With all collections done on both sides of country, we only mustered just under 2,000 birds. Collecting from Sunday and meeting at Cosham, near the docks on Tuesday where all the birds were transferred on to one vehicle.
Thanks once again to our Chairman for organizing loaders to meet us at Cosham to assist with transferring all crates. After loading and waters were topped up, we made our way to Portsmouth Docks to board our boat for FRANCE.
We arrived at Oustreham at about 6.00 a.m. local time where all birds were rested and watered for about one hour. We left the docks and made our way to TARBES, stopping at least 4 times to water birds and at our last stop to feed all the birds. On Thursday early morning, we left the services and made our way to liberation point arriving at around 10.30 a.m. The temperature was close to 38'C with no breeze. We parked in one corner shaded by trees, a good place to stay until liberation. The birds were fed and watered and the water and temperature of vehicle was checked constantly throughout the day.
On Thursday evening I spoke to our Chairman and all the people involved in liberation. Not sure on a liberation, due to excessive heat. The French agent came to see us and explained that due to the heat, possibly no racing till after the weekend. I contacted the Chairman regarding the signing of the delashers for release of birds. The R.P.R.A., put out a statement regarding heat and cooperating with the FCF which the N.F.C., and myself were happy to oblige and adhere to.
On Friday a.m., intense heat and very high humidity temperatures were set to soar. Numerous calls to race advisors and a no liberation was called. On Friday afternoon, we had record breaking temperatures and the French agent was not willing to sign the delashes due to the heat factor. Birds fed and watered and a constant check on temperatures were made. The birds were still in the shade and looking relaxed.
On Saturday, it was pretty much the same as Friday although when the French agent called, he did say the weather was looking to change in late evening and temperatures were set too drop.
On Sunday before sunrise, I spoke to the French agent. He was to call on us before 6.30 a.m., local time. I spoke to Mr. Tony Adams for clearance on line of flight and all was looking good except for the low cloud around Tarbes. No liberation, due to sky at present, 6.30 a.m. We were joined by the French agent and several F.C.F., members plus local press who were interested in the liberation. We moved the transporter to the middle of the car park and fully extended the wings. All we were waiting for was a liberation sky. At mid-day, the temperatures were possibly 10'c or more cooler than the previous days, just waiting for that sky to change, which it did by around 2.00 p.m. local time. At 2.30 p.m. local time, we had our liberation sky and the ground mist had cleared. We were good to go, normal calls were made to the weather man and race advisor. The birds were liberated at 3.00 p.m. local time, pictures were taken and all birds left together. Visability was 11 miles. Temperatures on route home, were 22'C, raising to 26'C and then back down to 22'C, in France.
Dom McCoy, Convoyer.