More from Les J Parkinson
Well I am now just over a week past my 71st birthday and it was the quietest birthday I can ever remember. I can also add that it’s the cheapest because we normally go out or have a houseful on such events. I suppose I have to look at it from the point of view that I am still here after all those sad losses to coronavirus. I was watching a couple of ladies over Easter on TV debating weather it is carried on the wind. The Spanish flu came up and as one said there was not the transport about them like there is today. They were not hopping across the channel all the time, yet people still caught the Spanish flu all over the place. With that in mind such a virus must be carried, I think most watching would not know one way or another because they couldn’t agree. When they say there’s a virus in pigeons, you can bet we are told it is carried on the wind, who knows, even the professionals cannot agree. I sometimes wonder where the media come up with some of the things they write about and why they come up with it in the first place. Even when someone is doing a good turn there is always someone having a go. I read comments in the paper about Donald Trump sending 200 ventilators over. The comment was “They were on order anyway” Hang on a minute they are having it worse than we are so they need them more of them than us. Whether they were on order or not he gave the go ahead to send them and help us out, he could just as well have said, No, we need them. In this world no-one can do right for doing wrong. No matter who is in government the opposition are always complaining no matter who they are. For once why they can’t be more objective in what they are saying and work together for the good of the country. My dad had the Daily Mirror and I followed with the same paper for over 50yrs but last year I got so fed up at how they were always having a go I stopped it and changed to the Daily Mail. I think it’s the same with a lot of people, we get to the stage where we cannot be bothered with all the back biting and there is some in the media. I was later talking to one of my sisters Shirley who was saying that the Government are doing a good job under circumstances none of us have experienced before in our lifetimes. Unless things move on, I can see a lot coming out of these as overweight alcoholics, me included.
Yes, this year has not been a glorious one so far, but we have not finished yet, we are British who keep going regardless of the situation. What with the coronavirus keeping us at risk pensioners indoors during at times some good weather that we don’t get too often? The young probably won’t understand but the warm weather does your body good when you are past 70yrs. There are travel restrictions that some don’t obey, even those at the top who should know better. The farmers are sending millions of litres of milk down the drains, what a waste. Pigeon racing having a slow start, having said that they do start too early anyway. There is one thing for sure this year, if they are not prepared and trained well enough before the first race, if we get any, it is not down to the weather. What does annoy me is the way the media are contradicting each other and not reading from the same sheet, if they were the general public would feel better. There are always those who want to have the last word in their favour no matter what and they are the media people on TV and they don’t get it right but like to think they have by having the last word. There is one good report coming out, whether it is correct or not but they reckon the hole in the ozone layer is shrinking due to less travel. I still have hope that pigeon racing will start at some point in the next weeks, we can only hope. As I write these notes and send them off it is only the second week in April so a lot could happen by the time they are published for the 15th May.
I can hear them now, not that subject again. Yes, we know this is a controversial subject that I am often writing about and one that always causes arguments and if we are honest most who cause the arguments have no idea about the subject and their remarks are an escape from the facts. The reason I do write about eye sign in racing pigeons from time to time is because it does create an interest in the sport. No matter what I write some will pick at it without having studied the subject in the first place. I first started looking at the subject when I came into contact the Ralph Taylor and Mick O’Grady. Ralph was saying they were at an auction in the early 70’s and had the glass out looking at the eyes of the pigeons for sale. He said they got a few funny looks and comments from others in the hall. Is there really any credibility to the subject, of course there is if you study it enough. I spent many years looking and studying what others had to say on the subject, but I have to admit I am not as experienced at selection as some others I know. However, I do have a more than the average fancier’s idea on the subject and have selected some good pigeons at the shows. I used to judge a few t one time, but I don’t go out visiting as much as I used to do at one time when we were out more than in. As I have pointed out before there is eye sign and eye sign. There is man-made eye sign that is misleading, man made to win in the shows and they win because of the lack of knowledge by the judges, these are usually in local shows and the judges are doing their job in good faith. But win and breed winners, not the best pigeons for the stock loft. Then we have natural eye sign in racing pigeons which is what we need to go by if we are looking to breed winners and future stock birds. The mistake some fanciers make in breeding to eye sign is they pair strong eye sign pigeons together, the eye’s look strong and colourful but their ability to race and breed does not work as well as anticipated when they were paired together. However, we all have to learn somewhere along the line and if we are observant enough, we soon learn. There are a few eye sign fanciers who can even tell you what strain they come from, let me change that thought because we don’t have the families of pigeons about today like we used to do so the eye make-up changes. Going back the old Jan Aardens had a real strong eye and those who have bred this family to the same line are still producing the strong eye colouring. The Janssens were another family that were closely bred and their eye was mostly the same make up. They did come up with a different colour but the make up of the eye was the same. The old original Krauths were the same as were the Sion’s and Dordin’s. I was once asked about the eye of the Busschaert’s but they were crossed so much they were a bit harder to judge. I have spoken to many about the subject over the years, but I stopped because as I was told you cannot get a true reflection of the eye unless you can see it in real time. I did do an eye sign show in out living room many years ago with Bill carney telling us about the eye’s, Dave was there and little did Bill know I added slides to his ring of slides. Some of those had only arrived that day from the Ponderosa in Holland, so he had no idea about them. As he was going through the slides he stopped and pointed out that this was not one of his. I have to say I would not have known it was a new one amongst all the others. I am not sure how many there were from the Ponderosa, but he picked them and even stated their line and he was spot on. I also added a 12 times winner of Denis Gleave’s plus a top pigeon of Joe Glover, he was spot on with his grading. What he did say was that I was trying to beat him, but I didn’t.
