Monday, 17 November 2014

Trugs, ancient and modern.


                                

Being a Sussex/Surrey border lad, I was brought up with these beautiful Herstmonceux 'trugs'. They were always a part of normal everyday garden life; a staple, as common as the garden gloves and secateurs that they usually contained. 

Traditional Sussex trugs are made from Chestnut for the handle and rim, and 'cricket bat' willow for the body. For those who own them, they are very well loved objects.

                            

Here in France, however, our trugs are more mundane. They are green or brown plastic, and are considered almost as throwaway objects. They soon develop plastic fatigue and fall apart, although I've had the one above for over 20 years (they must have forgotten to add fatigue powder to the plastic mix).

This does not mean that they are not useful. They are used for grape picking, chestnut/walnut gathering, and mushroom hunting. They are to France what the Herstmonceux version is to Sussex. Mine above has a small ring of tape on the handle, to differentiate it from those of others at collective harvesting times.

It's been years since I've owned a pukka Sussex trug; maybe one day I'll treat myself. Ones like the above (top) are true works of art; often copied, never equalled (and also very expensive).



24 comments:

  1. Growing up I thought everyone had a trug (not just Sussex people).

    Luckily, I discovered a maker of trugs at Takaka at the north of the South island. As you say they are not cheap but it was worth every cent..

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    Replies
    1. When we were small (and after) they were just a part of everyday life.

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    2. Yes, I was quite surprised when I discovered that everyone didn't have one.

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  2. I spent all summer looking for a wooden trug so I was thrilled when I found one at ....... the Lumberjack car boot! It wasn't like the Sussex version (I'm a Sussex person) but quite sturdy and well made and only cost me 4 euros. Good job I found it before you did!

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    Replies
    1. So you were the one who deprived me!

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  3. I have a cheap version - more oval shaped - good for displaying veg in for a photo shoot.

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  4. We don't have truss in Australia ~ perhaps you might find them in a trendy garden shop, but certainly not the run of the mill accessory.

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  5. Hello Cro, Being as you seem to balk at the expense perchance you could make your own trug? I'm sure it would be better thought of than one bought....

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  6. We use tractors and trailers in Norfolk.

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    Replies
    1. Your mangel wurzels are bigger than ours!

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  7. Idid not know you have collective harvesting. Must be fun.

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    Replies
    1. Not so much nowadays. Most farmers no longer have vines, although we still do some collective chestnut gathering (for those who don't have machines).

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  8. I'd love to learn to make one. I've never had one but always think they look so useful.

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  9. Trug. I like the word. Trug. A grand name for a boy in a short story I believe. We here use disgusting plastic bags from the grocer to bring in our produce. Tacky Americans as always

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    Replies
    1. Maybe at The Poor Farm you could go into trug production?

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  10. They were part of our everyday life too Cro and still are. My sister lives in Sussex and, when she first moved there, we all got trugs for Christmas !!!! XXXX

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    1. What a fabulous idea; a trug for Crimbo.... Perfect.

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  11. Cro, a good trug would be useful in my garden. I've seen baskets smaller than your picture that are weaved from branches but they are for decoration purposes and not garden use. I might have to look online to find one. It sure would make harvesting easier. My grandmother would use her apron to carry in the harvest for the day's meals. She would just hold the bottom part up and pile every thing into the pocket that it made. She could put quite a lot in the apron. Of course her garden wasn't far from the house.

    Have a great trug day.

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    Replies
    1. I often fill the front of my T Shirt with apples or mushrooms. If there's nothing else....

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  12. You see them in antique shops and cost a fortune, I've been lusting after one for years.

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  13. Country File last evening came from the Acton Scott farm museum in Shropshire and showed various ancient crafts being kept alive - black-smithing, woodworking skills, milling, hedge laying and the like. I love that wooden trug although I can see how useful that 'throwaway' one might be.

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    Replies
    1. I've got to love my plastic trugs; as tacky as they are!

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