Writers’ Group: 2014 Anthology

Aynho Writers Group was established in 1996 and we have published an anthology every year since.  This year we present our latest selection in A Way with Words.  We offer our usual mix of prose and poetry, fiction, and life’s experiences.  A special feature in this edition is a small collection of fairy tales for grown ups.

Our membership has remained unchanged this year and Jayne Ryman has continued to put our anthology together.  Fortunately, she is still able to rely on Brian Reynolds for help with formatting and printing.

June ran a successful workshop for us earlier in the year but in September we thought we would try the approach that artists find rewarding and seek inspiration for our writing at Upton House.  A group of us were given a delightful and informative session on the lives of the servants at the house during the 1930s and 1940s.  Our heartfelt  thanks are due to Ann Thomas, the volunteer guide, who shared her own research and revealed the day to day work in the servants’ areas of the house.  We hope that the writing we produce will be of interest to her and to future visitors.

Philip’s success, in having the first of his fantasy adventure novels for teenagers published next year and the second one commissioned, has meant he no longer has time to facilitate our meetings.  June and Keith continue and Fiona will take on the first four months of 2015 to make up the team.  Other writers have had successes this year or have works pending publication.  These are recorded in the About the Authors page at the end of this anthology.

The writings in this anthology represent the variety of ideas and experiences that inspire our writers.  We hope you will enjoy them as much as we do at our monthly read around.

Keith McClellan

Aynho Long Walk: 27th November 2014

Fog and scotch mist were the welcoming conditions this morning as nine of us and Marion’s two border terriers set off down Portway.  Conversation was just as lively as usual, and the fog eventually lifted with the promise of some sunshine to come.  We walked through to Church Lane in Souldern and on up towards the B4100, before turning along the Fritwell road.  We took a sharp turn onto the footpath by Foxhill and soon arrived by Nancy Bowles Wood.  The very wet track, which passed the house with all the blue flower pots, took us back into Souldern Village again.. The partially hidden path that leads along the edge of a garden before bringing us out at the far end of the village was intriguing to some of our more recent recruits.  From here we crossed via copse and meadow to the top of Millers Lane.  Half way down towards the ford we branched off to the right and followed the field edges up to the Aynho end of Millers Lane  and on through the village back to the pavilion.  Five and a half miles at 3.2 mph.

Church: Travelling Crib

Posada or Travelling Cribs   Posada is a Spanish word for ‘inn’.

Posada celebrations originated in Mexico where two young people would be chosen to dress up as Mary and Joseph.  They would travel around their village telling people about the forthcoming arrival of Jesus, and asking if they would give him a room.  Today we do not send two young children around the village, but we send the nativity figures of the Holy Family to visit your homes, also known as Travelling Cribs.
They are looking for somewhere to stay each night in December until Christmas.

Travelling Crib: During December the nativity crib figures will travel around our village. These figures are very colourful and sturdy and suitable for all ages, even very small children. Please contact Helen Boswell to book the date you would like to welcome them into your home.

An invitation to children:
Please come to the Carol Service in Aynho church on Sunday December 21st at 5.0pm. dressed as one of the characters in The Nativity.  If you wish to borrow a costume there will be a rack of clothes available in church on the evening, or contact Helen Boswell  to collect a costume earlier. There will be an opportunity during the service for the children to lead  worship around the Crib and to sing “Away in a Manger”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Contact: Helen Boswell 

Biodiversity Group: Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe

Plants of the Month:  Holly, Ivy, Mistletoe

There are about 400 species of holly which can grow up to 15m in height and live for 300 years.  It produces either male or female flowers but it is  the female that goes on to produce red berries as long as there is a male within a 2 mile radius.  A lot of wildlife rely on the holly tree.  It provides dense cover and good nesting opportunities for birds, while its deep, dry leaf litter may be used by hedgehogs and small mammals for hibernation. The flowers provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects, the leaves are eaten by caterpillars of the holly blue butterfly, as well as various moths while the smooth leaves found at the tops of holly trees are a source of food for deer in winter.  The berries are a vital source of food for birds in winter, and are also eaten by small mammals such as wood mice and dormice.

English Ivy
English Ivy has dark green glossy leaves which have 3 or 5 lobes (like a maple leaf) on young stems and heart shaped on flowering ones. In September/October time it produces yellowish-green flowers in small clusters which are followed by ripe fruit from November to January.  Ivy’s late flowering season makes it a valuable source of nectar for many insects before they hibernate particularly bees and butterflies and the berries provide an abundant food source during the most severe winter months when there is little else to eat.  As ground cover in woodland it greatly lessens the effect of frost and growing on trees it provides hiding, roosting, hibernating and nesting places for animals, birds and insects.

