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Dear Mr. Potter

I found a draft of this post that I started back in early July 2011, and thought I would finish and post it. It made me quite emotional reading it back!

It was started when I first found out about the "Dear Mr Potter" book, and I have since bought a copy which I can't read without crying!

Here's my letter:

Dear Mr. Potter,

I remember the moment we met, very clearly. Granny (Ravenclaw) had bought 'The Philosopher's Stone' for herself from a 2nd hand bookshop. She handed it to me in the car to have a look at, and told me she'd bought it because the papers were going crazy about this boy wizard, and she wanted to see what the fuss was about. Well, as far as I know, she has still never even read the first book. The church made its' position on Harry clear fairly early on, although I have never shared its' view.

(My Mum (Hufflepuff) on the other hand has definitely read books 1-4, even if she may deny it now!)

I wasn't hooked from the first page, but then, you were just a baby, I needed you to grow up a bit before I got to know you. I think it was the Hogwarts letters that got me. If I had been younger, I would have been waiting there at my letterbox from midnight on my 11th birthday, waiting for my letter, and even though I know it's just a story, I would have been devastated when it didn't arrive.

Prisoner of Azkaban was still in hardback at the time, but I devoured PS and CoS very quickly, and waited until it came out in paperback before buying it. I never bought another paperback. I've privately wondered who DOES wait for an HP paperback to come out, and why they even bother to print them.

I think it was because of the wait between books, but I got into fanfiction pretty quickly after GoF - I was 18, and discovered the yahoo group for Cassie Clare's 'Draco Trilogy' and Lori Summers' 'Paradigm of Uncertainty'. This was my first (and only, so far) fandom, my first yahoo group, and my first experience of amazing well-written stories of characters I knew intimately, written by fans. I wish I had got into the fandom in person this early on, but it was just online. Cassie was in the middle of Draco Sinister, and I waited eagerly for each weekly chapter, and any cookies in between. I can't believe this was ten years ago.

Cassie and Lori both had a livejournal, I was used to reading their entries, and by 2003 I also had a livejournal. My fandom journey continued on LJ. I discovered Emma Grant, and fell in love with Harry and Draco as a couple, after exploring the possibilities of their deep friendship in Cassie's trilogy.

I met my ex (Slytherin) on LJ, in 2004. We went to see Goblet of Fire at the cinema on our first date and spent many long hours in Potterverse debate.

I remember when, where and with whom I saw each film:
- PS with my Dad in Vienna (I was spellbound but Dad was fiddling with a water bottle the whole way through, and I didn't really want to chat to him about the film afterwards as he hadn't read the book and just didn't get it!)
- CoS with Liz in Camden.
- PoA with Liz again
- GoF with Jen and Abi in Vienna
- OotP with my ex (at the IMAX I think)
- HBP on my own in Celebration, Florida when on a family holiday to Disneyland
- DH1 as a work's do
- DH2 as a work's do

YouTube entered my consciousness in a big way in 2006, when I started getting into wizard rock, and looking up my favourite bands' YouTube channels. I discovered the five awesome girls and guys. DFTBA started. (Nicky and I love loads of bands on the DFTBA label and are considering them for wedding music!)

I met Nicky (Hufflepuff) in 2008 and couldn't believe she had never read the HP books. That she didn't love them, that they had not changed her life, that she was happy just to watch the movies and only skim the surface of your world. It sounds utterly ridiculous, but I seriously questioned whether I could be with someone who didn't know and love you as I did. How could a series of children's books matter this much to a grown adult? I still don't really know the answer to that!

I do know that there is a difference between a fan and a member of the fandom. I have friends who love the idea of you, who read every book voraciously and watch every film on opening night, who plan marathon 24-hour film watching sessions, and argue excitedly about whether Snape is good or bad. And then there are the members of the fandom. The ones who, like me, list Harry Potter as a hobby, an interest, a passion, and know what that means. The strangers you meet at a party, who have a certain glint in their eye when Harry Potter is mentioned, and you feel lucky to have found them. You spend the rest of the party together, mentally Sorting the other party guests into Hogwarts Houses and listing every point where the films depart from the book canon. The ones who understand the difference between canon and fanon. The ones who HATE the epilogue.

If it was up to me, Nicky and I would be having a Harry Potter wedding, in Gryffindor red and gold, and would be honeymooning at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. (Nicky has always known this full well, and will not mind the small touches I manage to sneak in here and there, and also will not find out the fact that I intend to have my big entrance to the ceremony to the theme from the Harry Potter films until she watches the video back...) Unfortunately our honeymoon is on a budget, so is more likely to be at the Watford studio tour!

Harry, you were there for me when I was lonely in the school holidays, you helped me to improve my German and French before my A-levels, you helped me to get through a deep depression during my Gap year, you were there for me in the months I thought I was going to be kicked out of university, you led me to my first relationship, you were still there when it was over, you were the inspiration for my favourite band, you taught me how difficult but worthwhile it is to be true to yourself, you've help me to bond with my awesome Potter-loving little brother (Gryffindor). You're my hero.

I know it's officially all over now, and there will be no more books or films, however the fandom still lives on! I truly cannot imagine you ever meaning any less to me than you do right now, and I can't wait to share your story with my children and grandchildren.

Thank you,

Sarah (Gryffindor)

P.S If you're looking for a new Seeker, my dog Milly (may be changed to Ginny...) plays a killer game of "find it"!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

I can't believe I haven't posted here yet this year! I actually have two other blogs that I maintain these days - Nicky and I have a family one, and Milly has her own (I'm fully expecting her to develop a cult following (and possibly a dramatic career in modelling, advertising or similar) completely independently from either of us - everyone loves her!) both of which I've been a little more successful at posting on! Message me if you would like the addresses.

We still love living in the countryside and love being dog owners. We can't wait to start getting this year's veg crops planted in the garden - who knows, we might grow something we can enter into the local agricultural fair! (Probably the rudest shaped carrot or something.) We actually got loads of gardening done this weekend, the weather was so amazing you'd never guess it was still February! Milly also enjoys a spot of gardening - her favourite job is to resize sticks into small pieces so that they fit nicely into the garden waste bin.

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A teapot pig!! No wait, a piggy bank.

Can't believe this is my ninth year of doing this! Here goes...

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?

Went on holiday with my girlfriend's mum, sold something handmade on etsy, been the tooth fairy, rented a whole house with a garden, meal-planned for entire months at a time, made a fish pie, grew and ate vegetables in our own garden, got a dog (as an adult), read Harry Potter to my sister Charlotte, planned a holiday to Japan and China (we're going in March!), handmade the majority of Christmas and birthday gifts, made bubblegum (Libby got a kit for Christmas), saw a reindeer close up, opened a joint bank account, wrote a NaNoWriMo novel for adults rather than young adults, went to Warwick Castle, joined the Youth Hostel Association and went on a youth hosteling holiday, made a hat, bought hockey jerseys (I have a Canucks one and a Blaze one), became a remote worker, had a fish pedicure, went running every day for a whole month, watched a royal wedding (on TV!), used vacuum bags for storage, used no-jet-lag tablets (amazing!), went to Seattle.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more?

I didn't keep last year's (to get rid of my Christmas belly). Oops! This year's will be to get fitter in the early part of the new year, ready for skiing again in April. Hopefully walking the dog several times per day in all weathers will help with that one!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Abi gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl - Sophie Charlotte

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?

Canada (Victoria and Vancouver (plus Montreal as we changed planes there and were surprised how French it is!), USA (Seattle (plus we changed planes in Houston), Scotland (Edinburgh)

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

My answer for probably all of the previous 8 years of this has been a dog, and this year we have one! I'm happy to enjoy life with her for now, until we go on to wanting to buy houses and have babies!

