In days of Old, when meals were finished, the Ladies ‘Retired’ (where to? And in order to do what, precisely?) while the Gentlemen moved to the Smoking Room.
But in these enlightened decades the Winter Smoking Room at Cardiff Castle is open to all paying visitors, and immediately piqued my interest.
Because the Theme of all the decoration within, strangely for a room dedicated to a leisure pursuit and designed while the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, is Time.
Here on one of the four arches, for example, is one of the four seasons: Harvest Time.
And each span is supported by one of four suns with faces, representing Time during one day.
Time: hmm. That stuff which you were supposed, if you were anyone back in those days, to be turning straight into money rather than allowing to go up in smoke.
But perhaps the designer – influenced as he apparently was by William Morris – was being just a little subversive.