So you know that each year that you have been married is associated with a certain gift? So year one is paper, five is wood, 25 is silver and so on. It turns out that the gift for 27 years is wizard wands and so Helen and I decided that we would have to go to Watford to pick a couple up.
If Watford doesn’t seem like a very likely place for magical wands then let me explain that it is home to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, although that is a complete misnomer. The Warner Brothers Studio Tour is about one thing and one thing only and that is Harry Potter. And yes we have been there before (whisper it – “three times”!).
It was a dreary day outside but inside was full of wonder. The Harry Potter tour, as I’m going to call it from now on as it is more accurate, you can visit multiple times as it is constantly changing. Last time we visited they’d added the Hogwarts Express and new for this visit was the forbidden forest complete with Aragog the spider. Something that I hadn’t noticed on previous visits was that there are now two additional shops (by said train and forest) where you can buy items that are only available in those shops. Talk about applying additional pressure on parents as they go round.
That aside it is an incredible place if you are into Harry Potter as it not only includes sets on a large scale (such as the great hall and Diagon Alley) but also offers a look at the making of that you wouldn’t see otherwise. The best example of the latter is a series of videos featuring Warwick Davies showing how the animatronics were done. The time, effort and money spent is mind-boggling.
The last part of the tour is an interior of, one assumes, Olivanders which is full of boxes of wands. The end of each box is labelled with the name of someone that worked on the film, which is a nice touch. Then, inevitably, you exit via the gift shop. And what a gift shop! You name an item and they’ll have stuck a Harry Potter logo on it!
I’d like to say that we celebrated 27 years of marriage by buying each other his and hers wands but Helen was very restrained and decided one wand wielding person in the house was sufficient. So only I will be able to turn on the lights through voice alone. Unless Helen talks to Alexa of course!