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Dave Bunker Brierley Talking to Jim Emerton


Dave Bunker Brierley talking to Jim Emerton


1. Dave, please relate your love of the humble pigeon to us all.

Well, where to start! I think at the very beginning would be good! So, welcome to my pigeon world!

Dave & Dad very early days


I was born on the 18th June 1966 at Whitby. My father was a County Council man who worked on the roads, and my Mother a housewife. Pretty unremarkable you may think but not for me ha ha! My dad loved racing pigeons as did his father before, my mother’s grandfather also raced pigeons. So, you see I had no choice really it was in my blood in other words I had a good pedigree!


The reason I tell you this is because at that time, pigeon racing was very popular in the three villages in my early years. It seemed like everywhere I went, and everyone had pigeons. My first memories I have are sitting on the veranda of the loft with a can of pigeon beans with pigeons climbing all over me and seeing bonnie coloured squeaker’s in their nests. I still love the red ones today. When I was four, I made friends with a pigeon which was a black cock in the garden of our house. It must have been making its way home from a race and having a rest.  I remember giving it some bread, it was very tame. My mother came out and told me to leave it alone and come in. The next morning whilst eating our breakfast at the table my mam said “There’s something scratching at the door “. She opened the door and the black cock walked in. I gave it some of my toast. My mam reckoned I had some sort of connection with pigeons. All I knew was that I loved them and always would.



2. Can you tell us some colourful tales from your early years please?

So, at the age of five my family moved to Hinderwell from Port Mulgrave. This was the third of the three villages in my world as a child the first being Staithes. Staithes is important because that’s where the pigeon club was. After moving to Hinderwell we got an allotment and my dad, and I built the big pigeon loft to house 12 old birds and 16 young bird’s. I went everywhere with my dad, so it was inevitable that when he joined Staithes club, I went with him. It was a bit daunting, the wooden club hut was strategically placed behind the working men’s club, probably accidentally on purpose I’m sure! The club hut was full of fellas smoking and it smelt of stale beer but my dad new everyone and i recognised a few of his work mates so it was alright. I also saw another boy who I knew from my village, he still fly’s there and we are still friends today, although the club has gone just last year.

One of my tasks you could call it, when going to other people’s lofts with my dad whilst following the usual restrictions for kids then, which were only speak when spoken to, stay still and any language you hear must not be repeated was that the fancier would say to my dad, “If your lad can pick out my best bird I’ll breed you a pair of youngers off it.” No pressure there then! but it wasn’t as hard as it sounds, most only had one loft with two sections, but if they had a bird that had done well it would usually be older with big wattles or have a coloured clip ring on. Even a kid could work that out most of the time!

Another way which we would get our pigeons was “strag catching” well it was for the kids! It was big news in the villages, and you were seen as the “bees’ knees” if you had a foreigner bird in your loft. It was an urban legend with some truth that Dutch, Belgium, French, Irish, Welsh and especially Scottish were the best. The best place to go for the Dutch /Belgium birds, which for the kids gave the best rewards at 10 pence each was down to the beach on a Sunday. They were easy to identify as they had coloured rings on where ours were metal rings. I remember one on the boat park, I had been getting the trust of a bird which was a bit flighty but after what seemed hours I got it’s trust by calling it and pretending to throw corn for it, in reality they were small pebbles. I was feeling chuffed at my efforts and the thought of my 10 pence sweet mix up. when I was approached by a posh couple of holiday makers. The lady said, “what are you doing with that bird, I hope you aren’t being cruel?” I replied “it’s a racing pigeon, not at all I am saving its life. My dad’s in the N.E.H.U, it will be fed and watered and from the ring the owner will be contacted. “The lady then said, “That’s very good.” I thought phew nearly didn’t get my mix up! In reality every Dutch/Belgium bird reported they just used to send you an owner’s card. I used to as a  kid love feeding up strays and then getting a sheet of that shiny toilet paper, writing on it F.W.L (fed, watered, liberated) and my address and then waiting for the postman to deliver the thank you letter. I used to love getting them thinking someone from far away loves pigeons like me.


