You may have noticed the full global financial collapse that is suddenly occurring. As well as the good chance we will all soon be living in a Mad Max style anarcho-netherworld, you might also be searching for some cheap, easy distractions. How about a hobby to take your mind off things? There are a myriad of fun, healthy pursuits that can fascinate and tantalise. And then there are some hobbies, which are so niche, so obscure, so damn nerdy, it’s hard to believe they’re legit. Here are a few remarkably odd pastimes.
Container Ship Spotting
It seems as if just about anything can be spotted. Birds, planes, trains, buses. But just because the land stops and the sea unexpectedly begins, shouldn’t stop you from viewing things and jotting them down in a small, greasy notebook. Shipspotting is one thing, but if you want to get really specific, how about a weekend of container ship spotting? There are some very strict rules connected to this pursuit including photographic evidence and location details. But be warned, there are lots of ships that carry containers, but they are not all container ships. You see? Not as easy as you thought, is it?
Competitive Duck Herding
Those bloody ducks, always showing off. Quacking, swimming in ponds, necking bread like they are the big ‘I am’. What these swaggering fowl need is to be put in their place. What they need is a hero, with only his trusty sheep… sorry duckdog by his side and a few extravagant hand gestures. Duck herding, or guiding these waterfowl into a pen using a trained dog, has evolved from an obscure country sport to a popular corporate team-building exercise. Who knows, perhaps you’ll have a crack at a corporate away day, be a natural duck-herder and soon be participating in the Grand National Championships in some weird village somewhere.
Japanese Sword Polishing
No not recreating classic samurai battles or even swinging weapons around like a maniac trying to chop stuff; this is just polishing Japanese swords. Nothing else. Polishing and repairing swords, or Togi, is highly ritualised and uses a wide variety of implements and techniques. Sometimes the cleaning up of a particularly grimy sword can take weeks and weeks. The object is to have a much shinier blade than any of the other sword polishers. Once polished, you can sit back, relax with a nice tumbler of Sake and enjoy your gleaming blade.
Don’t be fooled brother, this ain’t bell ringing. With change ringing, you’re not trying to create a pretty recognisable melody, but instead yank your bell to create a specific audible pattern. It’s a bit like crossing mathematics with bell ringing, if you can get your head around that. It can be achieved by using the great big bells commonly found, and stolen from, churches and sets of smaller hand bells. Either way, the plan is to sound these sets of tuned bells in a certain way to follow a specific, ancient, assigned pattern. It goes on the world over and has existed for centuries. But that doesn’t make it right.
Crisp packet collecting
Art collecting tends to be the domain of the very, very wealthy or very, very old. But if you fancy amassing a colourful gallery of beautiful design pieces but at Netto prices, how about becoming a crisp packet collector? All you have to do is buy the crisps, eat the crisps and then remember to not throw the packet away. But don’t just hurl the packaging to the floor and start living in your own filth. That is an entirely different hobby: hoarding. A recent UK collection was priced at over £10000, though it was not clear how they reached this conclusion or whether anyone would want to buy, what is basically, somebody else’s recycling.