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How to shake up a boring summer at Privet Drive





Ah, August. For kids, this usually means summer holidays and no school for many, many weeks. For Harry, this wasn’t as fun – stuck at the Dursleys ‘til Hogwarts started again. But there are certain survival tips he learnt to while away the time...



Freak Dudley out on the daily

‘Jiggery pokery!’ said Harry in a fierce voice. ‘Hocus pocus ... squiggly wiggly ...’ ‘MUUUUUUM!’ howled Dudley, tripping over his feet as he dashed back towards the house. ‘MUUUUM! He’s doing you know what!’

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets




Despite Uncle Vernon’s numerous attempts to ‘stamp’ the magic out of him, Harry still ended up going to Hogwarts and becoming a great wizard. Once he’d completed his first year, it was back to Privet Drive, but at least he could torment his Muggle family with the fact he could do magic – not letting on that he actually wasn’t allowed to. For a wonderful while, anyway.



Acquiring many, many cakes

The moment he had got wind of the fact that he was expected to survive the summer on carrot sticks, Harry had sent Hedwig to his friends with pleas for help, and they had risen to the occasion magnificently. Hedwig had returned from Hermione’s house with a large box stuffed full of sugar-free snacks (Hermione’s parents were dentists).

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire




When Dudley has to go on a diet, confined to quarter-grapefruits and misery, little does he know that Harry is upstairs with three fantastic birthday cakes sent to him by his friends. Whatever Privet Drive denied Harry, thankfully his magical friends in far-away places could provide... Justice never tasted so delicious.



When your magical friends try out ‘fellytones’ for the first time

‘WHO IS THIS?’ he roared in the direction of the mouthpiece. ‘WHO ARE YOU?’ ‘RON – WEASLEY!’ Ron bellowed back, as though he and Uncle Vernon were speaking from opposite ends of a football pitch.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban




Ron attempting to use a Muggle device to contact Harry goes down as one of the most amusing moments of the series – due to him thinking he needs to scream down the phone in order for anyone to hear him. If only – if only – it was not Vernon Dursley on the other end of the line...



Just mentioning anything magical in general

‘I had a dream about a motorbike,’ said Harry, remembering suddenly. ‘It was flying.’ Uncle Vernon nearly crashed into the car in front. He turned right around in his seat and yelled at Harry, his face like a gigantic beetroot with a moustache, ‘MOTORBIKES DON’T FLY!’ Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone




Due to Uncle Vernon’s intense dislike of anything remotely magical, even making the suggestion of something slightly fantastical (such as – a dream...) is enough to make his moustache bristle with apprehension. If we were Harry, this novelty could provide ample entertainment for a dull Sunday afternoon...



Or sometimes uninvited house-elves may just pop round...

‘Oh – really?’ said Harry. ‘Er – I don’t want to be rude or anything, but – this isn’t a great time for me to have a house-elf in my bedroom.’

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets




Don’t you hate it when a house-elf that you’ve never met before pops into your bedroom, drops your auntie’s lovingly prepared pudding, and then leaves?



Although it’s mortifying for Harry at the time, earning him a warning from the Ministry of Magic and bars on his window, the thought of Aunt Petunia’s beloved pudding smashing everywhere is the just desserts the Dursleys deserved.



And when all else fails – usually just the mere presence of the Dursleys can be entertainment enough



Precisely. Now, we should aim to get in a few good compliments at dinner. Petunia, any ideas?’ ‘Vernon tells me you’re a wonderful golfer, Mr Mason ... Do tell me where you bought your dress, Mrs Mason ...’ ‘Perfect ... Dudley?’ ‘How about: “We had to write an essay about our hero at school, Mr Mason, and I wrote about you.” ’ This was too much for both Aunt Petunia and Harry.



Aunt Petunia burst into tears and hugged her son, while Harry ducked under the table so they wouldn’t see him laughing.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets



Although the short-sighted family made Harry’s life miserable, there were moments of pure ridiculousness that meant the entertainment was ready-made. Dudley trying to be respectable was a particular highlight.



Here’s hoping you have happy Augusts, completely Dursley-free.