3. Which characters from your pigeon and fishing world have impressed you Sir?

The primary person was a chap called Switcher Porritt. As a bit of an explanation, of how I had the privilege of meeting Switcher and by the way I never knew his real first name and still don’t! Well, when I went to school which was outside the villages and in a town the other kids used to call me a “woolly back” or a “scaly back“ and say that we were all inbred from the villages. By the way woolly back meant we were farmers and scaly back meant fishermen. With my dad’s family being farmers and my mother’s family being fishermen I was a half breed. Anyway, it did turn out I was related to nearly everyone or it seemed like that after asking my parents, so it turned out the kids at school were right! There was an advantage to this, I was related to all the local legends of my pigeon world the Porritt, Cole, and Crooks etc. All of them were gold medal winners I was chuffed my family had won gold medals with Pigeons. Across the road lived a strait-laced lady who all kids knew not to go anywhere near her house. She was called Lizzie Porritt. Well, you can imagine my surprise when one day on the way down to the loft my dad said we’ll just call at Lizzies, I immediately tried to think what I had done wrong when my dad explained that Lizzies brother had come to stay with her as he was old and frail and she was going to look after him and that we were going to take him down the garden to see the bird’s as he loves pigeons and once was a great flyer. He topped the Up North Combine from Bourges the longest race. That was the moment that inspired me to try and do the same. From that day on our routine changed every time we went down the garden. When I went to the loft, I would see if Switcher wanted to come. I remember thinking why old men all look the same, flat cap, dark suit, big ears and a big nose. He never said much, and I didn’t following the protocols of speak when you are spoken to. Except, every now and then he would say “lad have you any fresh eggs in there? “pointing at the loft “if you have, I’ll swap you one for a mint imperial.” I would bring him one and get my mint I wondered what he would want a pigeon egg for and then he said,” it better be fresh” I replied “just laid” he then tilted his head back and within a second opened his mouth, cracked the egg and swallowed it yuck! I’d never seen that before, still it did become a regular process and I did get my mint. One day he didn’t come anymore and shortly afterwards, my dad was called to go over to Lizzies. I knew what this meant, you see when ever anyone was passing my dad would go and sit with them. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know but they did. When he came back, he said he’d gone and then my dad said to me “don’t be sad, you know Toby?” (Toby was his sheep dog cross a lovely dog that went everywhere with him) I said “yes “my dad said “well Toby put his head on the side of the bed where Switcher was laid and Switcher cupped Toby’s nose like he was holding a pigeon and said that’s a cracking bird that and passed”. Now, I wasn’t there and looking back I think my dad was maybe trying to make the situation a little easier for me, but I would like to think it happened like that.

Not long after my dad said someone else was going to Lizzies. I thought eh! This time it was John Porritt Switchers brother, same flat cap, black suit, big ears and nose. We were doing the same thing taking him down the garden, him watching the bird’s, me following the same protocols of not speaking unless spoken to but sadly no deal eggs for mints.


4 Describe the racing scene and life in The Up North Combine.

 I personally don’t have any direct contact and would not be able to race if it wasn’t for the support of my club members especially the secretary Ged and Sue Hampson who take my birds to the races for me. With being practically house bound due to having Multiple Sclerosis and other issues, I wouldn’t be able to race at all. For which I am eternally grateful. I can only comment on my club and my own experience of which is great. I am maybe a little old fashioned and believe that the Up North Combine are just the people who take the bird’s to the race point and let them go. It’s my job to work on getting my bird’s back.  I think a lot of people nowadays don’t look in the mirror when their birds don’t return and blame others.


5 Who are the giants of success and their birds?

This is a difficult one, it’s more for me who do I admire and their birds. So, working on that pretext It would be people like Jim Donaldson, Jim Biss, Eric Cannon, Ken Hines, Eric Fox, Brian Denney, Mark Gilbert, Tommy Gilbertson, yourself the list goes on. When you study the birds of these fanciers, most of them are related a bit like my villages. If I was to pick one bird from these fanciers for me, it would have to be Jim Donaldson Circus boy. Not for it’s racing results but purely for its breeding capabilities and as I said somewhere in my story, I am partial to a bonnie bird.



