Jerrold flew in front of me at eye level. Wisely I had chosen to ride my bicycle since I didn't know how far away Diagon Alley was. For all I knew it wasn't even in London.
I rode for hours and am still riding. I am still in London though so we must've taken a more roundabout way. Suddenly, Jerrold flies up over me and away from sight.
"Wait, come back!" I look above the rooftops frantically, searching for just one feather that would lead to my guide owl. Back down on the ground I am being stared at by passersby. I smile sheepishly and turn in a circle looking for somewhereto go. I haven't eaten all day and my legs are sore from riding.
Different shops and buildings surround me, none of which look like they serve food or water. Except one, The Leaky Cauldron. It looks old and gross and smells of smoke but I think I should be able to get a drink of water there.
Walking into the pub is like walking into a brick wall. I am hit with strong scents of liquor and smoke. I wrinkle my nose in disgust and try to breathe in through my mouth.
"Hello there! What can I get you miss?" A bald wrinkled man with no teeth asks from the bar.
I smile politely and ask for water. While he pours me some in a glass- a grubby looking one that hasn't been washed correctly- I sit down on the very left side of the bar. I gratefully gulp down the cool liquid.
"Thanks, " I gasp between swallows. "Can I ask you a question? It is a rather strange one but I fear I am dreadfully lost."
The bartender peers at me questionably. "Where are you trying to get to?" I explain that I am looking for Diagon Alley but I don't actually know where it is. "Do you mean to tell me that you walked in here by chance?"
I am confused. All I want are some directions! "No, I needed something to drink and a place to rest for a bit. And directions if you would."
"Miss this is the place that leads directly to Diagon Alley. Come on, this way. It's right out the back."
Relieved that I might have done something right today I hop up and hurry after the bartender. He leads me to the back wall and says that this is the entrance to Diagon Alley. Then he walks off to go serve a customer.
All it is is a brick wall. There is no door. But perhaps it is a secret entrance! That would make sense, a secret passage to a secret world. My nose is only a few inches from the wall as I study it more closely. The third one up and second over has been slightly worn away. I touch it softly with my index finger.
The brick begins to shake. A hole crumbles in the middle of it and starts to get bigger. Soon there is a large gap that extends to the floor and is getting wider. In half a second I am standing in front of a grand archway. And through it I get my first glimpse of Diagon Alley but not my last.
My eyes can barely take in all of the wonderful sights! It's like my senses are on overload. I can smell licorice and pastries. People bump into me but I don't even notice. Owls hoot somewhere in front of me and I see a boy about my age drop a toad he just bought. This is so amazing!
This is real! It's not a joke, I am really in Diagon Alley and am surrounded by real witches and wizards!
I look around for anyone who might be able to direct me to the bank so I can exchange my money. To my right I see a girl with her mum and dad. They all look as nervous as I feel.
I hesitantly walk up to them and ask, "Do you err... know where I can exchange my money? I don't really know where to go."
The girl had big bushy hair and an air of having answers. She said, "You'll want Gringotts, the wizarding bank. We've just come from there. It's right over there, " she indicates to a large white building. I thank her and quickly head that way, eager to get to the shopping part.
The inside is just as grand as the outside. The halls are marble and walking around are... are those goblins? I confront one that seemed less- evil?- and asked to exchange my money.
"Hand me what you've got. I'll get it ssorted out." A shiver runs down my spine but I do as I'm told.
"Here, you can have eight and sixty galleons, one thousand, one hundred fifty-six sickles, or three thousand, three hundred and twenty-four knuts. Take your pick."
"Er... I don't in what that means." The goblin looks as if he expected as much but had hoped otherwise. He holds up a big gold coin. "This is a galleon. There are seventeen sickles to a galleon and twenty-five knuts to a sickle." He hold up a silver coin and then a bronze one, each smaller than the last. I asked for galleons since they were worth the most and would have the least to pack around. I put them safely in a small pouch and tucked it in my pocket. For the rest of the day I will be pulling up my pants from the weight.
After I left the bank I decided to start on my supplies. First on the list was my clothing. I headed towards a shop called Madame Malkin's Robes for all Occasions. I hear a chime when I walk in but but there is no bell above the door.
"Hogwarts, dear?" Asks a short plump witch. She smiles and takes my silence as a yes. "Come here then and I'll get you fitted!"
I follow her to the back and stand on a footstool. She pulls a black robe over my head and begins measuring. To my right is the girl I saw earlier. Her robes are nearly done.
"Hello!" she says excitedly when she sees me. "Find your way alright?" I nod and she continues, "So, what are you? I'm a muggleborn. That means that neither of my parents were magical. Some people are halfbloods and some are purebloods. Non magic folk are called muggles. Neat, huh? So, what are you?"
I gulp, trying to take in everything she said. "Muggleborn, I think." After that the girl has to go. She leaves goodbye and says, "Oh, I'm Hermione by the way." I tell her my name and the she leaves to go buy her books.
Suddenly I don't feel so well. Hermione already knows so much. If I knew where to find that information I would but this is all too new. What if there was a mistake and I'm not really a witch?
"There you are, dear!" Madame Malkin wakes me from my worry. I grab my sets of robes and roam the store for my cloak and gloves.
The next place I go to is Flourish and Blotts. Books were displayed in the windows so I assume that this is where I should get my books. It was easy enough. I found my school books quickly and have now moved onto buying my cauldron. I spot a nice looking witch at a stand selling them. She gave me a special deal and put in my glass phials, scales, and telescope half off. Relieved I put all of my supplies into my cauldron.
Next up: a wand! There looks to be only one wand shop run by Ollivander. Unable to control my excitement I rush into the shop. It isn't what I expected. It was dusty and empty of everything other than hundreds of thin boxes all stacked up to the ceiling throughout the room.
I clear my throat and wonder, "Is anyone here?" It was whispered but immediately a scrawny man with wild hair and silver eyes appeared.
"I've been waiting for you, Lydia Brooke. Come, come." He starts wandering the aisles of boxes, grabbing one or two as he walks by. I follow him closely until we get to a desk in the back corner. He places his newly gathered stack of boxes on the old thing and opens the top one. In it is a long wand.
"Give it a swish, " he commands. I do and he lets out a high pitched squeak before exchanging it for the next one. This one is shorter and almost white in coloring. He took it away and gave me another. This one is longer than the first and more swishy.
"Ah, twelve and a half inches, yew, surprisingly swishy, dragon heartstring. A very fine wand indeed. " Mr. Ollivander looks at me ungazingly.
The wandmaker's face remains expressionless and yet mysterious. He explains, "Your wand, it's twelve and a half inches, made of yew, it's core is a dragon heartstring. That is what gives it it's magic!"
I put my wand in its box, pay for it, and bid the eccentric wizard farewell. Next up: animal!
Hooting, meowing, squeaking- all these noises can be heard. I simply follow the ruckus to the animal emporium.
My letter gave me the option of a toad, cat, or owl. A toad is out of the question. When I was younger I always wanted a cat. Father wouldn't let me but maybe I could now. I consider it for half a second but decide to get a long eared owl instead. She has small tufts for ears, light brown quilts with a reddish tint into the face. I name her Roo because of her favorite snack, the kangaroo rat.
I am exhausted! And during all of the days excitement I forgot to eat. My growling stomach angrily reminds me of this. I go back to the Leaky Cauldron, rent a room for the night, and eat whatever Tom, the bartender serves me. It's been a satisfying day but, I suspect.that tomorrow is going to be better.