God, the state of the UK feels rough right now. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing my family this Christmas anyway, but I just keep thinking at the back of my mind, “What if I can’t go see them for literal years? And what if I can’t go to the cinema, sit in coffee shops, visit theme parks, walk on beaches for literal years either?” (There is, of course, an “…if ever?” at the back of that, too.)
It could be so, SO much worse for me, I know that. I was ridiculously, painfully lucky. Lots of my loved ones were. I’m sitting right now thinking, “You’re fine, your family is fine, you have a fridge full of garlic bread, what have you got to complain about?” But I just really really wish there was any sort of end date whatsoever.
It’s funny, but most of the memories I have of Harry Potter are almost nothing to do with the actual books and everything to do with the people I was sharing them with.
Like when I was a kid, still in school, I would read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to my younger siblings. My favourite bit was the Sirius-Pettigrew confrontation at the end. I used to LOVE read-screaming the lines, “THEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED! DIED RATHER THAN BETRAY YOUR FRIENDS!” It was so dramatic and thrilling. But that was my voice, not JK Rowling’s-
When the last Harry Potter book came out I went to the midnight opening of the Milton Keynes Waterstones with a friend. First we saw Hairspray (which is a really good movie) and then we went next door to the shopping center. There were excited kids running around everywhere, it was like a little party. I got a t-shirt. I think I still have it, but I don’t wear it-
When I was a fully grown adult me and the same friend went to London for the day and we stopped at King’s Cross station. They had a Harry Potter tourist area there, they probably still have it. (I’m not going back.) We got in line and waited for ages and got our photo taken at the magic wall. My frienddidn’t even like Harry Potter! But she was still willing to do all that.
So those are the sort of things I think about now.
Esmeralda was always my favourite of the Disney women. She wasn’t a princess but I didn’t care. (This was before Disney really started pushing the ‘princess’ thing anyway.) She doesn’t appear in the Disneyland parks anymore ever from what I can tell. Disney just kinda quietly ignores their version of Hunchback of Notre Dame, probably because… well… if you’ve seen it you’ll know.
But then I found this old Disney autograph book in a drawer and in it was-
This was kinda interesting to me even though I could not remember meeting either of them AT ALL. (I was still a pretty young kid after all.) And also there was no date on the autograph book because children don’t think to date things! So those autographs could’ve been either from 1996 (when HOND actually came out) or 1999. But I have SO FEW MEMORIES of going to Disneyworld in 1996! That’s what the photos are for, to remind me, but honestly I kinda look at them and a lot of the time there isn’t any memory attached.
But a week or two ago I found this tiny little keyring photo album thingy, all the way from the late 90s. You could print out tiny little versions of photos (or get your parents to do so) and store them in a photo album so small you could carry it around with you on your bag or keys. Yeah… that’s what we all did before phones.
So I flipped through the teeny keyring album a couple of times. It was all pictures from our trip in 1999, which I do remember a bit better. And after looking more closely suddenly I realised there was one photo hidden behind another. I pulled it out and…
There was an Esmeralda in Disneyworld in 1999! I don’t know if she was the one who gave me the autograph or if that was a different ’96 Esmeralda, but hey she hung on for a few years in the park after Hunchback of Notre Dame came out and before Disney got cold feet about the contents of the film!
Thank you past me for hiding that photo away where I’d probably have never found it, ya dick.
I found this in a bunch of stuff and it’s quite something. Wanna see?
All spelling mistakes left intact and also I can’t help interjecting here and there.
Storys My 1st story
Once upon a time there lived a mother who was always in a very bad mood and a girl who would have been very lovey but her mother didn’t love her at all. So the girl had no clothes and her mother only let her have a small biut of bread every day. She hated her so much that she let her go full-time danceing. She paid for it too.
One night the girl came home and flung herself on her mother ‘Mother’ she said ‘I was getting changed out of my danceing shoes and I saw this man. He said I looked lovey in my danceing dress.’ The mother was
very worried. She didn’t want her to love anyone. So she turned the girl out of the house. ‘And never return’ she said. ‘Off you go’ So the girl, whose name was Rose, had to go.
