Friday, 19 August 2011

Cheaper by the Dozen

My husband's grandfather was a big and canny farmer - big man with big ideas. One day he returned home from Newmarket with a gross of screwdrivers, announcing proudly "they're cheaper by the dozen" - that was 124 screwdrivers! Maybe I follow in his (large) footsteps because I've always loved buying by the gross, things that are small, cheap and unusual. I like to be the sole owner of something very attractive, queer and well under £5, that will bring people, even children, to my stall at a Fair. My best wholesale venture was to invest about £90 in a small warehouse full of pre-war pill boxes, red for dangerous medicine, and a beautiful collection of glass reels for holding surgeon's sutures and a lot of other medical paraphenalia in fine glass - atomisers, and pumps, etc. I had a stall in a stately home near Cambridge, and to my delight found that these all intrigued the many doctors and nurses from that area - especially Addenbrook's, a training hospital nearby. The little pill boxes I sold by the dozen, for dolls house hat boxes and many went to jewellers for rings and earings. Some went to children for the tooth fairy! The lovely glass reels and thread winders in 5 different sizes and many different colours (colour coded for speedy sorting in very pre-war operating theatres) went to embroiderers and crafts people and especially to fly-fishing experts. I actually met some retired nurses who remembered using these charming obsolete things. Alas! I sold every last one so have none to illustrate!

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