Seven walkers set off today on the last walk of the year and what a lovely walk it was. The sunshine was eating up the frost as we strode out down Green Lane to Lower Walton Grounds. We crossed the stream and continued up the track and out to the tarred road and turned to the narrow path past the end cottage and into the fields. The path up to the copse was not restored but we took it anyway and emerged into unharrowed chunky frosted lumps of soil in the next two fields. Up on the ridge the views were stunning in the sunlight. back across to Kings Sutton and Banbury, and forward to Rainsborough camp right round to Deddington Church. The path that curved round the copse and returned us to the ridge passed through the stiffened stubble of a field as yet unploughed from its Autumn crop. We soon reached the disused Stone pits and continued into Charlton. The village looked at its best in the sunlight as we walked all the way through and down to the stream before turning off the road and walking up to Rainsborough and on to Green Lane and home. No Anita this week and no coffee or cakes. She’ll be back next week.
Festive greetings to all Aynho residents and visitors from Aynho Parish Council.
“Good morning, Master. I trust our punctuality has not unnerved you.”
Suddenly they were there: Rawdon’s voice, disingenuous as ever, and George, with his seafaring second. A young lad from the grounds at Nankilly accompanied Rawdon.
“Thank you for your concern, Rawdon. I assure you I am fully prepared to defend my honour.” Richard dismounted and approached the boy from Nankilly. “You are to be my second, I take it, young fellow. I am sure you are experienced in such matters.”
“Young Ned is a promising lad, Master Richard. He comes with Mr Galsworthy’s blessing, ain’t that right, lad?”
“He do, Mr Rawdon, Sir. He do so wish me well of it, Sir.” Ned looked down in confusion.
George Trewarren and his boy surveyed the clearing. George had recognised in the lad a sound character behind the fear and had given him care and protection in the early months of pressed service. Back in commission as the French posed a renewed threat, he had ensured the boy was in his crew. At barely twelve years the lad would have given his life for his master. Now George used the opportunity to instruct him in close inspection of the lie of the land as they strolled the length of the clearing, heads close together, boy nodding repeatedly, as young Ned stared, mouth open, and Richard thought again of the martyred king’s second shirt.
Rawdon had taken a small wooden table from his saddle bag and set it at the centre of the clearing. As he limped towards it with a wooden case, he called the seconds to him. He released the ornamental catch and opened the polished walnut lid. Ned’s mouth opened wider. Two identical pistols, each curved into its own compartment, lay neatly in the velvet-lined box. Two stubby cow horns filled with powder and two black lead balls lay in boxes between the pistols.
“Wogdons,” said Rawdon, “five years old, unused, kept dry. They are single-shot flintlocks. Choose your weapon; they are the exact same, one to the other.”
George’s boy leaned forward and reached for the furthest one against the hinge. He turned and felt it in his hand, balancing its weight. Ned continued gawping until further prompted when he reached awkwardly into the box, lifted the remaining pistol by the barrel, narrowly managing to avoid dropping it. Richard and George stood a little aloof, not catching each other’s eye.
“Now lad, tell me, what do you notice about the barrel?”
“Smooth barrelled, Sir. Will take a good shot to hit with this, Sir.” The boy held the barrel toward him and looked down it, one eye closed.
“Your’n’ be the same, lad?” Rawdon watched Ned follow the boy’s example.
“I do think so, Sir, I do.”
“Now each take the powder horn in turn, ram the powder down even and hard. That’s it; load the balls.” Rawdon watched them carefully. “Now lay them down one each side and withdraw.”
“Gentlemen, approach the table if ye please.” Both men approached with slow strides, heads high, avoiding each other’s gaze. “I not be knowing if ye gentles be familiarised with these here Wogdons?” Neither gave any indication. “Then I do mind ye there be but one lead ball in each, but it be a mighty big’un and could take a man’s arm off, if aimed aright, or should I say awrong, gentles?” His sickly smile pleased neither cousin. “I shall ask ye both to stand back to back right level with this table. I s’ll count ye through ten paces. When I have spoke the tenth, ye shall turn and fire in yer own time, remembering yer weapons will add a jot of time the selves afore they discharge. Is all clear, gentles?” Both nodded.
