Saturday, June 01, 2013

Afternoon tea at the Petwood

click photo to enlarge
I'm a northerner, born and bred. Consequently I have breakfast shortly after I rise - porridge and a cup of tea all year round for me - dinner is what I eat near noon, tea is a meal I consume around five o'clock (teatime) and supper is a small snack and more tea (cup of) an hour or two before bed. I often have a mid-morning cup of coffee or tea and a mid-afternoon cup of tea. The names I give to my mid-day meal and evening meal are not those used in the southern half of England however. In these parts, generally, what I call dinner is called lunch, and my tea is called dinner and is eaten later, perhaps around seven o'clock. Confusingly, in southern England an evening meal is sometimes referred to as supper. The southern way is to have afternoon tea of, perhaps, a cup of tea and a buttered scone to fill the hunger gap between lunch and dinner. These names are not regionally hard and fast because social class differences sometimes cause northern people to adopt the southern terminology. All of which is confusing enough for the natives; it must baffle visitors to our country.

One of my sons and his wife visited recently and while we were out one dull, damp and overcast day we stopped off at Woodhall Spa. In this large village is a memorial in the form of a breached dam that commemorates the members of the RAF's 617 Squadron, "The Dambusters", who gave their lives during the second world war. Since the end of that conflict thirty further members of the squadron have died and a new memorial has recently been unveiled that will commemorate them. Lincolnshire is sometimes known as "Bomber County" because of the large number of airfields that were created here during WW2. Today it continues to be the home of some of the RAF's largest airfields.

After a brief stroll round the streets and a viewing of the memorials we slipped into southern English mode and went to the Petwood Hotel for afternoon tea and cake. This former large house in the Edwardian Elizabethan-cum-Tudor "black and white" style, was built in 1905 for Grace Maple who became Baroness Von Eckhardstein and later Lady Weighall. In the 1930s it became a hotel and during the war it was requisitioned by the RAF as an officers' mess. The building contains much memorabilia from those days when pilots from 617 Squadron (who flew Lancasters) and 627 Squadron (who flew Mosquitoes) based at the newly created airfield of RAF Woodhall Spa spent much of their off-duty time there.

My main photograph shows afternoon tea being taken in one of the Petwood's large, panelled rooms that overlook the extensive gardens that were full of rhododendrons in flower. The smaller photograph shows a view of the building's south elevation seen from near the Round Pool.

photographs and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On