The Freebird Times - Issue 1

thefreebirdtimes

The first issue of The Freebird Times (www.thefreebirdclub.com)

2

Contents

2 Inside this issue

Welcome

3 Freebird Club founder, Peter Mangan,

kicks off the first issue.

5 How to read the Freebird Times.

Travel

6 Dave Ryan takes us on a tour of Southern

England.

9 Intrepid 50-something Dermot Higgins

tells us why he?s cycling around the world on

a push bike.

10 Gaetano Forte relaxes in the beautiful

surroundings of Lake Zurich, Switzerland.

Let's Cook

12 Making scones and clotted cream while

listening to singer Doris Day!

Tech Savy

16 Learn how to screen share.

Living & Lifestyle

19 Go green when brushing your teeth.

21 Start a new career instead of retiring.

23 Soothing remedies for sore skin.

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19

Cover photo: Founding team Peter Mangan and Nga-Hong Lau by Sean Lawlor

Editor : Olive Keogh

Design & Layout : Deeksha Gautam

(C) 2017 Published by The Freebird Club. All rights reserved

23


3 Welcome

Peter Mangan, founder and CEO of The Freebird Club

Welcome to the first edition of

The Freebird Times. This digital

magazine is our way of engaging

more fully with both our

members and those interested

in learning more about The

Freebird Club.

For the uninitiated, The Freebird

Club is a new travel-based social

network for those over 50. It is a

membership-based club,

whereby members can travel

and stay with each other in the

context of a trusted social

community of peers.

It offers a whole new way of

travelling for mature adults, a

potential new source of income

for hosts and a fun and

accessible way to meet new

people and enjoy social and

cultural interaction in later life.

Our mission is to connect and

enrich the lives of older people

through meaningful travel and to

foster an age-friendly and

inclusive world in the process.

This Club is designed to be a fun

place to hangout with

like-minded people who share

the view that life and the world

around us are to be enjoyed

regardless of age. As you will see

in our member profiles, people

share their interests and

passions on the website so they

can get to know a little bit about

each other in advance of

potential stays. We want people

to connect through

commonalities and shared

interests. This Club is about

people, not just places to go. We

already have Freebird members

in 36 countries worldwide and

membership is growing daily.

Here in our digital magazine,

you will find all kinds of

interesting articles chosen to

appeal to the more mature

reader .


Welcome

5

We have a very interesting and

information-rich feature about

travelling in the South of England

written by Freebird Club

volunteer, Dave Ryan , while Club

member, Gaetano Forte, shares

his experiences of staying with

hosts Luisa and Joseph Roesli in

Switzerland.

We will also show you how to

screen share with Skype to keep in

touch with family and friends and

share our recipe for scones, an

essential and delicious part of a

traditional British afternoon tea.

Don?t forget to come and check

out our website:

www.thefreebirdclub.com. There

you will find wonderful welcoming

hosts in amazing destinations

around the world. If you are not

yet a member we would love to

have you on board. Better still,

why not tell your friends and

family who are also over 50 about

us?

This Club is built around

"

great

people enjoying the potential that

a longer life presents. The

Freebird Club is driven by its

members and we are open to

suggestions about what content

and features you would like to see

in future editions. Please feel free

to send us your ideas. We hope

you enjoy this first edition of The

Freebird Times ? and remember,

it?s never too late to have the time

of your life!

Happy Travelling.

Enjoy the issue!

Peter

Peter Mangan, Founder & CEO,

The Freebird Club

"THE FREEBIRD CLUB IS ABOUT PEOPLE, NOT JUST PLACES TO GO. "

"

Peter with his father Owen , who helped inspire what has become The Freebird Club


5

Welcome

How to Read The Freebird Times

While most people know intuitively how

to turn pages in a printed publication,

the techniques for reading a digital

publication are a little bit different. We

want to make your read as easy as

possible and have made a short video to

help you navigate the magazine with a

few simple clicks.

If you still prefer to read a paper version,

you can simply download and print it.

9


6 Travel

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GOING SOUTH

TFC volunteer Dave Ryan brings us on a journey through the South of England.

