as the two girls sat down on the floor and began to compare their hands, ‘they just get over-excited around chocolate fountains. Who can blame them, right?’

Amalie gave a small laugh in response.

‘I’m Adelia Clausen,’ said the lady, extending her hand, ‘I own a small art supply shop on the other side of Newcrest, you should come and visit and I’ll see if I can do you a deal!’

‘Thank you,’ Amalie whispered, timidly shaking her new friend’s hand.

The lady was distracted by her daughters, who were looking far too curiously at a tin of paint. Estelle appeared and steered her sister to a chair, forcing a drink into her hand, before swanning off to talk to more people. Suddenly, everyone wanted to purchase something at once! It was like dominos, with one sale quickly followed by another. Pierre returned home just in time to help. Finally they sold out and Estelle was pleased to close the doors. They sat down to celebrate a successful first day with what was left of the drinks.

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Estelle was exhausted, she tallied up the accounts, and cleaned the messy gallery. Feeling drained, she collapsed on the bed early.

Pierre was feeling happier, his first day of school had gone well. The work hadn’t been too challenging, and he’d found it fairly easy to comprehend. He’d spoken to some of the other students too, and they’d seemed friendly and easy-going, the sort of people he could see himself being friends with. After completing his homework, he figured it was a good time to write to his mother, it would be comforting for her to hear from him while he was feeling positive.

Then he spent a bit of time playing his guitar, while Amalie did a bit of pottery. She made a sweet little plate which looked pretty by the window with some flowers.

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