“Very well, gentles, take your places, hold your pistols facing up and plain to see. Seconds! Stand ye clear ‘til both shots be discharged. After, attend any wound in your master.” The seconds retreated to the edge of the trees.
“May he whose honour be sullied be avenged. Gentles, are you set? Then let us count down the paces.”
As the count reached ten both men turned. A quiver ran down Richard’s arm as he saw George had already turned and aimed. He raised his pistol, the quiver setting the trigger finger in motion, so that his belated pose pretended to aim at George’s heart. A small puff of smoke from George’s pistol caused Richard to fall to his knees, the crack that followed sent the half inch of lead through his riding boot, gouging through the flesh and muscle of his calf and on into the scrub beyond. He screamed in pain, as his own bullet lodged in a tree away to the left of his prey at thrice the height of a man.
“Ensure his wound is cared for Rawdon. It is nought but a scratch, I fancy. Twas not my intention to harm him more. Inform Miss Sophia, if you will, Rawdon, and good day to you. Come, lad.” George placed the weapon on the table, mounted his horse with the boy in front and rode off towards the port. Rawdon turned towards Richard. Ned was bent over him, struggling to remove the blood-filled boot. Richard lay on his back moaning softly. He screamed again as a sudden shaft of pain shot through his leg. Ned fell back, clutching the boot in triumph.
“I am not one of your cows, you clod!”
“Begging yer pardon, Sir, I has to get the boot off, Sir.”
Rawdon turned away to conceal a smile.
“Can you use the leg at all, Sir? ’Tes likely it will stiffen, Sir, if it stop bleeding. Here boy, staunch the wound with this old saddle cloth. I thought one or other might have such need.”
Sixteen walkers abandoned Christmas shopping to enjoy a walk in beautiful sunshine. We took the Portway path through the tunnel and across the fields to Souldern church. The frost was disappearing as the sun rose and spread its warmth. We continued through the village up towards the B4100 and then along the Fritwell road until the Somerton junction. A sharp turn took us on the the narrow path between the tall hedge on one side and the strongly fenced field on the other. In the field behind the hedge we could eventually see two Llamas, or alpacas, with some horses and sheep. They seemed to be enjoying the sunshine as much as we were. Passing Nancy Bowles wood we descended the track and passed a Christmas celebration display in the garden on the right. From the end of the track we followed the road round to the footpath across to the lane down to the ford. The ford was still dry, with the stream flowing well below road level. As Anita was taking a well-deserved break some of us stopped for a very hospitable coffee and mince pie at the Cartwright Hotel, while others continued to the pavilion where Paula had brought some cake and coffee. Five and a half miles in lovely sunshine.
There is one complete allotment (23mx7m) and half or quarter allotments available on the village allotment site just beyond the sports fields on the Charlton Road. Rent is £5.00 per year for one allotment, £2.50 for half, and £1.25 for the quarter. A water point is going to be provided at the allotment this year; there will be a small service charge for its use which is to be collected in the late summer. Grow your own plentiful supply of veg and flowers. If you are a beginner there are lots of experienced growers on site who can help with advice and suggestions.
If you are interested in a plot or part of a plot for 2017 then ring
Andrew Bellamy on 810847. Give it a try and enjoy the rewards.
We’d really appreciate it if you would support us again this year and your collectors will be round in January to collect your subscription to the Draw of £12 for the whole year. Every month you’ll have a chance of winning a payout (currently £85) and the rest of the money goes towards maintaining the sports pavilion and field. Recently this has paid for new windows in the whole building and security items. If you’d like to pay the £12 by bank transfer the details are
Lloyds Bank Account No. 00467143 Sort Code. 30-11-08 Amount £12
Please make sure you reference your Name/Address and as a double check ring: Rachel Moroney (07801 673354) or Valery Taylor (07982 741968) or email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add you to the list.
Winners for 2016 were:
|January||Lang, The Glebe||February||Long, Portway Gardens|
|March||Spiteri, Blacksmiths Hill||April||Reichert, Cartwright Gardens|
|May||Box, Cartwright Gardens||June||Nichol, The Butts|
|July||Burge, The Hill||August||Brookfield, Portway|
|September||Love, Charlton||October||Greener, Blacksmiths Hill|
|November||Richardson , The Butts||December||Edwards , Portway Gardens|
If you have missed your collector, please contact the Draw Co-ordinator Valerie Taylor West on 01869 819746. It’s getting harder and harder to get the volunteer support to keep this facility going but at least if we have the funds we can pay someone else to do the maintenance. Thank you.
