I am very blessed to be in a position of financial solidarity at this point in my life, all of which was earned through hard work and dedication to my career. However, now that I am in my elderly years and enjoying the fruits of my labor, I find myself becoming extremely frustrated at the constant requests for funding from relatives, friends, and organizations. Is there anything I can do to make it clear that I'd like to keep my retirement fund to myself without coming off as extremely abrasive, and without losing my spot on the family tree?
Fed up in Ferguson
Dear Fed Up,
First of all, let me congratulate you on your successful career and a happy retirement. It's always nice to read about readers doing well in their lives; I wish that success for every one of my loyal readers. Secondly, let me give you some advice. You mentioned that your family asks for money, and I must say, that's fairly common in families. We, as a society, have gotten to the point that asking family for money is not entirely polite, but isn't as frowned upon as in the olden days. However, one solution that I think could work well for you is that of periodically making monetary gifts to your family members. By giving away a smaller portion of your wealth, you can assuage their desire for more, while still allowing yourself to remain in contact with them.
I know it's hard to imagine giving hard-earned wealth away like this, but oftentimes, it is better to live for others than for oneself. I hope that you take this advice to heart, and avoid being burned off your family's tapestry.
I am fed up! My neighbor recently purchased a hippogriff. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, as I have much fondness for the animals. However, this new purchase constantly brays in the morning, far earlier than I would like to be awoken. Seeing as hippogriffs are inherently magical, the noise goes through my strongest Silencing Charms (believe me, I've tried). I'm getting to the point where I may have to call Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures to dispose of the beast, hence writing to you. Is there a way to fix the problem without eliminating the animal?
Tired in Trafford
Ah, the perpetual problems of neighbors and the beasts they bring home. In my case, it was a Fwooper that had a knack for escaping its Silencing Charms. I felt trapped in the situation, much like yourself, but here is a solution I tried that I found particularly useful.
In the case of magical animal noises, a simple Silencing Charm won't do the job well enough - you'll need to think outside of your own house. The reason the hippogriff can penetrate your Silencing Charm is because you are placing it on your own home. The real trick to this problem is to silence your neighbor's vicinity. I'd recommend the use of crystals hidden in the dirt on all 4 sides of the hippogriff's domain. Charm the crystals with the Silencing Charm, and they'll contain the noise inside the area. Soon enough, the hippogriff will tire of hearing itself, and will likely quit braying altogether!
While this solution isn't for everyone, it does avoid the potential conflict between neighbors. Just make sure that you bury the crystals quite deep, or your neighbor could find them and develop rather hateful feelings toward you. I wish you all the best, and hope for your sake that the crystals work out!
Making fine wands for everyone since 382 BC! Anyone who is anyone gets their wand from Ollivander's. Come in today, and let the wand choose you!
No really, everyone gets their wands here, so truly you have no real choice in the matter.
Q: How can so many Muggles do without money? Instead of paying, they put a small card into a black box and then get the card back. How can the shopkeepers earn a living when no one pays them?
A: Those Muggles are actually paying. Those plastic cards are called credit cards. The cards are connected to bank accounts. When a Muggle puts the card in the card reader (the black box), invisible signals are sent to the bank, telling it to pay the shop the given amount of money from his or her bank account. Some cards transfer the money automatically right away. Other cards keep a memory of the purchases and at the end of the month, the Muggle gets a bill of the total amount, and he/she pays that to the card company. Credit cards are becoming the standard way of payment in Western countries but in many parts of the world, old-fashioned money is still very much in use.
Q: I hadn't even thought about this until yesterday when I went to a big quidditch game. We can make our voices louder using magic, but what do Muggles do to be heard at sports events?
A: Muggles use something called a microphone and speakers. The microphone is connected to the speakers which are boxes of varying size. They hold the microphone, which looks like a small stick with a small ball on one end. They speak into the ball and after reaching the speakers, the sound is amplified many times louder. Most microphones and speakers need electricity to be functional - another Muggle invention which is used in many different situations, like making lamps send out light. You can read about that in any Muggle encyclopedia.
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