Tag Archives: Harry Potter
23 Sep


It’s that Tinman again, doing for Shakespeare and Harry Potter what no man has done before.


Worth Doing Badly

This week’s Daily Post Writing Challenge is “Stylish Imitation”, so here is the world’s most famous playwright telling the world’s most famous story…
Alarums, fanfares and trumpets. Enter Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Harry: When shall we three meet again?

Hermione: Next term at Hogwarts.

Harry: Oh, true. (they exit home for the holidays)

Enter He Who Must Not Be Named.

Voldemort (oops, sorry): Fast fare thy failure, Potter, with thy stupid scar
I’ll kill thee fore you can say, er “Nascar”.

Ghost of Nearly Headless Nick enters.

Voldemort: Sodeth off, thou twerp. (Nick exits, pursued by his career).

First Day of New Term. Enter Harry, Hermione and Ron.

Hermione: Grave news. (Holds up skull). Dobby is not to be.

Harry: Alas, poor Dobby. I knew him well.

Hermione: Not well.

Harry: I can see that.

Hermione: No, the word “well”…

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101/1001 (24) & (25)

16 Sep

It got so late I didn’t bother you with an update last week (stop clapping at the back), so here’s two in one.

I have a new task: I have over one hundred poems that need writing up, printing out, copies for my notebook and copies for my files.  I have made it a task because I keep putting off doing it as I spend so much time blogging, so that makes it your fault.

I completed a task: Read all the Harry Potters for the sixth time. (7/7)Not so much a task as my raison d’être.  I completed it in about a month.  That’s slow for me, but I wanted to savour them on this, my eighth reading.

Don’t be surprised if you find this task re-instated before the end of the year.

And that’s it.  Guess you didn’t miss much last week.

We have more people joining us for the 101/1001 challenge.  So many, I’ve lost track of who I have welcomed and who not.  Welcome, everyone!  I will post this then add their links to the 101 blog roll on the right.  Eventually, I will need a separate page for them.

I think I have my next task.


Catching Up With Prompts

12 Sep
The Crew of NCC-1701-D

Image by Dunechaser via Flickr

What is your biggest frustration about driving?

That I don’t.  I did once, until a nasty man was mean to me and I lost my nerve.  Not that I had much nerve to start with: three attempts to pass my test, and I bawled my eyes out during each one.

Remember something important you’ve lost.

My nerve (previous prompt refers).  And my mind.  I had one once.  It all goes into the first baby, you know.  The nurse at my ante-natal class told us that babies are parasites.  I wonder if she thought it was an anti-natal class?

Suggest a way for the government to unload foreclosed properties without swamping the already depressed real estate market.

Don’t foreclose in the first place.  Give the people you’ve made unemployed because of your mishandling of the economy a breathing space.

When is it ok to quit something?

When you’ve made everyone unemployed and homeless and you realise you don’t know how to handle the economy.

Write your bucket list.

  • Mop
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Seat

That’s all I’ve got.

Write a top ten list of your favorite songs.

Dear WordPress: why the sudden preoccupation with lists?  Why do you want me to bore my readers?  Who finds these lists interesting except the person who wrote them?

Dear readers: just remembered I’ve read at least half a dozen of your top ten songs lists.  Sorry.

Dear reader: thanks for staying.

Assemble your dream dinner guest list.

Seriously?  Did you not read my last response?


Okay then:

  • any model/actress/WAG.

They’ll be on diets, meaning I get all the roast potatoes.

If you could be part of any fictional universe, what would it be?

I first thought of Harry Potter’s world, but I guarantee I wouldn’t be Hermione or Dumbledore.  At best, I’d be Luna; at worst, I’d be a squib.

I’d join Ender but, let’s face it: saviour of the planet, yes; barrel of laughs, no.

Perhaps Georgette Heyer’s Regency England?  Hmm…what are the chances I’d be the maid who empties the chamber pots (never mentioned, but you just know she’s lurking in the background)?  Or worse: the cook.

I’d join Jean-Luc on the Enterprise because of our shared love of Tea, Earl Grey, hot, and rigid adherence to good manners; but that Dr Beverley Crusher never lets him out of her sight and for all I know she could be well-named.

No, I think I’ll stay in my own universe of happy marriage, perfect kids and successful blog.  They don’t come more fictional than that.


101/1001 (20) A Late Update

15 Aug

You should have had this update on Friday but I was busy in the jungle and when I got home I was busy preparing for Saturday’s arrival of my niece and nephew, here for a fortnight.   So busy, in fact, that I had no time for tasks, except for seeing the fabulous Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part two); but I told you that.

