20 tips for a happy retirement. #20 – Take up a new project

Now’s the time there’s no excuses! (well we can make time for them too!) That ‘To Do’ list can now get a serious going over! Be careful that A N Other doesn’t fill it up quicker than you can complete the tasks, or you’ll be like my Father-In-Law who said he was never busier than when he retired!

Maybe we should have task AND pleasures. There are the jobs that need doing and have been put off but I suggest you try and intersperse these with pleasures too.

I’ve covered a few things before such as learning and instrument or a language, but there are so, so many and each and everyone of us will have a different list and likely see some things as chores whilst others think of these as pleasures – weeding the garden for example!

Sheds – “Everyone should have a shed!” Who said that? Me! 

ALL sheds need sorting out in my experience and this can be a chore but also catharsis – those things that might come in useful later either are useful now or need to go! Whether it’s fixing up your old bile or mending that old chair that’s been there for years you’ll need space to get these things done! Don’t have your own shed? Well that can be a project in itself – build one, or if no space find one. You’ll be surprised how many folks don’t use their sheds and would welcome a clear out and have someone use it.

Sheds I’ve come across have been put to many and various uses from the traditional store for gardening tools and the mower to Radio Stations, Music rooms, Train sets and more often than not just welcome hiding places!

If you are looking at being more creative and want to learn new woodworking, drilling and turning skills etc, making and mending stuff and doing this shoulder to shoulder with other like-minded souls then look up a local Men’s Shed Group. (Ladies too!) If there isn’t one nearby then think about starting one, we did in an unused garage and now we’ve taken over a church hall surplus to their requirements – from small beginnings….Sheddington.


Family Tree

Who are you and where did you come from? Legacy


From pottering to potting, from weeding to landscaping – even the smallest garden or window, even an indoor pot can become something of great pleasure – for me it was creating an area to grow vegetables from rubbish strewn wasteland rather than the tending and maintenance – green digits? I have none!


Who doesn’t like cake and freshly baked bread?

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.

Bake me a cake as fast as you can

Pat it and prick it, and mark it with B,

Put it in the oven for Baby and me!


Not only can you derive great pleasure creating a wonderful cake that you and others can enjoy but also who doesn’t like seeing and hearing those looks to the heavens and those Oohs and Ahhs of delight appreciation?!


Find and practice a great cake recipe, you’ll never get it right first time, but not to worry – the proof is in the eating! If you want to be a bit more experimental I’d suggest bread – from a standard loaf to croissants, focaccia to loaves with raisins, olives, banana, chocolate, nuts, tomato, onion…you name it – try it – bread I find is far more forgiving than cake when it comes to altering the recipie!!


Cooking – Hosting – Safari.

Some of us have cooked from an early age, others of us seldom or not at all. It’s never to late to learn. Most is ‘simple’ chemistry – following a formula – EXACTLY! For those of you who dream of not having to churn out meals for family etc. try ‘gourmet’ meals – In my experience these are often best if kept simple, less is more – but done well can provide an exquisite experience – We can all become expert in at least one dish done exceedingly well! So why not invite family and friends over more for Sunday lunch or an evening meal? You’ve only got the one recipe up to standard? Well get them to bring desert or cheat and buy in! Want something more challenging, then go to classes or for a more people focused event consider a Safari Supper! This is a great way to meet neighbours and you only have to cook one course and host it before moving on!

This is my formula for 16 couples – 4 Courses – 8 to feed at each sitting and never meet the same couple twice – It’s a tricky problem I’ve never known anyone to solve and I believe this was found by trial and error not super clever mathematics!

Safari Dinner Formula – Editable

OK – too much? – No! – It’s a project – possibly a one off but I guarantee if you can get it sorted it will be an annual event looked forward to by the neighbours! OK what about a potluck to kick things off and get interest? Potluck suppers are gatherings where each guest contributes a different, often homemade dish to be shared.


This is my latest fun project – Racing cars around a field – it costs next to nothing, Formula One it’s not but for me thrice the fun!!

There is I promise a project for everyone and likely not daytime TV quiz shows with tea and a biscuit everyday, if that’s for you then great, fine and dandy but if not CHALLENGE yourself to something new!

  • Cycling groups – these can vary from ‘Slow-Cycling’ Groups to joining the full lycra® brigade! – Take a leaf out of Steel Grandpa’s book!
  • Adopt and train a pet – Dogs are not only ‘man’s best friend’ but will get you out of the house exercising and meeting other doggy people! (Dogs like babies are great conversation starters!)
  • Walking / Running – From Fells to strolls around town (How well do you REALLY know your own neighbourhood?) and from Parkrun to bagging Munros.
  • Wine / Beer making / tasting – Fancy being your own master brewer or vintner? Or maybe just a connoisseur and learn more about the grape or indeed the grain?
  • Volunteering can help you beat loneliness.
  • Sailing & Kayaking
  • Learn to fly or just bungee?!

Maybe share some of your projects with the TOYLers? or a recipe??




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