From The Chair by Chris Williams
Well sometimes you can’t help but wonder where time goes but in this great sport of ours there is always plenty to pass the time having been busy with our pigeons doing my best to cover the racing for St Leonards and St Ives Club, I literally don’t have enough hands at times to do everything (pun intended) but it’s better to go about with your glass half full then none at all, besides a glass of Jack Daniels can works wonders, especially during these strange times, when you can only eat sitting outside restaurants which is all well and good on the costa del sol, but not on the “Jurassic coast” which at times feels like the arctic, as I discovered when Mum, Dad and I went for Sunday lunch with friends recently.
On Saturday the 22nd of May, Dad and I had 22 birds away at Upper Heyford for the first race of the year to our lofts at a distance of 102 miles. On the whole we were very pleased with the way our birds came; we both know it’s a long season but getting 21 from the 22 entered which came through a lot of rain then we cannot complain .
I received a message from “The Dark Busschaert Man” Allen Concliffe and his Wife Alison, saying that they had a lovely couple of hours chatting with our long-time friends Neil and Debbie Howes from Coventry when Neil called in for a loft visit to look at Allen’s “Dark uns “ as he calls them and why not because with these classic specimens of this iconic strain you get exactly what it says on the tin. According to my spies on the ground as it were, Neil was very taken with a certain pigeon that goes by the name of “White Beak”. Allen also said that the Heart of England federation were marking on 13th May for a race on Friday 14th, 1st, 2nd and 5th in his club Graiseley Homing society well done mate!
While I am speaking of my friends, the fanatical fanciers of “Erin’s green shore” are really going for gold this year, sorry make that “Green White and Gold”. The Boss “Sheldon Leonard” is having a brilliant 2021 old bird season flying in the Arklow United RPC, the tour de force of Leonard and de Ridder, as of May 22nd, have scored five wins in five races being 1st section B from Barley Cove at a distance of 178/ 777 with 1,628 Birds competing. This is the latest victory to be added to the already impressive racing résumé of numerous club wins and section positions this season, including 1st section B from Owenahincha where 50 members sent 1,643 birds in the strong South Leinster Federation. Having had the privilege of visiting this master fancier and friend many times I cannot say that I am at all surprised at the recent success, Well done Boss who knows could 2021 see this partnership take a 3rd INFC title?. “The Prince of Proudstown” Herbie Thorpe along with his racing partner John Hayden racing under the banner of Hayden & Thorpe are also setting the standard in the land of saints and scholars after taking 1st and 2nd in the Irish South Road federation against approximately 11,000 birds, from Castletown on 15th of May. These birds being down from Karl, a top son of Kittel and the “pussycat” lines of Dirk .Van Den.Bulck.
For what its worth, in my humble opinion, there is no better motivator for a fancier than to spend time listening and I do mean really listening to genuine old school, no nonsense fanciers and yes there are still a few about who not only win races but also know what they talking about, for they have pigeons in their hearts and this keeps the sport of pigeon racing pure and true. I say this because at times we can get caught up, to quote the title of an article written by Ad Schaerlaeckens “A lot of B S”, now I don’t think for a moment that the great man was referring to the British science fiction television cult classic produced by the BBC. Blake's 7, where the sets wobbled more than “crossroads”, if you don’t believe me look on YouTube or maybe you saw these shows first time around? Anyway before I get accused of being ageist I shall get to the crux of the matter. I had another great conversation with Frank Bristow and although he won’t understand why I say this, he lifted my spirits because, although thank God I am healthy, there are certain aspects of my cerebral palsy that every now and then make certain aspects of life in general and in pigeon sport a little more tricky than others, but however tricky there are ways of doing things and once I get my head around the fact that you don’t have to do things a certain way just because X and Y “champion” is doing this or that and its ok to go your own way then things do become easier because you are not putting pressure on yourself, which in turn I believe is passed on to the birds, I make no apologies for saying this as I am sure many fanciers, regardless of their circumstances, at times feel the same! Frank, in my eyes, is a prime example of a man who is born with the sport well and truly in his heart and that is what real pigeon men and women have had for centuries!
Enjoy your pigeons.
Debbie and Neil Howes (left) with The Dark Busschaert Man” Allen Concliffe and His Wife Alison
“The Boss Sheldon” Leonard (Leonard and de Ridder) wins 5 races on the bounce.
Well done Boss.
Hayden & Thorpe (photo courtesy of Eddie Barry)
Frank BRISTOW with his son George