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.

Willow Weaving

Last weekend I went on a willow weaving course run by Windrush Creative to learn how to make my own garden supports – wigwams for growing sweet peas and beans up; supports for perennials such as Delphiniums and Peonies etc.

The course took place at Cogges Manor Farm which is in Witney, Oxfordshire. Cogges is a Victorian Working Farm and is operated by a Heritage Trust who lease the farm from Oxfordshire County Council.  It is a magical place, great for a day out with children and where you can feed the animals and explore the beautiful Farm House.

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Because the weather was so lovely we worked outside which gave lots of visitors to the farm an opportunity to see what we were doing. Our lovely tutor Linda gave us lots of help and guidance and started us off making a willow wigwam. This involved using 8 strong willow uprights (straight willow branches) to form a circle, before beginning to weave thinner willow in and out of the uprights.
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It took me a while to get the hang of twisting the willow in and out of the uprights but once I got going I made my wigwam pretty quickly and also used Cornus to inject some red.
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You can use the same techniques for making a hurdle fence
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I had a lovely day and Windrush are so professional and lovely. They provided us with a gorgeous home made lunch of baked potatoes, home made salads, bread and cake and there was a selection of tea, coffee, water and biscuits available all day. The course ran from 10am until 4pm and for £69 including lunch I though it was fantastic value for money.

Kirsty x