There is rivalry in the sale rings between father and son at the farm on the M62

There is always a healthy rivalry in our house between father and son, which becomes particularly evident at sheep sales.

John-William learns about being on the receiving end of sales commission.

Last weeks sale, being one of the first for John-William this year saw him go head- to-head with his dad for top price store lamb.

Despite being reluctant to let one of his gimmer lambs head to the sale, I persuaded him he had more than enough sitting in the fields and to let a few go.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He was glad he did as she made good money, quickly topped by one of his wether store lambs.

He stayed in the ring to watch his Dad’s sheep come in and no doubt to check nothing got too close to beating his top price. I noticed a smile start to creep on to Paul’s face as the bidding continued on, only pausing briefly to allow a smug nod from John-William before a couple more bids stopping fifty pence short of top price.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief as the hammer went down. Judging by the blank expression on John-William’s face, I knew he hadn’t quite heard the final price, so he was left kicking at the sawdust in the ring as his Dad sent the rest of the lambs round.

As soon as the last lamb had left the ring he wasted no time shooting off to the office and waiting for the print out.

He returned some time later, jubilantly brandishing the sheet of paper aloft, his arm waving it to and fro.

“I beat Dad, I beat him, I won” he shrieked with glee. It was irrelevant that there were still plenty of lambs to go through the ring and he might not get top price of the sale, he’d beaten his dad and that was all that mattered!

He marched into the cafe, demanding a sausage sandwich and a can of bitter shandy before sitting down to study his earnings.

Half way through his lunch he paused, querying the total amount.

To his absolute dismay, he discovered that the market had taken their cut, quite normal of course but something he had no previous knowledge of.

“They can’t do that, that’s not fair. They’re my sheep, that’s my money” he bemoaned.

We explained how it worked but he was having none of it and marched back into the office to have it out with them.

I sat at the table in the cafe that I had once sat in with my father many years before and waited for him to return, no doubt with a flea in his ear.

He reappeared several minutes later, eyes bulging, cheeks nearly puce with rage.

The sale printout was slammed down on the table and he stomped out, briefly returning for his can of bitter shandy.

I looked across at Paul who was downing the last of his coffee and putting his cap back on.

“That went well” I said.

To which he replied

“Not half as well as when you tell him he owes me feed and keep for those lambs he’s just sold”.

And with that, vanished into the sea of flat caps and checked shirts.