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Joe Murphy Column 05-12-19




The Joe Murphy Column


Start this week with an email received from Mike Geddes who wrote ‘Hi Joe,  I should have introduced myself before now, I just came back to the sport this year after a 20 year break, It has been an eye opener that's for sure, so much has changed, I'm like a total new starter, but I will get there in the end. I enjoy total widowhood racing, and only to the coast, saying that at some point I wouldn't be beyond at having a stab at the short nationals, even the short channel one, but that's for the future. I have a nice team of birds sitting here that are un-raced, but very well trained; this alone will prove a challenge for next year. I have read all the versions of that particular subject, and according to some, it makes little difference as long as they are well trained? Time will tell, due to circumstances beyond my control, I never did get them raced, and maybe for the best. I had been listening to all the early young bird reports, and a lot of losses, my intention anyway was only to give the cocks a few races, and make sure I had something for next season. The hens would have went further depending on the moult.


I am not into darkness for the babies; I think there's a price to pay later, again another hotly contested subject. Anyway, back to young bird racing, I had been following early reports, then I had to miss another race, it was the following week, the week that Kevin got the hammer that I was also going to send. After hearing and reading of Kevin's nightmares that was enough for me, I just kept up the training, eventually out to Dunbar and Berwick, I lost a few, and had some back badly smashed up, wires I would think by the injuries, I’m surprised a couple of them made it at all. When deciding on my stock, I went back to when I raced before; I had a mixed bag, Vanhee/Stichelbaut/Pol Bostyn, from my great friend Captain Derrick Cutcliffe and Dr Barry Pierson. Added to these were Wildermeersch from Alf Macpherson, who needs no introduction in the Angus federation, I also had birds from his son Gerald MacPherson, they were the Alfons Bauwens family.


They were responsible for one side of my Grampian Combine winner from Sartilly, also a pair of Van der Wegens who proved to be good stock birds, producing a federation winner on a hard day. I also have some De Klak introduced, as were Hartog’s, and a few Flor Engels. Unfortunately my work took me south of the border and the decision was made that my birds had to go. I was really upset, but work had to come first and I always swore I would be back into the sport; but I got very involved in breeding Australian Grass Parakeets some of the rarer ones, and the years went by. I should have started again when I was forced to retire due to an accident and resulting ill-health, that was 12 years ago, but the parakeets were easier during my recovery.


Fast forward to New Year 2019 I made the decision I was starting again Aviaries were taken down and the internal space is now to form phase one of my lofts. Room for 24 widowhood boxes, just an ideal number, these are getting done at the moment, a young bird loft is next on the cards, the foundations are done and ready and I am starting to gather materials for that.  I have tried to replicate what I had back then and surprisingly have managed to do so; however, no Wildermeersch yet, but plenty of the rest, I feel I had un-finished business with some of these birds, but my mind was made up and again time will tell. Folk would probably see this as madness, maybe it is, but what I have started with are mostly the same lines though 20 years removed. But still plenty winners in them, all these new strains are totally alien to me, and I will let you know if all of this works. I read in one of your articles that you and Kevin are into eyesign, I know nothing about this subject; but I do like looking at the eyes. I would like to learn more on the subject, so an open invitation to you and Kevin to come and run your glasses over some of what I have here.


It would be good to hear your comments on what I have or potentially might have amongst the birds, tea coffee or beer will be served ha.  Well I think that's enough for now, It would be good to meet you I always admired your performances and now Kevin is doing well, I look forward to the inland competition in the club and federation; best wishes Mike’. I wrote to Mike and thanked him for his email which I found very interesting and wonder if I could put it in my column as this time of the year it is very quiet and you never know maybe someone can help you on your quest to obtain Wildermeersch bloodlines. Regarding the eye-sign I will mention it to Kevin and the next time Margaret and I are up we can maybe arrange something if that is ok. Yes!!! Angus federation is a force to be reckoned with nowadays and is a very competitive federation which is good for everyone involved in our sport, once again thank you for your email yours Joe M’. Mike wrote back and said, ‘Yes Joe, I have no problem with using the email, I could have said more but didn't want to bore you to death ha. It would be great if you and Kevin could sort something out, I would like to hear the opinions, as this subject interests me.


