I was born by the sea in Scarborough, UK and lived in that area until I went to agricultural college in Northamptonshire and then on to Newcastle University, also to study agriculture. At the time I intended to make a career in farm management but by the time I gained my degree it had become apparent to me that there were plenty of my fellow students better qualified by experience who would be ahead of me in the queue for manager’s jobs so I opted instead for a trainee position with a firm of land agents, auctioneers and surveyors in rural North Yorkshire. In theory I was to use the time there as a pupil and take the exams to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor but my text books lay unopened as I thoroughly enjoyed a varied life as auctioneer’s clerk at a busy livestock market, progressing to junior auctioneer at farm and furniture sales in the area, and residential sales/letting agent in a small market town estate agency.
In the 1980’s the firm sold out to one of the Building Societies who were at that time buying into estate agency and shortly afterwards, feeling my opportunities for advancement were rather limited, I handed in my notice and spent the following year working in the offices of a local road haulage company. I missed the buzz of the auctions however and when the chance came I took another auctioneering post, this time based in the big city of Leeds and selling mostly commercial vehicles but also construction plant and machinery for a leading national motor auction. This company too was swallowed up in due course by a major multinational corporation who wished to concentrate on the more lucrative car sales part of the business, and in 1995 I left them to set up an auction of my own specializing in the sale of construction plant and machinery, grounds maintenance equipment and ex-hire tools. I slowly built this up over eleven years but in 2007, following the breakdown of my marriage, I sold the business to a colleague and his business partner who have since expanded it further and now run a successful auction with my name still over the door.
For the next four and a half years I managed and worked a couple of small farms in North Yorkshire growing wheat, barley and oats, and running a small herd of Limousin cattle for beef production. Since then I have earned my keep as an agricultural contractor in the local area and a freelance auctioneer. As I write this in December 2012 I am about to embark on a volunteer placement with VSO which will form the basis of my blog.