Church: Holiday Club

Children of primary school age are invited to join us this summer for our Benefice Christian Holiday Club. We meet in Croughton All Saints Primary School, Monday July 27th – Friday July 31st from 9.30 to 12 noon. It will be staffed by registered leaders and helpers from the five parishes. It is essential that all children pre register by filling in a form which will be available in  July from their school or in church or from Simon and Heather Dommett, Carrie O’Regan and Helen Boswell. There will be 60 places available so it is advisable to register early. We are planning a fun week with activities, songs, games and stories each day culminating in a Service in Croughton Church on Sunday August 2nd from children, parents, family, friends and all the church congregations. Mega Makers will enter the inventor’s workshop and make some Mega discoveries about God learning from stories from St.Matthew’s Gospel.

WI: Evening Walk 23rd June 2015

WI Evening Walk to Souldern

Six of us set off from the bus stop opposite the Grammar House on this warm, sunny evening.  We decided the Station Road hill was a bit of a challenge and best walked down rather than up so we headed for the Deddington Road tackling this circular walk anti-clockwise.   Once we turned onto the driveway to Lower Aynho Grounds we lost the traffic noise and were instead entertained by bird song – what loud voices some small birds have!  At the turning for the Millers Lane bridleway, we were lucky enough to see a hare which suddenly appeared and ran along the side of the field before disappearing into the undergrowth.  Across the fields were white drifts of oxeye daisies interspersed with red poppies, making a very attractive picture.  Even though we have had some quite heavy rain the water was quite low at the ford so no one was in danger of getting their feet wet!  The Mill House was very colourful with an array of flowers from fox gloves, wild geranium, giant scabious and climbing roses along its front wall.  After the long haul up the hill we wandered through Souldern village and stopped at the Fox for a restorative drink.  The birds were beginning to find roosting sites for the night and again the song of the robin, chaffinch and blackbird entertained us while we enjoyed our drinks and the still warm sun.  Now we headed for home carrying on along the road and then turning left to walk past the 12th century Church of St Mary.  After this we headed out across the fields crossing several stiles and eventually coming to the field with a bull, his ladies and their calves.  Some were quite interested in us but most had better things to do and ignored us.  The evening was still warm, even though it was now 8.30pm, as we walked up the last hill to Aynho we paused at the top to take in the amazing views across the countryside.  Once we reached the Croughton Road we gradually all peeled off heading for home having completed a very enjoyable walk.

Ford 350 Mill 350
Fox 350 Cows 350

Insect of the Month: The Black Garden Ant

There are an estimated 11,000 species of ant in the world, approximately 50 of which live in the UK.  They do not have ears translating vibrations felt with their feet into sound and with no lungs or noses, they breathe through tiny holes in their abdomen and smell with their antennae.  All ants live in colonies each with its own smell so that intruders can be recognised immediately and dealt with.  They have a complex social network of sterile females who literally do all the work, drones who do nothing but mate with the queen and the queen who is nothing more than an egg laying machine.  On warm humid days in summer winged males and females take to the air.  This happens at the same time in all colonies in the same area as a form of protection, hoping to overwhelm insect eating birds by their sheer numbers.  After mating on the wing the males die whilst the pregnant females (the new queens) lose their wings and burrow underground to start a new colony. The hardest part of the ant’s life now begins.  The young queens must raise the first generation of workers alone.  They cannot forage for food so when the first eggs hatch they feed the larvae with a fluid created from the breakdown of their own muscles.  By the time the first workers emerge they have lost half their body weight and are very weak.  These first workers set about foraging for food whilst  nursing their queen back to health.   Worker ants find food by sending out scouts who lay down scent trails for the others to follow but also communicate by touching, tapping and feeling one another with their bodies and antennae.  They have 2 stomachs, one which holds food for themselves and one with food to be shared.   Black ants will eat anything including sugars, vegetables, other insects which includes ants and plants.  They milk aphids encouraging them to produce the sugary honeydew by stroking them with their antennae.  They also protect them from predators and carry them to new feeding areas when their food becomes depleted.  They probably also take some aphids underground over winter, some of which may well be eaten.  The colony continues to grow over several years until it typically contains between 4000 – 7000 workers.  The queen will then start to lay the eggs that will be the drones and new queens.  Queens live for 15 – 20 years while the workers for just 40 – 60 days.

