My Grandmother was born in British Honduras in 1858. Her father was a young Scottish lawyer attached to the Supreme Court in Belize and her mother the daughter of an English couple who had arrived to take up a government appointment and then made the colony their home
Granny’s life was to be very unusual but also very sad. Both her parents died when she was very young. Granny and her two brothers were sent by their maternal aunt in a sailing ship to Scotland, Granny to her father’s sister, the boys to an uncle. Her aunt was married to a well-to-do businessman and had eleven children of her own, so Granny grew up with her eleven cousins. I loved her anecdotes about annoying the governess by sitting down suddenly and bouncing up her crinoline. Later she attended finishing school in Germany, which turned out to be very fortunate as her fluency in German was to come in very useful later on.
Being a very independent young woman when she grew up Granny decided to return to Belize, where she lodged with the Presbyterian Minister and his wife, playing the organ in the Kirk to earn her keep, and opened a Dame School.
Romance now entered Granny’s life. At a ball at Government House, she met a young German businessman who had recently arrived in the Colony. It was love at first sight and it must have seemed wonderful to my Grandfather that Granny was able to speak his language. They married and had seven children but sadly two little girls died in infancy. Granny also lost a bright little five-year-old son, who suffered from congenital rickets. My grandparents took him to specialists in Germany but there was no available treatment. Granny was devastated.
By this time her two eldest children were at boarding school in Minnesota while my Mother and her older brother Max were growing up in Belize. Max was a highly intelligent, mischievous little boy. My Mother was just as naughty. Granny was a great disciplinarian and I used to love hearing about all the scrapes those two got into, often in small boats, and how they managed to escape the consequences.
Time passed. My Mother’s older sister married a young Scot and produced four grandchildren but not long after that my Grandfather died suddenly from angina – another terrible blow for Granny.
In due course my Uncle Ernest married as did my Mother. Uncle Ernest carried on the family business in Belize but my father was in the Colonial Service and he and my Mother were posted to Trinidad. Max, after graduating from university as a Mining Engineer came home and married the younger sister of Aunt Gladys’s husband. After honeymooning at St. George’s Caye the couple left for Wyoming where Max had a job awaiting him. Six weeks later Max was killed in an explosion.. He had been greatly loved by everyone and what Granny must have suffered is unimaginable.
I remember her as bright, interested in everything and always supportive and affectionate to me. She revelled in my modest achievements and was convinced that I was “the best” in every possible way.
For all of us who grew up in Belize our happiest memories are always about the Caye and Granny loved it too. Every year we spent the month of May on the island. First thing in the morning the hired motorboat would arrive at our wharf. Men from my uncle’s lunmberyard would carry all our possessions up from the house to be loaded on board. These included everything from bedding and clothes to a month’s food supplies, not to mention crates of clucking chickens and quacking ducks and of course our parrot in his large cage.
Lastly and most memorably would come Granny, borne aloft by two lunmbermen in a small basketwork chair escorted by the maid and the cook. Finally, with everything and everyone safely aboard, I would row my skiff round and tie her to the stern, the engine would start and we would be off.
Granny lived to be 94, alert and interested to the very end. A true pioneer.
By Barbara Harris
Douglas gave our April meeting a rousing start by playing the 2nd Movement from Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony, having first described the tribulations of the composer in the USSR at the time of its writing. Beethoven’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra No 2 then followed before we heard Katherine Jenkins perform Puccini’s “One Fine Day” from his opera “Madame Butterfly”. Beethoven’s lively Rondo A Capriccio for piano was played by Alfred Brendel before we “went to Scandinavia” to hear the 3rd Movement from Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, Halvorsen’s Norwegian Dances and the 2nd Movement from Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The first half of the evening then concluded in a more modern relaxed style with Vera Lynn singing “White Cliffs of Dover” and Glen Miller getting us “In the Mood” for our interval refreshments. In the second half we watched the Amati Chamber Orchestra play Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Serenata Notturna. Thank you Douglas for an entertaining evening. We look forward to May’s meeting when we can each bring a CD with a selected track and “raffle” which ones to play.
Contact: Bob Mann 810264
We invite you along for another evening to enjoy your village church, even if church services aren’t your thing. Everyone is invited to join other villagers at St Michael’s Church when the chip van comes to Aynho on Monday, 22nd May, calling at the church at 6:50pm. Bring your chips into the church where we will have tables and chairs and a warm welcome for a sociable evening. Please bring a fork (or your fingers!) and we’ll provide salt, vinegar, ketchup & tea/coffee. Please phone Liz Short on 01869 810180 with your order by 12 noon on the day and they will be wrapped ready for you to pay and collect at the church. I have a menu and price list. (New prices this time.) Or just come along to the church and order at the van. Everyone Welcome
Nineteen walkers and only three dogs joined the long walk today. We set out in warm sunshine aware of rain in the forecast. Through the Black Path, the Square and Station Road to Millers Lane. There were more white deer than we’d noticed before and they were beginning to mingle with the brown deer. There was some discussion as to whether they crossed the colour boundary to mate. No definitive answers forthcoming. Time will tell. The ford was completely dry so we walked across and up into Souldern before turning right and walking a short distance to the stile and path that curves round behind Souldern Manor. Three friendly horses wearing their coats greeted us. We continued over the fields to the far side of the village and took the track, amazingly dry, up to Nancy Bowles wood. We turned left, passed under a natural arch and faced the group of friends in the field ahead. two alpacas, a pony and a rather large sheep. They glanced up briefly and continued their grazing. The path continued with the animals behind a tall hedge through which a deer appeared and leapt over the wire and careered off down the road towards Fritwell. We emerged onto the road and turned back towards Souldern. It had now clouded over and was spitting rain in the wind. Back in the village the pond and willow tree looked very attractive with the fresh green foliage reflected in the water, at least that part not disturbed by Phil’s dog, Bandit, who can never resist water. We continued past the church towards the Portway path and were back at the pavilion in good time for refreshments. Five and half miles enjoyed by all.
