Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Hanging Out With The Sandman

I am trying not to be SO involved with the crops in the Raised Bed and the Mini Greenhouse that I forget the rest of the garden. Due to unforeseen delays in the Finishing Of The Patio and the New Gravel Path, there have been some neglected areas. Like the space by the fence near the pear tree, where there was a bag of soil, half a bag of sand and some broken fence panels. 

The soil has gone to level up the ground over the Lathe Palace Soakaway, the fencing has been sorted into usable or scrap wood, and dealt with. And the sand - half has been put into a better container, and the rest shovelled into bags. The front of the old garage lets in water when there is really heavy rain. A row of sandbags along the bottom helps keep the inside dry. 

The ones we put there about 10 years ago are starting to disintegrate - so now there is a fresh stack. Bob has an interesting Wartime leaflet. This was produced by the manufacturers of Cuprinol. You may have come across this company because their products 'colour and protect the wood in your garden' 
The company began over a century ago using a solution of copper compounds in oil [Latin Cuprum in Ol] to preserve fishing nets. They soon discovered that if you treated hessian* bags with this, then your sandbags would last much longer.
Without such treatment, rain would cause the bags to rot, and degrade, be affected by mildew, and split, spilling the sand everywhere.
As war was declared, people promptly started taking precautions to protect their property. Sand was a relatively cheap commodity, and in those pre plastic days, jute* sacks were easy to come by too.
Across the nation, they built revetments using thousands of sandbags, to prevent damage from bomb blasts and flying shrapnel, as well as flooding from burst pipes.
Three months later, as autumn was turning to winter, the government realised that many of the original bags were rotting and collapsing, and generally becoming a Public Menace. Hence the campaign to encourage people to treat the bags before they filled them.
Bob has no idea where he got his empty bags from, he thinks someone gave them to him and he kept them because they'd come in useful some day [as indeed they have] I suspect they are leftover from the War. (Probably WW1, as they show no sign of any Cuprinol treatment!) 
*hessian fabric is woven from jute fibres
The Sandman is a mythical creature from Scandinavian folklore, who is said to send people to sleep and sprinkle magic dust into their eyes to give them lovely dreams. He has managed to get into a lot of songs ; Roy Orbison In Dreams, The Seekers Morningtown Ride, and The Chordettes Mr Sandman. That last one has a cute tune but dodgy lyrics. Here's Ed Sheeran's offering.


  1. I didn't know that! So...I wonder if i can compost all jute and hessian or only untreated?

    1. I imagine that many sacks are treated with preservative nowadays. However the jute garden string I used to mark out the rows on my raised bed definitely had no preservative in it. Over the winter it completely disintegrated.

  2. I suppose that nowadays it's good that things are biodegradable but I can imagine that they were a hazard and could collapse suddenly in heavy rain.

    One of the best memories I have from Strictly Come Dancing was Bill Bailey doing the tango to heavy metal Enter Sandman by Metallica. The Sandman comic series was epic as well.

  3. Sounds like you are always busy, doing something, Angela. :)

  4. I never knew that the old hessian sandbags would disintegrate and that they needed to be treated. Our last contact with modern sandbags was 3 years ago when the river was in flood and many of us were helping to protect a bungalow that was at risk from the high water.

    1. I think some of the newer 'sandbags' don't actually contain sand anymore- but they have the sort of granules/gel which go into disposable nappies to absorb and retain liquids


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