For our June meeting our members met at Friars Well to enjoy the extensive gardens which Anne and Nick Attenborough are working to restore to their former glory. We gathered outside the summer house in front of what was, for a time, the swimming pool. The pool has been reduced to a third of its size to become an ornamental pond. Beyond is the wilderness walk, a trail from the stables along the wooded boundary to the paddocks below. On the far side of the house is a series of hedged gardens, each with its unique and colourful display. After an hour enjoying the garden in the warm summer evening we returned to the summer house for Prosecco and nibbles. We thanked Anne and Nick for a very enjoyable visit and congratulated them on the progress of their project so far.
The great tit is the largest British tit. It has a yellow breast, long black central band running from its chin to its tail, has a black and white head and blue grey tail feathers with white outer ones. The longest running study of great tits has been taking place in Wytham Woods an ancient woodland just outside Oxford which is owned by Oxford University. The study started in 1947 when a student in the Department of Zoology erected 100 nest boxes and a garden shed in which he spent the next 3 summers. There are now over 1,000 nest boxes with every parent and fledgling using them being given a numbered ring and a tiny radio tag enabling researchers to study such things as their behaviour, relationships, whether characteristics are inherited and reaction to climate change. Some of the conclusions they have come to so far are: shyer birds tend to stay with the same flock of birds whereas the bolder ones are more gregarious foraging with several different flocks, males prefer to associate with birds of a similar personality (the shyer birds avoiding the bolder ones), blue tits are very good at learning new behaviour from others. They are also finding that in response to climate change birds are laying their eggs about 3 weeks earlier than in 1960 thus taking advantage of the earlier emergence of the winter moth larvae which makes up 90% of the diet for their young.
Did You Know?
- Great tits are very aggressive and can actually kill other birds. Their beak is a good weapon – it must be as it can open a hazel-nut.
- 10,000 caterpillars are needed to feed the 9 – 11 great tit chicks from hatching to fledging.
- To help her decide when to lay her eggs it is thought the female uses temperature, length of day and possibly the emergence of the tree leaf buds as she has been seen closely inspecting them and even tasting them.
We welcomed a new walker, Dawn, today as eleven of us set off in overcast warm and clammy weather. The recent rain left all the vegetation overgrown and wet but we enjoyed the Portway path through to the fields before Souldern and walked across to the path that comes out by Souldern Manor. On the way down Wharf Lane a very large Milk Tanker approached. It took up the whole road and forced us all into the long wet grass. The driver gave us a friendly wave as he eased the tanker past us. Vegetation was again tall along the canal, but we did return cheerful greetings to a couple of canal cruisers before we reached Aynho Wharf. The path back towards the motorway was very muddy in places, after recent rain. We passed under the motorway, encountered more mud and decided not to risk the ford, so took to the field edge round the copse and onto Millers Lane. We climbed the hill in Station Road up to the village and were soon enjoying our coffee and cakes. The walk was 6 miles in just under 2hrs.
On Tuesday 21st June 11 members of Aynho WI met at the Old Flight House for a look round the antique centre and lunch. The Old Flight House is an amazing place. As you walk round one room opens up into another and another. It has a wide range of items for sale from furniture to vintage clothes, books, jewellery, silver, pottery and much. much more. We spent a happy hour browsing with some members buying before finally settling down to a very tasty lunch. A very enjoyable outing.
Given the very vague and patchy weather forecast for today and following yesterday’s torrential downpour, it was very lovely to see 11 walkers turn out for our walk to Foxhill. It was very slippery and muddy underfoot in some places and the recent humid weather conditions which promotes rapid growth meant that we got quite wet in places fighting our way through knee-high grasses and vegetation. We also battled with man-high stinging nettles and dense bushes readily discharging their wet cargo onto us. However, the rain held off and it was lovely being outside amongst the rich greenery and colourful blooms. By the time we were climbing the last hill back up to Aynho we could actually feel the warm air rising in steamy clouds from the field. Once we got back to the pavilion on the sports field, we were able to enjoy Anita’s lunch offers and delicious cakes whilst sitting outside in sparkling sunshine.
In June, member Randall Miles ARPS gave a second presentation entitled ‘Tales of future excursions in the wilds’, in which he explored wildlife and portrait photography at the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the bordering Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Now retired, Randall had responsibility for television lighting in his previous career, and, in a series of prints, he demonstrated his creativity and mastery of various photographic techniques. The presentation comprised three parts. First, he dealt with photographing sunrises, capturing the extraordinary early morning colours on the plains of the Reserve. Then Randall moved on to the difficulties of photographing wild animals from the relative safety of a Land Rover, showing a series of images of lions, wildebeest, elephants, waterbuck, zebras, giraffes, gazelles and impala in their natural habitat. His preference is to enhance the impact of the image by taking portraits of the animals’ heads, with particular emphasis on the eyes, cropping what he sees in the camera to remove any distracting background.