Did You Know?

  • Ants appeared on earth 100 million years before any backboned animals.
  • Ants from differentcolonies, even within the same species, treat each other as enemies. They use their jaws ‘mandibles’ to hold the legs or antennae of an enemy ant while nest mates tear the victim apart.
  • Black ants are important soil engineers, mixing it up and increasing its fertility.
  • The ant’s sense of smell is as good as a dogs.
  • They can lift 20 times their own body weight which is the equivalent of a small car for us.
  • This species is essential for the conservation of the declining populations of the Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly on heathland as they protect the butterfly’s caterpillars from predators in return for feeding on secretions specially produced by the caterpillars.

Recorded Music Society: June Meeting

The last meeting before our summer break was hosted by Bob Mann, our secretary.  In Bob’s inimitable style, his programme mixed thought, wit and erudition with an eclectic choice of music and some surprises!

In fact the evening began with Haydn ‘Surprise Symphony’.  Following that we heard Rubenstein ‘Melody in F’, Rossini ‘Thieving Magpie’, Glen Miller ‘Tuxedo Junction’, Tchaikovsky ‘Dance of the Flowers’, Paderewski ‘Nocturne op. 16’ (did you know that this clever chap was also prime minister of Poland in his spare time?), The programme continued with Rimsky- Korsakov ‘Scheherazade – Tale of the Young Prince and the Princess’,  Dvorak ‘New World’ and the first half was rounded off with the moving ‘Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves’ from Verdi ‘Nabucco’.

After a liquid interval the programme recommenced appropriately with Glen Miller ‘In the Mood’, followed by  Beethoven ‘Pastoral Symphony’, Strauss ‘Blue Danube’ and Mendelssohn ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  The evening finished with Bizet’s beautiful ‘Pearl Fishers’.  The whole programme was a delightful and thoroughly enjoyable way to end our 2014-15 season.  Thank you Bob.  Please note our next meeting is  7th OCTOBER at 7.30pm.

Contact: Bob Mann 810264


Aynho Long Walk 25th June 2015

Two regular walkers brought their partners as guests today to bring the total to fourteen of us on the walk. Ian was back-up leader with his temporary dog to assist and his generous donation of a birthday cake, free to all,  awaiting our return. On this lovely summer’s day we set off down Portway and across to Souldern emerging opposite the manor.  From there we reached the top of Wharf Lane before crossing two fields and following the long concrete track down through the farm yard and under the viaduct to the swing bridge on the canal. having checked for canal traffic we lowered the bridge and crossed over.  With the bridge back in position we set off along the canal towpath and after a brief conference at the Wharf Lane bridge, continued on to the Great Western Arms at Ayhno Wharf. From there we took the usual route under the M40, over the dry ford to Millers Lane and the uphill climb to the wondrous birthday cake back at the Pavilion.  One of our longest walks at 7.6 miles.

Breeze Womens-Only Bike Ride: Croughton->Hinton->Croughton

This is a lovely easy ride starting from the Reading Room at Croughton, down to the Crewe Arms at Hinton and back.

It’s approximately 5 miles along quiet roads with little traffic.

