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The Muddy Guide

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Roald Dahl Day, Museum and Roald Dahl’s garden at Gipsy House, Great Missenden, Sun 15 September

gipsy caravan roald dahl
To celebrate Great Missenden’s most famous resident, the Roald Dahl museum will be open for storytelling sessions, hut talks and magic (10am-5pm). More interesting (in my humble op) is Roald Dahl’s garden (1-5pm). Visitors can peek inside the caravan that inspired Danny the Champion of the World, meet the Grand Witch and the Enormous Crocodile and explore the garden where Dahl wrote his books. If the weather holds, you’ll be able to have a picnic in the orchard too and try to soak up Dahl’s genius while you’re swotting the wasps (a slight digression – haven’t they been annoying this summer?!). You need to buy your garden tickets from the museum. I’d recommend calling up early to pre-book if you can – it’s going to be popular.


John Lewis High Wycombe, fashion department opens, 14 Sept

john lewis
The massive £16m revamp of John Lewis is nearly complete, with men’s and women’s fashion departments opening from Saturday. I went to JL last week and could barely believe my eyes – it’s soooooo different. Heaven in a silk scarf and Volvo estate!

Blenheim Palace Literary Festival, Woodstock, 18-22 Sept

blenheim 2
Ruth Rendell, John Major, Nicky Haslam, Max Hastings, Rick Stein, Simon Jenkins, Hadley Freeman and others come to the gorgeous surroundings of Woodstock and Blenheim Palace for this well-regarded annual literary festival.

Objectify, sculpture exhibiton, High House, Clanfield (Oxon) ends 15 Sept

high house, objectify
I wrote about this exhibition when it opened. Since then it’s been listed as one of The Daily Telegraph’s ‘Top 10 Best Places to See Garden Sculpture’ in the UK. Go and see for yourself if the accolade is deserved.

Cake and Bake, Earls Court, London, 13-15 Sept

victoria sponge cake
Oh babycakes, take me there! This is the UK’s biggest baking exhibition, and whatever your ‘thing’, whether it’s family baking, bread-making, or creating gorgeous cake details such as ruffle effects, edible lace (yes, really), or technical icing, there are experts on hand to show you how to do it. Watch, learn, scoff.

Oxford Open Doors, Oxford, 14-15 Sept

christchurch great hall 2
I love this event, particularly as Oxford is seen as so rarified and secret to so many people. Nearly 200 venues open their doors to the public, from famous Oxford colleges such as Christchurch (see the Great Hall and cathedral amongst others) to the kid-pleasing Fire Station. It’s worth having a look at the well laid-out website for the hidden treasures you want to explore.

Chilterns Countryside and Food Festival, Ashridge Estate, Sun 15 Sept

The stunning Ashridge Estate

Probably one of the last ‘countryside’ events before the weather turns for good, this annual festival in the stunning Ashridge Estate boasts local produce and craft stalls, kids activities, forestry demonstrations (operating wood chippers and chainsaw art – I’m not joking!). Basically it’s like your village fete with added splinters. 10am-4pm. £4 for adults, children under 16 free. 

My birthday, 17 September

Oy you lot. No rude birthday songs, no kippers through the post, thanks. Take pity on me in my  dotage. A jolly ‘happy birthday’ on the blog, FB or twitter would go down very nicely!

London Fashion week (13-17 Sept)/London Design Festival (14-22 Sept)

london design festival 2013If ever there was a week to be hanging out in the Big Smoke this is it. London Fashion Week descends in all its brilliance/ridiculousness today, followed on Saturday by the launch of the London Design Festival. Even The New York Times proclaimed London the design capital of the world – effectively raising the white flag of defeat –  so go and see the spoils for yourself.



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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon