Informing people of my latest rejection by Corporate Britannia, I notice a startled, almost frightened, expression come over friends' faces. It is the look on a schoolchild's face when posed a question they cannot answer. It is the look of a Sunday batsman when bowled a googly. "What you need is a nice little hobby", someone returned the other day. A decent stroke if not the most elegant delivery in village cricket history.
Sat at home betwixt my second and third on-line jigsaw puzzle of the day (have you tried last Thursday's it was a stinker), I started to think about this well-meaning suggestion. A good sprinkling of my contemporaries have now hung up their quill pens and settled down to a life in the potting shed. Perhaps the time has come to abandon all thoughts of making a better, more fair, more logical world and concentrate on ..... soapmaking.
Now I know what you are saying... "He's going off on one of his silly rambled again - lamp post spotting Mark II". But I got here by following a very logical and grown-up route. On being told that he needs a nice little hobby, what will the child of the twenty-first century do? He will type "nice little hobby" into his nearest search engine and ..... well in my case he will be presented with a list of nice little hobbies by Yahoo. And what a list. There's Ham Radio, beachcombing, juggling and puppetry. For those who like their pleasures a little more on the exotic side, there's cloud watching, tombstone rubbing, pyrotechnics and lock picking. And of course, there is soap making. I am not sure why that one jumped out at me as the first one I wanted to seriously investigate: but it did. If I had the time and the inclination, and if I hadn't turned my back on Corporate Britannia in order to take up a nice little hobby, I could devise and market a psychological test designed for the commercial interview market which would be guaranteed to tell you which one of fifty applicants would be most suitable as a shop assistant in PC World based on his or her choice of potential hobby. But I digress.
"Soap-making is a fascinating and engrossing hobby which can also offer financial rewards" proclaims one of the hundreds of soap-making websites now available and on a computer screen near you. Just have a look at TeachSoap.com and marvel at what can be achieved by the skilled practitioner in this ancient art. Doesn't that Chocolate Pie Soap created by Julia Lollo from Brazil just get those gastric juices flowing? There are recipes for amethyst gem soaps, swirled scallop soaps and bath poof soaps. There are fizzy milk bombs, delectable lip butters, and elbow and knee lotions. I am hooked. So I am off to buy my soap kettle, my tallow graters, and my moulds. Will friends and family take note : this is what you will be getting for Christmas this year. I am about to start my first pressing .......... Just as soon as I finish this game of patience.