Thursday, May 18, 2017

Not your usual knitting post today

Last weekend I went to a wedding. My sister's daughter got married, and of course I took about 8 million pictures, in none of which do I have the bride and groom looking at the camera, in focus, smiling...

But I'll give you a quick look at the goings-on.

The wedding was in Nelson, which is just up the road from Castlegar. It is pretty well into spring out there, with the deciduous trees coming all nice and green on the hills. I didn't take pictures of all the flowering trees, the lilacs and magnolias and fruit trees!

The day of the wedding was kind of cold and cloudy and we were a bit apprehensive about it all, but as it turned out, it was lovely. Those clouds in the background lifted enough and it was fine. A tad chilly, and a wee bit windy... but not raining!

The wedding was at the golf course above the town. Really nice view up the valley...

Father and nephew of the bride hanging around before the main action.

My sister's hair! Salt and pepper but with red pepper! (She always had way more hair, and redder, than me.)

There was a colour scheme going on here. Bridal party in blue and purple, to match the flowers and the drinks.

I spent some time trying to get a picture of the actual bride. This is one of the weirder results, my sister in the foreground, probably oblivious to her bridal daughter in the background. 

Even the cute flower girl/princess kept dashing out of photos. 

The men stood still for a moment: Bride's brother-in-law and nephew, brother, uncle, step-father, brother, new father-in-law, groom, father.

Bride and siblings. 

Bride and groom, best I could do: 

It was very nice. I haven't been to a family wedding in years, probably decades! It was fun and romantic and friendly and the food was good and the speeches were minimal. Jolly good show.

And now for something completely different. Since I was there, I had to look at family heirlooms. I brought home some paintings, some horse brasses and a claw. More on the others later, but for now I will just show you this: 

We think it was once a watch fob. It is a bird's foot, complete with toenails, or, as I suppose you more correctly say, talons! Something weird for the Christmas tree, perhaps?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

My ideal day

I have missed out on these Think Write Thursdays for a few weeks. This week's topic is to describe my ideal day.

A toughie!

Today I am travelling across the country to go to my niece's wedding. Since I wrote this earlier in the week, I will describe the ideal for today; how I hope this Thursday turns out.

I have to get up at about 5 am. Not ideal at all. Life would be much simpler if I could get up at 8 or 9, but I really do have to get up at 5 to catch my plane. I imagine all will be fine at the airport, though also not ideal: Security is a pain and if I have a large bag I will have to pay to check it, which seems backwards to me. If people had to pay to carry big bags on, fewer would do it and everything would go more smoothly. When I rule the world....

Also if this were really the ideal day, my husband and kids would be coming with me, but I am travelling alone.

Oh, my, it will take about 5 hours for me to fly to Vancouver. Ideally, I could comfortably watch some great movie, but really, I bet I will watch some sort of crap, not be able to see the tiny screen properly, not be able to hear properly, and the whole system will break just at the climax of the crappy movie. I will take some knitting, and ideally won't be sitting next to some pushy or large person who squishes me into a corner. I will also take some plane snacks, since it is not at all ideal to have to eat expensive Pringles on a trans-continental flight.

Ideally, the weather in Castlegar, my final destination, will be wonderful, or at least passable, and the connection from Vancouver to Castlegar will be successful and stress-free.

Then, I am sure all will go swimmingly. My sister will pick me up and take me to her house where I will have a comfy bed and be able to go on nice walks by the river.

I will not be in the ideal place, which would have to have an ocean nearby, but I will be in the ideal place with family gathered for a happy occasion.

Actually, my ideal day would not involve 5-hour flights at all, but I think you don't get to have the ideal niece's wedding without the travel! 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Festival round-up

The end of the festival was super busy for me. I have seen five movies since my last post!

Let There Be Light was another that Stephen chose for his birthday movies. It dealt with attempts, big and small, to create fusion energy. The big attempts are really big, with a project going on in France, billions beyond the planned budget, years behind schedule. And even when they get it done and up and running, it won't be a power plant; it is a research facility to see if they can even do it. (You heat up plasma to 100,000,000 degrees for starters...) The movie also showed us several smaller groups with other plans. I'd say, don't count on fusion in our lifetimes.

Friday was a noteworthy day because Stephen consented to see two movies on the same day. In the evening we went to Becoming Bond. This one is highly recommended! George Lazenby played James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969, and that is all most people know about him. In this movie, he tells his story, actors reenact much of it, we get TV clips of some things, I think Diana Rigg gets a word in... Mainly we learn that George Lazenby is a big talker and if half of what he says is true, he had a pretty wild time in the 60s! The film opens with a quote from another big talker, Winston Churchill: "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." This was great fun.

