I admit it, I am potty about Potter!
This year has seen me indulge in more Potter than is normal for somebody in their fifties.
It started with a February trip to Edinburgh, when I dragged Mrs Wilbur to Elephant House Cafe, the proclaimed birthplace of HP himself courtesy of the then single mum Joanne Rowling frequenting the coffee shop to pour out her literary ideas on notepads & napkins.
In May it was the full on wizard world with a visit to the Warner Bros Studio and their incredible Potter exhibition. Just magic!
Next up came an October visit to Porto, the city where Harry was conceived whilst JKR was living there. It was here that her daughter was born, before she left for her defining time in Scotland.
Porto is home to an extraordinary bookshop named Livaria Lello. The wonderful venue is said to have given inspiration to Ms Rowling and set her on her literary path.
Whilst in Porto we visited nearby Guimaraes and visited the Dukes of Braganza Palace.
The resemblance to the corridors and halls of Hogwarts was uncanny. The palace was also guarded by a huge knight that could have been a twin of one of the famous chess pieces in Chamber of Secrets. Could the place have sown another seed in a brilliantly creative mind?
Working in London, I am a frequent visitor to King’s Cross Station, home of the Platform 9 3/4 shop. I haven’t queued to have my picture taken in Gryffindor garb pushing a trolley through the wall, but have smiled many times as others have excitedly done so.
The pictures below was taken at Halloween, a particularly apt time of year for witches like Hermione.
Talking of the bookishly brilliant sorceress, December brought the inner Hermione out in me as I visited the absolutely splendid History of Magic Exhibition at London’s British Library (sadly now finished, but with many of the exhibits still housed at the library).
Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the publication of Philosophers Stone, the exhibition is laid out in the form of Hogwarts lessons.
Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, Herbology, Divination, Care of Magical Creatures are all wonderfully brought to life with Potter paraphernalia and beautifully preserved hand-written & illustrated books, scrolls and objects dating back centuries.
The magical records helped conjure names & words now familiar for appearing in the books – Nicholas Flamel, Mandrakes and magical names such as Nymphadora, Minerva, Albus, Severus & Sirius to name just a few.
My final Potter destination was the incredible House of MinaLima gallery & shop in Greek Street, Soho.
Miraphora (what a wonderfully Potteresque name!) Mina & Eduardo Lima joined forces in 2002 to take up the artistic challenge that was offered to them, to imagine and create the graphic universe of the Harry Potter film series.
Ministry of Magic decrees & posters, Hogwarts Express tickets, Hogwarts invitation letters, the Quibbler, Daily Prophet and my personal favourite, Mrs Weasley’s Howler, were all brought to life by Miraphora & Eduardo and ordain the walls of the four floors of their wonderfully higgledy piggledy Soho store.
Please don’t tell Mrs Wilbur, but I am sorely tempted to buy a limited edition print of the Howler sent to Ron Weasley!
London is also home to several other locations used in the film such as Leadenhall Market, the Millennium Bridge & St Pancras Station, all of which see me imagining dementors, wand shops & he who must not be named. See Visit Britain for details.
I hope that you enjoy pottering about as much as I did!