Please don't make me knit

Most people my age are taking up hobbies but I have none. But faced with the possibility I might become a couch potato, I'm prepared to consider anything... well, almost anything

The useless guide to getting a hobby Hobbies or how to avoid them

It's no good, I'm going to have to get a hobby.

For two weeks now, I've been moaning how there's nothing on the telly in an attempt to put off the evil moment when I have to face facts.

All our chicks have flown the nest and there's a big hole in my life that needs plugging… no, don't feel sorry for me. I don't want them back, I just don't want to sit here and fester into old age.

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Things got so bad I very nearly darned a sock the other night.

Next thing you know I'll be inviting double-glazing salesmen round to give me quotes, just for the company.

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“Yes, I'm very interested in replacement windows… and in replacement bargeboard and soffits… and a conservatory and fire doors.

“Well, you're in luck Mrs…


“…Miss Mortimer, we have a special offer available. If you order today I can immediately give you 10 percent off and a cat flap… I thought you were married…”

“I am… another cup of tea, Martin? I can call you Martin, can't I… Marty?”

His hand trembles against his clipboard as he attempts to use his calculator to tot up the bargain price.

Yes, my new best friend is in for a long evening. I like to think this is the desperate phone call he'll be making after four hours in my sitting room.

“Hi, it's me, Marty - I mean, Martin… yes I'm still with her… Mortimer, that's the one… Yes, I've offered the 30% discount and I took it upon myself to offer her another 10 per cent if she'll let me go… No, it isn't funny. What I need you to do is phone back in five minutes and say there's been an emergency… I don't know what kind of emergency; someone's conservatory windows have all fallen out, or something; anything. She's making me another cup of tea at the moment - the sixth. I've measured up everything and now she's talking about a UPVC bird table…”

Obviously I would let him go once my husband got home from the pub quiz.

Then, maybe another evening I could get one of those nice men round who want to sell you the very expensive vacuum cleaners that suck up the dust from the house's foundations.

I once had a demonstration (of cleaning) from a very nervous man with a hoover-like thing and attachments.

He showed me evidence of how filthy my dining room carpet was and I was impressed. “Gosh I am a slattern when it comes to housework,” I said and agreed it would be wonderful to have a machine with super-suck and tried to imagine what might happen if you applied it to your neck.

The salesman had been expecting to show me the effects in the bedroom but retreated.

“I thought your husband would be here,” he protested.

“He's had to work late,” I explained.

“Oh well, then, I can't do the bedroom,” he announced with finality.

Was it the signed photo of Max Mosley* that sent him all a-twitter, I wondered as he packed away his implements and left hurriedly (and without a sale).

Even the Mormons that knocked at my door the other week didn't seem that keen to convert me. “I have biscuits…” I called, waving the blood-soaked knife I had been using to chop the casserole beef in a friendly fashion.

The Bible probably has something to say on the subject of knife-wielding menopausal women greeting you at the portal and I think these two, nice-looking young men had read it.

If I don't find a hobby soon, I am going to end up with a court order banning me from using Yellow Pages.

“The court finds for the plaintiffs - A-Z small businesses. Miss Mortimer, you must never again allow your fingers to do the walking.”

I need to get out more.

It hit home when my friend Jane arrived for supper with a flower arrangement of white chrysanthemums, red rose buds and gypsophila (not for supper, for me).

For Jane had crafted the arrangement with her own fair hands, having joined a flower arranging course at a local library. She also goes to the gym and helps out as an “angel” at local theatres as well as having a proper job.

I started to feel as if I was missing out on something; as if these golden, mellow days of my life are passing by without my active intervention.

A theatrical friend stopped me, the other day.

Thank heavens, I thought, I am still loved and needed.

“Hi, Lynne, would you ask Mark (son) to give me a ring?” he said.

I get regular emails from my neighbourhood group which is just a year old but already has a flourishing book group and a gardening club. I don't do either of those. My book choices are not so much Man Booker shortlisted as Bad Sex in Fiction Award-nominated.

As for gardening, I enjoy it in a supervisory capacity but can't really be trusted with small, living things. The agapanthus seedlings my friend Brenda gave me are looking a bit sad. Perhaps I shouldn't have watered them from the tumble dryer condenser - mind you, they're silky soft.

What I need to do is stop moping about like the overly self-analytical heroine of a Man Booker prize shortlisted novel and start living life to the full.

“Am I lazy?” I asked my husband as he ironed his dress shirt before heading out to sing in a concert.

“No, Lynne, of course not.”

“Good… will you make me a cup of tea, please?”

*I lied about the photo of Max Mosley; it isn't signed.

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