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Two grumpy, argument filled, suitcase exploding, eye poking, stressful hours later found the four Weasleys and the five Potters all crammed into one car in a unceasing traffic jam on the M25 on the way to Portsmouth; they were catching the ferry there to Calais, and the children were very excited about this.

            “It will just be like riding a broom, just on water! Right Mum?” Hugo asked his mother, who was sitting next to Ginny in the front, on the magically enlarged seat. The car had been enlarged so that all nine of them, including suitcases, sun hats, balls, a broomstick (for emergencies only as Harry had tried to explain to James), a duvet, a pillow, teddies, sandwiches, pumpkin juice, cauldron cakes, Firewhisky (for emergencies only as Hermione had tried to explain to Harry and Ron), buckets, spades and all other mannerisms of holiday like equipment could fit into the ordinary Muggle car without detection and without too much discomfort for the occupants.

            This was all well and good for Hermione, Ginny and Ron, as they were in the front, but Harry had had to sit in the back with all five children, and wasn’t finding the journey an altogether pleasurable experience; they kept stealing his glasses. 

            “Not quite like riding a broom… more like a Hippogriff,” Hermione explained, remembering the up and down motions that had come from riding Buckbeak. She had felt rather ill on that occasion, and feared that she would be in for a bout of seasickness; no spells she knew could counter-act seasickness, but that wasn’t for lack of trying. She had searched high and low through all her spell books for such a spell, but resigned herself to the fact that if there was one, she had not found it.  The lack of help from her beloved collection of books seemed to insult her readily, and Ron had reported that after this incident she had not picked up a book for a whole hour just to spite her book collection for being so useless.

            “I’ve never ridden on a Hippogriff,” said Rose, “Is it fun?”

            “No.” said Hermione.

            “Yes.” said Harry, clunking James over the head as he yet again forged another attempt to nick Harry’s spectacles off his nose.

            “I could attach them with a permanent sticking charm if you want Harry,” Ron called into the back, turning around to face them, “Then he couldn’t keep taking them.”

            “I’d never be able to take my glasses off again!” Harry said back to him, weighing out the good and the bad points that would come with having his glasses permanently attached to the bridge of his nose.

            “Ha ha! You’d have to sleep with them on!” laughed James, and the other four started laughing too, looking and pointing at Harry, no doubt imagining Harry sleeping with his glasses on.

            “It’s not that funny!”

            “Do it Uncle Ron! Stick them to his nose!”

            “Be quiet James!”

            “Make me!”

            “Oh I will…” Harry drew out his wand –

            “Don’t make me come back there!”

            Hermione turned her bushy head to face Harry and James sternly, narrowing her brown eyes.

            “Sorry Hermione,” said Harry, hiding a grin and stowing his wand away.

            “That’s better.” She replied, also smiling.



When are we going to get there?” whined Lily, staring out the window forlornly with her chin in her hand.

            “We’ll get there when we get there!” Ron replied through gritted teeth; the traffic jam had made him steadily grumpier, and he was clenching the steering wheel so hard his knuckles appeared white. He was staring out of the windscreen so intensely it looked as though he were trying to make flame shoot from his eyes in order to devour the volume of cars that were preventing him from driving anywhere.

            “Why are you grumpy Uncle Ron?” Lily asked him.

            “I’m not.” Ron replied stoutly.

            “You are…” Lily was very bored, and therefore was trying to provoke Ron as some form of entertainment; most families would have considered this rude, but Ron was near enough a second father, and this allowed her to tease him as much as she teased Harry.

            “I am not grumpy,” Ron was trying to avoid himself being provoked, but his ears were turning red… a danger sign.

            “Are…” Lily added quietly, but she finished arguing with him; she had met her goal, which was to goad Ron enough so that he didn’t explode, but to just near the brink of said explosion. Unfortunately, this meant that one more knock to his temper would result him getting rather cross…

            The traffic was now crawling along at a snail’s pace, after remaining completely stationary for the past ten minutes.

            “Finally!” said Ron, jerking handbrake off.

            Just then another car sped in front of him in the lane, causing him to have to stop suddenly, and receiving angry hoots from cars behind him.

            “OI!” He yelled at the car in front, and stuck up a rude hand gesture at the driver who had cut across him. He got one back in return, and a reproving “Ron!” from Hermione.

