August – the hottest month of the year! Although I’d struggle to think of any month that is as hot as it is in August. The Saxons used to call the month of August the ‘Weod Monath’, which means ‘weed month’, due to the high amount of weeds that used to grow during this month. It also happens to be the school-holiday month – the perfect time for any child to let their hair down and forget about school for a while. There’s also the last Bank Holiday of the summer on the 31st of August. So with that in mind, I’ll move on now to the exciting range of activities, both indoor and outdoor, to wet anyone’s appetite this summer.
As mentioned in last month’s edition, there’s some outdoor theatre to enjoy, courtesy of the National Trust. Cliveden, near Maidenhead (SL1 8NS) is playing host to a performance of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, featuring music from Disney’s Fantasia. The play begins with a boy wizard apprentice, who’s bored with doing endless chores. But one day, he waves his magic wand and the broom starts to do his chores for him. However, he soon discovers that this magic broom is not all it’s cracked up to be, and does not know how he can make it stop? It will prove to be a wonderful performance that will delight everyone over the age of three years. It will take place on the 27th and 28th of August, 2.30pm to 4pm – arrive at 1.30pm to have your picnic on the green. Booking is essential, phone 0844 249 1895 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden for the details.
However, for children over eight years of age, there’s a new adaptation of The Three Musketeers, performed by the wonderful Illyria Company in water gardens of Cliveden. This action-packed thriller follows the young D’Artagnan in his perilous adventures in the troublesome times of 17th century Europe, where he calls upon the help of the fearless trio of Athos, Porthos and Aramis from the elite Musketeers of the King’s Guards, to aid him in the fight against the corrupt and untrustworthy that lie in the deep treachery of the European high society. This play does come with a warning that those watching will experience insane amounts of excitement, dramatic sword fights and rip-roaringly wonderful comedy. The Three Musketeers production takes place on 29 August at 7pm – arrive at 6pm to have your picnic. Booking essential, telephone 0844 249 1895 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden
A trip to the gardens at Danesfield House (SL7 2EY) is a must. Robert Hudson – the Sunlight Soap magnate who had early built the house- completed these gardens in 1901. Since the house opened as a hotel in 1991, the visitors have enjoyed the peace that is found in these gardens year after year. In 2009, it was discovered the gardens contained fine examples of Pulhamite (most recognisable as a distinctive pinkish, lime-based cement used to simulate real rocks) in both the formal gardens and the waterfall areas, the like of which can’t be found anywhere else in Bucks. The hundred-year-old topiary is an outstanding feature of the house. The gardens will be open for viewing on 12 August, 10am to 4.30pm. Call 01628 891010.
The National Trust is running one of its Countryside Skills courses on the 8th of August, 9.30am to 4pm. It’s called a scything course, and has been described as, ‘an opportunity like now other to learn how to scythe. You’ll learn everything from assembling the scythe to sharpening the blade, and of course, cutting grass. By the end of the day you’ll be throwing away your lawnmower…” If you feel like you want to scythe you way to a better way of cutting your lawn, then call 0844 2491895 to give it a try.
There’s also the opportunity to learn all there is to know about bats, courtesy of the National Trust. Enjoy a Bat Evening on 21st August, 8–10pm, and enjoy finding out more about the bats that live in the secret Maidenhead Thicket. Booking is essential, call 0844 2491895.
Maidenhead Electronic Organ Society (MEOS) has become a Ramblings regular with their monthly concerts held on the last Tuesday of the month at Knowl Hill Village Hall (RG10 9XB). Their next concert is on the 25th, doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start, and features the wonderful Elizabeth Harrison. Elizabeth’s concerts are always well rehearsed and she performs music to suit all tastes, delivered with her own brand of light-hearted humour; it will always leave audiences wanting more. For further details visit www.meos.org.uk or call the social secretary on 07899 791579.
Staying with the music theme, the talented singer and guitarist – Johnny Wheeler – will entertain the members and honoured guests of the Riverside Ex Servicemen’s Club, High Wycombe (HP11 2HE) with an afternoon of live music from the days of swing right through to Rock ‘n’ Roll age, and of course, the timeless power ballads fad. This is a relaxed event, so feel free to either sit back and enjoy, or get up and dance to many of your favourite songs whilst getting spoilt for choice on the wide variety of beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks that will be on offer. This magnificent event will be held on 23rd August, 4pm to 7pm. For further details, please call 01494 448800.
Norden Farm, Maidenhead (SL6 4PF) is delighted to welcome the young prize-winning Russian pianist Amiran Zenaishvili to open this year’s summer series, starting on 13th August. ‘The Romantic Age’ explores music from the last three decades of the 19th century in three contrasting evenings over the two months of August and September. Amiran’s wide-ranging late Romantic programme of wonderful piano music includes Busoni’s famous reworking of Bach’s Chaconne and some of the early works of Debussy (Clair de lune & Passepied from the Suite bergamasque), amongst others. Start time will be at 8pm. Visit www.norden.farm
It’s the Cookham Arts Club Annual Exhibition from 16th to 30th August at Pinder Hall, Cookham Rise (SL6 9EH). The exhibition is open daily 10am to 6pm (closes at 5pm on the last Sunday) and features paintings, sculpture, drawings and pottery by local artists and artworks are offered for sale.
Do you have a garden that is too difficult to manage? Have you ever thought that it is just causing you to pull your hair out? Then the Marlow Horticultural Society is hosting a talk by Ray Broughton on ‘Easy Plants for Difficult Places’ on 11th August at Liston Hall, Marlow (SL7 1DD). Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start. For Further details, please call 01628 486206.
Staying with the Marlow and District Horticultural Society, they are holding their annual flower show on 29th August, also at Liston Hall (SL7 1DD). Doors open at 2.30pm for viewing. Classes available to enter are vegetable, fruit and flower, and as well as domestic handicraft and exciting classes for children. If you’d like to take part, call the show secretary on 01628 485545.
Buckinghamshire Family History Society is hosting a talk by Malcolm Austin, whom will be outlining details on the UK & Ireland Genealogical Information Service (GENUKI), and give those interested in using this virtual reference library of genealogical information, a feel for how the information is organised and what is there to be accessed. This talk takes place at the Community Centre, Bourne End (SL8 5SX), on the 11th August at 7.45pm.
There’s an Open Day and Sporting Challenge for the whole family on 12th August, 11am -3pm at the Beacon Sports Centre, Holtspur (HP9 1RJ). Challenge yourself in a variety of sports and win unbelievable prizes. Taster sessions include judo, badminton, football and more. You’ll also find circus skills and face painting. All are free.
More sporting activities. The South Bucks District Council is working in partnership with Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) to provide a variety of activities that will take place throughout the summer for 11 days in August, at various locations across South Buckinghamshire. Sport in the Park will provide intriguing sporty activities for young people aged six to 16 (under-eights must be accompanied by an adult). Specialist, qualified coaches deliver these wonderful courses, and the entry is free. Times are from 10am to 3pm and the courses will be held at Holtspur Recreation Ground (HP9 1RJ) on 12th and 13th August. Call, 01494 732020.
The Summer Rockets Multi-skills (disability) club opens on August 6th and 7th and 13th and 14th August). Those aged seven to 14 can learn skills to complement adapted sports such as boccia, curling, basketball and table cricket. The class 10am to 12noon at the Curzon Centre, Beaconsfield (HP9 1RG). To book, call 01895 837306.
If you worry your child is not getting enough education this summer, Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre (SL6 3LJ) will help. The course of ‘Identification of Whales, Dolphins and Seabirds Course’ on 22nd August will prove enthralling. You can learn more about identifying what can be seen from shore and at sea around the UK coast and how to become a MARINELife volunteer ship-based surveyor in your spare time. Visit www.bbowt.org.uk/whats-on
There’s summer fun at Hughenden Manor (HP14 4LA) with playful events throughout the holidays. Kids can play giant garden games in Hughenden’s apple orchard with giant draughts on the lawns, conquering the giant Jenga challenge or step up and try their hand at the giant skittles. There will also be a croquet set on the lawn. Picnic on the parterre or lounge in the deckchairs will also be arranged. There’s also the chance for some lucky person to win a pirate coin when they complete the Treasure Trail. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hughenden
A father is appealing for people to register as blood stem cell donors to help his ill daughter, Esie, who has myeloid leukaemia in Down’s syndrome (MLDS). She is two and a half years old and was diagnosed last October but was successfully treated with chemotherapy. However she had a relapse in April this year. She needs a blood stem cell donation to survive. The appeal is being made through the charity Delete Blood Cancer, and it takes only five minutes to register online and request a cheek swab kit. For further details, visit www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk , or for details on Elsie’s appeal visit www.deletebloodcancer.org.uk/en/a-match-for-elsie
Bank Holiday Monday has the potential to be a traffic nightmare if you decide to go anywhere further than about 5 miles from home. So how about visiting the Little Marlow Village Fete at the recreation ground off Church Road (SL7 3RT)? There’s plenty for all the family to enjoy, including; a bouncy castle, children’s races and rides, plate smashing, coconut shy and a dog show – amongst a whole host of other things. There’s also local produce and craft items, as well as plenty of refreshments. All proceeds from the fete go towards local good causes and to projects and activities that benefit the residents of Little Marlow.
Windrush Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxon, OX10 8BA