When I had such good feedback for the Christmas Superstars Panel over two issues of the BHW I started to think what I would do for my next feature article. I thought about all sorts of things I could do but then I sat down with a glass of wine after tea and talked to Elizabeth about what I was going to do. As she pointed out, with such good feedback it is always worth looking at something else on the same or similar lines to do. There are a lot of good fanciers in the UK who are not all that fond of publicity, so we are restricted to a certain extent when reporting on winners.
I know of quite a few who are top winners and better than many who are written about on a regular basis, but when they are approached, they turn publicity down and prefer to stay in the background and enjoy what they are doing. I understand some of these people because when you get to the top and are a winner there are always those ready to shoot you down, mainly because they become jealous of success and cannot do what you are doing.
There are many who know what to do to get their pigeons to win but cannot put it down on paper or even talk enough about the main points that they are doing with their pigeons to help a scribe to write a good article. So, what was the decision after a couple of glasses of red wine, or more like a bottle which goes down easy when you are in a lengthy conversation. We even went to the trouble or writing names down of fanciers in the UK that we have come across over the years who have not necessarily been written about enough to show themselves off as good as some who get plenty of publicity but do not win as much as they have and there are many such pigeon fanciers about.
Reporting on fanciers is not always as easy as it looks to most readers, a scribe goes out to visit someone, takes the information home and writes up the article and sends it to the paper. All sounds very easy but ask any scribe who does any amount of writing, it takes time, putting that information together while making the article worth reading.
Anyway, getting back to what I started writing about, my next venture away from the general reports and notes. I am looking at another Christmas Paper Panel but this time on fanciers from different countries. Is that possible, I do not know but I am going to make a few enquiries to see if I can get enough to participate, with it being free publicity it might work, they like publicity on the continent. Probably some are thinking that we have only just got over one Christmas so why start the article now. I started the last one early last year and was still struggling to get the information required and put it together in time for early December when they need the article at the BHW for publication. Plus, the fact that it is more than likely going to be harder to get the information off fanciers from abroad, that is if I totally go down that route.
There are always obstacles to overcome when dealing with people because they do not always react as we would sometimes like them too. So how do we go about getting fanciers from around the world together, to put an article together with round 30,000 words, the last was getting that way. I suppose I could work on having 4 from the member countries of the UK if I am struggling with fanciers from outside the UK, who I can come back to in a follow up.
I suppose we, here in the UK are like the continentals, there are fanciers who are winning as much if not more than those with the high-profile names. The problem is if they are not one of those high-profile fancier’s no one wants to know, even though they could be learning more about what a winning fancier is doing. Who knows what we might learn by asking fanciers from different countries about their racing and breeding systems?
Get Britain talking.
That is what we often see on the TV, well pigeon men are always talking, ask Elizabeth. Every now and again I get talking to fanciers about why we have pigeons and why some go to such lengths to win races. I was recently talking to Paul Beaumont about how pigeons have affected us over the years. Paul was saying that he has had health issues for the last 40yrs but there is no way that he is going to part with the pigeons, they are part of his life and always have been, so they are going nowhere, apart from the races of course. He has been on medication of one sort or another for most of that time and I was also in the same position. The problem was years ago we never knew about the consequences of having pets of any kind and what affect they have on you. When I was still in single figures so not reached my 10th year, I was spending no end of time in the pigeon loft without a mask. I am sure that is how most fanciers looked after their pigeons in those days. Yes, in the 50’s there were no thoughts of what affect keeping animals would have on our lives.
I used to have all sorts, including white rats and mice, rabbits etc most younger members of society kept something in their back garden or yard, as it was in our case. In those days keeping animals of one sort or another gave you an interest in life but nowadays it is sitting in front of a box, whether the telly or that thing they call an Xbox, which I still do not know anything about. The nearest I got to a computer game was the tennis game on the telly, the younger generation are probably thinking, “What’s that”. Well, that’s probably the forerunner to today’s games that they play on their computers.
I am sure that the younger generation miss out by not having the pleasure of some sort of pets in the back garden, they can be so enjoyable. I suppose many cannot be bothered with the looking after but that is part of the enjoyment of keeping pets in the first place. I have heard comments about not having dirty things in the garden and not just racing pigeons. If more parents would stop and think they would realise that if their children had something to look after they would spend less time on the streets where they can get into trouble.
At one time everybody knew someone who had racing pigeons and would talk about them, even those who did not have them. Pigeon racing in the UK is reducing in numbers considerably but in the eastern part of Europe it appears to be growing and they can have entries that we can only dream of now. Even the National is only a shadow of what it used to be, and I am not going that far back to the days of 5/6000 members. Having said that the BICC still looks as if it has good entries that are not that far down, if at all. The local clubs are far from what they used to be, and I think we have missed the boat in attracting new members to the sport.
I had an email sent my way a while ago, many others will have seen it because this was a good idea and all ideas within the sport are worth talking about before the end product is arrived at. We must remember the more we talk about things the better for all concerned, and by that, I mean interested parties, and those interested parties are the whole of the sport.
The sport needs to change because it has been going in the wrong downhill direction for far too long and there do not appear to be any brakes put on to stop it. I am all for change, the problem we have is there are far too many who do not want change, fact of life, many believe in sticking to the tried and trusted ways which do not always work as the years go by. I fear that this is one of those cases where the idea is there but there are not enough willing to stick their neck out and help achieve the goal.
I was going to print the email, but I do not think the fancier concerned is ready for that. The point I am making is any idea is a good idea so if you have them let us see them and try to move on to new ventures within the sport. It may be something that improves what we are already doing, something that could change and recreate additional interest. After all there is not much we can do that has not already been done, but we can modify what we are doing. What is needed is a few dedicated people who are willing to put their time in FOC doing it because they want to and not because they think they can get something out of it. The less people working together the better but the select few, do need input and it is only the everyday fanciers who can do that, they are the ones who know what they want to do.
I have said before that successful businesses are based on ideas from the people doing the job and not necessarily the management. We have an easy line of communication via the email system so gathering information and ideas has never been easier. There are enough people running business’s in the sport to support financially such an event, organised by a small committee.
Did anyone see Winterwatch and the way they are testing pigeons in America to find Cancer, amazing what they are doing.
Les J Parkinson. 11 Rushton Drive, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 0NJ.
Tel: 01606836036 Mobile: 07871701585.