Where have we been?

Its been almost a year since we last published a post on 2 Bottles of Milk, so where have we been? 

Last Christmas I was so ill that I spent most of Christmas Day in bed asleep and it got me thinking about how hectic our lives were and how we needed to relax and let something rest for a while and that was unfortunately the blog! With everything that Leo had gone through and a new baby, as well as life in general it was the easiest thing to let go and allow more time for all the other stuff that was going on at that point. 

Continue reading “Where have we been?”

Storytime Saturday : Jack and Jill




This month in Storytime Saturday we will be looking at the origins of Jack and Jill.

This is a very well known nursery rhyme and is probably sung by almost every parent who has children, but where did it originate.





Jack and Jill went up the hill,

to fetch a pail of water,

Jack fell down and broke his crown

and Jill came tumbling after.



A popular theory is that the rhyme is about King Louis XVI of France and his deposition and beheading in 1793 and his Queen Marie Antoinette whose head cam tumbling after. However this is unlikely as the first printing of Jack and Jill predates Louis’ deposition and beheading.


There are a few other theories as to its origin. It is thought that it is possible for Jack and Jill to originate in the 13th Century, however there is little evidence to back this up.


jack&jill-1Another popular theory is that Jack and Jill is based on an old Norse myth. The myth talks about the Moon (Mâni), who stole two children from Earth Hjuki and Bil as they collected water from a well. The theory suggests that Hjuki through time and translation would eventually become Jack and Bil would become Jill.



Although there are a number of theories none are able to be confirmed in history and therefore the true origins seem to be lost in time.


Resources Used to write this piece: 




Saturday storytime: Baa Baa Black Sheep!

Baa Baa Black Sheep is a nursery rhyme that we are all probably intimately familiar with, its one of those nursery rhymes that is sung to every child growing up and has been for generations.

Bah, Bah, a black Sheep,
Have you any Wool?
Yes merry I Have,
Three Bags full,
Two for my Master,
One for my Dame,
None for the Little Boy
That cries in the lane

The original version of the rhyme.

We are also all probably familiar with the stories in the news of Nurseries and the like not singing Baa Baa Black Sheep but Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep instead, to avoid offending anyone. However what are the origins of this classic nursery rhyme?

Well according to some it stems back to the slave trade within the Southern United States and during the 1980s was used to further the political correctness cause, however there is no supporting historical fact for this theory. As stated above in more recent years there have been quite public instances of nurseries changing the black to rainbow or even little, in 2006 and 2012 respectively. However these changes haven’t really caught on.

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

A more modern version of the rhyme

So what is the origin of this recently controversial rhyme?

Well the most popular and most likely theory is that the rhyme refers to a protest against a taxation introduced by either Edward I or Edward II.

The story with Edward I goes that he realised the importance of the wool trade and industry to the English Economy and therefore decided that a tax on this trade would be a fantastic opportunity to raise some cash for various coffers, most notably the crowns and the churches.

The story goes that he levied a tax that was split three ways, a third went to the crown, a third went to the church and a third went to the farm owner, meaning that the shepherd by got nothing, this resulted in an increase of black sheep being farmed. White wool is valuable as it can be dyed and used in various applications, where as black wool can not be dyed and is thus almost worthless.

The Edward II story is remarkably similar, the main difference is that Edward II encouraged Flemish weavers to use and refine English wool to a higher finish then English weavers and then taxed them to do so.

One thing is certain however, regardless of which theory is true it certainly looks like that the rhyme Baa Baa Black Sheep has little to do with race relations and a lot to do with taxes.

To read more about Baa Baa Black Sheep follow the links to our sources for this post:

10 Sinister Origins of Nursery Rhymes




storytime saturday : The Grand Old Duke of York

Welcome to our new semi regular feature where we take a look at all things Nursery Rhyme. We all had them sung when we were young and they play a constant role in our lives as we now sing them to our kids and I dare say they will in turn sing them to theirs. We’ve all heard the stories of various nurseries singing ‘Baa, Baa, Rainbow Sheep’ instead of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, but where do our Nursery Rhymes come from and what’s their context.

This time we will be looking at ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’.

Oh, The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.

We all know the how the rhyme goes but where does it come from and how did it come to be?

I have always assumed that the rhyme itself dates back to the War of The Roses between the Lancastrians and the Yorks. That assumption is probably correct, according to Rhymes.org “the origin of the words to ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ are believed to date back to the 15th century and refer mockingly to the defeat of Richard ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ in the War of the Roses”, but where do the words come from?

Sandal Castle

The words are believed to come from a battle that Richard of York had against the Lancastrian Army. That battle is The Battle of Wakefield and took place on the 30th December 1460. During this battle Richard marched his army to Sandal Castle where they took a defensive position against the opposing Lancastrian Army. Sandal Castle is built upon an old Norman fort and stands on a hill which is 33 feet above the original ground level, hence the ‘and he marched them up the hill’ line of the rhyme.

At some point in the battle Richard decided that it would be a good idea to take the fight directly to the Lancastrians and marched them down the hill to fight, his army was overwhelmed and Richard was killed.

View of Flounders from Cassel, France

However Richard Duke of York is not the only candidate for the ‘Duke of York’ featured in the rhyme, other possibilities include James II (who was Duke of York before becoming King) whowho in 1688 marched his troops to Salisbury Plain to resist the invasion from his son-in-law William of Orange, only to retreat and disperse them as his support began to evaporate. Another potential candidate is Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. His one field command of significance was the Flanders Campaign of 1793–4, which resulted in the heavy defeat at the Battle of Tourcoing (1794), followed by his recall to England. Flanders having something of a reputation for being flat, the specific location of the “hill” in the nursery rhyme has been hypothesized to be the town of Cassel which is built on a hill which rises 176 metres (about 570 feet) above the otherwise flat lands of Flanders in northern France.

In fact there is no evidence to link any of the above men to the rhyme beyond the fact that it refers to a ‘Grand Old Duke of York’. However the most likely is Richard Duke of York from the War of the Roses.



Sources used : Rhymes.org & Wikipedia