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Two sexbombs and a woolly mammoth - and no, of course, I'm not making it up just get your attention. Here's all the Muddy goss from Devon this month.

A slew of crooners (well, two anyway), plus a new opening, a later opening and two un-openings (to balance things out) and just a bit of what’s going on in Plymouth in 2020 for the Mayflower 400 celebrations commemorating four hundred years since the pilgrim fathers set sail for the Americas.

Yay for Plymouth!

Well hello, Plymouth. The Ocean City is having a moment – make that a year – thanks to 2020 being 400 years since the Pilgrim fathers set sail in search of Big Macs. Plymothians must be feeling pretty smug after Conde Nast Traveller listed it as second best place to visit in 2020.

Exciting for culture vultures is the opening of a new £37m arts venue, The Box, on Saturday 16 May, which kicks off with a summer-long exhibition Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy, with artefacts donated from over 100 museums from the UK abroad, telling the epic tale.

And for fans of er, woolly mammoths, (it’s not random, they once roamed Plymouth Sound you know) there will also be a permanent exhibition of the prrehistoric furry critters, complete with life size replica.

Crooners ahoy!

It’s not unusual to get excited when you hear a sexbomb, albeit a veteran one, is coming to Devon, now is it? Yes, the Voice that is Sir Tom Jones is booked for the green, green grass of Plymouth on Friday 19 June 2020. He’ll be playing to Plymouth Hoe, so he probably won’t even need a mike, though maybe as he will have just turned 80 a few days before.

And proving he is not just for Chrismas, the multi Grammy-award-winning crooner Michael Buble is bringing his delectable set of pipes to Powderham Castle in Kenton, near Exeter, on August 4 for an open-air concert. Muddy has the Boob (as Mr Muddy calls him) playing on a loop over the festive season and I love the venue – home to Radio One’s Big Weekend back in 2016 – for its amazing setting. Views of the castle on one side and the River Exe on the other – very chilled.

 

Fine dining comes to Boringdon 

Fans of Muddy-award winning Gaia Spa have another good reason to visit the historic house on the hill near Plymouth: Àclèaf. The new eatery overlooking the Great Hall in what was The Gallery Restaurant is headed up by Devon chef Scott Paton who trained at Jack in the Green near Exeter and Tavistock’s Horn of Plenty (both excellent eateries). Expect inventive British fare, with a four-course Table d’hôte Menu starting at £80 or a six-course Tasting Menu for £95, vegan and vegetarian options and paired wine flights to boot.

 

More time for shopping

I was dashing about Drakes Circus last week, grabbing a few last-minutes M&S bits for dinner before the shops shut when something strange happened – the shops didn’t shut. First, I thought I’d been thinking it was Wednesday when it was late night shopping Thursday or more likely, a glitch in the space-time continuum. But no. Turns out every night is late-night now, as the shops are staying open till 7pm (except Sunday). No more buying the first bit of plastic you see in Tiger when the Mudlet needs a last-minute birthday present for a sleepover. Result!

 

Rabbit’s hopped it

Sad news for vegans: Rabbit Cafe on Exeter’s Well Street have just announced they’re closing with immediate effect, though their vegan food store, Season remains open. If you want to support other indie vegan places around Devon check out my recent round up here. And Torquay’s Kind Grind which I told you about in Happy Veganuary has also closed its doors for the last time.

 

Hello Margoux

Exeter has a swanky new restaurant and wine bar in what was the old tapas bar, Forn, opposite Mary Arches. Launched last Friday by new owners Benjamin Doyle, and ex-army chef, Vince Agget, Margoux has an excellent wine and cocktail list, along with lunches all made on site, including freshly-made bread. Big cats on the wallpaper, Marlborough and Picpoul by the glass, bladed beef on the menu and funk and soul on the speakers. Weekend sorted.

 

And hullo Pullo

Fed up of waking up with a weekend hangover? Exeter has a new wine shop, Pullo, on Paris Street, specialising in natural wines, along with cider, specialty coffee and artisan cheeses. Additive-free, natural wines are worth a try if you have a bad reaction to sulphites and many people swear by their hangover-free properties. Bottoms up!  

 

Bait wins a BAFTA

Remember the indie film Bait which Muddy previewed last summer? Written and directed by Newlyn’s Mark Jenkin, and produced by Kate Byers and Linn Waite, Bait became the most successful Cornish film to date after its release last August. The unique low budget black and white film, shot on a vintage wind-up camera, won outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer at the 2020 BAFTAs, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Feb 2nd.

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