house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Harry Potter and the Cursed Weekend

Of course they wanted to go to the new Harry Potter. Such is the hype that they'll watch “the boy who lived” sleeping in the woods for three hours, if that's what the film will show them.

Three things were in the way of a trip to the cinema: Kira's dance lesson (the local equivalent of Dumbledore's Army); the NATO summit in Lisbon, which has been to the police force what rain is to mushrooms: they're all out to harass random motorists, even along obscure C-roads. Long black boots, stiff caps, shiny gun holsters: will someone tell Harry P. that we muggles have our own dementors? And my patronus isn't that strong these days.

Besides, at least once in a lifetime, one is made aware of the importance of windowsills. They are underrated magical objects of great power and have lately become our raison d'etre. Nikita arranged an appointment with the stonemason to install the said windowsills on Saturday afternoon.

Thus, while Harry waves, loses, finds, breaks and superglues his wand at Hogwarts, we wander around our land - Felixwarts, let's call it - servicing the chickens (read dragons, and they require straw, food, water and occasional bottom washing with a hose). We also picked up litter (you know, troll bogies, horcruxes, socks lost by house elves, pumpkin juice bottles, old sorting hats). The Master Builder doesn't turn up. Eventually we call him ('where art thee, Dark Lord?') It turns out he forgot all about our windowsills and on the phone he sounds like someone reminded of an ingrown toenail (under the Cruciatus curse?). 'Fica para amanha!' Try again tomorrow. We loiter for a while longer in complete silence, stunned - you may say.

The next day, while Hermione gives a First Kiss to Ron (Ewww!) and the rain pounds the roofs, the stonemason arrives and we all take shelter. Harry Potter fans will instantly see a strong resemblance to Professor Gilderoy Lockhart: today our man is wearing a light leather jacket, jeans and pointy shoes. And do we detect a whiff of aftershave? It turns out that we've come for a job, and Gilderoy's come for a demonstration. Only one windowsill makes it to the window, briefly. He bosses Nikita around: 'measure this', 'lift that', 'take the level'. The sill is measured and lifted, a level is taken.

Thereupon we go one stage up with the lesson: now Nikita has to take 'the level of the level'. Huh? 'The level of the LEVEL!' the craftsman repeats in a louder voice. We stare at him with vacant eyes. Hush Gilderoy, the children are clearly under the confundus curse!

There is a trick here (that'll be the counter-curse) and we should know it! The master gets cranky, chants: 'THE LEVEL OF THE LEVEL'. It turns out that a pencil and two wood chips are needed in order to establish the new level whose level we must take. Accio horcrux!

Could it be possible that our stonemason intends for us to install the windowsills ourselves, sometime later? ('you must do it alone, Harry! It's your destiny!') Will our windows rest on our capacity to remember these random instructions: 'right, here you need to build the wall up five centimeters with stone and lime mortar', 'and rip this old windowsill here then take another level', 'oh, and put a thin layer of mortar here', 'by the way, make sure this side is up', 'you'll be FINE!' It's old magic and utterly impenetrable. Nothing ever written in books will help. Hermione weeps.

After some small talk, the Pro makes his farewells and dashes out to his black broom, while the shoes are still shiny. Another moment of staring into space. Then, with hunched shoulders, we carry the windowsill back to the pile of identical slabs in the front yard.

Had we been to Harry Potter, perhaps we'd have learned some useful spells. We could have then gone to Felixwarts and waved some chestnut sticks with cores made of factory chicken feathers. And the job would have been magically done. Not just the windowsills, the whole house. Wingardium leviosa!

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At 29 November 2010 at 09:51 , Anonymous Rupert Wolfe Murray said...

Great story, as always, and nice to hear that you sometimes come across normal builders -- grumpy, unreliable, useless and late -- as I get the impression (I guess from Moonman) that everyone who comes to your site are happy, jolly and over enthusiastic (or are they the "happy" farm labourers in the Commie era posters?)

At 29 November 2010 at 17:21 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So hav u been 2c hp7 or not?

At 29 November 2010 at 22:08 , Anonymous Monica Wolfe Murray said...

Yes we've been! One week after the events above, and on the same day as you, it seems (last Saturday afternoon?)
Frankly, I would have gone to see it next July, when I could immediately watch the sequel...
Big hugs Lara,


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