[Rose was one of my Barbies, I’m def writing about my Barbies here. Rose was a ballerina barbie, I remember that. I don’t think she was exactly this one but something very similar, with feet you could position into ballet moves.]
She ran out into the night. By the time she was a mile from home she bumped into something that caught hold of her. ‘Let me go’ cryed Rose. ‘Its me’ said someone. It was the man she had met at danceing. ‘Follow me’ he said and he took her to a big car. He went inside and pressed a button. The car turned into a house. They went into it. It had a four poster bed and some more spare beds. ‘Right’ said the man whose name was Ken. ‘Here is a dress’
[I also had a Ken doll]
‘Oh thank you’ said Rose and she put it on. Rose’s mother had had some more children. One was called Pale face and she was very nasty to people who were kind. The next was called Cupcake and she was a nice girl.
[And this is what Cupcake was! She wasn’t mine though, she was a friend’s.]
The next one was a small baby and no one knew if she was going to grow up to be a nice girl or not. ‘One day’ said Rose’s mum ‘We will get her.’ At Kens home Rose was haveing a great time at Kens house. One day Cupcake told her mum that she was going to run away because she didn’t want to kill Rose. She ran away that very day and soon she reached Kens home. She told them everything. ‘Stay with us’ said Ken.
Cupcake stayed with them. Her mother had never liked her so she didn’t mind. Rose liked her very much and so did Ken. Cupcake went out every week day to the shops. They gave her good food and Ken gave her a dress. One day Roses mother made a attack on her. Not with swords but with their hands. At last they went away and Rose was worried. ‘They might come again’ she said. ‘Don’t worrie’ said Ken. ‘I will lock the door.’ Rose was glad. Later, Ken asked some guards to guard the house. Rose’s mum was very very cross. And then she thought of a good plan
but Cupcake heard about it and she and the others made a plan. They would let the good people like the baby out and then they locked the door from the outside. No one could get out. But the poice told them off and they unlocked the door. So the mother made another plan. That night the mother took a bit of string and tied up Rose. She tied her to the bed and threw the bed in the dungeon. When Rose woke up she found herself in a dreadful dungeon. It was very dark and the door was locked. Suddenly someone came in.
It was her mother. She took her clothes and her bed away. Rose had to wear rags. But one night Ken came and hunted all around the house for the key that would unlock ther dungeon door. He looked in cupboards. He looked in chests of drawers. He looked in the wardrobe. When he looked in a drawer that was hidden behind a microwave Ken went to the dungeon and let Rose out. They first called the poilce.
They took Roses mother to jail and sent pale face to a school were you had to work very hard indeed and you never got even a short break.
[Seems a bit harsh]
The baby was sent to live with Rose and Ken and Cupcake looked after her very well. One night Roses mother looked out of the jail window to see the church all lighted up. Ken and Rose were getting married and they lived happily ever after
Ahaha I forgot I ever took this. This is Morena Baccarin at a con back in 2008. I didn’t meet her but I did photograph her from the queue! This is before cons started getting really funny about cameras being allowed anywhere near the stars.
Apple harvesting time
Kitty cat admiring, or possibly being disgusted by, all the snow
MY OLD TOY SHELF! Some of these I actually still have, lots of them I have no idea what happened to though.
BEAUTIFUL damn sunset over my old back garden
A less brightly coloured but no less appreciated sunset over Cleethorpes beach
An unimpressed fish.
The windmill at Caldecotte Lake. (I have no idea if it’s still there, I hope it is.)
London as viewed from the Tate Modern art gallery.
Here’s some I particularly like. (Most of these probably weren’t taken by me, though honestly no-one is sure anymore.)
Me getting a copy of Watchmen for my birthday in 2006. I still have it, and a couple of years after this photo was taken I got it signed by Alan Moore. I now have much more mixed feelings about Watchmen and (especially) Moore though. Ya grow.
