A rejuvenated zest for life has brought me to the realisation that I have precious few leisure pursuits.
Well, none to be precise.
A recent increase in self-enforced socialising has led to a similar increase in questions about myself, and none seem closer to the top of the query agenda than “so what are your hobbies?”
Hobbies? Hobbies to me are something we made up in school to learn how to say them in French. No-one did them or had them and if I ever did (dubious) they have became lost in the hands of real life.
Scathing I may sound, but jealous I am. Permission on the hobby list is denied to 99 percent of the activities that currently occupy my time.
For example, the gym doesn’t count. No matter how much time you spend there, it is not a hobby. Watching TV apparently falls under the same judgemental umbrella – regardless of the time you devote to keeping up with whatever series is doing the rounds, it doesn’t make the cut. Reading, cooking and drinking also fail under hobby regulations.
So, despite devoting the majority of my adult years to all of the above, I am left 30, with nothing hobby-ish to hang my hat on.
I could resurrect some of the pseudo childhood ones...highland dancing...gymnastics...trumpet playing.
I was average at all and excelled at none, merely an attempt by my dear parents to make me a more rounded human being. A no doubt pricey experiment, but at least when it comes to dinner parties I can wax lyrical about that time at wind band when they realised I was miming and I was shamed into playing an unachievable high C in front of everyone.
However, I will not be dissuaded on my quest to start afresh.
I have been fortunate through life to have been introduced to and had the opportunity to indulge in some pretty cool things – rock climbing, mountain biking and surfing have been top of the list and due to the interfering nature of everyday life, I have let them all trail by the wayside.
Realistic about the whims of time, I have chosen to focus on just one.
Rock climbing – I’ve got the kit, there are two extremely good indoor climbing centres nearby and it is relatively affordable. Scotland is also spoilt for outdoor climbing options.
Our country also lends itself magnificently to the pleasures of mountain biking – and those familiar with the sport will know that enthusiasts have championed the cause so much in the last two decades that there is now exceptional trails across the country from 7Stanes in the south to Laggan Wolftrax in the north and that’s not to mention the Pentlands, which is a veritable playground for the downhill biker.
But no, I have opted to indulge in the subzero temperatures of the North Sea and adopt surfing as my enduring passion. My first foray into the sport was under a warm Portuguese sun, I developed my skills on a golden Antipodean beach and now I will head to the recognisable charms of Dunbar’s coastal surf school to shiver my way towards that lifelong hobby – “le surf” here I come.