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Old 01-13-2011, 10:20 AM   #1
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Post What are your non-sexual hobbies?

I have and have had quite a few over the past decades but the one that always stuck with me was walking. We have a car, it sits happily in our driveway and these days I am relatively reluctant to use it at all. I just get kind of frustrated with all the aggression on the road, these days even in Britain, where I still remember, some 30 years ago, it was all give on the road. Well, however that may be... I am rambling again.

My wife and I moved back to the UK since we very much like the people, it's multi-cultural setting and the fact that there are still places where there is no motorway (highway for you US people) in sight. Norfolk being one of the counties where there is not one single motorway, heaven for walkers.

Some of our favourite places to spend holidays are, well nearly everywhere, I guess. Scotland is one of our best explored places, as is Wales with its rugged mountains, the dramatic sea cliffs and still abundant wildlife. I suppose there is no need to mention the Lake and Peak District or the sometimes overcrowded New Forest.

One of our most wonderful experiences ever was a three week hike through Scotland, back in 1998. A friend had given us a lift to Glasgow where we stayed with his family (actually, it felt almost like ours) and later dropped us off on the road to Loch Lomond. Even if you don't live in the UK, do check it out, it is staggeringly beautiful and the people we've met over the years are kind, gentle and very hospitable.

It hardly took more then a couple of hours until a car passed by, stopped and the driver asked if we would like to "hop in", which we did. They, a family, were on the way back from a vacation in Sweden and since we didn't have any particular place that we wanted to go to gratefully accepted the offer. They took us up to a place called Plockton. Well, what can I say, the place just blew us away. Even most Britons don’t realise what a jewel there is on the West Coast of Scotland, just East of the Isle of Skye.

It looks just like something out of a History of Britain programme. Palm trees on the beach, a climate that appears more suited for the South of France, the two Lochs (Carron and Kishorn), Golden Eagles not far off to the South. Our own little paradise, though it has become a bit of haunt for the rich and famous seeking peace and quiet. Outstanding, truly outstanding. If you are ever in Scotland, don’t miss it or maybe do miss it (for our sake).

We ended up staying with the family, bear in mind they had only just met us, for three or four days, addresses and phone numbers were exchanged and for several years there ensued mutual visits. Hey, how often does that happen in real life?

We from there made out way up along the coast, totally aimless, staying in Pubs where possible, sleeping rough or occasionally in a B&B.

At some point we decided it would be nice if we could make it up to the far North of Scotland, John-o-Groats or Mey. We did manage, not all on foot but getting a lift on occasions or taking the bus, whatever was available. Just before we finally got to Mey we had to pass a place called Greenland, no joke. The place is in the far North East of Scotland, has a smallish lake named… Loch Heilen, Loch Keilen, I forget, something like that anyway.

My wife didn’t feel much like doing any extra walking, so I set off for a couple of hours of browsing the hillocks, when I heard the sound of pipes being played, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Low and behold, on a little hill overlooking the Loch stood a figure playing the pipes. Walked up the hill, looked at the chap, smiled at him, he gestured me to stay if I wanted, at least that’s how I interpreted his look and sat down to listen to him playing. Later we talked, which proved to be a little difficult since some of those Highland dialects are pretty hard to swallow, so I guess I did manage to miss most of the finer points about Scottish History he was trying to enlighten me about. Still, the whole situation was kind of unreal. Sitting on a hill with a total stranger playing the pipes, overlooking the Loch.

To again cut a long story short, what had been intended as a couple of hours hike turned into almost a full day away and by the time I got back to our campsite my wife was pretty worried that something might have happened to me. This was in the days before everybody had a mobile phone. These day we too carry a couple of cheap and cheerful pay as you go mobiles around with us for emergencies.

The last couple of days we spent getting from Mey, which is very picturesque with its Castle and the magnificent garden, can’t remember if it is still owned by the Royal Family, to John-o-Groats, supposedly the most northerly point in Scotland. I guess the best thing about John-o-Groats was the boat trip we took around the cliffs where hundreds of thousands of birds nest. Nice, but I got seasick, not nice. I think my wife enjoyed that trip more than I did.

