Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pink doves!

The feral flock of doves are fed at about 8.00 am and again in the afternoons, at this time of year, at 2.oo pm. I have been trying to reduce the number of the flock to manageable and affordable proportions, but despite cutting down the amount of grain given I still have about 80 doves and pigeons arriving to be fed!

Most days, just before dark, a little group of doves - from 1 to 10 - gather, hopefully, on the roof and I, unable to resist, have been feeding them a little extra supper. Initially, it was only a small group of 3 or 4 and as they started to wait regularly after the main flock had flown away, I wondered if they were always the same doves. I pondered how I could somehow mark them so I would know and decided to flick a small quantity of food colouring to stain their feathers while they ate. This worked, and the same doves - a big male and a female, plus one or two smaller doves who I took to be their young, were there every day. Now a few other doves have cottoned on to having high tea, but I won't feed them if there are more than 10. Mr. and Mrs. Pink Spots always wait no matter how long it takes for the others to give up and fly away.

Fennie, a blogger who commented on my last dove blog (Pigeons in War - see below this one) suggested (very frivolously, Fennie - lol) that perhaps my doves could be fed the same sort of food as flamingos and thus become pink! I searched Google images for a picture of a pink dove and was surprised to find that this is actually happening at Winwick Hall in Northamptonshire.
Find the beautiful pink doves under the section entitled 'Stables'. I'm tempted to try it in the summer, but where could I obtain krill from?

Maybe I will just satisfy myself with making some pink dove biscuits with my dove cutter (bought on Ebay) and this recipe, kindly sent to me by another blogger, Unpeuloufoque.

Oven 170/325/Gas mark 3

30z butter
1 egg
10 oz plain flour
2 oz golden syrup
4 oz soft brown sugar
Large shake of cinnamon or ginger

Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Add butter and cut it up. Rub into flour with your finger tips. Break egg into a bowl then beat and add golden syrup. Mix until smooth . Make hollow in flour, pour in egg mixture mix until it makes a ball. Put in plastic bag in fridge for 30 minutes. Get it out of fridge. Sprinkle flour on a table and on your rolling pin - roll out to about ¼” thick. Cut out biscuits, put on lined baking tray, cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Take out of oven and cool. Ice with 4 oz icing sugar mixed with about 1 tnsp of hot water. Spoon a little onto cool biscuits and spread with a wet knife.

For pink ones I'd have to use a little colouring, obviously.

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but apparently it is great for making the kind of cookies you thread a ribbon through can hang from the Christmas tree.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Pigeons in War

Remembrance Sunday 2008.

The National Pigeon Service was formed at the outbreak of World War Two when 7000 of Britain's pigeon fanciers gave their pigeons to the war effort to act as message carriers.

Pigeons carried their messages either in special message containers on their legs or small pouches looped over their backs. Pigeons were dropped by parachute in containers to Resistance workers in France, Belgium and Holland. This was dangerous as if caught with a British pigeon it meant facing German firing squad. The photo of the poster above was taken at the German Occupation Museum in Guernsey.
One famous pigeon was called White Vision. She/he received a Dickin Medal (popularly referred to as the 'Animal VC' and exclusive to animals and birds - see for more stories) for saving the lives of eleven airmen in 1943. White Vision was released from a flying boat ditched off Scotland and flew sixty miles in strong winds and exceptionally difficult conditions to bring a rescue party.
More details can be found on Pigeons in War at Read about some of the brave pigeons - it is quite humbling!
The Animals in War memorial is in Park Lane, Mayfair.
(Information for this blog taken from Pigeons in War leaflet from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association leaflet.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Bognor 1961

This is me, and my nearest sister, in Bognor. I'm the little one, and aged four. I don't remember the day, but I do recall that the dresses were mauve and white gingham, and my shoes, my lovely shoes, were pink patent. I cried when I outgrew them. Maybe my love of white doves stems from this occasion?