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory?

August 27th - the day we left London, and December 18th - the day we got engaged!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Planning a wonderful proposal on top of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. I'd been planning it since March, bought the ring in October and was almost sick on the day with nerves!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Putting weight on after starting working from home for the majority of the time in August.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?


11. What was the best thing you bought?

Juan - our roomba. We wouldn't live without one now, he's awesome!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

The clean-up teams after the riots in the summer.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

The monsters who slandered and fired my mum from the job she'd had for almost 15 years, throwing her out of her home. Also the yobs who smashed up both of her cars shortly afterwards.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, and an engagement ring.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Moving to the country! And ice hockey!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

You got them moobs like Jagger, moobs like Jagger, moo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oobs like Jagger!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter
iii. richer or poorer? Richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?


19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Eating chocolate! And spending money! We could do with some savings right about now...

20. How did you spend Christmas?

In Victoria in Canada with my Dad, Sue, the kids, Nicky, Nicky's mum Angela and some family friends Sue and Tony. It was a really wonderful Christmas, made even more special by the fact that Nicky and I were on our own last Christmas, so it was lovely to be all together this year.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?

I'm already very much in love.

23. How many one-night stands?


24. What was your favourite TV program?

'Merlin', 'Game of Thrones', 'X Factor' and 'Extreme Couponing'. Also 'My Transsexual Summer' was an excellent mini series

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?


26. What was the best book you read?

The Percy Jackson series

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Adele, plus I'm partial to a bit of the Bublé, but don't tell Nicky!

28. What did you want and get?

A house in the country! A dog! A fiancée!

29. What did you want and not get?

Lego Harry Potter episodes 5-7 on the DS, but I'm extremely happy with everything I did get this year!

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

The final Harry Potter film. Also Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief, I must have watched it 10 times already. Also Going the Distance, which is quite a good rom-com although not one to watch with parents!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 28 and spent the day in Tring with Nicky, mum and Nigel. We went to the natural history museum, and had a picnic in the park! The following day we met Dad in Winchester and went out for a lovely breakfast in a hotel and then wandered round the old town. Perfect!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more

Nothing could have made this year any better.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Jack Wills meets the Gap.

34. What kept you sane?

Switching to decaf coffee, I highly recommend it!

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Kirsty Allsop

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The London riots. They were just before we left London, and definitely did nothing to convince us to stay!

37. Who did you miss?

My family in Canada. When I saw them at Christmas I hadn't seen them since July!

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Probably Robert from work. He's an American stand-up comedian who got into Game of Thrones in a big way this year!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:

It's all worth it the end

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"I'm on the right track baby, I was born this way"

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.


I think I'm a bit peary for an apple

We would like to introduce a new member of our family - Milly!

No, we haven't had one of those "I didn't know I was pregnant" experiences, she's our adorable new puppy!

We're currently on holiday in Canada, but this is a photo of her before we left, helping Nicky with her packing.

She's 18 months old and is a labrador/staffie/whippet cross. She has great traits from all those breeds - very strong like a labrador, very people-oriented like a staffie so she loves her cuddles, and very fast like a whippet!

She loves the mirrored wardrobes in our bedroom and can't quite work out where all the extra dogs come from!

She's visited us a couple of times and stayed overnight before we left to go on holiday, and she's moving in permanently the day we come back. We can't wait, we love her already!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Nicky and I both won NaNoWriMo 2011! We have our winners certificates printed out, and are awaiting delivery of our winners t-shirts! Hopefully they'll arrive before we go on holiday next week!

We intended to go to the castle today, but we were cosy inside and it looked like it might rain, so we decided to stay indoors and make handmade Christmas cards all afternoon whilst watching movies. It doesn't get much better than that!

We're actually having a second Christmas celebration with my mum, step dad and granny when we come back from Canada, where all the cards and presents have to be either handmade or part handmade with a £5 limit, so we're going to be busy!