To finish our trip off we had to take a bus back to Wick, the only place where we could catch a train from to get us to Inverness and on to Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, we didn’t really have any time to explore either Inverness, no, we didn’t get to see Nessy, or Edinburgh in great detail. Sometimes the time table does impose severe limitations on you. Still, there is always another day.

All in all this was one of the most positively memorable journeys we’ve ever undertaken (the worst one having been one to the Lake District where I, from pure stupidity, was stuck half way up a mountain for a week, in the pouring rain, I have rarely ever experienced such a continuous downpour in Europe, suffering the worst case of diarrhoea ever, which resulted from me being a total dickhead, drinking water from a stream. Should have known that there might be sheep grazing further up).

For this year we are in the late planning stages for our first leg of what in the end should become the cirumwalking (I made this up) of Britain. All being well, that is our health permitting, we will start some time in June or July from down the East Coast, on the Thames Estuary making our way up through East Anglia (Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk) hoping to get as far as Gateshead and Newcastle (I really want to see the “Angel of the North” sculpture in real life), also I am looking forward to our passing through parts of Yorkshire, where I hope Yorkshire Salt Marsh Lamb will still be in season, with a proper Yorkshire Pudding, of course.

Norfolk should go down like a dream. The stretch from Cromer to The Wash is one of the finest Bird Sanctuaries in the country, at least I think so. Mind you, the best time to be there is in Autumn with the migration in full swing. Now that’s sight to behold. But you can’t have it all I guess.

But however far we may get this year, I think we both still have a fair bit of life left in us, so, at the end of the day we will get as far as we will get and continue from there next year.

Walking around most of Britains little nooks and crannies the journey shouldn’t be more then about 800 miles, a distance that can easily be cover in a couple of month, plus an extra month for all those unexpected things you discover on the way, places that so much delight you that you just have to stay a few days, like Ipswich and Norwich where friends are already waiting for our arrival. Depending on when we actually do leave, might even catch some of the Peterborough Folk Festival. Again, some of this really does depend on what the weather will be like, I am not leaving on a rainy day, little bit superstitious about that.

Our biggest concern at the moment is having to convince on of our friends to stay at our house for up to three month, after all, they do live somewhere too but someone needs to look after our cats. But I am sure we will get that sorted out shortly.

To be honest, we just can’t wait to get on the road or rather footpath as it were. The old tried and trusted walking boots are sure making one hell of a racket in the cupboard. LOL

I hope I haven’t bored anybody to death, yet. It all started as trying to get a discussion about ones hobbies going and ended up pretty much of a hiking story. Well, never mind, there is always another day for another hobby.

One thing I guess I probably did manage to put across and that is my deep love for the British countryside, which, contrary to all those wonderful TV programmes on the BBC is receding fast and furiously. Thirty years ago when I went for my first trip into the British countryside, things were different. Less traffic, I have some friends who will proudly tell you that they don’t even walk to the corner shop at the top of their road. Sorry, walking 200 yards is something that everybody should be willing and able to do.

Anyway, I also very much enjoy history, especially British these days, plus I spend a fair bit of time volunteering with a well known British environmental organisation, who I think are doing a terrific job at keeping things alive as it were. So, if you see some fat fuck wearing waders, roaming the salt marshes off one of the tiny Islets in the Thames, trying to stay inconspicuous while counting water voles, that’s me.

