As part of the Crofting Connections Project and putting Curriculm for Excellence into practice, secondary pupils attended the Auction Mart in Lochmaddy on Thurs 20th January for the first sale of the year. While there, they took note of number of beasts sold, breeds, weights and the prices fetched. All the data collected has been entered into spreadsheets to produce graphs, charts and to make numerous calculations.
For their language work, they produced a piece of descriptive writing of their experience. Here are a couple of examples of their work.
He stood quietly in the corner, his face weather-beaten from a long day at work, eyes fixed on the auctioneer and a look of complete concentration on his face. Dressed in a blue boiler suit, he held his wooden stick in his hand and massive brown boots on each of his feet. His head was covered with a black, wooly hat but you could still see some tufts of grayish hair sticking out the back. He didn’t make any obvious movements, but if you looked closely he slightly raised his finger every time the auctioneer was looking for another bidder.
When I walked in, my eyes were drawn to the auctioneer. He was sitting in a tight crouched corner. He was sorting out some papers with his mike on. The sound began buzzing through my ears. As he began speaking, he was rumbling, taking extremely short breaths. His lips were hardly moving. Many figures came out of his mouth. His hands pointed at someone who wanted to buy. His voice projected all over the room, the microphone echoing from outside the building, his eye catching a particular person from time to time.
He used his gavel to hit the desk when a calf or cow was sold. He’d then move on to the next cow that entered the ring. As he introduced a cow, his eyes were fixed on a piece of paper. His glasses were half way down his nose, his head hardly rising as he spoke. His eyes scanned and swayed across the room. He kept looking at the top row of people then flicking his eye down each row to the bottom. My mind was lost as he spoke two times the speed of a normal person. He must have been weary and tired when he went home last night. He deserved a good night’s sleep.
Iain MacBain S2
As the cows and bulls entered the ring there was a sense of fear within me. Their large round brown eyes stared at the crowd in mischief. Their legs trotted, swayed and turned. Their backs were slamming the rings. Their heads were pointing towards the people on the front row. The cattle were bellowing. The noise of the cows made you feel apprehensive. The tension was building in the room.
When the cattle stumbled in, they looked disorientated. As the large steel gates closed, they rummaged their heads through the doors trying to find an exit. They scrunched their nostrils from time to time. It seemed that they were not having a very pleasant day being squeezed amongst each other, not having their own personal space or their own green pasture.
There were men dressed in green, red, blue and orange boiler suits guiding the cows round the rings with long wooden sticks. Once the cows were sold, they would gallop into another pen nearest the auctioneer. The bottom of their legs was scraping along the straw making a rustling sound. The gates would then screech closed and the cows would make a lowing sound. Their day at the sales was over.
Iain MacBain S2