Randall then concluded by showing portraits of the Maasai people in the Serengeti. In order to put his subject at ease, his normal technique is to photograph from a distance of around 25-30 feet, using a telephoto lens, and again cropping severely in the camera to show the face. Randall explained photographing dark skin sometimes fails to bring out the facial features as it is hard to see the shadows. So his normal preference is to move his models to catch the ambient light and to use flash in order to light the eyes. These were two of many tips given in a most interesting and interactive presentation, accompanied by excellent prints, that was much appreciated by his audience.
The next meetings of the Society are on 6 July, when professional photographer Dan Evans will present ‘Lens lore: using the lens for best creative effect’, which will be followed on 3 August by a presentation from the Society’s own ‘Team Namibia’ entitled ‘Tropic of Capricorn and beyond’. Looking further ahead to 7 September, member Andreas Klatt ARPS will be giving an interactive presentation on the subject of ‘Perception’. There are also two Outdoor Workshops on 20 July and 17 August (see web site for details) and an Indoor Workshop on 21st September, led by John Cavana and Dave Govier, on ‘High speed photography: photographing water droplets and water crowns’. All meetings are held at 7.30pm in the Cartwright Hotel, Aynho, apart from the two Outdoor Workshops. Everyone is welcome to attend, just come along, you can be assured of a warm welcome.
Twelve of us set out today on a perfect summer’s day. We walked down Green Lane, extracted ourselves from the medium walkers who were following the same path before turning off to head for Rainsborough Camp, and continued down to Lower Walton grounds. As last week, we crossed the stream and continued through the field up to the copse at the top of the ridge. It was a little muddy underfoot after the recent rain, but not a problem. We followed the path diagonally across the field and down into Kings Sutton via College Lane. The Green looked lovely in the sunshine. It had been recently mowed and was completely free of litter. Past the memorial Hall and down the narrow path to the far side of the village soon brought us to the new housing estates and the furthest point from home. We took the field alongside the railway and came out onto the Aynho road which we crossed. The path across to the sewage works was clear and gave a marvelous view of the church if you looked back. From here we continued across fields to Lower Walton grounds and climbed the hill back to Aynho. Kay was running the Pavilion cafe today and the refreshments couldn’t have been better after the hill climb in the warm sun. The Kings Sutton Loop is 6 miles.
CARTWRIGHT ARCHIVE EXHIBITION is coming to AYNHO – Sunday JUNE 5th
Please come and see this free Exhibition all day during Sunday June 5th.
I have hired the Village Hall from 10.0am until 8.0pm to display exhibits from the Cartwright Archive depicting all sorts of aspects of the Cartwright family and village life during the 340 years that they were in charge of Aynhoe.
You may have seen a part of the Exhibition in May 2013, but it was quite busy on that day, and you may not have been able to examine it properly. It is now much bigger and better that it was then as I have been to Northamptonshire Records Office several times and copied more item from the Archive.
If you have not seen it before, you will be amazed by the things that the Cartwrights did and the records and documents that they kept between 1615 and 1954.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday June 5th when I shall on hand to hopefully answer any questions you may have.
Peter Cole, Secretary Aynho History Society & Trustee of the Cartwright of Aynho Archive Trust.
Bodicote Circular Walk – 3 miles
Thirteen walkers set off down Green Lane today under heavy cloud and in a strong chilly breeze. As we reached the bottom of the valley we continued across the bridge over the stream and followed the track round to the cottages. We carried on across the fields up to the copse where there is always plenty of mud, and down the far side towards Kings Sutton, but turned sharply back across the next field up to the badger setts. On this part of the walk we saw a partridge, a pheasant and a skylark. Most of the crop in all the fields seemed to be barley with a few wild oats scattered about. From the top of the ridge low cloud reduced the view back over Banbury, Deddington and Adderbury, but we could see across to Rainsborough Camp. We continued towards Charlton along the strange curving path through the barley until we reached the old stone pits above Charlton. here we passed through a field of buttercups, although they were not as striking as last year. As we walked down through Charlton village the sun made a brave attempt to emerge from the cloud cover. The cloud won though, and was back to its dull cover as we climbed up through the fields to Rainsborough Camp. We skirted along the bottom of the camp field and took the path up to the ridge back to Green Lane and on to the sports field and the pavilion for the usual welcome refreshments.