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To each own

To each his own


When I heard about a club that was actually GROWING in members, it gave me a warm feeling inside. I have the same feeling when I still see one loft built against the other, or when I see someone with his basket along the roadside.

The opposite also applies.

When I see all those empty lofts in Belgium, or adverts in which someone offers all his pigeons for sale, or membership lists that each year have much less members on it, these things make me anything but happy.

Why are there so many lofts without pigeons in Belgium and not in the Netherlands?

That is a question of culture; in the Netherlands they dismantle them, in Belgiumthey don"t.



I almost managed to motivate someone to start keeping pigeons, but first he wanted to know a bit more about the sport.

"Expensive," he thought. Because a loft, a clock, feed and on top of that buying the pigeons themselves soon mounts up.

I told him that it wasn"t as he thought; you can make the sport expensive YOURSELF.

After all, you don"t need many pigeons to enjoy them, and with a bit of creativity you can build a decent loft for not much money.

The price of a good quality second-hand clock isn"t too bad when you spread the cost over the years. And you don"t have to stay at home all the time for your pigeons, like it is often claimed.

I am confident enough to go away for a few days during the quiet season, without anyone looking after the pigeons.

I just give them plenty of feed and water, and never has a bird been any the worse for it.

I had the feeling that we would gain a new fancier but ... I had miscalculated the situation. I hadn"t reckoned with his wife.

She wanted to go to Spain every year, in the car.



Everyone has their own preference (although holidays and pigeons can easily go together), but when they question the pleasure of keeping pigeons with whole and half untruths, I can understand that too.

One time (and one time only) I had also been tempted to take L"Autoroute du Soleil to the south of France, in the direction of sunshine, and I am not afraid to announce that I didn"t like it one little bit, which actually isn"t quite true:

I found it an absolute nightmare!

With millions of other pale-skinned people from our rainy country, I was on this motorway, all wanting to go quickly, quickly southwards.

To leave all the stress behind?

That"s what they say, yes.

The number of completely worn out zombies behind the wheel was many. Grandma and the baby suffered with the rest, and everywhere there were cars at the side of the road.

The route towards the sun resembles a junkyard, because these cars aren"t used to all that.

Continuously changing gear, braking, accelerating, for 1,000 kilometres?

Something has to go wrong.

Of course, I do understand these people; they have booked somewhere for a week and want to get flat on their back in the sun as quickly as possible.

They drive during the night in the hope that it will be quieter. But unfortunately almost everyone has the same thought, and therefore almost everyone drives during the night.

Half of the Dutch population appears to be on the road, the other half is there already. On the radio you"ll hear about accidents continuously, and the fans of the program "broken limbs" can listen to their heart"s content.

To leave all the stress behind?

Come on!

I couldn"t think of a more perfect way to get very stressed indeed.



Give me the peace and quiet of the loft any day. There I don"t think about anything, and people can"t imagine how pleasant that is.

- I know of a fancier/businessman, who has so much work that he could do with a manager for his pigeons. But he doesn"t want to hear of it.

After work, he goes to his pigeons first, and only after to his wife and children. He wants to see the form himself, feed them himself, and scrape off the shit himself.

For him, that isn"t an effort but pure relaxation. All the stress disappears, so he claims.

- Or take that bachelor who is not fit for work. His pigeons keep him going, and through the pigeons he has a social life.

- "Don"t do away with your pigeons," a doctor told the man who just lost his wife.

After the above, you could think that the pigeon sport is for older people, the unfit or people with problems.

Nothing is further from the truth.

Pigeon sport can be enjoyed by EVERYONE.

It"s all the fuss surrounding the sport, the narrow-mindedness, the short-sightedness and the arguments that make some people so tired and dispirited.



Enjoyment is when a super pigeon that you thought was lost, suddenly returns to the loft.

What you feel then is difficult to put into words. It means more to me than winning a first prize.

Enjoyment is when, before you expect your pigeon"s home, there is that speck high in the sky. That speck becomes larger and larger, and then you see that it is a pigeon. One of yours. She folds her wings and plummets down.

A moment later, more pigeons follow, and then the telephone rings.

"Do you have any pigeons yet?" they ask. That is what you call a "kick".

People who know that feeling won"t let it be taken away from them lightly.



I will also never forget the memories of the past.

Everyone went to church on Sunday.

Catholics, liberals or socialists, because in those days you were one of the three.

The liberals fought for justice.

According to them that also counted, but the priest was not so sure about that. During his sermon he sometimes hinted that "those people right at the back" shouldn"t count too much on entering the "hereafter".

Socialists also went to church, but the priest thought they wouldn"t have a chance at all. They would burn.

Also at the back stood the pigeon fanciers, nervous because they didn"t know if the pigeons had been released.

Some even risked not going to church at all.

A neighbour"s wife didn"t believe that her husband had actually gone to church and she asked him what the priest had preached about.

He was prepared for that question.

"About unchastity," he answered self-confidently.

How the times have changed.

Unchastity? Most people wouldn"t even know the word anymore.

Just like, in the past, people didn"t know the word stress.

And the people laughed a lot. More than nowadays I think.