NEWS FROM DOWN UNDER
by Doug McClary
I am commencing this edition at Easter and believe me, it is difficult getting used to Easter being in Autumn. Leading up to Easter we enjoyed some beautiful autumnal weather but just as a typical British Easter, it has started with a cold and wet Good Friday and Saturday promises to be even colder. I walked the dog on the beach this morning and got caught in heavy rain and without a coat or hat. During the fine spell, I have concentrated on some outdoor jobs and have managed some long overdue painting and have been oiling the decking timbers. Nowadays I find that I can only work for a few hours a day before feeling shattered, so am having to take things in easier stages. The decking is a huge job with two or three coats being required and the area being over 90 sq.metres. On Easter Sunday Ann and I went into Melbourne by train and attended the service in the cathedral. It is such a treat to hear a good peal of bells. The cathedral was full. Afterwards we went to visit the Shrine of Remembrance which Bob Reeves will remember and then some shopping before ending up in a pub for a drink. I always look for a decent ale if it is available and there saw a pump for Hand- Crafted Pacific Ale so I bought a glass. It was the worst drink of ‘beer’ I have ever tasted and any relationship to beer had to be imagined. The taste was of fruit, such as passion fruit, lychee, melon and mango, etc but with nothing resembling a hop. I will go for Guinness from now on as that is always reliable and tastes like beer. If I want a fruit juice I will go to a juice bar. Melbourne is said to be the sixth most expensive city in the world and I can understand why for the average cost of a pint of beer was over six pounds when converted to sterling.
Scottish West SRS
The third show was held in the Arrochar Hotel on Saturday 28th December. This venue has been made available thanks to Campbeltown man Malcolm Brown who has lived at Arrochar for a good many years. He was able to obtain use of the hotel and additionally he stores, delivers and collects the pens. It sounds as though he is quite indispensable to the Society and doubtless President Jim Fitzpatrick is providing plenty of encouragement. On the day there were 96 birds in eight classes. The judges for the day were C Muir & D Muir, who gave satisfaction in their choices..
ADULT COCK: 1st, B.I.S & 5th - E MacPherson & Son, 2nd - A Pollard (red), 3rd & 6th - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (red & cheq), 4th - J & A Rundell (cheq)
ADULT HEN: 1st & RES B.I.S - E MacPherson & Son (cheq), 2nd, 5th & 6th - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (blue, mos, mos), 3rd - J & A Rundell (cheq), 4th - A Pollard (mos)
ADULT COCK (WIRES): 1st & 4th - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (cheq, mos), 2nd, 5th & 6th - E MacPherson & Son (red, mos, mos) 3rd - A Pollard (red)
ADULT HEN (WIRES): 1st & 3rd - E MacPherson & Son (red, red), 2nd & 4h - A Pollard (red, red) 5th & 6th - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (cheq, s/cheq)
YOUNG COCK: 1st, 4th & 5th - A Rundell (cheq, cheq, cheq), 2nd & 3rd - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (red-mly), 6th - E MacPherson & Son (cheq)
YOUNG HEN: 1st - E MacPherson & Son (red), 2nd, 5th & 6th - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (cheq, mly, mly) 3rd & 4th - A Pollard (mos, red)
YOUNG COCK (WIRES): 1st & 4th - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (red, mly) 2nd - J & A Rundell (cheq), 3rd - E MacPherson & Son (cheq), 5th & 6th A Pollard (cheq, cheq)
YOUNG HEN (WIRES): 1st, 2nd & 3rd - Fitzpatrick & Fleming (red, cheq, mly), 4th & 6th - E MacPherson & Son (red-sil), 5th - A Pollard (mos).
The young red hen of E MacPherson & Son that was BIS at the 2nd Show went on to become the Supreme Champion, went to BSPF Class 38 where she was 10th. That concludes the season which has left the Society with seven members and with three more possibles. I am sure that there is a warm welcome to be enjoyed by any new members.
House for sale
Our first house in Australia at 1 Lipari Court, Frankston South, is on the market for a price between 1.1 and 1.2 million dollars. Bob Reeves stayed with us in it and I really should have had a blue plaque made up, ‘Bob Reeves slept here’. I had been very happy at that house but it proved to be just too large for us and gave Ann a problem in cleaning the vast expanse. However, our move down here near the sea has been a good one and I am pleased that I allowed myself to be persuaded to move. The time will come I am sure when this proves to be too large also as the gardens take a great deal of work to keep tidy.
