The Travelling Trooper Rides the Hogwarts Express

The next morning, we parked in front of the station at 5 am. At around 6:30, I got out to stand under the shelter of the entrance with another gentleman and a couple, hiding from the rain while Doris slept comfortably in the car. There was no way we weren’t going to get tickets. I wasn’t going to let that happen.

Now before you say, “Aww, what a good brother!” Don’t be mistaken. I was doing this just as much for myself as I was for her. I WANNA RIDE THE HOGWARTS!

The station opened at 7, but the train wasn’t schedule to arrive for another two hours. The German couple wasn’t looking for Jacobite tickets, so it was just the other guy and myself. I struck up a conversation with him, and it seemed we were pretty much in the same boat. His two boys and his wife were probably eating a nice breakfast in their hotel while he was standing guard at the front of the line.

When I realized that there was no other competition, I happily took my seat. Doris finally woke up around quarter past eight, at which point a few people started to trickle in and I decided we should probably get back in line. We took turns waiting in line while the other person brushed their teeth and I bought us a quick breakfast while we waited.

By the time 9:00 rolled around, there was a hefty line behind us. I was happy to wait the four hours for tickets if it meant we would be guaranteed tickets.

The thing is, though, when the train finally arrived and they started selling tickets, they clearly had more than enough for everybody! I lined up so bloody early for nothing!

But at least we were on.

We went to the small shop onboard to buy some snacks, because sadly, the Jacobite doesn’t have a food trolley like in the movies. However, I still felt like Harry when I bought us each a chocolate frog, a pack of Bertie Botts’ Every Flavour Beans, and Butter Brew hot chocolate. The damn things were crazy expensive! I paid $35 for that! It didn’t matter, though. I turned to Doris and said, “We’ll take the lot!”

The train ride was from Fort William to Mallaig and back, so we had an hour and a half to kill back in Mallaig. Sadly, Anna and Yana had since left, and now they were in Fort William. We had switched places!

Doris and I opted to share a Margarita pizza before hopping back onto the train.

We arrived in Fort William around 2:30 and headed for our host’s place. We were staying with Mark and Helena for the night. Mark is a local boy, and his wife Helena is from Ecuador. They were a blast to hang out with. Helen is a wild and hilarious Latina, while Mark is a sharp-witted fellow. We just sat in their living room and talked and laughed until the day was done.

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Not pictured: Helena, because I’m an idiot, and I always forget to take pictures with people and Helena had already left for work. Stupid Uri.

Helena had a bit of a potty mouth, which suited me juuuuust fine. Both Mark and Helen were big movie fiends like us, so Doris and I were eager to gush over our recent celebrity encounter. Except, it turned out that Helen, too, had met and been totally smitten by our good friend, Tilda!

We spent the night eating a delicoius Ecuadorian meal cooked by our wonderful hostess and watching We Need to Talk About Kevin in honour of our new friend, Tilda Swinton. (Mark wasn’t allowed to help the Cook in the kitchen after he dropped a tomato. He was demoted and Doris was promoted to tomato cutter.) We were all scarred for life by the terrifying portrayal of Kevin by one Ezra Miller, so despite the fact that it was just about 1 am, we capped the night off without something a little lighter and watched an episode of Friends.

PS: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it. It’s adapted from a novel of the same name. Doris and I just happened to find the book in the phone booth library in Bristol, so I’m excited to read it when I get back to Canada. Just a fair warning: If you’re thinking of having children in the near future, you might not want to read it just yet.

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