6 How do you race your birds e.g. method/system?

I race my bird’s naturally but do adapt to the circumstances that life throws at me i.e. My health. Before I became ill, I used to race young bird’s, old birds and compete in all races on roundabout and pair for the longer channel races. The strain I flew then was Staff Van Reets up to 390 and Ko Nnipious Jan Arden to 545. For the last five years I fly them naturally and they are on open hole all year round. The only time I don’t let them outside is when the wind is strong because my lofts in a built-up area. When I have young bird’s they go out altogether, I find it keeps the old birds flying longer. I usually for the longest race aim to get them sitting ten days. I hopper feed beans at all times and trapping mix to control them but their main meal at teatime is a breed and wean mixture that I add peanuts, hemp and sunflower seeds to once they go over 200 miles and extra maze for races over 300. I only house and race 18 old birds and breed 20 young birds with 5 pairs of stock. My loft is designed and built by me with a tiled roof and a lot of ventilation at the front which have sliding shutters that are closed at night to cut down on the light entering because I have a street light directly outside.  I think its important for them to rest. The loft is positioned about 12ft away from my back door where I sit in my armchair and watch them, which enables me to see their individual traits such as health, condition and form as they come and go. The water system I designed again to help me and to train the birds to drink out of a basket, so they are used to doing it on long races. It is basically a plastic container in a box at the end of my aviary with a ball cock from a water tank which is linked directly to the house water main, with a waste pipe fitted that leads into the house drain. So, if I want to empty it, I just turn the valve. The part which they drink out of is a reconstruction of a wicker pigeon basket and when they drink the ball cock system just fills it back up. With the water system and the hopper, the loft can provide food and water for at least 6 weeks and as I have all the nest boxes and perches on grills, plus the floor on deep litter with no difference made to the bird’s when I have to be admitted to hospital. But I do still have family checking on them regularly. The water system idea came from watching pigeons going to and drinking out of a cow trough when i was young, as they had access to perfectly good water in the loft but preferred to drink from the cow trough when they went out. Another benefit I have noticed is the humidity in the loft when taking the traditional drinkers out goes down.

I’m a great believer in using natural products over commercial products as supplements for two reason, one because I see better results in muscles, feather quality, alertness and overall wellbeing but I’ve found that timing is crucial when they are given i.e. Calcium when breeding. I have noticed that if you give supplements all the time, they seem to get used to them and you miss out on the boost you get when first given. You will notice I haven’t mentioned how I race young birds; I’ll make that clear later in the health question. My method with old birds is before the racing starts my bird’s have 6 x 40 miles transporter training chucks, then they miss the first races I then put them into 130 mile then I miss the next race and go to 200 mile. After that they go 310 across the channel. I then select birds to go to 390 and 500. This is all flexible and has a couple of factors beyond my control i.e. cost and my health.



7 What is the origin of your birds?

The bird’s I have at the moment are mixtures of bird’s that have flown for me from Bourges 500 miles. They are no strain as such as they originate from fanciers who have flown well from distances of 500 miles and above.  I.e. Brian Maude, Geoff Mohammed, George Belski, Bob McDonald and my wild card Staff Van Reets from Dave Store which actually did the best for me at the distance. Recently I have introduced bird’s that are bred to fly 700 miles Jim Donaldson, Brian Denney. My thinking is a very few of my old birds left that have flown Bourges and since 2014 the returns have been 0 which doesn’t sustain my team. As ever, I look at myself and tried to see what had changed and what could I change to address as my bird’s were still flying well to 390 miles with very few losses. So hence introducing 700-mile birds to fly 500 with the hope of at least getting some to return. Oh, by the way, this is not just me there are lots of seasoned experienced flyers in the same boat hence why the birdage is receding year on year.



