Bobby hadn't quite known what to make of Ireland, if he was honest. He was from a modestly sized town, and his folks were very ordinary in their way, even his being a wizard was unexpected, but the family made do as best they could.
So the news of Geoffrey's family inviting them to stay in Dublin for a few days had been most unexpected; Bobby himself had only met his grandparents a few times, usually at Christmas, when they came to visit and stayed in the spare bedroom. He had wondered how the two of them fitted into the spare bed they had. So staying in Dublin was quite an adventure, and as it was a little later in the summer, the family thought it could be like a birthday outing as well as a holiday.
They'd spent a couple of days exploring the city - Dublin had a lot to recommend it. And he had, of course, read all the books in his local library about the place, its history and so on, but he was finding that it wasn't always enough to read a book, that sometimes someone had to go and see it for themselves. Sort of like what his dad used to say about train engines, before they discovered that Bobby was a wizard.
Today though, his grandparents wanted his parents to stay behind and discuss something important, and thought Bobby would be better off with a small purse of money, a map of the city and directions to a place his grandparents understood all the local kids hung out - an arcade. Which, of course, seeing how none of them were magical, had made a lot of things potentially complicated.
For example, they had suggested that Bobby bring a friend or two, their newfound position had given them enough wealth to have a large house, far larger than they really needed - but the nature of dragging teenagers and/or friends along for the ride had been something no-one had really considered. The ex-pats had always been lucky rather than grounded, and so no-one had really considered what inviting the family plus friends over from the mainland might look like - best part of 18 hours on a ferry. What they couldn't have known, of course, was that Bobby was wizarding, and wizarding folk had ways - so Bobby had organised them a portkey to the Dublin harbourside to be picked up when convenient.
So bringing the family, and even a couple of friends along was no bother in actuality. He'd invited a couple of kids from school - folks that would be hard pressed to describe as friends but certainly fellow students he felt some kinship with, and that had some muggle background and so would know how to behave. Oddly he'd never felt entirely connected to his own housemates in that regard, but the unlikely friends he'd made in the form of Grace Pemberton and Sebastian Matthews, that he'd met through a sort of 'open day' for Arithmancy he'd been to when trying out classes for his third year.
But as he meandered through Dublin, just exploring as young folk are wont to do, he found himself staring at the entrance to the arcade he'd been told about, though he hadn't planned to come here, his feet had just led him here anyway. It wasn't quite the sort of thing they had back home in Dudley - though he had heard about such things in Birmingham, just it wasn't the most convenient journey to be made.
From inside he could hear bells and buzzers ringing - and he knew there would be things to explore. It was a bit loud as he first stepped inside, and it wasn't only the machines with their noises, it was also the kids cheering their friends on, making encouraging noises.
While there were newer-fangled electronic games, Bobby was more interested in the pinball machines. His dad had talked about them and he was fascinated by the idea of a mostly mechanical game like that. One of the tables off to the side was empty, no-one even queueing, so Bobby took the opportunity to take a proper look.
It hadn't even occurred to him anyone here might be anyone he actually knew, so he just let himself be engrossed by the machine he'd found. It had a name printed excitedly on it, 'Jive Time'. Huh, it wasn't his favourite kind of music, but he didn't think the machine would actually play jive at him. But instead, he put a coin in, gave the flippers an experimental fiddle, as if to sense them out, and pulled the plunger - and the game began.