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The Muddy Guide

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Dinosaur and fossil fun day, The Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock, Saturday 16 March

It’s not quite the National History Museum, but this sweet-sounding dinosaur and fossil fun day should satisfy most young archaeologists on a Saturday afternoon. Marvel at the 168 million-year-old dinosaur footprints in excavated from nearby Ardley Quarry and meet a bus-sized megalosaur. There’s an interactive dinosaur gallery, fossil identification and excavation, craft activities, story-telling and dressing up. Meh, who cares about the kids? I’m in heaven.

11-4pm. £5 per child. The Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock. Tel: 01993 811 456.

Phoenix Picture House Centenary, Friday  15 – Sunday 17 March

Oxford is blessed with several fantastic art-house cinemas but I have a bit of a soft spot for the Phoenix with its funky little upstairs bar and studenty Jericho credentials. To celebrate 100 years in the celluloid biz, there’s a photography exhibition of the cinema’s history open to the public in the Phoenix bar on Saturday with the added attraction of Pete Joshua playing live. On Sunday the cinema plays ‘mum’, pouring afternoon tea between 4-5pm. But the bit I’m most excited about is a preview screening on Saturday night of The Place Beyond the Pines, directed by Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) and starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendez, a film so new it hasn’t even been classified yet.

Hibiscus launch online, Friday 15 March

hibiscus - medium_SL_greydress1_f
Excuse me for a moment. I’m just here lying on my sunbed, cocktail in hand, Club Tropicana playing by the pool as the handsome waiter bends down gently and…. Bah, it’s no use pretending. I’m still in Britain. Freezing. Scaly. Woolly.

At least now that Wendover-based superduperpooper Hibiscus has officially launched with a swanky website,  I can plan my Caribbean (or, um, Dorset) wardrobe. These Hibiscus girls have more fashion credentials than the LFW front row and it shows. I’m particularly there with the sexy swimwear and the silk dresses. No I just need to find an archipielago to co-ordinate them with. 

Falconry event, at Lodge park, Gloucestershire, Sunday 17 March

lodge park 2
Lodge Park was built by John ‘Crump’ Dutton as a 17th century grandstand to fuel his passion for deer coursing, gambling, banqueting and entertaining. No idea what the ‘Crump’ nickname relates to – historians step forward please!  It was the National Trust’s first restoration project in 1998, relying on archaeological evidence to return the building to its former glory, and now Lodge Park is used for more benign pleasures such as weddings and public events. The falconry display runs from 11.30-1pm, perfect timing for a walk around the grounds followed by lunch at nearby Sherborne. I’m not familiar with Sherborne so suggestions for a decent pub in the village most welcome.
Entry 11-4pm, tickets adult £5.50, child £3. NT members free. Lodge Park, Nr Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 3PP.

Margaret Howell sample sale, South Molton Lane, London W1, 21-22 March

margaret howell sample sale march 2013Oh yeah, I’m so there. Margaret Howell’s cool, classic womens and menswear are going for a song next Thursday and Friday, between 9am-7pm at the designer’s latest sample sale. If you haven’t managed to get to one yet, they are Am.A.Zing. I know it’s a faff to get into London but if you can make it (or can instruct a selfless friend) you’ll be wearing catwalk cashmere at sub high street prices. Go!

9am-7pm, The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, W1K 5LF

Muse in the Garden, Oxford Botanical Garden, Friday 15 March – 12 May.

oxford botanical gardens - artist year
For the past year contemporary artist Chloe Fremantle has been observing the Oxford Botanic Garden, and her paintings finally goes on show on 15 March. I love the vibrancy and colours in her work, and find the idea of her watching the seasons through Botanical Gardens rather lovely. Also worth noting, while we’re on gardens, is that this is now the last month to catch David Nash’s brilliant sculptures in Kew Gardens before their removal on 14 April.

The Oxford Botanical Garden gallery is open daily during normal Garden opening hours.

HMS Belfast at 75, Queens Walk, London SE1, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Mar

hms-belfast1Man the ships. Fire the cannons. Another important birthday in the Muddy Guide, this time celebrating the 75th anniversary since the launch of the HMS Belfast. The organisers are threatening re-enactments, simulated gunfiring and live radio transmission, along with Morse Code lessons. Presumably to spell, ‘QUICK, PASS THE BLOODY EAR PLUGS.’

HMS Belfast, The Queen’s Walk Tooley Street, London SE1

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