Nuffield Place

Yesterday was E’s birthday so we had a family day out to Nuffield Place, near Nettlebed in Oxfordshire.  The estate was opened to the public by the National Trust in 2011.  It is the time-capsule home of the philanthropist William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of the richest men in the world during his life time.  He lived in the house from 1933 until his death in 1963.

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Nuffield Place from the Back Lawn

Lord Nuffield gave much of his wealth to good causes (about £8 billion in today’s terms) and his house reflects a relatively modest lifestyle. Lord and Lady Nuffield’s personal possessions remain as they left them with the decor and furnishings intact, making it a perfect example of a complete 1930s country home.   I was amazed by the stories of his generosity, the fact that he never had the latest car to come off the Morris production line and what a modest lifestyle the Morris’ lived.  Truly inspirational.

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Inside the house, many of the rooms are open and full of the Morris’ own furniture.  It has the feel of a warm and loving house even though they never had any children.  I particularly liked the drawing room where they would have entertained their friends, and Lady Nuffield’s sewing room which had a sweet fireplace.

Drawing Room

Drawing Room

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Items in the Sewing Room

Sewing Room

Sewing Room

Sewing Room Fireplace

Sewing Room Fireplace

Outside the gardens are lovely and there were lots of alliums in flower

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I loved the succulents growing in the dry stone walls

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the relaxed topiary

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and finally..the Morris MG parked at the front door

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I bought some wild flowers – white clover, red campion and mallow to plant in my wild flower area at home and to remind me of such a lovely place full of visual inspiration and positive values.

Studio Garden

In my blog way back in February I spoke about my plans for the garden area in front of what is going to be my new work studio. It was a mound of soil covered in black plastic and had been like that since the builders left 18 months ago.

But it is no more!!!!  The Landscapers arrived last week and in three days it went from:

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The horrible old patio in front of the studio has been made bigger and replaced with gravel. We have new steps and retaining walls:

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The slope has been retained with sleepers:

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and I have started to plant up a border:

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The poor box plants which have been sat in pots for about 2 years, particularly my peacock are waiting for large holes to be dug so that they can be planted. I particularly hope that the ball and cone will recover as they currently look a bit worse for wear:

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Next job is to get the grass seed down to join this garden with the side garden, make a wildflower meadow in the space to the side of the studio up to the retaining wall and refurbish the studio inside as it hasn’t been used for years. It also needs a new roof. So, not a lot to do then…..

A Right Royal Occasion

This week saw a trip to London to see our eldest son play with his School Brass Band at the Royal Albert Hall.  They were taking part in a concert called ‘Echoes 5’ organised by Bucks County Council Music Services, along with 59 other Primary Schools.  There was lots of singing, African Drums, Woodwind and Brass.  It was a truly amazing experience to see schools working together in such a great way after such limited rehearsal time – they all spent lots of time rehearsing their own parts in school, but only came together for one full rehearsal.

Great to see music in Schools being promoted and supported in such a positive way in a time where local government services are struggling with cuts.