Superflashy newsflash! The latest local goss
Nothing happens during lockdown, right? Erm… not quite. Bucks & Oxon still have some life in them yet. Here are the latest whispers on the grapevine.
You may have wept a solitary tear on hearing that the excellent Fat Frog in Didcot shut down last month. What you may not know is that was partly down to owner-chef Dave Wells filming this year’s Masterchef: The Professionals (which kicked off last week on BBC One). Although we’ve yet to find out how far Matt goes in the competition, viewers of the show will know he absolutely nailed his skills test impressing the fastidious Marcus Wareing. So what’s next for Matt? Nothing is in stone yet but he’s said local residents can “100%” expect a new venture soon. Watch this space.
Good Sixty is a carbon-neutral food delivery service that gives an online platform to local independent food shops and, brilliantly, it’s just opened in Oxford. So far there are 18 Oxford-based shops on board including David John Pies, Pershore Seafood, Happy Cakes, The Wonky Food Company, Gatineau and Jericho Coffee Traders – all you have to do is browse the Good Sixty website, order from your favourite indies, and your groceries will be delivered to you in one package via electric bike or van.
For those of you in Summertown who can’t face the supermarket queues, you’ll be pleased to know that Columbia Coffee Roasters are open for more than superlative lattes; they’re also stocked with essentials such as fresh fruit and veg, milk, eggs and bread. Pop in for a coffee; leave with lunch and dinner.
Unbelievably, the show will go on for the annual panto at Milton Keynes Theatre. Thanks to funding from the National Lottery, a socially distanced Sleeping Beauty is running from 19 December to 10 January. Starring Any Dream Will Do’s Lee Mead, Brookside’s Claire Sweeney and S Club’s Suzanne Shaw, the first night’s tickets will be gifted to NHS staff as a big thank you for a year of dedication and unenviable slog. After that, the rest of us can book here.
Waddesdon Christmas Market has been slightly stymied by the November lockdown (the estate is currently completely shut down) but plans are afoot to reopen with all the usual bells, whistles and Christmas lights (and rum-drenched hot chocolate) as soon as restrictions are lifted. Buy tickets here and just hope 2 December doesn’t end up as the day lockdown stayed that way.
Alas, the Abingdon Airfield fireworks were called off this year last-minute thanks to Lockdown #2 but the organisers have refused to accept defeat. Instead, they’re planning a Christmas fireworks bonanza on 19/20 December. Book here.
If your essential travels have taken you via Oxford’s Radcliffe Square recently, you might have spotted something strange… This amazing 3D art installation was inspired by His Dark Materials Season 2, in which the characters use a magical knife to open portals between Oxford and other worlds. (Anyone else feel like they could use one of those right about now?)
Chipping Norton’s former HSBC bank may be on track to become a boutique hotel. Planning permission is being sought to turn the listed building on the high street into a 30-bed hotel with bar, lounge and restaurant. Yes, it’s annoying that all the banks are disappearing but what’s not to love about elegant cocktails, plush velvet seats and 400-thread-count sheets?
Seen a buzz of activity around Little Marlow’s Spade Oak Nature Reserve of late? Rumour has it that the huge film set that’s being built is for a Disney production. Filming isn’t due to start until early next year and perhaps by then we’ll have more news. Staff working on site have all been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement so intrigue is rife.