What’s on: The Muddy Guide 25 Sept – 2 Oct
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Thame Food Festival, throughout Thame, Sat 27 Sept
If you’re remotely foodie you’d better head straight over to Thame tomorow. This local food festival is so established that it’s hard to believe it’s only been going since 2008. Set in Thame’s wide, pretty high street, expect dozens upon dozens of food stalls (including Muddy indulgent faves Made By Mums), cookery demos, kids workshops, and Raymond Blanc, Adam Simmonds and Tom Kerridge on the stage. Superyum.
Kids theatre, Oxford, Aylesbury, Didcot, this weekend
I don’t think I take my kids to the theatre enough – daft when there’s so many great shows around here. I like the sound of Me and My Cat at the North Wall Theatre for 6+ kids, an interactive adventure using projection, puppets and Detective K trying to solve a mystery of why a little boy has turned into a cat. (tickets £7). There’s also Once upon a snowflake at The Cornerstone, Didcot, (Sun 28 Sept) about a little girl who discovers in her pocket a Winter Sprite with a strange white suitcase. Suitable for 3+ with tickets £8 adults, £6 under 16s.
Also worth remembering that the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre is running it free Family Theatre Club: ‘Act 1′ for toddlers to 6yrs (9.30-10.30) and 7-12 yrs (11am-12pm), both with parents/guardians. The early session will include storytelling and a chance to discover the world of theatre with puppetry, costume design prop making and restrained use of jazz hands, while the older group will learn about props, lighting, sound, film and performance. firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place.
I’m a bit in love with Henley in general and this Literary Festival is another string to the town’s bow. The line up is best termed eclectic, some commercial big hitters like Jojo Moyes, Tony Parsons and Lisa Jewell, national journos and broadcasters like columnist Bryony Gordon, Craig Brown, The Guardian‘s Nick Davies (who broke the phone hacking story), and Kirsty Walk, then there’s the likes of Nicky Haslam, Princes Michael of Kent, Dawn O’Porter! The mind fair boggles. Take a look at the full schedule here, you’ll no doubt find something fun to see.
Saturday Science Club, Oxford Castle Quarter, Sat 27 Sept
These Science clubs are massively popular and – hold the Nobel prize! – an extra session is being added to cater for older kids who can’t get enough of the white coats at school. This week’s workshops are about colour – how colour is made, visual tricks and illusions, whether it can be separated. Yawning are we? Hey, don’t shoot the messenger, my oldest boy used to love this stuff!
Tickets £7. 10.30- 11.30 (5-7yrs); 2-1pm (also 5-7yrs); 2-3pm (8-10yrs)
Geek is Good, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, extended
And while we’re on a geek trip, stick some sellotape on your glasses and pass round the Clearsil, because the Geek is Good exhibition at the Museum of the History of Science in Broad St has been extended well into October! It showcases nerdy enterprise from 1980s home computing all the way back to medieval astronomical gadgets. More fun than it sounds.
Sunday Lunch at Orchard View Farm, Little Meadle, 28 Sept
I was in the Cotswolds last weekend and went for a Sunday lunch at a well-regarded pub, only to be confronted with a Sunday roast costing £26. I mean, flippin heck! This alternative by the award-winning Orchard View Farm, is much more the ticket, with one course £12, and two courses £16, with provenance within about 500 metres and meat that’s won multiple Good Taste Award stars. They’ve only been doing this a couple of weeks so I haven’t tried it out myself yet, but I can tell you that they cook one meat each week (this Sunday it’s pork), served up in the unpretentious cafe. Worth investigating.
Autumn Fashion Weekend, Eden Centre, High Wycombe, 27 – 28 Sept
If you have to do your shopping on the weekend you might as well have something fun to look at. The Eden Centre in High Wycombe is hosting a Weekend of Fashion with four catwalk shows each day outside Starbucks from the likes of House of Fraser, Monsoon, M&S and Gap so you can find some inspiration, and, um, then go and buy it!
Wolf Hall/Bring up the Bodies, Aldwych Theatre, London, ends 4 Oct
I went to see Wolf Hall last night. I thought it was great. Mr Muddy fell asleep in the first half and bailed on me (I know!!) , so it’s a 50/50 whether you find this adaptation of Hillary Mantel’s best-selling novels up to the hype. You’ve only got one week to decide either way though, as the already extended run ends next Saturday. There were day tickets being advertised when I was at the theatre and the odd evening performance left too, so if you can pull a sicky or park the kids off somewhere you might get lucky.
Raymond Blanc Festival of Music, Le Manoir Au Quat’saisons, 2 – 4 Oct
An early heads up on Monsieur Blanc’s 23rd annual Festival of Music as it’s bound to sell out by next week with performances by the likes of Russell Watson, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and Tasmin Little in the intimate setting of the neighbouring 12th Century St Mary’s Church. Expect the works – champagne, delicate handmade canapés, music, and then a Le Manoir dinner with wine. It’s not quite your gig night at the local pub, and neither are the prices (£425 per person, and squeeeze those buttocks) but there’s no doubting it will be amazing.