Residents will be aware that all works on the UltraFast Fibre Broadband network stopped on 3 June. This was a result of an intervention by NCC Highways who were concerned about the quality of the works being undertaken by the Gigaclear contactor in Aynho and especially Croughton. Whilst visually the works may have seemed to have been completed to a satisfactory standard NCC Highways were concerned and ordered core testing (making sure the correct thickness and type of material has been used when trenches are filled in) to be undertaken. This took place in the last few weeks and has shown that some of the work is below standard and that some remedial works will be required. The obvious one is the crossing of the B4100 as you enter the village from Croughton.
On 16 July NCC gave approval for both remedial works to be undertaken and also for the remaining installations to be completed concurrently. The works will be undertaken by a new contactor, Wignut Ltd, who have worked with Gigaclear for some time. Additionally Gigaclear has also assigned a new Project Manager, Chris Denham, who took over the project at the end of June.
Relaying the existing works, where required, is due to start on Monday 27 July and will take about two weeks. This will mean that most road crossings will need to be replaced. Work will also be undertaken in the area of Lower Aynho Grounds.
Installation of the remaining fibre is due to start on 10 August (start date updated on 31 July). Depending on the number of team this will be at the bottom end of Blacksmith’s Hill and from where the works stopped outside The Cartwright Arms. Residents will be notified with a letter from the contractor delivered to your home before work starts. It is expected that all works will be completed by the end of August.
Finally, the key question is ‘when can we expect the service to be live?’ Gigaclear are dependant on Vodafone installing the fibre optic connection from the outside world to the village Gigaclear Cabinet. Gigaclear placed the order with Vodafone at the start of this year, and now expect this to be ready at the end of September.
twelve of us set off on a rather humid morning towards Rainsborough Camp. As we walked across the camp there were two rather lonely looking sheep in view. We continued to Camp Farm and crossed the Charlton road along the permissive path. This joins the bridleway between Cut Throat Corner and Hinton. We turned right towards the corner and found ourselves walking between tall blue and yellow flowers growing right across the track. Next was a small stretch of the lane before we branched off across the fields, golden with ripe wheat and rapeseed, to Croughton. Once in the village we varied our usual route, guided by David, by taking a footpath through to the Brackley Road and following that past the new affordable housing estate to the main road and across to Church Lane. We rejoined our usual route, passing a group of cyclists resting in the church yard, and continued through to Mill Lane and down to the ford. We were soon in Warren Farm and crossed a field of nearly ripe barley into the woods beyond. No deer to be seen this time, just the new fencing to protect the replanting within part of the wood. The descent to the stream and over into Upper Aynho Grounds was so much better that before the work was done. With kind permission we diverted towards the lakes and followed along the lake edge before climbing up to the Great barn and all the Day in the Country buildings. There were lots of activities going on including go-carting and over a hundred visitors enjoying their day. We crossed the B4100 and came up Portway back to the pavilion where we arrived at 12.30 after just over seven miles. Slightly slower than usual perhaps because of the humidity, but a very enjoyable walk.
For the July Club Night, member John Cavana gave a presentation on ‘My travels in Africa through the camera: Kili, Kruger and The Cape’. John’s other home is in Cape Town, South Africa, so understandably he showed an array of interesting images depicting different aspects of life there. He captured diverse subjects – more recently with his Canon EOS 70D – to include one of its biggest tourist attractions, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, with its colourful mélee of boats, restaurants and musicians making wonderful music on old instruments. In the townships, John photographed children of different ages playing together. One of their favourite haunts was a row of loos which they liked to clamber on and run merrily along the roof tops. There were colourful photos of the Cape Town carnival; star-trails from the Taal Monument in Paarl; the beautiful blue Hout Bay; and views of the majestic Table Mountain.
Using a Panasonic FZ28 superzoom camera, John’s visits to Kruger National Park brought a wonderful selection of images of impala, elephants, lions, hornbills, weaverbirds, and water buffalo, sending a frisson of excitement around the room on seeing these powerful and beautiful animals.
But perhaps the highlight of John’s presentation was the photographic record of his climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Inspired by an 84 year-old friend who had climbed Kili at the age of 68, he – John – at 65, and two of his friends, at 70 and 71, decided to make the climb. As one is not permitted to ‘go it alone’, they hired an outfitter from Tanzania to organise the trip and carry all their equipment, including the all-important portable loo. In all, 18 people went on this expedition – the porters and the three climbers. It was a feat of endurance, taking the men five days to climb up and two to come down! The air got considerably colder and thinner the higher they went up – about 20,000 ft asml. The first camp was at 10,000 ft, and they, of course, celebrated when they reached the summit. Greeting successful climbers is the message, ‘Congratulations, you are now at Uhuru Peak, Tanzania – 5,895 m amsl’. Ironically, throughout this trip, John used only a disposable Boots camera, not being able to carry any heavy equipment on the journey. John’s amusing stories accompanying his presentation and the images shown were a fascinating window on life in Kili, Kruger and The Cape, and was much enjoyed by his audience.
The next Society Club Night is on 4th August when member Paul Brewerton will give a presentation on, ‘A photographic journey: How love of the countryside influenced my photographic style over the years’. All events are at 7.30pm in the Cartwright Hotel, Aynho, and everyone is welcome to attend.