Here's a couple of t-shirts I made this week as Christmas presents for my 8 year old cousin Naomi. They were both very fiddly but fun!

Annoyingly, both of our iPhones broke last week. Nicky's stopped turning on without being plugged in (and after a while not even then) and then a couple of days later I managed to drop mine and smashed the screen. Oops! Nicky went to the genius bar at the apple store and found out that the insides of her phone were completely fried, so she bought a refurbished replacement phone. I sent mine off to one of the iPhone specialist websites to get the screen replaced, which was great except that not having a phone for the few days it took to be sent back was really weird!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Nicky and I just bought our winners' t-shirts! Slightly unnerving, but brilliant motivation to finish on time - this year's t-shirts are awesome!


Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Nothing says I love you like a £5 pancake

Nicky hurt her elbow at work today. We made up a couple of heroic, dramatic stories to tell, but the truth is that she was just opening a door and felt something twang! She had to go to A&E (very embarrassing apparently when you're a nurse!) to get some x-rays, but they've told her that it's too swollen and painful at the moment to work out what's wrong. They've given her a cuff sling thing, she can't work all weekend and she's got to go to the fracture clinic on Monday morning! Bless her!

Whilst Nicky nursed her arm on the sofa and commandeered the remote controls, I got to grips with our new (to us) sewing machine! Mum has lent us hers, and I'm very excited, I've wanted one for ages!

I practised by making Nicky this bow (I actually sewed it the wrong way round accidentally, but you can't tell)

Then I made a HAT! I've never made a hat before! I had this awesome old t-shirt from http://www.threadless.com that I never wore any more, so decided to give it a new lease of life as a hat using (loosely) this tutorial: http://atsecondstreet.blogspot.com/2010/05/t-shirt-hat.html

It turned out great! I might make one for my little cousin for Christmas. Handmade Christmas presents are definitely the way forward!

I added an All Star label cut off an old pair of Nicky's Converse trainers.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

So as of right now I've written 5906 words, which may seem like I'm irretrievably behind, until you see these two awesome graphs!

This is my NaNoWriMo progress in 2009:

And this is in 2010:

So you see, it's all going to be fine! (she says, wide-eyed and clutching the arms of her chair with mad professor hair)

Nicky is an absolute star, she's already over the 10'000 word mark! Here's to 15 more days of writing mania!

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Usher or no usher, I don't like creases

Last weekend we went with mum to an awesome scrap/craft store in Worcester and, amongst other totally bargainous things, found some extremely cheap sculpey clay. We've really enjoyed using it! These are last Saturday's creations:

And these are from this weekend - we decided to make some Christmas decorations!

My favourite is Nicky's festive elephant, and Nicky's favourite is my snowman.

We got all the hats, scarves, winter jumpers and thermals out of the vacuum packs in the top of the wardrobe this evening, and replaced them with my shorts and Nicky's summer dresses. Winter is coming... (she says ominously.) Having said that, I can't believe it's November already and we haven't had to turn the heating on yet!

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The lesser known knobbly pear of stratford

So, we're ten days in to NaNoWriMo and already we're hopelessly behind (me more so than Nicky, who is on a complete roll!) but I'm taking comfort in the fact that we only started on 6th due to night shifts and work trips, and last year our friend Rachel and I didn't start until 11th, and we still won! I'm out of my comfort zone this year, as instead of my normal young adult urban fantasy, I'm writing for adults! It's very slightly science fiction, but will be filled to the brim with star trek science that would make any real scientist cringe, as there's no time to do any research. That's my excuse anyway!

In pictures, here's what we've been doing since I last posted:

We've been to the castle 4 or 5 times now (the annual passes are the best things ever,) and loved it all done up for Halloween (although neither of us like actual scary things, so we avoided the Seance show they had on, and haven't been down to the dungeon!)

We've harvested our bumper crop of radishes, including this mama of a radish!

I've been to Edinburgh for work, where I came across this shiny board. Good old J.K.!

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