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Jul. 8th, 2014

Ravenclaw - Magpie


Popular children's lit in the 1950's-60's

Can someone give me a few titles of popular children's picture books that would have been well-known in the late 1950's and early 1960's? Bonus points if it involves wizards or dragons. I need something for three-year-old Lily to get excited about.

ETA: Never mind. I just realised Beatrix Potter is exactly what I need. Not sure why I didn't think of her immediately.

Jul. 7th, 2014


Signing a lease on a flat in London

Hi folks! You were so helpful to me the last time I had a question that I'm back again with another one!

I'm writing a story about Andromeda and Ted in their last couple years at Hogwarts, as she's putting plans in place to leave her family. I have Ted going to London and signing a lease on a place for them to live after they finish their 7th year at Hogwarts...but I realized I'm not sure how leases work in the UK.

In the US, for example, generally you sign a lease for a set period of time (e.g., one year), but in Germany, for another example, you sign an open-ended lease and just have to give three months' notice if you decide to move out. Which one of those is the UK more like, if either? (As in, do you usually rent for a year, or month by month, or something else?) Don't know if it makes a big difference, but the story is set when Andromeda and Ted are 18, so around 1971, rather than the present day.

Also, at the moment I have Ted doing this in January of their 7th year, just because that's where it fit in terms of my story arc, but that's probably unrealistically early to be looking for a flat they won't be moving into until June or July...right? Or maybe London real estate is so difficult that you do need to look far ahead of time...? I can change it and have him looking in May or June, if that's more realistic.

Thank you so much!

Jul. 3rd, 2014

Ravenclaw - Magpie


Poor Yorkshire family c. 1960-65

I'm working on a short fic about Lily Evans' parents, and I'm making them a very poor teenage couple living in Yorkshire. What would they have been likely to eat/feed their kids? What kinds of jobs might they have had? Would they be more likely to live on their own, or with one of their parents? Anything else I should consider?

Jul. 1st, 2014

khalulu, kanji


acquiring puppies

How common would it be to get a puppy from a neighbor whose dog had given birth? Time period, last 10 years - and would it be different in London vs a village?

When I was a kid in the US, it was common to get kittens and puppies (not purebred) given away "free to good home", but since then there is much more consciousness about spaying and neutering, and people now seem to either buy a purebred, or get an animal from a shelter or rescue organization.

How do people in the UK generally get non-purebred young dogs and cats these days?


Jun. 30th, 2014



what counts as incest?

I'm writing a fic with cousin incest, but apparently that doesn't count as incest in the UK? (or most parts of the world, since America is just squicky about things like that). I've asked one person who lives in England and they said it's definitely incest - two others said it would be something to raise eyebrows at and make fun of, but nothing terrible (as well as perfectly legal).

If the fic is set in modern day England and the main conflict is the fact that they're cousins, would that be believable, or is it totally American?

Jun. 22nd, 2014



(no subject)

I was about to have Remus say something rueful about having encouraged people to come together and sing Kumbaya, but I wonder if that's too American a phrase for him to use. He's referring to a song popular in the Fifties and Sixties, at Civil Rights gatherings and kids' camps and guitar Masses and the like. "Singing Kumbaya" has become a kind of shorthand for a naive expression of togetherness, harmony, peace, etc.

It's 2010.

Thanks in advance for your help!

ETA: The context is, Remus has been encouraging members of two very disparate groups to chat with one another, quite casually, with the intention that in doing so they'll realize that the other side is made up of human beings much like themselves. If some actual friendships were to arise from this, or a desire to resist the authorities' efforts to keep the groups polarized, so much the better. Now it seems his good intentions have backfired and he's blaming himself.

He's talking to Hermione, BTW.

ETA: If I understand correctly, enough of you are saying that in the UK the expression doesn't mean what it does in the US that it makes sense for me to drop it. Thank you all!

Jun. 16th, 2014


Disgusting guy humor, nicknames for teenage boys, and dodgy wands

Ew, yeah.  I've got a bit of a gross question.  I'm writing a scene with Harry and a 15-year-old Teddy just being silly.  Teddy's embarrassed because people overheard him signing out loud.  (He was wearing an 'mPod,' which is a magical version of an iPod created by George Weasley, and you know how easy it is to forget yourself and start singing along when listing to music on an iPod.)  He's really embarrassed, and Harry's trying to make him laugh.  This is what I have:

          “So, let me just do a bit of work and grab the tickets and we’ll be off,” Harry continued as they made their way down the hall towards his office. When Teddy didn’t respond, Harry elbowed him. “S’not that bad, Teddo. S’not.” He laughed. “Really, s’not.”

Teddy started to laugh.

“Now, did I ever tell you about the time Ron tried to cast a charm on this git we went to Hogwarts with for picking on Hermione but got himself instead? Now, that, that was embarrassing. Never—and I mean this Teddo—never cast a Slug-vomiting charm with a dodgy wand.”

My first question is whether Teddy would be likely to laugh at Harry saying "snot" (meaning bogeys) over and over, and whether Harry could even feasibly say it, or if that's 100% American.  I'm afraid it's 100% American, which would stink, because I kind of like the scene.

I got "Teddo" from another post about terms of affection adults toward kids.  It recommended adding an "O" to the end of a boy's name instead of a "Y," especially for teenage boys.  So Harry calls him "Teddo" rather than "Teddy."  Sound good?

Is "dodgy" a good word for describing a wand that isn't working properly for whatever reason?  Or would something like "wonky" be better.  I might actually like "wonky" better.  It sounds good together--wonky wand.

You've all been so helpful in the past, thanks in advance for your help!

Jun. 11th, 2014

shadow frog


two questions: funfair food, hands-on lab-type classes

Funfair question:

I have a Character A who is standing in line to buy an ice lolly at a funfair. Character B watches them from a distance, but doesn't know what specific sort of food Character A is about to buy. I had B thinking that A was buying "some sort of ridiculous sweet" because I though "sweets" was a term for any kind of sugary junk food, but I was told this is wrong because "sweets" are something narrower and more specific.

So what exactly are "sweets"?? And is there some general word that would cover the sorts of foods for sale at a funfair? And if there isn't a super-broad term, is there a general word for the sorts of things one might buy at an ice cream van at a fun fair?

School question

In the US there is sometimes a distinction between two kinds of classes: lectures and labs. Lectures are the sort of class with the teacher up front talking and everybody taking notes. Labs are the practical hands on stuff like looking through a telescope for astronomy, dissecting a worm for biology, or re-potting Mandrakes in Sprout's Herbology class.

I know that I need to call them "lessons" and "subjects" instead of classes, but is there a phrase for the hands-on type classes that are sometimes called labs in the US? If there's no such phrase, I'll just reword to get rid of the whole idea.

May. 31st, 2014


Re: wedding terminology

Just wondering how you refer to the grouping of bride, groom, and their parents and immediate family who wait, single-file, to formally greet all the guests as they pass by after the ceremony concludes. Here in the US, we call it a receiving line. I'm going to take a guess here; would that be a reception queue in the UK? If not, what do you call it?


May. 5th, 2014

khalulu, kanji


pyjama parties?

When a child has a friend or friends visit and stay overnight, is it called a pyjama party in the UK? Is it a fairly common thing to do? In the US it could be called a pajama party, sleep-over or slumber party (and the verb is to sleep over, as in "Can so and so sleep over?"). I'm thinking of what a child of 6 or so would call it. (Not that parents of 6 year olds would feel ready for other 6 year olds yet….)

Thanks in advance!

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