8 Please tell us your finest hour in the sport.

Without doubt it has to be a bird my dad bred for me, which he called Black Legs due to it being the only bird in the loft that was born with black legs. His breeding was a Staff Van Reet of Warrior Corporal Big chequer lines from Louella stud. As a young bird he flew most races to 200 miles, as a yearling he flew all races to 400 mile he was always there or there abouts in my club returns but no performances of note. Then as a two-year-old he flew every race up to 400 miles, but I did notice that the longer the distance he flew his performance improved. I decided to send him to Bourges 540 miles as I felt he could do it. I spoke to my dad of my intention and he said to me “you can’t send him to Bourges, he’s a Staff Van Reet a sprinter”. I believed he could do it, so I replied, “I won’t tell him if you don’t”. So, I gave him a couple of races off, paired him back up as his hen had been lost and started to feed him a stronger mix than his usual widowhood mixture with peanuts. I noticed that once the hen laid, he would sit next to the bowl as if he wanted to sit the eggs and wouldn’t move when I put my hand in. I sent him to the race, and I was confident that he would do well which he did, he returned on the second day of the race in the morning to take 2nd club 5th federation and 139th Up North Combine. I was over the moon with his performance and then planned how I could improve on this next year. The next year I did the same with him except after his 400-mile race instead of total rest I gave him three 20 miles single up training tosses. He reacted the same sitting next to his hen on the nest this time I did notice that a couple of his primary flights were oozing an oily liquid which I thought was a good sign. Well I sent him to Bourges again more confident than the year before. I was so excited, this time he did better turning in on the day after tea it felt great although I did feel weird at the same time but i thought this is how it must feel to get a good bird. I went straight to the marking station to get him confirmed and found out Brian Maude had one before me like last year but I was still over the moon to be beat by Brian again as he was a brilliant  long distance flyer especially from Bourges we are good friends now he’s retired from racing and when his health allows he comes round on Bourges day to my loft to wait with me for the bird’s. The result of the race was 2nd club 4th federation and 48th Up North Combine my best result to date but I do hope to do better and win on day even if it’s to add to the only write up in the racing pigeon magazine which said that I am always the bridesmaid and never the bride. By the way remember that weird feeling I had I found out what it was, when I returned from the marking station I went in the house to tell my wife the good news on how Black Legs had done I tried to tell her but she interrupted me and said “have you seen the state of your face it has dropped, look in the mirror”

I must admit although I might not be considered the best-looking fella in the world but what ever had happened to my face even to me looked a bit scary. I tried to reply but by this time I couldn’t speak the words wouldn’t come out. Luckily I married a nurse and she took over saying “get in the car I think you’re having a stroke I’m taking you to A&E” Here I was admitted onto the stroke ward over night, they did lots of tests and a scan in the morning. I think the consultant came to see me with the results and said I hadn’t had a stroke, but you’ve got multiple lesions in your brain you must see a neurologist. More tests all were positive and then the neurologist gave me the results he went through them one by one and they were all positive. I remember thinking when he gave the last result (just my weird sense of humour) bingo it wasn’t funny really. He told me it was Multiple Sclerosis. Although at that time, I didn’t really understand what that meant. I knew instinctively things were going to change. I still wouldn’t change that moment when Black legs landed on the board it was a fantastic feeling even if it was a little enhanced by a MS attack!



9 What is your perception of The BICC and Barcelona?

To be honest something where the really good and great long-distance flyers compete that seems so far away from and is inaccessible to me in the North east. Although this is my initial thought the more I read of examples of people’s experiences of how they achieve their goal of sending it does seem to be moving a little closer especially using the analogy if there’s a will there’s a way.



10 Is Bourges still a point in your organisation, and why is it of value?

Bourges has, for as long as I can remember been the highlight of the racing season but since 2014 birdage has been falling. I’m pretty sure that this is a direct correlation with the returns from the race. Lots of good hardened seasoned flyers teams have been wiped out. This year there have been calls to change the race point, this has happened its changed to Gien and the distance has dropped by approximately 30 miles to at the bottom end of the Combine. Its a shame but hopefully it will encourage more fanciers to compete.