What I can tell you is that we have quite a few new challengers joining us.  Like with the looters, mob mentality works.  Check them out: they have some great tasks on their list.  And don’t forget, you can join us, too.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Entrance

14 Aug

When I saw the email subject line for this week’s photo challenge, I misread it as ‘en-trance’. 

I immediately thought of the last Harry Potter film, which I finally, finally, finally saw this week.  I was entranced throughout.  So was the rest of the audience: there was barely a rustle of sweet packets or pop of corn for two hours, though Spud complained of one annoying woman who cleared her throat in the most dramatic moments.

Once I had tutted, he informed me it was me.  Oops.

I managed to find a pic with an entrance, to qualify.  I didn’t take it myself, however; so perhaps I don’t qualify after all.  Guess what?  I don’t care, because I finally, finally, finally saw the last Harry Potter film this week, and I was entranced throughout.



101/1001 (Nein)

20 May

It’s been a dull week for tasks.  I did complete one, sort of, but there wasn’t much work involved:

Buy/swap all of the Harry Potter books so I don’t have to steal the boys’.

It happened like this:

Tory Boy and Spud were discussing the books (they each have a set) and Spud mentioned he probably won’t ever read his again.

Once I had recovered from my swoon, I asked, ‘Can I have them?’

He replied, ‘Yes.’

Task complete! 

Why is there always a ‘but’?  Even lazy I don’t think that was in the spirit of the tasks.  But I’m not going to look a gift book in the flyleaf, so I now have my own set of Harry Potters.  I won’t dip into them just yet, however, because it hasn’t been three months since I last read them.

I haven’t added any new tasks for a while, apart from ‘Get a bike’, and I’m rather worried that the tasks I have will be completed before the end of the year instead of a thousand and one days so, please, dear readers:

  • check out my list on page 101/1001 (link also at the top and side of this page)
  • think of some that are cheap and fun
  • cheap and a little challenging
  • and cheap
  • then email or post them in the comments section

You were so generous with your jokes that I’m sure you’ll think of something for me.

Maybe one of my challenges should be: Write a blog post in which your readers don’t have to do the work for you.

Don’t forget, I’m not alone in the 101/1001 universe: check out Perfecting Motherhood and Sarsm to see how they’re doing.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Round

3 May



Spud was a gorgeous baby, marred only by constant grazing to his face.  He fell over at the drop of a hat, and sometimes I didn’t need to drop the hat at all: the day after we moved here he was standing at the back door, thirteen months old, and literally fell out of the house on to the pavement.  I swear he didn’t move to do it (and no, I didn’t push him). 

I thought he was naturally clumsy until the day I freaked at his rolling eye: it rolled round from one side to the other.  I had him at the doctor’s faster than you can say Ugly Baby and it transpired he needed glasses.  He never fell over again, that I’m aware of.  I guess if your eyes and your feet are going in the same direction, you tend not to.

The bottom photo was taken at the top of St Paul’s Cathedral.  Look at his little round glasses – pre-Harry Potter.  He was ahead of the trend.

He was two or three here and he’d just walked all around St Paul’s dome on the outside.  Not alone, obviously; I’m not a neglectful mother: his nine-year old brother took him.

I Heart Nepotism

26 Oct

Words fail me…my kitchen is finished.  Photos to follow.

Words don’t really fail me, of course; you know that’s not my style.  So here’s an update:

Tim the Tiler laid my kitchen floor yesterday.  A real jobsworth, he told me about every neighbour of mine – and there were many – who had abused him or complained, so that he was forced to down tools and walk out, never to return.  Suitably appalled, I plied him with tea, one sugars, the whole day, and kept my mouth shut.  He did a lovely job.

I have just re-read the Harry Potter books for the nth time and last night I started on the movies.  I had forgotten how long they are, though, and was up way past my bedtime as a result.   I was woken this morning at the debauched hour of 8:20 by Matt the Finisher.  Matt is the boss’s nephew and that is usually a bad omen but he is an impressive young man.  Not in looks: he is wearing a pyjama-stripe hoodie and is possibly malnourished, but his work ethic is outstanding.  He has sealed every worktop, socket and tile, including the ones behind the appliances; put back the vent cover, even though the vent was hidden and could reasonably have been forgotten; replaced two windowsills and a bathroom shelf; took out the toilet and sink and over-sink tiles and called in the decorator to re-do that wall because he wasn’t satisfied with how it looked; scraped cement mix off the kitchen wall that the floor man had left behind; and moved my fridge freezer and freezer back into the kitchen.  I could go on, but I think you have the idea.  The electrician who came yesterday warned me MtF was particular: he had come to move one socket because it was slightly higher than the two it was by, and when I said he could leave it as far as I was concerned, he shuddered and gave me to understand that Matt wouldn’t like it….

