Announcement: Happy times. My new book is out

I have great news for you all. My new book is out. It’s a collection of short stories called Always Never, Rarely Sometimes and I’m so happy to be able to tell you all about it. Like with Illusions, Delusions, there are seven stories but this time the focus is on more traditional storytelling with a slight twist.

Read about a regular boy named Harry Potter whose life changes overnight when the literary character becomes a phenomenon. Or about a middle aged lady who goes for quiet coffee and gets more than she bargained for when she spots a group of four friends. Not forgetting the story about an unhappy child’s Christmas being changed thanks to a very surprising encounter. And there’s plenty more 😀

Paperback UK
Kindle UK

Paperback US
Kindle US

Those are the links if you want to get a copy. It’s also part of Kindle Unlimited. Hope you’re having a wonderful day 😊


Line(s) of the Day: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


You think the dead we loved truly ever leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly in times of great trouble?

As said by the wise and benevolent Professor Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), the third of the series, and my favourite. You can find another example of Dumbledore’s knowledge here, and my tour of Harry Potter Studios here.

Gr8at: Memorable figures from the Wax Museum

I had planned on doing a wider description of Dublin’s Wax Museum, especially after I previously did an introductory style piece. But although the museum includes information about Irish history, its politics and its many famous writers, it will always be a very visual place and so my post will focus on that too. Below are a mix of musicians and very fictional entertaining characters, including the fifth James Bond, a boy wizard, the King of Pop and a very hairy Wolfman. How good do you think they are?

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Line(s) of the Day #HarryPotterandtheChamberofSecrets

Harry Potter cover page

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

As said by Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.

Gr8at: Back to School Blogathon

Back to School Blogathon

There really are some fantastically original blogathons out there. One that really caught my attention was by the awesome blogger Dell on Movies. He runs a great site and regularly comes up with some really fantastic ideas. His latest one is the challenge of picking eight distinctive film characters to match specific roles within a school setting. I couldn’t say no.

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Gr8 – Harry Potter Studios quiz (Now with answers)

I reviewed the Harry Potter Studios recently and took more than a few pictures. As you can imagine, I couldn’t quite fit them all in. So I thought I’d make it interesting. Below are eight photos from the trip. See if you can work out aspect of the Harry Potter series they are to do with. I’ll put the answers up later, but only fair to give you a longer chance to try and answer them.

Harry Potter first pic


Harry Potter second pic


Harry Potter third pic


Harry Potter fourth pic


Harry Potter fifth pic


Harry Potter 6


Harry Potter 7


Harry Potter 8

Things to See: Harry Potter Studios

With the seven tales of Harry Potter gaining worldwide sales of 450 million copies and the eight films garnering sales of $7.7 billion, there was always been a market for the heroic boy wizard and his adventures in Hogwarts and beyond. How though, to continue to allow people to find out more about how the books were adapted and share their love with others who feel the same?

The answer lay in Watford. Opened on 31 March 2012 with an unveiling featuring pretty much all the cast and crew from the franchise, the WB Harry Potter Studio Tour shows in intricate detail just how the films were made.

Harry Potter sign

It begins by seeing this welcoming sign. The car park is huge. Not just for the cars parking, but for space for coaches coming in. It is so popular that you need to book your tickets ahead as you won’t be able to buy them on the door. As with most attractions the earlier you get there the less people there will be. After the small queue there was a video introduction by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. You can feel the magic of Harry, Ron and Hermoine rub off.

Harry Potter and the main hall

You start with the great hall, where so many exciting scenes take place, not least the sorting scene, where the characters are set into either Gryffindor, Hubblepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin (booooooo!). You get to see the costumes they wore and the different emblems of each house. And the hall really is huge. 

Set design Harry Potter studios

What really comes across is just how much those involved in making the films are fans of the book, and how dedicated they were. What is also highlighted is just how many people were involved, from set design and costumes to stunts and props.

Dumbledore's Office

One of the biggest delights is seeing Dumbledore’s office, especially as its design is explained in so much detail.


All along the floor there were plenty of interactive screens for finding out more on each room. Bearing in mind all set designs are also carefully labelled and around half have videos explaining more behind the process, you can see why the whole trip takes on average three hours to see.



The role of the animal actors aren’t forgotten either. The video even said that some animals were trained up to four months before filming started, but they were clearly well cared for. Perhaps surprisingly, the owls were the most tricky animals to film as they won’t always keep to script!

Harry Potter merchandise

As Harry Potter is so successful, it is no surprise that there has been some quite marketing products throughout the world.

Privet Drive sign

Leaving the first of the three main sections, you then go outside into where the exteriors of Privet Lane were shot. You can take photos as though you are a next door neighbour and have dropped in on Harry to say hi. This is the only part of the studios that may be affected by the weather. Luckily it was a perfect day when Madeleine and I went. You can get butterbeer if you want it, but I’d avoid it. It really is dreadful, sickly sweet and tastes more like medicine you’d have to take as a child.

Scary spider

After that you move back inside into a third room, where the villains are shown, as well as Diagon Alley, including Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment. For the easily scared, I should add the spiders or other deadly creatures don’t move from the wall.

Harry Potter Wall art

You can also see the stylish artwork the films have inspired.

Smaller version of Hogwarts

But for all the impressive and eye-catching sights, perhaps the most stunning is seeing the small scale model of Hogwarts. The level of detail is astonishing. After that there is a gift shop, filled with all kinds of merchandise (including Harry Potter Studios shirts and themed chocolate). Whether or not you buy anything to take back with you, you will have the memory of a great day out and most likely a bucketload of photographs. My thanks to my girlfriend Madeleine for letting me steal borrow some of her shots. You’ll find more of her photos here and here.