Category Archives: Morris Dancing

Recession and the rural economy

What do I know; I don’t have a degree in economics or a background in banking [would it help?].  However, many of you have been kind enough to ask how the auction went and I promised to expand in blog form.  The ‘Grand’ auction occurs in our village every two to three years; on the surface it is a fund raiser for the village hall.  Variously in recent years it has taken £800 – £2,000 pounds but herein lies the tale about recession and the local economy.  Part of the success of such an event lies in the following factors:

·         It is 60/40 or full donation, people decide to donate all the price of their item or to split with the village hall.  ~ It seems this year more people chose the split
·         People only put items in if they have something to give – if you have not bought ‘new’ you are less likely to donate ‘old’ ~ There were fewer quality items
·         ‘Traders’ only turn up for the sale day after the viewing, if there are several items to attract them ~ they didn’t stay
·         Any auction only works well if at least three people want the same thing and have a keen eye for its market value ~at best two – it was like pulling hen’s teeth
·         Folk will only buy the £1.00 boxes of tut (it’s a Suffolk term) if they feel they have cash in their pocket and are prepared to buy for the one thing they want. ~ We have a charismatic ex postman as auctioneer, he still managed to knock down a lot of £1.00 lots, the problem was the lack of higher value items.
·         People will still give but if you have followed Mary Queen of Charity Shops you will know about ‘moist’ items
We took about £1,000 not bad, but this takes four days of effort, people collecting items, lotting up, printing catalogues, being there on the day, redistributing the 60/40 money etc.; prior to that slips will have been printed and delivered to every house. 
I bought three hanging baskets – now have tomato plants in.  A tool box (but the lot included a gallery browser and a print which I didn’t need) and a misc box of children’s toys which included some jewellery findings and pliers, I will make wine glass charms; I gave the rest of the toys in the box to the children of a friend, who had bought two car loads of toys to sell (she loves me really, she must do, she gave me another hanging basket).
Was it worth it?  The profit will be lower this year than previously.  However, these events are about so much more than a sale.  The hall needs the money, the event itself brings the community together, and we chew the fat, catch up on information.  People who have only lived in the village for seven years meet people who have lived in the village for sixty-three years.  The people who have been auction porters before turn up and do the same again without question and new skills are passed on to ‘new’ arrivals (10 years) such as how to be the cashiers.  It is also, however tenuously about reusing/recycling so that which could have ended up as landfill might find a new purpose for a few years, before the next sale.
The bacon butties were great (my request, nothing like an auctioneer’s assistant with ketchup down her shirt).

And today’s photos? – just back from the pub where the local clog dancing Morris team were out and about.  So for my foreign readers, this is statutory wear in an English pub in Suffolk of a summer’s evening.
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