Run by and proceeds to Newbottle & Charlton School PTFA
Tickets: Adult £10 Child £6
can be purchased from:
Keith – Charlton P.O & Shop.
School Office, Green Lane, Charlton.
Laura Reichert: 01869 810961
Liz Short: 01869 810180
Cash or cheque (payable to Newbottle & Charlton School PTFA. The ticket includes food prepared by The Great Western & dancing to the renowned Apricot Pie. Tuck shop & drinks (alcoholic/non-alcoholic) on sale – also ice cream! Raffle tickets £2 a strip – variety of fabulous prizes available.
Fifteen walkers set off down Portway and through the tunnel . Drizzle was in the air, but there was very little wind, so it was quite pleasant walking weather. We overtook the medium walkers and followed the path downhill along the field edge. Even the lower end of the field was bone dry. We continued towards Souldern but branched off and climbed up to the B4100 which we crossed with care. As we walked towards Upper Aynho Grounds buildings a heavy truck came towards us, but caused no problems. We had permission to walk along by the lakes. There was one angler there on the verge of a successful catch, but the most pleasing sight was the swan sitting on her nest on the island. She will appear in lots of photos. We continued out to the bridleway and then up through the Warren Farm woods and across to Mill Lane in Croughton. As we approached the church two horses approached us hopefully. We crossed the churchyard and then the road and walked up Wheelers Rise. The path then crossed the fields to the single track lane from the Charlton Road where we turned right and took the path that brought us out to Camp Farm. We skirted the camp and took the track along the ridge to Green Lane and back to the pavilion for a chat and refreshments.
The 2017 Annual Village Meeting will be held on Monday 24-April at the Village Hall and starting at 7.30pm.
Hosted by the Parish Council the meeting is your opportunity to hear many of the things that the Parish, District and County councils have been doing during the past 12-months, including the results of the recent residents Parking survey and what we’ve done as a result.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Using the link below you can download a copy of the agenda for the meeting or a copy of the Annual Village Report.
Copies of both will be delivered to your letterbox ahead of the meeting.
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Click here to see the featured photograph by Paul Brewerton.
This month’s club night on the 5th April started with the all important A.G.M. at the Cartwright Hotel, Aynho. The Chairman, Richard Broadbent, opened the meeting, the minutes of the last meeting were accepted and passed. The chairman stated that the club has had a successful year, with the total membership at a steady 51 members, with five new members replacing the five who had left the district. Our annual exhibitions held in 2016 were very well received and this has helped to establish the society as a recognised part of the local community. The treasurer, Martin Pearse, presented the audited annual accounts to March 2017, declaring the club was in a sound financial position and the annual subscription would remain at £30. A vote of thanks to The Cartwright Hotel was passed for allowing the club regular use of the Apricot Room. Retiring committee members this year are Wendy Meagher, secretary; Richard Broadbent, chairman; Brenda Difford, social events; Gail Girvan, workshops. Gail will continue as Facebook administrator. The meeting elected John Prentice as new chairman, the position of secretary being vacant. The club monthly programme has been further extended during the past year by establishing a special interest group. The new critique circle is proving to be successful and rewarding. The critique circle meets on the third Tuesday of the month at The Hollybush Clubhouse in Deddington. Members bring along a print for their colleagues to criticise, comment or advise upon, thereby improving our photographic knowledge and skills. There being no further business the Chairman then declared the AGM closed.
Normal club night then continued with a friendly “What is it” competition composed from the members own submitted ingenious photographs, often taken from strange angles. The usual monthly challenge followed. This month’s topic was “Cemeteries and Monuments”. This topic produced many well composed pictures, and amusing interpretations of the subject. Next month’s meeting on 3rd May will host the presentation titled “Astrophotography” by Mary Spicer and promises to be an interesting evening. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Paul Brewerton www.addphoto.co.uk
Record numbers joined the long walk today including the rector, Simon and his wife Heather and another new walker, Peter. So twenty of us set off on the Kings Sutton Loop. We were delighted to see how much Green Lane had dried out during the week and this proved true of all the paths. We continued past Lower Walton Grounds farm buildings and over the footbridge. Once past the cottages we took the path along side them and into the fields. The rape seed had grown and flowered so much more than a week ago. The path that crossed the next field diagonally up to the copse was not reinstated and nor was the one that led down the next field. We took the field edge until we reached the route that many local dog walkers use and crossed from there to the path into College Lane and Kings Sutton village centre. We wound through the village and the new housing estates and emerged by the station. From there we climbed the path up to the field usually populated by sheep, followed the edge until the gate onto the track which emerges onto the Aynho Road. By now we were really quite hot in the bright sunshine. We crossed the rape field towards the sewage works turning to catch the wonderful view of the church spire rising above the yellow rape seed. We crossed more fields to reach Lower Walton Grounds again and continued across newly ploughed fields up to the Charlton Road and back to the pavilion. We were certainly ready for a drink and a sit. Just over 6 miles in 1hr 50mins.