People in the UK spend twice as much on bird food than those on mainland Europe and this may have resulted in the British great tits developing longer beaks.  Oxford University, who have been studying great tits in Wytham Woods near Oxford for 70 years, have been collaborating with researchers at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the universities of Wageningen, Sheffield, Exeter and East Anglia.  They found that since the 1970s the UK great tits have developed longer beaks than their relatives in the Netherlands suggesting that natural selection is at work.  Further research into great tits with longer beaks found they visited bird feeders more often than birds with shorter beaks, they were in better condition and more successful at reproducing.  Dr Lewis Spurgin, of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia says “Although we can’t say definitively that bird feeders are responsible, it seems reasonable to suggest that the longer beaks amongst British great tits may have evolved as a response to this supplementary feeding.” What gives the birds with the longer beaks the advantage?  Maybe they can access food in the feeders more easily or maybe as Dr Spurgin speculated “it could be that they don’t drop seeds when they’re carrying them away.”

Aynho Long Walk 11th January 2018

Sixteen walkers set out from the pavilion this morning in damp overcast weather. We passed through the village and down Station Road to Millers Lane, and from the end of the tarmac we followed the long stone wall all the way through to the last stretch of the lane up to Souldern. They continued on the usual route up to Foxhill and the alpaca field but because of my recent injury I returned to Aynho. I was certainly fit enough to rejoin all the walkers for the lunch at the Cartwright Hotel where we celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Aynho Health Walks. This had been organised by Kathy White and we all enjoyed the friendly, efficient service and the lovely food that the staff provided. A fitting way to celebrate our six years of walks.

Photographic Society: January 2018 Report

Click here to see the complete photograph.  Frosty Morning by Maureen

On 3rd January our first meeting of the year was very well attended. Over thirty members were present at The Cartwright Arms Hotel Aynho, and three additional guests also joined us for the evening.
The theme of the meeting was our “Best Three of 2017”. Members were asked to select and display their best three images (or their three favourite images) taken during the last year, and comment upon them saying where ,when and how they were taken, or explain what made the image one of their favourites. Martyn Pearse presented each submission of three images, and then invited the author to speak about them. Members then also contributed helpful constructive critique from the floor on each image, which often included plenty of friendly humorous banter. After a refreshment break half way through, the meeting continued. Most of the thirty plus members present had contributed some images. There was a very full evening program of excellent enjoyable and instructive photographs on a wide variety of subjects, which varied from portraits through to architecture, landscapes, macro and abstracts, with no shortage of imagination and creativity from the authors.
Our next club meeting is on the seventh of February at 7:30pm in The Cartwright Hotel, when Jim Muller will present a portfolio of images from a recent USA visit. All are welcome to attend.
Next months topic is “Anything Indoors” (open to your own interpretation).

Paul Brewerton,

History Society Programme of Events 2018

Wednesday 31st January 2018 The life and music of the father of British Traditional Jazz, Chris Barber. The life and music of the father of British Traditional Jazz, Chris Barber.    A talk by Peter Cole which will include example tracks showing the various stages of Chris Barber’s development.
Wednesday 28th February Morris and Mumming – a short history the good the bad and the ugly Rev Simon Dommett will draw from his own experience of 40 years of Morris and Mumming and explore the role and place of mumming in our English folk history including references to our local traditions.  His talk will include lots of video clips.
Wednesday 28th March The Hidden Village.
It is wartime Holland who can you trust?
 Imogen Matthews, whose mother is Dutch, has explored the Veluwe Woods and the village hidden deep within built to protect those persecuted by the occupying German forces.
 Wednesday 25th April The Portway Path,  the ancient Porters way which ran through our village of Aynho.  It was walked many hundreds of years before the Romans came to Britain and probably ran from Southampton Water north all the way to York,  with maybe a spur running to the lead mines of Derbyshire.  A presentation by Bob Hunter.


History Society – The Life and Music of Chris Barber

A talk by Peter Cole on ‘The life (so far) and music of the father of British Traditional Jazz, Chris Barber’ (including example tracks showing the various stages of his development.

