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Times Have Changed



by Jim Emerton

In the 60s hoppers of tic beans were the diet, and birds bathed in water suffused by potassium permanganate crystals. Old George stood, corn tin in hand in the garden by the old bow top loft, in poignant anticipation of the old red cock. He told excited tales in sweet nostalgia of past victories - the only bird on the day in the 500 mile syndrome. He was a respected and revered old character. The 20 ybs were raced through the moult in the club programme to 200 miles. He would spend his pool money on a round of drinks, in an atmosphere of colourful stories and tall tales. The pigeon sub-culture thrived in the local community. Now the superdominant, wealthy big hitters are launched into international celebrity status. At the core of modern competition can be the ugly mask of commercialism - the money god. Personally, based on the fact that a good one is blessed by innate abilities I am happy to toss ybs at 60 miles, then let them grow and mature. With rampant outbreeding, inbred strain development is a rarity and the ancient lore of family breeding is in retreat. I enjoy an expansive view of the sport and keep my ideals alive with a nice little network of characters who I value as greatly as the finest of birds. More and more folk are enjoying true international sport, yet the archetype survives - the little character in his rose clad garden, pipe in hand.


Elimar - August 2014