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The Muddy Guide 28 March – 3 April 2014

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Out in the nick of time for the weekend – and whatever you’re doing, don’t forget it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow!

Oxford Comedy Festival, Old Fire Station, Saturday 29 March

awkwardsilenceThis is one day only festival, with two ‘sittings’ – 2-5pm and 7-10pm, curated by Oxford-based sketch and improvised comedy group The Dead Secrets. There are loads of acts including The RH Experience, Ben Galpin and Impromptu Shakespeare doing their best to make you laugh with sketch, stand-up, improvised and musical comedy. Best of all, the 100% profits go to charity.

 Tickets £14.

 Daylight saving starts, Sunday

The stunning Ashridge Estate

The Ashridge Estate

An hour less in bed, but an extra 60 minutes of beautiful sunshine (we hope). Make the most of it with a bracing walk in some of the most stonking countryside in the UK. Ashridge Estate, Watlington Hill Butterfly walk, Hughenden, Cliveden walks, White Horse Hill to Ashdown, Stowe all have downloadable and interractive maps. As daylight saving starts on Mother’s Day, you can demand that your  husband piggy-backs you the entire route to show his children just how much he loves their dear mama. Go on, dare you!


Stanley Spencer summer exhibition, Cookham, starts Wed 2 April

This year the Stanley Spencer Gallery’s summer exhibition coincides with the centenary of the First World War. Paradise Regained – Stanley Spencer in the Aftermath of the First World War will focus on the artist’s return home from serving on the front line in Macedonia and how he dealt with the trauma of his experiences. The collection includes Unveiling Cookha War Memorial from 1922, which has the name of Stanley’s brother Sydney carved into the memorial cross while Pack Mules and Wounded being carried by Mules in Macedonia will be displayed at the gallery for the first time. The gallery is small but impressive and Cookham is lovely (see my review of both here) so worth a visit.

 Priscilla Queen of the Desert, New Theatre, Oxford. Tues 1 April – Sat 5 April

If you didn’t catch Priscilla at the Aylesbury Waterside last year, here’s your chance to don your triple eyelashes and wig. Jason Donovan stars in this New Theatre production but only in the Thurs, Fri and Saturday performances, so it depends how desperately you want to hear him, um, sing! Read my review here.

Buy tickets £12.90-£43.40

William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain at the V&A, just opened

This is the first indepth exhibition dedicated to William Kent, the 18th century polymath famed for his beautiful interiors, gardens, buildings, furniture and just about everything else in early Georgian Britain. He created Horse Guards and Treasury buildings in Whitehall, not to mention the stunning gardens of  Stowe and Rousham in our neck of the woods. Kent was a fan of bling, and gilded every possible surface he could get his hands on, so it’s a visual feast if you’re in the mood for a nibble.

More info

Brasserie Blanc, Beaconsfield, just opened

brasserie_blancNot sure this constitutes headline news, but it’s always useful to know these things! Great Milton’s favourite chef, that Raymond bloke, has just  opened up a Brasserie Blanc in Beaconsfield to join the ones in Oxford and Milton Keynes (and various other cities nowhere near us). I can’t imagine him dashing into the kitchen any time soon but a brand spanking new restaurant with all mod cons (yes actually, I am thinking the toilet facilities – what else did you expect?!) is a pull in itself. If you make it there before me, let me know what you think of it.

Mother’s Day. It’s THIS SUNDAY!!!!!

918425-1_l2Worried your husband and kids haven’t organised anything decent? Ship yourself off  to Bicester Village to sample its Mother’s Day discounts. Up to 50% off Dolce e Gabbana for starters. If you want to spend it with your family, the gorgeous National Trust estate Basildon Park has a craft activity for kids whereby they can make a gift for you (useful for panicking husbands who’ve cocked up and forgotten to organise anything special or meaningful). Or Stowe has ‘Grow with Stowe’ on Mother’s  Day where you can help plant bulbs together. Slightly too wholesome for me that one, the Muddys like to conduct family life with a steady stream of sarcasm, irony and mud-flinging, but I dare say you’re a bit more mature than us!



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