For those of you whose early recollection of him is from the 1950s and 60s, you are in for a real treat.  For the last 16 years he has combined with Bob Hunt and his Ellingtonians, so his early band of 7 or 8 players now numbers 11.  Most of them can play two instruments so Chris can now have any combination of 2 trombones, 3 trumpets, 3 clarinets, 3 saxophones and 2 bass players in addition to electric guitar, banjo and drums.  This all makes for great sounds.  Please come along and enjoy.
Everyone is welcome.

Aynho Village Hall  7.30pm Wednesday 31st January

  Entry £2

Any queries to Peter Cole 01869 811261.  If he is not available please leave a message on the answerphone and he will get back to you as soon as possible.


Rector’s Ramblings January 2018

Happy New Year to all our Readers and many grateful thanks for all the help and support that has been given this past year.  Many thanks as well to our News Letter Editors printers and distributors.

As Brexit rumbles on we turn our thoughts to the year ahead.  For any organisation to flourish it needs a structure and that is as true for the church as any other.  In your local church there is the Rector or priest with spiritual and legal responsibilities. Then there are two church wardens, they are not only responsible for the fabric of the local church but as channels of communication between the church people they represent and the priest.  They hold important posts for the smooth running of the church.  They are elected each year by the congregation from the church members and by the church members whose names are on the church electoral role. Elections take place in April, but with Easter on 1st April (yes it isn’t a joke) the congregations need to start thinking about who they want to represent them in the coming year now.  Under the church wardens there is the Parochial Church Council which is a group of people elected by the congregation to help in the running of the church and to represent their wishes. They serve for three years and each year a third of their number is elected. Elections take place at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) before the end of April.

I hope many people will take the opportunity to thank the wardens and PCC members for all they have done this past year and consider if God may be calling you to this role in 2018.

This summer I hope that I might take a three month sabbatical or study leave from the Benefice.  Priests are encouraged every seven years to take some time out for self nourishment and study.  At the moment I have permission from our Bishop to take this leave and I am very grateful to the ministry team to help cover the services while I am away so services will continue as usual.  I am awaiting some funding grants and trying to plan who might look after our dog some of the time, as I hope Heather will be able to come with me as well.  On my previous sabbatical I studied pilgrimages from a pilgrims perspective and have been involves in some way with they ever since.  This time I want to explore the effect of pilgrims on the places they visit, both in a religious and non religious context, i.e how has say Lourdes been effected by pilgrims and how have communities in Germany and Poland been effected by those visiting the concentration camp memorials.

Our own churches in their own way are places of pilgrimage, places where people go to find God and visitors can effect those who work and worship there.  I hope to confirm shortly if this will all go ahead.

Cheese and wine with Miss Jones

Please join us at the Old Rectory Hinton-in-the-Hedges on the 28th January 12pm-2.30pm and listen to the Fabulous Miss Jones, Jazz Vocalist. Cheese and Wine and other fine foods will be served.

Tickets £10 (includes one glass of Wine) All proceeds raised go to The Most Holy Trinity Church, Hinton.

Tickets available from: Jeremy- 01280 840017  or Kaye – 07720325979

PAC ~ Praise Activity and Cake

4pm-5pm on Sunday 7th January at Croughton Reading Rooms.

Come and celebrate the Epiphany or the coming of the three kings as we start the New Year with new Sunday family afternoon time.    Enjoy some singing, crafts and cake in the centrally heated  Reading Rooms, parking available behind the venue.          Next to the Black Bird Public house.

Croughton Christmas Tree Festival

My many thanks to all who helped in any way to make our first Christmas Tree festival such a great success. With special thanks to CT Walters Electrical and Mid Counties Co-op for their sponsorship.

Future Dates for your Diaries

4th     February   PAC 4pm Croughton                        12th  February-Lent Bible study starts

13th  February Pancakes at the Rectory, Aynho

4th     March PAC 4pm Croughton                               11th  March-Mothering Sunday

25th  March-Palm Sunday                                           29th  March-Maundy Meal

1st    April-Easter

22nd April-St. George Evenley Patronal Festival

29th April-Joint Service with USAF and Shared lunch