The pigeon menace had to be dealt with

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A pod of dolphins.

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When I interviewed Baffins greengrocer Keith Waldron recently, he recalled a plague of pigeons that invaded fields north of Portsdown Hill in the winter of 1963.

That was the winter when snow lay from Boxing Day 1962 until well into April 1963.

Poking out from two feet of snow ‘over the hill’ were Brussels sprout tops all being pecked by thousands of pigeons.

‘They were coming in from everywhere, including Europe,’ says Keith. ‘I went over there with a shotgun and it was not a case of aiming, just pointing the gun into the air and shooting at the clouds of pigeons arriving.

‘When we checked them they were bulging full of greens from the Brussels sprouts.’

Keith said he sold them for 1s 9d, just under 10p, a brace, not for profit but to buy more shotgun cartridges.

‘England had sold out and I was buying cartridges from Russia and Czechoslovakia. The pigeon menace was a plague that had to be dealt with.’

Can you remember dining on pigeon pie at that time?