9. Sep, 2017

AIRCRAFT, OLD AND NEW. YIPPEE

Well we are in Lincolnshire, and since WW2 it’s been the home of the RAF with numerous airfields.

Well known for being the home of Bomber and Fighter Command. Its airfields saw aeroplanes take off for the daring Dambuster raid and the spectacular battle of the skies which was the Battle of Britain.

Even today the county is still home to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Typhoons or Eurofighter which are both based at Coningsby. Waddington is home to larger aircraft such as the AWACS, the airborne early warning and control system.

Wednesday was wet, so after a lovely lie in, and whilst I blogged and the Captain relaxed, we were lucky enough to spot a Spitfire in the sky, there was a lot of aircraft noise as the East Kirby air show was at the weekend. But this wasn’t the end of our plane spotting oh no.

But I am getting a head of myself.

Thursday and Lincoln. I had been chatting to Trina off Bearwood Boster on face book (this was the boat moored behind us at Saxilby). They were heading to Lincoln too. I thought we set off well before them, so imagine my surprise when I spotted their boat on the Brayford Pool, the first set of moorings as you go into Lincoln. As there was no room left here we continued on and through the Glory Hole (the oldest surviving bridge with buildings on it) but as we turned to go under the Tudor building there was a shout from the road. It was Trina and Paul waving like mad. So back to fb and arranged to meet up later for a drink.

We moored right in the centre of Lincoln, not great for the cats, but great for the pressing need to go shopping. First time this year we have had to used a taxi to get to Lidl and back. Shop done and off we went to find the Square Sail, a Wetherspoons at Brayford pool. 

It turned out to be a Lloyds bar so had music on, but seemed ok. As we got our drinks and looked for Trina and Paul a very loud young woman started yawping. Not the best welcome but we found a table and waited.

It was lovely to meet Trina and Paul, they had been boating longer than us and had had their boat built rather than buying a used one. They were both retired, but Paul likes to keep busy so volunteers with CRT doing various jobs.  We chatted about this and that and the time passed and then, smash, a glass hit the bar, we all turned to look as the loud woman from earlier picked up another glass and hurled it at the bar. The manager and her staff hurried out and took control of the situation. The woman was ejected, and other pubs in the area warned of her behaviour. Apparently, due to her aggressive behaviour towards another customer, they had taken a bottle of wine off her and she wasn’t happy. It made for an interesting end to our meeting, and we went our separate ways. We called in the Witch and Wardrobe (we were moored outside) but even though it was a Marstons, it didn’t have Hobgoblin on and wasn’t great.

Before leaving Lincoln next day we had a little look around, we where moored by the Central Square, it had a small indoor and outdoor market with a great little butchers. I got a pound of very nice rump steak for £4.99 a bargain. We will be returning and have a better look round then.

Friday, and we had one of our middle of nowhere stops near Bardney. It was good for the cats and made up for keeping them in the night before.

Saturday and Woodhall Spa. It was a tight fit to get on the pontoon, but a helpful boater moved his boat just enough for us to get in. Behind us on the pontoon was a very nice and smart looking yoghurt pot, its Captain was polishing it to within an inch of its life. The crew were more interested in Bubbles and Sam who were strutting their stuff. Bubbles being the true tart that he is lapped up the attention, and even Sam, who can be very standoffish, submitted with grace to their overtures.

The steak I had bought made an excellent tea, but this was disturbed as Bubbles fell in, not sure how, but he got straight out again looking very bedraggled. The Captain got our trusty towel and gave him a good scragging, he was then left to lick himself dry and regain some of his pride.

Sunday and we moved to Dogdyke, were we had arranged to meet Neil, Kath and Rosemary who were on holiday in the area from their home in Bolton. Neil and the Captain had worked together and we get together when we can.

From  Dogdyke we made our way (by car) to Woodhall Spa, which during WW2 had been the home of 617 Squadron better known as the Dambusters.   

History time. 617 Squadron was a flight of Lancaster Bombers headed by Guy Gibson (and handpicked by him) and Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris. Their most famous and daring raid was against the Edhe, Monhe and Sorpe dams in the Rohr valley, the industrial heartland of Germany, using Barnes Wallis’s(who was born in Ripley) revolutionary bouncing bomb. It was called Operation Chastise. On the 16th May 1943, 19 aircraft took off from RAF Scampton and headed for Germany. Only 11 returned, but the mission was a success,  2 of the dams were breached and the third damaged causing serious problems for the German war effort.

In Woodhall Spa there are various monuments to those who gave their lives and fought for our freedom, we enjoyed looking round but the main objective of our visit was the Petwood Hotel. During the war it had been the Officers mess for 617 squadron, and still retained a number of original features and effects. They also do afternoon tea.

So after looking round the village we made our way to the hotel, and very posh it seemed too, unfortunately this did not come through in the level of service, which to be honest, was very disorganised and poor.

On arrival we were vaguely waved towards the bar when we asked about the afternoon tea. There were no obvious menus on the table, or staff to take our order. On enquiring about ordering we were asked to order at the bar ‘if we didn’t mind’, but we still hadn’t been given a menu.

To cut a long story short, after I had managed to locate the menu, and Neil had stood in a long queue at the bar to order, when the food arrived there were a number of problems with it. The first which was rectified straight away, was one of the teas should have been Earl Grey but was just normal tea. But the 1 plain scone (there was a choice between fruit or plain) that had been ordered for Kath was fruit, it took asking 3 different members of staff to get it replaced. For what appeared a high class establishment, their staff were sadly lacking in any proper organisation.

On the upside, the original Officer bar has been turned into a small museum, with various mementos and artefacts and is well worth a visit. It also has the original bar that the brave airmen stood at before risking their lives for our freedom.

Very humbling.