There have been a lot of witches in my life. I'm not talking about the girls who bullied me when I was eleven years old, or the science teacher who used to make me write my notes out twice because I “wrote too fast” or the woman who got me fired from my paper run because the paper didn't fit in her mailbox properly. Although in retrospect, I wholly believe that the last woman, with her snarkily penned letters of complaint and propensity to wait by the mailbox in the rain was a mythical hag of some description. But fictional witches – the Sabrina's and the Her-my-own-ninny's and the various coteries in the form of The Craft and The Witches of East End and my personal favourite, Sandra and Nicole's Practical Magic – have been abundant.
Setting aside the possible burnings and drownings and Dark Lords and numerous magical maladies, there are many reasons to be envious of witches. They have a tendency to be beautiful and alluring. They run together in close-knit packs. They get to dance around fires and taunt men and fix their teeth without the need for dentists. But the best reason to be a witch, to my mind, is the availability of perfectly mundane useful spells for the betterment of day-to-day life. And my day-to-day life in London, a city not without its own charms but certainly open to improvement, could be vastly enhanced with the use of few simple spells. NOTE: These spells have been invented by mine own mystical brain, but come from decades of witch-watching. If there's own thing witches love, it's Latinate phrasing. And subservient men.
iPhonus Adflicto Affligo
This charm, best used in an enclosed space, immediately disables all smart phones within a 100 metre radius. No more lurkers attempting to get the best angle on 15-year-old side boob. No more apparently deaf men blaring incomprehensible and tuneless metal. No more teens flaring into sudden fits of textual action at WIFI-enabled stations, then lapsing into sullen almost-tears when tunnels part them from the world. No more phones. No more distraction. Of course, this spell does not affect any device belonging to the caster. Bitch, I need that.
A subtle but essential charm, this spell removes any non-Londoner from the path of the user. No blasting or disappearance or anything so violent as that – merely, the school groups from France, and the Japanese women with identical fanny packs and the meandering Antipodeans attempting to find the next pub will suddenly become desperately interested in anything immediately to the left or right of where you intend to go. A one-legged pigeon pecking listlessly at the cobbles of Covent Garden? FASCINATING. A dropped London tube map? A raindrop? Yet another free sample of Vita Coco Water? MINE.
(NB: The quality of my spell names is why J K Rowling could opt to swim in pools of unicorn tears and flaked gold if she chose, and I'm loathe to pay the entry fee to the Lido).
Whenever you're in central London you know, without a shadow of doubt, that you're within close proximity to any number of VIPs. J Law is eating a hamburger within smelling distance. John Hamm is naked somewhere near. But WHERE? This spell, functioning like a Marauders Map but only for slebs, will tell you where they are. Does not prevent arrests, restraining orders or feelings of shame about your priorities in life.
The Distance Dispeller
(Guys, Latin, is a dead language. I've decided to update us with the times.)
One of the great things about London is how huge it is. There's always something to do and someone new to meet and somewhere you've never been. Also, one of the awful things about London is HOW HUGE IT IS, like when it's 4am and you're standing on Clapham High Street wondering if the N137 and the N147 go to the same place because it's just ONE number and surely it can't make that much of a difference and maybe you should chance it? And then it's 5am and you're in Stratford, maybe, or maybe it might be Essex, or is it Canada, and you begin to question all your life decisions? That's when you need The Distance Dispeller - which is basically teleportation, but someone already came up with that and I'm trying to be original here – to bring North London and South London together. Not forever, of course. That would be anarchy. Just for long enough that you don't have to watch someone eat their toe nails on the night bus AGAIN.
The Sea Summoner
You know how you can absolutely love London but still, every now and again, wish you were anywhere but here? Wish the crowds a thousand miles away and wish for waves to be lapping at your toes? Because the Thames might look cool by virtue of all the very creative bridges that span it, but it's not the sea and everyone knows it? This spell will sort ya. This spell is a Ryannair flight where no one spills their drink on you or loses your bag or charges you roughly 9000 quid for forgetting to print out your ticket. This is your key to a silent spell on the sand. Just breathe.
So those would be my five spells for making life in London just a little easier. Of course, the obvious one which I have eschewed is the Cash Charm. Poundus Appearus. Walletus Fillius. PayMyRentSoIDon'THaveToMoveToWandsworthus. The Money Maker. Because that would've been just a smidge too easy. And life as a witch is never simple.