            Ron slammed his hand down on the horn, and it gave a resounding blast of sound that caused the man in front to look round in his car; the traffic had slowed down to a stop again.

            The man hooted back at Ron, and Ron hooted back again, the man hooted, and then other people were getting fed up with this so they hooted too. Soon there was a whole symphony of different horns going off all around the motorway.

            Ron’s ears were bright red, and Hermione grabbed his arms to stop him from punching out the steering wheel from over enthusiastic overuse of the car’s horn.

            He refrained, but he was breathing heavily and nobody in the car dared say a word to him; the tension inside was tangible. Ron’s hands were in danger of snapping the steering wheel in half.

            “Bloody… Muggles!” he seethed, “Can’t… drive … stupid … CARS!”

            A lone horn sounded right behind him, after all the other horns had ceased.

            Ron turned around in his seat suddenly, so that his angry red face suddenly appeared in the back of the car, causing everyone to sit back slightly.

            “SHUT UP!”

            “We weren’t saying anything!” Hugo piped up crossly.

            “Not you,” Ron growled at Hugo, “HIM!” he pointed accusingly at the car behind. The driver waved at Ron with a vacant happy expression; evidently the traffic jam had driven this driver ever so slightly loopy.

            He pressed his horn again at Ron.

            Ron turned to face the front again, boiling in anger. Everyone was silent. The tension was almost tangible… you could’ve cut it with a knife…


            Five minutes later… traffic still stationary


            Hermione twiddled with the radio, but only got the WWN, which wasn’t much use in explaining traffic jams on Muggle motorways. Celestina Warbeck’s voice was now punctuating the tense silence that filled the car.

            When Hermione saw Ron’s eye twitching and his hands tighten (surely impossible) around the steering wheel she hastily turned Celestina off. An echoing silence lay in her wake.


            Two minutes later… traffic still very much not moving. Ronald reaching mental breakdown.


            “I don’t like you.” James said to Hugo.

            “Why?” Hugo sounded shocked.

            “Meh,” replied James with a shrug, “Just thought this journey would be more fun if I had an enemy.”

            “Well… make enemies with him them,” Hugo pointed up through the window at a fat, bald sunburnt lorry driver who bore a striking similarity to Ron in the way he was regarding the surrounding cars; as though he wanted nothing more for them all to suffer extremely painful deaths.

            “I don’t think I’d want to be his enemy,” James said, regarding the male, “I couldn’t beat him in a fight. He’s far too fat. At least I could beat you easily.”

            “You could not!”

            “I could!”

            “Oh really?”

            “Oh yes. I’m older and bigger. Four years older in fact.”

            Hugo tried to poke James in the eye, but James batted him off and attempted to grab his hair.

            “ARGH!” said Hugo, trying to pinch James  and kick him simultaneously.

            “Oi!” James pushed Hugo, who went into Lily who was holding a bottle of pumpkin juice.

            “ARGH!” Orange juice splattered down her white t-shirt, and she turned her furious gaze to Hugo and James. James was still holding onto Hugo’s hair, and both were waiting for the onslaught.

            “You... you ROTTON BOYS!”

            “What have they done Lily?” Ginny asked, in a very bored voice, tapping her fingers absent-mindedly on her window, earning her frequent, mutinous glances from Ron.

            “They split juice on me because they were fighting!”

            “We had to fight otherwise I’d have had to fight the big fat man!”

            “What big fat man?”

            “That big fat man!” James said louder, now with a very pointed point.

            “James your window is open!” Ginny hissed at him. The big fat man had been staring down at James very crossly after this insult towards his physical state but when he spotted Ginny he gave a leer and a wave. Ginny didn’t think much of this. She narrowed her eyes at him and gave him a taste of how inappropriate she found his behaviour. Her language could’ve rivalled Ron’s. This only caused the lorry driver to smile even harder. Sparks flew from Ginny’s eyes. She turned around.

            “Kick your father Albus.”

            Harry was asleep with his mouth open, and had not noticed the fight, and had not noticed that some of Lily’s juice had gotten on his jeans.

            Albus had been quietly behaving in the back with Rose. He aimed a well-judged kick onto Harry’s kneecap.

            “Ouch!” He jerked awake.

            “You’re meant to be supervising Harry!” Ginny scolded him, “James and Hugo have been fighting and Lily’s spilt juice all down herself because of the fighting and it’s now on you as well!”

