Trip to London to the V&A to see the Sistine Tapestries

I set off to London much later than I had intended. There were various reasons for this. I had picked up my laptop the previous day and was playing around on the net until sometime gone 3-30am and so I got up late. Thelma raised concerns over a facebook group. On reflection I shared those concerns and such was my concern that I wrote a facebook note before setting off to share my concern. Having outlaid £100 to get my laptop fixed and add more memory, and lacking a money tree in my garden, I had to go on a detour to the bank to replenish my funds. The net result was I missed a fast train had to catch a slow stopping train.

I was on my way to London to hopefully see the Sistine Tapestries which were on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum and this was the last week.

I had seen them the previous week and they were breathtaking. I had hoped then to take my lovely friend Sian but sadly she was very poorly. I suggested the following week (which was the previous day) but though on the way at long last to recovery she felt too weak. We had tickets for that day. I decided to take a chance and hope I could get in.

From Waterloo I walked to Covent Garden to eat at Food for Thought in Neal Street. On my way I popped into St Paul’s Church where I said a prayer for Sian and lit a candle for her.

Lunch was Jerusalem artichoke soup with some excellent walnut and sage bread (not too sure about the sage), a little salad, followed by strawberry and banana scrunch. They remembered they had not yet given me the recipe for the very delicious chickpea and spinach soup I had enjoyed the previous week.

At Food for Thought I did my first two good deeds of the day. I advised some French people how to deal with a camera shop that had ripped them off and sold them a faulty video camera. As they were interested in film, I told them about Just Do It and its unusual fundraising and that if they gave within the next ten days Lush would match their donation.

Late afternoon I finally I made it to the V&A. The doorman remembered me from last week (I am not sure if that is good or bad). I was in luck. Tickets were available for the Sistine Tapestries by Raphael.

Last week when I walked into the room they took my breath away. I thought on my second visit I would be less impressed, but the opposite, they had an even greater impact on me. I think because I had already seen them, this time I paid greater attention to detail.

Close up to one of the tapestries and looking at the cloaks of the gentleman, the folds were as though in 3D. The attention to detail both in the background and foreground. The weavers took upon themselves artistic license and took the opportunity to show off their skills.

On leaving I bought three books on Raphael and the Sistine Tapestries. I had already bought one the previous week. These will be Christmas presents and were in part my reason for wishing to go again. [see Raphael: Cartoons and Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel]

Paulo Coelho had asked that to celebrate his hitting 3 million friends on facebook we all prayed on this day at 6pm local time. On leaving the V&A I asked if there was a church nearby. I was told The Oratory around the corner next to the V&A. For those who did not wish to pray carry out a random act of kindness. Two of which I had already performed (a third to be carried out later). [See Paulo Coelho hits 3,000,000 friends on Facebook]

I saw a couple of people go in a side door, so I slipped in behind them. I found myself in a gloomy place with very little lighting. But much as a church would have been centuries ago. A service was taking place in a side chapel.

On the dot of 6pm, a Mass took place. It finished after half an hour, or so I thought as many people got up and left, but what then took place was a silent mediation. Quite what was happening I do not know as the service was conducted in Latin.

I was entranced by a monk in blood red robes who sat in a position of meditation throughout. I so wished to question him but of course I could not. For some reason he seemed more like a Buddhist monk. I thought to question him when he left, but when he did he caught me by surprise.

From South Kensington I went back to Food for Thought to eat. A decision I regretted. I wished I had gone to one of the Indian restaurants in the back streets near Euston Station, but Covent Garden was easiest to get to. I was disappointed as the menu was no different to earlier in the day (even the soup was the same). When I left I picked up a few scones.

I could have gone straight home, and was very tired, but decided to have a wander around Soho. I was shocked by how much it had changed. Always run down and a little seedy, but many little bars and restaurants. Now many chain eateries, up market places with out-of-place shop fronts.

I used to know my way around Soho as I often used to cut through, but I am sorry to say I got lost and disorientated. I was though tired.

Finally I found myself heading to where I wished to be Leicester Square.

On the edge of Leicester Square I found an amazing guitarist Paul Sebastian performing on the street. He was a natural. He could play without even trying. A few laid back notes and you knew what he was playing. We had a chat and he told me he had been playing for around 15 years. At least I think he told me something like that. I picked up a copy of a CD he had (on reflection I should have got him to sign it) palingenesis. It cost me £8, whether money down the drain I do not yet know. I mentioned Playing for Change and we both laughed at the irony.

In Leicester Square there was a fun fair. A film star was dropped off for what I assumed was a film premier, but I have no idea who.

It was then catch the train home. The train was crowded, standing room only. We pay some of the highest fares in Europe for a Third World service.

On my way to catch the train I did my third good deed of the day. A girl was being attacked. I did not intervene, I just stood there and luckily it was sufficient. What was shocking was that there was many people milling around and they walked on by.

I walked home from the station and got home a little before midnight.

Once home and before writing this account, I had a mug of black tea and one of the scones from Food for Thought. It was delicious. Very light and yet at the same time crisp and crunchy. I must get the recipe to share.

This evening and Saturday I will be at the Guildford Book Fair for its closing weekend. I usually look forward to the Guildford Book Fair but this year it has been a grave disappointment. Nothing that I have really fancied. It also clashes with the Anarchist Bookfair in London, which I would have liked to have visited as I missed it last year.

Synchronicity: When I arrived at The Oratory I lit a candle in one of the side chapels for my lovely friend Sian. I chatted with a Spanish couple who also lit a candle. They were from Santiago de Compostela where in the summer Paulo Coelho was for the Jubilee Celebrations and his wife Christina had an art exhibition. [see El Camino de Santiago]

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One Response to “Trip to London to the V&A to see the Sistine Tapestries”

  1. Dances With Crayons Says:

    Hugs for your friend Sian xo

    Drop Scones

    2 cups flour
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons cold butter

    1 large egg, beaten, and added to
    1/2 cup cold milk

    *1/2 cup raisins (optional), or berries, or chocolate chips. Add to recipe after mixing dry ingredients together.
    *I omit the sugar and add 1 cup grated sharp cheddar and sometimes bits of ham.

    Mix dry ingredients together, then add butter. Crush with fork until mixture resembles crumbs. Add egg and milk, mix until just blended. Dough is quite gooey and sticky.

    Drop by heaping tablespoonsful onto greased cookie sheet.
    Bake at 425 degrees F (218 C) for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

    Makes 12 scones.

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