Sunday, 15 July 2018

Day 195 - July 14th

I noticed this bee on the Buddleia this morning busy collecting pollen.

Day 194 - July 13th

These white dahlias are once again flowering in my Mum & dad's garden.

Day 193 - July 12th

I've been playing with paper and glue this week and am making a little mini album. I've just got to add some photos and finishing touches.

Day 192 - July 11th

Very few flowers seem to be surviving the heat but these delicate white hydrangeas seem to be doing alright.

Day 191 - July 10th

The Buddleia bush is in full flower and the butterflies and bees are making the most of it.

Day 190 - July 9th

There were Orchid flowers on the tables at the party on Saturday. I was given one to take home, I just have to make sure it doesn't die now!

Day 189 - July 8th

Today, after yesterdays party, some of us joined Mum & Dad at our local pub/restaurant for Sunday Lunch. It was delicious and Mum & Dad were made to feel very special by the restaurant staff with free champagne and a card.

Day 188 - July 7th

Today we celebrated my Mum & Dad's Diamond Wedding Anniversary with a party for family and close friends.

Day 187 - July 6th

This year in my Mum & Dad's garden there are several large purple poppies. They seem to be thriving in the very hot weather unlike many other flowers. I think I tried to collect some seed from them last year to put in my own garden but can't remember what happened to them.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Day 186 - July 5th

I spotted several butterflies on the grass today including this Small Tortoiseshell.

Day 185 - July 4th

Scrapbooking again!

Day 184 - July 3rd

The Lavender is one fo the few plants thriving in the current hot weather.

Day 183 - July 2nd

This evening Lara performed at her school Arts Festival. They hadn't had much practice but still sounded good.

Day 182 - July 1st

Warning - extremely heavy photo post.

Today we made our long awaited trip to Leavesden to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter. We booked our tickets at the beginning of April and had excitedly been waiting for the day to arrive.

It was a glorious hot day and as expected there were lots of other visitors.

Inside, we were ushered into a cinema room where we watched a short video before the doors to the Great Hall were unveiled.

Inside the Great Hall we were able to wander around and marvel that we were on the actual set where the films were made and seeing the actual props and costumes used and worn by the actors.

This summer there is a special exhibition about the Goblet of Fire so we were given a demonstration of the colour changing powers of the goblet.

Moving on from the Great Hall further items from The Yule Ball featured in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire were on display.

We saw wigs and costumes familiar from the films.

The famous moving spiral staircase.

The Mirror of Erised.

The circular Graffindor Boys Dormitory was quite small and its a good job no one really had to sleep int he beds because they were tiny.

In the Gryffindor Common Room more costumes were displayed....

.... including the Invisibility Cloak.

Next it was Dumbledore's Office with the statue of a phoenix at the entrance.

The Memory Cabinet was full of more than 800 handmade and hand labelled vials. Such detail!

The room where the Potions Class was taught looked like it was in a cellar and was full of jars and bottles. These were apparently filled with bones from a local butcher, leaves and herbs and other objects to look authentic.

Hagrid's Hut was tiny and crammed full of  cages and all sorts.

The Quidditcch box including the golden snitch, etc and costumes were on display.

The Burrow (the home of The Weasleys) included special effects created to give the impression of a self-washing frying pan in the sink and a self chopping knife cutting carrots.

A section of the office towers at the Ministry of Magic was displayed.

Delores Umbridge Ministry of Magic Office was VERY pink. Loved the kitty plates on the walls.

It hadn't occurred to me before that as Umbridge gained more power at the Ministry of Magic her wardrobe became progressively pinker!

The Riddle family gravestone.

A recent addition to the tour is the Forbidden Forest complete with spiders and an animatronic Buckbeck.

On Platform 9¾ we were able to pose with a trolley going through the wall....

..... and also with the Hogwarts Express.

Inside, the carriages were set out as per the various films.

A display of graphics included  The Marader's Map.....

.... and copies of The Quibbler. 

Before moving onto the next part of the tour we took a break to sample some Butter Beer. I wouldn't recommend it! It was extremely sweet!

Next, we ventured outside the the Backlot where there were a number of exterior sets.

Privet Drive - home to the Dursleys. Amazingly despite looking like a proper brick built house, this was make of fibreglass and scaffolding.

Inside was just one room, with Harry's mail streaming our of the fire place.

We posed for a photo on the Knight Bus.

We walked across the iconic Hogwart's Bridge.....

.... and rode Hagrid's motorbike and sidecar.

Inside there was huge (rather creepy) display of Creature Effects.  Lots and lots of shelves and tables full of heads and hands!

In the middle of this table is Warwick Davis head!

There was a very realistic animatronic Hedwig.....

.... and Buckbeak again.

I had been looking forward to walking down Diagon Alley and it didn't disappoint. 

The road was made of real cobble stones.

Towards the end of the tour a number of models made from paper were on display which were used to work out camera shots etc.

In the final room there was a HUGE model of Hogwarts Castle. Hopefully you can gauge how big this was from the people standing around it.

the intricate model is the jewel of the art department and was used to create realistic views of the magical school for the films.

Near the exit was a small display featuring costumes and props from the Fantastic Beasts film. With a second film due out soon I wonder if they will extended the tour to include more from this.

All in all it was an amazing trip. I'd love to go back again!