The final result of the request for something similar to Colonel Tonic. I had been wracking my brains for ages trying to come up with something that this particular person could do, and eventually came up with this, for the Christmas Show 2003. However, other commitments by the person who requested it in the first place, and the person I asked to do it as a backup, resulted in it not being performed. Shame.
MINERVA McGONNAGALL ENTERS, lost in thought. She is carrying a large hardbound book - her diary from many years ago. She suddenly notices the audience
McGonnagall Oh, hello there! I didn't see you for a moment. I was... reminiscing. Well you see, with all these films out about our school and our pupils, I was reminded of my own early days here. Especially my first few days as a teacher. Oh, they were... happy times, to say the least.
I kept a diary, you know. I still do, in fact! Although, I have to say, the things I write about these days are, more eventful but less interesting than the things I wrote in my first diaries. But I doubt if you will all see it like that. I suppose you may think "Got up, taught classes, saved famous pupil from Forces of Darkness" is very interesting. But it's not - not when it happens every day.
Well, obviously, I'm not called upon to save Master Potter and his friends from the followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named every day, but it sometimes feels like it!
No - my early diaries were much more interesting. Maybe I should read you an extract? Just to show you what you are missing? [She opens the diary and prepares to read] Och! Do you know - this is actually my diary from my first term here as a teacher! I'm not sure I should read you this, it's... rather personal in places. Oh - why not? I doubt anyone will ever want to hear about my experiences again any time soon.
SHE BEGINS TO READ
McGonnagall Wednesday, September 3rd, nineteen- [She breaks off briefly] No - maybe not the year. [Reading again] First day of term here at Hogwarts - at least, first day of term as a teacher. I get to sit on the High Table, I have my own study, and people have to do what I tell them! It's not all that much of a change from when I was Head Girl three years ago - but now I can put troublemakers in detention, not just send them to Professor Dippett! In my new post as Charms teacher - although, I really would have preferred to be teaching Transfiguration. It's so much more challenging! But I suppose they couldn't let a novice loose on one of the most difficult subjects there is, could they? I shall have to make friends with Professor Cadabra, make sure he recommends me when he retires in a few years.
Thursday, September 4th. Well, in all the excitement of starting my new job, I never really noticed that I'm actually sitting next to Professor Dumbledore at the High Table! When he used to take me for Defence Against the Dark Arts I never really realised quite how handsome he is. Of course, he's several years my senior, but now that I'm a teacher, I don't think that will matter quite so much.
[Grumpy] Friday, September 5th. I wasn't sitting next to Dumbledore today. He had a friend of his as a guest - Alastor Moody. An Auror. Special guest speaker in Dumbledore's NEWT class today. He's staying the weekend so that he can address the OWL Defence Against the Dark Arts students on Monday.
[Wistful] Monday, September 8th. Alastor's not that bad looking, actually. Maybe I should try and keep in touch with him. After all, it must be lonely, running round the world chasing after Dark Wizards all the time.
[Angry] Saturday, September 13th. Moody finally replied to my letter. He says he "cannot commit to a relationship with someone not as dedicated to eradicating Dark Forces as he is". It's a good thing it was the weekend - I could barely steel myself to come out of my rooms after... [Not angry any more] Silly, really. I read the letter at breakfast, and managed to contain myself until I made it back to my study. Professor Dumbledore noticed I was quiet at the table, and enquired as to whether I was feeling alright. I muttered something about the weather getting me down - it has been rather stormy this last week - and went on eating. Dumbledore said he hadn't really noticed the weather. He said some things after that, but I didn't really pay much attention - he does witter on sometimes.
Monday the 15th. Finally emerged from my rooms today, after being closeted in them all weekend. I just felt I couldn't face anyone after getting that letter. I still felt like that this morning. But Dumbledore was next to me at breakfast again - talking about mushrooms of all things. I wasn't really listening to him, but after a while I felt ready to face the world again. Well - maybe not the world, but certainly the students.
