Today I learned that Jack and Jill may have been real because Jack fell down a hill in the town of Kilmersdon, Somerset. Jack may have been hit in the head by a stray rock from a nearby quarry. Jill was his pregnant wife who soon gave birth to a son. Jill was so distraught after Jack’s death by rock, that she killed herself. Their poor boy was left for the villagers to bring up. He became known as Gilson. It seems that this is a very common name in Kilmersdon. Which maybe responsible for the story and the nursery rhyme. Who knows?
This was not the only unbelievable story I heard today.
The reason I found out about Jack and Jill was because we drove through Kilmersdon on the way to visit Sophie and Tom. Not that we stopped in the village. I would have rather liked to have visited the pub but we had other fish to fry.
Instead of a pub, we visited the amazing Iford Manor Gardens near Bradford on Avon.
The gardens were created by Harold Ainsworth Peto at the beginning of the 20th century. He was a great creator of gardens, having worked under William Robinson, the so-called Father of Gardening. Ironically, Peto worked at Gravetye Manor where we’re going for our anniversary dinner this year. Obviously, we’ll visit the gardens.
Peto lived and worked at Iford Manor for many years, creating the beginnings of the masterpiece that we saw today. Of course, like all of these historic gardens, it went to rack and ruin and was rediscovered after the Second World War. Iford was found again and restored by the current owners, the Cartwright-Hignett family.
And what a brilliant job they’ve done.
In among great swathes of wild garlic, there is a disconnected cloister (above), an Italian garden which could have come straight from Florence, a delightful little Japanese garden, a magnificent and comfortable lawn, just so many different ‘rooms’.
I’ve seen a lot of gardens around the world but this, unexpectedly, would have to be one of my favourites. Best of all was the fact that it’s a manageable size. We easily and slowly roamed around the entire place in a few hours.
Of course, there’s a splendid cafe (and restaurant, which we didn’t visit), perfect to bolster the garden visitor before and after a visit.
We both thoroughly enjoyed visiting the garden and will probably go again to see it in different seasons. I know I always write that but sometimes we actually do. And there’s to be a special jazz festival at Iford which Mirinda is very keen on attending. So, you never, never know.
After checking in and sitting around relaxing for a bit, we headed over to Sophie’s place for a lovely three course dinner. It was during dinner that I heard my second unbelievable thing today.
According to Tom, his school insists that students mark in purple pen. If they mark in any other colour, they get a punishment consisting of various amounts of time in detention (10 minutes, 20 minutes, etc).
Ignoring the fact that marking in purple pen is hardly very good when the writing is in black or blue ink, I can’t see how this improves a child’s education. Or teaches them anything apart from the fact that individuality is a punishable offence.
Mind you, I have found a few articles that claim that marking in red is seen as too aggressive. How pathetic has this world become? Perhaps they’ll be changing traffic light colours soon. Maybe they’ll all be green because that’s less aggressive.
Okay, we don’t have kids and have not had to put up with this sort of Draconian nonsense and maybe that’s why it still seems particularly stupid…I don’t know. I’m very glad we didn’t have these sort of controls over us when I was at school. Actually, given where I went to school, they wouldn’t have worked.
While the concept is stupid and unnecessarily cruel, it did spark some lively conversation and a chance to find out how Tom is doing in school and his exam revision.
All in all, it was an excellent day, even given the ink issue.