Saturday I got up early and made my way downtown to see Pecking Order with a friend. She and I love chickens, from our discovery in Havana of the Chicken of Prosperity. She, silly girl, first went to the wrong cinema and barely made it in time. Luckily I tend to get places early and had saved her the best seat in the house. Anyways, the movie... We focus on the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club. Not only do we have to prepare for the national chicken show, but there are disputes in the club about who will lead them into the future. Not just lovely chickens, but characters old and young, nice and not so nice! A real delight.

My friend went on with her business and I went back inside to watch Brimstone and Glory. Trying to explain this movie to people, I have come to realize that its main purpose was to show off the fantastic photography! Yeah, there's a kid who wants to get out of the town where the only job is packing gunpowder into tubes, where people lose hands and eyes and lives. Yeah, he has scary fun at the big fireworks festival. But really we are here to see the super slo-mo fireworks going off all over the place. How do you not over-expose them? How do you get every bit of sparkly stuff distinct? How do you get a guy to strap a Go-Pro to his head and climb up a rickety 100-foot tall tower loaded with fireworks? (Oh, yeah, he would do that anyway, without the Go-Pro, because that's his job!) Wild.

Sunday afternoon I had my last volunteer shift in the office, and then my last movie. We saw More Art Upstairs, about the ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum and some vacant buildings that get turned into art spaces. Fifteen hundred artists show their work and compete for two major prizes: the juried prize chosen by critics and art pros, and the public prize, voted on by the ordinary folks who walk by. It's interesting that in this show, craft, and precision, and elaborate, evident work is very much valued by the public, so that they awarded prizes to some rather artless things.

So, that was my festival and now it's back to normal around here.

Wait! I have knitting:

What the heck is that, you might ask. It is a Top Hat Tissue Cover, and the pattern notes promise that it will add colour and charm to my bathroom.

It needs a big flower or something to be completely charming, I think. It was my May vintage accessory. I'm prepared to take on something bigger in June, I think, and I do have several unfinished masterpieces lying around here just waiting for my attention.


On Thursday I head back to Castlegar for a wedding. I have a few days to gather some groceries, figure out which masterpiece I can knit on the plane and so on. (Tomorrow it's back to the dentist to finish up the root canal business.)

Friday, May 05, 2017

Silly fun and scary murder

Thursday I saw two more movies.

There are lots of doom-and-gloom docs this year, as usual. Political and environmental nightmares the world over. So far, I have avoided these pretty well.

I avoid them by filling my dance-card with things like Hobbyhorse Revolution!

I got to the cinema early, partly because I am always early and partly because I had the time wrong in my mind and thought the movie started 15 minutes before it actually did. So, I got the best seat in the middle of the house... After a few minutes, a staff member came and asked if I could move over one, because they needed a bunch of seats together for the filmmakers. No prob. In walked a group of women, some of them teenagers, some of them carrying hobbyhorses, and they sat right down next to me! This is as close as Hot Docs gets to movie stars, and one of the reasons I love it!

The movie shows us these girls, around the age of 12 or 14, training and entering competitions and making hobbyhorses and tending them... it is sort of weird, really. They are pretending, and I certainly hope they know they are pretending, but they do it so well that one wonders. Is riding this hobbyhorse really different from riding that one? Can a hobbyhorse be well-behaved, or not? (A hobbyhorse is, of course, a sewn and stuffed horse's head on a broomstick.)

They organize competitions where they do dressage and jumping, and the judges are young enthusiasts, too. There is hardly a parent to be seen. It might be crazy, but in some ways it seems a healthier environment than, say, figure skating. Unlikely to be an Olympic sport any time soon.

Certainly not doom and gloom -- no animals were harmed in the making of this film!

It was another pouring-rain day. I got home from that movie in time to have a civilized dinner with the family, and then braved the elements again for a late show.

That is from the HotDocs twitter account, and I am with the blue and white umbrella under the lamp on the far right. We waited in that line for rather longer than I had anticipated!

The wait was worth it, though, because the movie was very good! 78/52, about the shower scene from Psycho. Yes, a whole movie about one short scene from a decades-old movie. Lots of clips of even older movies, later movies, other Hitchcock movies, and of course, the scene itself, bit by bit and over and over. Lots of interviews, too, with the woman whose body you actually see in the shower while Janet Leigh screams, and with editors and other moviemakers. Very clever, and very interesting.

