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OMG! Have you heard the latest news?

All the hot Bucks and Oxon gossip right here. Wanna know about the Netflix comedy filming at Cliveden House? Or if Banksy really came to Marlow? Read all about it!

TIME TO BURN OFF THAT BANANA BREAD

Whether it’s Zoom pilates in the living room or Strava strolls round the village, exercising on your own just doesn’t pack the punch – or giggles – that a group class brings. So, it’s a relief to know that come March 31 one of our favourite local outdoor fitness classes starts up again. The Parkfit sessions at Stonor Park near Henley will run every Wednesday at 9.15am with more classes added as demand increases. The socially-distanced fitness classes take place in the deer park and gardens – what better bucolic distraction from that two-minute plank than the exquisitely planted beds and roaming deer at Stonor?

Run by Texan dynamo, Cat Batson, a Level 3 PT and UK Athletics Coach, the sessions tackle cardiovascular health and strength with body weight exercises. There’s a lot of fun along the way and she’ll give you easier options if you need or tougher ones if you’re not breaking enough of a sweat. Classes cost £15 per session and need to be booked in advance, plus a questionnaire is required before your first session (bring your own mat). Parking is free and there are steam-cleaned toilets on site and a coffee vendor, for that pre or post class boost and shock horror – a post-class natter with your workout buddies (well, five of them anyway).

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

@karengillan

Get ready for Hollywood stars milling about the Chiltern Hills, as a big new Netflix series is reportedly being filmed at Cliveden House on the Bucks/Berks border. Titled The Bubble, the comedy will follow a group of actors stuck inside a pandemic bubble at a hotel, starring Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who and Avengers fame) and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones). Camera crews have already been spotted in Cliveden’s grounds and tellingly, the film’s director Judd Apatow (who produced Bridesmaids) liked a tweet that claimed The Bubble was being filmed there — so we’re convinced! Catch us lingering in the nearby area, hoping to exchange fashion tips with our new celebrity BFFs.

RAPLH FIENNES TO TREAD THE BOARDS IN OXFORD

Theatre is back darlings! And it’s back with style – Ralph Fiennes will be gracing the boards at The Oxford Playhouse for a 12-day stint from June 14 to star in the world premiere stage adaptation of Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot. The debonair actor directs and stars in the story that tackles four interwoven meditations on the nature of time, faith, and the quest for spiritual enlightenment. The plot is somewhat timely – Eliot wrote the work when playhouses were closed during the WWII Blitz and the story tackles the impact on society of a national crisis. Members’ priority booking opens on  29 March at 10am with public booking from 30 March at 10am. Ticket pricing and details tbc.

TV HISTORY HISTORY!

A shade nerdier but still worth bragging about, Time Team is returning to screens later this year (for the first time since 2014!) to excavate a huge Roman Villa near Banbury. And we’re talking huge: the second largest Roman villa in the UK and almost as big as Buckingham Palace. It’s still a beloved cult TV show thanks to its ever-popular Youtube channel (who knew?) and fans have wanted Time Team to return for years. Now Tony Robinson — who, if we’re honest, will always be Baldrick — will once again be excitedly digging through Oxfordshire dirt. Essentially, what we’re hearing is… move over, Bath. There’s a new historic gem in town.

MUNCHINGS AND CRUNCHINGS

Have you got wind of The Cheese Shed yet? Tragically, this isn’t a shed packed full of cheese but it’s not far off. Our friends at the Nettlebed Creamery near Henley have added a shipping container to their offering, which will sell snacks and hot drinks (sourdough cheese toasties, kefir smoothies, local coffee, for example) as well as the Creamery’s own produce, such as milk, butter, and yes: cheese. Ideal for passing cyclists, walkers and families desperate to placate hungry, squabbling children. It’s open Friday to Monday, 8.30am to 3pm.

The Bottle & Glass Inn, also near Henley, is warming up to a heady summer by dipping its toe into the action early doors. Reservations are already open for the Burger Barn, which reopens on 12 April and will be fully compliant with current outdoor safety rules. The pub’s Horsebox, serving hot drinks and snacks, is also now open between Wednesdays and Sundays (12noon to 4pm), while takeaway burgers can be pre-ordered and collected from the pub: Weds to Fri, 4-8pm, Sat, 12noon to 8pm, Sun, 12noon to 4pm. Double cheese for me, if you’re offering.

HOT COMEDY

The Oxfordshire Mind Comedy Gala is happening online this year on 24 April to raise money for the mental health charity. After a special introduction from Stephen Fry, the line up will include comedians like rising star Rosie Jones, regular headliner Ivo Graham, and Nish Kumar, star of BBC’s The Mash Report. The gala hopes to have viewers laughing their way out of lockdown, while raising awareness and much-needed funds, after a particularly turbulent year. Tickets start at £10.

BANKSY?

Can you imagine political activist and street artist Banksy strolling through the mild streets of Marlow? Someone apparently can, as there are rumours placing him behind this piece of local graffiti (pictured). This follows the news of a new Banksy mural in Winchester, as well as the (recently defaced) example on the wall of Reading’s former prison. We’re not wholly convinced that Banksy did this one, but it would have been a short trip over from Berks. If anyone’s determined that this mural truly is the real deal, we’re open to persuasion.

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