Sometimes I feel like I could give Inspector Morse a run for his money. The dedication to the third Harry Potter book is: ‘To Jill Prewett and Anne Kiely, the Godmothers of Swing.’ I thought when I read it that these two women were probably old friends of Joanne who shared a love of swing music. I discovered the truth about the inscription when I followed Rowling’s path to Oporto in Portugal where, as a young woman, she taught English at the Encounter English School.
At the school I met a fiery, dark haired woman called Marie Inês Aguiar who graciously asked me to join her family for dinner at a restaurant by the Douro River. It was a bustling, friendly place where I never saw a menu but where Marie Inês and her husband ordered a succession of tasty dishes which just arrived in front of me. I had the biggest, freshest sardines I have ever eaten.
Marie Ines told me that Jill Prewett and Aine Kiely had been teachers at the school as well and that the three women had been firm friends and used to go out to a local nightclub together. She gave me directions to the club and I made my way there to take a look. I stood outside and smiled – the club was called Swing.