The counties of southern England

are recognised as a

mouth-watering combination of

rural tranquility, coastal cliffs,

nestled coves, forests full of

intrigue, national parks and

desolate moorland ? all

complemented by a rich historical

and cultural heritage.

If your travels ever take you to the

South of England there is a wide

variety of things to do all fuelled by

a variety of gastronomic options

showcasing the best of English

food. A good meal is often followed,

of course, by a trip to one of the

many hundreds of lovingly

preserved versions of the

traditional English pub! They vary

greatly in style and character and

many serve local tipples, such as

the scrumpy (a type of cider), the

county of Somerset in particular is

famous for.

There is also a wealth of regional

cultural festivals to enrich your

experience across many fields

including music, food, literature,

drama and the arts. In terms of

gathering information on the

options available, you?ll find that

each county/town has its own

official tourist information website

as do the events themselves. The

VisitEngland.com and

artsfestivals.co.uk websites are

also handy for information for your

trip. There are so many choices ?

but here are a few examples to

whet your appetite.

Minack Theatre

If you are spending time enjoying

the considerable charms of Devon

and Cornwall, look out for the

remarkable Minack Theatre hewn

out of the cliff-face above the

waters of Porthcuron Bay in the

1930s. It has seating for 750

View of Pulteney Bridge in Bath, England

Rainforest Biome, Eden Project, Cornwall

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7

Travel

people and presents plays, operas

and musicals during the Summer

months. Bring your own cushion

and a warm blanket would also be a

useful accessory.

Newquay is host to multiple

Summer /Autumn festivals

(literature and film, not just

surfing!) and the spectacular Eden

Project is not just a daytime

pleasure but also a location for

performances in Spring and

Summer held in a broad grassy

arena much admired for its

originality.

Padstow in Cornwall is famed for its

harbour and gastronomic charm ? a

destination for many given the fame

of local restauranteur and TV chef,

Rick Stein. It is also at the heart of

regional cultural tradition. One of

its variety of events is the famed

Obby Oss Festival which is

celebrated annually on May Day. It

is thought to be the oldest dance

festival in Britain involving troupes

of local dancers, a maypole,

costumes and general fun and

merriment.

The Hunting of the Earl of Rone

festival takes place in Combe

Martin, Devon, each year and

re-enacts a 400-year old manhunt

with full costumes and general

chasing around. A must for Agatha

Christie fans is the annual Festival

in mid-September (in Torquay) with

all manner of exhibitions, author

talks, murder mystery dinners and

jazz. Also of note is the literary

festival held each May in Fowey

over three days with a

concentration on the works of

Daphne du Maurier.

Somerset

The county of Somerset has always

evoked England?s pastoral heritage

but the tranquillity is breached

every year or so (if the fields

recover in time!) by the

Glastonbury Festival. It has been in

existence on Worthy Farm since the

1970s. With its roots in flower

power, alternative lifestyles and of

course music, the festival has

evolved into much more than a rock

music festival with all types of

music catered for from classical,

jazz and blues to folk, rock, dance

and soul ? a veritable feast for the

senses. There are also many

themed areas covering food,

meditation, politics, comedy,

literature and arts & crafts. Bring

your wellies in case it rains and

leave the mudsliding to the youth!

Also, look out for music and

literature festivals in Bristol and

Bath ? notably Bath?s annual

International Music Festival in

May/June featuring jazz, classical

and world music; Bristol?s Upfest,

Europe?s largest street art and

graffiti festival and Bristol?s

Slapstick Festival celebration of

silent film and comedy held every

January.

The counties of Hampshire, Dorset

and Wiltshire overlap with the

ancient English kingdom of Wessex,

the location of Stonehenge and the

region where King Alfred saw off

the last of the Vikings.

The Isle of Wight, just off the coast,

is host to festivals throughout the

year ? especially literature and of

course sailing (Cowes Week in

August). Also in the locale, Longleat

House hosts not just the famous

safari park but also events/concerts

over the Spring/Summer months,

while near Winchester, the

Watercress Line is one of the most

famous steam-powered railways in

England.