11 Are there serious 700-mile men in the Nor East?

I’m not aware of any except for Brian Denney over at York area but that’s not to say there isn’t as I only fly in the Up North Combine. There is a Greater distance club up here in the north east and I know Bourges fanciers fly in it but I not sure how far they fly from.



12 Is health a priority to you mate?

Yes, for me and the birds and this is where me and the birds are intrinsically linked. Firstly I must mention when I returned to racing 12 years ago I couldn’t believe how racing had changed with the amount of supplements and medications fanciers were using a bit different from when I used to race when the bird’s got food and water and a treat was a handful of red band plus some toast crushed dog biscuits and some cabbage water on the day of basketing. The other thing I noticed was the amount of bird’s that were kept I wondered how fanciers would know which bird to pick for a race. I tried racing my way as above and I was miles behind, so I listened and learned from the good flyers and implemented what I had learned and yes, my results improved. But there was a price to pay and that was the bird’s health to all intensive purposes they looked well but they and this is hard to explain they had no personality. The young bird’s as I mentioned earlier, I don’t race now and haven’t for the last 5 years. There are a couple of reasons I do this one is to reduce the stress on them whilst they are growing like all birds and animals (in the animal’s category I include humans). It is widely proven that adverse interventions in early life can have a profound influence on health and wellbeing later on in life. Working on that hypothesis I believe for our young bird’s it is imperative to give them the best possible start in life. By this I don’t mean rush to your keyboard on your computer and buy a copious amount of lotions and potions what you really have no idea of what’s in them you will not get good health. You will then move on to running to your keyboard and then look for all the medications to prop them up your losses will be heavy and so the cycle continues. I’m not saying you won’t win races whilst using this method you will but what I am saying is don’t moan about losses the cost of racing and why the sport is in decline when it’s an effect of what we do as a fancier in order to win. Using the analogy of fish love (just type fish love into Google if you’re not aware of it) and ask yourself, do I love pigeons or do I love to win! Again, all these theories, opinions and observations are my own formulated from the Last five years of being in close contact twenty-four seven because of my disability and when I say close contact, I mean approximately 12 feet. With that in mind so what do I do with my bird’s more importantly why do I do it. As you will have noticed I suffer from numerous medical problems which started when I was 11 with gut issues after suffering from peritonitis. I mention this because that from all my studies indicates without going into to much detail you start with a medical issue and take a chemical compound which ultimately has side effects you then take more for the side effects and so it continues unless you break the cycle. I was on 36 medications a day and by researching breaking each issue down replacing each medication with a natural alternative I mitigated each symptom to the point that I don’t take any simply by giving my body what it needed to support it. I new I could not reverse the scarring and damage that was already done but I could maximize what was still intact. This was a process of trial and error and I used my bird’s as Guinea pigs, so we were in it together.  My findings were pretty unremarkable really as it was just a matter of using the basics that all life needs to have to function. Examples of this is good nutrition fresh water plenty of sunlight a fresh air. Simple really you may think! Not from my findings lets break them down nutrition/food for years man has been growing food to feed the increasing population crops are grown on depleted soils not worrying about the things you can see as long as it looks good to the eye and to their profits. Take the humble grain of wheat for example it has been selectively grown by man to deter pests from eating the plant by increasing gluten levels which is the plant’s own poison hence higher rates of gluten intolerant people. These things obviously are hard if not impossible to mitigate but if you study the latest studies in the gut you will find that good health is about having a good diversity of bacteria in it called the microbiome. For me and the birds that means pro and prebiotics to supplement what’s missing from food. I use after a lot of research kefir again look into it prevents disease and promotes health. Just a note not the premade bottle type that as usual the money making retailers are selling simply because to sell it they have to process it which removes a large amount of the components that do you good but by fermenting it your self. The best and easiest way I’ve found of giving it to the bird’s is by over fermentation extracting the whey (its known as the golden liquid) and putting a tablespoon of it into the drinker. It contains billions of live prebiotics and a wide range of vitamins, minerals and trace eliminate. I also use local farm corn just to mitigate in small way the depleted soil issue. You may remember earlier I mentioned about being related to everyone local yeah you guessed I am to the farmers as well. Water what’s wrong with that I hear you say well without going into to much detail fluoride in tap water stops bacteria and pathogens in our water pipes to make it safe for us to drink it also mimics iodine which is essential to all creatures in glad function pineal thyroid etc. Fluoride blocks the iodine reducing the brain to function at speed and increases intelligence. So, to mitigate the fluoride with it being a halogen which means it evaporates so standing your water overnight will rectify this issue and putting 1 drop of Lugals iodine 6% in your drinker will perk the bird’s up especially when rearing young bird’s.

