WHEN I was in my 40s, my friend Maria directed me to a poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”, and it chimed so well it sticks in my head. Many years ago, at a show, an elderly former keeper of Scots fancies asked why I liked them and I said their elegance appealed to me. Now I think I’d answer differently. It’s in my nature to seek the road less travelled.
So, down a new path – “knowing how way leads on to way,” as Frost put it – I have stumbled into the most fascinating and perhaps one of the rarest of the old varieties which a group of devotees still keep and exhibit, though I confess I have yet to see one in the flesh: the English Cinnamon.
I was led to this path by Jamie Taylor and Kevin Monsey, two of the breed’s tiny band of devotees. Jamie told me: “They are a beautiful bird to look at. They are free breeders that rear their own young.” Jamie has kept them for three years and Kevin for longer.
Kevin very kindly put me in touch with Derek Dix of Great Yarmouth. Now nearly 90 years old, Mr Dix has kept the Cinnamon for 70 years, having acquired his first stock in 1948. Mr Dix thought them a jaunty bird, halfway between the Border of those days and the Norwich. His father, a Norwich breeder, said it was a breed “trapped in time”.
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The charm of the English Cinnamon
Despite its long and complicated history, the true Cinnamon canary is still with us – in the hands of a tiny group of breeders. DONALD SKINNER-REID reckons it deserves wider appreciation
Spangles: a personal overview
FRED WRIGHT relates a budgie story of over-exploitation, consequent problems and abundant potential for the future
New converts to old breeds
Old and rare canaries have a reputation for adding fresh interest and challenge to the hobby. PETE HOOK and NICK JOY agree, and explain the birds’ charm to Dave Brown
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Welcome to the club and show pages – the bit that’s all about you Results: convention, specialist & rare and Breeder of the Year
Canaries Month by Month:
With Christmas around the corner, BRIAN KEENAN is well into his winter programme, and reckons he might deserve a nice outcross
The World's Best-Known Hummingbird?
Intensively studied, the gem-like Anna’s hummingbird is a welcome visitor to the gardens of America’s most populous state: California. Bill Naylor investigates its life history
The truth about the ‘flying toad'
Odd local names and weird superstitions can’t hide the beauty and elegance of the nightjar, a species that has made a fascinating subject in a few zoo collections, reveals BILL NAYLOR
The talent behind Pilsen Zoo
Rosemary Low meets the supremely gifted TOMÁS PES, the extraordinary leading spirit at one of Europe’s foremost zoos
The Point Waterfront breathes new life into Durban.
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Our unsung HEROES
Across the UK, emergency workers are facing the fight against coronavirus, trying to save as many lives as possible, while volunteers do all they can to raise money to help our incredible NHS
Tottenham Hotspur has always been described as a club of ‘firsts’ as we’ve blazed a trail throughout the game in this country and abroad down the years. In each programme this season, we will reflect on the matches, the people and the occasions that have seen us set the standard and helped shape our history.
Crafty Canaries gain from the long game
ONLY five sides in Premier League history have collected fewer points than Norwich managed last season.
Sparks to Norwich
Loco-powered services between Liverpool Street and Norwich came to an end earlier this year, although unlike the cessation of HST workings on the East Coast Main Line at the end of 2019, coronavirus meant there was no big farewell. David Russell looks back at 35 years of electric traction on the route.
Two centuries on Thomas would be DELIGHTED WITH HIS SUCCESS
He was a man without sight but with such vision. Derek James remembers Thomas Tawell who died 200 years ago.
‘I'M IN SHOCK –YOU NEVER THINK THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU'
THE WANTED’S TOM PARKER AND HIS PREGNANT WIFE KELSEY REVEAL TO OK’S KIRSTY HATCHER THE TRAGIC NEWS TOM HAS INOPERABLE CANCER
‘Orson was my hero'
Robbie Coltrane on the challenges of playing his silver-screen idol…
My Britain: NORWICH
"What a grand, higgledy-piggledy, sensible old place Norwich is!'" - Novelist JB Priestly