Property Perspective with Martin Roberts

Martin Roberts © Chris Balcombe

Martin Roberts © Chris Balcombe - Credit: Archant

The presenter of the popular BBC property auction show Homes under the Hammer has made a midlife ‘crazy’ purchase

I wondered when it might happen. I’ve been wondering for a few years. I’ve heard stories of how it strikes, and some of them have filled me with horror.

It seems everyone is different, although there are some running themes: Over indulgence. Excess. Inexplicable changes in character. An un-controllable urge to buy a motorbike.

And now I think it might have happened to me.

A strange confluence of events, rivers of fate, have swept me out in to a turbulent ocean of confusion.

The first occurred when I was sitting on the pavement outside a local branch of WH Smith. Me and Wofful, my labradoodle, had been banished from the shopping arcade and set off in search of pigs’ ears. I grabbed a tin of Thatchers Gold and a piece of rope from the car to act as a makeshift lead.

My iPhone beeped, summoning my immediate attention and the need to urgently respond to an email. Clearly it couldn’t wait until I returned to base, so, struggling with a tin of cider in one hand and a dog lead in the other, I slumped on the pavement by the shop entrance, freeing an all important thumb and finger for typing.

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Wofful duly curled up beside me, as I typed frantically. My concentration was broken by the overly loud comments of a passing couple.

“Why do homeless people always have dogs?” They pondered, clearly referring to me and the ‘woffs. WOW! I thought. All my achievements and a lifetime of hard work and effort, and all for nought. Gone in an instant. I took solace in the books section of WH Smith. Jumping out at me from the shelves was one particular volume. The Ladybird book of the Mid Life Crisis.

I don’t know if you have seen this series of new re-worked versions of the old Ladybird books, but they are brilliant. Encapsulating modern day issues in a sensationally pithy and humorous manner.

I opened a random page….

Jason’s mid life crisis started one Sunday morning in B & Q when he spotted a tub of Yacht varnish.

“I’ll never own a boat,” he thought to himself.

Jason had never wanted to own a boat. But now, not owning one is all he can think about.

Following quickly on from the homeless comment, the words resonated in a deeply moving manner. And so it was that I found myself at the Great Dorset Steam Fair some weeks later. There, on one of the stands, was my reason for being here. My very own embodiment of a midlife crisis.

A baby blue, rusting-but-adorable, straight out of a child’s drawing Vintage Tractor.

Now let me be clear. I have never before wanted a tractor. I have never dreamed of owning a tractor. I have no need for a tractor. I live in a normal house in a Somerset village, not on a farm in Wyoming. And yet, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

Then the man told me it was built around the same time as I was born.

“How much is it?”

“It’s a He, not an it,” said the man. And He and I were sold.

And so he’s arriving in the next few days on a transporter. Ready for, errrrr, I don’t know what yet.

But at least that’s my midlife crazy purchase sorted. Or, that’s what I thought.

Better not tell the neighbours I’m currently leading bidder for a combine harvester on eBay.

The serial for my tractor is 54P/302941/Z and it’s a Leyland 154 petrol model from the 1960s. If you know any more about its history, do let me know.

For more information about Martin, his property training courses and his property and children’s books, visit his website. You can follow him on Twitter as well at @TVMartinRoberts.

Martin’s new weekly property radio show is on TalkRadio every Saturday morning- broadcast live from his treehouse in Somerset from 11am-1pm, repeated Sundays 5-7pm. Listen on DAB or online at