ONE year for his birthday, Paul Hynes was given a surprising birthday present: a ukulele.
"I was bored and so I did a local course in Darwin, where I was living at the time," he said.
He's now been playing the instrument for seven years. But that doesn't mean he's a musician, according to him.
However, since moving to Richmond in 2017, Mr Hynes and a group of other 'non-musicians' have been meeting up once a week to play their ukes.
They call themselves HUMS - the Hawkesbury Ukulele Music Society - and they are now on the lookout for new members.
"We don't care if you play the same chord the whole song, as long as you're singing and having fun," Mr Hynes said.
"You don't have to be good [at playing the uke]. It's more about the energy, the banter, and having a good time. It's like having a singalong in the car."
HUMS meets every Tuesday night, from 6-8pm, at the Richmond Club.
Meet-ups are free for all levels, and all that is required is that you bring "a ukulele, and positive energy", according to the HUMS flyer.
The group has been meeting for two-and-a-half years, but if you measure the age of a group by the number of gigs under its belt, then HUMS is still in its infancy.
"We haven't performed anywhere as such - yet. But we're open to performance ideas," Mr Hynes said.
"[Potential venues] would need to have PAs or amps, or we could play without that kind of thing.
"We're not going to win any awards with our singing though! There's no hierarchy, you just come along and socialise."
There is anywhere from five to fifteen people who attend HUMS meet-ups, and some of these are retirees. But Mr Hynes said they are on the lookout for younger blood to join the ranks and bring a different perspective to their gatherings.
They recently scored "the big room" next to the Villaggio restaurant at the Club, and a typical meeting will see members play a variety of songs Mr Hynes has prepared beforehand (he takes requests via Facebook) and beams the chords on to a projector screen for the group to follow.
"Sometimes we play songs two or three times, we're a bit rough at first and then we try to improve it," Mr Hynes said.
"Lately we've been playing Elton John's Your Song, One Perfect Day by Little Heroes, we've been working on Chocolate Jesus the Tom Waits song, and I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons."
If you own a ukulele and think you could handle a bit of banter and learning chords along the way, find Hums Hawkesbury Ukulele Music Society on Facebook or call Mr Hynes on 0402 699 499.