Mystery over Russian agricultural brooch

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Crisis point has again been reached in the loft. Trying to find space to put back the Christmas decorations and finding none, meant only one thing. A clear out.

But it is so hard. I am awash with sentimentality as I root through boxes of primary school paintings, secondary school exercise books, college work.

Not mine, they will have crumbled into dust by now, but Bryony and Jo’s.

And as they both now have children, won’t they want to keep these reminders of their youth to show to their offspring?

Well they do, but not in their lofts apparently. “You keep them at the farm,” was the response. “You’ve got more room. We don’t want the clutter.”

Now I know we are not alone in this filial attitude.

As parents all of us appreciate this treasured evidence of these interstices of life.

The recorded trivia of ordinary family events which are extraordinary to us. But not in my attic space.

Not in perpetuity. Not when they have got plenty of room of their own.

My sister has long abandoned any thought of garaging her car as the domestic contents of one daughter’s move to Kuala Lumpur and her other daughter’s “temporary” house removal, take up every available spare inch. Many of my friends are in similar situations.

But just occasionally, when trying to clear out spider infested boxes of papers you come across something really thought provoking.

A real eye opener into history.

Rifling through a case of my mother-in-laws papers, old bank statements, house bills and other day to day documents which we have never really done anything about since her death, I found a sealed envelope with a small, lumpy object inside.

Opening it I pulled out a tiny enamel brooch and cross bar with the initials CCCP inscribed across the top.

Taking the brooch into the light I realised it was more of a badge than a brooch and that the figures on the brooch depicted a man and a woman triumphantly carrying a sheaf of wheat over yet more initials. BCXB.

Now from my stamp collecting days I knew that CCCP is a Russian (Cyrillic) abbreviation for the Soviet Union.

Research on t’internet came up with the badge originating from the Stalin era and celebrating an Exhibition of Successes of the Soviet Agriculture.

Was my mother-in-law, celebrated for being a Land Army girl, a soviet sleeper?

Or perhaps my father-in-law instead?

I seriously doubt it, but it is intriguing to know how the badge/brooch came into their possession and why it was sealed away.

An email to the agricultural section of the Russian Embassy has met with no reply.

Perhaps I ought to pin the badge to my jacket when I next go to London.

But if someone came up to me to enquire surreptitiously if “all is quiet on the Volga tonight”, with a copy of The Moscow Times rolled up under their arm, I would cut and run straight back home.