The Auctioneer

I think of myself as a fairly quiet and retiring sort of chap, but sometimes you discover unexpected things about yourself. One thing I discovered was that I was quite happy to make a complete ass of myself, in public, by being an auctioneer. I have no training in this and wouldn’t want to do it at a ‘real’ auction with valuable lots. But one that crops up on a yearly basis is the ‘after the flower show’ auction when unwanted produce is left to help raise funds for the organisation.

I have been doing this, at one show or another, for about 30 years now and people still expect me to do it and folks seem to enjoy it, so I suppose I do OK.

This photo dates back to 1987.


This was the Ifield Flower Show. Ifield had been my home village as a youngster but by 1987 I had been a Wiltshireman for 17 years. The Ifield show was still a marquee affair and that was to prove its downfall. Hiring the marquee just proved to be too expensive. This auction was really the last ever action at an Ifield Flower Show for this was its final year.

I’m the chap standing on the ‘rostrum’ to give me height. I have a good range of flowers to auction, but at the time I seem to be showing the bidders a plate. Maybe it had blackberries, or perhaps some fudge on it

Almost inevitably, for I was no longer a local, I don’t know who the bidders were.  I had (and still have) family in the area and the flower show was always a good gathering of the clans. But I don’t see them there.

I ought to tell you my worst howler at a charity auction I was taking. One of the objects I had to auction was a loo seat and I was finding it hard to get a starting bid. I’d worked down to what I thought was an absurdly low starting figure and still had no takers so in desperation I asked, ‘Come on! Who’ll put me in?’ There was a pause and then a room full of people started laughing. Well it was a toilet seat I’d invited people to put me in. Needless to say it got quite a good price after that.



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