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The year I was persuaded to join the MGBS Committee

I remember my wife telling me very clearly "Don't Join". She knows me very well and knew that if I was going in for it, things had to be done the right way.
I found a real gentleman at our Club President - Joe Portelli.
He loved the club dearly and wanted me to join.

January 2006 - My second set of Glosters bought

It was time to obtain another 9 pairs and some odd cock to add to my 24 pairs. I paid another visit to Ronald Bowman knowing that it’s not right to obtain birds from different breeders. I got 22 Glosters in total and invited Ronald home for dinner so that we can pair them up. We spent half a day sifting through pedigree sheets that I had lined up. Once the job was done we sat down for a nice meal. In total I now had 35 pairs lined up for the breeding season 2006.

February 2006 - Elected Treasurer of MGBS

It was election time at the Malta Gloster Breeders Society. The same 9 Members put their name and along with them was my name, Lawrence Caruana, Ronald Bowman & Mario Farrugia. I was elected with 11 votes and appointed Treasurer. The other new Member elected was Lawrence Caruana.
I remember that for the first committee meeting I took two bottles of wine and a dozen cups with me. We drank, laughed and started off on the wrong foot. In my pocket I had a long list of items that need to be changed and immediately I could feel the reluctancy towards the much need CHANGE! I love change… I strive, and if I don't see any progress I feel that I'm wasting my time. My propositions seemed too much for the men who ran the club for a number of years.
The most crucial changes that I was pressing hard for were:

A. To stop choosing the judges from the Hat (we had a lottery of names in there) I was asked to put a name in the hat now that I was a committee Member!! I was new, I knew nobody!! Imagine just putting any name in only because that is the only name I knew!!!

B. I wanted the club to start stocking the items a new member might need like show cages, paint, drinkers etc.
When I got home and told Sandra that I'm in for a rough ride she smiled. The words I didn't want to hear were spoken "I told you didn't I?"

March 2006 - Breeding Season

35 pairs of Glosters lined up! New freshly painted breeding cages and off with the breeding season 2006. I bred 135 Glosters in total which was a great success in terms of numbers, but the quality? I had to wait and see….

June 2006 - I launched the first official website of the Club

This was a much needed move! I presented to the committee what could be the best bird club website in the Maltese Islands. The committee agreed and with the minimum of Lm35 (€80) spent we had a great website launched. The rest was all sponsored by me.

October 2006 - Disaster!!!!

I waited all through the molt, gave baths, plenty of nutrition and kept my room spotless just to discover the bad feather quality I had in my room. The birds were all matt and colourless, The amount of lumps in the room was endless. I felt sick, tired and disgusted at the result. I was comforted by a couple of members who told me that it took them seven years to see some result on the show bench!!! "Now that's some consolation", I thought to myself. Immediately I turned to Ronald Bowman and invited him to my room, I told him that I was really unhappy with the outcome, so he came along.

Together we sifted through the lot only to find coronas with Indian shaped heads, birds with feather lumps and heavily feathered birds that no one would believe. Ronald was speechless. He tried to pick one or two out for the show but I couldn't agree!!! I knew what feather quality was already and in my room I had none of it….
My next move was to invite the most experienced man in the hobby Joe Portelli. Joe stared at my birds in disbelief and was speechless. When I asked him whether it was my mind playing tricks on me his answer was simple. “This is a load of rubbish and torture for the birds, get rid of the whole lot and start over”.
A week later Ronald's friend paid a visit "Alfred Zaffarese”. He told me that I was in too much of a hurry and that I should take the hobby more easy. He also spotted what in his opinion were good enough Glosters for the show bench!!! In the end Zaffarese invited me to his house so that he could give me one or two birds that I might take to the show if I wished.

November 2006 - MGBS Annual All Gloster Show (Scouts Hall Floriana)

Once again it was a disappointment! The only two birds I placed with were given to me by Zaffarese. Out of my 170 Glosters back home I had nothing to show. Now that I was in the committee, I had the opportunity to stay near the judge to shoot some photographs and learn something. The Judge was Ray Popham, sharp and quick as he was I couldn't but hold my words to pop a couple of questions. He commented that not all birds were pure bred Glosters and that there was definitely some Norwich blood around. Then I heard some comments about the big consort heads with heavy brows. Now I was really confused!!!! The previous Year we had Big heavily feathered winners now we have a small corona hen chosen by another UK judge...
After the show I begged everyone to spare me a corona hen but nobody said yes!! Back home I had a full shed of Glosters that were no good and now I can't even find a good corona hen to improve my stud.

December 2006 - Giving away my surplus stock

I gave lots of Glosters for free because I was never going to ask for anything in return. I got some odd birds here and there from other local breeders so finally I decided to take the boat to Sicily. There I met Vincenzo Scardina who was willing to help me out but did not have a big selection. I got two or three odd pairs but I couldn't help myself when I saw Variegated White Consort Cock with a British ring on it. I asked Vincenzo if he would spare the bird and his reply was yes. The initials on the ring said S&R which later I discovered that represented the names Salmon & Rutland.

2006 FACTS

  • I was elected Treasurer
  • Bought my second breeding stock from Bowman
  • Had a disastrous outcome from my breeding stock - no exhibits from 170 Glosters in my room
  • 270 bird entries in my second All Gloster Show
  • 12 exhibitors took part
  • Judge was Ray Popham UK
  • MGBS had 18 Members
  • 9 of the members were in the committee
  • Competed as novice for the second year
  • Novice period was 3 years
  • Novice competed against Champion
  • I had two placings; both Glosters were not bred in my room
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