This week I ventured into the big city of London, all on my lonesome, for some Adobe InDesign training for work. Which, as great as the training was, it’s not what I’m talking about today. Although I will show you my awesome new skills, the first is the magazine that I was asked to recreate, the second image is my partial recreation.
Just to add, the trainer was very impressed with my attention to detail. Anyway, getting back to the blog in hand:
I tend to get a bit anxious when I have to go to new places on my own and going into the vast maze that is London – on my own – is always a bit of a daunting prospect for me. I love going to the city with other people, but having to go by myself and rely on my wits…well, let’s just say it’s not unknown for a wrong tube to be taken on occasion. On my own, I like to get in, go where I have to go, do what I have to do and get out again, preferably alive.
But not this time (I don’t mean – not – alive…). The first day, yes, I was a bit preoccupied with getting to the training centre and didn’t have time to even look around me as I had an email with directions, the Google Maps app and Google maps on Safari – on the go, just to make sure I could find where I was going. On the way back to the station that evening, I decided I would not use the maps and just retrace my steps from the morning. And even though I hadn’t looked around in the morning to know where I was supposed to be going, and none of the roads I walked down looked familiar, somehow I made it back to the station in one piece. I did head straight home on this day but the fact I hadn’t got myself horribly lost, got me thinking about perhaps going a little further tomorrow, after all, it would be my last day in London on my own.
On the Tuesday I made it easily to the training centre, without the maps, and thought that I could definitely do a bit of touristy stuff before I went home that evening.
And where else in London did I want to go but to visit the House of Minalima, with their Harry Potter design exhibition. This meant I had to make a half hour journey from where I was having training close to Borough tube station, to Soho. To many, this is not a big deal, but to me, there were so many scenarios going through my head of where it could go wrong, that I almost bottled out. Almost. But my adventurous side won out and I was soon heading northbound on the Northern Line.
Oh and did I mention, this was on the hottest day in September for 100 years or so? Yeah the tube really wasn’t the prettiest of sights on this day. But do you know what? I loved it. I felt a little exhilarated by it, I was travelling by tube on my own! And so far heading in the right direction!
I made it all the way to Greek Street to where the House of Minalima lives, and only then got lost, sort of. I could not find this house for the life of me. I, of course, was using Google Maps to find my way, but my directional/map reading skills aren’t the greatest and I walked up and down this bloody road at least three times (the people in Pizza Express must have been sat there thinking ‘yeah, she’s definitely lost.’) but every time I started walking, the map was telling me to turn around, so I eventually turned it off and just walked straight from one end to the other, until I found the bloody place. The big purple completely obvious place.
For those who have no idea what the House of Minalima is, it’s a lovely old building that houses the graphical artwork of the Harry Potter films, all designed by (Miraphora) Mina and (Eduardo) Lima. Everything from the Hogwarts Express Platform 9 3/4 tickets from The Philosopher’s Stone, to the Advanced Potions book from the Half-Blood Prince (one of the guards/stewards/helpers/assistants I’m not sure, someone who worked there; pointed out to me that the notes in the Half-Blood Prince’s copy of the book, were all hand calligraphed by one of the designers in a posh, teenage angsty kind of way to portray the way he must have felt inside), to The Marauder’s Map from The Prisoner of Azkaban, to Rita Skeeter’s scathing book The Life & Lies of Albus Dumbledore from The Deathly Hallows Part 1.
When the building can actually be found (I think there must have been some sort of cloaking charm around the place when I was trying to find it to keep the muggles out whilst The Minister for Magic was in there…) the beauty of the old building’s wonky floors and walls, means it wouldn’t look out of place in the streets of Diagon Alley itself.
I was super lucky when I went as I practically had the place to myself so I could take all the time I wanted to look at the displays. It’s free to enter and although four floors tall, it’s quite compact, so (I hear) it can get pretty busy at certain times. Tuesday at around 5pm was a good time for me.
There was so much I recognised from the films, and seeing them up close, seeing the amount of detail on them, I was left to only wonder at the intricate back stories that must have been weaved into every single prop (some not even making it to being seen on screen) as inside there’s sadly very little to tell you those kind of things.
I can see the arguments both for and against having this kind of detail in the exhibition due to the popularity of the place and crowd management at certain times, but even just displaying a little of the back stories for some of the more well known pieces would be doable, surely?
Instead you’re left to just marvel at the face value of the artwork without any idea of the magnitude of work that no-doubt went behind them,
When I had finished looking around the fabulous Hose of Minalima, I wasn’t quite ready for my Harry Potter experience to end, so I popped around the corner to take a look at the outside of The Palace Theatre where The Cursed Child is playing.
And then I wished that I hadn’t as I didn’t get any tickets for the performance despite my fourteen hour commitment to the cause on that fateful/wasted day back in August and it made me sad that I might not ever get to experience the show for myself… Well, best not to dwell on these things though, eh?
Next I decided I would take a walk to Fortnum & Mason’s to buy some honey. Sounds random I know, but the night before I had watched something on how they make their own honey with bees on top of their store and wanted to try some. I know I’ve been there before, but could I find it? No. No I could not. I was losing faith quickly in the 1000 degree heat of the London streets and so scrapped that idea, instead deciding to treat myself with an outrageously indulgent Häagen-Dazs Magnum from the Häagen-Dazs shop. Turns out that’s been gone for over a year now. Ah.
I knew my way from Leicester Square back to Waterloo, I’ve done it a thousand times, so thought I’d just head on back, the London experience wasn’t going my way today. I ended my day with a look in The Southbank Shop, I always have to go in here, I don’t know why, but it always make me feel like only then have I been to London.
I survived my trip and although things didn’t go quite to plan, I ventured out on my own and gave it a good shot:
Until next time. x