It is still raining, and I have two more movies to see today! My wettest and busiest Hot Docs yet, I'd say.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Seven, eight, nine, ten

I've seen four movies since last we spoke: a program of shorts about Magnificent Obsessions, Give Me Future, Bill Nye: Science Guy, and Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower.

The shorts were the usual mixed bag of styles and subjects, but they were all about people who are really keen on something.

There was one about the city of Cleveland trying to make a fun, fun name for itself by releasing 1.5 million little balloons filled with helium for a Guinness Book record. It did not turn out well. Another was about icebergs, and it was stunning and made me want to run off to Newfoundland immediately. Then the one about clearing out a family home after the parents' deaths. Beautifully done, with still photos and background chatter. The Q&A really tied it all together for me, and now I want to watch it again!

The last two were more unsettling, for sure. One revolved around a phone conversation between a trans woman and an ex-Marine. Again, I learned so much in the chat with the director afterwards that I have to see it again. This one was an MFA project, wow.

The last was about the magnificent obsession of wanting human blood. Yes. Creepy and with bits where I closed my eyes!

I love seeing shorts and wish these little movies were shown in front of features more often. It's funny why they get made the way they do: the iceberg guys said they would gladly have made a longer movie but for the funding; the house-clearing movie started just as a photographic record as the family worked on the job, and the idea of a movie came later.

That evening... was it Tuesday?... I saw Give Me Future, starring my favourite city of Havana! A band I know nothing about, Major Lazer, decided to go to Havana, and played a concert right here on the Malecón.

Thousands and thousands of people came. I don't much care for the electronic music and they guys in the band weren't that interesting to me, but the story was good and the visuals were a treat.

That movie started at 9:45 pm and I was up and at the theatre again at 8:45 the next morning. Quite a big day at Docs for Schools, with two people doing their best to save the world.

Bill Nye: Science Guy shows everybody's favourite science teacher in his retirement from TV. He no longer teaches basic science ideas to kids in a fun and wacky way, but he is taking on creationists and climate-change deniers. I knew about him and his show, but I am a bit old to have been a real fan, and I imagine his heyday was somewhere in the decades when I didn't have a TV. His projects now include things like the Planetary Society and, unfortunately, debating lunkheads like people who think that there were dinosaurs on the ark 6,000 years ago. The kids loved him. I loved him, too, but my excitement faded when I watched the second movie of the day.

Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower shows us Joshua Wong, a kid just now in university, who has also been trying to save the world for several years. He started out protesting Beijing-imposed education curricula in Hong Kong, and moved on to work with Occupy to work for democratic reforms. Those Hong Kong protests were short-lived and little covered here, as I recall, but the photos of the thousands of protesters were amazing. Joshua and some others went on hunger strike, were arrested, and keep on working towards the goal of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. This one was picked up by Netflix at Sundance, so you can see it yourselves shortly.

Today, I have a lunch date and then two movies in the afternoon and evening. There's even time in between, I think, to come home and cook a chicken so my family don't think I am ignoring them.

Monday, May 01, 2017


Yesterday it was pouring rain for much of the day, and I was outside in a dollar-store poncho, directing high school students around. I also got to sit inside and watch two movies, so I guess it all works out.

I'll get to those in a mo. First, Sunday night's movie...

Rumble. I love a good music doc, and this one introduced me to some new voices, musicians of Native American ancestry. Charlie Patton, for example. Jesse Ed Davis, for another. Lots of other artists you may know about, like Mildred Bailey, Robbie Robertson, Buffy Ste Marie, Jimi Hendrix... and the guy who wrote the title song, Link Wray.

It was fun and full of good music, and it also showed that these Native artists had either hidden their heritage or had it ignored for years. It's certainly interesting to see how people understand their heritage, and pick one grandparent's culture over the others'. The director said afterward that there is basically another whole movie on the cutting-room floor, involving the Natives who blended in with the white folks and influenced country music. Perhaps they'll put that together later on!

Monday morning it was off to more Docs for Schools. I thought it would be foggy and then clear  up, so off I went in a sweatshirt... it poured all day long.

The morning movie was Step, and you will hear more about that because it has been picked up by a major distributor and will be in theatres in the summer.