Last edited by hoverfly; 01-13-2011 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Trying to get the blasted software to accept all of my post.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
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I build cars, trucks, and motorcycles for myself.I also enjoy lawn and garden equipment as well as farm equipment.I used to work on a farm in my youth.Very few left in my part of the world as they have all been turned into housing developments.My area was considered a rural farming community until BMW built there plant near by.Yep,I worked there and for five of there on sight contractors.It sucked.Everyone that works there bought up the land around my area built houses and moved in.No more peace and quite.I'm looking for 40 acres now,in a undeveloped out of the way area.So I can enjoy my hobbies without getting noise ordinance tickets.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:36 PM   #3
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Thank a lot tiny, that was very interesting, no, as you could tell I am not the truly practicle type but I must admit, I do like the idea of that plot you were talking about. Some nearly 30 years ago I used to live in a house on a former graveyard, no nothing kinky there. That was in Surrey, England, you might want to the check the area out, lush green rolling hills, the nearest neighbour 12 miles away, mind you, the nearest shop as well, the peacefulness of the place... it still makes my eyes water.

Please keep us updated on your success, maybe even a few pictures. I'll try to find some and post them here.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:38 PM   #4
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Thanks Hoverfly for the thread. I find it kinda of refreshing and it should be fun to read what we guys do when we are not here.

As for me, I've had many hobbies in my life. It started with electronics, fixing tube radios at around 12 y/o. Remember those and TVs too that had glowing lights inside? I guess that tells my age. Over the years I went thru electronics, pneumatic, mechanic, electro-mechanic, photography, robotics, computers and probably a couple of others I forget. I just love technology, always have and it looks I always will.

Today, I mostly concentrate in computer technologies including computers themselves, networking, communications, internet and security. I became good enough with those I was appointed as a technology consultant and advisor by my company and do this daily. This is not only due to my knowledge of computer technologies but also to the built along the years knowledge in the other hobbies.

Although I switched hobbies a lot during my life, one has always been there from my teen years. That hobby is firearms and everything related to them. Over the years, I have accumulated a small collection, in all sorts of form and calibers. In my teen's, in the air force cadets, I was what they called a sharp shooter, grouping 10 bullets in a less than 1 inch circle at a 100 yards using iron sights, not a scope. Wish I was still that good, but I'm still a good shot even if age an eyesight have taken their toll. Having to get bifocals glasses was the worst thing by far. My accuracy dropped like 20-25%. If you can't clearly see the sights, it's pretty hard to hit your target.

It took me a couple of years, but eventually I manage to think that thru and with the help of an optician, I got several versions of glasses made specifically for shooting. While we still have some optimization work to do on them, the current prototype has allowed me to bring my accuracy back up to a much better level.

While I never hunted, I wish I had. I'm also an excellent cook, another long time hobby, I love to do different type of cooking outside the average like wild meat or exotic foods. Some people have qualified my cooking as gourmet. Having the pleasure of bringing in my own gathered meat would be great I think.

But I do all sorts of target shooting, including hand guns, long range riffles, skeet and trap. Each of those require different sets of skills that are fun to maintain and exercise.

P.S.: I know firearms are a 'touchy' subject to some people. If you are part of them and would like to have a civilized and informed discussion, I would be more than happy to oblige. But if you are to bash or discriminate, please ignore this and just go on. I don't need your drama and won't get into it.

Also, I'm French speaking so please excuse me if something looks weird when you read this. If it does not make sense to you, just ask.

Last edited by jobleau; 01-13-2011 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Added P.S.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #5
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Nice one, jobleau. Of course, you're from Montreal, I had to have a quick look at your location when I read the part about being French speaking. No, let me congratulate you on your excellent English, definitely nothing to be ashamed of. I myself am not British either, yet, though I am working on it. My native tongue is German.

Computers and high tech, same here, I've always been fascinated and interested, though not always been able to keep that up since work sometimes prevented me from keeping up with developments. The machine I am using to access this is still running Windows 2000 but hey, apart from its rubbish start-up performance, it has not crashed EVER.

You are a hobby cook? Great, let’s get together and exchange recipes. My areas are trad. German cooking, East African, living in the UK now has been a blessing in that respect, you wouldn’t believe the availability of African foodstuffs, Indian, one of my favourites and basically anything that is different. I don’t think I have ever turned down anything, at least not before trying. My wife is a crack shot at the Chinese food.

