Oooh you’re going to love this exhibition! Chinese artist and activist Ai Wei Wei, has created an incredibly fun, subversive and cheeky exhibition that touches on colonialism, national identity, breaking with tradition, commercialism and I’m sure a whole lot more that has sailed right over the Muddy head. Currently unable to leave Beijing after falling foul of the Chinese authorities, Ai Wei Wei has created the whole thing from across the other side of the world, and it’s quite the spectacle.
If you have three kids like me, the one thing that’s hard to find, aside from your sanity (alas, that’s lonnnnggggg gone), is time to devote to one child at a time. So that was a massive pleasure in itself, loads of girly stuff like morning baths, X-factor in pyjamas, tea-drinking/ cake-stuffing.Read more
I did this lovely little walk and pub combo last week and put it on the radio – which, ahem, I’m sure you all listen to at 7am on a Saturday morning. But, just on the miniscule off-chance that you prefer a lie-in, I’ll tell you about it here, because in a couple of months it will probably get too boggy to give it a go.
The best thing about this walk is that it starts in central Oxford, and yet it’s properly country – I can’t think of anywhere else that has this kind of 300 acre grazing land bang in the city, it’s incredible.
Ah, doesn’t it look peaceful?
This was the lovely neat, quiet room in Henley’s River & Rowing Museum before any children got into it. Let me say straight away that this Summer Funtime with Mr Toad exhibition is not quiet. Car horns beep, there’s a musical station to the front of the picture above with tambourine, triangle and a whole load of other percussion instruments that I don’t know the name to.Read more
Why didn’t I do this before? Last week I sent my son on a Activity Day to Longridge, 5 minutes from the centre of Marlow, and he had the time of his life. So did I – I got rid of him from 8.45am to 5.30pm which is some kind of heaven now that he is entering the wonderful tweenie stage of being lippy but yet still incredibly needy (grrrr).Read more
I have a bit of a Muddy crush on Henley at the moment, having been there several times over the last month for various bits and bobs. It’s just so damned pretty, and seems to have the knack for drawing a crowd – I’m thinking the Henley Festival, the Royal Regatta, Maison Artisan deli fairs, River & Rowing Museum for kids, the upcoming Henley Literature Festival etc.
An an early nudge about Word and Wickets, a brilliant if slightly bonkers concept of a festival combining literature and cricket that is coming up next weekend (24-26 July) . It’s at Wormsley Park, a stunning 2,500-acre estate and 18th century country house at Stokenchurch in the Chilterns, and is the former home of the philanthropist Sir Paul Getty, and now home to Mark Getty and his family. So you’re unlikely to wander through the gates at any other time!
I’ve had a very odd experience with this post, in that I thought I’d written it months ago. Anyhow, turns out I hadn’t *sigh*. But looky here, it’s a lovely walk along the canal from Marsworth (just over into Herts) that I was put onto by my friend Ellie, who took her kids one day and had just the best time.
To give you some bearings, Marsworth is close to Tring, in a lovely leafy part of Herts, just on the Bucks/Herts borders.Read more
Yesterday I spent the day in a Merchant Ivory film. Oh no, hang on, I was at the Henley Regatta, being visually assaulted by men young and old (and quite a few positively ancient) in stripy blazers and straw boaters. I’d never been to the Henley Regatta before and it was quite an induction into ‘Englishness’ in both its best and worst forms.
The good bits: The view is quite stupendously lovely, looking towards Henley’s 11th century church with its English flag, the arch of the bridge to your left, up river with the rowers straining manfully, sweat glistening from their taut arms, lycra tightly wrapped around their… oh sorry, that’s a different sort of film.
It’s funny how you get out of the habit of trying fun things as you get older. I’ve lived near Oxford for nearly 10 years and it’s taken me that long to go punting with my kids, which is just plain embarrassing.
This is one of the reasons I love writing Muddy Stilettos, because it kind of forces me to get off my cascading backside and try different stuff, and hopefully make it easy for you to do the same.Read more
Bucks & Oxon Edition