I tried the stamp collecting thing when I was younger - these days I couldn't even tell you their price, let alone their history, aesthetic charm or lickability.
I also wanted to join that bastion of Valleys musicality, a jazz band - but frankly, that was only because I fancied playing the gazoo and see if I could get away with the tights and white daps look (I couldn't). I also had a thing for little drummer boys, but more of that another time.
And then there was music, the one thing I stuck with through thick, thin and clusters of demi-semiquavers.
But three grade 8s and a place in a conservatoire to do 'advanced operatic studies' after my first non-musical related degree later, and it all became more like an academic exercise and less like fun.
Now, with a home-made CD to my name and my certificates filed next to old Asda receipts, I still harbour Top of the Pops dreams (only this time it's more Later... With Jools Holland, and much better camera angles).
But I admit to wishing I had a hobby, something that would prevent me from falling into an entirely solipsistic existence.
However, you are either a hobby-minded person or you are not. My housemate loves cooking and will spend hours making lasagne from scratch; my father, a practical man, simply doesn't get this.
'Why go to all that trouble when you can buy one and get one free up Morrisons?' is what he says. And I can see his point. But Jonathan loves to cook, I love to eat, and my father has a bizarre - to Jon's mind at least - interest in fancy fowl as his hobby of choice.
Gardening, of course, is seen by many as the ultimate hobby. It's quite a soothing and gentle past-time, but you have to be constitutionally capable of pottering.
An urban gardener I know, the kind of woman who normally has to suck a Valium just to open her eyes in the morning, becomes calm personified amongst her plants. For her, gardening is the route she takes to escape her real world - and it's a green world of relaxation as well as propagation.
Whereas I'm a girl who's just content to smell the flowers once they've grown and pull up the barbecue on a newly-laid patio.
My friend, and those involved in the RHS flower show next weekend in Cardiff - our cover story this week - take it far more seriously of course.
But for us mere mortals, who can only make a mess rather than something beautiful in a garden or elsewhere, hobbies are best kept at a safe distance. Because that's the only way we'll fully appreciate what we're all too useless to do. Now, where did I put those stamps...
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Apr 8, 2006|
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