Blackpool - February 2008

MEDPET represenetative Morne Smit writes about his visit to the Blackpool Show 

At last, after great expectations and excitement, the day dawned for me to fly.  Yes, you guessed correctly!  We are stretching our wings and Medpet asked me to represent them at the biggest pigeon show in Britain.  What a privilege and experience!

Before I get to the show, I first want to give you some tips.  Fly Emirates!  I am talking about Emirates Airlines.  The flight to England maybe takes a little longer because you first fly to Dubai, but it is definitely more comfortable than previous airlines I have flown with.  So, for all you Pigeon Fanciers out there that have marked BLACKPOOL on your calendars for 2009, fly Emirates! (P.S. I did not get paid for this advert.)

Back to Blackpool.  Medpet's agent in Blackpool, Mr Kevin Winter, was my host and picked me up at Newcastle airport on the 15th.  For a city guy from Cape Town, it was somewhat cold, but I thought I could handle it.  Little did I know what lay ahead.

We went to Mr Winter’s home in Sunderland, a beautiful coastal town that lies on the North sea in the North East side of England.  After a warm cup of tea, (I asked for coffee, because I am a ‘boer’), he showed me his office and stores from where the products of MEDPET is being distributed.  I also had the opportunity to see how he worked in his laboratory where he does tests daily for Cocci, Canker and Worms.  By the way he talks to his clients and explains to them, you realize how invaluable 40 years of experience in the field of pigeons are.

I visited Stone Haven Lofts later that evening (MEDPET introduced them in a previous article).  All I can say is “five star hotel for Pigeons”!  The owners were very hospitable and proud to not only show me their pigeons, but also their medicine cabinet containing MEDPET products.  One of Paul’s favourite products is Medimune tabs.  He always has a few in his pocket when he walks through the loft in the morning.  I was taken to a beautiful hotel in the countryside of Durham where I stayed overnight.

We tackled the two and a half hour trip to Blackpool on Thursday at about 17h00.  Was it cold and wet!  I will never again complain about the winters in the Cape.

Blackpool is situated in the North west coast of England and borders on the Irish sea.  The population is approximately143 000 people.  It is a popular holiday destination for the Brits in summer.  Attractions include the Blackpool football club, a fun fair, Zoo, Golden mile and the most iconic attraction is the Tower, something similar to the Eiffel tower in France, but on a much smaller scale, I think.

On Friday we erected the stall.  Kevin was concerned about the placing of our stall, because the organizers moved it this year.  It was done to accommodate all the pigeons inside the big hall.  If there was then an outbreak of bird flu, only that part would have to be locked and the entire show would not be disrupted.  For those of you who do not know, the show is held in a big old theatre.  There are no lifts.  Our stall was in the furthest gallery.  It was a sweaty job to carry the products up and down the steps.

On Saturday the show started in all earnestness.  Kevin’s concern about the position of our stall was quite unnecessary, as the stall was so full that a person could not move.  People from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Holland and even South Africans visited us.  I could not believe it when someone spoke to me in Afrikaans in the middle of Blackpool.  By late afternoon, most of our products were sold out.  Our new product Intestum was totally out, and probably one of the top sellers at the show.   Taking into consideration that we were not allowed to sell antibiotics and other medicines, Speed Plus, Plume Plus and Entero Plus were the other big sellers.

It was quieter on Sunday and we had scarcely any products left.  It gave me the opportunity to walk around a little.  I could only now experience the scope of the show.  There were 148 stalls.  Everything your heart desired in relation to pigeons, was there and more.  Every time I thought this is now the last of the stalls, I would find another room with containing stands.  Rings, drinkers, feed, supplements, books, DVD’s, cages, trailers and more.  It just did not stop.

By 15h00 we packed up in the pouring rain.  And so Blackpool 2008 came to an end for Medpet.

On Monday it started to snow and everyone was concerned that I could not fly back on Tuesday.  I had the opportunity to make my first snowball.  Everything was safe on Tuesday and I could return to South Africa where the Pigeon Fanciers know about sunshine and braaing (as opposed to having a "barbecue").                                                                                                                                                              

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