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Thejoemurphycolumn 26-10-18

The Joe Murphy Column


My granddaughter Rachel (Kevin’s daughter) is a member of Arbroath Gymnastic club and has been for a number of years now; she is also a double back belt at Karate. Last weekend the Arbroath group competed at Disneyland Paris in the Gymnastique Maqique which is the premier festival for the gymnastics competition in the world. The main aim is to bring the world best gymnastics together, by providing teams of all ages and disciplines of gymnastics with the unique opportunity to compete against one another in a range of fair, exciting and unique categories and sections. The coaches are also welcome to compete with their team. Primary entries are now judged on a set of criteria emphasising fun factor, enthusiasm, smiles, costume and choreographic variety/suitability rather than technical ability and execution. This takes the pressure off younger children who obviously are less experienced gymnasts, allowing them to develop and take their first steps into the competition environment in a fun and more relaxed environment, which should show in their performance! Junior/Senior entries are judged on more detailed criteria including technical ability, execution, expression, costume and choreographic variety/suitability. Any ‘combination’ entries such as ‘Combined Junior/Senior’ and ‘Whole Club’, judging will take into account all of the above factors and the fact that the groups are of mixed age and ability. Event placement medals will be given for half of the age group with up to 10 places and 100% All-Around.  First place All-Around winners will receive a special all-around award. Team awards will be awarded to 1st to 3rd place teams for all sessions and all levels. Well for the 2nd consecutive year Arbroath won the Gold Medal, and low and behold they also on the Grand Champions Award as the best team. To say that the team and especially Rachel are over the moon would be an exaggeration I have added a couple of photographs of the team with Rachel in the middle of the 3 girls on the right hand side and she is the last person on the right in the picture taken with the Disney Castle in the background. Kevin will need to work at his performances with the birds next year to keep up with Rachel who has proved to be one of the best.    

Blast from the Past

Received an email from Stewart Lawrie from Edinburgh who wrote; ‘I kept and raced the ‘doo’s’ from the early 60's to the late 80's but still have an interest and often read the Homing World second / third hand passed on from active fanciers. 

I write to compliment you on your fitting tribute (September 14th issue) to Jimmy Smith and Fortune Lady you say no longer with us but never forgotten. I 'met you' once, but you were on stage at Broxburn! Brian May of Rotherham was giving an eyesign presentation organised by Jim Renwick you may recall he relayed a story of his assessment on a ward of patients using eyesign ...however 'the best' part was about the tramp taken in off the streets. This result he said nulled all his theories?but later he found out the tramp was formally an owner of a very successful steel mill business?.his moral on eyesign?it is not the be all and end all to grading pigeons but should be used as a part of the tool box. You became his on stage 'volunteer' ?he said you were strong willed and had suffered an illness I think was his verdict ...much to the cheers of the Fifers in the audience.  We also have a mutual pal in Jim Smeaton (whom I have lost touch with the last I know is Jim was driving taxis). Would I start the doo’s again ?.. I don't know (once a doo man ...always a doo man) ?.But unless something constructive is done to address the horrendous young bird losses the answer is NO. I don't know what the answer is ? but the sport has got to find a solution. During a recent household clean out I came across an old 1930s Jundes timing clock (given to me many years ago by the family of a fancier who had passed away) I recently contacted the Peoples Museum in Edinburgh to see if they would be interested as pigeon racing is part of local and social interest. They passed me on to a curator of the main museum and they expressed an interest and will get back to me once they have discussed it. I will let you know the museums verdict on the clock must be difficult at times. Keep up the good work ?.your views and thoughts are always constructive regards Stewart Lawrie’. I replied to Stewart as it was nice to hear from him. I have never had any contact with Jim for years although I passed his old house not long ago. Yes Jimmy Smith and Fortune Lady will be in the annual of SNFC for ever, and I remember the eyesign night with Brian, they were happy and very special days indeed, thanks for your kind words on my column Joe’. 

 New SHU Trophy

Received an email from Dougie Bald of Balerno with the following information; ‘Hi Joe, There will be a new trophy for SHU members to apply for this year. 

Freddy Jamieson and I have donated ‘The McCrae's Battalion Trust Trophy’
in memory of the Scottish Soldiers who fought in World War 1. The trophy 
is for the best joint performance by a loft for an old bird and young bird combined.
Freddy and I left it up to the McCrae's Battalion Trust to pick an appropriate trophy and they sourced a bronze pigeon which they mounted on a solid wooden base.
The SHU office has the claim forms or they can be downloaded from the SHU website. The McCrae's Battalion Trust has paid for and has erected a memorial 
cairn next to the church in the village of Contalmaison in France in memory of the young men who died there in World War 1. The Trust try hard to raise funds to maintain the memorial and take school children, disabled and retired soldiers to visit the memorial and the war graves of the young soldiers who died in World War 1. My wife and I visited the Somme and it is a very moving experience to 
see how many of the young men from all parts of Scotland lie in the cemeteries. My Father who fought with the McCrae’s at the Battle of the Somme was badly wounded. He lost many of his close friends and comrades which affected him for the rest of his life as it did many other young men who were lucky to come back home at the end of this horrific war. Hope you can add this to your column Joe with kindest regards Dougie’


