Skip to content

Pigeon gets the bird

February 20, 2014

My corpulent old mate from up north, Peachy Butterfield, who has been the butt of my humour for some years, has sought to claim that the breeding and fancying of pigeons is an outdated and outmoded caricature of modern northern life, only for me to find, on a visit to Chester some years ago, a designated pigeon feeding area. I do not apologise for showing the photograph of it again today as I have many new readers who I know will be interested.

He is involved in defending the indefensible in a growing number of north versus south banter blogs which we are creating for yachting website Onboard Online. His latest is now published and you can read by clicking on banter blogs. In his latest column he seeks to argue that the pigeon had increased its status to such an extent that it appears on the menu at Gordon Ramsay’s three Michelin star restaurant in London. If that is true then no wonder they are feeding them up. And how easy to pick off a few when the freezer gets a bit low. And how clever to concentrate them all in one area before catching and eating them, or sending them down south for Gordon Ramsay to work his magic on this pestilential bird.

pigeon alert

A northern delicacy now being farmed?

So to Guildford yesterday to visit the magnificent but fading Auntie Pam. Even the prospect of a ticket to Lords for the Test Match in July does not seem to be sufficient to spur her on to recovery. Also depressing was that as it was designated a 5:2 diet day, there was no real prospect of stopping at a pub in the way back, a pint of beer being 170 calories of ones 600 calories starvation regime maximum, so I had to content myself with very rewarding happy thoughts of the benefits of having a foreign exchange account with Currencies Direct instead.

Today will be better, infinitely better. Old pal and English Treasure John Otway is coming down to Arundel for the evening. We have important film business to discuss in connection with the Guardian Readers Poll’s 2nd best offering of 2013, Otway The Movie. That should take about 10 minutes and then it will be to the pub for a few pints followed by a curry and some red wine. The subject matter will change little.  If we go off message, and that message is all things Otway, he has a wonderful ability to steer the conversation back on course.

It is now less than two weeks to go before we head off to Barbados for the 50th birthday celebrations of another dyed-in-the-wool-northerner, Steve “trouble up ‘t mill” Jackson. I understand about one word in three that he utters and by using inspired guess work and utilising words of one syllable, I am still only able to make sense of one sentence in ten. He is however a thoroughly good chap , as evidenced by his inviting us along to witness all three of the 20/20 cricket matches between England and the West Indies in March. Of course it is not really proper cricket, that is Test Cricket which takes place over 5 days and does not involve the players wearing pyjamas with numbers printed in the back, but I am expecting a fine spectacle and local colour. The West Indies remains my favourite place in the world to watch cricket, narrowly eclipsing Lords, as I have very happy memories of witnessing the great Brian Lara beat the world record innings in Antigua nearly 20 years ago at the wonderful and charismatic St Johns, and again watching Test cricket in Barbados.

Chris France

8 Comments leave one →
  1. howzaaat permalink
    February 20, 2014 8:43 am

    How I envy you ! It’s a wee way off yet, but I hope you have a wonderful time — wish I were going too !

    We all look forward to reading your Match Reports, which you ARE going to write up in this blog, aren’t you ?!

    Meanwhile, here’s today’s limerick :-

    Ah, Barbados — that Caribbean isle !
    Where England WILL beat the Windies in style.
    Chris’ll be there to cheer —
    So, not just for the beer (!)
    And will probably be there for a while.


    • February 20, 2014 9:03 am

      I think brief match reports, not sure my French followers Would be too happy with a cricket blog!


  2. Patrick permalink
    February 20, 2014 2:06 pm

    I don’t want to open myself up to any possibility of being drawn in to Chris’s albeit entertaining, on-going North/South affray, because I have to own up to having a foot in both camps – my forebears were originally from Yorkshire, but I have to admit personally to preferring the particular culture of the South, where I used to live (London and Somerset).

    That aside, when speaking of PIGEON, I think we must get something right here about the very different species :-

    Firstly (and of least interest) there is the variety of the disease-ridden pest, which plagues most of our towns and cities, beloved of no one, I would venture to say not even Northerners ; then, next up the value scale, there is the carrier pigeon, which I would imagine is a bit redundant these days – so that’s them dealt with ; then we have pigeon fanciers, who breed their birds for specific rare qualities and quirks – a strange pastime, but as they’re not hurting anyone, we should leave ’em alone and let ’em get on with it ; and lastly, at the top of the “tree”, we have the wood pigeon, which is vastly superior to all other kinds and is pursued by guns (a) because it’s a bane to most farmers, (b) because it’s great sport to shoot and (c), as game, it cooks beautifully to make a range of extremely wholesome and delicious dishes.

    So, now I think we’ve straightened all that out, but do say if you have any questions or want to challenge anything. Meanwhile, as a kind of summary on the subject, here’s my limerick for today :-

    The WOOD pigeon is one of the best ;
    Not at all like the town-dwelling pest :
    As game, it is able,
    To be served at Top Table;
    For its tastiness, I can attest !


  3. Winnie l'Ourson permalink
    February 20, 2014 2:45 pm

    Nice limerick, Patrick, and I enjoyed reading your treatise on pigeons but, if I may say so, the whole was a little bit long and yet I think you were rather short on the poor old carrier pigeon – the one in my limerick today is anything but redundant, being still very much employed, as follows :-

    “Of all the assignments I’ve had,
    I just CAN’T recall any this bad :
    They expect me to wing
    This ’ere twelve-stone dumpling
    To Barbados and back – are they mad ?”


  4. Helen permalink
    February 20, 2014 4:09 pm

    The meeting is done in a hurry
    They simply can’t wait for their curry
    some beer , & more wine
    & all will be fine
    with ” Otway The Movie” don’t worry .


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: