Meeting the shop dogs of Englefield
PUBLISHED: 10:56 13 October 2016
Daisy likes to 'tidy up' at Englefield and throughout the day there are some four-legged visitors to keep an eye on as they wait outside
We meet some wonderful people on our travels, but some would be the first to admit it’s their pets they are most keen to introduce to us.
A sunny morning took us by chance to the Englefield Estate – and the only thing that halted the thought of knocking on the door of Englefield House to see if Newbury MP Richard Benyon and his family were at home was that we were waylaid by this month’s Shop Dog, and ended up visiting a couple of other four-legged friends of estate residents.
We were delighted to meet Daisy, proprietoress of Englefield Stores, sharing a spot behind the counter with Andy Allen. Daisy is eight years old and a King Charles spaniel. Andy revealed: “Daisy is very well-behaved most of the time although she can be crafty if children come in and accidentally drop ‘penny sweets’ on the floor. She keeps an eye on that in case any little treats need cleaning up.”
As residents did their shopping we came across little Bozo waiting patiently outside, a little terrier with a rather sad story. Bozo was rescued after a bad start which left him with splayed front legs and arthritis, but these days he enjoys a quiet life of gentle walks.
We also met another rescue dog, the charming Benji, now 13, a bearded collie and spaniel cross also enjoying a happy retirement, this time courtesy of resident Eva Denis. Eva told us that she’d always had rescue dogs but as she reached her later years thought she’d probably not have another one because of the care and walks pets require. “But then I met Benji and he was the perfect companion dog for me – quiet, kind and not too excitable, so we are both very happy.”
Well worth a visit
Most of Englefield Village sits within the estate. Beside the store is a hidden gem, the pretty tea rooms, open 10 am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, closed Thursday pm, and Saturday 10am, to 4pm, tel 0118 9302479. There’s also a garden centre which is part of the Affinity Trust, supporting people with learning difficulties.
Nearby St Mark’s Church, dating back in parts to 1190, was extensively restored in the 19th century, complete with a fascinating 13th century-style tower. There’s even a font from that time that was discovered buried in the churchyard about 50 years ago.
The gardens of Englefield House open on Mondays throughout the year, 10am to 6pm (Tuesday to Thursday, group bookings only until 31 October). Adults £5, children free. See englefieldestate.co.uk.