Sarah Millican: Six childhood things I miss doing

"I love the idea of being allowed to be a bit crap at something and that it doesn't matter as long as you've enjoyed yourself"


Looking back, I think that when I was a bairn, my life was mostly hobbies, Yes, I went to school, but somehow I had a lot of time for fun, too. I suppose if I take out the time I spend these days on travelling then I would have time for hobbies now. I miss so many things that I used to do. Do you remember the last time you sat cross-legged and made daisy chains on the village green? Do you remember the last time you could sit cross- legged? I’m so unfit these days, I have to warm up to put my socks on.


Why didn’t anyone tell me that adulthood meant no time to make pompoms? Unless you’re Kirstie Allsopp who pays her bills with them.

Here are the top six childhood things I miss doing:

1) Being able to pick up caterpillars with my bare hands.

2) Hula Hoops. I trained for months and got really good at it. I rather ridiculously assumed I’d be better at this now as I’ve wiggled sexily a lot more since then. I bought one and you might as well have passed me a note that said, “And your dancing isn’t sexy either”. Crushed.

3) Making perfume with the heads of roses taken from other people’s gardens. When you’re an adult, that’s called theft.

4) Bouncing a ball off a wall. Or, better still, putting a ball in a bit of your mam’s tights and, with your back to said wall, bounce it above your head and between your legs. Both of these often resulted in middle-aged ladies shouting at you for using their wall and risking window damage. I am now that middle-aged lady. I totally understand the shouting.

5) Knitting oblongs. Or scarves as we called them.

6) Being rubbish at things and it not mattering.

It’s because of that last one that I decided to start having occasional craft days with my friends. I once met some members of a WI who’d made party decorations out of cardboard. The decorations were rubbish but women were having a lovely time.

I love the idea of being allowed to be a bit crap at something and that it doesn’t matter as long as you’ve enjoyed yourself. During our “crafternoons”, I’ve made a finger puppet, some place cards and numerous cards for people I apparently love. One of my friends told people her Get Well Soon card was off her niece, rather than her 38-year-old friend who’d just got a glue gun.

Not content with glitter pens, pipe cleaners and pinking shears, this craft craver is about to turn her attention to knitting. I have vague memories of my mam half knitting jumpers and cardigans for my sister and me. So I’ve asked my mam if she’ll show me how to knit again. I may well only ever do oblongs or the front left-half panel of a cardigan, but what does it matter if I’m having fun?

For inspiration, I’ve been watching The Great British Sewing Bee. I read that it isn’t as popular as Bake Off, to which it’s being unfairly compared, due to its similar title. Of course it’s not as popular. You can’t eat a blouse. I really enjoy it, I find it relaxing to watch and I’m learning a lot of new words, as is presenter Claudia Winkleman.

Imagine if, some day, I didn’t have to go shopping for clothes at all. If everything I made fitted me. If I didn’t have to creep in some shops for fear of finding out they only go up to a 14. I think that sounds wonderful. But even if all I make are a couple of bonny tablecloths and have a lovely time doing it, then time is not wasted. Bring back hobbies, I say.

My Cracking Crime Caper

I’m introducing my fella to Cracker. He loves it. And I’m smug about that. Like I made it myself.

The Sarah Millican Television Programme — Best of Series 1 & 2 is available on DVD at