ARCHIVE: LEVELS 73 – SWEETS TEA ROOMS (MONO)


 A busy morning in the kitchen at Sweets Tea Rooms, on the Blakeway between Bleak Farm and Turnpike House, on Westhay Moor; 25 July 2009.   Note the still warm rock cakes on the tray-  absolutely delicious!  There are three tearooms in this area and this is the one I know best – friendly owners, excellent, simple food and drink, toilets, parking – and an intriguing Peat & Science Museum in the adjoining building. 

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 24mm Nikkor lens; 1600 ISO.

SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS

And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.



9 comments

      • I had to check it out. 😉 Friendly people make all the difference. Over the years, especially on the east coast, I’ve noticed that people selling (maybe not the bakers) pastries in bakeries tend to have sour dispositions, which always seemed strange. But a small restaurant/tea room is a little different. My memory is of people at the counter ringing things up and being very “scowly.” It’s not like that so much out here.

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        • Well I don’t know much about the States, but I’ve heard that the east is less sociable than the west. And we’ve had a couple of very sour shopping experiences recently, and I wonder if its an effect of covid.

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    • Rock cakes are small, “craggy” fruitcakes, as shown here, and they can be delicious. These are of course homemade, just out of the oven, and wonderful with tea or coffee. Yes, lovely people running this place, the woman a survivor from severe illness. Don’t know what’s happened to them now, haven’t been down to the Levels for over a year. As for us, we are ok, stolidly continuing to take all the precautions, but with our airhead prime minister removing most restrictions just as a large Delta surge is taking off, and now threatening food supply problems. xxx

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        • Yes, its strange about the reduction in common sense which was, in my earlier years, what we all lived/survived by. I am simply unable to understand the mindsets of those who, faced with a potentially lethal virus (or Long Covid if they survive that virus), are not willing to be vaccinated because of either rare side effects or various conspiracy theories/deliberate misinformation. I find this really very bizarre indeed; and at times of course, a living nightmare. You two stay safe too, take care. 💖💖💖

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