Good SNFC Birds


Received an email from John Graham of Bellshill in Lanarkshire who wrote, ‘Hi Joe firstly many thanks for your piece on my bird SU15L12859 which you gave a mention in your column. I know you must put a lot of effort into doing this feature and it is very much appreciated by many, I would just like to mention that as well as my 9th section E 78th open SNFC Ypres in 2017 and 23rd section E 97th open SNFC Liege in 2018 as you stated. My hen also won 16th section E 282nd open SNFC Buckingham in 2018 and I only state this as I know how meticulous you are in your endeavours for us little fanciers, and I hope she will add to this next year, I hope you are not offended in me giving yourself this update and I really do appreciate all the work you do in highlighting these pigeons; all the best to you sir yours John Graham. John was right and I had missed his hen out so hopefully this is now rectified and we wish him well with his hen in 2019. I now come to a chequer white flight cock GB15N45358 raced by Mr & Mrs Gus & Pam Power of Gretna in 2017 the cock won 15th section A 195th open from Buckingham a distance of 223 miles contesting against 4170 birds entered into the race by 495 members. He then went to Ypres a distance of 380 miles and won 2nd section A 193rd open with a velocity of 889 flying against 409 members who sent 2320 birds. This year he was again back at Ypres with an entry of 2541 birds sent by 433 members and he won 7th section A 201st open with a velocity of 1114 ypm and therefore now requires one more diploma from the channel to gain his Silver Award and we wish Gus and Pam all the best in the future. 

I now highlight 2 birds from my old club mate Jocky Scott of Kennoway who has a blue cock SU15F2433 who has won 3 times in the national as a yearling from Littlehampton a distance of 388 miles he participated against 4482 birds sent by 510 members and won 108th section C 432nd open with a velocity of 945. Then in 2017 he was entered into the Falaise race which turned out to be a very tough event with 199 members sending 802 birds and only 71 birds made it in race time. Jocky blue cock won 2nd section C 7th open with a velocity of 1550 for the 524 mile journey home. This year 2018 he was entered into the Maidstone inland national race a distance of 376 miles back to his home loft and he won 73rd section C 195th open recording a velocity of 1230 ypm entering against 444 members who submitted 3001 birds. Jocky has a chequer cock SU16F1763 who has also won 3 times in the national twice in 2017 and once this year his performances are as follows; From the Bedhampton race as a yearling he won 106th section C 432nd open flying 380 miles contesting against 6065 birds entered by 634 members and he recorded a velocity of 1072. He was then set up for Ypres a distance of 444 miles and he was up with the leaders winning 16th section C 40th open with a velocity of 1009 against 2320 birds entered by 409 members. This year he was sent to the first old bird national from Buckingham and he won 8th section C 136th open flying 303 miles and recorded a velocity of 1025 striving to beat the 2941 birds entered by 441 members. We now come to 2 of Jocky’s stars so to speak as they could both win a SNFC Silver Award in 2019 as they require one more section diploma to achieve this goal. First up is a mealy cock as a yearling he won 38th section C 141st open from Ypres with a velocity of 964 flying 444 miles competing against 2323 birds entered by 440 members. In 2017 he was entered into the Bedhampton race a distance of 380 miles and recorded a velocity of 1180 ypm to win 42nd section C 154th open flying against 6065 birds entered by 634 members. This year he was entered into the Gold Cup race from Liege a distance of 522 miles to his loft and he won 14th section C 70th open with a velocity of 671 ypm competing against 1072 birds entered by 327 members. We now come to a chequer hen SU16F1730 who has won twice from Ypres, in 2017 she won 15th section C 38th open with a velocity of 1009 flying 444 miles competing against 409 members who entered 2320 birds, then in 2018 she was again to the fore winning 14th section C 24th open with a velocity of 1280 ypm flying against 433 members who entered 2541 birds into the race. Both now require one more section diploma from over the channel to gain the sought after Silver Award let’s hope these birds can achieve this and knowing the work Jocky puts into his pigeons he might just pull it off.


Joe’s Joke

Received a very nice email from Lesley Pearce who wrote ‘Dear Joe, my father, Stanley Dowdle has been in hospital now for 3 months after suffering a stroke. We have religiously taken in his favourite read; The British Homing World and I always read him your joke. Today I read the joke about Morris from the October the 12th edition and he laughed at it. This made my day. My mother and I still look after his beloved pigeons but it’s hard at times and he may have to go into a home and the pigeons will eventually have to go. This breaks my heart as he has had his birds from the age of 10. Can you please wish him well if possible; his name is Stan Dowdle almost 81 years, of Marston near Devizes in Wiltshire. Pigeons have been a huge part of his life and, of course, ours as well. I can’t bear the thought of the birds going but they will have to at some point; kindest regards Lesley.

I thank Lesley for her email which touched me very much and I have great pleasure in adding this request to my column. I hope Stan like the joke about ‘Colin the Aborigine’ I’m sure he would have, it definitely appealed to my sense of humour, so here is a special joke for Stan and all readers of the column.

Two Glasgow boys, Archie and Jock, are sitting in the pub discussing Jock’s forthcoming wedding. ‘Aye, it’s all going like magic,’ says Jock. ‘I've got everything organised already: the flowers, the church, the cars, the reception, the rings, the minister, even ma stag night?’  Archie nods approvingly. ‘Hell, I've even bought a kilt to be married in!’ continues Jock. ‘A kilt?’ exclaims Archie, ‘that’s grand: you'll look pure smart in that! And what’s the tartan?’

‘Ach,’ says Jock, ‘I imagine she’ll be in white.’

Please continue to keep the news flowing; to Joe Murphy Mystical Rose Cottage 2 Flutorum Avenue Thornton by Kirkcaldy KY1 4BD or phone 01592 770331 or Email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. REMEMBER THE J IN THE MIDDLE or you can also view online editions on: - - Pigeon Racing the Basics! - or

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© Compiled by Joe Murphy