If you like game and should you ever travel to Kenya, make sure you go to the Carnivore Restaurant on the outskirts of Nairobi. You must try some Eland Antelope, probably one of the finest meats I have ever tasted, apart from reindeer which I got to love when working in Sweden. They dry cure it for month and then serve it sliced thinly… makes my mouth water even now.

The gun thing, this is probably due to having been raised by German/British parents with the German part dominating, I have always had some problems with. Guns can, not necessarily will, cause problems and I guess it does take a stable mind and a settled person to be in charge of them.

I have had some brushes with guns, shotguns, the only hunting permitted where I grew up in Africa was hunting of wildfowl, never any big game. Since there was little need for gun I never became much of a shot anyway but was good enough to bag the odd evening meal or two.

Hunting for food I think is definitely something that puts guns in my part of the good book, apart from that, at least for me it has never been an attraction but as I said, that obviously has historical reasons. Plus at my age I am still something of a hippy, not that anybody would believe it when they saw me (suit and tie wearing, straight). Good thing that looks can deceive. LOL

I still have my joint or two in the evening, something I started some, now here’s a dead giveaway, +40 years ago and I don’t have any reason to doubt that the last thing I’ll smoke before I die at some point, will be a spliff.

Have you ever tried Samosas? Little triangular pockets of dough filled with either spicy vegetables or, our favourite, minced lamb? I could write it down for you. They are a little time consuming to make but believe me, well worth the effort.

Add-on:

If you are interested in swapping any recipes, guess we best do that via PM's, so feel free to contact me.

Last edited by hoverfly; 01-14-2011 at 09:15 AM. Reason: Added last sentence.
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Old 01-15-2011, 11:51 AM   #6
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well one of my hobbie is crossdressing and cosplaying, i really like trying on girls clothes and dolling myself up
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:25 AM   #7
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Cool hobbies.My back ground is in auto mecahincs,small engine mechanics,and industrial mechanics.I have a 2 years certificate that is the same as ASE.We didn't have an ASE certified school when I got my certificate.I received my 2 year industrial mechanics certificate when I was still in high school.I also got educated in basic welding and machining in the industrial mechanic courses.Here's the real kicker,I hold a bicycle mechanic certificate also.It was required by an assembly company I worked for.I did 2 hours,3 days a week,for 6 weeks to get it.It upped my pay level and I got paid for the training.Another hobby I failed to mention was air guns.I am setting up a shop to do air gun repair work and powder coating.The powder coating business is something I have been working on for almost a year.I hope to start putting up my building in a few weeks when the ground thaws out.I am doing all the building of the building myself.It's what most of my family has done since they came to the US.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:18 AM   #8
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Interesting, tiny. That raises another question, where did your family come from originally, if that is not a too personal question.

Also, you can just go and put up a building, just like that? I am amazed. Here you'd have to apply for planning permission, once you got that you'd have to submit all the architects papers proving that the building is structurally sound, etc. Lots of red tape, I tell you.

Our house has just been integrated in a conservation area, which basically means you can't even paint the front any colour you like (not that I'd be inclined to paint it purple or something like that anyway) but will have to adhere to all sorts of regulations. In fact, I will have to enquire about whether or not I will be able to put up a new garden shed. On the upside, the place is early Victorian and does have a certain aire about it. But still, you just want to put in double glazing and you can't just get any old windows, no, got to be the really expensive sash type.

Anyway, best of luck with you business.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:51 PM   #9
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Thanks for your answer Hoverfly.

My written English is fair. It's just that I don't think in English when I write and sometimes that shows in the structure of the text and can also change the meaning without me realizing it. It's happened before. And for sure you don't want to hear my spoken English with my huge fat French accent! It sounds horrible.

What I cook is mostly inspired from revisited traditional French Canadian cooking sprinkled with traditional French and Italian ideas. I'm pretty good with meat and I made sauces that have made people wet their underwear.

I'd love to expand on that and include more Asian ideas and components like Japanese, Chinese and Thai for example. But sadly, the supplies for these are scarce in my area and I don't get to go to the Greater Montreal very often.