Anyway, getting back to the subject and why I am on it again, I found some photos that Peter Bennett took for me many years ago. We start with the Dordin’s, numbers 1 and 2 are both breeders with 1 being the dam of four different pigeons all to fly and be on the National result from nearly 700mls. For two of those pigeons she was paired to number 2 gaining 27th National Tarbes 697mls and 45th National Pau 684mls. Numbers 3 & 4 are also Dordin’s and prized across the channel, none of the Dordin’s were sprinters. The Dordin’s were so reliable when it came to the channel races over 400mls. They were the pigeons of the day and did well for a lot of fanciers, Derek Lawton had a top team of them when it came to the National races, as did many more fanciers.
The next group of photos are the Krauths of which I had a good team of in the 80’s & 90’s. These were always a favourite of mine because they were good up to 500mls, a few did fly further but not many. The best racer I had was a chequer cock called “Joe 90” who was the best racer up to 352mls Rennes that I have ever had. He was the Ace Pigeon of the Mid Cheshire Fed; I think in 85. In the same year his brother was Ace Yearling in the fed out of Nantes 412mls. They were different pigeons because when you handled “Joe 90” he was not a good pigeon at all, but could he race. Kenny Latham put him through the marker as a young bird and said he would win nothing he was hollow backed. Proved him wrong he was the best pigeon I ever raced up to Rennes. He was stopped prematurely after a cat had struck at him and damaged his back. I found him in the corner of the garden by the stock loft with most of his tail missing, Elizabeth tidied him up and it took a few days before he settled down again and he never raced again. On reflection I wonder if a bird of prey had struck him because a cat might have taken him away altogether, will never know. As mentioned, his brother photo 7 was a different pigeon altogether. He was nice to look at and handled a dream. Number 6 is also one of those 6 cocks we flew in 85 that excelled after they were treated with the Carney cake. He had a few prizes that year including from across the channel. Number 8 was a Krauth cock again from the early 80’s pigeons that flew well for us. This cock was different because he had a lighter eye than most of the Krauths we had at the time. I found this to be a benefit because I paired him to one of the darker eyed hens and they went well together. If you are not careful with breeding, you can end up with a lot of good-looking eye’s but no performances. Number 9 was what I called an oddball because the make up of the eye was like her sires but he like the dam were both yellow eyed pigeons. When I saw her eye in the early days, I thought she was a potential stock but the strength never improved and she failed as a breeder, looked good though and she picked up a couple of cards in the eye sign classes. Number 10 was an eye that looked the part but failed miserable in the stock loft, she was a Krauth but not one of ours. The sire of most of these Krauths was the “North Road Cock” that Elizabeth paid £110 for without me knowing in the early 80’s. The dam photo 5 and was from Malcolm Hewitt when he lived at Betley. They were a very good pair and bred a few good pigeons including 2 for Denis Gleave that did very well. They bred 3 different 1st prize winners plus a 1st fed.
In the late 80’s we bought in some Janssen’s that were a different type than the ones I had been used to, their eyes always looked different. They are 11 12 13 photos and we had a visitor one Sunday morning who I was telling I could not get the best out of them. After a bit of a discussion he offered me what I thought was a generous offer at the time so with them not being my type I let them go. I still have a letter from him 3yrs later telling me about the winners he bred from them. I called him and we discussed them, I still remember what he said, “You don’t know the Janssen’s” which was probably correct.
The other two being photos 14 & 15 were bred off yearlings in the race team in Long Lane and I lost the parents of them the last year we raced there. 14 & 15 were broken and went on to fly well at our present address. I remember clocking them both in a funny Nantes race. We had been shopping and as we turned into Long Lane the first thing Elizabeth said was, “Don’t stock we have frozen stuff in the car” I said won’t be a minute. Alan said, “What time are you giving them Parky” I said if you haven’t got one by 2.20 you will be behind” Why I said it to this day I don’t know why because it was a Nantes race 412mls. As I sat on the chair at the end of the platform the blue Dordin cock came out of the east and straight through the doors. I clocked him and it was 2.22pm. I sat there for a while, thinking this must be a good one with nothing else turning up and I expected them to be close together. 90mins later another came so I said to Elizabeth there is something wrong I am going to clock it. Then another came and another, I had 4 in a matter of minutes. I only sent 6 and had 5 in the clock. Just after 4pm I was sitting there as Elizabeth brought the phone out telling me it was Alan. “So much for your 2.20, what time you giving them now, I have spoken to all but three and now you, none of the others have got any” I don’t know what happened when I said, “If you are not in by 2.20 you are going to be behind. We are in at 2.20 and have 5 of the 6 we sent” The phone went dead and later I found out the other two he had not heard of were Bill Lyons and Alan Buckley who both clocked just before 4pm. Yes 4 & 15 were two of those pigeons.
To sum up eye sign in racing pigeons, you have to make up your own mind up whether you believe anything in this subject or not and not be swayed by anyone else because if you are you might be missing out. If you study the subject and compare your pigeons, you may find it interesting and another aspect of pigeons that is of interest. The one thing you don’t want to do until you have studied anything in life is dismiss it without consideration, after all you might be missing out. Who knows while you are on lockdown it might give you something to do, learn about eye sign in racing pigeons?
The selection of eye sign photos is a mixture to go with the information above, they are number in each section.