DEAR makers of Toffifee, your chocolates do taste quite nice but to describe them as the "greatest fun" is a leap. If you said they were "great fun" you might be on safer ground. But putting your sweets in the "greatest fun" category is putting them up against some pretty fun things. For example, are they really more fun that rollercoasters or parties or parties on rollercoasters? No they're not. As nice as they may be, there is only so much fun that can be had putting something in your mouth that isn't made of grain or grapes.

The outrageous claim got me thinking about what actually is the greatest fun. Everyone will have different ideas but you will have to show me something pretty fun to beat den making.

I'm not talking about your 'blanket over a couple of chairs' type of dens. I'm on about the kind of den that you build in an unwitting farmer's hay barn over a couple of weeks of after-school and weekend Kia-Ora-fuelled sessions.

The aim is to basically hollow out the carefully stacked bales, creating a space in the middle for den-type activities. The best hay dens will have several entrances and exits, as well as seating in the main living quarters. There may even be different levels to the structure.

Of course, it will be very hot, there will be limited oxygen and the dust will be unbearable inside your den, meaning you won't be able to spend more than a couple of minutes inside but that in no way detracts from the fun of building the thing.

The fun is not limited in anyway by the danger of discovery and a bit of whacking from an angry farmer, or the far greater risk of bale den collapse.

One day I'd like to write a book on memorable dens from my childhood: the riverside wigwam construction that was washed away in the great flood of '87, the snow den that collapsed on top of a play mate in an incident that was never discussed with parents but could easily have been a tragedy,

Don't even get me started on the chicken hut that was set alight while one of our number was still inside. Oh how they laughed. Oh how I panicked.

Perhaps this is why den making was so enjoyable. It was a little bit naughty and often a little bit dangerous.

Sweet makers are always going to struggle to compete. Perhaps if Toffifee injected E. coli into every 5,000 chocolates it would be a start.