20 February 2009
Eastnor is very much still a family home, so our visitors come across our pets as they wander about the house and grounds. I am fond of cats as we always had one here when I was a boy, so when Rosemary, our housekeeper, suggested it might be a good idea to get a couple of cats to patrol the cellars to keep the mice away, I readily agreed.
Here is an image of one of them, Nutkin, relaxing in the February sunshine on the bonnet of a car. She is very much not on duty, but I assume she is building up her energy to do so later. She is a good mouser, at least outside, and I fear the owls may be short of food as a result of her activities. Although we clearly understand why she was recruited to the house team, she often misses the point herself, bringing mice into the house rather than driving them out! We keep her away from the soft furnishings in the public rooms, otherwise she scratches the material as she stretches her claws, but she and her sister are very welcoming to our guests and enjoy their company.
In the winter, when the sun is not shining, which is most of the time, Nutkin likes to come into my office and sit on paper that we want to file or put her wet paw marks on letters we are about to send. When my back is turned, she will sit on the relatively-warm keyboard of my computer (if it is on), which is not conducive to productivity and modern working methods. Until I swapped my monitor for a flat screen, she would sit on that, her tail occasionally flashing across the screen. So far, she has left the mouse alone.