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What’s On: The Muddy Guide 24 – 29 April 2015

Oops, the Muddy Guide is a bit late this week – apparently there are some, ahem, Awards on at the mo that are slightly distracting yours truly! Anyway, here you go, lots to do if you’re in the mood for getting out and about in Oxon, Bucks and beyond. Have fun peeps, and let me know if you try anything below.

Upton House, Banking for Victory, exhibition, nr Banbury, ongoing


There’s a really inventive exhibition at Upton House near Banbury that’s only a few weeks old. Called Banking for Victory, it’s seen the whole house go ‘Forties’, to replicate the time when the owners of Upton moved their private bank, complete with full bank staff and massive safes, out of London to the house itself during the blitz. The exhibition is child-friendly – lots for kids to see and enjoy, like old phones, typewriters, etc –  but there are also lovely gardens and a stonking art collection including Holbein, Constable, Guardi and many others, some from as early as the 15th century. Best of all, the paintings were bequeathed to the NT on the proviso that there would be no barriers between the art and the public so it’s an extraordinary opportunity to see masterpieces near-as-dammit nose to canvas. Wow, wow, and wow.

ChipLitFest, Chipping Norton, Thurs 23 – Sun 26 April


I’m full of admiration for Chipping Norton – it always seems to have loads going on there, and its Literary festival (no doubt assisted by the lovely presence in the town of bookshop Jaffe & Neale) is on the grow. This is the last week weekend if you want to catch author talks from the likes of Matt Haig or, ahem, Richard & Judy (their bookclub is still massive), find stuff for kids or try a workshop. Quite a few Chippy businesses in the Muddy Awards finals too so you can eat, buy and enjoy them afterwards!

Spring Foray and lunch, Sir Charles Napier, Nr Chinnor, Weds 29 April


The second of four morning walks through the beech woods near this Michelin star restaurant (and current Muddy Stilettos Award finalist for Best Restaurant) in hilly Chinnor to gather wild garlic and herbs. Then it’s back to the Sir Charles Napier for a cookery demo and lunch. A fab experience for foodies.

9.30am coffee, 10am foray, 12pm cookery demo, 12.30 lunch. £5o. Also on 7 & 13 May

Dorchester Festival, Dorchester, 1 – 10 May


A gorgeous Oxfordshire village with that cathedral, and an early heads up on a lovely bi-annual festival starting next Friday. The Dorchester Festival is getting bigger by the look of the ‘What’s On’, with loads of family events, plus some fantastic music including the Tallis Scholars. Have a look at the schedule here, and give it a whirl if you’re in the area.

‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’, Wycombe Swan,  until Sat 25 April

striped pyjamas

This stage-adaptation from John Boyne’s novel presents the atrocities of the Holocaust through the eyes of an innocent child – a son of a Nazi concentration camp commandant who befriends a child on the other side of the camp fence. It’s seriously stuff clearly, but  the more disturbing parts of the story are kept implicit so audiences 11+ can see the show.

Cushion Concert, St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Sun 26 April

violin animal

A really lovely way to introduce children to musical instruments, if they’re not already hammering away for hours using the Suzuki method. This is a less time intensive 45 minutes, involves cushions to loll on, a bit of singing, often a guest instrumentalist and a whole lot of ‘good parenting’ smugness (well, you get your kicks where you can) . On Sunday at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Roz and Mr Cello meet the bassoon at sessions for 10am and 11am for under 5s and midday for 5+.

£5 tickets, or £16 for a family of four. More info here.

Happy birthday Iris boutique, Amersham, Wed 29 April


How time flies. The fab Iris boutique in Amersham is one year old next week, so to celebrate, cupcakes and fizz are on the go all day in store next Wednesday, along with some delectable lucky dip discounts. It would be rude not to.

Brilliant Kids Theatre in Oxfordshire, Sat 25 & Sun 26 April

journey home

 Two really good shows to take your little ones to this weekend.  The Journey Home, at the North Wall Theatre on Saturday (show 11am and 2pm) is the  story of a Polar Bear’s search for a new home when the ice starts melting. Expect music and puppetry for kids 3+. Meanwhile on Sunday, Annabelle’s Skirting Board Adventure at Cornerstone Arts, Didcot incorporates animation, film and music and audience participation to tell the story of Arthur, a little boy who is stuck at home in his room with a tiny elephant called Annabelle (for kids 3-6 years).

Bicester Heritage, Sunday Brunch Scramble, Bicester, Sun 26 April

bicester vintage car

Right Muddy gents, this one’s for you (um, and apologies for the sexist assumption if you’re a female petrolhead!). Do you know about Bicester Heritage? It’s a 348 acre, former RAF bomber command base and airfield that will be opening its gates to the public for a hearty breakfast, vintage car ogling (bring your own if you have one), vintage aircraft landing in the morning and a chance to try a glider flight.

Let’s Dine Together No 3, Orchard View Farm, Little Meadle, Bucks, Sat 25 April


The third Let’s Dine Together event put on by the award-winning Orchard View Farm in Buckinghamshire as part of their clever expansion into catering, there are still a couple of places on tonight’s A Khoobsurat (beautiful) Indian Evening. It’s a three course, BYO, home cooked Indian meal, created from scratch, Indian meal.  Starts a bit early at 7pm and you might not want to wear Indian dress (it’s optional, breath a sigh of relief!) but it definitely worth checking out I reckon.

£20. Call 01844 273387 to book. Orchard View Farm, Stockwell Road, Little Meadle, Bucks, HP17 9UG.

Feast of St George, Trafalgar Square, London, Sat 25 April


Going into London this weekend? Boris is throwing a party in honour of St George this Saturday in Trafalgar Square if you fancy some hog-roastiness along with live demos from top chefs, a farmer’s market, brass bands and medieval jousting. It all sounds slightly mad and haphazard in keeping with our mophead mayor. Probably good fun though, not least because it’s all freeeeee!

See the website for more details

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