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This week

Bristol Puppetry Festival, Tobacco Factory Theatres & Watershed, Bristol, Fri 1–Sun 10 Sept

Puppets against yellow backgroundTen days of puppetry and animation shows, workshops, films, talks – including lots of free stuff – and a carnival parade at the UK’s foremost international puppet festival. From traditional to experimental, from light-hearted silliness to the Dark Side, for everyone from kids up to professional puppeteers and animators.

Driving Miss Daisy, Theatre Royal, Bath, Weds 6–Sun 9 Sept

There’s more to Derek Griffiths than Play School and Corrie;  the actor takes the wheel with Sian Phillips in the back seat in this Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of an unlikely friendship set in the American south.

Have breakfast with TOAST, Kilver Court, Shepton Mallet, Thurs 7 Sept

Not a TED Talk but a TOAST Talk?  Inspirational CEO of the thoughtful, functional fashion/lifestyle biz Suzie de Rohan Willner and KC’s own Monty Saul talk about her role in the company and women in business – while everyone noshes on a light breakfast (I’m thinking croissanty stuff?), tea and coffee. 10am–11am. Free. You’ll need to email to reserve your place and your coffee.

John le Carré – an evening with George Smiley, Westlands, Yeovil, Thurs 7 Sept

john le carre george smileyBroadcast live from the Festival Hall in London,  John le Carré discusses his career and extraordinary Cold War novels and characters, including George Smiley,  and reads from his latest novel A Legacy of Spies. In aid of Médecins Sans Frontières /Doctors without Borders (MSF).

Jane Austen Festival, various venues around Bath, Fri 8–Sun 17 Sept

women dressed in regency costume dressesOn the 200th anniversary of her death, the annual Jane Austen Festival kicks (every delicately) off with the Grand Regency Costumed Parade, ‘the largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costume’, according to the Guinness World Records.  The 10 days of  Austen-related fun and frolics include walks and talks, performances, workshops (dance or write a letter just like Jane) and a masked ball.  Don’t forget to sup some  the Earl Grey Red Ale beer brewed in her honour (you didn’t know she liked a pint?).

South West Outdoor Festival, near Cheddar Gorge, Fri 8–Sun 10 Sept

Outdoor festival South West National TrustSlide off the sofa and out into the great outdoors: mountain bike challenges, kayaking, caving, skiing and snowboarding (!), camping, live music. star-gazing, talks, story-telling, food and a lot of cider and ales.

Affordable Art Fair, Brunel’s Old Station, Bristol, Fri 8–Sun 10 Sept

Make room on your wall: more than 50 UK galleries under one roof selling original contemporary art costing between £100–£6k. The Bristol outpost of the famous art show.

Glow in the Park,  Longleat, Warminster, Sat 9 Sept

The ultimate night time neon family fun run over 6k: light shows and beats as you mosey on through UV paint blast, foam zone, time tunnel…

Moulin Rouge, Curzon Cinema & Arts, Clevedon, Sat 9 Sept

Art Deco Clevedon Cinema becomes turn of the century Parisien night club the Moulin Rouge for one night – a screening of the film, cocktails, magic, dancing – and even a trickle of the green fairy.

Sarah and Duck’s Big Top Birthday, the egg, Bath, Sat 9–Sun 17 Sept

Photo: Pamela Raith

The musical adventures of a seven-year-old girl and her best friend who just happens to be mallard. If you’ve got young kids you’ll probably know I’m talking about the BAFTA award-winning CBeebies pair. The animated characters have been transformed into puppets for their nationwide tour.

Mediaeval Falconry Day, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Sat 9 Sept

Birds of prey on gauntlets and in the air.

The Caretaker, Bristol Old Vic, Bristol, Fri 9–Sat 30 Sept

Photo: Idil Sukan

Patrice Naiambana, Jonathan Livingstone and David Judge in Pinter’s classic about what happens when a homeless man is taken in by two brothers.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset