The author had an interesting and unique childhood. Not travelling abroad - as you would expect - but venturing through the fields, bushes, tools sheds and mysterious underground tunnels around his neighborhood. His happy place was - and still is - tinkering with ideas, science, and new possibilities. Many times while cycling he will get new ideas; he brings the unexpected, the unique, the creative in a flurry on a page or in a sketch. To this day he dreams of vicious wars and sophisticated weaponry in an innocent child's scout cave. He loves diagrams, timelines, cross sections, sketches, and details of sinister and hidden concepts and ideas; always looking for a new mystery to decode and to encode. He investigates and explores extravagant thoughts which he includes in children's books and stories; he loves to include philosophers perspectives, articles, intriguing stories, and poetry. Academic and research work are also his forte. He always offers a simple but practical explanation within an engaging context. Not your ordinary thinker! A lifelong scholar and teacher.
Underground 'den' or hideout: Sketch of a typical 'scout hideout' or 'den' created by us as young children (primary school). The roof (not shown) was covered with timber beams and corrugated iron sheets. It was then covered with the excess ground; grass was planted on top of the 'roof' to eliminate detection. Credit: W van Zyl
Allow me to tell you a little about this magical, mysterious children's world ... In the dark, moldy dungeon flickers a short candle; wax is dripping monotonous, and continuous on the damp ground floor. "I wonder how they created this secret cave?", someone asked. "Let us investigate the construction methods they have used?"
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE 'DEN'
The den was created by digging a large trench in the field, far away from detection - or sometimes in the backyard. The size varied from about 3 meters in length. The width was about 1.5 meters. The depth was about 1,2 meters. Four small scouts could comfortably fit into the trench space. Once the trench was completed, and the ground secretly scattered around the hole in the ground, the trench was then covered with timber support beams of old salvaged timber. Salvaged rusted corrugated sheeting was then placed over the beams to cover the trench. The top of the sheeting was then covered with a thin layer of loose ground. Grass and vegetation, to match the surrounding vegetation, was then planted into the shallow ground which covered the corrugated sheeting. It provided the perfect camouflage to the secret 'den'. A round hole was cut into the 'roof', and a rubbish bin's lid was used as a 'door' to provide entry. Inside the trench, against the wall, was small alcoves with candles which lit up the dark, mysterious den. On the ground, inside the 'den', was an elastic powered timber rifle or gun (for 'protection'). Next to the rifle laid the secret code of the Scout members ('bende kode'). Two children's red bicycles laid outside the trench deserted and hidden in the tall grass and field flowers. I wonder what is written in the secret code...? Can you guess? That rifle looks very sophisticated; I wonder how it works? The gun could hurl 'wire bullets' with a swoosh trough the air and scare off any intruders...