Wednesday the 17th. I finally realised what Albus was on about at breakfast today. Last week, when I said I was feeling under the weather, he had recommended a very effective potion to uplift my spirits. Of course, I didn't take a word in at the time, and on Monday, when he was talking about mushrooms, he was actually recommending that I add them to the mixture to improve the flavour! Today, he asked if I'd tried it at all, as I seemed to be much cheerier recently. Of course, I had to admit I hadn't really been listening - very embarrassing for me. But he said not to worry, it was quite understandable, an old fuddy-duddy like him droning on and boring us young people! I didn't think he was that much older than me! Is he?
Sunday the 21st. I'm rather embarrassed now. Last night, I - rather foolishly - decided to find out more about our Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Dumbledore. Instead of being sensible and asking someone (or even Albus himself), I decided to use magic to probe his past. Only gently, of course, I didn't want to find anything serious just yet - I'll save that for when I know him better. But, being a highly skilled wizard, and being the DADA teacher, he detected my probe and blocked it most effectively. I thought I had managed to dispell it before he cast his trace spell - but I wasn't quick enough. This morning at breakfast, he asked if I had found out anything interesting about his past - and if so, could I tell him what. I swear, I haven't blushed so visibly since I came last in a test in the second year! He said that if I wanted to know about him, all I had to do was ask. I decided that discretion was the better part of modesty at that point, and declined to say anything.
Tuesday the 23rd. I got over my nerves this morning and started talking to Albus again over breakfast. It was so natural, it made me realise that I've been behaving like a schoolgirl with a crush for the last few weeks. I've decided to pull myself together. After all, Albus is only human, like me. And we're certainly both mature, sensible adults - I think we can both act our age.
[Excited with anticipation] Friday the 26th. Albus has asked me for a drink in the village tomorrow!
[Still excited, but no longer anticipatory excitement] Saturday the 27th. I met Albus at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. It wasn't a student weekend, so the place wasn't that busy. We had a few drinks, a nice long chat... We talked about everything! The weather (briefly), the beautiful countryside round here, the village, the history of the school (although I thought he knew more about this than he let on), muggles even! Albus offered to escort me back, but I decided that would be rather too embarrasing for me (again!)
[Hollow/sullen] Monday the 29th. Albus wasn't at breakfast. No-one's seen him all day. When I asked Professor Dippett at lunchtime, he didn't know either. But he said not to worry, "Dumbledore often goes off on jaunts into the unexpected like this - he'll be back before you know it!" I can only wait and hope he's right.
Tuesday the 30th. Waiting
Friday, October the 3rd. Still waiting.
Friday, October the 10th. Still waiting.
Friday the 17th. Still waiting. Oh Albus, I hope nothing's happened to you...
[Brighter] Monday the 20th. Albus' desertion has had some benefits. Professor Cadabra has been alternating with Professor Dippett in teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts. But with the start of the Quidditch season, Professor Cadabra doesn't have time to teach two classes. He's asked me to take some of his Transfiguration classes for him!
Friday the 24th. My first week of Transfiguration went well. The students were particularly impressed when I turned into a cat! I shall have to keep that in the lesson plan, I think. Still no word of Dumbledore.
[Relieved] Tuesday the 28th. I got an owl from Albus! He's finished his business in Outer Mongolia, and will be getting a portkey home as soon as the local Ministry clear it. I can't wait to see him again!
Wednesday the 29th. I wonder what he was doing in Outer Mongolia?
Friday the 31st. Albus arrived right in the middle of the Halloween feast. He was limping slightly, but otherwise he was fine. Professor Dippett took him to his study - to ask him about what he'd done, no doubt - before anyone could welcome him back. I was just too relieved to see him to try. I'll do that tomorrow.
[Angry] Saturday, November the 1st. Dumbldore's off in London, reporting to the Ministry! I won't be able to see him again until he gets back!
[Happy] Sunday, November the 2nd. Albus came back from London a few hours ago. I'm going to see him, ask him exactly what went on in Outer Mongolia and why he didn't write to me. I'll go and see him now. The fact that I'm wearing very informal night-attire is just a co-incidence.
SHE STOPS READING
McGonnagall I think I'll stop reading there - after all, I don't want to give too much away. Suffice it to say that the next entry begins "Monday, November the 3rd, early morning. Looking for a comb..."
SHE SMILES. BLACKOUT. EXIT
© Brian Wakeling. The Harry Potter universe, it's charcters and settings are © JK Rowling