As mentioned in my post about 2017 goals, I’d got it into my head that I didn’t want to wait until I was retired before doing something I’ve always fancied doing – that of learning to play a musical instrument!
With my mind made up, I struggled to think of what instrument that someone like me (ie non-musical) could easily learn, which didn’t require formal/expensive lessons. Fortunately, I mentioned my dilemma to my sister who announced that coincidentally, she had just started to learn to play an instrument….
So, that’s how I came to buy a ukulele!
TFS wasn’t too far off when he suggested a banjo in the comments, in that it is a stringed instrument!
For those who don’t know (which included me, before I bought it), a ukulele does resemble a small guitar, except it’s got just 4 strings, not 6 like a guitar. The version I bought is a Concert ukulele.
How Will I Learn?
YouTube will be my teacher – there are loads of free ukulele lessons online. Thus far, I’ve just been learning a few chords and how to strum – I’m just sooooo happy that something sounding vaguely like a tune is being produced! Wow, who knew I had it in me – I certainly didn’t! 🙂
Now, I’m not aiming to be an expert or to be able to perform in public. I’m finding it both fun and relaxing just picking it up and practising for a few minutes at a time. My fingers hurt a little but callouses are already starting to develop.
The total cost of this new hobby was around £60, including case and tuner – I’m very glad I decided to go for it!
Another Home Brew Success
Home Brewing was a new hobby which I took up back in September 2014 – like any good hobby, it’s still going strong and I still get a kick out of brewing my own beer!
However, my last home brew update was back in April as my brewing timetable was interrupted due to having family staying for most of the summer. I was able to resume at the end of October, although the brew wasn’t really ready until last month.
So the kit I made this time was Milestone’s Black Pearl Stout – yes, I’m partial to a bit of Guinness and wondered if I could do a fair imitation of a decent stout!
The kit produced 42 bottles (21 litres/36 pints) and was free – it was a birthday present. As I spent £5 on a new tin opener (to open the big cans of malt), the cost of these beers work out at £0.12 per bottle or £0.14 a pint! Not just happy hour, happy days! 🙂
Alcohol strength just under 4%, obviously it’s not a patch on Guinness but..it’s got a good ‘stouty’ flavour and the most important thing of all, it pours with a decent frothy head! I’d notch that as a success, plus my friends and ex-colleagues like it too!
However, there are so many different kits out there, I may just keep going and trying new ones that catch my eye and picking up old favourites when I see them on offer.
Whilst not a specific goal of mine, but as mentioned in a comment I posted on FireinLondon’s post about his spending on alcohol, I’m going to try to reduce my ‘Alcohol At Home’ budget to zero this year…
No, I’m not turning teetotal – this is just to stop me spending money on alcohol for home consumption. This should encourage me to continue brewing my own and it helps that I received 3 homebrew kits for Christmas!
I should also drink the stuff that’s in the house already, which at the last count included 3 large bottles of gin (leaving gifts), plus various other (unopened) bottles of both spirits and wine.
Barring an outrageous alcohol problem, this should all last me a while (not just til end of Feb, FiL haha) – even though I’m not working, I’m still keeping to my not drinking on ‘school nights’, as I don’t want to descend into bad habits!
Anyway, have a great weekend all!