The rather odd Tichborne Dole

Festival takes place in the

eponymous town each March and

locals line up to be ?doled out? an

allowance of a gallon of flour in

ceremonies dating from the 12th

century. Recognised as the most

Hastings.


8

Travel

traditional event in England, the

annual Chippenham Folk Festival

Weekend (May) carries over 200

separate events celebrating

traditional English music,

storytelling and dance ? including

Morris dancing, ceilidh and maypole

ceremonies.

Sunny South East

The South-East comprising Surrey,

Sussex and Kent has by tradition,

been the holiday destination for

Londoners from Victorian times

with heritage coastal towns serving

the multitudes including Brighton,

Bognor, Margate, Ramsgate and

Tunbridge Wells. Brighton is

perhaps the best known destination

and hosts a diversity of events

throughout the year, the most

notable being the Brighton Festival

in May, now recognised as the

largest festival in England.

Also noteworthy is the annual

Burning the Clocks celebration at

the winter solstice.

Nearby, Broadstairs is famed for its

Folk Festival and Dickens Festival,

while Canterbury runs a two-week

Festival of Theatre and Music in

October. Cantebury Cathedral is

the mother church of the worldwide

Anglican community and one of the

oldest and most historic religious

sites in England. Pilgrims have been

visiting Cantebury since the Middle

Ages and it forms part of a World

Heritage site and combines a mix of

Gothic Romanesque architecture

and English Gothic architecture.

Not to be missed is the annual

Whitstable Oyster Festival in July ?

its oysters have been famed since

Roman times and the festival

incorporates parades,

performances, fireworks,

oyster-eating competitions and The

Landing of the Oyster ceremony. If

scallops are more your thing, the

ancient town of Rye, overlooking

Romney Marshes, hosts Scallop

Week in February each year.

Kent is the centre of the

now-vibrant English wine industry

with multiple tasting/tour

opportunities in one of the 400+

vineyards producing more than four

million bottles of wine per year.

Hastings is not only the site where

King Alfred lost England to the

Normans, but also the location for

the annual Jack-in-the-Green

festival with three full days of

festivities that culminate in the

Release of the Spirit of Summer.

Founded in the 1930s the

Glyndebourne Opera Festival is

recognised as the spiritual home of

English Opera with a season

running from May to August. The

opera house sits amongst rolling

green hills surrounded by luscious

gardens. The season is at the centre

of the high society calendar and is

an opportunity to dress up, mix with

the gentry, listen to wonderful

music and have a lavish picnic on

the lawn.

The county of Kent is also the

location of the famous White Cliffs

of Dover and to the equally famous

gardens of Sissinghurst Castle

created by the legedary British

gardener, Vita Sackville-West. This

must-see garden is now maintained

by the National Trust and is

described as ?Historic, poetic,

iconic; a refuge dedicated to

beauty.?

Happy holidays!


9

Travel

Go Go Dermo!

Dermot Higgins is aiming to become the fastest person over 50 to cycle around the globe and he

hopes to set a new Guinness World Record in the process.

Dermot?s Route

Start: Madrid

Route: Cycle across Europe, into

Asia via Russia, Kazakhstan and

China.

Progress along Australia?s

southern coast arriving in

Melbourne in time for Christmas.

Cycle the length of New Zealand.

Cross the United States.

Fly across the Atlantic to Portugal.

Finish: Madrid

It?s going to take him nine months.

He will spend an average of eight

hours a day in the saddle. He will

start his odyssey in Madrid, Spain, in

June 2017 and will hopefully end

there in one piece over 30,000km

later on Easter Sunday 2018. Most

of his sleeping will be under canvas,

he will have no back-up support and

he will need to cycle 160km six days

a week to meet his goal on time. Is

the man completely mad?

?Well yes, I suppose you do have to

have a degree of madness to take on

something like this,? he says. ?I know

there will be a lot of energy and

effort and probably pain involved,

but circumnavigating the globe is

something I?ve wanted to do ever

since I read Around the World in 80

Days by the French author Jules

Vernes when I was a child.?