It was good to welcome David and Gloria back onto the long walk among the fifteen of us who set out down Green Lane to Lower Walton grounds and then up past the cottages and up to the copse before descending down the field edge to the paddock and on into College Lane in Kings Sutton. We crossed the green admiring the new playground as e passed, and took the footpath between houses through to Blenheim Drive and then to the fields beyond. Along the edge of the housing we were now able to pass through the newly built area instead of having to work our way round the estate roads as previously.
We continued along the northern perimeter until approaching the railway. Here we emerged onto Station Road, crossed to the steep uphill path and continued through the sheep meadow. We were soon back on the path past the sewage works and on to Lower Walton grounds where we watched as the shepherd in a truck rounded up the sheep and put out the feed before driving back out as we came into the field. We climbed the long curve of the hill stopping to enjoy the view and catch our breath. Then back to the pavilion for refreshment and rest.
15th July 2015
The garden meeting this year was held in Carol McClellan’s garden. We were lucky with the weather as after several wet, cool days the sun came out in the middle of the afternoon and carried on into the evening. There was a special treat of Pimms, strawberries and cream as this is the WI’s centennial year. Carol had copies of albums made in previous years about Aynho and Aynho WI which reminded many of members and activities past. Her garden was looking very attractive and colourful and before going home we were able to wander round it admiring the variety of flora. We all agreed it had been a very enjoyable evening.
Saturday 1 August 10.00am-12.00pm. Aynho Village Hall
Come and join us and see how to use our new defibrillator. The Community Heartbeat Trust trainers will show us how to use a defibrillator and use simulators to go through likely scenarios, demonstrate chest compressions (do not do mouth to mouth any longer), sequence on how to use the defibrillator & putting someone into the recovery position. There will then allow time for any questions. This is not a full blown first aid course but designed to make people aware of what to do.
Aynho Parish Council are aware that a few residents or visitors are regularly allowing their dogs to foul in the village and not picking it up. This affects our village environment and is regarded by most villagers, including most dog owners, as incredibly anti-social. It is also a serious health hazard to children and adults alike.
In order to try and combat this problem, Aynho Parish Council have decided to invest in a campaign. As a first step, we have purchased a quantity of dog poo bags to distribute FREE to all Aynho dog owners or, if you don’t own a dog then you can keep for visitors with dogs or pass onto someone else. We urge all dog owners to remind whoever is walking their dog that they MUST pick up the faeces and deposit it in a suitable bin NOT leave it by the side of the road or in a hedge. Children and visitors who walk your dogs are not exempt.
These poo bags are designed to stand out so you can carry them and be a visible PUP “picker up of poo”. Be proud of your poo bag and hopefully it will shame others into using them. Supplies are available from Halcyon, 11 Portway or at village events until they run out so come and get your free dog poo bags now.
Aynho Parish Council
By early July, the temperature rises above 30 degrees. It’s warm enough to plunge into the sea without taking tentative steps into the water before catching your breath. Under a cloudless sky, the sea is a deep turquoise, reflected in the underbellies of seagulls hovering still above the water. Last week, I’d shiver after my swim. This week I can wear my swimsuit all day, even when wet.
Two weeks ago, the news on the Greek bailout was ambivalent. There’s hardly a sign that anything’s amiss, to tourists, that is. The shops, tavernas and bars all do brisk business. Only a few decline credit cards. Then news filters through there’s to be a referendum. Yes or no, but what is the question? We might be in the thick of it, but with patchy wifi and intermittent news reports from the BBC, it’s hard to work out what the Greeks are voting for or against.
Then we start to notice graffiti. OXI sprayed onto the side of a bus shelter. We laugh. Isn’t it an Oxford postcode? We see another, and another, then posters go up proclaiming OXI. The Times website explains it’s Greek for No to austerity. OXI is everywhere on this small island. I even see a man with OXI on his T-shirt. This referendum looks to be a foregone conclusion.
But does anyone understand the question? It’s 74 words long, refers nebulously to the plans drawn up by the EU, but what are the plans? Will ordinary Greeks understand what they are voting for or against? Maybe that’s the point. The Government seem determined that their people reject the terms of the bailout.
Everywhere, in cafes and bars, we see mainly elderly Greek men talking loudly and gesticulating over their tiny cups of strong coffee.
One day, on returning from a day on the beautiful island of Antipaxos, we stop at the ATM. We think we have enough to cover us for the rest of our holiday, but want some extra, just in case. The ATM is empty and has been for the past few days, despite assurances from the media that tourists will have no problem extracting money. My waiter friend appears; he’s from the café in the square where we drink coffee and in broken English offers to take 100 euros out for us. We can pay him back in a couple of days when there’s cash in the machines again. No problem, he says, grinning his broken toothed smile. I’m stunned by his generosity and trust. We barely know him.
But this is typical of the locals. One in three work in tourism. They depend on summer visitors for a tiny window of about 10 weeks only. It’s make or break, just as this referendum is for them. They are welcoming, generous and determined to show us that nothing has changed. The tavernas are open for business, serving delicious, freshly-caught barbecued fish and sweet, juicy tomatoes, all with a smile. And the sea is still turquoise and beautifully warm for swimming and snorkelling.
For the time being, we can continue to enjoy this bubble far away from the reality that will affect us all.