I can’t fault a man who is going to leave me with a perfect kitchen and bathroom and do it all on one cup of tea.  He wouldn’t take more because it interfered with his work time.  Nepotism rocks.


The decorator was the same man as last time.  He asked if he could get some water for his bucket:

Me: Let me just move these breakfast dishes out of the sink.
Him: I thought you’d be finished by now.
Me: (Apologetically) I overslept this morning so I’m behind on my chores.
Him: No, no – I meant your refurb.


I found this interesting – the recommended tags for this post included Nepotism, the People’s Republic of China, Government, Robert F. Kennedy, and the American House of Representatives.  It would appear that even the internet is jaded about politics.

A Lovely Guest

22 Jul

With the Ceausescu corpses in the news at the moment, I thought now would be a good time to tell you about the Romanian student we hosted two years ago. A tenuous link, I know; but I’ve been inhaling paint all day so you’ll forgive me if my brain has taken the night off.

Tory Boy’s sixth-form college hosted a whole group of them for a week and Tory Boy asked if we would take one in. As he had been hosted in Denmark the previous year, we thought it was the least we could do.

The boy’s name caused some confusion because it was Bogdan Vlas and everybody called him ‘Vlas’ but that would have been like calling me ‘Bud’. ‘Bogdan’ sounds like an East-ender asking if he’d finished his toilet business. I did consider calling him ‘Thingy’ but had to go with the standard parental fall-back of full first name use (remember Claire Huckstable’s ‘Walter’ for Cockroach?), so ‘Bogdan’ it was. Hub and the boys ended up calling him ‘Vlas,’ and I called him ‘Bogdan,’ as I am a mother, and that’s the name his own mother gave him. The Hub said I had to stop amusing myself at the expense of the poor boy before he arrived (once he had got, ‘I hope he’s not a slippery customer; or we’ll have to call him Vlasoline’ out of his system). I suddenly had the terrible thought that he might be asthmatic and I would have to call him Vlas the Inhaler.

For some reason I was expecting Viktor Krum; I don’t know why, as Vlas is Romanian and Viktor is Bulgarian (and fictional). He was tall and dark and gorgeous.

He is an only child and it showed in his confidence around adults. He was polite and friendly, and willing to try everything English: particularly the food. He asked if we had tea at four o’clock, which made us laugh. At home he drank black tea but while he stayed with us he drank it with milk, just like the English do. He didn’t notice that the Hub and I both take it black (although, to complicate matters, I only take my Earl Grey black; my PG Tips I take with milk). Bogdan also drank Armenian coffee, which is two parts coffee-three parts cocoa-one part water, and takes the veneer right off your teeth by vapour alone. He saw to that himself. He showered twice a day, which seemed bizarre to my dirty children who have to be bullied into scraping the dirt off, but it is perfectly Romanian (and much harder on the family who hosted two students and had only one bathroom between seven of them).

I thought I would try and make some typically English meals for Vlas, such as bangers & mash, roast chicken, and egg & chips. I started with a five veg beef stew, as it was January-cold and unwelcoming outside and that was warm and filling. He slept with his bedroom door shut so after that stew I had to call him Vlas the Daren’t Exhaler. I had to provide his lunch some days, and although it was cold I only provided cool drinks, or I’d have called him Thermos Vlas.

On the first night TB took Bogdan out to Pizza Hut with the rest of the Romanian contingent and their teenage hosts, and they were back by about ten-thirty; Bogdan had been travelling/awake since midnight the day before and was ready for bed. On Saturday, they all went into Manchester and then back to someone’s house for a party. TB phoned about ten p.m. to say that they were just coming home to collect Bogdan’s insurance documents, on the way to taking him to the hospital. It seems he fell down some stairs at the party and sliced open his wrist. As he was seventeen and a guest in our home, the Hub and I felt it would be better if we took him to A&E ourselves. We were only there for about ninety minutes as the Saturday night blood rush hadn’t yet started.

Bogdan saw a singing doctor. He came from over the water (Wallasey) and we immediately recognised each other’s accent. That didn’t stop him singing, though: half-under his breath and no tune that I know. He was cheerful, at least, and impressed by Bogdan’s English, which is excellent. He gave him three stitches and some glue. I stayed with Bogdan and watched the sewing (years of Schwarzenegger movies have hardened my delicate soul), because I wanted to be able to look his mother in the virtual face; I would hope that if a similar thing had happened to TB in Denmark, his hostess would have done the same. Bogdan was fine, but I bet he went home and said to people, ‘I went to England prepared to like it, and it attacked me.’