Dermot (55) leaves Ireland the day

after he retires as a teacher after 35

years. He is doing his trip on a

shoestring budget of ?20 a day with

a little bit of help from a small

number of sponsors including The

Freebird Club which will provide

him with a comfortable bed with a

Freebird host on his rest day each

week.

As a teacher and an active

environmentalist, Dermot is

passionate about educating people

about protecting the planet. He

?Travelling around the

globe, under my own

power will be my life?s

ambition realised", said

Dermot. "Having the

opportunity to promote

the Global Goals is the

icing on the cake!?

plans to make stops along the way

to visit schools and environmental

projects to spread the message of

the UN?s Global Goals for

Sustainable Development, a series

of ambitious targets aimed at

ending extreme poverty, inequality

and tackling climate change.

Throughout his trip Dermot will be

working in partnership with the

Irish aid organisation, Trocaire, a

global charity which shares his

interests and ideals. He is hoping his

epic journey will raise ?20,000 for

the organisation through donations.

Dermot is no stranger to taking on

tough challenges as he has always

been involved in adventure sports.

He runs, cycles, hikes and kayaks

and says he has effectively been in

training for his world trip for most

of his life.

Asked what aspects of the trip

might test his resilience most he

says, ?being wet, miserable and

uncomfortable, having an accident,

camping in the wild and coping with

adverse weather conditions such as

headwinds.? But this ironman is not

dwelling on what could go wrong.

His focus is 100% positive and he

can?t wait to get started. The

Freebird Club proudly salutes its

adventurous ambassador and adds

its voice to his campaign?s slogan:

GoGoDermo!

If you would like to support Dermot,

log on to gogodermo.com


10

Travel

May 2017

Day 1

I arrived at Zurich Airport

yesterday and followed my host,

Luisa's, very clear instructions:

Take train S2 on Gleis (platform 1),

destination, Zieglebrucke. Go to

the last stop. Sit upstairs on the left

and you will get a view of Lake

Zurich as you travel along. She

wasn't wrong. It is a stunningly

beautiful train ride. Fast, punctual

and picturesque.

Luisa met me at the station and we

drove to her house along a scenic

route which is full of picture

Diary of A Freebird

Freebird Club member Gaetano Forte visited hosts Luisa and Joseph Roesli at

their home overlooking Lake Zurich in Obstalden, Switzerland.

postcard images. We arrived at the

house and were greeted by Luisa's

husband, Joseph. Over a cool beer,

we started chatting and did not

stop until well into the evening.

They are a fascinating couple who

are so hospitable and warm, that I

immediately felt I had known them

for a very long time.

Sitting on the terrace, we had a

Raclette, a famous Swiss dish of

grilled cheese poured over

potatoes with pickles, chili and sun

dried tomatoes. Delicious. The rosé

wine was very slippery and I went

to bed in a mellow mood. I woke in

the night and looked out the

window at the stars. Because the

area is away from light pollution

they were spectacular. This is a

really magical place.

Day 2

Woke up to the sound of the birds

and the sun streaming in the

window of my loft room. Sat down

to a breakfast of farm fresh eggs,

ham, home-made bread and coffee.

Lots of chat around the table.

Really important decisions to be

made, like where should we go for

our picnic. Looking across the lake

to the imposing cliff with its

spectacular waterfall, we decide to

travel to the top, by car I hasten to

add, and look at the view from

there.

On arrival we make a short walk

along a road through farmland

populated by cows grazing

peacefully in the sunshine. The

land is fertile and pristine. The

smell of new mown grass is sweet

and sublime.

At the top we stop at the viewing

platform and gaze at the view

which is really beautiful. There are

boats on the lake, pleasure craft,

water buses, kite surfers, water

skiers and swimmers.

Below us, an eagle soars on the

thermals. This is nature at its best.

Alongside the natural lake, there is

a canal, built to combat flooding,

which links to Lake Zurich. The

only sound is cowbells and

birdsong.