 The Angus federation has always been a competitive one, although I have never really agreed to the mount of overfly us on the coast give to Forfar, but hey ho some things will probably never change. I do like the sections idea, as it gives the coast lads a chance to win a prize or two, the federation is a different matter. You know as well as me if you are beating Forfar you have a good bird! Yes maybe a bit of a mention will bring the Wildermeersch calling, I know that there are still some good ones out there; it's finding the right ones. They are an excellent cross and seem to adapt to most families, I found the cross to the Vanhee birds an instant success, and I had 3 generations of winners from one pair, great birds. I have still kept some parakeets on, and I doubt if I will ever give them up totally, I have scaled down by more than 50% and it’s now nice and manageable.


I need something to keep me away from the widowers between exercise, and the parakeets are perfect, so are some stock pigeons, probably way more than I should have, but this will get cut way back when I get going properly and find out who the breeders are. My next project is a young bird loft. It all takes time with me, as I'm not so able physically now and struggle with things that used to come easy to me. It's very frustrating at times, when the pain start that’s me finished for the day, I have a spinal injury. Sky diving through a scaffold was not one of my best moves. I used to be a Stonemason, and I have worked all over the country, with spells at Durham Cathedral and Historic Scotland, even today 12 years on I miss my mates, miss the constant jokes and banter.


Also living on a small pension and disability benefits doesn't help, I just have to do a stage at a time when money permits. It has been the same with the buying of birds, at the start I bought 55 young birds from 3 different sources, I still have 30 something left after training to Berwick, I used the money obtained from the parakeets I sold. It was a good start, but building on it now is the challenge I have been fairly lucky on some of the Auctions and have picked up good birds at decent prices, but the best have come from Teddy Hickman, the De Klaks and Tommy Shaw Verheye. I have a large stock of them to play with and sort out, I just love the De Klak pigeons, they stand out, catch my eye more than most, saying that I'm a sucker for chocolate Meulemans and I have had some ridicule for that in the past ha. Well to my doubters of the past, most of who are still with us....I have a stunning chocolate hen here looking for the ideal partner, just to prove I can get one to win.


 Well Joe I think that's enough for now, if you want to make a story of the email please feel free, ask what you like, I come from generations of bird men some pigeons and some Budgies and Canaries, my Great Grandfather kept pigeons, as did my great Uncle he raced in the Birkenhead area, and it was mostly his pigeons that started me off first time round. I must say that I do have the greatest of respect for the MacPherson Family, they took me under their wing, supplied me with winning stock and advice, basically put me on the road to some of my Grampian Combine wins. My 4th open Hastings was 50% Alf MacPherson Wildermeersch and 50% Vanhee as was my 6th open Peterborough.


The Sartilly winner came from an Alfons Bauwens cock from Gerald MacPherson, and a red pied Imbrecht hen that I had from my uncle, basically the MacPhersons were my pigeon mentors and friends, and still are to this day. Best wishes once again Joe yours Mike’.  My thanks to Mike for his email as I have a busy time ahead of me as I need to have 2 articles into the office by 9th December and 2 for the 16th December so full steam ahead.



SHU Gold Ring Draw

The winner of the above was Austin Whitaker of Methil who wins £70; the draw was made by Bill Traynor of Wishaw who was into the SHU offices and asked to make the draw. See photographs.






Giving up the Sport

My dear friend Billy Holland is giving up the sport and his first sale of Stock pigeon will take place on the 8th December and will be held in Newmains Pigeon club with viewing from 11 o’clock sales start 12 noon. There will be 65 birds in the sale. Billy has won 6 SHU Awards; been 5 times x 1st West Section in SNFC races; he has also won 19 times 1st Region, he has twice won 1st 2nd & 3rd West Section SNFC races, he won 1st & 2nd west section from Tours flying 625 miles and won 10 west coast combines. So if you are looking for good quality pigeons then don’t miss out.


Joe’s Joke

A boy asks his Dad one day, "Dad, why is my sister called Paris?" His Dad replies, "Because she was conceived in Paris." The boy says, "Ah, thanks Dad." His Dad says; "You're welcome, Backseat."

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