On the platform I was astonished to see a tabby cat sleeping on a woman’s lap as she sat waiting for a train. “How sweet. Do you always travel with your cat?” I asked. It turned out that this was Stan the station cat who spent his days hanging round the ticket office of Charlbury Station, nuzzling passengers, climbing on their laps and purring contentedly until a train came along.
Stan climbed onto my cat-whisperer husband Randall’s lap and preened and purred with all the affection showered upon him. When he jumped down we followed him as he loped slowly along Platform 1.
Stan then hovered by the lily pond and stared hungrily at the darting fish. He made a few half-hearted swipes at them and then yawned and cleaned his face. Apparently, between trains Stan likes to lie in the change-well below the ticket window.
When he fails to get out of the way in time, passengers sometimes have to retrieve their change from his fur. Stan has become something of a star around these parts as his picture is prominently displayed at the station and can be spotted through the ticket window.
Chalbury Station looks for all the world like it belongs in one of those old Ealing comedies, or an episode of Poirot, and is well worth seeing whether or not a visitor is travelling by train.
Apparently, having Stan hop on their lap and purr his way into their hearts has caused a number of cat-loving passengers to let the train to Paddington continue on without them. In fact….(Continued in More Cotswolds Memoirs: Creating the Perfect Cottage and Discovering Downton Abbey in the Cotswolds.)
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