“Have something to look forward to.”
My brother’s word of wisdom.
While October is a month full of joyous birthday celebrations, November is a dull miserable month where I and three other friends shun ourselves from the world and hid in the computer clusters. There were three deadlines that month; 100%, 25% and 50% on each of the 15 credit modules. By the end of November, my sleeping and eating patterns were completely messed up; I slept at sunrise and wake up at sunset. My jetlag may come a little too late LOL. We survived on packed food and deliveries; unhealthy but unavoidable.
A highlight of November: Christmas Lighting. The police sealed off the town hall an hour before the fireworks, so we couldn’t get in. The Script played three songs while the sky lighted with the pretty fireworks. The christmas market started shortly after, and we went once for some timeout.
(Photo courtesy of Ying)
Six hours prior to the last deadline on noon of 30th November, I was fuelled with nothing but adrenaline. Never in my four year in university have I finished a coursework 1.5 hours before deadline, ran to the library for printing and ran back just in time to hand in the hard copy to the reception and 12 sharp.
December took a nice turn with an early planned trip to London. London is a combination of musical and a Harry Potter studio tour, both suggested by yours truly. A group of 10 of us travelled down for the studio tour on the first weekend. Unfortunately, London isn’t any warmer than Manchester (as I expected), so I was half shivering with my 40 tog leggings.
// 1 Dec 2012: Phantom of the Opera musical //
We had dinner at Gold mine before heading to the Her Majesty Theatre. Unfortunately, they do not allow any recording device so I couldn’t take any pictures of the musical. How I wish I could snap pictures with my eyes. This is my first musical and it was awesome. I especially like the song “Wishing You were Somehow Here again”. Everyone can relate to the song about loss.
After that, we meet up with some of the rest who did not watch the musical. Travelling in London can be a hassle, even with the underground tubes. And to top it off, tube service terminates at midnight, so we all rushed to go back to our respective friends place. Just like Cinderella.
// 2 Dec. Harry Potter Studio Tour //
Early in the morning, I put my overnight bag together at another friend’s place. We head of for a lunch at a Malaysian restaurant at Leicester square. At Rasa Sayang, I have curry prawn mee; which lead to a severe cramp/stomach ache the following day. Later, I and three friends walked around in Harrolds enjoying the sight of expensive branded goods on display, while the rest had tea in some posh teashop.The schedule was very tight on that day, and it didn’t help that I couldn’t estimate travel time. I felt really bad for pestering and rushing and all the confusions. Not a very good planner, but I’m trying.
(photo courtesy of TJ)
The tour is worth the price, although I haven’t seen all the Harry Potter movies to date. Note that the last movie I watched was nearly five years ago, so, for any errors in description, I apologise in advance. The entrance to the tour was decorated with a large Christmas tree. Pretty tree.
At the latter part of the tour, we saw (and even sat on) the life size model of the car.
As I kept taking my camera in and out of my pockets, I dropped the entry ticket along the queue, which was (very fortunately) picked up by a fellow Samaritan. Apparently they were asking around but I was too busy to notice – until I saw them waving the ticket around. Careless me!
There were a lot posters around. Did you know the author JK Rowling had the idea about the book when travelling on a delayed train from Manchester? The first book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in 1997, and the film in 2001.
The Cupboard Under the Stairs
Tucked under the front stairs of number four Privet Drive was Harry’s first ‘bedroom’ – a forgotten, cramped and rather cluttered storage cupboard. “Harry was used to spiders, because the cupboard under the stairs was full of them, and that was where he slept”
– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
There was a brief introduction before we were escorted into the Great Hall (the actual one is in Christ Church in Oxford). The Great Hall is decorated with authentic decorations and eight Christmas trees.
Beyond the Great Hall, the tour continues with a variety of detailed sets such as:
I saw the authentic Sword of Gryffindor and the Sorting Hat and the headmasters potraits here!
Gryffindor Boy’s Dormitory
These beds are the original beds made for Harry, Ron, Seamus, Neville and Dean in the first film.
Chamber of Secret Doors
Did you know that the movement was not a computer-generated effect but mechanised by actual electric motors?
Stairwell to Dumbledore’s office, located high in the Hogwarts tower. There were two versions of the sculpted stairs, one of which is shown below.
Imagine the effort the Special Effects Department took to mechanised each bolt, latch and handle.
imagine my surprise when the red wand swirls automatically in the pot once every couple of minutes. Magic!
Others: I didn’t take pictures of everything in the tour, but these are some pretty pictures.
And the best part of the tour: The Hogwart Castle.
The lighting was set that it gives the feeling of a day-night scenery. The evening view is the best as portrayed above. 😀
We reached a cold and rainy Manchester at one in the morning. What a nice weekend. P.S. Thanks to Shyu Fei for always giving me a place to stay in London 😀