Tartar sauce sandwiches and the laws of physics

Warning: It’s another scouting post. Anyone severely anti-scouts can stop reading now, unless you’re into Newton, physics and general sillyness.

So: Saturday was regional tounrnament with the scouts. These things always revolve around a theme, and this one was about the works of a beloved children’s books author Ole Lund Kirkegaard. He worked as a teacher and genuinely loved it. Was always on the side of his pupils, never got really mad, encouraged imagination and wrote books accordingly.

The one my group got tells the story of some children who pursue and catch a thief who goes around on a push-scooter while dealing with a terrible grouch of a man, learning tricks from a 16-year old and starting school.

One trick is how to drive a teacher mad: Just arm yourself with open tartar-sauce sandwiches, throw them at the blackboard / chalkboard and hope he gets so mad he steps into the waste-paper bin. (Or she. In the book the teacher is a man).

So what we had them do was sneak past Mr. Storm, the grouch, as best they could, pinch leads as to where stuff was hidden while disturbing the push-scooter thief and of course make and throw tartar-sauce sandwiches.

For the last part we / I devised what I thought was an ingenious sandwich catapult out of two milk crates, a narrow board, a metal rod from a scrap heap, a tiny bit of electricians’ tube, gaffer tape and binder twine. The board was suspended between the crates via the metal rod inside the tube bit taped onto the board. See-saw style.

So why is there no snap of this wonder? Weeeellll – because I’d plain forgotten Newton’s laws. Instead of catapulting forward, it worked as any see-saw. Scout number one placed the sandwich, sauce facing up, on one end. Whacked the other end with a rubber-head hammer (usually for tent pegs). Up shot the sandwich, some 25 meters I was told (almost 80 feet!). Then it lost momentum, went into a backward, steep curve and managed to land on the neck of another scout. Sauce facing down.

Apparently, they tried once more, only this time hitting the board with less force. The result was that the sandwich merely fell off the board. It was then discarded and disassembled before I could get a photo op.

At least the rest of our activity and the rest of that day was a success. And we had great fun too playing silly buggers for some 8 hours.

Scouts are serious, great, innovative, quick to ad-lib. And sometimes very, very silly.

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