WHAT an exciting day out a visit to an auction sale can be.

We are spoilt for choice in the Cotswolds.

Busy and bustling sale rooms are everywhere.

My favourites are Bourton-on-the-Water or Wotton-under-Edge, but the two in Cirencester and the one in Stroud can prove enjoyable and worthwhile to visit.

If you are new to an auction sale some words of warning are needed.

If you watch Bargain Hunt, Flog It or the Antiques Road Trip you see short, edited, versions of auctions.

Real life is not like that.

Items for sale can be extremely numerous running into several hundred lots.

You may be interested in Lot 76 and Lot 403.

These could be sold two or three hours apart.

To avoid waiting you can put in a commission bid.

There are some good bits of advice, some of which I learned the hard way.

The first is buy what you need, not something you think you may want.

Secondly before you start bidding be certain of how much you are prepared to pay.

Do not get involved in a bidding war and end up paying too much.

Take advantage of viewing days, carefully peruse the catalogue, get there early, find a comfy seat and enjoy the day.

Be sharp and positive when an item comes up that you may be interested in as items are sold quickly.

Make your first bid a positive one so that the auctioneer is aware of your interest.

Tasty refreshments are available throughout the day if you find yourself staying longer than planned.

The internet can be used for bidding, but not by me.

It is the personal interaction that is most enjoyable.

More senior readers may remember Johnny Vosper from Minchinhampton who always made a dull day entertaining.

Best of all go the Cirencester Cattle Market, usually on a Tuesday.

Have breakfast; listen to Cotswold farmers of so many generations who you will find there.

You may not know what is going on in the sale room but a visit there is a true experience of Cotswold life in all its richness and wonder.

It is both modern, but timeless as cattle or sheep have always been traded.

It is how the agricultural world works.

Go and find out its secrets.