John Pye Auctions Weekly Story – ‘Twinkle Twinkle’

I will never forget the evening auction at the Cattle Market when a huge power cut across the centre of Nottingham in 1975 sent the lights out, plunging the whole place into darkness.

With 430 lots for sale, I was annoyed as the audience had assembled and expectation filled the room.

Straight away, George said to me that there was a bloke nearby who had a generator and could fix us up with some lighting. I told him to get them stuck in and I went across the road to have a Coca-Cola while the work took place.

I had been valuing all day and was desperate to have a drink. Anyway, just as I walked back in I couldn’t believe what happened: the whole place lit up with red, blue, green, orange and yellow lights – just like a blooming Christmas tree.

It turned out the man with the lights was a fairground operator who had been at Goose Fair and had just popped into the auction to see what he could pick up.

But did we laugh? People split their sides as I went ahead and ran the auction in what looked like Santa’s Grotto.

I still get people coming up to me and asking if I can remember the night of the fairy lights. It was great fun. Absolutely great. You could say it lit up their lives a bit that night.


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