Do you have a hobby? I mean a real hobby – something that you do for fun in your leisure or spare time. I don’t mean something that you do outside of your day job to earn more money, although if you do earn something with your hobby, that is a little different.
I’ve always had a hobby. Since I was very tiny, maybe four or five years old, I have done something creative just for fun. It hasn’t been the same hobby all through my life. I have had so many different hobbies that I doubt I can remember them all. Besides being a hobbyist, I am also a collector. I’ve had many collections over my lifetime too. Some of them I still have, some I don’t. Like many youngsters in the 60’s and 70’s, I had a stamp collection. I spent countless hours categorising my stamps by country, colour and price and then sticking them into albums with small gummed paper hinges. I had a Stanley Gibbons starter kit which boasted a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers among other accoutrements that served to make the hobby more exciting – yes, I did say exciting.
My collections have ranged over the years from collecting household bits and pieces to make a ‘bottom drawer’ – something that girls used to do many moons ago to prepare for leaving the family home. It was usually a collection of table and bed linens, crockery and so on. The first thing I bought for my bottom drawer was a dinner service, tea set, cutlery set and saucepan set. It was all in one huge box from my mother’s catalogue and cost me fifty pence a week for about six months. I was fourteen when I bought it and I am still using most of the content of that set to this day, over thirty years later. We have lost a few plates over the years and the small glass bowls have diminished in number till we only have the one left.
Another collection that began in my youth and which has grown through my life is my collection of cookery books. I am more discerning these days, in my choice of addition to the collection. I prefer pre-war books nowadays, especially ones in which the previous owner has made handwritten notes. The one book that till evades me is a Mrs Beeton, the full size one. My mother-in-law gave me her smaller version but one day, I would love to have a first edition Mrs Beeton… one day. Books have always been somewhat of an Achilles heel of mine. Not just cookery books, I love crafting books, poetry books, biographies, novels, in fact any books at all! I know that I have passed on my love for books to my children, even the boys who will enjoy a good read although maybe not quite so much as the girls; except for the youngest of the boys, who like his mum, can’t put a book down once started until its well and truly finished. He can digest two or three young reader paperbacks in a day if given the chance.
And so I’m back to hobbies again. My current hobby is wine-making. It’s something that my father used to do and when I was first married I had a bit of a try, but never really found a passion for it. The demijohns quickly became orphaned when our children came along, and forgotten. For my birthday last year, I asked for a starter set and a wine kit. Duly purchased, a brew of Elderberry wine was produced within the month and since that time, the winery has burgeoned in my utility room and at this moment I have over ten gallons of wine in the process of brewing and a huge rack fitted into the utility room for the finished product. I love the chemistry and the creativity. I enjoy procuring (for which, read scrounging) fruit for as little money as I can and turning it into something special. I don’t actually drink very much alcohol – it doesn’t mix very well with my medications or the symptoms of FMS. I do sneak the occasional small glass, but one small one is plenty for me these days. Most of the wine that I make is gifted away, and that’s the way I like it. To see someone enjoying the fruits (quite literally) of my labours, is a great bonus for me.
Other hobbies have fallen by the wayside recently because I am no longer able to hold a needle to sew – I loved Cross Stitching and embroidery. For the same reason I no longer knit or crochet. This is a source of both sadness and frustration for me, but until the pain and discomfort that such things cause can be remedied, I have turned back to another passion from my youth – writing. I still enjoy some papercrafting on occasion, making all of the special cards for family and friends. I am a hoarder of items that are connected with whatever hobby I am pursuing at the time. I have several large crates of papercrafting equipment and materials. This is a source of some consternation to my other half, though none more so than my collection of ‘lumps of rock’ as he calls them – my crystal and mineral collection.
In future postings I may talk more about my hobbies, but feel free to tell me about yours in the comments section!