I can confirm that Pizza Express do a good gluten/dairy free menu. I can especially recommend the raspberry sorbet for dessert; delicious.
After stuffing ourselves with pizza, Laura (from Lifeisabookblog a friend and also my brother’s girlfriend) and I mooched around the shops for a while but to be honest, our hearts weren’t in it. By 8pm Waterstones was closed and a re-imagining of Dolores Umbridge was outside apologising to people wanting to go in. We were excited. Very excited.
We tried to curb the butterflies with some dairy free coffee from Starbucks (made with coconut milk-delicious) while sitting on a bench and ignoring each other while we made blog notes and Tweeted a lot. This is why it’s nice to spend time with another blogger. With normal friends (and by normal I mean those who don’t frantically try and store every amusing or emotional detail of every event in their phones or notebook, to blog about later) I find myself making a very conscious effort not to use my phone for fear of appearing rude or as though I’m not listening. With a fellow blogger she knows I’m listening and recording it all and will write about it later on.
It was while sitting on a bench between Starbucks and Waterstones, sipping a coconut mocha that we noticed the queue. Or distinct lack of it.
We knew that the shop shut at 8, reopened at 10pm to purchase a coupon to be exchanged at midnight for a copy of the book. (Sunday trading laws and all that) but we had expected there to be more people. There wasn’t anyone camping outside the shop, no gaggles of Potternerds taking turns to get the coffees in and nip to the loo while the others held their place in the line. No one brandishing wands and threatening to Avada Kedavra the next person who cut the line. There was no one.
This both disappointed and excited us all at once. Could we be the first people in Manchester to get our hands on the book? But where were all the other Potter fans? Just as we were about to head the loo before setting up camp outside the shop our faith in Potterdom was restored. Two little witches in robes with wands and brooms were heading down the stairs with their mums. They looked amazing.
At 10pm the shop opened and we were about 20th in the queue, we were given our coupons and directed to our home for the next two hours – right by dog training, weddings and cooking. We settled down on the floor and chatted to our queue neighbours, Tweeted, read and took turns to mooch about the shop. Slowly it filled up and by 10.30 there was about 200 people in the shop.
The staff went the extra mile to keep us happy. We did a Potter quiz, ate Haribo, drank orange squash and watched as the Sorting Hat sorted the children into their Houses. (Laura and I did want to be sorted just to make sure we were in the right Houses – shes a Hufflepuff and I’m a Slytherin – but we resisted.)
Finally, after the excitement of the night it was almost time. There was a countdown, we all sang Happy Birthday to Harry Potter and at 12.03 I exchanged my coupon for my book. Happy happy happy.
The problem I now face is how quickly to read it. I’m already 97 pages in and I can say it’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. But I know that once I’ve read it, it’s gone. Any book lover will know the grief of finishing a book and desperately wishing you could go back and read it anew.
So, Potter fans, I hope The Cursed Child is everything you want it to be.