L J Parkinson.
After writing about the channel racing and how happy fanciers were, we get another information sheet telling us there is uncertainty as to whether we can get across the channel or not. It is a fact that the French are always looking for things to do that will affect the UK, and that now includes the EU who are so childish just because they are not getting their own way. After a near lifetime of reading the Daily Mirror, I have now tossed it aside because there is so much rubbish written by writers who are only after making a name for themselves and very often exaggerate the truth for their own ends instead of giving a true factual story. Anyway, I moved over to the Daily Mail and look at the financial pages each day and from what I have seen so far, the UK is bouncing back very well, they did say we would do better than the rest of Europe. I must wonder how much that is causing the childish EU to put other obstacles in our way, not just with pigeon racing but with everything else they can obstruct us with.
However, because the issues continue to pop up with those on the other side of the channel, is it time we looked at other routes to race our pigeons. We could of course go into Belgium; they are more likely to work with us so that we get little or no interference in what we are doing. The other alternative is to go out into the sea, we could of course find a route and ships that would take us down the west coast of France and liberate our pigeons from the sea, it has been successfully done by others. This might be tougher racing but at least we are not held to ransom by the French, and we could get our racing done with the Nationals. Races have been successfully held for fanciers racing to such places as the Canary Islands and Malta plus others. Looking at how well they have done, why cannot we British who tackle everything have a go and rely less on people who don't really want us. I am sure there are ships going down the French coast who would take the pigeons for us. We could use our transporters as we do for other races there is no reason why not, there is the alternative of disposable crates, but they would probably be too expensive.
I was talking to George Mainwaring about this, and he was saying that we could go to a place just off the west coast in line with Nantes which has always been a good place to race pigeons. No doubt there are other places we could go that are quite close to existing liberation points, if we are outside the 5ml limit there is no reason why we could not go down this route. It is all well and good looking at other options if we look at it from all points, because no matter what we do there are always going to be issues. The one downfall would be whether the pigeons would head straight for the French coast and then come up on the routes that they have been used to. If that did happen it would affect the velocities because of the distance to the French coast. There could also be some strange results because if a small batch heads straight home off the ship while other’s head for the French coast. If that happens the bulk of the pigeons heading for the French coast could be covering an additional 5/10mls in the early stages of the race, there are going to be some big gaps on the result sheets. Is it a possibility, I suppose that depends on who you are and the type of racing you want to compete in. What could happen is all races from outside the UK could all be National races. I say that because the numbers entered in the channel races are reducing considerably from the Northern half of the country. Do away with the club and fed channel races and let them be entered through specialist races who could still have their own results and be in a National race at the same time.
I do not know where it came from, but a photo has ended up on my desktop, one of those mysteries. I know them all by sight, but I was not sure about two of them, so I asked Charlie Peel. Before we go on with the photo Charlie was telling me he is having a good start to the season with his 12 widowhood cocks. To date he has won the 4 races competed in and collected 2 x 1sts, 1 x 2nd and 1 x 6th Fed.
Getting back to the photo, Charlie knew 4 out of the 5 on the picture, but thought the other fancier lived in Badger Ave. So, I then asked Derek Lawton because he is in the photo and the only one left. Derek had a top team of Dordin's when I first started and he was putting up many excellent performances, especially in the Nationals. These Dordin’s were winning for a lot of fanciers but as with everything else they went out of fashion.
Geoff Gollings is another person in the photo who I knew very well, I knew Geoff through meetings held by the Mid Cheshire Fed; he was a prominent member of the Crewe Premier. The one in the photo that I never met is Corky Mellor, he was a particularly good fancier when I first started but we never crossed paths. Wendy was telling me that she met Corky when she was 14yrs, he was racing pigeons in those days. He did pack up in 1977 for 3yrs but started again in 1980 racing until he sadly passed away at the young age of 50yrs in 1989. On the photo Corky is the one at the front holding the trophy and his son Mick still races with his mother Wendy and has started the season well racing with the Crewe West End, also Mick’s brother Rob is racing. In the recent race from Cheltenham Mick & Wendy took the first 5 in the club and fed with Rob also being in the first 10 of the fed. In those days there were 1,100 birds plus going out of Crewe from the two clubs, they had some real competition. I always feel that many of today's younger fanciers miss out on the number of fanciers in the local clubs and the numbers entered into each race.
About numbers, we recently called at the Boars Head where they mark the pigeons for the Middlewich clubs. There were 6 of us there and Elizabeth said when we used to come down the room was full of local pigeon fanciers. Going back to the photo, the other two are Geoff Jones who I have to say I did not know it was him until Charlie told me, but I did know the face, one of those cases of putting a name to the photo you are looking at and it will not come to mind. The other I thought was Joe Glover who is still racing and winning after 7 decades plus. The fancier on the right was the stumbling block, the first name I had was Frank Cork, but Wendy tells me it is Jimmy Hough.
