I’VE been thinking a lot about dookits recently. Growing up in Garthamlock, there was plenty of them about for me to hang around and gawk at. 

Over 10ft tall, these monoliths made of old bits of wood and corrugated sheets of metal, stood proudly like watchtowers looking out over the scheme. 

Some of them were so old and made of such flimsy materials that the grass around the base started to grow up around the dookit, making it look like it had grown right out of the earth. 

Chris McQueer: Remembering the fear of Maggie Murphy and the tottie farm

I loved watching the guys stand outside their dookits, watching the skies for a doo to catch. 

They’d click their fingers, nod their heads and make a loud sort of whooping sound to attract the bird. “Look at that stoorie hen,” I remember a guy saying to me as he spotted a pigeon circling overhead. “I could get a boattil a vodka fur that,” he said, flashing me a gap-toothed smile. 

Soon enough, the doo flew onto the ramp on the top of the dookit, enticed in by some bird seed. The guy ducked inside, pulled a cable to raise the cage around it and the bird was his. He came back out with it a few minutes later and showed it to me. I stroked its wee head. 

“She’s a beauty, int she pal?” he asked me. I couldn’t tell what was special about this pigeon, but the guy seemed buzzing with it so I just agreed with him. 

From that moment began a life-long obsession with these structures, the men who build and maintain them, the politics of doo-flying but most of all how peaceful and relaxing it seemed to be. 

The guys would stand by their dookits in the summer, or sit on wee plastic chairs, with a couple of cans and just soak up the rays, roll a fag and chill right out. Never had I felt such an aura of peace and serenity coming off a person as I did watching the doo men. 

I’ve often thought about what would happen if I was to give up writing, build a dookit and a start a new life flying doos. I’d start wearing stone wash baggy denims, Adidas Sambas and a white vest. I’d start drinking McEwan’s Export lager. 

People would laugh at me and declare that I had lost the plot but I’d have the last laugh as I’d be having the time of my life. I’d plunder wood and metal from anywhere I could find it. 

I’d cut about the scheme with a wheelbarrow piled high with discarded wooden pallets and sheets of rusty corrugated metal. Then I’d get to work. 

The beauty of dookits is that they don’t follow any set design brief. They are simply flung up. Depending on what materials you have, you’re free to just build it as you like. 

It does have to be tall enough that the birds will be keen to land on it but not so tall that it buckles under its own weight or sways too much in the wind. It’s simple enough. I’m not very handy though so I imagine my dookit won’t look great. 

It might well be quite shoogly, I can almost guarantee it won’t be watertight and it’ll probably be a death trap – more so for me rather than the birds within. 

I imagine my concerned family and friends holding an intervention for me as I spend my 13th consecutive day sitting outside my ramshackle dookit, failing to have caught a single pigeon. “We’re worried aboot ye, son,” my granda would say. “Ye cannae be dain this.” 

My skin would be blistered and bright pink from sunburn. Already, I have started to look more like a doo man; my hairline has began receding, a pot belly has appeared but there is also a real sense of happiness radiating off me. 

My family and pals are conflicted, they’ve never seen me so relaxed. 

They decide to leave me to it. Perhaps they’d even decide to take a leaf out of my book and build their own dookit. 

I wonder if my fascination with dookits says something deeper. 

Maybe it’s a hankering for a simpler way of life.

Chris McQueer: Surprise gift was full of snap, crackle and pop

Maybe it’s just that it looks like good fun. 

Maybe I’m attracted by the murkier side of flying doos as well, something I only found out about recently. 

Guys meeting up in car parks under the cover of darkness to swap prize birds for cash and plotting ways to sabotage someone else’s dookit. 

Whatever it is, I am genuinely certain that at some point in 
my life, whether I’ll be an old guy or whether it’s in the near future, I’ll definitely build my own dookit and fly doos for at least a wee while. 

Does anyone know where I can get some pallets?