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COOKERY CLASSES A HIT WITH OLDER MEN: In the United Kingdom, cookery classes are booming, thanks to older men.

At Harts Barn cookery school in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, a group of over-60s are learning how to cook a curry from scratch.

Age UK has launched Kitchen Kings, a project sponsored by the City Bridge Trust in London. The hugely popular project serves as both a skills-based class and a lunch club.

In the morning, the men make dishes such as Spanish omelettes and bread and butter pudding. At lunch, they eat the food they have prepared, tell jokes and make new friends.

Veronica Burke, founder of Bread Matters, which also runs bread-making courses, says classes in January are full of older men who have been given the course as a Christmas gift. Many of them remember their mother making bread at home.

Waitrose, a British supermarket, is planning to run cookery courses aimed specifically at men. Claire Lanza, one of the company's chefs said: "We find skills and meat-based courses are very popular with men in general and with retired men in particular." Elsewhere, pastry and sauces workshops are also filling up.

Meanwhile, "How to cook the perfect steak" is a favouite with older men at the Seasoned cookery school in Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire.

Source: with notes from



planning your time in retirementLEISURE PATHS TO A VIBRANT RETIREMENT: An optimal leisure lifestyle leads to a high quality of life in retirement says Robert Stebbins, professor emeritus at the University of Calgary and a leading leisure expert.

In Planning Your Time in Retirement, Stebbins provides a compelling guide to cultivate a leisure lifestyle that suits your needs and your pocketbook

An optimal leisure lifestyle includes three types of leisure:

1. Casual leisure may be a one-shot activity: a bungee jump; walking in New England's colourful countryside in the fall; attending a sports event; visiting a museum; or spending an evening at the theatre.

2. Serious leisure is the systematic pursuit of an activity as an amateur, hobbyist or career volunteer. Stebbins explores the three options in separate chapters, each brimming with ideas and suggestions.

Amateurs are found in the fine and entertainment arts and in science and sports. An individual may have fallen in love with the dream of becoming a cellist, discovering a new planet or climbing a mountain. These activities require significant effort, skill and knowledge, and they are driven by a deep long-term commitment.

Hobbyists: This world is populated by collectors, such as doll, stamp and rare book collectors. Other hobbyists include quilters, makers of model planes, rockets, wood sculpture. Still others focus on outdoor pursuits such as kayaking and cross-country skiing.

Career volunteering requires knowledge and experience. It demands a commitment of time and energy. For example, volunteering as a guide at a historical site, teaching English to newcomers or working effectively with autistic children.

3. Project-based leisure activities are usually one-off undertakings, such as producing a skit, constructing the family genealogy or helping with the community arts festival.

Of course, the road to vitality will be different for each person. Stebbins says the trick is to choose an activity that is to your taste and that you have some aptitude for: "Give priority to serious leisure, but also make time for rest and a change of pace. In the long run, vitality and a high quality of life flow from leisure pursuits that enable people to reach their full potential."



AGING PRIESTS HAPPY IN THEIR VOCATION: A new U.S. study has found older Catholic priests happy with their lives, despite more responsibilities and fewer priests than 50 years ago.

The researchers interviewed 18 men over the age of 45. All had been priests for a minimum of 20 years. In reviewing their lives, the priests measured their success by:

  • the effect their ministries had on their congregations
  • the quality of their spiritual lives, and
  • the important friendships in their lives.

The priests enjoyed providing pastoral services to their community. They appreciated the support of parishioners. And they cherished their friendships with local priests and other priest friends.

However, more than half reported difficulties working in parishes at some point in their ministries. Most of these difficulties were related to just one or two individuals, but in two cases, particular groups of parishioners sought more conservative approaches to church life. The participants viewed the conflicts that sometimes erupted in these situations as failures in their ministries.

Priests also talked about their spiritual lives. About half were comfortable with their spiritual growth over the years, the other half felt they needed to spend more time in personal prayer and reflection. Some of the priests gave growing demands on their time as reason for their spiritual shortcomings.

Michael Kane and Robin Jacobs reported details of their study online in the Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging (Vol. 27, Issue 4, 2015).



NEW LEARNING A THRILL: Discovering something new is always a thrill whether it's discovering a new restaurant, music or even a new type of apple.

According to the New York Times, 150,000 men and women in the United States participate each year at more than 119 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.

Take the Osher program at John Hopkins University, for example. It has 1,200 members, and 500 on the waiting list. Full membership costs about $500 in annual dues. Learning instructors tend to be retired professionals.

On offer in 2016: explorations in history, science, literature, economics, music, philosophy and more. Currently, classes taught by journalist Eleanor Clift, including On the Road to the White House, are attracting large numbers.

Along with challenging subjects, programs emphasize the social dimensions of learning, offering space to learn with passionate like-minded people, who often become new friends.