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What’s On: The Muddy Guide Thurs 10 – Weds 16 Sept

Looking for some fun over the next week? Here you go, more cool happenings in Oxon, Bucks and beyond than you can shake a stick at. As ever, if you make it to anything I mention, let me know what you think about. Knowledge is power peeps, let’s share it!


Oxford Open Doors 2015, Sat 12 – Sun 13 Sept


I’m so excited about this event – Oxford Open Doors has been running annually since 2008, literally opening doors behind some of Oxford’s most beautiful buildings and projects, many of them under wraps for the rest of the year. Loads of stuff going on, but highlights include being part of Oxford’s biggest ever archaeological dig at Westgate with guided tours, handling and surveying (Sat 10am – 4pm), free entry to iconic buildings like Carfax, the Bodleian and those lovely ancient Oxford colleges, and –  top of my list – a tour of the stunning Painted Room on Cornmarket, previously the Crown Tavern and a place Shakespeare is known to have frequented (Sunday only).

Venues across Oxford,

Nigel Kennedy’s Hendrix Overview, New Theatre Oxford, Mon 14 Sept


Nigel Kennedy is a total musical superstar and is gratifyingly bonkers with it. I saw him play a lot of Hendrix-style ‘guitar’ solos on his violin last year at a secret gig he played The Spin jazz club in Oxford and it was unbelievably good. Whether you like Hendrix or not (I’m not sure I could actually name a single Hendrix record – sacrilege I know) this concert is worth seeing just to experience Kennedy’s energy and passion.

New Theatre, George Street, Oxford,

Sean Hughes: Mumbo Jumbo, Chipping Norton Theatre, Sat 12 Sept

Sean Hughes Mumbo Jumbo Tour 2015

We do well for big name comedians in Oxfordshire and, well, here comes another. Sean Hughes is rocking up to Chipping Norton Theatre with his new show Mumbo Jumbo. Apparently it’s about middle age, so good luck making wrinklies like me see the funny side of that!

The Theatre, Spring Street, Chipping Norton,


Germaine Greer : The Disappearing Woman, Oxford Playhouse, Thurs 10 Sept


She went out of fashion for a bit didn’t she? But Germaine Greer always has something interesting to say and her latest talk The Disappearing Woman concerns all of us. Her premise is that as soon as girls take on the size, role and shape of an adult woman, they become less visible with every stage of their lives. I think there’s some fight against this – if you think of the deliberate inclusion of older women back on telly screens, blogs like That’s Not My Age, grey haired models and Eighties supers still finding work etc – but clearly there are still massive challenges. Worth checking out, particularly as there’s a Q&A at the end of it that’s likely to be lively.

Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St. Oxford,

Cult Screens at Pittt Rivers, Oxford  Sat 12-Sun 13 Sept


I have a feeling that Cult Screens were at Malmaison last year but anyway, this year they are luxuriating on the lawn of the Pitt Rivers Museum. On Saturday night (7pm) you can nestle into your deckchair or beanbag and watch Labyrinth (1986), following David Bowie and a host of Jim Henson creations through an eccentric fantasy world, or be a Cumberbitch on Sunday night watching Britain’s oddest sex symbol Imitation Game (2014). Ponchos available from the bar if you’re too bonkers not to bring a raincoat.

Pitt Rivers, Oxford,

Henley Show, Hambleden, Sat 12 Sept


Not enough ferret racing, trail rides, sheep trials and working horse demonstrations in your life? Well, off you pop to The Henley Show, showcasing agriculture at its best in the Henley Showground. That’ll do Pig.

The Henley Showground,

Every Brilliant Thing, Millarts, Banbury, Weds 16 Sept


The Edinburgh Festival and Off-Broadway hit, Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan has had some stonking reviews in The Telegraph and The Guardian (which proclaimed it ‘possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see’). It’s about a 6 year old’s list about everything that’s brilliant in the world, in response to his depressed mum in hospital. The list is left on her pillow and soon the list will take on a life of its own. Sounds good, don’t you think? I’m sold anyway!

Mill Arts Centre, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury,

Woburn Estate Wedding Fair, Sunday 11 October

Photo by Paul Wilkinson Photography

Photo by Paul Wilkinson Photography

Ding dong! If you’re hearing those wedding bells in your head, here’s an early prod to get yourself organised for your big day. The Woburn Estate Wedding Fair takes place in a few weeks in the Antique Quarter of the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey. Loads of pop up wedding shops, wedding planners, fashion shows and all that bridal jazz. Looks classy.

Free admission and car parking.

Broadway Food Festival, Cotswolds, Sun 13 Sept


Cotwold village do the foodie thing sooooo well. Broadway Food Festival returns to the Village Green this Sunday, and promises over 40 stalls of local  growers, farmers, artisan bakers, brewers, millers, distillers, cider makers, jam makers, bee keepers and cheese makers. Blimey.


Forties Weekend,  Hughenden Manor, Sat 12 – Sun 13 Sept


Part of the National Trust’s annual living history weekend, Hughenden Manor returns  to the 1940s this weekend with exhibitions and demonstrations and bring the Forties to life with music, song, and dancing. So visitors will have the chance to cook with wartime rations, meet military and Home Front characters, see a display of wartime vehicles, watch Mr Punch beat up Herr Hitler, and have a go at ‘make do and mend’ (embarrassing in the Muddy household as I’m more like ‘make do and – no bugger it I’ll buy a new one’). You’ll either love or hate this type of event but I really like the energy they bring to past events.
Free admission to National Trust members or £10 per adult for the house and grounds. Discounted rates are offered for families and children. Hughenden Manor, nr. High Wycombe, Bucks,

Dahl Day at The Story Museum, Oxford, Sun 13 Sept 


I’m a big fan of The Story Museum in Oxford’s Pembroke Street – such a brilliant concept to get children excited about books and reading and imagination – and Roald Dahl is the Big Daddy of children’s literature. This Sunday it’s Dahl Day with a special focus on The Twits and The Enormous Crocodile. Apparently they’ll be aiming to make an Enormous craft Cro, plus mini Enormous Crocs to take home, and – my absolute favourite thing – disgusting Twit beards to wear throughout your visit. If you haven’t been with your kids yet, the museum is fabulous in itself with its speaking thrones and enormous dress up area, plus there is now a fab café in there too, so worth a drop in if you’re near Pembroke St.

The Story Museum, Pembroke Street, Oxford,

Henley Literary Festival, Henley, 28 Sept – 4 Oct

Great British Bake Off

I’m always on the back foot for booking literary festivals – by the time I get around to peering at the programme all the best bits are sold out. So come on peeps, let’s own this goddam Henley Literary Festival. Loads of great authors for adults like Louis de Bernieres and -squeak!- Sue Perkins!! But they’ve really upped the kids offering this year too, with 50 performances and workshops for kids 2+ and 17 free weekend event in the Town Square. Highlights include Charlie and Lola creator Lauren Child, Hugless Douglas author-illustrator David Melling and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. Awesome.

Slap Ya Papa, Waterloo Vaults, Weds 16 – Weds 30 Sept


Fancy a trip into the Smoke? Slap Ya Papa are launching a two week residency at The supercool Waterloo Vaults, with a restaurant, cafe and bar space based on all things Louisiana. Every evening there’ll live blues, funk, jazz and soul with food and cocktails from the Deep South. Sounds groovy.

Waterloo Vaults, Leake St, Waterloo, London SE1,

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon