Sunday, 22 February 2015

Rainy Sunday in the subway...

Went out with the boys to get some exercise...and this was the driest place to be.

Luckily, there was a ton of cool art for us to look at.

Cool...but scary art.

And of course - art they had to interact with.

They even made me stand against a red one - in the hope it would make me look bald. 

Back-to-school (and work) tomorrow moody face.

Sunday, 8 February 2015


It was the first ever Harry Potter Book Night on Thursday.

I'm currently reading the HPs to Eight-year-old - although it's probably the hundredth re-read for me. We're halfway through Order of the Phoenix and there's something in every chapter that terrifies us, makes us laugh or makes us marvel at JK Rowling's brilliance.

On Thursday evening we went to our local Waterstones for Harry Potter games, quizzes and torchlight readings...

There was a sorting hat - which sorted Eight-year-old into Ravenclaw. This dismayed him because he's always felt he would belong in Hufflepuff. Academically...well, he isn't in the top group for anything at school (apart from art)...he isn't even in many of the middle groups, but he never stops working hard. He's a kind boy too - and Hufflepuff is by far the kindest house. It welcomes all those students who're not brave enough, bright enough or ambitious enough to belong anywhere else. So, whenever he wasn't distracted by the games and quizzes, Eight-year-old fiddled unhappily with his Ravenclaw badge...

Since I'd arrived wearing my Slytherin scarf, I was immediately sorted into Slytherin...and I remained the only person in Slytherin House all evening. While there was a great deal of cheering from all the other houses, whenever it was the Slytherins' turn to cheer, I had to shout "Slytherin!" on my own - while all the children hissed and booed around me. To be honest, I can't remember when I've ever enjoyed anything so much!

Somewhere between the torchlight reading and the Hogwarts-style feast, we noticed there were a number of policemen in the shop and lots of flashing lights outside. Although this didn't interfere with Harry Potter Book Night, we found out afterwards that a robber had sneaked in and stolen money from the safe in the coffee shop while we were sitting there in the darkness. I'm afraid Eight-year-old was thrilled by this discovery and wished he'd been in able to join in the chase!

Later that night - after further thought - he brought his iPad up to my room and asked me to help him sign up to Pottermore. He said he wasn't going to believe he was a Ravenclaw until JK Rowling's official sorting hat had told him so. It was a tense ten or fifteen minutes. He agonised over every question. Then - finally - the Pottermore hat sorted him into...

...Hufflepuff and we both cheered with relief!

After that, of course, he kept badgering me to be sorted...and I was genuinely reluctant. I knew I'd have to answer the questions honestly and I was afraid the stupid hat might not put me in Slytherin after all. Even after I'd spent the entire evening being Slytherin's sole representative on Harry Potter Night!
I have the scarf and the badge. Besides which, my two favourite characters are Slytherins...

Snape, because he's the most romantic character ever - "After all this time?"....."Always."
And Bellatrix because - well, more because of the film than the book to be honest, but Helena Bonham Carter is so much fun to watch!
(My favourite non-Slytherin characters are probably Luna and Neville because they're both such unlikely heroes.)

Anyway, Eight-year-old nagged me until I joined Pottermore and got sorted into...

...Slytherin - whoop whoop!

Wow, I took that way too seriously. But not everyone gets what they want. See what happened when Draco tried it...

Trouble is - Eight-year-old was disappointed all over again. He was secretly convinced the hat would put me into one of the houses for nice people - because the Slytherins are all evil dark wizards. He has a point - there's a lot of snobbery, racism, bullying and spitefulness over in the green corner.

But it's the Slytherins who have the characteristics I most admire and aspire to. They're ambitious and determined - and there's nothing wrong with that! The secret of happiness is probably to make a success of something you enjoy. And in order to succeed at anything you have to have to focus on it and keep working towards it with a sort of  quiet, steady determination. 
Here's Joe Strummer explaining it better than I can...