London Broken Puppet Adventure – Day Three


Day Three – The V & A Museum of Childhood

By day three, we were absolutely worn out, and the spoon count was far below ideal. So, we abandoned plans to meet with Carole and Jan before they went home and stayed in our hotel rooms to rest, hoping we’d gain enough spoons back to allow us to visit the museum for the afternoon.

Well, we didn’t have many spoons, but we went anyway, deciding we could just stop for as many rests as needed on the way around. Just after midday, we stumbled towards the station to navigate our way via london bridge to Bethnal green, home of the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood. And we were glad we made the extra effort to go there, as we gained a heap of inspiration from all kinds of unexpected places.

Display cases showed scultures, classic toys in the hundreds, clockwork toys, animated toys, a wonderful collection of very elaborate dolls houses (set inspiration in our world, of course!) and more puppets than we could possibly have fit in our suitcases!

Sadly, our phone cameras struggled to take good photographs due to the highly reflective glass display units, but we took enough to capture the inspiration for future reference.

It took us almost 5 hours to wander around, sit, rest, have coffees, wander round a bit more, sit again, wander round again, rest again, have cake and ice creams, and so on…We basically tackled the museum in 6 sections, stopping between each one for a much needed rest, as our poor mobility, low energy and increasing pain levels were becoming a challenge. Nevertheless, we did it, we enjoyed it, and we were amazed by how much there was to see.

One of Clare’s favourite displays was this sculpture, which contained hundreds of tiny worlds within its frame:

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We also spent a while looking as closely as we could at all the puppets on display, like these traditional Bunraku, Marionettes, rod puppets, shadow puppets and impressive Mini Theatres …

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We were transported to the seaside in a display that offered us the irresistible chance to mess around with our pocket puppet stowaways in the good ol’ fashioned Punch and Judy puppet theatres…

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And even found inspiration for a workshop theme through this interactive sculpture titled ‘Invisible Friends’;


As well as absolutely falling in love with this brilliantly playful coffee table conversion – this one’s a doll’s house, but you know what we’re thinking! 🙂 (Shadow theatre, obviously!)…


We rounded our trip off with a trip through Alice in Wonderlands display, admiring in particular the amazing Alice costumes that were on display for her 150th Anniversary celebration, and brought a few souvenirs from the shop on our way out, including silver pendant necklaces of an Elephant and a Giraffe – inspiration for our next 2 puppet carving challenges – and this childishly fun way of timing workshop activities…a wind up caterpillar, which was so ridiculously cute we just had to have it! Besides, the stowaways really, really liked him…! Much more interesting than the old egg timer or stop watch!


Our day was done fairly early in the evening as this trip had exhausted us and what had remained of our spoons, which were now well into the minus figures. We made it back to the hotel in time to collapse with our feet in the familiar cold bath tub, and decided the evening’s meal would be via room service, as we were too spent to go out to a restaurant. We had panini’s and chips, sat around chatting for a while with our feet up, and then decided we should probably pack in preparation for the trip home tomorrow.

Our evening was rounded off by a visit from a local friend, which was a lovely way to wind down with our last day looming. Packed suitcases and early nights all round, ready for our final furlong, Day four…


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