Victoria and Albert Museum: Fun without a Deadline


One of my Christmas gift vouchers was a trip to a London museum/gallery and lunch, with Jay. We went on Saturday.

We caught the train to Victoria, which was one of my favourite bits of the day—because I was alone with my son and we chatted, and mothers love this sort of thing when their children are grown-up. (It was sometimes fun when they were little, but less reliably, as the stress of tiny bladders and possible tantrums tended to cloud things a little.) We then walked to Rocca in South Kensington for lunch. Jay chose the route, and suggested that we nip across the road, ignoring the lights, a few times, and I wondered how this trait could possibly be inherited and told him he reminded me of his father (not in a good way).

Rocca turned out to be a very nice little Italian cafe. I had a very tasty lasagna, with a slightly old salad, and drank fizzy water and a coffee. It was very pleasant, with the other tables filled with families (a few mothers struggling with the whole tiny bladder/tantrum stage of parenthood) and students. Our waiter was nice and smiley, and it was a lovely relaxed meal.

We walked to the V&A museum, which you might remember I visited last year with Husband (who compared it to a jumble sale full of tat). I rather liked the eclectic mix of stuff, and was keen to visit again. I also wanted to check if people wore gloves in 1760. I am writing (very slowly) a story set in 1760, and gloves were a key element, but I wasn’t sure when they became fashionable. The V&A is good for these kinds of facts.

The map showed the 1760s displays were on the third floor. We walked up some stairs to the first floor, where the stairs stopped. We wandered through the displays, looking for an upward staircase. This was fun with no deadline, so we weren’t trying too hard. We saw lots of fancy religious icons, and some very elaborate tankards and lots of silver. One artefact was a silver ‘coffin’ (not called a coffin) where they think the remains of Simeon (old man who saw baby Jesus in the temple) were placed. People were big on things like that once upon a time. There was also a wonderful library, which we could peer at from the doorway but we weren’t allowed inside. But no stairs. It seemed impossible to reach the third floor from this section. We retraced our steps.

The ground floor had some cool statues (why are they always naked?) We found some different steps, and started to go up. The second floor had some 1760 displays, so I stopped to look at those, and managed to find evidence that people did wear gloves. I photographed some of the other clothes, and looked at a reconstructed room from 1760. There were also interactive displays, where you could design patterns, or tie a cravat, or wear a hooped skirt. Jay tested them out, but wasn’t impressed (I think they were aimed at 10 year olds).

We went up to the third floor. There were no displays from 1760. I think they must have hidden them. We saw a model of the Crystal Palace (which apparently was in Hyde Park, not Crystal Palace—is that correct? I had my doubts about the reliability of the museum and locations/maps).

We left, and discussed whether to walk back to Victoria, or take the underground, or catch a bus. Jay checked bus times on his phone (my children are so clever, who knew such a thing was possible!) and told me we needed the C bus. We waited at the stop, and Jay checked I had ‘something to tap’ because apparently you cannot pay with real money on buses anymore.

The bus arrived. Jay tapped his phone, I tapped my credit card. Absolutely no idea on the cost, or how the bus knew where we wanted to go—all very future world. We then worried that perhaps we were supposed to ‘tap-out’ when we left (because apparently this is a thing) so we decided to watch the other passengers. None ‘tapped-out’.

The bus stopped outside Victoria Station 3 minutes before our train left. We ran. We caught the train. It was a nice day.

I hope you have a nice day too. Take care.
Love, Anne x

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