Carnivore Restaurant! I love the name! We have plenty of wild meat here and I regularly enjoy them. So much more interesting than just beef and chicken.

Dry curing, as well as smoking, are 2 often used techniques here and indeed they produce excellent results on game meat. I'm particularly fond of smoked duck breast, preferably magret, for one.

Guns, like cars, are inanimate piece of mechanics. They can only do what they can do when being used by people. And like you say: it does take a stable mind and a settled person to be in charge of them. I don't want to start an argument here, but in my book, cars are a lot more widespread than guns and far more people don't use them properly or securely. So, in the end, I think the possible problem is not the object but the individual and how the object is used.

I don't believe in accidents. They are all due to human errors and should be so called. We all do some. But there are some errors that just should not happen.

Then you have the subject of willingness and intent. Someone who intends to harm somebody can do it with many objects or just hands. But then again, there is an individual behind it.

Hippy in a suit! That sure looks like me. I was born at the end of the hippy and baby boomers era. The hippy philosophy was still pretty strong back then. And I sure inherited part of it. The facts that I'm a nudist, love nature, prefer peace and quiet over conflicts of any sort all kinda go with that. But I did had to integrate into the so called normal society at some point in order to make a decent living.

Marijuana and hashish were popular too and I had my fair share back then. I still have some sometimes, but nowhere near regularly.

Samosas... Never heard of that. But anything with lamb, I'm willing to try! Problem is my weak cook spot is precisely dough. I don't know why but most of the times I try to make some it just does not work as expected. But I sure would like to see that recipe. If I can use commercially made dough I'd give it a try.

Last edited by jobleau; 01-16-2011 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Darn editor :(
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tinydick4u View Post
Another hobby I failed to mention was air guns.I am setting up a shop to do air gun repair work and powder coating.The powder coating business is something I have been working on for almost a year.
Air guns. These bring back so many great memories.

A friend of mine used to have shack on the shore of a northern lake encased within mountains. Very isolated, no roads. You needed a boat to get there. In the back of the shack, we had built a shooting spot using the mountain slope as a backstop. We had put all sorts of small objects like fishing spoon or other gears, clothes pins, rubber pieces and even a cow bell. Some were attached with strings or fishing wire and were subject to wind, making them more difficult to hit.

Boys did we spent many fun hours plinking with air pistols and riffles, making up all sorts of contests. We even shooted at night under the moonlight.

The most memorable event was the son of my friend first try at shooting. Late autumn, within the beautiful scenery that nature offers us at that time of the year, a bit cold, but plenty of sunshine. It was the last time we would go that year and my friend had promised his son, 6 y/o then, he could try one of the air gun that weekend.

The rifles were too big for him so he had him use a pistol. Even that was a bit too big for his small hands and I didn't think he'd be able to hit something. But I did not want the boy to be deceived with his experience and came up with an idea. While my friend was explaining his son how to use the pistol safely, I comfortably installed myself in my preferred spot and started shooting. After a while, my friend called upon me saying it was the boy's turn to shoot.

So I stopped but I still had a pellet in the rifle. My friend told his son to hit the cow bell, the biggest object on the range and the little boy started aiming. I did too. And when I heard the pellet go through the bushes, I fired and hit the bell. My friend had heard the shot from my riffle and turned towards me with an inquisitive look and I nodded to him it was indeed me who had it the bell.

But you should have seen the look on the boy's face! His eyes were so wide and bright it was unbelievable. He was so concentrated on his shot that he didn't hear mine and he was convinced he had hit the bell. I had made the boy's day for sure.

We all cheered with him but I said it was beginner's luck and he needed to shoot some more. For the next half hour, for every 2 or 3 shots he did, if he didn't hit, I would discreetly make one for him. Surprisingly though, he did manage to make a couple of hits by himself.

To this day, I don't think he knows what I did behind the scene because we talked about that day several times and he still seem very convinced he did all the hits.

Thanks tinydick4u for bringing me back that great memory.
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