The Victoria and Albert Museum is a fantastic place to meet a friend or take the kids of whatever age. I met Caroline and we went to look, supposedly, at Prints. However, the print room was closed and we wafted through Silverware into Tapestries and sat basking in the glow of Henry IIX's gorgeous Dutch-woven wallhangings with their depictions of recognisable wildflowers (drifts of cowslips and thistles) and storyboard-like vignettes. In one of them a pond full of swans was attacking some poor serfs; a gnashing beak was attached to a pasty arm and a little fellow's mouth was agape in agony. Another swan had tipped over a small boat and was about to start tucking into a terrified fellow, with gusto. Romances, scandals, hunts; pheasants, ferrety things, dogs in little jackets; it was all there in perfect faded glory, probably more aesthetically beautiful and impressive for the aged dulling of the original rich colours. Inspired, we went to look at the Raphael room and the tapestry in reverse of a painting that faced it on the opposite wall.
The museum is full of exciting moments and just before we left we came across this Cornelia Parker sculpture, made of squashed brass instruments. We went for Green Tea Cake and Jasmine Tea and talked politics and scandal to finish off our restorative day: roll on the next one in January!