Hanging the Dookut

Having acquired a dovecot or (dookut) as we pronounced it, the next thing was to find a suitable location, and after scouting around, my brother Jock and I decided that the gable of the communal wash house would be an ideal spot where the pigeons would be out of reach of dogs, cats, and the other boys of the neighborhood.

The dookut shown above resembled the ordinary back yard dog house, with several holes and a small landing board for the pigeons in front. The inside was sectioned off into small compartments and to preserve it from the weather, the outside was sheathed in sheet metal which added considerably to its weight.

Having procured a large iron pin, we drifted it in between the bricks on the gable of the wash house, and were all set to hoist and hang the dookut through a hole in its back onto this pin.

Being too heavy for one to handle it was decided that Jock would climb up on the roof, and at that time there was no better climber in the neighborhood, and drop the end of mothers' clothes line, which he had pinched for the purposed. This I was to secure to the dookut and with him hauling from above and me pushing from below, get it up and anchored to the ping. This method worked fine, but as it went up and out of my reach, I had to go and find a pole and by pushing on the bottom finally raised it high enough for Jock to manipulate it onto the pin. Having finally accomplished this to his satisfaction, he shouted down to me that it was O.K. and to take away the pole, which I did and was standing looking up, while he undid the rope and discussing the breed of pigeons we would get; he was all for pouters and fan tails, while I was suggesting homers or tumblers. It was then that it happened, I don't know how, but I think while he was untying the rope and talking to me, he must have leaned on the dookut and his weight tilted the pin letting the dookut slip off. I heard his warning shout just as it landed on my head nailing me to the ground. I lay there for a few minutes stunned and sick, then finally struggled to my feet and leaning against the wash house, gave my head a few cautious twists to find out if my neck was still in working order. Satisfied on this point, my next urgent concern was to get hold of the cause of my misfortune and beat hell out of him for his carelessness.

Jock was down off the roof almost as soon as the dookut fell on my head and not looking to see how badly I was injured, high tailed for safety up a flight of stone stairs, which led up to the road terraced on the hillside, and from this vantage point could watch my reactions as he waited for me to come from behind the wash house, knowing full well that unless I was killed or badly crippled, what was in store for him.

Sighting him on top of the steps, I started off in his direction and he guessing my intent, as a delaying tactic tossed a rock, which same he could do with cunning and precision, as many a rabbit that thought it was well concealed discovered too late that it wasn't, and later on at the country fairs he could bounce the cocoa-nuts out of their holders, and if they didn't bounce they burst, as to his cunning with a missile. While at the fair one day a coloured lad was offering prizes to any one that could hit him on the noggin with a ball, the idea being that you paid so much for a shot while he stuck his head through a hole in the board and the instant you made the throw he would duck behind the protection of the board. Jock paid for a shot, and wound up, the boy ducked and Jock delaying his shot, aimed at the empty hole just the kid, figuring it was another miss, stuck his head through, one to get a crack on the head which laid him out on the other side of the board.

Now when he tossed the rock at me, there was a large clothes pole which stood in the yard and I figured if I got in line with this I would be safe. I either didn't get in line, or he guessing my move, had given the rock sufficient elevation and as I moved to get in behind the pole, met the rock head on and down I went again, this time my head was busted for sure,. Astounded perhaps at the accuracy of his aim and knowing what my head would be like after colliding with the rock, he took off for the country, and with the blood running down my face I took after him.

The country was pretty hilly with hedges separating fields which were about the size of market garden lots, affording good cover and which he put to good use but I finally got him cornered behind the slaughter house. In those days, the heart, kidneys and liver were about all of the inner animal that was retained, the remainder was then thrown into a pit, where the bloated stomachs nudged each other in a stinking stew. The yard was fenced up to each side of the pit, with barbed wire along the top, which would take too much time to navigate so that it was either me or the pit, and looking at me coming from behind, decided on the pit, so over the wall and into the pit and as lightly as Eliza crossing the ice danced his way across in safety, and then looked back with a malicious grin, hoping I would try and cross and slip in, which would definitely end all further pursuit. Having had enough accidents for one day I decided against it, and anyhow, I was glad that he had gotten away as by this time I had cooled off and could see the humorous side of the events and I had no heart to harm him.

As this is written poor Jock has been dead a number of years, having met his end with a murderous bullet, who at his trial claimed it was an accident and having a friendly jury was acquitted. His killer has also passed away and if there is a here-after and he should meet up with Jock, he will wish himself in Hell for protection.

William Peden