A sky that looks like it was painted.
A sea lion at Whipsnade Zoo.
Some really colourful flamingos!
Me in my childhood bedroom, dressed up for prom. (Prom is much less of a big deal in Britain. Or it was.) That’s a Darth Maul photo signed by Ray Park in the background. Might be worth a bit less now if recent rumors are anything to go by.
After four months of going nowhere but the occasional field I have been to Bradgate Park in Leicester! Oh thank god. It’s so nice to BE OUT.
No-one else was wearing masks… apart from this elf we found in a tree on the way there.
I took a panorama with my phone once we got there. Surprisingly there are no deer in it (they are everywhere)
See, here’s one. This deer has an expression on his face I cannot read.
Dave took most of the above photos (only numbers 2 and 6 are mine I think) and he also took these AMAZING ones of a white deer chilling in the ruins of Lady Jane Grey’s estate. There was a wall in the way but he STILL MANAGED IT!
The Romantic/gothy side of me likes to think, maybe that’s Lady Jane’s reincarnated spirit wandering around there.
Meanwhile I took a picture of an interesting wall.
Dave then got this amazing photo of a dragonfly which are very hard to photograph-
Hey remember all my posts of photos from when my family went to Disneyworld in 1996? Well we went in 1999 as well (I was a spoiled kid) and only recently have I uncovered photos from that. There’s not nearly as many (I figure the rest will show up eventually) and they’re pretty small images but, wanna see?
Animal Kingdom would have just opened at this point I think. It was about a year old when this photo was taken!
I imagine I was probably pretty fascinated by the dinosaurs scattered around Animal Kingdom. I seem to remember the movie Dinosaur was being advertised in the park a lot and there was at least one “Dinosaur” themed ride? Alas, I fear it didn’t stand the test of time.
On the cable cars again! Those things must’ve been popular. So I guess the body of water on the right is the submarine lake with the submarines long gone.
Tomorrowland as viewed from the cable cars. I remember the racing car ride there but couldn’t say with any certainty what it was called.
The castle, presumably also viewed from the cable cars since there’s no crowds getting in the way.
Space Mountain, ditto. Is now a good time to point out I find the Disneyworld Space Mountain design so terribly dull? Feast your eyes instead on the Disneyland Paris one. It’s a WORK OF ART.
Oh but this is Spectromagic and that was also a work of art!
Elsewhere in Epcot, who’s this guy? This would have been at Innoventions, which was closed for good and reduced to rubble just last year, aww man. Oh here’s a video of him! I think his name is Starnac. Wonder where he is now.
Ah here is The Electric Umbrella! That name stuck in my mind for ages for some reason.
This is IllumiNations which took place over the Epcot lake! Also hooray, 90s cameras had evolved to be able to take pictures of fireworks at that point.
Minnie Mouse! Oh my GOD you can see my training bra under my shirt in this picture.
An AT-AT! That must be the building Star Tours was in?
Curiously the only Disneyworld ’99 snaps I do have in high definition are ones from Typhoon Lagoon. Here’s the Typhoon Lagoon boat!
In fact WAIT I have a picture of that boat from ’96 as well! So here’s the two side-by-side.
And that’s about it! (I really hope I find the rest some day though.)
You can repost the pictures of the attractions here, but please don’t repost any pictures with people in them!
Sigh. This is an awful situation. (And one you most likely already know about if you’ve been reading the news.)
I’m lucky, insanely lucky, because I live just outside of the lockdown zone. I found that out today. I can’t go visit people or go to the city center or visit the next town over, but I’m in an area that has so far had zero deaths.
The mood on Facebook and the other social media hangouts for Leicesterians is a very, very subdued one. Also, because Leicester is known for being so diverse there have been pockets of hate and racism cropping up and Twitter will not do anything about them. That’s awful too.
It’s weird and surreal and really, really not great to be spared when everyone around you is suffering.