On the Sunday I packed him a monster lunch for his trip to York; on the Monday, the students went to Old Trafford (multiple fainting fits in the house at the news) and the Lowry Centre, so it was another packed lunch. I made him such large lunches that he was the envy of his ‘fellows’ as he called them; but I hate to think of a guest in my home going hungry unless by choice (have you tasted my cooking?).

I made a full English breakfast for dinner, to be eaten at tea time. The great thing was all of the food was new to him, so anything that he might not have enjoyed could be blamed on his palette and not on my cooking. The Hub once said that he never knew until he met me that burnt was a flavour. Bogdan loved the bacon & egg even though (despite the George Foreman Grill) it was incredibly greasy. By the way, he is welcome in my home forever because he told me I’m a wonderful cook, bless his innocence.

There was much hilarity around the table because I was talking to Spud Bud and he was looking at me as he poured his orange juice and didn’t notice when he ran out of glass; as one, all four of us rose up and shouted, ‘Wooaahhh!’ and Spud sat there trembling in fright like a cornered little bunny rabbit. He made us laugh again when he told us he had played in the inter-house rugby tournament and lost all his games but his team still came second…because the other three teams came joint-first.

That night, TB and Bogdan went skating in Altrincham with the Romanian students and their carers. They had a lift there and back and then TB phoned to say the car had broken down and then he phoned again to say the car had been fixed. Bogdan’s whole trip was nothing if not eventful.

It being Shrove Tuesday next day it was pancake breakfasts all round. By seven-thirty I had cooked fifteen pancakes (okay, burnt fifteen pancakes), and I was getting pretty bored with the whole hostessing thing, not having thought it through to just how much cooking was involved. TB and Bogdan went bowling and to laser quest that night; one of Bogdan’s ‘fellows’ (so cute) got a gun in the eye and she ended up in Stepping Hill A&E. A couple more of them and they’d be setting up a Romanian ward. They went to Liverpool on the Friday. All of the host students had the option to go on any of the trips, and TB decided at the last minute (literally: he was walking out the door) to go with them. This meant that my guest went to Liverpool with two drinks; four tuna mayonnaise sandwiches; a packet of crisps; an apple; a cheese string; three different sweets; half a pork pie; and a scotch egg; and my child took a bottle of water.

The Hub and I went into Stockport to try and buy something British for Bogdan to take home. We got two London bus key rings but they were tiny, and a large England flag for his room, whixh was better. Bogdan had brought us three hand carved gifts: a pretty flute-whistley-thing; a wooden wine cup; and a wall carving of a cherb, a Romanian mountain animal. The Hub and I gave up on buying British souvenirs, as everything seemed to be made in China, and went with British foodstuffs instead: PG Tips, mallow cakes, sweets, things like that; we also bought shortbread for Bogdan’s Mum, Boddingtons Bitter (made abroad now) for his Dad, and a monster bottle of HP sauce for Vlas, as he had it on everything, including his gravy: he was so keen to try British food we got British fish & chips from the Chinese chippy one night, but he had pudding, chips, mushy peas and gravy, like the Hub. He had a wonderful appetite, but even he balked at mushy peas, though he swallowed his distaste and gave them a go. He didn’t like them. I can’t say I blame him; they are disgusting.

The boys were late coming back from Liverpool on Friday, which gave Bogdan the chance to enjoy his first chav encounter on the bus from college, in the form of two abusive thirteen-year old girls. A real British experience.

The boys wolfed down dinner and went straight out to the barn dance at college. On the coach back from Liverpool, a teacher had asked whose parents were going, and Tory Boy was the only one to put up his hand, so we were officially de-invited by our son, who did not wish to be embarrassed by us.

On Saturday, Bogdan left for London at six-thirty a.m., with his biggest packed lunch yet. He again told me he was the envy of his fellows because he had the biggest and best lunch every day. Food was something of an issue with the students, as they had initially been told not to worry about taking too many clothes to England, but to take blankets and food instead. Not sure if they thought we Brits are poor hosts or on starvation wages. Bogdan had erred on the side of caution and brought sweets and snacks and a sleeping bag. He didn’t go hungry as we gave him full access to the fridge and cupboards (Spud came to me with a doleful face and one sentence that encapsulated his utter deprivation: ‘He ate my Hershey Bar…sigh’), and he ate everything that was put in front of him except for the mushy peas and the scotch egg: he said he took a bite and looked into it and went the Romanian equivalent of ‘Wooaahh,’ holding it out at arms length. He was really freaked by finding an egg in it, for some reason. Two of his fellows shared it and loved it, anyway.