A new school for girls in Baltimore expects all their students to go to college. There is lots of talk of marks and GPAs and college and scholarship applications, but at the same time they are practising for a step dance competition. It was fun and rockin' and it wouldn't be a big, uplifting thing if there weren't (spoiler alert) some success involved. Good fun, but I have heard this story before...

Totally different vibe in the afternoon. We saw Dolores, about Dolores Huerta, the cofounder of the United Farm Workers. The film featured interviews with her and her children (she had 11) along with others who were on similar (and intersecting) social justice paths, like Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis. Like the artists in Rumble, she had that one "flaw" that has kept her story hidden: they were Native, she is a woman. We know about Cesar Chavez, but few have heard of her. She was instrumental in the union from the very beginning, organized the grape boycott in New York state, was seriously injured by police while protesting outside a campaign event for George HW Bush, and always carried on with such fortitude and devotion to her work.

The movie was made with the cooperation of Dolores and her family, and was full of archival photos and film. She had been interviewed and on the news many times over the years so we get to see her "as it happens" and not just in remembrances. Very, very good!

It was a tad off-putting to see these two movies together. Fifty years ago, Dolores let other people raise her children part of the time so she could work to better the lives of the poorest workers. She lived with them and was poor with them and in an interview from those days said that spending money on something like a spa day for herself would be just a waste of both time and money. The girls in Step seem to have money for hair and manicures while lamenting that there is no food, even for their youngest family members. Perhaps it is unfair of me to compare the "struggles" involved, but I am pretty sure that those Baltimore girls could learn a thing or two from Dolores Huerta.

Today, two more movies. I gave away a pair of tickets to a show last night because I just couldn't fit in a nighttime movie. I just won tickets to two more movies by retweeting stuff on twitter, so I am overwhelmed and giving things away left and right. Every year I do this....

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What can I say?

Last night Stephen and I went to see Photon. It was Stephen's birthday and he chose this science-y sounding movie. (Poor Stephen just gets movie tickets from me, since his birthday is in the middle of Hot Docs every year.)

It is a tale of the universe. We have the big bang, matter, energy, protons.... a few billion years pass... eventually: life! Lots of microscope pictures, lots of computer simulations. I can hardly formulate a sentence about it!

I think the director (who not only directed but practically made the film single-handed) wanted to make a movie about his father, who had Parkinson's. So he starts from the atomic level to understand the brain, but in order to get to that, he had to describe the history of the universe.

Ambitious, for sure. Visually mind-boggling, for sure.

There was narration in English (the movie is originally in Polish, but the narration runs through the whole thing, so an English soundtrack was easy and better than subtitles) and it was quite deadpan and straight. Occasionally there was a bit of humour: space-time, for example, wrinkled up like a scrotum in winter.

Click the link above and scroll through the pictures to get to the trailer. It will give you a sorta-kinda idea of what went on. I'll just keep shaking my head and thinking about it!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Two movies

I have seen two movies at Hot Docs thus far.

The Workers Cup (which, I know, should have an apostrophe and it drives me bonkers that it doesn't, but I'm trying to relax a bit about that) was my opening night movie.

Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, and companies are competing to build the stadiums and hotels and infrastructure that will be needed. Workers (all men) are recruited from Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya... wherever there are people who will do almost anything for some money! When they get to Qatar, they find they cannot leave the work camps, they can't leave the country, they can't even get into town to meet anyone, without the permission of the company.

In an attempt to build loyalty among their workers and to show the world what great employers they are, these construction companies arrange a football tournament. The film follows one team, talking to the men about their homes, their hopes and their dreams as they compete. The sport is fun, but ultimately it is all a lie.

A bit of an emotional roller-coaster and an eye-opening conversation starter. Highly recommended!

Friday morning I was volunteering at the Docs for Schools program, where we bring in classes to see a festival movie. This is a great program and I wish my daughter's school would take more advantage of it!

The movie was Bee Nation, a story about the first First Nations Provincial Spelling Bee in Saskatchewan.

It's a charming and heartwarming story of a group of children on reserves in Saskatchewan who compete in a spelling bee. The winners in the three age groups get to go to Toronto to compete in the national Spelling Bee of Canada. It's a movie about children spelling and striving, and not about the state of the First Nations in Canada, but there are enough bits to show that the filmmakers could have made a diatribe about lack of education funding, lack of opportunity and lack of respect.

My dark picture of William and the director at the theatre

The best part was little William Kaysaywaysemat III and his family who attended for a Q&A. Very self-assured, very calm and dignified, that kid should go far.