Sunlight and fresh air I know the trend especially for the sprinters is clean, sterile closed in with lots of light through the use of polycarbonate sheets this does get results but at what cost! As I look at it the cost is two-fold one for the fancier in that this environment promotes breathing issues because of the small unseen feather particles that these conditions produce. On that issue it’s not just the feather particles it’s a combination of factors in my opinion again from my research that the biggest issue in humans is caused by an allergic immune response. Have you ever wondered why, why being the bane of my life which I have never lost from being a kid? As a kid I would help out hay timing carrying hay bales around no stuffy nose sore eyes the only issue I had was the itching on my back from the chaff going down my top. Fast forward a few years alleges to everything issues that serious I would be in hospital on a nebuliser I know if I’d said to my consultant, I had pigeons he would have advised me to take them out of the equation. How did I mitigate this issue well I did my usual research to cut a long story short again the answer was what everyone knows but hates to implement loose weight, eat only natural food, exercise and support my immune system with prebiotics and prebiotics. Using these methods I’ve stopped having my annual chest infections have no allergies and lost five stone the simple natural organic substances that I used to achieve these results was fresh fruit and vegetables local honey lucky my dad keeps bees which I swap him for kefir cider vinegar I ferment this myself from local apples brewer’s yeast Lugols iodine or I must mention what I cut which was processed sugar hence the honey. I’m sure fanciers will recognize most of the above this isn’t rocket science it worked for me it wasn’t easy but at least I still have my bird’s. Fresh air as they say is free and I have a very well ventilated loft but I think it is no substitute for having the bird’s out in all weathers soaking up all that free vitamin D from the sun and increasing their diversity of bacteria to build up their immune system. So, you see we are intrinsically linked as I do to bird’s as I do to myself.



13 How can we improve the sport for all??

I probably like many have contemplated this question many times I think the first thing we need to do is to invest in it’s future like in the quote from Aristotle “show me the boy till he’s 7 and I’ll show you the man" we need to if the sport is sustain it self prioritize and invest in a strategy to engage with young children. Each and every fancier should be charged with this objective. As an example my grandson was mad about pigeons he even at a family event when was very little on the stage in front of everyone introduced me and my wife as granddad and nana pigeons much to my delight but not so from my wife! He now at the age of 10 has gone into the iPad age when all you get from him is something about fortnight which I thought was a couple of weeks but apparently, it’s a video game! Hopefully he may remember in later years how much he loved pigeons and come back to racing.  