Mistletoe has evergreen leaves which are elliptical in shape.  It is a parasite living on trees and penetrating their vascular system sucking out nutrients and water. It is slow growing, however, and a healthy tree can usually cope with some mistletoe although it may weaken it. The most common host tree in the UK is the apple but poplar, lime and hawthorn are also used.  There are centuries of superstition attached to the mistletoe.  To the Ancient Greeks it was sacred while the Druids hung sprigs outside their doorways as a protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. In Norse Mythology, Baldr, one of their gods was killed by a weapon made out of mistletoe.  His father Frigg’s tears became the pearlescent berries and he decreed that instead of being punished, mistletoe should become a symbol of peace and friendship.  Some think this was the origin of kissing under the mistletoe!

Did You Know?
*  Holly: The use of holly as a symbolic winter decoration goes back in history to the Celtic peoples of Northern Europe, who decorated their homes with it during the time of the winter solstice, or Yule.
*  Holly: Holly extracts have been used in folk remedies for dizziness and hypertension. Today, holly leaf preparations are used in alternative treatments for coughs, digestive problems, jaundice, joint pain, swelling, hypertension, and to boost heart health. But health experts note that very little scientific research has been published to verify the health benefits of these remedies, and that those pretty red berries are known to be poisonous if swallowed.
*  Ivy:  Wearing a wreath of ivy leaves around the brow is supposed to prevent drunkenness
*  Ivy:  All parts of the ivy plant are toxic to humans.
*  Mistletoe: Some skin cosmetics, shampoos etc. contain mistletoe though it is rarely mentioned on the main label.  Look out for it in the list of ingredients under its scientific name ‘Viscum Album’
*  Mistletoe:  The proper etiquette for kissing under the mistletoe:
1. The man can only kiss the girl on the cheek.
2. When he does so he removes one berry from the sprig.
3. When there are no berries left the kissing stops!


Aynho on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest

Why not get more involved with the Aynho community and follow, like and see us on social media.

For users of Facebook search for the ‘Aynho Community’ group page and request to join the group. We keep the group private to minimise spam advertisers and to create a real community resource.

If you’re on Twitter check us out at twitter.com/aynho (click HERE to launch site) – don’t forget to follow @aynho and we’d love it if you’d reTweet anything you think might of interest to other residents. If you live in the village DM us and we’ll follow you – or DM anything you’d like us to Tweet about.

And if you’re interested to see pictures of Aynho – now and from the past – check out our Pinterest page and boards at https://uk.pinterest.com/aynho/ (click HERE to launch site). If you have any images you’d like to add to our growing gallery we’d love to hear from you – email us with details or attaching images.

Gigaclear now taking orders!

The residents of Aynho and Croughton have clearly demonstrated the demand for Ultra Fast Broadband and Gigaclear announced on 20 November that they are now taking orders!

This is great news and brings us a step closer to getting a broadband service which is fit for the 21st Century.  Joe Frost, Gigaclear’s marketing manager, told residents in Aynho that as soon as we reach a 30% level of orders – which for Aynho means 87 orders – Gigaclear will go ahead and install the Fibre Optic network.  He also hinted that he thinks this will be achieved by February 2015 and that installation would take place in March/April 2015.  As of Thursday 4 December 55 orders have been placed  –  so just 32 more are required.

As you will know this is a wonderful opportunity to have a superfast Broadband service in Aynho, which is fit for the 21st Century with the capacity to grow.  To my mind superfast Broadband is an essential utility like gas or water. It needs a completely new fibre infrastructure to deliver it, and Gigaclear are prepared to make the necessary substantial investment now.   We have been told that BT have no plans to deliver a fibre service to Aynho before 2017 at the earliest, and even then it would still rely on the copper wires to our homes – rather than the full Fibre to the home installation  which Gigaclear would install.

I would like to take this opportunity to clarify a couple of issues that have come up in the past few days when the Gigaclear sales team have been visiting:

  •  The initial registrations of interest are not ‘carried forward’ – so if you  previously registered that you were interested, and you would now like to place an order, you must either sign up with one of Gigaclear’s representatives or do so online at   www.gigaclear.com/postcode-checker
  •  A number of residents have indicated to the Gigaclear sales people that they intend to, or would prefer, to sign up online – but have not yet done so.    We really do need every order as soon as possible to help the village cross the threshold, so your order would be appreciated as soon as possible.