Douglas opened December programme with Winchester Cathedral Choir singing Stainer’s “Come Thou long expected Jesus”, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu” was sung by Petits Chanteurs de Quebec, Baccherini’s popular “Minuet! and the newly established Military Wives Choir heralded Mozart’s “Piano Concerto 24” followed by The Hairy Old Chaps singing “All for me” Elizabeth Schumann sang “Barcarolle” whilst “Love is a Rebellion Bird” from Carmen was performed by Victoria de Los Angelis. The beautiful carol “Once in Royal David’s city” by the Worcester Cathedral Choir and a selection of carols by The New College Choir rounded off the first half.
The second half featured a DVD of the Lodz Chamber Orchestra playing Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute, Harp & Orcherstra”: A wonderful ending to a splendid programme. Many thanks Douglas
. Contact: Bob Mann 810264
Job description for an angel. To be a messenger, care giver, guardian and onlooker. The angel Gabriel is best known for bearing the good news of Jesus’ birth, but before he spoke with Mary, he went to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, (Luke: 1:19). Here he describes himself with the Greek word ‘paristano’ which means ‘stands.’ Gabriel stands in the presence of God waiting to serve. He is God’s servant messenger.
But on the night of Jesus’ birth, the angels have a night off from their usual duties. Why?
Because this night is different: it is a night of joy and celebration; a night when the angels look deeply into the beauty and good news of a promised salvation. The scripture tells us that the field shone with the glory of God when the first angel appeared. This angel of the Lord speaks of ‘good news of great joy’ of a Saviour’s birth and then:
“Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.'” Luke 2: 13-14 (NLT)
This vast host of angels are not the source of the light; they reflect His light. This is their honour: to be a mirror for God’s glory. Paul, in his first letter to Timothy (6:16), describes this light as ‘unapproachable’.
But on this night, the angels help make the unapproachable approachable and they share this shimmering, dazzling, blinding light with shepherds, and, by song and story, with us.
They can’t help themselves. They could not stop if they wanted to. This joyful news is no longer private, once spoken to individuals: Mary and Joseph; Elizabeth and Zacharias, even from God to Gabriel. This message of ‘great joy’ is now publicly sung in a field to a group of shepherds by a vast army of angels. All are bathed in the Lord’s overflowing light and glory which overpowers the darkness. It is boundless; endless; without limits.
Drenched in the light and carried by the song, the shepherds leave their sheep to run and see this promised Saviour in swaddling clothes and they encounter the Light of the World:
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Overflowing with joy, they too can’t help themselves — telling everyone they meet of Jesus’ birth. Like the angels, the shepherds reflect His light to a world in darkness. The light is the message; the message is our gift.
In His season; reflect on Him; reflect His light and ‘Shine like Stars’.
Rector’s Thank You
I would like to thank everybody who has helped to support our churches in the past year in so many different ways, and to wish you all a joyous and Christ filled Christmas with family and friends; and extend a warm invitation to the many Christmas Serviced where we can celebrate together the gift of the Christ Child. I hope too that many families will enjoy inviting the Holy family into their homes with our travelling cribs in the run up to Christmas Happy Christmas one and all Simon
It was a very dull and misty morning but 15 walkers set out down Portway, through the tunnel and into the field. There was a sound of gunshots. At the bottom of the field were an increasing number of hunters and a varied breed of dogs. Clearly the pheasants were in for a tough morning. In the field to the right a stag and his doe approached, paused, took in the situation, thought better of it,turned and ran off into the mist. We were greeted at the bottom of the field by a very cheerful John, but we had to get out of the way as quickly as we could. We crossed the next field and passed over the stream before turning up to the B4100 opposite Upper Aynho Grounds. We crossed the road without mishap and continued through the the grounds and into the woods beyond. We soon reached Croughton churchyard and continued into the village. The road was busy but we continued up past the school and into the field beyond. The path took us all the way to cut throat corner where we skirted round the woods to Camp Farm, and thence along the ridge and back to the pavilion. Just under seven miles. refreshments as welcome as usual.