Next we need to embrace technology because it’s here and not going away ETS is a start but more importantly communication the speed of receiving and the giving of information live videos tracking devices on stool pigeons pardon the pun put on line live I know all this goes against many of us traditionalists but sure my great granddad would of thought that about me but if it’s for the greater good so we don’t become a dinosaur and put on one of those Facebook memes does anyone remember what this was. One the subject of social media my own experience is that it came be a great resource for sharing ideas and information but we should be careful of what we put on and sites  need to be managed it’s a bit of a double edged sword in my opinion. Take the contentious and emotive subject of our hawk problem I think we all agree that it can be devastating to our bird’s and cause a massive amount of stress to the bird’s and the fancier have experienced this to the point were it makes you feel like packing it all in to avoid the stress I have seriously considered this myself. I tried the popular methods to combat the problem keeping them in over winter, changing the timings of letting them out, visual deterrents etc. to no avail in fact it got worse. I had heard of fanciers that let their birds out all day and that they would wise up. So, with a leap of faith I tried it and to cut a long story short I’ve been doing this for 5 years now and harmony has returned for me and my bird’s. I’m not saying I don’t loose any bird’s because I do but none around the loft and garden, from my observations I have noticed that when they are around the loft and in the garden different bird’s will take turns staying on guard on high points. I can only describe it as when in my younger years on the farm hunting rabbits you new when storking the rabbits you had failed when you heard that thump of it’s back foot hitting the ground warning the ones in that area to hide it was time for me to move on as there was no dinner forthcoming from  here. An interesting observation I have made sitting here all day every day is the colour of my birds that do not return and I’m not just blaming the hawks as nobody knows what happens to them when they are out of sight it could be a multitude of things  but here’s my findings of the pigeons and their colours over 5 years: 1 Mealy 2 Reds 5 blues 1 dark cheq pied and 9 White Logan’s I breed for my daughter as she had plans to start a  dove release project. On the flipside of this I am left with predominantly dark chequers with maybe the odd white flight. I’ll leave it up to you to make your own judgement on the why this is the way it is.

To summarise this I think we should trust our bird’s more after all pigeons are one of the most adaptable creatures on this planet maybe we can learn from them rather than us imposing our interventions and go back to the basic survival of the fittest.



14 Have you read my best-selling books on pigeon racing?

I’m a big believer in things happen for a reason and effect and cause as well as everything you do no matter how small can have a profound influence on others without you ever knowing what you have done. An example of this is you contacted me with a simple message to swap from that you then sent me a 20 question message within this was a question have you read any of my books quite benign and innocent you think. Well for me it led to confronting one of my weaknesses which has plagued me an held me back both in my work life and in my pigeon world. You see I have difficulty in reading and writing and have all my life and never actually read any books the way I learn is by being shown and listening to people. To cut to the chase I rang my sister who teaches children with learning difficulties and is totally different to she loves books etc. She informed me that there's an app that reads to you on your phone. Well I download the app and as if by magic I now can read well listen to all the reports on Elimar. That’s why I wanted to thank you it's opened up me to learning more about what I love. So, to answer your question not yet but I intend to.



16 Any interest in egos and politics, or the fame game??

No, my focus is my bird’s these things in my opinion can take you away from enjoying your bird’s.



17 Do you like inbreeding?

Yes, when you have something worth breeding around, I’ve found the few potential good racers I have not produced more of the same.



18 Are you a fan of foreign imports or British bods?

I’m a fan of all good bird’s whether foreign or not what I’m not a fan of is the car salesman approach with glossy photos fancy names a pedigree his of its fathers brother sisters cousin nest mate friend in the nest box next door once in 1900s won a race priced to sell only £100.



19 How do you wish to be remembered?

At the beginning of my story I mentioned Swicher Porritt well that’s how I would like to be remembered in the thoughts of some child that I had inspired to carry on this fantastic sport.

20 More comments to finish.

Apart from the obligatory thanks and gratitude to all the people/fanciers I have had the privilege to meet and share ideas with and helped me in my quest to win a race. I would Also like to thank Jim Emerton for having  the foresight giving me a small back garden fancier the opportunity to have a voice as so often in this world history is written by the Victor’s.

As a small caveat I would just like to share this story if you ever sit and wonder that you have never had any influence on what happens in this world think again your actions no matter how small can change the future.

Three young lads two had pigeons one had not but decided he wanted some so the two lads helped build him a loft from old doors and scraps of wood. Then the two lads gave him some pigeons, after a while the third lad got way laid by a girl and his older brother took over the bird’s. Over the years the older brother went on to become one of the top fanciers in the up north Combine topping the Combine on 4 occasions and having a combine trophy named after him. You see remember what you say what you do can have a profound influence if not for yourself but for others. Or by the way yeah, we are related.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I must point out that I am not a qualified medical practitioner and I don’t recommend you try any of these examples on yourself without first seeking advice from your doctor. Feel free to try them on your bird’s though should you be inclined to do so.



Chris photos