When my daughter, Pippa, was about eight years-old (2012), we used to read her a bed-time story every night. We would get through some books, I can tell you. We got through all of the “Humphrey the Hamster” books, by Betty Birney, that were available back then. I guess these books are great for children but reading them night after night was getting a bit excruciating to be honest.

Also around about then, Pippa was starting to get interested in the Harry Potter films. In one of the films Professor Lupin, who taught Defence Against the Dark Arts, is holding a class about Boggarts. He asked the class “Now, does anyone know what a Boggart looks like?”. To which Hermione replies, “No one knows what they look like, Boggarts are shape-shifters, they take the shape of whatever a particular person fears the most. That’s what makes them so terrifying.”

One evening my wife Tasha, Pippa and I were sitting around the dinner table and Pippa said “Mum, if you saw a Boggart, what would it be?” So Tasha said “A scorpion”. Then she said “Dad, if you saw a Boggart, what would it be?” So I said “A hamster”. Whereupon they both went “A hamster?!” I said “Yeah, Humphrey Boggart”. 🙂

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in “The Big Sleep”. (wikimedia.org)

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