Euridge Manor Farm
John Robinson’s story is a remarkable one. He was brought up by his widowed mother on a tenanted farm in Worcestershire; beautiful and smart, he got into agricultural college and somehow to Istanbul in the summer doing the ‘overland’ thing with friends in a van. They stopped and filled the van with Afghan coats, turned round and took them to Carnaby Street. He moved on and into jeans, making ‘Loons’ in Wales and befriending Lord Kagan of Gannex fame, intimate of Harold Wilson, who happened to have some sort of monopoly on the importation of denim from the US. His passion though was always farming and, with his first fortune, he bought a farm in Surrey. He made his second fortune in the west, founding Jigsaw in Bristol, having moved with his mother to a new farm, Euridge, ‘ridge with yews’, near Bath. It was ‘a two overcoat farm’, always a few degrees colder than anywhere around, a farmstead high above a distant church, besieged by swallows in summer; it looks like the cover of a 1940s Batsford book about the English countryside. We first met at supper with some antiques dealers who kindly thought we would get on and that there was a chance we might get to help John with his garden. Driving home that night Julian said he was, as usual, bewitched by the girlfriend, Belle, in her fluffy white jumper, but quite unusually enchanted by the farmer from Worcestershire. ‘Who was the farmer?’ I queried. ‘The organic farmer, John Robinson, he was the gentlest, most intelligent, interesting and proper person I have met in ages.’ ‘Oh yes, absolutely,’ I said ‘and I love buying clothes from Jigsaw too.’ John once told me how he loves girls: ‘Because’ he, said head slightly cocked to one side like a Robin redbreast, ‘they just can’t help always wanting to buy something new.’ John has since become a very dear friend.