Rules shmools and puppy dog eyes

Friday, April 29, 2016
Watford, United Kingdom
Life is about rules. There are rules for everything these days. No smoking within 30 m of the building. No shirts, no shoes, no service. No outside food or drink allowed. Just about everywhere you go, there are established rules that apply. Abide…or stay away.
We spent the day at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden, outside London. Before we were allowed to enter the inner sanctum, we had to learn the rules of engagement. We passed through a security checkpoint before entry. There was no photography allowed on 2 parts of the tour. No food was permitted outside the food service areas. All reasonable. Other than a few kids who attempted to consume their Skittles inside Studio J, but were quickly intercepted by staff members, there were no real problems. It’s just unfortunate that they didn’t go far enough when establishing these rules. Here are some I’d wished they’d implemented:
1) When approaching an exhibit, look, photograph, and move on. Do not linger and block everyone else from being able to see or take a photo, ya wanker.
2) When someone asks you to take a photo, do so…but be sure that the focal point of the scene is actually in the viewfinder, ya tool.
And ever so important…
3) Do not leave your toddlers to their own devices to wander around unsupervised while you linger in front of an exhibit, blocking everyone from being able to see or take a photo, ya bollocks.
So all in all, it was a fabulous day spent with all things Harry. It was great seeing all the actual props, sets and costumes used in the filming of the franchise. And we got some great photos…although some of them may have important bits cut off.
We traveled up to Watford Junction this morning and caught the studio shuttle from the train station. Very smooth. And very reasonable, considering we got a group discount on our train tickets (who knew 3 was considered a group), and purchased “off peak return” tickets in advance which was actually cheaper than using our Oyster cards. So when we finished touring Harry at 3:15 pm, we decided we should head back to London. Hmmm…we’ve got “off peak” train tickets though. What time do you suppose “off peak” is? I know it’s after 9:30 in the morning, but what time is considered peak in the afternoon? Thanks to Warner Brothers free wifi at the studio, we learned that you can’t travel with off peak tickets between 3:00 and 6:45 pm. Damn…so close. What would we possibly do in Watford Junction for 3 ½ hours? Well, there’s always a pub to be found. Yeah, but that could be dangerous.
I offered up a suggestion to the girls. “Let’s just go to the train station and play dumb”. I mean really, what harm is there. We’ll go to the station, stick our tickets in the turnstile, and if it opens, Bob’s your uncle, off we go. If it doesn’t, nothing ventured, nothing gained. If we go through a wicket with a human who says “Blimey mate, you can’t travel during peak periods with an off- peak ticket”, then we would reply, with big puppy dog eyes, “We’re ever so sorry, but we didn’t know…we’re from Canada, eh”.
It took a bit of convincing, but I got Kim and Shelley onboard with my plan. We got to the train station, slid our tickets in the turnstile, and…no go. Wouldn’t accept them. Of course not…it’s peak period…and we’ve got off-peak tickets! There are rules, ya know!!! So we found a nice man who worked at the station. I approached him with my ticket and said “Excuse me, kind sir, but me and my friends here have off peak tickets to travel back to London. We need to get back early cause Will and Kate have invited us over for dinner, and we must freshen up. What ever can we do?” Okay, that’s not EXACTLY what I said, but the answer was this “You can go now”. “But”, I said, “our tickets won’t open the gate”, to which he replied “just show it to the man over there”. Score one for the puppy dog eyes!!
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I am so envious! What a great tour! Keep the stories comin!

Gael Phillips

Enjoyed the fun trip even though I wasn't in your suitcase !!!