Growing up my family was heavily into the Scouting movement. Everyone in the family had been either a Scout, Cub Scout or a girl guide. And after all these years I still have one thing that always makes me think. I often wonder if Baden Powell, the founder of the Scouts could have come up with a better title for his book “Scouting for Boys,”?!
Of course back in the days this book was written people didn’t see the double meaning. Personally I think they did see it, but were too polite to say anything.
I was in the cub scouts for about five years myself and have mixed feelings about it all. Some of the time I enjoyed it. Sometimes I would be bored and wish I was at home watching the Benny Hill Show. We would do the usual things such as tieing knots and learning first aid. There would be those times where we would go hiking and looking at different wild-life. Do bob-a-job weeks where we raised money (well others raised money, I wasn’t good at that.)
We also learned to read maps, a lost art these days with GPS’ and google maps on your phone. I’ve always liked maps, studying different places, geography of the land. A quick aside, before I moved to the United States I had a big map of each of the States and had a crazy plan to travel America going to all the places with stupid names. I still want to go to Elephant Butte, New Mexico!
The big thing everyone looked forward to though was going out to scout camp, sometimes just a weekend, sometimes a week, but these events were great, well great for all the kids who didn’t have their parents there. All the other kids got to run wild and create havoc, where as I always had to behave. And if the parents weren’t around, everyone knew who I was so any misbehaviour would get back to them.
Being out in the wilderness meant that I got a chance to do one of my favorite things. BURN STUFF! I love camp fires. There is something mesmerizing about how the flames jump about. I often think I’d have made a good pyromaniac but the hours just didn’t suit me. I’ve never enjoyed night work. We would also do tracking through the woods and taking plaster casts of animal tracks. All useful things to set me up for the future.
So O.K. let me get to the tale I want to tell. If you are new to this blog and this is the first post you have read, then this next bit does not apply to you. If you are a regular reader and you actually believed what I wrote two paragraphs ago about me having to behave then shame on you! Come on, if I could get up to no good then I would. Take a look at this photo on the left. Behind that innocent smile lurks a kid who knows that it was he who put his Fathers sunglasses in the fireplace and watched them melt!
One summer we had a camp at Hardwick Heath in Bury St.Edmunds. It had been an uneventful event and the bored little me was wandering about trying not to get stung by nettles. After a lunch which probably consisted of sausages and beans which was a normal scout meal, I took to my solo wandering again. Bored I ambled through the camp and came across the 50ft metal flag pole that proudly bore the scouting flag and the Union Flag. After watching the flags fluttering for a bit I decided that I would be a great idea to jump over the guy ropes that held up the flag pole. Man I was good at this! Jumping over the ropes, getting faster and faster, going round and round getting dizzier and……oh crap.
I didn’t make it. I tripped and pulled one of the guy ropes out of the ground. A quick look around, cool no one saw me, so time to make myself scarce. Exit stage left. Zoom, I was away from the scene of the crime faster than a big bag of fast things. Feeling that I had put sufficient distance between me and my crime I turned around to see if I was in the clear.
In classic Warner Brother style I turned and was whacked in the skull by the falling flag pole. In the cartoons the victim gets hammered into the ground up to their waste. Me, not so much. After hearing the deafening thud of the pole smashing into my head everything else went a little black. I came to in the local hospital which lucky for me was not too far from the camp ground.
Thinking about it now, I really have had way to many bangs to my noggin. But it really does explain my lumpy skull. As for the young me. I got to get checked out by a foreign doctor who tested my reflexes. I seem to be confused at the time and said something along the lines of why are you checking my knee? I got hit in the head.
I got to go back to the camp and I did get some extra candy from somewhere. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. Don’t stop to admire your work!