Barry Price is a very clever guy who has dabbled in many things in his colourful life. He has designed and built long trailers that can ‘bend’ around narrow country roads, they were bought by the RAF to rescue test planes that had crashed in the Scottish highlands. He is a fan of tractors and has a huge collection that are his pride and joy; he was once involved in the management of professional snooker players; he can build and weld anything; he loves to disprove ‘the impossible’ and he decided to become a Koi dealer around 1981.
Although he has calmed down a lot since those days, no doubt much of that has to be a result of his lovely and quiet wife Linda. In his Koi hey-day Barry had a personality that was just about as subtle as a rubber cosh! He built a long and shallow ‘canal’ in his grounds and covered it with a polytunnel as the winds where he was could be vicious. He then stocked it at incredible rates with Koi in all varieties from anywhere and everywhere. At times when I visited him, these Koi were always bouncing with health despite the mish-mash of control systems he’d invented to ‘do this’ or ‘not do that’ in his search for the best water.
Although he would never admit it, he hadn’t a clue about Koi varieties and always accused me of only having ‘the red & whites’. He once decided to take stand space at a Koi show near Harrogate in 1983 despite his thoughts it would be a complete waste of time and money. I had a stand at the same show on the opposite side of the marquee. The land sloped and his stand was higher than mine. As usual, Barry had made his sales ponds from steel frames and they could withstand earthquakes. Barry took an assortment of the only Koi he had which were basically ‘cheap and cheerful’ but Barry did not go along with the ‘cheap’ part of it and his regulars back home considered them to be the finest Koi possible after Barry had drilled this into them many times. The Koi enthusiasts attending the show were also not impressed although I was selling Koi from £200.00 to £700.00 on both days from my stand. I do recall the announcement on the Sunday afternoon to advise that ‘The show was now closed’.
Barry’s own announcement followed which was –
‘Right, that’s the first Koi show I’ve ever done and it will be the f*****g last’!
I then watched as he single-handedly tipped the entire steel structure of ponds over onto the ground. (He’d long since packed his Koi into bags.) I then watched, as the water headed towards me, almost in slow motion before hitting my stand. Thankfully, along the travel, several innocent Koi enthusiasts passing by took the brunt of it – but not all of it!
Upon seeing Barry’s face, I decided that making a complaint to him at that moment would not have been exactly the wisest thing I had ever done. The Show Chairman, however, took a different view altogether and raced over to Barry’s collapsed stand. He was about to read the riot act to him and advise him he was banned from ever attending the show again until he saw Barry standing before him with his finger pointing at the chairman’s nose and the words – ‘Go away………….for your own good’.
Soon afterwards, Barry fell in love with Lacron Sand Filters as the only form of filter anyone needed on any and every Koi pond and his captive audience believed every word he said about them. If anyone dared to disagree he’d simply remove them from the premises! Barry sold thousands upon thousands of sand filters over the years; later, I got many new customers afterwards who begged me to disconnect them and put a proper filter on their ponds.
All in all, Barry was a wonderful guy, a true one-off. He’s now ‘retired’ but spends most of his time restoring old tractors.