We’re here, finally, having done one of the hardest flys ever including an emergency stop-over in Crawley after battling gale force winds down the M23. Nightmare and totally knackering. Then, pretty much soon as we get to Brighton, it turns into the Arctic fucking Tundra. Kid you not. WTF? Nearly April and it’s chucking down freezing snow. This time last year we were boiling our arses off.
Not on. Ended up spending our first night here. It’s a refuge for homeless pigeons:
Couldn’t be arsed to go hunting for a dream ledge in this weather.
It’s actually turned out to be be quite a laugh in the end. We even managed a bit of a sing along yesterday to keep warm. Genius, until one of them suggested the soundtrack from Mama Mia.
We’re thinking we might stay here for a bit, or at least till the weather get’s better. The others don’t seem to mind and there’s plenty of room. In fact, it turns out one of them called Tony has been staying here for two and a half years.
This is Tony (right) on the window ledge:
Said he’d flown away from Worthing one day because he was bored, and landed in Brighton. He’d planned to settle on a nice ledge but ended up here and just stayed on. He was reluctant to say why, so I didn’t push it.
“We look out for eachother and help to keep the place clean.” He said. “It’s more of a commune than a refuge.” Nice one, and definitely the place to be for now.
Come on Spring. Get your shit together.
It’s decided. We’re moving to Brighton. If these Arctic conditions continue, at least we’ll be freezing our arses off by the sea. Mart’s bang up for it. London in this weather is just depressing.
This was us yesterday near Marble Arch:
So cold we couldn’t even be bothered to speak, and then it rained. It rained all bloody day. Miserable.
Not sure where we’re going to end up yet. Possibly the Marina. Got taken there the other day. Not only is there a massive MacDonalds, it’s got a car park and a drive through which means people drive through, eat in the car park and then chuck what’s left out of the window. Genius. Burger throwaway everywhere, and some of it was still warm.
This is one of our new pals, Clive. It was Clive who told us about it:
Get in there Clive.
Even met a half decent sea gull called Boris (in the middle).
I think Brighton is going to rock and, who knows, maybe I’ll try out a few dates? I’ll definitely be checking out the stand-up scene. Whatever occurs, it’s going to be a damn sight better than sitting on a wall near Marble Arch in the pissing rain.
If anyone can recommend any decent available ledges, let me know.
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from me for a while, I’ll tell you. In all the years of writing this blog I have never suffered any injuries. Not one. Pretty amazing all things considered. Some might say flying about with a camera strapped to me might be hazardous to say the least, but no. Nothing.
It also has to be said that in all the years of doing this I have never given a flying fuck about Valentine’s Day either. Apart from anything else I’ve not really had much cause to if you get my drift.
This year, they both come at once. Total nightmare.
Met a half decent bird a couple of weeks ago called Sally. We got on pretty well and seemed to have quite a bit in common like being interested in bagels and trying out different types of nut. We even agreed on a favourite – the Brazil. She seemed pretty into me writing Pigeon Blog for as long as I have too (even though she said she’d never read it). Anyway, cut a long story short I decided to take her out on Valentine’s Day. Mart suggested a throwaway on Brick Lane, but I wanted to go a bit more up market. If I was in the zone for a possible legover I had to get it right, so I decided on a sunset ride on a Millennium Wheel pod. Perfect. Both of us staring into out over London. Wings slightly touching. I’ve never done it myself but heard it’s pretty easy to hold on and doesn’t go that fast.
So – Feb 14th comes. I get up and go for the necessary wash in Leicester Square and what happens? I stub my fucking toe getting out. Never been in so much pain. Jesus. Couldn’t walk. Couldn’t stand. Swelled up like a fucking potato. Just had to get back in the water and sit there while Mart went to tell Sally the date was off.
Thankfully the toe has gone down a bit now so hopefully we can do it next week instead. Tell you one thing though – never again will I ever mention the word Valentine.
As always happens in London, the snow all came and went in a couple of days. Up to our knees we were in a slushy nightmare. Anyway, sledging was fun even though all we managed to do was tow each other around a bit. Turned out that carrying a foil throwaway box in the air any distance was too much like hard work. Good times, unlike now. Really not much going on in London at all these days. As far as I can make out, there’s not much happening this year full stop. Flat as a soggy pancake.
2012 was all about massive amounts of tourists and parties, and then there was the Olympics and my stint at Time Out. This year, nothing. Nada. Fuck all, so I’m considering moving to Brighton. Been there a couple of times and there’s a pretty good scene going on.
Put it this way, this was the biggest laugh we’ve had since the snow:
Eating shit off the floor in Waterloo Station, and that was only because it was pissing down. Hardly comedy genius.
At least in Brighton you can get yourself a nice sunny-aspect ledge like this one and stare out to sea all day:
Bit of coastal meditation could do me the world of good. Change my perspective a bit. Get the old creative juices going again, especially if I can crack the comedy scene down there. Heard the pigeons in Hove have got a great night going on under the pier on a Wednesday.
For a start, I know I’d write a whole lot more because I’d actually have something interesting to write about.
I mentioned the idea to Mart who was right into it soon as I mentioned the word ‘explore’. He said he’d love nothing better than to spend his days exploring just like in the film, ‘The Explorers’. Jesus.
Anyway, watch this space.
So, this is it. The snow’s here, big time, and there’s more on the way. In fact I think it’s doing it again now. Thankfully I managed to escape the slush of Central London by swapping it for some lush white powder in Richmond. Good move. Plenty of room under the bridge, and we even got fed yesterday. Kid you not. Richmond is definitely the place to be when it snows.
This was me, yesterday:
Good times, despite the cold feet. Jesus they were cold!
Mart’s just suggested an activity for today. Possibly the first genuinely good idea he’s ever had. Sledging in the park using an empty throw-away box. Ideally one like this:
He’s off right now with a couple of pals hunting one down. Should be easy enough to get it up there with a few of us. Watch this space. Or, if you’re out and about on the slopes of Richmond Park, watch out for a bunch of pigeons on a tin foil sledge.
Bring it on!
It’s been a while since I posted, but that’s mainly because I’ve been busy. No excuse I know, but it’s true. First off, I’m thinking of moving and have been looking into potential destinations. After all these years struggling in London, I reckon I’ve had my fill. There’s just too many of us with not enough throwaway to go round, and when I read the other day about that BBC hawk chewing on a pigeon, that was the final straw. The odd stray one accidentally downing a pigeon because it’s hungry, fair enough. Showing off in front of a load of BBC staff however – not on. Why do the BBC need hawks anyway? Trafalgar Square, I sort of get it seeing as it used to be such a hang out, and still is, but we don’t even like the new BBC building. It sucks arse. The only pigeons who go there are either star spotters hoping to catch a glimpse of Bruce Forsyth, or they’re lost. Give it up, BBC. You’re not that great.
Another nail in London’s coffin is the lack of decent ledges. Back in the day there were plenty to go round. Now, no chance, especially in the West End where they’re strictly on a first come first served basis, and spikes have clearly come down in price because every fucker appears to be getting them.
Yesterday, I found some pigeons finally making some noise about it outside Starbucks on Carnaby Street:
Bring it on.
I spoke to one of them. Debra from Dulwich (left):
“I can’t believe how many spikes there are these days.” She said. “They’re everywhere. It’s especially hard if you’re a larger pigeon like me who needs a slightly wider ledge…”
She went on to say they intend to sit up there every day until the spikes are removed. Fair play, although I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen any time soon.
As last year came to its inevitably soggy conclusion it looks like 2012 is officially the wettest on record. You don’t say. Frankly, things had better improve in 2013 on the weather front. There’s already talk of a new migratory policy and it’s only January 2nd.
The only snag is, how do we do it? All those in the know, i.e. all those that fuck off every year, have already fucked off, so it looks like we’ll have to wait till the spring when they come back to get the low down.
We just need some detail. Where to go? How far is it? Best en route stop-offs etc.? I’m sure we can make it to Morocco at the very least. Who’s with me?
Any of you in any doubt, just take a look at this poor fucker sifting through a pile of wet sick on a Monday morning:
Anyway – Happy New Year!
Mart always accuses me of never wanting to do anything festive. Fair comment as generally I do try to avoid it, apart from the traditional Shit or Miss on the Christmas shoppers on Oxford Street that is. So this year I decided to go for it by suggesting we fly to Windsor for the annual Christmas carol singing event. A pal called Ed goes every year and says it rocks the big one. Mart was made up so off we flew first thing this morning straight up the M4.
Thankfully we managed to dodge the pissing rain. Pretty easy fly as it goes, mainly because you can see the Castle from miles away. The only downer was Mart practising ‘Away In A Manger’ the whole way there. Kid you not.
As we approached they were already half way through an air-bound rendition of ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’:
Have to admit I even hummed along a bit. Of course Mart was straight in there with the harmonies. Painful stuff.
Then everyone hit the turret for Silent Night:
That’s Ed at the top. Frankly getting into it a bit too much for my liking.
Still, it was a right laugh and Mart said it was the best Christmas Day he’d ever had.
Tomorrow we’re back on the ledge getting ready for the annual Boxing Day Brazil Nut Hunt on Berwick Street.
So, seeing as the world didn’t end after all, here’s to a Happy Christmas from me and Mart.
Everyone’s talking about it. The end of the world is this Friday, apparently. Not sure what that means but checking the mental weather this year, I wouldn’t be surprised. Have to say though, it’ll be a shame if it does. I haven’t even been to the Isle of Wight.
Some of the conversations I’ve had about it have been hilarious. There are pigeons out there actually preparing for it. Unbelievable.
Take Francis from Morden, for example. Francis has spent months filling her nest with whatever shit she can pick up, even if she doesn’t know what it is:
Mental. She can’t even sit in it anymore and spends most days walking around with crumbs stuck to her arse.
This year really has been one big weather roller-coaster. Mental, and now it looks like the Arctic is moving in to make 12.12.12 the coldest day, ever.
Practically every lamp worth taking in London has gone as pigeons hunker down for the night. Think I’d rather have non-stop pissing rain than this. My beak was literally frozen solid this morning. I even had bits of frost on my toes. This afternoon I decided drastic action had to be taken, especially as Mart spent most of the day sitting as close as possible trying to keep warm. To be honest, I found it all a bit uncomfortable.
The good news is we managed to bag one of these on Leicester Square. Mart is sitting on it right now.
Just got to make sure neither of us roll over in our sleep. Could wake up to a nasty shock:
Still, least we’d have had warm arses for the night.
In this day and age, considering the massive technological code breaking capabilities of now, no-one has been able to crack the note that was stuck to the leg of a dead pigeon from 70 years ago. Mental. Poor dude was found stuffed in a chimney in Surrey. Probably only ducked in there for a bit of shut eye. Hats off though. Daring stuff delivering messages over enemy lines. Not sure there’s many pigeons these days who’d stick a metal box to their foot and fly around Europe dodging bullets on the promise of a leg-over (which was the promise, apparently).
If you fancy giving it a go, here it is:
Really not worth the effort. Probably says something like: ‘If you’re flying over a chimney, don’t go down it if there’s smoke coming out’. Idiot.
Anyway, talking places to kip, it looks like we’re into a winter of sleeping under bridges again. Jesus. The rain has been SO bad I’m considering moving permanently into somewhere with a roof on it. The only snag is, and I know I’m always saying this, but where? Anywhere half decent undercover usually means dodging some sort of spiked obstacle course. Anyone know anywhere dry and risk-free, let me know. And, while we’re at it, can I add warm to the mix seeing as the temperature has dropped today by ten degrees? Cheers.
