Meadow: Pigeons [2]

There was a strict regulation imposed on all new tenants of The Meadow estate in the late 40s-early 50s that no wild or domesticated animals be kept in or about these pristine new homes.

Whether or not it applied to cats and dogs I do not remember, but certainly pigeon lofts were not permitted!

Naturally these lofts began to spring up all over the place, almost as if they were a compulsory adjunct to our homes, pigeon-fanciers outnumbering all other sportsmen at that time. 

There was the odd pig sty too, but that was a purely commercial enterprise. I am not aware that pigeons were bred for any table. Indeed the thought alone is enough to horrify most!

In the days before the constant hum (or roar, dependent upon distance from main roads!) of motor traffic, it was the sweet, soft swish of pigeons passing overhead that turned heads. My own childish imagination was constantly intrigued and excited. There was the aerial dance, the sheer ecstasy of the winged play, the flash of colour, the pure trill of flight.

The ultimate pleasure was to hold one of these magnificent creatures in the palm of one’s hand. There was a hold method to be learned. One’s middle fingers entrapped the trembling bird by the feet so that its tiny heartbeat throbbed against one’s palm. Then one could study at close range the downy chest and multi-coloured feathers; blues and blacks, purples and browns; to watch that erect and proud head turn suddenly through 270

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