Newsflash! The latest local goss
Nothing happens during lockdown, right? Erm… not quite. Berkshire still has some life in it yet. Here are the latest whispers on the grapevine.
David Hockney in the ‘hood
The works of Britain’s most famous living artist will go on display in West Berkshire – and we’re giddy with excitement. The legendary David Hockney’s major photomontage Hollywood exhibition can be seen at The Base Greenham Common from Friday 8 to Sunday 31 January.
It features an extraordinary life-sized nude photographic study of Theresa Russell by David Hockney.The Yorkshire-born artist was commissioned by his friend the Hollywood film director Nicolas Roeg to create the montage for the movie Insignificance, which starred his then wife, Theresa Russell, as Marilyn Monroe.
Hockney and Hollywood is at The Base, Greenham Common from Friday 8 January to Sunday 31 January 2021. Tickets £8 (£7 concs, £5 schools/students, under-16s free). Booking is essential.
Stanley Spencer sketch is coming home
The last known self-portrait of Berkshire’s great Stanley Spencer has been bought by his dedicated gallery in Cookham. Spencer’s self-portrait, created a few months before his death in 1959, features his characteristic sharp fringe, a hairstyle he wore all his life, above a ‘grim, sloping downturn of the mouth’. The sketch precedes a version painted in oil, now owned by Tate Britain.
Our gilded gastropubs
Boy, has it been tough year for the pub industry. Shutters down for months, reduced capacity when they were allowed to reopen and then closed in the run up to Christmas. But there are reasons to be cheerful. The Good Food Awards 2021 have been announced and Berkshire’s gastropubs were able to wear their foodie credentials with pride. Four eateries on best in show: Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin star gastropub The Hind’s Head in Bray; The Crown in Bray; Hurley House in Hurley and The Watership Down in Whitchurch. Congrats! When lockdown ends, book up and head out on a culinary grand tour of these award-winning gastropubs.
Right royal gin launch
Well someone’s been busy during lockdown! Landlord and master distiller Pete Lumber of 137 Gin has just added a gin to collection – Navy Royal. Although we are yet to taste it, word is, it’s a very special bottle of gin (so worth adding to home bar this Christmas.
A year in the making, the Navy Royal is a real labour of love – 24-hour maceration of botanicals (juniper, orange peel, white pepper, grains of paradise and cassia), multi-distillation, and thrice cut final product. It’s pretty strong with a punchy 58% ABV, but very very smooth. Basically it’s Ryan Gosling over ice. Just the tonic we need.
Oh, and 137 Gin is also about to launch a series of pre-made cocktails, so watch this space. Cheers.
Other foodie news
What a time to be opening a restaurant, but the show must go on. Say hello to Wokingham’s new kid on the block, Chalk On Broad Street. This new restaurant now occupies the former Prezzo bringing a new indie to the regenerated town centre.
The name is a nod to the building’s former life as a school house, and owners Ben Bond, David Brunner and Craig van der Meer (ex executive chef at The Roseate in REading) were keen to respect the building’s heritage. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with prices ranging from £6 -£23. Currently serving takeaway until lockdown ends.
Wokingham is clearly where it is at right now, because plans are in motion for an American diner to open in Market Place. RYND is Californian-inspired diner that will be open for breakfast, lunch, dinner with a cocktail menu that’ll leave you shaken an stirred. No confirmed opening date but the art deco interiors with a contemporary twist will be worth the wait. If they could serve a little Californian sunshine as well, that would be magic.
Berkshire meets Bextor
Wreath making goals right there! The very talented Lisa Darban of Bespoke Floristry in Windsor was commissioned to create this neon door wreath of dreams for Not On The High Street’s catalogue cover – starring none other than Sophie Ellis Bextor. A little inspo if you’re joining Lisa on one of her workshops or, if you can’t be figged to do it yourself, ask her to create something similar for you.
Reddam House spotted in The Crown
Binge watched Season four of The Crown? *Raises hand*. But my eagle-eyed Muddy crew, did you spot Berkshire’s latest star showing a little leg and giving her adoring public a flirty flicker? Reddam House School in Sindlesham doubles for The Royal Earlswood Institution, which plays an integral role to the plot of Episode 7: “The Hereditary Principle’. Most of the interior scenes were filmed in the dining hall. Outside, the main drive and south terrace also make appearances.
Reddam House joins an illustrious list of buildings that features in the Royal soap opera. Englefield House in Theale features as Sandringham, Wellington College in Crowthorne provides the backdrop for Lord Snowdon leaving Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle has been filmed for the Netflix drama too.
Lights, Camera… ACTION
Been peaking over the river to Bucks recently? There’s 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.