Platform 9 3/4

There’s a date that’s been in the diary for an untold amount of time and that’s Eva’s 9 3/4 birthday. I say “untold” because I really have no idea how log ago I put it in there. I remember her asking ne to put it in there a few months ago and, to my surprise it was already there. So this trip was a long time in the making. Not that that’s any guarantee of it actually happening though. Not with a lengthy period of family isolation at the end of January. But Eva and I were covid-free in time and we managed to squeeze a jaunt in between work and bedtime. It was aa flawless plan.

What was not so flawless was me burning my finger on the pan when cooking gnocchi the evening so I’m mainly typing lefthanded with my right hand soaking in a bowl. Excuse the typos.

The plan was simple – just to get a picture of Eva at Platform 9 3/4 on the day that she was exactly 9 3/4. Having been confined for so long though, everything that wasn’t Our Lounge was a source of wonder to both of us. There was a woman carrying a dog on the escalator at Walthamstow Central (at least someone paid attention to the sign that says “Dogs Must Be Carried on the Escalator”) and when we got onto the tube, there was a blue-haired woman reading “Harry Potter og Ildbegeret”. That’s “Goblet of Fire” in Norwegian, if you didn’t know, and Eva was thrilled at the coincidence as she sat on the Tube in her homemade Ravenclaw scarf and her even more homemade Ravenclaw robes. She’s recently shifted allegiance from Gryffindor to Ravenclaw so her robes were just Gryffindor ones with a paper crest she’d drawn stuck over the top. She was even more thrilled when the doors opened at Highbury and Islington and there was a giant poster for “Philosopher’s Stone”.

We walked through the corridors which appeared to have fancy tiled flooring but as Eva exclaimed it really was just a picture of some fancy tiled flooring. A man was playing “Albatross” on a guitar at the end of the corridor. There were people who weren’t in my immediate family. it was all very overstimulating. Just look at Eva marvelling at the station roof:

The actual photo we went there for was very straightforward. There was barely any queue so we got through very quickly.

We got through the shop far less quickly and Eva managed to score both a Ravenclaw hairbow and a Luna Lovegood necklace. She wanted some Bertie Botts beans but for £7.95 it seemed a steep price for a small packet of sweets that were going to be largely inedible. There was a large selection of Ravenclaw merch to choose from so I think I got off lightly.

I had promised her some dinner though and we had a tough choice between Burger King and McDonalds. Eva was too busy to choose because she was concentrating on making the clock brighter with her wand:

We started drifting towards McDonalds then sped up to get her past “Kingdom of Sweets”. Then we saw a third option – Five Guys. I’ve chosen McDonalds over Five Guys before and regretted it and, safe to say, I regretted it this time. I wasn’t eating dinner as such because we were having gnocchi later (the regrets continue) but did get a portion of mozzarella sticks that was, apparently, meant for  three people. Thanks for pointing that out Eva.

The McDonalds experience was predictably chaotic but the money we saved by not going to Five Guys meant that I could buy her some ridiculously expensive sweets from “Kingdom of Sweets” on the way back past. Yes, I’m a soft touch but I’d challenge anyone to stay strong and stingy in the face of a child who looks at the sweets and says, eyes shining “Am I really awake? Or is this just a magical dream?”

OK yes, I’m a soft touch. But she said later that it had been the perfect day so it was worth it. It sounds like we just sat on the tube for ages and then ate some sweets but as I say, we haven’t been out much lately…

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