History Society Meetings 2015

Minutes of meetings held in 2015

January 2015 William Gill: Victorian explorer and spy [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”2878,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
February 2015 A review of Aynho related maps (advertised speaker postponed) [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”2986,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
March 2015 Votes for Women – The Suffrage Movement [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”3147,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
April 2015 Women at War [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”3294,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
May 2015 All things to do with apricots. [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”3431,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
June 2015 Waterloo and the battle for Chateau Hougoumont [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”3564,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
July 2015 The History of the Oxford Canal [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”3859,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
September 2015 The Bicycle – its Evolution and Impact on the World [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”4081,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
October 2015 The Poor Law in C18th England:  The Crisis in the Parishes [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”4181,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]
November 2015 AGM + Royalty, Religion and Relics” – 20 more things you did not know about Aynho. [prettyfilelist type=”pdf,xls,doc,zip,ppt,img,mp3″ filestoshow=”4451,” hidefilter=”true” hidesort=”true” hidesearch=”true” filesPerPage=”3″]

Recorded Music Society: February Meeting 2015

The high standard of presentation and selection of program was very well maintained in the February meeting. Hazel gave us a splendid evening of choral, organ, vocal and orchestral works, ranging from Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 and Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue” to

Alfie Bowe “In my Daughter’s Eyes” and the splendid Irish drinking song “The Wild Rover”

Other items included Bach’s “Requiem” “The Armed Man” by Karl Jenkins, Mahler’s “Adagio” and Barbara Striesland’s “Papa can you hear me”.

Thank you Hazel, well supported by Doris and Douglas.

Northants County Council Newsletter (Feb-2015)

Just in case you’ve not received your own copy here’s the latest newsletter from Northants County Council as a PDF (from their email).

There’s some interesting issues covered:

  • 2015/2016 Budget approved for the County and key services
  • Construction starts for NCC new headquarters
  • Become a Library Guardian
  • Get involved in the Blacklight run
  • Fostering information events
  • Adult Learning Courses

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Aynho Long Walk 19 February 2015

Ten walkers set off along the Charlton Road, including new member, Chris Hayes.  The promised rain was threatening but not actually falling as we cross the stone stile by the dad’s Army hut and crossed the fields to Lower Walton Grounds. The footpath has still not been restored across the field the curves over the hill with views across to Deddington and Bloxham, so we followed the tractor wheel tracks and clagged up our boots in the process.  We skirted round the farm buildings, crossed the stream, and came up through the yard to the track along the valley.  In truth it was more stream than track.  WE continued along the field edges until we were just below Charlton and then turned sharply across the field and into the old stone pits.  Once out opposite the school we walked down through the village and up to Rainsborough Camp. By now it was raining steadily and we had a strong, wet wind in our faces.  The hedge offered some protection as we walked along the ridge and the rain eased off. We were back at the pavilion by 12.00 and very ready for a good hot drink and a chat. Just over five and a half miles and everyone happy.


The Stanbridge House Anthem & A House I Knew by Edna Sparkes

The ‘Stanbridge House’ Anthem

 Your sideboard, and that old scuffed chair –

That’s all you’ll need

When you move in there….

“Four-square” walls and “three square” meals

For the sedentary life you’ll lead!


‘Cos – by the time you move in there

(a fact that is well-known)..

Your lifetime’s work is over

And the family has flown..


(No one left to teach now

All the skills we hone;

No-one left to talk to

Now you’re on your own..


No: recalling happy memories

Or doing things together –

No more sweeping snow off pathways, or

Planting bulbs in sunny weather


No more painting awkward ceilings, or

Having carpets laid..

Household jobs all taken care

(we’ve surely got it made”…)


No more cooking Christmas dinners

For the family to share

Or crawling in the attic

For the decorations there


No more mowing lawns in summer

(someone else will do that now!)

We’ll have time to “smell the roses.”

Which we’ve never had – somehow.


“Work” is someone else’s problem

We’ve got time to live at last

And I’ll have time to write my book!

“The future’s brighter than the past.

Edna Sparkes


A House I Knew

 I knew its nooks and crannies

And the doors that wouldn’t close

I knew the cold linoleum floors

And how the windows froze…


The ‘skating path’ in winter,

And stiff clothes off the line.

Jack Frost fans on windows

The yard trees smell of pine


The oak well polished table

With lilac in the vase

Carbolic in the kitchen

That had been scrubbed for hours…


I knew its summer glory

With delphiniums in bloom –

The scent of mother’s roses

That filled the sitting room…


The neat lawns in the garden

The stately rows of veg – and

Hollyhocks and sunflowers

Around the garden’s edge…


Gladioli; roses – resplendent through July

And mother’s snow-white washing

Against a sapphire sky:

All this I’ll remember until the day I die.

Edna Sparkes

Moving House – A Dream Realised by John Herman

Many people say that the experience of moving house is beset with endless problems. But my experience could not have been more different; moving to this beautiful home has made all my dreams come true.

The idyll began when I discovered one Saturday evening that I had won a large sum of money in the Lottery. Louise and I knew immediately what we would do. We would sell our little terraced cottage in the gloomy back streets of the industrial town where we had both been born and we would move to the Cotswolds.

Living in the Cotswolds had been a dream we had shared over many years. Quickly we got in touch with a selection of the rather more exclusive Cotswold Estate Agents and began our search. On our very first visit we came across this house – a gracious mill house of honeyed local stone and mullioned windows, nestling in a wooded valley where we would be lulled to sleep on summer evenings by the laughter of our very own brook. There was a sunlit garden, a greenhouse with vines and a paddock where we could keep a pony. We fell in love with the place immediately; we knew it was meant to be ours.

We would have the new house redecorated from top to bottom according to a scheme prepared for us by a top London interior designer. All the furnishings and pictures would be new so we engaged an expert to guide us around the best Cotswold sale rooms and advise us on the most tasteful purchases to enhance our new home and impress our visitors.

For us, moving to the Cotswolds would not pose any major problems. We would just ask a local house clearance contractor to take everything out of our old home; we would no longer need any reminders of our old impoverished life. Our old tabby cat would be sent to the Cat Rescue Centre; when we arrived in the Cotswolds we would buy a dog which we could take across the fields on long country walks and a pony to ride along the country lanes.

The sun would shine all summer long and in the winter the thick stone walls of our home would protect us against the cold. We would make new friendships. We would invite our neighbours to admire our picture perfect new home and share the generous hospitality which we could now afford.

Life would be good. We would live the dream, every moment of every perfect day

I suddenly become aware of a sharp pain in my ribs. It’s Valerie, poking me with her elbow.

“Come on Reg, wake up. It’s half past six and pouring with rain. Go downstairs, feed the cat and bring me a cup of tea”.


John Hermon

Aynho Writers


Aynho Writers Valentines Day Meeting

We were delighted to welcome back Sue Hunter who clearly couldn’t resist returning although she can no longer commit to every meeting. We had some lively readings today, including poems from Edna, Realising a Dream from John Hermon.  There were also some romantic and threatening Unexpected Valentines including this, from Keith McClellan

The Unexpected Valentine

“The Post’s come.” Colin called down from the bathroom, his mouth frothy with toothpaste.

“I’ll get it,” Fiona called back. In the hall, she picked up the scattered items. One particularly caught her eye. It was a big square envelope addressed to her, but without a stamp. She put the others on the side table, and opened it.

“Anything, interesting?”

“I’ll say! Oh sweetheart , you shouldn’t have. I thought we’d agreed. No valentines this year.”

“Show me,” said Colin. She passed it to him. Her smile faded as she saw his frown.

“I didn’t send this. Are you seeing someone?”

“Of course not love. You know I’m not.”

“Do I? So how do you explain this…this obscenity?”

“I can’t, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know who would do it, for a joke even.” She grabbed his arm, “You do believe me sweetheart? We are a couple. We love each other – don’t we?” She blinked away a tear.

“I thought so,” he said, “but this is suspicious to say the least. For a start, it’s someone who knows you; knows things about you. It’s bound to make me suspicious. You must see that. If it is as you say, find out who sent it and tell me tonight I’ll warn him off.”

“I’ll try, but I don’t even know where to start.”

“I’ve go to be going. We’ll sort this out tonight.”

Fiona thought about the men in the office as she cycled in to work. It was only a mile and a half and she valued the exercise. Colin worked in Oxford, twenty-five miles away, so he took the car. There was Gary; he was about her age, a keen golfer, he had a live-in girlfriend. They weren’t married but seemed very settled. Besides, apart from the normal friendliness of workmates, he had shown no sign of, that sort of thing, as her mother would have called it. Then there was Ted: she felt sorry for Ted, only a year from retirement and recently widowed. His wife, Mary, had died quite suddenly of cancer. He wouldn’t have sent it. That left Andy, at least ten years older than her. His marriage had broken up recently and he did give her the look occasionally but he wouldn’t send such a card, not in a hundred years. So who the hell was it?

She was hiding something, Colin was sure of it. She hardly spoke about work. Perhaps there was a reason? She said it wouldn’t interest him and he hadn’t denied it. His own work in Oxford was all consuming. He couldn’t concentrate today though. The mere thought of anyone touching her! How could she do it? Had he neglected her recently? He didn’t think so. Yes, work did preoccupy him, but they seemed to be getting along OK. He didn’t feel she distanced herself. Still, women could be deceptive. So could men, I suppose, if I’m honest, he thought.

He stopped at the garage, a mile from the village, to fill up. As he walked in to pay, he wondered about a bunch of flowers. He’d been a bit short with her, he had to admit.

“Fifi like her card did she?” Colin was stunned. Where did that come from?

“I take it that’s a yes,” said the voice. Colin looked across as a youngish smiling face emerged from the tall sweets and booklets display at the end of the counter.

“I’m sorry?” was all Colin could muster.

“Fifi’s card; she did get it didn’t she?”

“Fiona did receive a card this morning, yes and no she did not like it. She was acutely embarrassed. She had no idea who it was from,” said Colin.

“Gets off with lots of lads, does she? Not surprised. Real dish she is.”

“I’ll remind you I’m her husband. How come you know so much?”

“She’s always popping in for chockies or some Kettles. Begs us not to tell you like.”

Colin paid his bill and left.

“Well?” he said, when he got in.

“Nothing I’m afraid, sweetheart. I’m sure it’s no one from work,” said Fiona.

“What about the garage?”

“What about it?” He noticed a light flush rise up her cheeks.

“Lad seems to know you well there. Asked if you liked the card. What exactly has been going on Fi?”

“Oh God! OK, I used to go in to meet my craving for chockies and crisps. Ricky got much too familiar. Almost pestering: he wouldn’t leave off so I stopped going in. That was at least six months ago. If he saw me cycle by he’d yell out, but I ignored him. He hasn’t done that for ages. I thought he’d given up.”

“Clearly not,” said Colin, “Right, I’m going up there now to warn him off.”

“Are you sure that’s wise?”

“Wise or not, I’m not putting up with it.”

Two hours later it was dark. Colin was still not back. Fiona tried to concentrate on preparing dinner. She heard a knock at the front door. He’s gone without his key, she thought. “Is that you sweetheart?” she said. The letterbox flap lifted and a voice said. Yeah, it’s your sweetheart, Ricky. That grumpy old sod won’t trouble you no more. Let me in darlin’.”

Aynho Long Walk 12th February 2015


Fourteen enthusiastic walkers set out on this cold, overcast morning along the black path and through Little Lane to Station Road and Millers Lane.  Our attempts to avoid the medium walk failed so we overtook them during the Millers Lane stretch and turned off to skirt round the ford and continue past the Mill and up to Souldern Village.  We paused and regrouped to avoid losing members as we turned right and walked a short way down Wharf Lane before taking the path across two fields to come out on the track leading into the side of the village.  The footpath then weaves between the houses and comes out on the road to the Fox Inn, but we turned right and followed the track round to Nancy Bowles Wood and then across Fox Hill past the llama farm. No llamas on view today.  Thence down the road back into Souldern and down past the church on to the Portway Path and back to the Pavilion where everyone gathered for a hot drink and or lunch and a good chat.


Photographic Society: February 2015 Report

Click here to see the above photograph. Stolen Kiss by Martyn Pearse
In February, Bob Brind-Surch gave a most interesting presentation on ‘Macro Photography.’ A retired physics teacher, Bob had been interested in photography from his youth and, on retirement, has now turned his hobby into a full-time activity with numerous commercial commissions, workshops and organised wildlife safaris to Africa and elsewhere. For his presentation, Bob concentrated on macro techniques, explaining the principles of magnification for different types of cameras, the limitations of lenses for this type of work, and the pros/cons of close-up lenses, extension tubes and dedicated macro lenses. He then reviewed the benefits of reversing lens adapters, together with the use of various items such as clamps, ring flashes, light panels, laboratory jacks and focusing racks. Bob concluded by examining a post-production software technique known as ‘focus stacking’, whereby the limitations of the shallow depth of field normally associated with macro work could be completely overcome.

Bob made a somewhat technical presentation easy to understand by showing diagrams and photographs at each stage of his presentation, and by physically demonstrating the use of each item of equipment. In summary, this was an absorbing and stimulating ‘tour de force’ of macro photography by someone with an intimate knowledge of his subject, and which was much appreciated by his audience.

The Society Club Night is on 4 March, when Alan Fretten will give a presentation entitled ‘So long and thanks for the fish – a selection of images covering sport, rock bands and travel.’ This will be followed by a Workshop on 18 March about ‘Camera exposure modes’, and the Annual General Meeting of the Society occurs on 1 April together with a subsequent presentation by members on ‘My attempts at abstract photography’. All events are at 7.30pm in the Cartwright Hotel, Aynho, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Aynho Long Walk 5 February 2015

The sky seemed heavy with snow as 14 of us gathered for today’s long walk and sleety snow flakes drifted down but did not settle.  We persuaded Ray to transfer his back marker role from the medium walk to our longer one, and set off through the village. We passed down Station Road and Millers Lane, skirted round the ford and walked along the valley.  The motorway was as noisy as ever as we passed beneath it.  The sleet had stopped and the sky had brightened a little but there was little sign of wild life.  The frosty ground was softening to its muddy state as we reached the road and turned to cross the railway and canal bridges by the Great Western. Along the canal the towpath was clear. In the canal large shards of ice floated and beyond the moorings some swans had ventured into the water, although many remained higher up the field where they nested.  The yard as Souldern Wharf was still caked in crisp  frosty mud.  We passed through there without incident and began the long climb up Wharf Lane to Souldern Village.  The hedges had been trimmed so there were good views across to Aynhoe Park and the church.  In the meadows we crossed to reach the Portway, an area had been fenced off to protect a large section of the grass as, now that horses are kept there, the whole field gets churned up by their  hooves. We crossed a new stile into the churned up section and crossed to the Portway path. This was also muddy in the usual places, but we arrived back at the pavilion in good spirits after 6.4 miles, and enjoyed our hot drinks, lunches and a good chat.