Kiss me quick
ISUSPECT that the origin of kissing gates goes further back than suggested in Steven Desmond’s excellent article ( July 27). The only enclosed ground in the countryside used, long ago, to be the churchyard. This was the only place poisonous yew trees could be grown for bows and so the defence of the realm. The kissing gate ensured that, however hapless visitors might be, the entrance could not be left open to allow livestock to get in and be poisoned.
The gate ‘kissed’ the fence at either side perhaps? The couples of the day naturally took whatever opportunities the gates presented— and still do!
I would like to know what your readers can offer for the origin of the naming of the ha-ha. I was walking with some semi-urban friends past a great house with a sweeping lawn and a ha-ha and I told them that it is so called because, if someone ran in ignorance across the lawn and fell over, the onlookers would all laugh ‘ha ha’. They didn’t believe me. Could I have been right? David Whitaker, Edinburgh