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Have you heard the hot gossip?

It's Bucks & Oxon's fun detective reporting for duty! Here's this week's superflashy newsflash including hot new pop-ups, foodie news and, erm, robots!

Tom Kerridge strikes again

In the absence of the ever popular Pub in the Park this year, the Michelin-starred Marlow marvel has already treated us to a drive-and-dine cinema and is now going one further with a drive-in garden party. It’ll feature all the best bits of Pub in the Park – amazing musical artists (we’re looking forward to Groove Armada, Becky Hill, Gabrielle and Kaiser Chiefs) and food from top-notch chefs and restaurants – only you’ll have your own socially distanced private plot to park up in. The event is coming to Henley’s Temple Island Meadows from 4 – 6 Sept, with booking open now.

Family theatrics on Zoom

Don’t panic, it’s not another Zoom meeting – this is something entirely different, and altogether magical. For August, the genius team at Creation Theatre Company have put together Alice: A Virtual Theme Park, a modern take on theatre that’s totally unique and will have littlies enraptured. Think live performers, AI animals and the chance to interact with the characters (or sit back and let others do that bit). Runs until Sunday 30 August, £20 per device.

Creation Theatre School of Creativity

If you have budding thespians at home, then Creation’s School of Creativity should also appeal. It’s a brand new programme of digitally-delivered weeklong workshops and day classes for theatre-lovers aged 5 to 19, covering everything from Hans Christian Andersen to Frankenstein. Workshops are £100 for a week while masterclasses are £25 per day, and both have sibling discounts available. Available until Friday 28 August.

Foodie news

Feeling hungry? Cheltenham-based, luxe Indian restaurant Bhoomi Kitchen, has just opened its second outpost in Headington, Oxford, on London Road. The restaurant serves a mix of modern Indian small plates and dishes with a focus on southeast Indian cuisine and also – with the weather and Covid in mind – has seats for al fresco dining.

Also in Oxford, in Osney Mead, The Punter (sister pub to meat haven The Porterhouse Grill) has recently reopened as a totally vegetarian restaurant, plus it’s taking part in Eat Out to Help Out. Muddy is yet to visit but I’ve heard reports that the Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean-inspired menu is delicious – and this from a staunch meat eater, no less.

Meanwhile in Bucks, keep your eyes peeled for the travelling Knead Pizza van which will be whizzing around the area serving wood-fired doughy goodness. The van will be popping up outside cool industrial café Coopers Trading Company, in Marlow, every Sat (2pm – 8pm) as well as Beaconsfield, Penn & Tylers Green, Flackwell Heath, Bourne End, Wooburn, Loudwater and High Wycombe. See when it’s coming to your neighbourhood here.

And finally, we’re gutted to announce the closure of Buckingham’s The Garage due to – you guessed it – the C-word. Muddy wishes the best of luck to owners Sally and Stephen and fingers crossed someone new takes the reins of this quirky foodie hangout.

Pinkies posied?

If you go down to the woods today (well, 17 October to be precise but you can book now), you’ll find luxury dining pods filled to burst with handmade sarnies, cakes, pastries and sweet treats for The Secret Feast‘s latest afternoon tea pop-up. You can even upgrade to Champagne afternoon tea, because, why wouldn’t you?

A new classic

It’s amazing to see how the arts industry has adapted to these strange, socially distanced times, including a brand new open-air classical music venue opening in Chalfont St Giles at the end of summer (4 & 6 Sept). The Vache Baroque Festival, based at the stunning 15th-century The Vache estate (above), will specialise in Baroque repertoire, opening with Purcell’s opera Dido & Aeneas. The grounds will be open from 4pm for picnicking and drinks (FYI there’s a bar), with performances beginning just after 7pm. With the last few months we’ve all endured, a leisurely evening listening to classic tunes is just what the doctor ordered.

And finally…

Erm, has anyone seen one of these bad boys roaming around Milton Keynes recently? The little rolling robots aren’t here to take over the planet (just yet), but are actually part of a food delivery scheme to bring groceries and takeaways to local residents. You can book a slot for your Friday night takeaway on the app here. No word yet if they also sit at your feet and bring you the paper on a morning but it’s possible!

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