Summer. It’s all about bees!

What a summer we are experiencing – lots of rain and lots of sunshine. This has resulted in a bumper growing season, which is surely welcomed by one and all. The Biodiversity Group’s plans to develop a nature trail around the Sports Field are continuing to develop, together with plans to plant a small community orchard and a community compost unit. If you would like to be involved in any of these projects, phone 01869 810209 for more details. Check out the bird feeders on the field (by the gate and behind the pavilion) and you may be lucky enough to see great spotted woodpeckers, blue tits and great tits feeding.


There are distinct differences between bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees. Bumblebees are larger and hairier which makes them perfectly suited for colder climates. Their extra insulation allows them to venture out on cold days when honeybees stay tucked up inside. They are social insects which form colonies with a single queen. These colonies usually consist of less than 50 individuals (400 at the most), not the 80,000 in a honey bee nest. The UK has 24 species of bumblebee but only 6 are a common sight in our gardens; the buff-tailed, white tailed, red tailed, garden, early and common carder bee. In early spring the queen emerges from hiberna-tion. It is now she needs plenty of pollen and nectar to build up her energy reserves so that she can begin the construction of a small nest in cavities in hedgerows, under rocks, or in disused mouse or bird’s nests. She then lays the first batch of eggs which hatch into the female workers who feed and nurture the colony. They do not store large quantities of honey, so are more sensitive to the availability of pollen and nectar-rich flowers travelling up to 2km to find them. Towards the end of the summer the queen produces male offspring as well as new queens. These leave the nest and mate after which the males die. The old queens also die leaving the new ones to hibernate. Bumblebees rarely nest in the same place 2 years running. They do not swarm and are not aggressive but if they feel very threatened the queen and workers can sting and more than once as they do not have barbs on their stingers. Bumblebees are declining dramatically largely due to the changing landscape with fewer nesting opportunities and a lack of pollen and nectar rich wild flowers to feed from. In fact 2 species have become extinct since 1940. To encourage bumblebees into your garden grow old-fashioned cottage garden per-ennials such as lavender, lupins, Aquilegia and sage, together with foxgloves, native bluebells and other wild flowers like comfrey, sainfoin, tufted vetch, bird’s foot trefoil, teasel and knapweed.

Did You Know? 

  • Bumblebees have smelly feet. This is very useful to other bumblebees. After feeding they leave a scent on the flower which helps other bumblebees to avoid wasting energy landing as the flower will contain very little nectar or pollen.
  • Only bumblebees are capable of buzz pollination. This occurs when the bee grabs the flower and produces a high-pitched buzz. This releases pollen that would otherwise stay trapped inside. Tomatoes are pollinated in this way.
  • Bumblebees do not have ears; however, they can feel the vibrations of sounds through nearby materials.
  • A bumblebee’s buzz is produced by vibrating muscles and not the beating of its wings. • The worker can carry a lump of pollen weighing half as much as herself – pollen is rich in protein essential for the larvae’s development.
  • When it is hot bees hover at the top of the nest vibrating their wings which circulates the air and keeps the nest cool.

All these bumblebees have been seen on the playing field.

Hairy footed flower bee Buff tailed bumblebee Garden bumblebee Red tailed bumblebee Early bumblebee Tree bumblebee




Big Thank You!

Despite some dark clouds hovering over the sports-field in the morning the weather improved and another successful fete took place.

The earlier start this year was to accommodate the pig roast which saw many people queuing to enjoy a tasty lunchtime bite. With the usual popular stalls and a welcome return of Arthur Leigh’s amazing American heritage cars plus the backdrop of cricket returning to Aynho after some years, it seemed an enjoyable time was being had by all. Nearly £2,600 was raised with everyone’s help and generosity on the day and we hope to get a matched donation of nearly £600 from Barclays Bank through their supporting communities’ scheme.

This was a great effort by everyone and a big thank you to all.

I would like to make a special mention of Nigel Oakey, who provides a tractor and trailer to move all the large equipment, plus storage. Together with his father Donald they have made this available for many years for which we are very grateful.