Gigaclear have already tentatively  scheduled the cable installation  works to take place in the early Spring of next year – but they can only commit to this if the 30% target is met –  we would not want to miss this early installation date  that they have ‘penciled in’ for the Village!

Remember if you are within the first 30% to sign up you will benefit from a free upgrade to their next level of service for a year.

If you would like to get in touch with the Sales Team who are currently visiting the village – their manager is Michael Richardson who can be contacted on 07747 273950 or at Michael.Richardson@gigaclear.com   You will have the opportunity to talk to them in detail and raise and questions you may have.

If you want to place an order you can do so now by visiting Gigaclear’s site at the following link.  You can also find  more information in the post ‘Why & When’ here












Photographic Society: November Report

Click here to see the above photograph – Autumn by Brenda Difford

NOVEMBER 2014:  In October, member George Sainsbury led a Workshop on ‘Being judgemental about your own photographs’, which comprised an inter-active appraisal of photographs using two formats and where members were invited to critically review George’s own photographs.
At the end of October, the Society held its second annual exhibition in Deddington’s Parish Church, auspiciously at the same time as the Farmers’ Market, collecting in the Visitors’ Book such comments as ‘Just fabulous!’ and ‘What an inspiration to get the camera out!’ The Club is very grateful to have received a grant from the Deddington Farmers’ Market, as a contribution towards the cost of a lamp for illuminating prints on Club Nights.
Then, at November’s Club Night, Rod Bird gave a presentation on ‘What’s new: Trends in the photographic industry’. Rod, who is a member of the Maidenhead Camera Club and an experienced photographer, looked at the historical aspects of early photography and the accelerating pace of digital photography, which has resulted in the amalgamation or demise of many well-known manufacturers.
Using graphs and tables, he demonstrated the increasing capability of digital cameras and, specifically, the developments in reducing the size of camera sensors, improvements in sensor sensitivity and associated ISO ratings, enhancements in the dynamic range of images and advances in auto-focusing techniques. Rod continued with a personal assessment of four main types of digital camera: compact, bridge, single lens reflex (SLR) and compact systems (CSC). He then concluded by forecasting the increasing use of video display viewfinders in lieu of SLR optical mirrors – except for high-end professional use – and predicted the continuing growth of all types of CSC due to their flexibility, relative smallness and ease of use. This was a very interesting, albeit somewhat technical, presentation that was much appreciated by his audience.



Aynho Boundary Map

If you’ve ever wondered what the scope of Aynho’s Parish boundary might be – check out the map link below – it shows that Aynho is probably much bigger than you think!

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The Glebe to remain within The Conservation Area

South Northants Planning Committee visited Aynho on 14 November to consider the proposal that The Glebe and the new houses which form part of College Fields should be removed from the Conservation Area.  After viewing both areas the Committee decided that they should remain within the Conservation Area.

As summed up by one resident:  “First, these houses represent the first significant planned build in the village since the early 18th century. Second, they are a remarkable and enlightened example of very high-quality social housing, and the stone finish is sensitive to the traditional village ambience. Third, and in consequence, they are congruent with the village environment as a whole, and any significant departures are likely to detract from the appearance of the village. Finally, they command the road entrance to the village alongside Croughton Road, and lead gently but insistently to the village centre, with its great house, church and hotel, as well as the central Square.”

Aynho Long Walk: 13th November 2014

It was good to have fifteen walkers for the long walk on such a murky November day.  We set off at a cracking pace down Portway and through the tunnel.  It is a well-known route but it is always a great feeling when you emerge onto the top of the field and look across the valley.  Once over the first two fields and across the stream we were surprised to see horses grazing, and they were surprised to see us.  There have been cattle or sheep there in the past but not horses.  They have made much less of a muddy pool by the last stile than the cows used to, so from a walker’s viewpoint they are an improvement.  We continued down Wharf Lane and crossed the motorway.  The noise carried up to the village under the low cloud, but died away quickly once we were beyond it.  The wharf farmyard was as muddy as ever but once on the towpath the ground was firm under foot.  There was no traffic on the canal but the berths were all full.  We left the canal at the Great Western, took a short walk over and under the railway lines and began the long muddy trail through Lower Aynho Grounds, under the motorway and on to Millers Lane.  We were soon back at the pavilion where a number of jacket potatoes awaited their clients. 6.3 miles in just under two hours.  We kept up quite a pace today.