Today I’m going to allow myself to stray off topic and write about something non-gardening.

Living in rural Lincolnshire so called ‘farm sales’ and farm equipment auctions are fairly commonplace. We’ve been to several over the years, some better than others, sometimes we’ve bought something, sometimes not.

Yesterday we went to the preview of a 3 day farm sale to be held in Market Rasen. Usually these sales only take 1 day, so a 3 day one is quite unusual. When we arrived for the viewing it was obvious why extra days were needed in this case.

The sale had come about following the death of a local man, I’ll just call him ‘Brian’, and what a character he must have been. This guy threw nothing away, probably in all his adult life.

Reading lists of things in a catalogue, no matter how ludicrous they might sound, cannot quite prepare you for when you see them in reality. Today was a case in point.

A huge field was laid out with old cars, fire engines, tractors, ploughs, motor bikes, push bikes and assorted farm machinery, whose condition had to be seen to be believed. It was only the rust that was holding them together, Indeed one of the cars had quite a large sapling growing through it.

I don’t just mean one or two items either, there were 45 bicycles, 24 motor bikes and 60 lawnmowers just for starters.

But it wasn’t until you got inside the several big sheds that were also full of stuff that you realised just what 130 radios, scores of typewriters and sewing machines actually look like in a confined space.

Add to that hundreds of glass bottles, old records, books, hand tools, pictures, toys, furniture, railway sleepers and printing equipment, the star of which was a free standing Linotype hot metal casting machine circa1948, (no I don’t know what it means either) and you begin to get a small feeling of what it was like. To be honest mere words can’t really express the scale of the thing.

The trip was extremely interesting and allowed us an insight into a bygone age and a mans obsession for collecting. I particularly liked his assortment of old vacuum cleaners, washing machines and mangles, which really did bring home how hard and time consuming housework must have been only 40-50 years ago.

However, as well as being interesting it was also quite sad to see a persons whole life laid bare for all the world to see. To watch crowds of people, ourselves included, picking over the bones of his life like a pack of vultures. In a way I was glad the old chap was dead, though he might well have been spinning in his grave.