Today, something probably a bit crazy -- I'll let you know!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Plain and fancy

Today some knitting news!

I needed bus and lineup knitting, and made two dishcloths.

Look at that pooling! Both cloths are two rows from one ball and two from the other, with different stitch patterns, and I think one cloth had 38 stitches and one had 37... not exactly sure about that...

I like this one! It's a Double Bump, and I wonder if I could ever repeat the pooling, or tweak it so the lines were straight.

This is Tweedish, another old favourite.

Another 8 days of film festival to go; luckily I found half a hat I can tuck in my bag. 

Finally, some pictures of the pinkish-green scarf. This was quite fun to knit but it's just not my colour! I bought the skein thinking the colours were more dispersed; should have looked more closely in the shop, and then, perhaps, I should have taken it back when I realized. I love the green, but am not sure what to do with such a pink scarf. 

Very clever dyeing here. And I love the pattern, Rising Sun.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

What I learned from Thursday's post

I linked to a post from 2006 this morning. And then I learned that the way I used to put up pictures is not really still the way Blogger does things. The pictures overlap the text, "centre" doesn't really mean what it says and generally the old posts are a mess! Not to mention that many links are outdated and useless.

I fixed the punting post quickly, but what to do about the rest?

How's that for posterity?

Remember the time...

Our Think Write Thursday prompt for this week is "Remember the time..."

Remember the time we actually went knitting on the Cam?

That's all I have for you, since I had a root canal Wednesday. Big headache, jaw-ache, brain-ache.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hat for next fall

It's not so blue as in the first picture.

I made a number of mistakes in it; silly, really, given the simplicity of the pattern, but it did involve counting to four! Apparently I can't consistently do that.

But, no one will notice.

I have a week to figure out what little vintage thing I will make for May. And really, one day I will take pictures of the pinky-greeny scarf!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Coming into Hot Docs season

Hot Docs starts next Thursday and I can already feel things slipping out of control.

I have signed up for six shifts during the festival, and have got myself tickets for... 11 movies. Three of my shifts are for the school program, where we get the kids seated and later clean up after them, but are able to watch the movie with them as well. So that's another five films, and some of those are the big-buzz shows.

Let's make a list, shall we?
  1. 78/52
  2. Brimstone and Glory
  3. The Girl down Loch Änzi
  4. Give Me Future
Plus, movies to be watched while making sure high school students don't get out of hand:

  1. Bee Nation
  2. Bill Nye: Science Guy
  3. Dolores
  4. Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower
  5. Step

I'll need some simple knitting for lineups. And I do have a family to tend to. And, let's not forget the root canal at the dentist next week! Yikes. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Coming and going

Ah, I was away for a week!

Waiting in the Calgary airport

I went out to BC for my father's memorial celebration. Lots of family, including a cousin I don't remember from when we last saw each other, maybe something like 1965... Once when my sister was talking about the wild, hippy, Kootenay weddings she'd been to, cousin Paul exclaimed, "Oh, I live such an ordinary life!" However, he also said things like, "I was out for a walk with my pet duck, Joanne..." I'm very glad I finally met him!

The memorial was very good -- we read lots of great English literature, which tends to be pretty Christian, and sang Ode to Joy, although my father professed no belief in any afterlife. Most tears shed: when my brother read the very last bit of Lord of the Rings. We also read from Dad's memoirs and trip diaries -- I came home with 10 kilos of the dang things, and hope to type some of the more noteworthy up for posterity. We scattered ashes in some lovely woods after my sister led a Buddhist chant. So he was pretty well covered in case of any surprises...

Let's see if I have any pictures...

Paul, Diane and the dog, out for a walk

Another walk in town

I like this bark/leaf combo

After the memorial and lunch and scattering, many of us ended up at my younger sister's house for dinner. We took along some of the leftovers!

Guess what, there were still leftovers afterwards 

The view from her bathroom. Still snow

Spring is on its way; the magnolias are out

Now, let's get textile-y. 

This blanket has been around forever, certainly from the mid-1960s. I suspect my parents bought it when we lived in the Cotswolds in 65-66. Wool, tweedy, a bit frayed, with a few cat-scratch holes neatly mended. I always liked having it when I was sick in bed: so many different colours in the weaving! I might have brought it home, but I thought one of my sisters would get more use out of it, so I took a zillion pictures instead. 

Once upon a time, in 2000, I believe, we siblings made hand- and footprints on fabric and gave them to our mom for her birthday. Then she did a whole lot of work and made this quilt.

