Until relatively recent times the main tasks in human life involved the provision of food, clothing, fuel and shelter. Sadly, and unnecessarily, for many in our world it remains their only occupation. Survival. Little surplus time remains for the indulgences and distractions many of us now take for granted.
In societies of affluence we now view hobbies and extracurricular activities as necessary and essential elements for our physical and psychological wellbeing.
Indeed we used to have a colloquialism in this country which acknowledged that when our lives were full of sundry interests along with a busy working life, it was enough "to stop you from farting in church".
A phrase now, I suspect, sadly languishing on the refuse pile of linguistic history.
My own past is littered with an assortment of dead-end distractions which consumed time and probably, if I cared to add it all up, a small fortune in money.
In childhood, perforated steel Meccano construction sets.
Toy boats made from pieces of balsa wood held together with glue that I could legally inhale and blissfully savour the modifications it was making to the functions of my cerebellum.
A Monopoly-like board game called "Oil" to prepare the boy for a life of magnate-hood.
Hundreds of postage stamps alerting me to life in Magyar and the Norfolk Islands and other magical places.
Triang model trains clattering through papier mache mountains.
Later, sparing my parents the expense;
Correspondence courses in Psychology and Geology commenced but never completed.
Golf clubs….including a glossy red fairway wood, of such atrocious design that it only worked correctly twice in one thousand swings.
Keyboards; squeeze, pedal, and one with spinning reverb and vibrato speakers.
Music; vinyl, cassette, CD, MP3, many played only once before either my tastes or technology altered.
Flight simulator hardware and software. A hangar of 40 aircraft in which to escape to any destination of earth.
All a waste of time and money? I think not.
For in between I also found time to work hard, support myself and raise a family. The main event.
I am simply grateful for the good fortune which enabled me to attend all of the other sideshows surrounding it.