Everybody has a hobby, whether they realise it or not. The first human probably developed one when he decided to make a collection of antelope skulls; the hierarchy of an Inca warrior in his tribe was indicated by the number of scalps in his wigwam; and Sylvia Plath made a hobby out of rearing bees - if you don't count the occasional attempt at self-elimination. Today, few go beyond watching movies or reading books even to indulge in something as mundane as philately or coin-collecting (topping that mountain in your wardrobe with the latest in fashion doesn't count, of course). Here are five hobbies that will not only keep you active in your free time, but also give you something to brag about at your next dinner date with friends.
CLASSIC CAR RESTORATION
CLAY MODELLING AND WOODWORK
Clay modelling is an art so ancient, some religions attribute the very advent of humankind to it. But impossible as it may be to actually breathe life into a statuette and call it Adam, you could certainly make a great hobby out of turning something as basic as clay into an exquisite piece of art. Starting with oil-based clays may be a good idea; the road to perfection begins with baby steps after all. Once you have achieved a degree of artistic balance, you could take to water-based clay and create a masterpiece for your display cabinet. In the mood for romance? Make a pot with your beau in candlelight, a la Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in Ghost, without letting the passion mess it up. An alternative would be to try your hand at woodwork; success could mean that you never have to drag yourself to the furniture store again! However, considering that carpentry takes a substantially larger investment than clay modelling, you may want to check if you have the space (preferably your garage) and tools needed for the purpose. The other pre-requisites for excelling at carpentry are a good knowledge of geometry and - more importantly - loads of patience.
BEER BREWINGCalling your friends over for a beer bash? You could always march to the neighbourhood liquor store and curse your luck upon discovering that they have run out of your favourite brand. Or wait! Why don't you just brew your own beer and impress everybody? The best way to start making your own beer is to procure a brewing kit, complete with craft all-malt refills, temperature strips, a fermenter and a bottling unit. After gathering all the ingredients, including the malted barley and hops, you can start by brewing something basic. Customisations such as regulation of hop content (for lowering or heightening the bitterness quotient) or adjustment of glycerine levels can come later, after you have become adept at the process. As two factors - regulation of temperature levels (basements are ideal) and prevention of external contamination - are paramount for beer brewing, it would be a good idea to check if your living environment is conducive in that regard. Brewing beer is a painstaking process that demands constant monitoring, but few things can beat the feeling you get from holding up a pewter mug of your very own lager and yelling "Bottoms up!" at the top of your lungs.