We made a point of buying and cooking British food for him to try as he was so keen to embrace the culture, though we drew the line at faggotts and tripe. We heard through the student grapevine (just had a mental picture of entangled students in a sunny French vineyard) that one girl was staying with a couple in a similar financial situation to us and they had gone out of their way to buy lots of British foodstuffs for her to experience and she turned up her nose at everything, and threw her lunches away. I think she was the worst of the lot, but most of them were lovely. However, if the Romanian students were limited editions, we got number 1/20; the English students kept saying to TB that they wished they were hosting Bogdan.

Sunday was recuperation and packing day for him. TB had to work but managed to get off early, so Bogdan got the bus into Stockport to do some shopping, and TB met him there later. I was worried about Bogdan going off by himself, particularly as he walked out of the front door holding his passport and wallet in hand as an invitation to the local muggers but he was fine, even managing to hold onto his money long enough to buy eight t-shirts, with TB buying him a ninth as a gift. His luggage was ten kilos overweight and we had to give him a rucksack to hold the extra stuff.

I made a light tea of beans on toast – you can’t get more British than that – and at seven we all went to a farewell meal at a strange place: a private house with parts given over to a tea room and arts & crafts section, and not open on Sundays except to special friends like Aquinas College, who hired out the whole building.

Spud was the only child there, as the invite was just for the students and as a thank you for those host families who had not had a reciprocal arrangement with their own child going to Romania, and we were the only host family without a reciprocal arrangement who was not without a child. Spud clung to his father at first, as he was a little diffident back then, but Bogdan persuaded him onto the dance floor and stayed with Spud, showing him his best moves. This was despite the girls clustering around him (Bogdan) all night; he was a lovely, good-natured boy and a great ambassador for his country.

There were so many people there that we didn’t quite work out who was Romanian and who wasn’t; the only thing we could do was pick out the negatives with lighter hair, as the Romanians were all dark. However, there was only one girl who looked obviously foreign, and she was dressed as a Goth, so I’m guessing she was Transylvanian in origin.

The adults all sat together and I was chatting to one of the teachers, Janina, who was charming. She grew up under Ceausescu and was telling me – after some probing on my part – how awful it was, and that the Romanian people all try to forget those times. We had an interesting chat about regime change and European public transport systems, and then we danced with the students.

A disco had been hired and it was peculiar that the teenagers kept requesting the latest music but only danced if a song had been born before them. At least it gave me a chance to make up for Tory Boy’s lack of embarrassment on Friday. We got home just before twelve and I felt as giddy as if I’d had two glasses of wine instead of orange juice and water; I seem to get drunk on atmosphere alone.

When Bogdan first arrived we did that awkward thing of going to hug then changing our minds and shaking hands instead; when he left it was hugs all round. We stayed in touch for a while but I haven’t heard from him this year. He did promise to come back one day and it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a knock on my door in ten years’ time and it was him. And he would still be welcome.


Happy Birthday to My Baby (1)

15 Jan

Mummy promised that he would grow a neck in the next year or so

Spud is fourteen today.  I can hardly believe it…not that it’s fourteen years since I gave birth to him, but that he’s survived fourteen years of my cooking and slapdash care (if I can machine-wash a mobile phone, just think of how many near-misses my kids have had over the years). 


Spud’s seventh birthday.  He was Pikachu; I was Bridget Jones, one-tonne-six goddess.  


The neck finally kicked in but she suggested he lose the glasses, not knowing that Harry Potter was about to explode onto the scene

We hope he is going to have a nice day, but the signs are not good:  

  1. It’s raining (you’ve seen the movies: rain = unhappiness)
  2. Gift number four has not arrived despite being ordered over a week ago (blame the snow).  It was originally gift number one but absence makes the list grow longer
  3. No Weekenders club tonight (blame the snow) and no new game (see point 2) to play in its stead
  4. Cards he knows will contain money from friends and relatives have not arrived (blame the snow…yawn) and thus he cannot purchase new game to play in the stead of cancelled Weekenders club and absence of first choice of game


I’m just kidding.  He’s in a great mood and loves his blue tooth ear piece thing for the PS3, six-pack of Pepsi Max, and MP4 player.  We will buy him a cake today (chocolate, as instructed) and the Hub is treating us to a Chinese takeaway for dinner.  Spud is at the match tomorrow so we are taking him and three friends – if he remembers to invite them; he’s getting forgetful in his old age – to the movies and afterpizza, next weekend. 


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