A Happy Ending for the MNFC and John Pether
The Club and her members who entered 7000 plus birds for the second race of the 2016 programme had to endure a long nail biting nine days before the birds which had been brought back from the new race point of Mayenne which is located in the bottom centre of the Cherbourg Peninsula. The move from the expected site of Fougères raised a lot of eyebrows with several conspiracy theories doing the rounds but the plain truth of the matter is the fact that the Club had been working behind the scenes to get an alternative to Fougères quite simply because the overcrowding at this old established race point is becoming a real concern to the Midlands National and so with just two days to spare before basketing the pigeons the necessary permits were obtained.
All of these plans though were to no avail though when after a three day holdover without any significant improvements on the horizon the two articulated vehicles carrying the birds return back to the England’s South coast and on to Bedhampton. As the poor weather conditions continued the rumour mill was fully cranked up with stories of deserted trailers and other stories of gloom. The truth of the matter was that due to little likelihood of a liberation being possible the two tractor units headed North to carry out the hauliers other contracted work. This was no great problem as the Geraldy articulated trailers are both fitted out with everything necessary to look after the pigeons with batteries fitted to operate the air exchange systems, the automated watering and release shutters plus the vitally important sleeping compartments for the convoyers.
Finally on Saturday morning a full week after the planned event the birds were released at 8.15 am with the birds making a quick clearance from the lib site. The general consensus of opinion from those who witnessed the liberation was that far from struggling to take flight the pigeons headed off home without even so much as the usual customary lap of honour.
The provisional winner of the race is the ESE Henham based loft of John Pether who timed a 5 year old widower cock to record an estimated velocity of 1262. When I spoke to an understandably delighted John he revealed to me that he actually timed a second pigeon a yearling hen just a few seconds later so it could be 1st and 2nd Open and 1st Open yearling Classic when the result is finalised in a few days-time.
The most pleasing thing was the many plaudits that the members gave the Club after seeing their birds return in such fine fettle with no less than 4 different sections represented8 in the first four members verification times. With another four sections in the top 18 placings. So after such a trying time it was a case of ‘Alls well that ends well’. Well done to all of those who helped in any way and especially the three local ‘good samaritans’ who helped with the workload these gentlemen deserve to take a bow for their efforts and they are Alan Blake, Eddie Colishaw and Alan King. Thank you lads you are a credit to our sport.
I have written a short report on the chain of events that took place in the build up to this extraordinary race. The word is that it was the longest delay in the MNFC’s 51 year history. Here’s hoping that it is another 50 odd years before we have another repeat!
The MNFC Experiences a ‘Sept mana Horribilis’
A few years ago Her Majesty the Queen used the Latin phrase ‘Annis Horribilis’ to describe her ‘Horrible year’. Well I can definitely concur and agree that this past week has been a ‘Sept mana horribilis’ or a ‘horrible week’ for those who are not fluent in Latin.
Let’s look back at the last few days when even on the day of basketing the competing members were generally under no illusions that the forecast was for poor weather conditions. None of us though were expecting such a long period of rain, rain and more rain and as soon as one area was improving another part of the country were experiencing heavy downpours and thunder storms. Wisely the MNFC’s transport team had decided on a policy of only 17/18 birds per crate.
As readers will be well aware now that the decision was made on the Monday afternoon after a three day holdover to head back across the channel to get closer to home which it was hoped would allow for an increased opportunity of a successful liberation. For anyone unhappy with the Club’s decision I strongly advise them to read rule 22.5 in its entirety which is quite clear on the matter. If you don’t agree with this rule then the solution is simple put in a proposal to change the rule at the next AGM but if you truly care about your birds as I know most members do I think the rule is generally a good safety clause.
Once back in England the transporters headed to the closest recognised liberation site of Bedhampton near to Portsmouth the port of arrival. Unfortunately the ‘weather gods’ refused to smile on us and the rotten weather conditions continued unabated in most parts of the country right up to the end of the week. We are were well aware of one or two Feds getting away with decent races but we had also heard about some extremely poor ones even from short distances and believe that it is worth bearing in mind that it is a different matter dealing with a local area in comparison to a National organisation whose radius covers the whole breadth of the entire country. Believe me the people controlling the race would have loved to ‘cut the strings’ but they care deeply about our members pigeons and we will never take gambles on what is after all a very valuable merchandise.
Following a call to the local RSPCA by a ‘concerned person’ the transporters received a surprise visit from officers of this organisation who after a check gave the MNFC a glowing report and said that the pigeons were obviously in excellent health and they were very impressed with the Club’s purpose built transporters. So the Club is quite rightly delighted with both their comments and approval.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity a whole week after the scheduled race date the birds were finally released at 8.15 am into a light North Westerly wind. The members held their breath with many fearing and forecasting a disaster but the Committee has great faith in both our transporters and the people responsible for the wellbeing of the pigeons including our weathermen, race controllers and convoyer. Happily their faith was justified with the birds returning in super condition.
What have we learned from the experiences gleaned from the nine miserable days that the pigeons were forced to spend in the crates? Well first of all our system and Geraldy transporters are the finest in pigeon transportation. Two additional things have also been revealed, one being that we aren’t Ladbrokes and so don’t believe in gambling. The other thing is that unlike ‘Dads Army’ we simply don’t panic!
‘Louella Pigeon World’ Coutances
‘Lightning Strikes Twice For Albert Farrow’
In 2013 Albert won 1st National from Vire with the MNFC and now thanks to a ‘Lightning Fast’ Louis Cooreman based pigeon and it is a second victory for this successful Northamptonshire loft when stern opposition of 8,961 birds entered by 861 members were conquered along with a fresh Northerly breeze to claim both the National and 1st Yearling Classic victories. The winning bird was bred by Tim Christmas and now is named ‘Mr Christmas’.Read More