Graham Gibbs, Churchwarden

Church: Friends of Peterborough Cathedral

Everyone visiting or coming to live in Aynho soon become aware that we are unusually distant from our Cathedral (or Mother Church) in Peterborough. At some 75 miles arguably one of the longer separation distances in the country. We actually have eight Cathedrals nearer us!” Yet this parish and benefice are remembered regularly in services and prayer and anyone visiting from here is assured of a warm welcome at this ancient and remarkable Cathedral. The Friends, alongside the Company of St.Peter and the Development Trust, function to support regular worship, including the Choir School and Education about the Cathedral and its working, and the wider Christian message.

They certainly deserve support.

Tim Boswell.


Two Day Summer Holiday Art Workshop Tues 29th & Weds 30th July 10am-4.0pm – Aynho Sports Pavilion.

Two days of art teaching by two local professional artists aimed at children over 10 and adults who are really interested in furthering their artistic talents. To include drawing, painting in oils and acrylics & watercolours, textiles and clay modelling £20 per person per day to include basic materials, lunch & refreshments (feel free to bring your own art materials as well You can do either day or both, each will be mixed and students can choose which activity they prefer or try everything on offer.

Contact Kay Anderson 01869 810019 for further details.

Numbers limited to 10 per day.

All adults are CRB checked

New playground for Aynho

Residents in Aynho have raised £5,000 towards replacing the village’s ageing playground equipment.

The area in The Glebe had fallen into disrepair over the years and the parish council identified the playground as a site that needed updating as part of its community plan.

Thanks to help from villagers and a £40,000 grant from waste disposal company Viridor, the transformed area was opened by seven-year-old Frankie Bowe on Saturday.

Fi Burge, parish councillor, said: “Every five years the parish council does a village plan to see what needs doing here, so we have been discussing this idea since at least 2008.

“Some of the equipment was about 40 years old and even some of the councillors remember playing there when they were younger!

“The children absolutely love it. All the equipment is sustainable as it is in a conservation area so we have included a nature trail, trampoline and a big climbing frame.”

Families gathered at the playground on Saturday to host an official opening.

Work was carried out by Bucks Playground Facilities and was completed in about two months. The village had a competition to see who should open the new facility, with Frankie being chosen to do the honours.

Mrs Burge said: “Frankie was born in the village and was playing in the playground as soon as he could walk, so we felt he was the perfect choice to open the new area.

“Villager Kay Anderson deserves a mention as she was really good in organising events to help raise the funds for the area, including community weekends for the various clubs that are based here.

“Aynho is a village with a very strong community spirit and people are keen to make it a nice place to live.”

Reproduced from Banbury Guardian

The animal we love to hate – The Slug

A slug is basically a snail without a shell and did, in fact, evolve from the snail. They have two pairs of tentacles which can be regrown if lost. The upper tentacles detect light and dark and are sensitive to certain smells while the lower ones are used for feeling and tasting. They are hermaphrodites having both male and female sex organs and although some species of slug need another to mate with others can fertilise their own eggs. In its lifetime (on average 12 months) a slug can lay about 500 eggs which survive for years only hatching when the conditions are right.

There are approximately 30 species of slug of which only four are the main pests. These four cause approximately £8 million in damage to vegetable crops each year. On average a UK garden is home to over 20,000 slugs and it is estimated that an acre of farmland can support over 250,000. Only 5% of the population are above ground at any one time; 95% are underground munching their way through seeds, seedlings and roots as well as laying eggs.

Like everything in an ecosystem, however, slugs have a role. They are efficient composters breaking down rotting vegetation and turning it into nutrients for plants, as well as being a source of food themselves for many other creatures including beetles, slow worms, hedgehogs, toads, birds and especially frogs. If you must use slug pellets to control them (some think they are not a very successful method) follow the instructions carefully or you will be killing more wild life than just the slugs. As an alternative why not encourage some of their predators into your garden instead!

The Grey Field Slug

Varies but is normal- ly light brown with a chain of darker veins and blotches. Feeds most commonly on seeds and plants above ground and is a major threat to ce- real crops.

The Garden Slug

Brown in colour. Attacks both leaf and root crop, and is a major pest of pota- toes.

Large Red or Black Slug
The most common colour is black with an orange fringe. Sometimes eats seedlings on agricul- tural land.

Common Keeled Slug
Black or grey Feeds on newly drilled seeds under- ground badly affect- ing crops such as potatoes.

Leopard Slug
(the best of the bunch)
Brown or grey with brown or black spots & blotches. Can be up to 16cm long when fully grown. Eats fungi, rotting plants AND


Did You Know?

  • Slugs transport oxygen round their bodies using a copper-based molecule called haemocyanin giving the them light blue or green blood.
  • Slugs have been present in the Brit­ish Isles since the end of the last ice age.
  • Slugs don’t have teeth or tongues. They have a special organ called a radula that has thousands of tiny protrusions that help them grind up their food.
  • One in­di­vidu­al field slug has the po­ten­tial to pro­duce about 90,000 grand­chil­dren
  • The slime produced by terrestrial molluscs (slugs and snails) has interesting properties which have been utilized for centuries for the treatment of minor wounds and other skin disorders such as warts.

Sports Field Nature Trail

Plans for a nature area or trail on the Sports Field are taking shape. As you walk or run around the track, you may want to pause for a breather by the large mound. Although many of the flowers which bloomed so beautifully in early summer have now gone over, there is still plenty of colour on show. It is also apparent where the wild grass and flower area will be situated, which should attract voles and field mice, which in turn may attract birds such as barn owls. We can but hope.

If you would like to become involved in this exciting project, please phone 810209 for more information.

SPONSORED “RIDE & STRIDE” Saturday September 13th

Calling all cyclists – whether you cycle regularly or just sometimes, what about getting your bike out and enjoying the beautiful scenery around Aynho and beyond and at the same time raising money for St. Michael’s Church and the Historic Churches Trust. You can plan your own route with as few or as many churches you wish to visit. It’s a great way to appreciate our lovely countryside, and meeting other like-minded cyclists along the way.

So – “Get on your bikes”

For more information contact: PAT STUBBS – Tel: 810695

Church: Friends of the Clergy Corporation

The Friends of the Clergy Corporation is the principal charitable organisation assisting clergy in times of financial difficulty. They also help retired clergy and clergy widows and widowers, separated and divorced spouses and dependent children. Grants can be considered for whatever the need is. Here are examples of some of the things for which grants are given:- school uniforms, school trips, school travel expenses, music lessons and instruments, for help towards the cost of travelling to hospital, for extra heating expenses when there is family illness, for help towards the cost of a spouses funeral, sometimes for help towards the cost of a family holiday.

At St Michael’s we think it is important to support this charity which supports our clergy in times of difficulty. Helen Boswell

Church: Welcome Shemil Mathew

It is wonderful to welcome Shemil Mathew to our benefice of parishes following his ordination as deacon on 29th June at Peterborough Cathedral. Over the coming weeks he will be having a whirlwind tour of our six churches before sharing some of his story with us on 20th July. Follow-ing the service there will be a bring and share lunch at the Rectory Aynho, when you will be able to meet him in a more informal way. We expect Shemil to be with us for the next three years as he is trained first as Deacon and then in 2015 Priest. I am sure everybody will give him a warm welcome as he is very excited about meeting you and getting to know you.

Shemil writes:- I am really looking forward to meeting you all and starting the new phase in my life alongside you. I was born and brought up in the southern Indian state of Kerala in an ancient Christian family in the tradition of St Thomas. Before starting my ministerial training at Ripon College Cudesdon I worked some years with Church Mission Society and also spent a year as house dad looking after our son. My wife is currently a team vicar in the Bicester team ministry in Oxford Diocese and we have two children Thomas (3) and Catherine (11 months’).

I enjoy cooking, gardening, fixing and recycling computers. We will appreciate your prayers as I enter the new phase of my ministry and training and as a family getting used to being a two cler-gy house hold.