We’ll be setting off at 7pm from the Reading Room on 24th June.  Bring along a drink and some money for our stop at the Crewe Arms.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Photographic Society: June 2015 Report

Click here to see the above photograph.  Tortoiseshell Butterfly by Richard Broadbent

For the June Club Night, an evening photo-shoot was arranged in the grounds of Blenheim Palace. A group of 18 members met at a rather obscure gate in Woodstock, which gave access to a little known ‘public right of way’ across the Blenheim estate. Chairman Richard Broadbent then led the group on a circular tour around part of the gardens, along the lake and through the wooded areas, giving members the opportunity to photograph the wildlife on the waters, some fleeting appearances of Muntjac deer, and distant views of the Palace itself.  Finally, towards the end of the evening, the setting sun highlighted the tree foliage, casting the long shadows that emphasize the appeal of outdoor photography. A somewhat weary group eventually made their way to the local hostelry to exchange experiences, partake of some libation and enjoy a well-earned rest.

The next Society Club Night will be a presentation on 1 July by John Cavana entitled ‘My travels in Africa through the camera: Kili, Kruger and the Cape.’  The Society will also be meeting on 5 August and 2 September, although the speakers for these two meetings have yet to be confirmed. Please check our website for the forthcoming details. All three events will begin at 7.30pm in the Cartwright Hotel, Aynho, and everyone is most welcome to attend.  Please note that no Workshops are planned for July or August.

John Branton

Aynho Long Walk 11th June 2015

P1090700Ten of us set off on the long walk on this lovely sunny day. We decided to walk the Kings Sutton Loop. We entered Green Lane and descended to Lower Walton Grounds down a marvelously mud free track. The views were wonderful, although we had to take care as two horse riders came towards us. Crossing the stream on the bridge needed care with one of us losing a hat under a low hanging branch. Hat recovered, we continued past the cottages and across the fields to College Lane in Kings Sutton. We entered the village, crossed the green, admiring the new playground and took the footpath down to the back of the housing. Building work meant we had to return to the estate briefly before crossing the Banbury Road to rejoin the path along the village boundary as far as the outlet by the scrapyard near the Railway Station. We crossed the fields to reach the southern edge of the village and then took the path through the rape field towards the sewage works and on to Lower Walton Grounds.  The other path up to Aynho is less steep than Green Lane so we took that alternative and arrived back at the pavilion after just over two hours. Glad of the refreshments awaiting us.

WI Centenary AGM

ALBERT HALL    4th June 2015

The day had dawned sunny and bright as the ladies gathered in Brackley to board the coach to London.  Our journey was uneventful and we arrived in good time to go through security and find our seats in the Albert Hall.  Northampton had done well and we were all seated in the Grand Tier boxes with an excellent view of the Hall.

As the Queen, The Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex were due to join us the singing of Jerusalem was delayed until after their arrival so the meeting began with the Financial Report.

In 1915 the annual fee was 2/- (10p) which was equivalent to 2% of annual income, in 2015 the annual fee is £36 and this is also equivalent to 2% of annual income.  We are in a secure financial position embarking on the next 100 years.

Following the Financial Report the Royal Party arrived to loud applause and cheers.  The Queen wore a powder blue coat with a matching hat and a flowered dress.   The National Anthem was sung.  The Queen was invited to receive the Centenary Baton and a live link was established with the Anglesey Federation.  This caused some amusement as there was a five second delay between the Hall and Anglesey.

There followed a presentation of the Denman Cup by Her Majesty and subsequent awards were presented by Princess Anne and Sophie Wessex.  Jerusalem was sung with great zest and posies were presented to the party by three young girls before the Royal Party and Board Members retired to the Foyer for coffee and cakes.

The Board having departed with the Queen the Chair, Janice Langley, was left to ‘hold the fort’!  She gave a speech on ‘What does the last 100 years mean to us’.  New women were encouraged to play a role in public life and the Women’s Police Force was also formed in 1915. Police women were not allowed to carry truncheons only umbrellas!!  There have been ups and downs during the 100 years but the objects of the WI remain the same today.  We need to spend our money wisely and well and need to think of ways to engage with women who have limited time.

Our first speaker was Lucy Worsley who is an English historian, curator and television presenter.  She gave an amusing and informative speech on the history of the WI.  It was one place where the social divisions could come down for at least half-an-hour!  She has just finished making a programme – 100 years of the WI – which will go out sometime later this month on BBC2 called “Cake Makers and Trouble Makers”.

Next came the Public Affairs Resolution.  This proved to be an extremely interesting part of the day.  It started with an amendment to the wording of the Resolution:

“This meeting calls on HM government to remove the distinction between nursing care and personal care in the assessment of the needs of individuals, in order to advance health and wellbeing.”

The words nursing care and personal care were proposed to be changed to health care and personal care.  This amendment was debated, questions and comments were taken from the floor, and it was voted on.  I personally did not believe that this amendment was what the members of Aynho and Croughton WIs had discussed and therefore took the decision to vote against the amendment.   The amendment was passed.

The Resolution as amended was then debated the expert witness coming from the MS Society.  Before a vote could be taken on the amended resolution a proposal to ‘move to the next business’ was voiced.

There were various speakers for this proposal with very compelling views put forward eg; the resolution is not worthy of what we could be achieving; it is not smart and not specific; not realistic; robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Points from the floor included: time is needed to consider the change of wording of the resolution; confusion of implications of resolution; Wales is a devolved assembly; need more time to improve wording.

We were made aware that voting to ‘move to the next business’ was a serious step to take and that if passed no vote would be taken on the amended resolution.  A vote was taken and the proposal was carried.  I voted for the proposal.

It had been a long morning and we were pleased to escape to the sunshine and lunch taken on the steps of the Albert Memorial.

The afternoon found the Board Members devoid of their ‘fascinators’ and we all settled down to listen to the winning choir, The Bleadon Belles, sing  “Singing for Joy”.

There followed another live link, this time with a rural WI in Devon who are twinned with a Town WI in Cheshire.

Our first speaker of the afternoon was Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.  She was amazing, interesting, entertaining and inspiring.  Her message was don’t be afraid to try and aim high!

Our third and final live link was with the Heaton WI, Stockport, at the War Museum.  I have to say that this was the first time that the WI had tried these live links and they worked quite well.

The General Secretary then introduced the new Board of Trustees for 2015/17.  There had been 23 candidates for 12 places.  Our very own Diana Birch had stood down.

Our third speaker of the day was Helena Morrissey CBE, CEO of Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% club which advocates having at least 30% females on the Boards of large companies.  Again, a very interesting person who has achieved much while bringing up 9 children.

Finally the Chair gave a round up of the day.  The sentiments of the WI remain the same after 100 years.  We must be prepared to change taking the WI into the future and trying to make it the best it can be.  The Resolution is not lost it is an opportunity to rethink and represent.  There is still six months of 2015 left to celebrate 100 years of the WI.

Finally, finally we had a fashion show by students of Kingston University London who had worked with members of the WI.

We were a very tired bunch who eventually arrived back in Brackley complete with our finger of WI Centenary Cake! Indeed a day to remember.

Deborah Gibbs, Aynho WI

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Billie Fleming Tribute Bike Ride (Sunday 14-June)

Billie Fleming, who died in May 2014 aged 100, has a unique place in the history of cycling. In 1938, she cycled every day and set the women’s world record for the greatest distance cycled in a single year.

Starting on 1st January 2015, a woman or group of women will ride the distance Billie Fleming cycled on that day in 1938, and so on, through every day of 2015 until 29,604 miles have been cycled over 365 days. Each day will be called a stage.

On 14th June 1938 part of her journey took her from Brackley to Towcester, so on 14th June 2015 we will do the same.

Billie rode, on average, 81 miles a day, but some days did as much as 186 miles! This ride will be less ambitious at approximately 25 miles.

Like Billie, we will ensure there is a coffee stop en route!

You can join us and do the full loop starting and ending in Brackley, or, if you fancy a shorter route, you could arranged to be picked up in Towcester.

I hope you can join us to help take part in this historic event!

Billie Flemming Tribute Ride Brackley to Towcester & back

Sunday 14th June 10am From Brackley Leisure Centre

Email – brackleybreeze@gmail

Book at