Thoughts from Les J Parkinson.
I was talking to Joe Glover recently about his pigeons and how well they have flown in the early part of this season. If you don’t know the area you might think, they are not the best results, but if you know him and where he lives in comparison to where the rest of the fed cards have gone in the MCF you would probably look at it in a different way. When I look at any race, I look at the whole race and not just the winners, there is a lot put into pigeons and in most races, fanciers don’t get the best deal.
Joe is now well into his 8th decade and has been winning with his pigeons since he started racing in 1951 that’s 68 years and has won 1sts every year. He did have pigeons at 7yrs old but only started racing in 1951.
The brick loft that Joe used to race too.
In these early races he has won;
1st Club 7th Fed Worcester 1134 birds
2nd Club 9th Fed “ “
1st Club 7th Fed Cheltenham 1410 birds
2nd Club Cheltenham
3rd Club Cheltenham
1st Club 9th Fed Mangotsfield 1,528 birds
In the Hankelow Club
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Club Cheltenham
2nd 3rd 5th 7th Club Bath
At the moment he has only competed in 6 races so not a bad start to the season, probably already won more than many will racing all season.
Joe's currect loft
I was talking to Joe about his racing this year and he was saying that he has lost more than normal, it looks as if they are being taken by the BOP’s. He was saying that to keep up with the rest you need to have at least a dozen yearlings each year to take on to the 2yo stage. That is not happening this year because he only has 3 established yearlings left and there is still a long way to go before the 2019 old bird season has finished. Joe did say that he is training a team of late-breds from last year but how many will make the team for next year is another matter, if you get a good late bred they are good but there are not a great deal of them from a team of say 30. I have to say one of the very best distance cocks I had was bred in August and raced to 352mls as a yearling. Joe still trains his old birds so those late breds should have a good schooling. Even at this age he still cleans them out morning and evening, so I think to myself, “What would he do without pigeons”
Having said that Joe is 86 this year so is doing very well to do what he is doing now; we all know what a lot of work needs to go into pigeons to get them to win. As we get older, we also know that time goes by much quicker, or is it a case of we are not moving as fast as we used to do, it probably is, although we don’t like to admit it. As I sit here typing these notes, it crossed my mind that yesterday it was my 70th birthday, after a break away from the pigeons I think, “Would I still want to be training and cleaning out pigeons. Given the chance you can bet your life I would”
You can tell a true pigeon man when you ask about their time in pigeon racing, Joe said that it is one of the best things he has ever done, joining the pigeon sport, he has had so much satisfaction from his pigeons down the garden. There are many fanciers who have the same thoughts and no doubt many more will do so in the future. Having pigeons in the garden is a great hobby and one that you can sit and enjoy so much, their company as they play around the garden can be so relaxing. Pigeon’s are such a pleasure to have and no one knows that more than me now that I don’t have them in the garden. The saving grace is I still have so much to do with pigeons, through my work.
I don’t think the average parent thinks about their children having pigeons in the garden, but if they stopped to think that their children would be in the garden instead of walking the streets, they would be better off. Pigeons in the garden would also get them doing something more physical than sitting at a PC or phone for hours on end, day in day out. I think we need to emphasise these points a bit more and perhaps we may have some more budding fanciers with pigeons, just like Joe and myself and I might add many more who thought so much about pigeons in their teen’s.
Joe & Les J. P.
At the start of a season all sportsman have high hopes of what they want to achieve in their chosen sport, but not everyone can rise to the heights that they set out to do, but they still enjoy what they are doing. Joe is one of those fanciers who has seen his pigeons perform at a high level for 68yrs, therefore I would suspect he is more content with the racing side than making notes all the time. However just for research purposes I then think to myself, “I wonder how many 1st prizes such fanciers as Joe have won in their time racing pigeons” I doubt if such fanciers keep a proper tally on what they have won, yes they can tell you what they have won at certain times for one reason or another, we all can. It is also a fact that as we get older, we are not as methodical as we used to be, we now look at pigeon racing differently and enjoy them more. They become a relaxation when you are sitting in the garden watching them.
An interesting story Joe was telling me was about one of his early fantails, one of Joe’s uncles was also a favourite with the fantail because this very tame bird used to call in at the Cobblers Shed where it would also go into the house. The timing of the fantail was incredible because not only would it follow Joe to school it would also return just as Joe came out at the end of his lessons and go home with him”
Joe’s early interest in pigeon’s increased when a blue cock dropped in the garden with the fantail and they eventually paired together. With this fine blue cock settling Joe started to train it a few miles down the road, training sessions that led to Joe getting the pigeon bug good and proper. That bug as with all true pigeon fanciers stays with us until we join them in the sky, a thought that comes to mind more the older we get.
I bet if everyone sent their stories in you could write a book about them, it would make good reading. I had a few moments myself that I look back on now and think, “What was I thinking about” An interesting story which I have probably told before was how we used to get hold of pigeons. There was a metal ladder at the rear of a certain bank in Crewe town centre, if you stand with your back to the clock you will see it to your right. We climbed up the ladder onto the roof and then went all the way across the rooftops to the other end of the row. Above the store, in the attic there was a broken window, this is where we went inside at night, putting the pigeons down our jumpers and then back out across the roof and down the ladder” When we had them at home in the loft we would try them out, none ever stayed so we gave up in the end. Come to think about it I could write a few pages myself on how we used to get pigeons and how they went on, I don’t think many would have been classed as legal, they were just a bit of fun at the time. That all stopped when my dad brought 3 of the old orange boxes home one night, they were full of pigeons. I remember there were a few crackers in them, when I started letting them out a few did stay but most cleared off. I was the first to have pigeons in the family and apart from Wayne there are no more which is why I had to learn about pigeons myself, mind you Mush Walton was a good help, even though I didn’t get to racing in those early days of keeping pigeons.
This was only meant to be a few words about how well Joe has started in another season racing pigeons, but as always, I get carried away.