What’s On: The Muddy Guide (Thurs 29 Sept – Weds 5 Oct)

More fun than you can shake a stick at this week in Oxon, Bucks and beyond. Have fun!

Jamie Cullum and Katherine Jenkins, Raymond Blanc’s Festival of Music, Le Manoir, Weds 5 – Thurs 6 Oct

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I went to this last year when Russell Watson was the main attraction and it was an amazing evening. To celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary, Raymond Blanc has pulled off quite the coup, with both Jamie Cullum and Katherine Jenkins performing in the intimate setting of St Mary’s Church before joining the lucky muckers and Raymondo for dinner at Belmond Le Manoir. News flash – this is not a cheap night people, but let me tell you, that church is so small, it’s almost like having Jamie Cullum playing the piano in your living room, so if you have a spare couple of hundred quid knocking around, it’s worth the money.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Church Road, Great Milton, Oxford, belmond.com

And Then Come the Nightjars, The Northwall Arts Centre, Tues 4 – Weds 5 Oct

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I love the Northwall Arts Centre and its fast and furious scheduling – there’s always something brilliant to see, the latest of which is And Then Come the Nightjars, a story of male friendship against the odds, and a tribute to rural English life’. It’s set in South Devon in 2001 where Jeff a dairy vet and Michael a cattle farmer have a grudging respect for each other, and enjoy a bit of friendly banter over a nip of whisky from time time to time. But when foot and mouth sweeps the countryside their friendship and whole way of life is thrown into question.

Not massively cheerful I grant you, but it’s had fantastic reviews, described by The Guardian as ‘a savagely funny and sad play’ and by The Daily Telegraph as ‘beautifully observed, a small gem of a play’. Go see if they’re right!

The Northwall Arts Centre, Oxford,  thenorthwall.com

Team GB’s Olympic & Paralympic Rowers, Plus Kids Go Free! River and Rowing Museum, Henley, Sat 1 Oct

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Lycra alert! The Olympics are long gone but here’s your chance to relight your enthusiasm for all things rowing, as members of the GB rowing team, including Alex Gregory, Chris Bartley, Will Satch and Frances Houghton descend upon Henley’s River & Rowing Museum to talk about their experiences leading up to and including the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. Questions and selfie-opportunties at the end apparently.

Tickets £8.50/ £4.50 kids. Booking is essential. River & Rowing Museum, Henley, rrm.co.uk

Babylon Plants Open Day, Cuxham, nr. Watlington, Sat 1 Oct

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This fantastic British-grown nursery, with over 1000 species in its 4 acre gardens, is normally open only to the trade, but twice a year the doors are open to the public so you can grab a bargain without the retail mark up. This Saturday is your last chance this year to browse the nursery stock, get expert advice and buy plants at wholesale prices including perennials, grasses, trees and shrubs. Don’t forget to go to the cashpoint before you go – it’s cash and carry only.

Tea and cake on sale, 10.30am-5pm. Babylon Plants, The Stables, Chestnut Farm, Cuxham, Oxon, babylonplants.co.uk

 

Alan Mcgee’s Musicians against Homelessness, The Bullingdon, Oxford, Sun 2 Oct

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Oasis guru Alan McGee (above) recently launched a nationwide campaign called Musicians Against Homelessness, to raise funds for the homeless charity Crisis and provide gig opportunities for up-and-coming bands. The gigs started all over the country in mid September and this weekend Oxford is hosting two events.  The first is on Saturday at The Wheatsheaf pub off the High Street in Oxford, with four unsigned rock bands including Slate Hearts and Coldredlight, and then a second at The Bullingdon up Cowley Road, with Paves, Neo Homeless Man and Romona Rose playing.

 £5 and £6 on the door. The Bullingdon, 162 Cowley Rd, Oxford, thebullingdon.co.uk;

 

Ministry of Science Live! Wycombe Swan, Weds 5 Oct

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If you want to enthuse your kids about science but don’t want to risk home experiments (ka-boooom) this show might be a good option. It promises a human cannon, a hovercraft built on the stage, whizzes, bangs and all the stuff that children love.

Wycombe Swan Theatre, St Mary St, High Wycombe, Bucks, wycombeswan.co.uk

Jo Caulfield – The Customer is Always Wrong, Cornerstone Arts, Fri 30 Sept

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These comedians work hard don’t they? Never mind the telly slots on The John Bishop Show and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Road, Jo Caulfield is out touring and is whistlestopping in for the night at Didcot’s fabulous Cornerstone Arts Centre. Catch her on Friday while you have the chance.

Cornerstone Arts, 25 Station Road, Didcot, Oxon, cornerstone-arts.org

Family Fun  Day, Wycombe Swan, Sun 2 Oct

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Such a good idea this, to encourage parents and kids to explore the theatre and get a taste of what a show can offer. There are character-led backstage tours, kids workshops, arts and crafts, technical stage demos, ‘ugly sister’ make up sessions, pumpkin decorating and a chance to meet Craig Revel Horwood dressed as Widow Twanky. Oh alright, you got me on the last one, but there’s plenty else to entertain, and there’s even hot food and snackaroos.

Free admission 11am – 3pm. wycombeswan.co.uk

Henley Ploughing Match, Sonning Eye, Sun 2 Oct

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Put your stilettos away, they’re definitely not required at the Henley Ploughing Match,  highly traditional event with 4 working pairs of heavy horses showing how they work, ferret racing, terrier racing, trailer rides and the usual kids add-ons. The day starts with the Blessing of the Plough at 9am (I’m not kidding, this is true!) and usually ends before dusk.

£5.00 adults, kids under 5 free. Parking free, and well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome.

Frizers Farm, Sonning Eye, nr Reading, thehenleyshow.co.uk

 

Seann Walsh: One for the Road, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 1 Oct

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Another night, another comedian. Seann Walsh is a busy man on the smellyvison (Live At The Apollo, Mock the Week, Chatty Man) but the former Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee is up in Banbury with a brand new show if you’re in the market for laughs.

The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, themillartscentre.co.uk

London Restaurant Festival, 1 – 31 Oct

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Rack up the plates, here I come with my elasticated pants. The London Restaurant Festival takes place in 350 restaurants across the Smoke, from neighbourhood favourites to Michelin-starred fancy pants eateries, so it’s your perfect excuse to try somewhere new. There are chef-hosted lunches and tasting menus on offer, but I’m particularly loving the sound of the Champagne Gourmet Odysseys – 3 courses in 3 different top restaurants, with Veuve Clicquot paired with each course, travelling between each restaurant on a Routemaster bus. The Festival lasts all month but if you really want to time it perfectly, go in the next week when the London Cocktail Week starts in Shoreditch (Mon 3 – Sun 9 Oct) and see if you can take the challenge to keep the food in front of you in focus.

 

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon