I stared at the page, knowing what I wanted to say, but unable to find a story, the right words, or some way to give form to the nebulous idea. I had written a few sentences and deleted them just as quickly. They weren’t right somehow. Eventually, I took the hint, closed the page and watched, once again, the video of my first waltz in decades. If I couldn’t write, at least I could smile.
Eventually, I decided to write about pigeons instead of what I’d had in mind. Not as odd an idea as it may seem. Stuart and I had been talking about them a while ago as he had not realised just what amazing creatures they are. I had held my first pigeon when I was very small. Great uncle Wilfred had a pigeon loft at the bottom of the garden and had let me hold a handful of squabs while he cleaned out their nest-box… baby birds with closed eyes and a few yellow tufts of down. I never forgot the feel of their skin, the dark smudges of their closed eyes and the smiling, open beaks waiting blindly for food.
Years later, my father kept racing pigeons and Waterloo Lofts had something of a reputation for breeding winners in the pigeon-racing world. The birds would be trained by taking them, say, thirty miles away in a basket before releasing them to find their way home. Apart from the odd bird who fell foul of guns, wires and poisoned grain on the way, they always came back.
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