Wednesday, March 26, 2008

no more big red, julia's going to oxford

yes, it helps that the great hall in Christ Church was the Harry Potter dining hall....She has left her Cornell aspirations behind.

We did Oxford - not too shabby of course, Sunday, before going to Stratford for me (not enough time to indulge my Shakespeare cravings ) and then driving to my sister's in Scotland (where we did discuss Harry Potter with the Buddhist nuns at Samye Linge, where we toured and saw the amazing temple, ate lunch, strangely had a wonderful cappuccino in the coffee house there...and more and more...but I digress). Julia was totally infatuated...and when we had dinner later that night there was a guy at another table that would make my niece JL look twice, a bit of a ringer for Rupert Grynt. After spotting a Harry Potterish looking teen at our hotel in London - is it a wonder that I think we're doomed to be visiting these girls in the UK for college?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Platform 9 and 3/4

So today we did it - after witnessing the classic (and freezing - it's insanely coldwetcold here) changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace (no queen but a horse who obviously couldn't wait to boogie) we spent the afternoon on the London Harry Potter taxi tour with our tour guide, Carol. Evidently doing just the 3 1/2 tour is a rare thing - most people book the 10 or 12 hour tour that includes Oxford and the place where the classrooms were shot. But we stuck to the good old London scene. It seemed to baffle Carol a bit, how to describe anything to Julia when she hadn't seen the movies yet. I don't know if the books were her thing quite as much - but we did about 10 stops in the afternoon and considering the bitter bitter cold and a 5 year old's tired feet I'm glad we did it.

I'll add links another time (finally adding them today -slacker jetlagged blogger mom) but we started with Kings Cross - Carol pointed out which building had been used as the outside of the station as Kings Cross itself is so not pretty. We scooted inside - changing Julia into her Hogwarts robe (couldn't resist) to see several sites of the movie. The bridge you see Harry and Hagrid on, the clocks, the platform that they really filmed (number 5), the wall where the kids disappear into platform 9 3/4 (Julia tried, but obviously not being 11 yet she couldn't get through) (in the meantime btw it started sleeting outside) and then, outside to the tourist attraction of them all - see picture above - platform 9 3/4. There's my girl taking off for magical boarding school!
We went to the site that Warner Bros "stole" for Grimmauld place - evidently the folks who lived there wanted too much cash for location so WB just built their own exact copy. And then to the Australia House - the site of Gringotts bank. Off to the passages leading up to Diagon Alley (Leadenhall) and the site that had been transformed as the entrance to Diagon Alley. Then of course my camera battery died (damn that overzealous photo taking mommy) and we must rely on Aunt Miriam's with which we took photos but she doesn't know how to download them yet.
A project for Scotland.
We went from Diagon Alley to an open air organic market that is across from a beautiful classically rundown shop under the train arch that was the Leaky Cauldron. It hailed again! We went to London Bridge to hear all about how Harry had flown on Thestrals and Broomsticks over the Thames, back to the Globe to hear the Globe connection (Zoe Wanamaker aka Madame Hooch is the daughter of the man who headed the restoration of the Globe - Sam Wanamaker) and check out The Millenium Bridge again, where Carol believes they filmed for Movie 6 (collapsing Bridge), and the Lambeth Bridge (at which point Julia didn't want to get out of the car again and I couldn't blame her) and then on to Scotland Yard - otherwise known as the Ministry of Magic. I'm sure I've forgotten something along the lines but it was a cool day and will be better when I have all the photos for Julia to compare to when she does see the movies.
But right now she's cuddled on her hotel room bed, listening to Mike read HP5 the second chapter...."addressed to Petunia Dursley at number 4 Privet Drive...."

Friday, March 21, 2008

julia's magical weather

Today - after soaring through the sky on the London Eye, being knighted by a silver Dumbledore, riding the carousel and going to the Globe - where we saw a cool actress chick learning to stage-fight from her fellows, mesmerzing J - and then touring the Globe (sidebar - Julia asked the best questions of the group if I say so in the proud mommy way myself - querying the guide as to what would happen to the not royalty folks if they wore the royal purple or red (fined!) or if the canon that started the London fire was still in the room above the stage (no)) - we crossed the Thames by way of the millenium footbridge.

As we walked over the bridge the skies darkened and winds kicked up, grey clouds rolled in. I told Julia the Dementors must be around. She braved the winds and let out a cry over the river - Expecto Patronum. Expecto Patronum. I could swear I saw a bit of the sun peek through.

Then three minutes later it started to HAIL!!! Some powers my kid has!

P.S. our hotel - not the swanky Marriott - but the unswanky but totally fine Premier Inn is right behind the London Eye, really couldn't get a better location for a better price!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Landed in the land of Harry Potter this morning on just a few hours of sleep but have been going all day in cold rain with Julia serenading the world with Harry and the Potters at various intervals. Took her to see the crown jewels and boat ride up the Thames and across the bridge and now are safely ensconced in our hotel room, exhausted, waiting for Aunt Miriam to show up.

She's carrying her Harry and Ginny action figures with her. Trying to figure out which Harry Potter things to do - Platform 9 3/4 - we'll see you soon!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

You might be thinking -

- that since I haven't posted in a few weeks the Harry obsession has waned. But no - despite my getting mired in a business trip to Chicago and a very very intense web series shoot, much of which took place in my own home - the "I wanna be Mrs. Harry Potter" cry has not diminished at all. You saw the report card (progress report? Whatever they call those things in progressive developmental private schools).

The other night was the war of her crying that we had to start reading her book 5 NOW! Which I wouldn't. Little does she know that we bought a paperback copy to take on our flight to London on Wednesday. London, where we will be immersed in Muggle England with the hope of seeing some witches and wizards amongst the crowds.

This is how contagious Julia's obsession is - it turns out that a friend knew Daniel Radcliffe's mom long ago - she mentions it in passing and all I can think is that if I could have her meet him I would be the coolest mom ever. Something I would never do probably even if I had the chance to have her do it because I do know he's a person and an actor and not HP himself (Julia blurs that distinction) but for a moment I really really want to be the coolest mom ever.

Kindergarten report card

Julia's progress report says - and I quote

"She has a wonderful, playful imagination and her dictations, when not centered on Harry Potter, are very creative."