From The Chair By Chris Williams
Well that’s a fine start to a pre racing season Saturday morning with the bath put into hens, I do like to see the birds take a bath as I have been taught that healthy pigeons should want to bathe and as I cannot handle the pigeons easily as a result of limited dexterity in my right hand then I am heavily reliant on visual signals as an indication that all is well within the loft.
Like all important things in this life it is a constant learning process consisting of strict evaluation both of man and bird and lets be honest looking at yourself in a mirror can be hellish at times but a great man once said: If you are going through hell, keep going. Winston Churchill fascinates me, not only for his iconic wartime leadership and not forgetting his large capacity for alcohol (must be a Sagittarian trait) but also for the fact that he was a prolific and gifted writer who published 44 books, over one thousand articles and millions of words in the form of speeches. He even received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, not bad for someone whose school report read “‘Is a constant trouble to everybody and is always in some scrape or other. He cannot be trusted to behave himself anywhere”.
Perhaps what I admire most about Churchill is his grit, determination, and self-belief.
Self-belief is also essential to the pigeon fancier because unlike a team sport, in pigeon racing responsibility rests solely on your shoulders and of course even the greatest of champions take a knock to their confidence at one time or another, but self-belief sees them pull through and it is the same for countless ordinary back garden fanciers across the world. We do it out of love for the birds and the birds do it in return for love of home and fancier or at least that is how I like to think about what it is that drives our feathered friends homeward on a race day. Although science and technology has aided many developments within the sport the exact ins and outs of just how a pigeon navigates its way home remains a mystery and while there is an empirical part of my brain that wishes someone would provide a definitive answer, I cannot help thinking that the sense of wonder we all feel on a race day would be somewhat lost and along with that magic appeal pigeons have? To my mind it would be a bit like one of those tv shows that reveals just how the magician pulls rabbits from his hat and once you have seen it you never quite enjoy the show in quite the same way. On the other hand would having the knowledge of a pigeons homing ability provide us with more of a clear understanding as to what makes a “perfect racing pigeon? I do not know, but this is just a thought that had crossed my mind which I put down on paper to generate healthy discussion and debate.
My admiration for “The Master of Grobbendonk” the incomparable Dirk Van den Bulck has just moved to an even greater degree having just received word that this truly incomparable champion has gained his first victory in the first race of the 2021 old bird season from the famous race point of Quievrien, competing in one of the strongest race organisations that the principality of Belgium has to offer devotes of the sprint scene the mighty Tienverbond which boasts many a household name among its membership and so in order to claim the top spot each fancier must produce their “A game”. But if I am being honest I don’t think this former quiz champion has any other gear save that of first in his pigeon racing arsenal. How else do we account for a staggering lead of 29meters other than to say that once again Van den Bulck has produced another masterclass performance!
Right I’m off now to lend Dad a hand up the lofts, until next time enjoy your pigeons.
1st Tienverbond Old Birds on the First race of the 2021 old bird season In a race from Quievrien, for DIRK VAN DEN BULCK. Against 1000 old birds with a lead of 29 meters NB Dirk entered 12 pigeons.
“The master of Grobbendonk” Dirk Van den Bulck has a super start to 2021 in the highly competitive Tienverbond club.
Winston Churchill would work into the early hours writing articles and speeches.