WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide: 4 – 10 October
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The Big Draw, nationwide, until 31 October
The world’s biggest celebration of drawing has grown into a month-long festival throughout October all over the UK. In Bucks/Oxon it hits its stride this week with Modern Art Oxford’s free drop-in session on 10 October (1-4pm) about the power of the line, allegedly suitable for children and families. If that sounds a bit esoteric for your little darlings, the York House Centre in Stony Stratford (Milton Keynes) lowers the tone delightfully with its Ginormous Battle of Dinosaurs v Aliens in a free workshop on Saturday 6 October (10 am – 4pm).
Kids can also help create a massive BFG at The Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden or try the new Drawing Packs at The Ashmolean on Saturday 13 October – with a little help from a certain Korky Paul, author and illustrator of Winnie The Witch. Check out the website here for a full list of events.
Waterperry Gardens, Apple Weekend, Friday 5 – Sunday 7 October
Had a rubbish harvest this year? Yeah, me too. Try to keep your apple envy in check as you head to Waterperry Gardens for its annual Apple Weekend. Here’s your chance to enjoy free apple and juice tastings, tours of the orchards and fruit sheds and a test out of the different varieties of apple grown at Waterperry before buying a tree for your own garden.
Comma, online launch and 2nd birthday party, Saturday 6 October
I wrote about Comma last year, having stumbled across them whilst checking out Oxford’s Iffley Road. Lovely husband and wife team Sally and Dave produce a massive and brilliant range of witty/graphic tea towels (under the brand ToDryFor), notebooks, design nick-nacks and original cards, all of which you ‘ll be able to buy online from next week. Combine a visit with a lunch at Michelin Bib-Gormanded The Magdalen Arms next door, or pop around the corner to check out the small-but-perfectly-formed Pegasus Theatre for a bijoux arty experience.
Comma, 247 Iffley Road, Oxford. OX4 1SJ Tel: 01865 202400
Little Missenden Festival, Little Missenden, Bucks, 5-14 October
This is a fab little festival is now in its 53rd year, with world-class classical music as its backbone but with jazz, art, folk and books thrown in for good measure. Folksinger Sam Lee, who opens the festival on Friday (5 Oct), has just been nominated for the Mercury prize for his debut album. Spanish guitarist MILOŠ has just received a four star Guardian review for his solo Albert Hall concert. Are you getting the picture?! Unless you’re local or a classical music nut you’re unlikely to make the evening events, but on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 there’s chamber music in the exquisite Saxon Little Missenden church at 2.45 and 3pm respectively if you want to go to your happy place for an hour or so.
Artists & Makers Fair, Waddesdon Plant Centre, Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 October
If you can’t be arsed trawling the shopping centres or even faffing about online for your Christmas pressies, this is a sure-fire winner. Printmakers, ceramicists, painters, silversmiths and other clever arty types are on hand to demonstrate, make, and importantly sell their wares. Set yourself a spending limit, then do what any sensible woman does and completely ignore it.
£3 entry plus normal charges to Waddesdon Manor. www.sallyevansevents.co.uk.
Thame arts & Literature Festival, Thame, 12-14 October
An early heads up on this incredibly popular festival, now in its 3rd year. It lacks the heavyweight literary punch of its neighbours Henley and Woodstock but it’s a thoroughly accessible festival, with popular choices such as Pam Ayres, Mary Berry, Jonathan Dimbleby and weirdy-haired BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz (cut it man, cut it!). This year’s kids authors are Louise Yates, award winning writer/illustrator of Dog Loves Books and Penny Harper, the locally-based author of Lollipop and Grandpa. If last year’s kids events were anything to go by, these will be brilliant but over-subscribed so don’t wait too long to book.