Our little family's contribution:

I put buttons on it for decoration, thinking it would likely end up on the wall, but she made the quilt for their bed and they used it a lot, buttons and all. 

In a box in the storage locker (one day, someone will write a novel about the storage locker, I'm sure) I came across this! I have a similar one, though mine is lined and made with more muted pieces. 

My mom belonged to a quilting and sewing group, maybe in the 1980s, and every once in a while they would have a big get-together and swap. Someone brought all these little samples; I believe they were a wool/cashmere blend.

My mom snapped them up and made (apparently) two blankets, and I think there was once a jacket for my dad made out of them as well. Perhaps it will be lined and given to a getting-married niece.

The sad socks! These are the socks I'd made for my dad. They ended up with a brother-in-law with just the right sized feet.

Phew. And now I am home, with some knickknacks to find room for, some papers to put somewhere appropriate -- and also some of my own knitting to show you... another day. I finished the green and pink thing and made good progress on my April vintage hat.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Done like dinner

It is done. Oh, my, it is big.

I stood on a chair to take this picture of my couch.

One of a million available detail shots.

It's a bit of a chore to wrap it around oneself.

And even wrapped a few times, it is super gigantic.

I wonder if my 6'6" nephew needs a gigantic, slightly odd scarf. I have some months to figure it all out, since the days of woolly scarves might be over here for now.

It was fun to knit, great to use up all that stash of fingering/sock yarn. I only bought a bit... One ball I used about half of; one ball made me sneeze and I used a tiny wee bit of; and the last, a nice little skein of KPPPM, is untouched. I probably still have enough for a matching hat!

And a teaser for next week...

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Reading a book for the first time

Today's Think Write Thursday task is to write about a book we wish we could read again for the first time.

The book that instantly popped into my mind was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

I first read it when Elaine was a baby, so about 16 or 17 years ago, a few years after it had first come out. I think friends were reading it for a book club. At the same time my dad had been introduced to it by another English-professor friend, and it was all very exciting.

by H-Johanna

What a world: wizards who were children and the idea of a whole school full of them; Muggles who couldn't see the entrance to Diagon Alley; and kids vanishing through onto Platform 9 3/4. The horrible Dursleys and the gigantic Hagrid.

by Phillippeaux

The genius of those books was in the little details. The minor characters and the little asides. Hagrid knitting his yellow sweater, the scene in the wand shop. Owls delivering the mail. The first flying lesson; quidditch, for heaven's sake... How did she invent all these things? Amazing imagination.

by HumorlessPoppycock

After the first four books, which I read more or less all at once, we preordered the books as they were published, and raced to read them. I had thought the kids would read them when they were around 10 or 11, the age of the characters in the first book. How wrong I was! Elaine practically learned to read with these books, and by the time Book 6 came out, she was tearing through it with me.

Kids won't have that experience again with these books. They were so omnipresent; it seemed like everybody from elementary school to the old folks' home was reading the same book at the same time, all over the world! The anticipation, that feeling when you go into a book store and see boxes and boxes of the same book, all preordered and all about to be excitedly devoured. You'd see a person on the subway or in the store, with a corner of the book poking out of their bag, and ask how far they'd got, did they like that bit about....

by TheGeekCanPaint

I read at least four of the books before seeing a movie. I could see the Reptile House and Gringotts and the Forbidden Forest.

From Pinterest. I wish I knew who the artist is. 

But nowadays, Harry looks like Daniel Radcliffe and Hermione doesn't really have bushy hair. The first movie was pretty good, but they soon went downhill and by the last few I forked over my money to see them rather grudgingly, duty-bound. Don't get me started...

I'm sorry to say that these books don't actually improve on re-reading. Well, okay, for the first dozen times, yes. But even at the height of our Pottermania, the kids and I had a list of questions we would ask JK Rowling if we ever met her, and it got quite long. Things don't quite work... a whole book relies on someone doing something stupid, or not doing something simple that they should have done. (Just a word to Dumbledore, please!) Elaine has got into the fandom thing, and says that while most online fan groups talk about how great things are with Dr Who or the Marvel comics or Steven Universe, the Potter fandom talks about how things could have been better.

by SquirrelGirl15

But, wow, I would really like to have again that thrill that came with going down Diagon Alley or riding a broom for the first time!

(I've found some art that is supposed to be book-based, at DeviantArt.)

To see more Think Write Thursday posts, go here.