Going back to Mick, I am in the early stages of a loft report on him but in the meantime here is a quick story. Mick was telling me that me when he was 14yrs he saved up £5 and went to a sale and bought a pigeon, his dad was not amused. Mick raced this pigeon but how did he go on, on second thoughts I think I will leave it to the report, made me smile.
As many will know I have always mentioned a product called Vior and one that I see as the best product that I have used for pigeons. I have mentioned it many times but never really written much about it, the reason being I used to sell it so I felt that I should not use these notes to advertise where I was making any kind of profit from, but now due to time I no longer sell the product, I just order it like everyone else. Anyway, what I can say is I would not be without the product in the loft, and I think everyone should have it on their shelf. We are having a great breeding season and I put that down to using Vior in the water all the time. I used to add it for a few days but this time I am using the dome drinker and fill it up and do not touch it again until the water has all but gone. I then wash the drinker and fill it again and that is the only liquid they are getting. At one time I used all sorts in the water but no longer, I will stick to Vior and leave it at that. There is no doubt there are some good products out there but trying them is another matter, we seem to find something that we believe in and stick to it. They are of course on pickstones and black minerals. I was talking to Bobby Walton about a fancier who I had just done a report on and he was telling me he uses something in the water every day. Not so much nowadays but there was a time when we were visiting lofts for reports on a weekly basis and seeing a variety of products on shelves. Those products must have been suiting the fancier at the time because they were winning and that was the reason for our visit.
You know when you are standing in the loft and start to hear something that you do not like, I am having one of those moments. Let us go back to the early 70’s when I was on a visit to the late Frank Gough at Marston, a real good pigeon fancier. When I arrived, I knocked on the door and no answer so looked down the garden and he was standing in front of the loft. I asked “What’s up” he stayed quiet for a minute or so before saying, “There’s a grunter in there and I don’t like it” my eye’s scanned around the loft looking for the offending pigeon. I soon found the pigeon but before telling Frank I said, “If I find it can I have it” knowing what he would do with it. He looked at me and said, “Yes you can I don’t want it” No more to do I pointed out the young red cock, he looked at it and then me, went in the loft picked it up and handed it to me. Putting it mildly he said, “If it comes back here you won’t be getting it back” I broke the pigeon by accident, he got past me and went missing but returned a couple of days later, he went on to be a first prize winner. I now have a grunter in my stock loft, it is a Chequer cock who has picked the highest perch in the loft so when I go in, I am on eye level with him so to be fair was easy to pick out. Although I do not like it, I will persevere with him because he is a cracking cock and sitting there looks the part. He is paired to “Periwinkle” and feeding two 18-day old youngsters and driving to nest again.
New to the loft.
I am looking for a few well-bred distance hens to go to the spare cocks from Ray Till. I saw a quality hen advertised on the auction site so decided to place a bid and got her, bit surprised because her breeding is National and International winners and is a granddaughter of “Islas Rainy Day Boy” when he was paired to a granddaughter of “Champion Legacy” while on the other side is 1st International Agen. Back to the point, when this hen arrived, I had a good look at her and decided to put her next to the stock birds and then the following day in with them. She chose a nest box where there were already a pair sitting eggs that were two weeks old. No wonder she was keen on finding a box she laid two eggs which I had to throw away. Since then, she has joined the pair and the three of them are feeding the two young birds that are growing well. The problem began when she started to dominate the box and the hen who should be in there was getting shifted off the nest. This was no good for the young birds so I decided to put her in one of the widowhood hens’ boxes which is where she will remain. I have never had pigeons as tame as these are, mind you space is limited to 8 x 4ft so they cannot just fly away from me. My next job after finishing in the office is to double that space as a temporary job. Where the racing loft is going there is a thicket of bamboo shoots and there are birds nesting in them and the gardener has told me they cannot be cut down while there are birds nesting in them. Apparently, it is illegal to cut tree’s down while there are birds nesting in them. I am also told that this cannot between March and September because that is their breeding season, birds in the wild even have late breds. As soon as these are out of the nest there will be changes made, one of those cases where we must bide our time, the people behind are bird lovers.
A cracking pigeon that is raced by Mr. & Mrs. Nigel Shaw over at Shavington, to date this cock has won 4 x 1sts Fed and a 1st Fed Charity race. “Tonto” was bred by David Sara out of his Gary Cox pigeons and is from the “Lady Bolt” line of Heremans Ceusters. He is a broken widowhood cock who also topped the fed at the old house which is on the line of flight so each time he does see his old home so is never diverted off course. Many broken pigeons that are raced often do look for their old home especially when they are in a tough race.
Les J Parkinson.
11 Rushton Drive,
Tel: 01606836036 – Mobile: 07871701585.