Sunday, 7 April 2013


Unused hemp grain sacks from the Ukraine  £45 each
    After marriage in the late 40s, I found everything was either on coupons or in short supply and like many, turned to the local auction rooms and the 'Exchange and Mart' weekly, which was, I suppose, a bit like a printed EBay;  both were good sources for second hand goods useful for young couples setting up homes to bring up a family.   My local surplus store, the Rag, Sack and Bag Co in Bishops Stortford, usually had a gloomy and depressing collection of  containers, buckets, barrels, tins and tanks,  all at very low prices.   On one visit, I spied some attractive strong baskets I was told had been used for carrying building materials off a ship in a foreign port, on the heads of the porters!    I bought a couple and also some hessian feed sacks, and I used these to line the baskets for logs for our open fires,  Coal was rationed and poor quality and everyone knew someone with a fallen tree!  My log baskets were a great success.   As there were masses of baskets still lying around I suddenly felt inspired on a later visit, and bought 20 of them in a lot!  I advertised in a country gentleman's magazine and soon had enough orders to sell the lot and make a reasonable profit.    This was probably my first textile sale and I am not ashamed to tell you that my last sale will probably be more sacks - I am selling 20 Ukrainian grain sacks at the forthcoming Rag Market on May 19th, here in Bradford on Avon.  They will end up on chairs, seats and cushions unless you feel like creating a new log basket!  I feel these sacks are \at the other end of Russian exports, rather different to the dazzling diamonds in my last Blog, but both have their uses and are well crafted!

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