All this flooding has been bad for us pigeons though. Got talking to Sylvia at Clapham Junction yesterday who’d just evacuated herself from Somerset when conditions became ‘atrocious’.:
“There was no land for ages. Just water. It was everywhere. I’d be learning to swim right now if we didn’t sink. There’s got to be a way to deal with it, especially if water is the future. Ducks can do it. Why can’t we?”
She has a point. Maybe we should be putting some real effort into it instead of saying, ‘Oh. Shame we’re a bird that can’t swim. Never mind’.
It can’t be that hard, surely?
Off tomorrow to chat to some ducks, if I can find one who can string a sentence together that doesn’t send me to sleep.
The thing about getting older isn’t just the occasional ache in the wing joints, it’s the rapidly fading memory. Honestly. Mine is so shot to pieces it’s embarrassing. Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing in there at all.
Yesterday, I bumped into this guy:
“Bri!” He said, straight in my face looking quite excited. “Bri Pigeon! Great to see you again!”
I had no clue who he was. Not a single one.
“Oh, hi.” I said, trying not to look too vague, “How are you?”
“Great. Great. Cheers. Bloody hell, that night, dude. Dude! Best night in years. Still laughing about it now!”
“Yeah. It was great, wasn’t it.” I had no idea what he was talking about.
“When you said that thing. What was it?” By this time he was laughing so hard his foot was slamming on the pavement. “You know? That thing? Hilarious!”
Time for a swift exit: “Listen, really sorry, man, but I can’t stop. I’m just on my way somewhere. Great to see you again though. Let’s not leave it so long next time.”
Then came the sting: “But it was only last week…”
Damn. Fucking typical. He shuffled off looking somewhat deflated despite my attempt to salvage the situation: “But last week feels like ages ago!”
That was the moment I decided something has to be done before it gets any worse and I’ll have to start referring to my blog as ‘the online diary of an aging pigeon who can’t remember very much any more’. Not good.
I figured food might be a good place to start. Turns out nuts can help by boosting my Vitamin E levels. Easy. So tomorrow I shall mainly be sitting under the nut stall on Berwick Sreet Market if anyone fancies joining me?
I’m also going to investigate some other more practical methods. Perhaps a few simple mental agility exercises? Mart suggested counting pavement cracks but that’s more likely to send me mental than anything else.
Any other pigeons out there suffering the same lack of recollection, watch this space (if you can remember that is).
Sorry for the earlier error. Accidentally stepped on ‘publish’ before it was finished. Twat. Also decided to go Top 10 hobbies for pigeons rather than Top 5. Too many good ones to ignore.
Cheers everyone for some great suggestions. Since posting about it I’ve not only been trying a few myself, I’ve been testing them out on some pals. Not all of them got it. A few actually said that they were quite happy standing around all day doing nothing. Fair enough. Anyway, here you go. My absolute favorite Top 10 (in no particular order).
- Dove Bombing – where you find a random dove and dive bomb it. Arrogant fucks deserve it.
- Stair (or Step) Hopping – a handy one in London with there being lots of them around. Also good for keeping fit. Could expand it to racing up them or doing it backwards? Could also knock out the stairs and just do some hopping.
- Parrot Gliding – go to Richmond Park, find a parakeet, wait for it to take off, then hop on and see how long you can stay on for. I recommend ear plugs for this one though. They make a dreadful noise at the best of times. Imagine what they’d sound like with a pigeon on their back.
- Cow / Horse Back Riding – as above, but on a cow or horse. Jump on and see how long you can stay there for. May be easier to sit on the head so you can hang onto an ear? Possibly even use it to steer? Could work?
- Rambling – love this one. Dead simple. Go to somewhere you haven’t been before, preferably outside the M25, and just walk around a bit.
- Mud Wrestling – a great one for this time of year when there’s plenty of it around. I can strongly recommend the banks of the River Thames at low tide.
- Skating – a few of you suggested this one. This is something I’ve tried few times. Bloody hard, especially on a busy organised rink like Somerset House. If it’s your first time, I’d suggest giving it a go on a quiet puddle somewhere. Get the hang of it first.
- Put On A Play – doing some kind of public performance is always a winner not only for the pigeons taking part, but also for those watching, providing it’s good of course. Nothing worse than sitting through a bad one. If you’re interested, just be sure to join a group who know what they’re doing, take The Kentish Town Players for example. Here they are performing a battle scene from Shakespeare’s Richard III last year:
- Nearly there. Here’s one from Mart. I had to include because I said I would – Baking. He suggested, with Halloween round the corner, we could start with some gingerbread witches. Jesus.
- Finally, and my personal fave, Nut Nicking – This is right up there for me. Nicking a squirrels nuts. Bound to piss them right off. Could also be adapted to Nut Nipping where you nip a squirrel in the actual nuts. Providing you get good purchase, this would piss them off even more:
“Awwww. Me nuts!”
I would apologise for not posting for a week, but I won’t because this time it’s not down to the rain. There’s just nothing going on. Not a thing. I’m sure it’s because we’ve all had such a fun-packed summer full of sports and partying that suddenly, now autumn has kicked in and it’s all over, the world feels a bit flat. What the fuck am I going to write about? Today I flew to Oxford Circus, sat on a lamppost for a while, and flew back. Not very interesting, is it? I considered writing about what I’d been eating, but I bored myself with that one too. Jesus. Today I found a raisin outside Sainsbury’s. Well good for you, Brian, you dull fuck.
It’s not just me. Everywhere you look there are bored pigeons desperately clinging to anything they can find to make their day interesting.
For example, take Vince from Bayswater who said he’d been toying with the same piece of chocolate for nearly two hours now and was starting to go slightly mad:
I asked him what made him turn to the chocolate?
“Boredom, mate. I am well and truly bored out of my fucking brains,” he said. “Ever since the crowds left and London got wet and dark again, sweet FA.”
Hobbies. That’s what we need. Something new to learn. Something to get us excited again. Mart suggested water-skiing using lollypop sticks. He reckoned he’d met a goose called Lucy who’d be happy to tow us. Twat. As if that’s going to catch on in winter.
Finding something for pigeons to do in the months ahead is my new mission. Seeing as it’s also the time of year when obesity starts to spread, including some sort of exercise based activity would be good.
I told Vince to ask around. See if any pigeons he knew had any suggestions, but I think he was so obsessed with his piece of chocolate by this point he wasn’t really listening:
So let’s get our heads together to help pigeons like Vince fight the boredom.
Decent hobbies for pigeons to keep us active both physically and mentally.
Any suggestions, let me know. Your input would be much appreciated.
Apologies for the lack of posts but I have, yet again, been stuck under Waterloo Bridge as the worst storm in thirty years hit the UK. Unbelievable. I know you got it a lot worse in places like Florida, but equally I reckon you probably deal with it a whole lot better too. Over here, it’s fucking mayhem. Pigeons getting blown about all over the place trying to land whilst desperately searching for a decent place to sit, preferably one that’s out of the wind. It’s not easy. Then again, with the lack of summer we’ve just had, most London pigeons are getting used to it. Having spent a good few weeks under Waterloo Bridge earlier this year, I almost consider it a home from home.
Saying all that, somewhere hotter and less windy would be nice. So, with a total lack of shit to do other than sit around waiting for it to stop raining, I started looking at where else in the world would be good for a pigeon to live. So far, Delhi is top of the list. Big time. Pigeons over there have got it good.
Not only do they get to live in nice sheltered places like this:
They get their own rooms and can spend their days looking at pigeons like this:
You can read more about it here. They’ve even given the whole thing a name. It’s called Kabootarbaazi. Bring it on.
If only it wasn’t such a long fucking way away, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
Maybe if I slimmed down a bit, disguised myself as a racer and sat in a box outside Heathrow Terminal 4 chewing on a poppadom? Could work?