Daily Archives: January 13, 2008

For Red Mum

Red Mum wrote about the difficulty of carrying large cumbersome purchases around busy shopping areas by hand. Nowadays shopping and goods are supposed to go magically into standard sized plastic bags. It is surprising how often that the larger the bag the weaker the handle.

Way back when Ya-di-da-di-da…

Well it was way back when I was a slip of a thing and growing up in Dublin. Everything you bought from 5 rolls of wallpaper, a pair of blankets, or a pair of shoes, to a fur coat (no I didn’t, but I did refuse a mink coat once!), they were always wrapped in strong brown paper and tied with string. Where do you think we old folk learned to wrap a neat parcel?

When we got home the parcel was unwrapped, the string rolled up and saved and the paper folded, for reuse to back school books* or to make a dress pattern. The string was always useful, for tying other parcels or with a weight attached it made a useful plumb line.

So back to tying the parcels…

When they were carefully wrapped in paper, the string was tied securely around the parcel lengthwise with a strong knot positioned about 1/3 of the way along the long side. The string was then taken over the top and back of the parcel and looped around the string at the back then on down under the parcel and back to the knot at the front. Leave no slack and knot it again around a T bar this time. Bring the line of string along the first string about another 1/3 of the way and loop and tie it. Again bring the string over the top and back of the parcel as before and loop it again, taking it on down and round to the front once more. Secure at the knot above and then take it back to the first knot, and secure with a final knot and trim end. You will note a double string in the middle and this can be used as a strong handle.

Now for the Grannymar special. I have my uses!!!!

You have heard me talk of my days living in Germany way back in the early 70’s. During my first week there I bought a duvet and it came in a cardboard box. This box was wrapped in brown paper and tied as I described above. The sales assistant was a pleasure to watch as he swiftly completed his task. Setting the parcel on the counter, keeping one hand on it he bent down and from some secret compartment he produced a little wooden handle which he attached. It was wonderful! I had no numb fingers from loss of blood supply, and my arms were not aching from trying to hold an awkward package up at elbow level.German Carry handle

I still have that wooden handle 36 years later and it has well served its time. The wood is worn at the edges and the wire replaced. I used part of a metal coat hanger for this purpose and my metal turning skills would never win prizes but it works! I have made several handles since using bamboo and the coat hanger wire.

carry handle DSCF1995

If you attempt to make some from bamboo choose a smooth piece as the ridge marks hurt the hands when carrying a heavy load. Also remember to file the cut edges of the wire or it might catch and tear the skin or fabrics of clothing while on the move.

Now I will expect to see your handiwork very soon. 😉

* When we were at school all school text and copy books had to be covered in brown paper to keep them clean. We then had to write our names and the title of the book on the new cover.