            He saw the orange splashes on his jeans.

            “Oh Lily!” he moaned.

            “It wasn’t my fault! It was Hugo’s!”

            “James pushed me!”

            “Because you tried to kick him!” said Lily sternly.

            “Because he said he didn’t like me!”

            Lily leant across Hugo and grabbed James by the ear and started to twist it.


            “Lily no!”

            Harry pulled Lily back and James nursed his ear; both of them stared daggers at each other.

            “Now, let’s all behave,” Harry was trying to make up for his lack of discipline that he had just shown over the fighting etc. Though he had been asleep and he wasn’t sure how you’re meant to exercise discipline when you’re asleep.

            “Harry…” Ginny hissed at him out of the corner of her mouth, whilst Harry was in the middle of a speech about how important it was to behave, “Harry!” she hissed again and Harry stopped mid flow.


            “That man is looking at me…” She pointed towards the lorry driver, who was still looking at Ginny in rather compromising manner.

            Harry waited.

            “Hey Ginger!” The driver – unwisely - now thought the time was ripe for him to speak to Ginny, even though she had made it perfectly clear what she thought of him earlier. She turned to face him with fire burning in her brown eyes.

            “Hello.” She said coldly.

            “Ditch the family and come have a little ride with me!” He patted the seat next to him.

            “I’d rather not thank you very much,” Ginny glared at him, speaking in clipped tones, “Now please leave me alone!”

            “Ooo!” He shouted down mockingly, “I hope you don’t always behave like this! I like my girls to be obedient…”

            Both Harry and Ron launched themselves to opposite windows, much to the distaste of the passengers that they had thrown themselves across.

            “THAT’S MY WIFE/ SISTER YOU’RE TALKING TO!” Harry and Ron both yelled simultaneously, with the correct word that described their relation to Ginny included in it.

            The lorry driver looked down stunned at the angry heads that had appeared in the two side windows of their car. Both looked very angry and red. To an outsider this image would’ve looked very funny. The driver gave a hearty guffaw.

            “Oh I’m so sorry,” he said sarcastically, “I’m sure there are plenty more birds on this motorway to pick up!”

            “Oh you – you …” Ron spluttered, “wan –” but in the middle of his rude exclamation Hermione extracted an arm with difficulty and flung it over Ron’s mouth to prevent the children from hearing such profanity. They all giggled, knowing perfectly well what Ron was about to say.

            “I wouldn’t go calling me names like that,” the driver said threateningly to Ron, “I’ve got a much bigger vehicle than you!”

            “THAT COULD EASILY CHANGE!” Harry yelled, completely forgetting that enlarging the car to rival the lorry could perhaps cause a bit of a stir.

            “You tell him Dad!” James shouted whilst Ginny and Hermione winced.

            The lorry driver looked stunned for a moment and then realised the (what he thought) ridiculousness of what Harry had just said.

            “You’re completely mad!”

            “AM I? AM I REALLY?” Harry drew out his wand with difficulty and nearly elbowed Hugo in the head.

            “Dad you’re crushing us!” moaned Lily, trying to poke Harry hard to get him to move. He did not notice.

            The driver shook his head at the piece of wood that Harry was brandishing at him (the driver clearly thought Harry mad), but luckily just then the traffic started to move. Unfortunately, Ron was still lying across Ginny and Hermione, and had great trouble returning to the steering wheel. Harry was still lying flat across all the children with his head and arm poking out the window when the car started to move.

            “Are you all right Ginny?” Harry asked her.

            “Yes,” she said, rubbing her arm that had been hit during Ron’s launch across her lap, “It’s good to know that I’m protected.”

            Hermione snorted.

            “You don’t need protecting!” she said scathingly.

            “Oh but Hermione I do! If Harry and Ron hadn’t been here…” she paused, seemingly anticipating horrific scenarios, “who knows what that nasty man may have done to me?!”

            Harry noticed the sarcasm.

            “If you didn’t need protecting then why did you tell me he was looking at you?” he said hotly, a bit annoyed.

            Ginny turned around to smile and him fondly, and then she grabbed his cheek as though she thought him cute.

            “I just love seeing you care.”

            A fairly disgruntled Harry saw Ginny turn away still laughing at him and he tried to resume his snooze, in an attempt to hide his embarrassment, as signs for Portsmouth finally started to appear.

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