Hollywood in our 'hood, the end of an era for Parky's pub, openings, closures and a gorgeous swirl of gossip around Berkshire!
What the Dickens… It’s Stonor
Watching the BBC’s star-studded festive drama, A Christmas Carol? If you’re not, crack open the Quality Street, and immerse yourself in this dark Dickensian ghost story pronto. The three-parter, produced by Hollywood hot stuff Tom Hardy, was filmed at the equally dramatic country house, Stonor Park near Henley.
It’s understood stars Guy Pearce as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Andy Serkis as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley filmed at the estate in May this year. Stonor kept its involvement top secret, for fear the entire Muddy team would be camping on the estate to get up close and personal with cast and crew. The programme was written and produced by the author of Peaky Blinders, Steven Knight, with the likes of Ridley Scott, Dean Baker, David W. Zucker, Kate Crowe and Mona Qureshi, involved.
As if that wasn’t enough, ITV’s psychological thriller, Sticks & Stones, was set in a Reading business park. But rather than using any of the many office blocks in town, creator Mark Bartlett and producer Catherine Oldfield (both with connections to the Reading area) chose aN empty building in Hook, Hants, to become the fictional Clayton Office Solutions company.
Parky’s pub for sale
It was known for many years as Parky’s pub (Sir Michel Parkinson, no less) but his son Nick transformed The Royal Oak in Paley Street into the fine dining gastropub we know and love today. So it is with great sadness, that we hear Nick has put the pub up for sale. Parky bought the pub in 2001 and sold to his son Nick eight years’ ago. Famous musicians, actors, prime ministers and royalty have dined here – including the Queen; and it won a Michelin star in 2010 and held on to it for eight years.
“It’s with a heavy heart that that I have made this decisions but an opportunity has arisen for me and my wife, that would make it near impossible to continue with the Oak,” Nick said. If you fancy taking it on the pub’s lease is for sale at £195,000.
The Hind’s Head… 50 Best
We’ve long been a fan of Heston’s Hind’s Head in Bray. It’s a Muddy fave for its exceptional food, laidback vibe and eccentric decor, but now it has got global recognition, baby. It’s just made it onto the 50 Best Discovery list. From the people who give us the hotly anticipated 50 Best Restaurants and 50 Best Bars, the Discovery list is compiled but the industry pros who have spotted emerging talent and local faves through to fine dining and fine drinking establishments. We’ve given them, our number. If anyone knows a good thing, it’s Muddy. A huge congrats to the team.
End of a outdoor era
It’s a sad Muddy farewell to fabulous outdoor specialist shop, Carters. It’s been a staple in Reading for the 199 years, selling great snow and camping gear. The shop will close for business on Sun 29 Dec, with a closing down sale running until then. So if you’re going skiing, grab a bargain.
Craft Coop now in Slough
We’re big fans of Muddy Award winning gift Shop the Craft Coop – a social enterproise that gives local designers a high street position without the overheads. Well, it’s only gone and opened its fourth shop, this time in Slough. Next time you’re in that neck of the woods, have a mooch around the Craft Coop in the Queensmere Shopping Centre. You’ll also find one in Maidenhead, High Wycombe and Camberley.
Berkshire’s on the map
Berkshire’s officially made it! We’re on the new London Underground tube map. Whoop whoop. Crossrail is coming. Some trains are now running from Reading to Paddington (controversially with no loos), but the Elizabeth line that’ll whizz us into Central London, won’t be open until early 2021. Right now all we can do is look longingly at that silver line into the Big Smoke and put our excitement on simmer.