CHAPTER THREE: DIAGON ALLEY AND PLATFORM 9¾
It had been two weeks since the argument. Still no answer from Uncle Quentin back at Kirrin. They were now residing in The Leaky Cauldron, London. Aunt Fanny had said to them that they were going to Hogwarts, no matter what.
They bought all their school equipment, except for their wands. They didn’t buy their wands because they didn’t need them just yet; they were practising doing very simple potions with Aunt Fanny and so far they didn’t need wands to do them.
Most days, Anne and George spent much of their time in Magical Menagerie, helping take care of the cats, owls and toads. Anne also bought three-legged and part-blind cat, Apollo, when she found out that it had been living in the shop for a whole year and nobody even considered buying her. Julian bought an owl, Ook, so they could communicate with his parents. As for Timmy, he would be going to Hogwarts on one condition: He would have to stay with Hagrid and Fang, not go into the Owlery and return to Hagrid’s in the evenings.
On July 15th, a letter arrived. It was delivered via owl; Julian had sent Ook to Uncle Quentin. His letter was very damp (possibly Ook had done a little wee-wee or Quentin had been crying) and very short. It said:
Dear Fanny, Georgina and the cousins
I am very sorry. Please come back. I’ve missed you. I was shocked, that’s all. I am very proud of you, Georgina, and Julian, Dick and Anne too. Fanny, dear, I was only offended that you told Joanna but not me. Come back home to me.
Suddenly, Aunt Fanny burst into tears. ‘Sorry, my dears, it’s just that I d-did not expect this from Quentin. Julian, can you send a letter to your uncle saying that we’ll be home tomorrow? Anyway, I have to pull myself together! I need to get your wands!’
Fifteen minutes later, they were in Ollivander’s Wand Shop, waiting for a wand to Choose them. George was up first. Mr. Ollivander was at the counter. He handed George a wand. ‘Thirteen inches. Cedar. Unicorn Hair. Brittle. Just give it a wave.’ She did so.
Immediately after, Mr. Ollivander’s glasses chipped. He was slightly shocked, but seemed to forget it a second later.
‘No, no, that is not the one for you, my boy!’ he croaked, putting the wand back in its case, putting it away and picking another one. Julian, Anne and Dick giggled slightly. ‘Thirteen and a half inches. Dogwood. Dragon Heartstring. Unyielding.’ Once again, George gave it a wave.
Suddenly, wind flowed around her hair and light flooded into the room, like a spotlight. It was as if a dragon had ripped the wall off.
‘Ah, that is the wand for you! It looks perfect with you, my boy! That’s eleven galleons,’ he beamed. After Aunt Fanny handed over the money, the process went over again until everyone had a wand.
‘Aunt Fanny, can we go into Quidditch Quality Supplies? Oh, look at that beautiful broom!’ Anne begged.
‘Sorry, m’dear, first-years don’t do Quidditch. Anyway, we have to go pack and go back to Uncle Quentin!’
With that news, the children tried to pack as fast as possible but it was quite hard as Timmy kept chasing after Apollo, messing up their trunks. ‘Oh, Timmy, go annoy someone else, I need to pack otherwise we’ll never get home!’ George snapped.
Eventually, the trunks were packed, even fuller than before. Many times, one of them would have to sit on the top while the others clipped it back shut. To make the bag matter worse, they now had a three-legged cat, an owl plus Timmy to look after.
Fanny had hired a taxi, to get them back to King’s Cross Station, then on to Kirrin.
However, the driver gave them some very weird looks because of Ook’s constant squawking but he was just a Muggle, so he would do.
‘Aunt Fanny, where in fact is Platform 11¾?’ Anne asked curiously.
‘Don’t you remember from when we actually got off the train when we came here?’ Aunt Fanny asked.
‘Well, I was a bit tired and a bit preoccupied, given that we’d just been told we were wizards and we were heading to London, so the answer is no, I don’t remember.’
‘It’s between Platforms 11 and 12. The Hogwarts train is between 9 and 10, on Platform 11¾, which is where you’ll be very soon. Anyway, we need to hurry, because we’re awfully late and our train leaves very soon!’
Aunt Fanny started to walk towards Platforms 11 and 12 with a much faster pace until she eventually came into a halt in front of a plain brick wall.
‘Now, to get to Platform 11¾, you must run straight at the wall,’ Fanny said simply.
‘What?’ George and Dick said in unison. Their eyes were almost popping out of their head in surprise.
‘Yes, you run at the wall. Don’t worry, though, you won’t hurt yourselves. This is the way to get to Platform 11¾, so unless you want to walk home, you must do as I say.’
‘This just gets madder every day,’ Dick whispered.
‘Oi, I heard that, young man!’ Aunt Fanny scolded. ‘Now, as you were so cheeky, you will be the first to go. Make sure you’re subtle, or the Muggles will notice. Oh, go on!’ Dick was very wary.
However, when the moment was right, he charged at the wall and, to everyone’s disbelief, disappeared.