Sunday, 31 August 2014

Oh, To Be Another National Trust Cat!

You may remember my post earlier this month about Gina, the National Trust cat I met at the Wimpole Estate; well yesterday I discovered another.

We were visiting Nuffield Place in Oxfordshire. It's only a stone's throw away from Grey's Court in Henley-on-Thames one of our favourite NT properties but Andy and I have been keen to visit this house and garden which has only opened to the public in recent years and headed there on Saturday afternoon.

It's the former home of William Morris, but nothing to do with the Arts & Craft Movement. Instead he was the founder of Morris Minor cars in 1913, known more frequently as Lord Nuffield. As well as being one of the founding fathers of the British motor industry, he was a philanthropist who gave money to both medical and educational charities. Ever heard of the Nuffield Foundation and Nuffield Collage in Oxford? - he was the founder of those.

The house is modest in size but fascinating - a time capsule of inter-war life. Viscount Nuffield moved in with his wife in 1933 and the property is found very much exactly the same as it was when they lived there. As we walked around the attractive rooms, we spoke to some really informative guides who explained that this quiet, man who was one of the richest men in the world at the time, was very unextravagant and chose to spend his money on good causes rather than himself. He even brought home scraps of carpet from his factories to sew together for his bedroom carpet!

Anyway back to the cat - here it is!

As we were leaving the house and wandering around the vegetable garden (where they have an iron lung in a potting shed!), I turned a corner and bumped into this beauty. Isn't she lovely?

She came straight up to me and as I bent down to stroke her she jumped straight up onto my lap and nuzzled me, looking for lots of fuss. Of course, I was more than happy to give the required attention for several minutes. 

Then as I started to get a dead leg, Andy crouched down and she moved over to him for more cuddles. 

She was delightful, so relaxed and friendly! She had a beautiful coat, a sort of grey-brown colour and her fur was soft and downy. I have a feeling she must belong to the Property Manager as what I assume is the live-in cottage was not far away.

I had a feeling that if it hadn't been closing time we would have spent a lot longer talking to her. Alas we don't know her name; I have tried to Google her but unlike Gina I sadly can't find anything about her online.

Nuffield Place is a real treasure. Small but beautiful. Well worth an afternoon visit if you're in the area. Don't forget to look out for the resident feline!

And so I've met another NT cat. I most definitely think it would be an alternative life for me! x

If you want to find out more about Nuffield Place and Lord Nuffield, have a look at this interesting article from The Independent in August 2013.

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