I bought my first soldering iron and multimeter by mail-order from Maplin when I was about 16 (1984) to build some add-ons for my ZX Spectrum. None of my creations ever worked :-(
I still have the soldering iron. I finally retired the analogue multimeter only last week after 21 years of sterling service and replaced it with a no-name digital one that I picked up in B&Q for €25.
I spent 6 years in UCD studying Electronic Engineering. In that time, I didn't make one useful thing. I know, I know, they weren't teaching me how to solder, they were giving me the skills I needed so I could get someone else to do it ;-)
Every once in a while I get the urge to put some wee electronic kit together, but I never make the time available.
[I have the urge again](http://www.techdesign.be/projects/020/020.htm).