It was the Thursday we were in London -- Thursday, July 7 -- and we had the family's tourism plan for the day all lined up. We'd all get on the Tube. Mark, Grandpa, and I would get off near the Victoria & Albert, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and Baden-Powell House. We'd take Grandpa to Baden-Powell House (he's been involved with Boy Scouts for seventy years now), and then he'd take us to see the Babbage Engine in the Science Museum. Mother, Dad, and Grandma would go to Kensington Palace and have a quick look around, then meet us back at the Science Museum to see bits of the V&A and the Natural History Museum.
Well. You all know what happened then; I talked a bit about what happened to my family specifically over here. We didn't know what was going on, but the Tube and the buses weren't running, and we had no intentions of sitting around twiddling our thumbs -- we're just not in London often enough to waste it. So we scrapped the Kensington Palace idea entirely and started walking towards the museums.
We saw some odd little bits along the way.
You don't often see St. George on the corners of random buildings in Minneapolis.
There were several of these mosaics along the building.
When we got into the V&A, there was this Chihuly Sculpture (which we thought was rather Cthulhy, an adjective we'd have cause to use again the next day) hanging near the ornate gates. And that's my experience of the V&A: whatever era, whatever form, all in there together.
Here we are waiting in the Raphael Cartoon Gallery while they check the security in the rest of the museum. (We got my grands seats on the stairs, not knowing how long a wait it would be.)
Gradually they let us into more of the exhibits.
The first thing we could see was the gift shop, information kiosk, and stairwell. The stairwell had statues on it. Grandpa took a rest by one of the statues.
At this point, we were allowed access to the portable museum chairs, which allowed my grandparents to wait a little more comfortably.
Mark ventured upstairs, to the gates we'd seen behind the Cthulhy glass.
Mom and Dad and I followed while the grands spared their knees on the stairs. The metalworking section was open: vases and dishes and all sorts of stuff.
There were drawers under the obvious display cases, and each of those had displays in them, old compasses, tailor's scissors from the seventeenth century, stuff upon stuff upon stuff, neatly organized and with little catalogs saying what was what.
They had lots of locks and keys.
And shelf brackets, firedogs, heaven knows what.
We wouldn't have seen any of this if the bombings hadn't happened. We'd have gone in and seen the British heritage galleries (which stayed closed all day) and probably enjoyed them a great deal, but we were well aware of being unable to see everything, and the iron-working section probably wouldn't have won out when we had tough choices to make with our time. Still, it was very cool.
They did eventually open up the cast gallery, so we went and saw that, to our great satisfaction. It's amazing what they can do with plaster, even aside from the amazing originals.
Mark and Mom.
A Viking font.
Me and Dad.
Me being morbid.
After that we went outside:
and then wanted to move on to the Science Museum. The Science Museum had closed entirely after the news of the bombings came out, so we went on to the Natural History Museum, which was still open.