Fred Frendo on his Blackpool visit
It has taken some effort to get some views out of Fred about his judging and general visit to Blackpool and I will use his own words as follows:- ‘Judging at the 2014 Blackpool Show would have to be one of the best highlights of my pigeon career. This show would have to best show anyone could attend if you’re a show racer fancier. I was given the opportunity to judge which I would like to thank The Royal Pigeon Racing Association for the invitation to judge at the 2014 show. On the first day on Friday night, my wife and I were greeted at the Hilton and taken to the venue where the show was being held at the Winter Gardens. Here I was amazed to see the set up. My first impression was WOW, absolutely amazing in the Grand Ballroom. We were given a class that I would be judging which happened to be the old cocks where there were 96 exhibits. Whilst judging the birds I came across some amazing birds that were in great condition. They were clean and well presented, which was a credit to all the owners. I did find that some of the birds were a bit big for my liking. However, the class was outstanding. I ended up picking a red chequer cock that was the type of pigeon that I would take home. The winning bird was owned by Petty and Crawford. I had to find 10 place getters when all of these pigeons were in excellent show condition. On day two, we went back to the show and had a look around the venue. Once again, it was amazing to see all the different trade stores and everything and anything you could imagine was there for pigeon lovers. I had the pleasure in meeting people that were well known with show racers who made us feel very welcome at Blackpool. Overall, this experience was a once in a lifetime which I highly recommended any show racer lover to experience.'
I can well imagine his amazement at the presentation of the show at Blackpool after the show conditions usually used down here in Australia, where many shows are held in poultry sheds and other utility buildings. To see the opulence of the Grand ballroom is quite a change of culture. The sport in Britain owes a debt of gratitude to the late Major Len Lewis in having the foresight to take the Show of the Year from Doncaster to Blackpool. I was reading through my scrapbooks the other day and saw how the East Midland Region did not want to lose ‘their’ show. In those days I didn’t understand their stance because having been to the Olympiad at Blackpool I was aware of the facilities there including the range of hotel and guest house accommodation. However, I now hope that there has been reconciliation to this great show moving to the Winter Gardens complex although those who organised the original Show of the Year must take credit also. Doncaster shows were good and I greatly enjoyed attending there but Blackpool had more to offer as the pigeon world now knows. However, I know that the present day show started as imagination and enterprise on the part of the East Midland Region of the RPRA.
Fred & Josie
I have heard from David Brown, who is a regular correspondent thanks to the email system and from Gordon Linley of Hull, city of culture. Gordon tells me that the breeding season has not gone well so far and hopes that the better weather will bring about a change of fortune. When things fail to go to plan it can be extremely frustrating and we all seem to suffer in the same way. Mention of Hull brings back many wonderful memories of my friendship with the late Peter Kelcey who was a ‘larger-than-life’ character who ran a successful mirror business in his latter years. He had hailed from Withernsea but regarded the city of Hull as his home. I became familiar with Hull in those years. Peter was a man who did everything with a passion but loved his pigeons most of all. Mike Hale and I stayed with him one weekend and what an enjoyable period that was because both Peter and Mike loved a deal and loved exchanging pigeons. Ann and I spent a weekend with him when he was so ill with cancer and my lasting memory is of seeing him waving us goodbye as we left for home, both knowing that we would not meet again. Roland Thresher and I travelled up for his funeral service at Elloughton. PJK was a real character who made the showing side of the sport so much better for his presence.
My use of older photos brought some response so I am using a couple more this time. The date I cannot determine without a great deal of research but the occasion was one of the Louella shows, either the NYBS or a Classic. Many of the judged came down from Scotland and the group taken outside the Louella complex shows w considerable array of pigeon talent. The previous night together with other judges, I stayed at a nearby motel where a most enjoyable evening was spent with Major Claude Hill and Dave Williams keeping us entertained with a stream of jokes.
Judging group at Louella
At the motel, showing John Lock, Roy Jones, Dick Lipski, Jock Weir, Major Claude Hill, Tom Lewis & Dave Williams.
Thoughts on breeders
The lucky or fortunate fancier is the one who is able to identify breeders at an early stage of their productive lives. In my latter days in England I had the rich pairing of ‘Del Boy’ and ‘Sapphire’ but before that had always had the luxury of proven pairs which have provided continuity of quality for so many years. When I brought my birds to Australia I brought only one proven pairing, a brother/sister, both out of Del Boy and Sapphire. They had already produced beautiful powder blues, and continued to do so until fairly recently. One of their last products was a powder blue hen which I could see had quality and potential. I showed her at Sydney in her first year when she had not thrown a flight and was carrying a full wing of nest flights. She was best in show that day under the judging of Chris Schutz and since then she has gone on to win well at every National including being runner-up BIS at the National last year under Roland Thresher. She in turn has produced a cracking powder blue hen with rich black bars and possesses ever appearance of not only winning but producing also. Her sire was a mealy cock with white front bred from a hen loaned from Dr Colin Walker and the blue hen mentioned so the family line is secure. This mealy/blue pairing has already bred some beautiful powder blue cocks including a BWF which won at the National under Roland, and this year, mealies have been bred with attractive ‘white’ fronts.