The Diary of a Provincial Potions Master

Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to J. K. Rowling; the Provincial Lady, and her excellent Diaries, belong to E. M. Delafield. I thought it would be fun to mix the two together … like an experimental Potion.

August 31st, 2003 - Unusual lightness of mood, due in no small part to continued absence of imbecile students from the Halls of Hogwarts, leads me to remark to Minerva over lunch that the Weather is Nice today. She looks startled at this, as well she may, but replies darkly that she Supposes I have been Drinking again. Reflect that although I have known Minerva for many, many years, her current opinion of me depends entirely upon the fact that, fuelled by rather too much excellent champagne and natural excitement immediately following my marriage to Hermione only a few weeks ago, I was unfortunately moved to kiss my elderly colleague, soundly and at great length. Can only hope she never discovers that dear Hermione (rather fortunately) found this extremely amusing and continues to tease me with requests that I kiss her Properly, Like you did Minerva.

Am drawn from this musing by the fact that Albus has got to his feet and is gesturing for Silence.

Subsequent speech may contain countless gems of wit and originality, but all is a blur to me after opening line, to the effect that Today is the Last Day of the Holidays. Am instantly struck dumb with Horror.

Hermione steers me silently back to our quarters after the meal; upon entering them, she becomes Busy and I find myself, in an incredibly short space of time, comfortably ensconced in armchair in front of blazing fire, with a small whiskey in my hand. Should very much like to know how she achieved this.

She then proceeds to inform me that:

A) It's not the end of the world;

B) I'll enjoy getting back to teaching after a refreshing break, and

C) At least I'll be able to give my Speech again.

Am unmoved by A and treat B with the contempt it deserves, but am forced to admit that C is not a Bad Thing.

(Query - Is it possible that my brain has been addled by new-found experience of Married Life? Am quite sure that, before we married, even dear Hermione, or Albus himself, would not have been able to talk me round so efficiently.

(Answer - all too evidently, a resounding Yes.)

Not unpleasant afternoon ensues, during which I rehearse The Speech - newly inserted dramatic pause between "Subtle Science" and "Exact Art" sounds well, and sure to be a success - and Hermione disappears behind the Daily Prophet.