Back in the car for a short hop to

our picnic spot. We find a patch of

green and pull up some small logs

and spend an idyllic hour sharing


11

Travel

food and conversation surrounded

by wild flowers. It doesn't get

better than this. We visit a small

reservoir where there is a

hydroelectric power plant,

completely underground, which

generates electricity for the

surrounding area with no impact

on the environment whatsoever.

Then it's back to the house for a

well-earned beer and a lie down.

Enjoying yourself is very tiring, you

know! As we approach the house,

we see a neighbouring farmer,

stripped to the waist, cutting grass

with a scythe.

I'm pressed into service to help

with dinner. I have to do one of my

favourite things - make a fire! The

wood is carefully chosen from the

store room. Joseph has a wood

stack which is neat and tidy with all

logs of the same size. We take our

chosen specimens up to the top of

the garden and light the fire.

Day 3

Another great sleep and another

day in Paradise begins. This time it

was eggs sunny side up on

home-made brown bread.

Luisa makes marmalade like you

have never tasted it. Not the

normal English bitter stuff. This

was fruity and delicious. If you

come here, and I suggest you do,

ask Joseph to tell you the story of

the marmalade. Be prepared it has

an unexpected ending!

After some more lying around, it

was time for lunch. Here, Luisa's

Italian heritage came to the fore.

We had a plate of spaghetti,aglio

eolio with home-made chili oil. I

may have a seat to myself on the

plane home. I am now chilling on

the terrace in 25 degree heat

soaking up the last rays of sun.

I have been lucky with the weather.

I have been fortunate also with my

hosts. If you are looking for a place

where you can totally relax and do

as much or as little as you like, this

is it.

Luisa and Joseph have had guests

who prefer to keep to themselves

and this is fine. If, like me you enjoy

company this is also fine with them.

They are always there to make

your stay enjoyable and have an

extensive knowledge of the area

and what it can offer.

For someone travelling alone, it is

ideal. We had a guest staying who

was studying for an exam and

found the solitude he needed here.

But if you are alone for walking or

sightseeing it is nice to chat over

dinner about what you have done

that day.

Check out Freebird Club hosts'

Angelika, in Alstatten, and Eve in

Murten. Between these locations

you could have a lovely week in

Switzerland experiencing the

different foods, wines and

geography of each region.

Travelling here is really easy. The

road system is superb and the

trains are reliable and always run

on time.

Check out our hosts on

thefreebirdclub.com

Once the embers are hot, we put

the sausages on to cook. There is

nothing like the taste of food

cooked over an open fire in the

company of friends. The piece de

resistance is Luisa's apple tart,

mmmmm. We stay there chatting

until dark and then it's time for

bed. Another day in paradise

comes to an end.

Freebird member, Gaetano Forte

"I?m pressed into service to

help with dinner. I have to do

one of my favourite things ?

make a fire!"


12

Travel

1

Explore the South of England

with The Freebird Club

From Devon to East Sussex our hosts are ready to lead you around one of the most attractive parts of England.

Read the suggestions from hosts Catherine and Sara on local attractions and ?must sees.?

Catherine Scott , (East Sussex)

What are your top three

?must see? things?

Coastal Currents

(coastalcurrents.org.uk), is a

fantastic open arts exhibition which

takes place between the 2nd and

the 10th September in Saint

Leonard. It incorporates galleries,

studios, private houses and even

beach huts.

We have many different music

events over the summer months.

Our choirs come together for the

?concert in the park? event and in

Haldon, a small coastal village in

South Devon between Teignmouth

and Torquay, the 28th Classic Music

Festival takes place from 22nd to

25th June at St. Peter?s Church.

I suggest a visit to the Smugglers

Adventure in St Clements Caves. It

tells the story of smuggling in a very

interactive way. You can access this

attraction via the original West Hill

funicular railway which opened in

1891.

Where do you recommend for a

traditional English afternoon

tea?

Ashley Manor (outside Battle) is in a

wonderful setting with beautiful

grounds. The Orangery is the

perfect spot to enjoy a cream tea.

Tell us about something that?s

not on the usual tourist trail?

Hastings bonfire is a big winter

event which will take place on

Saturday 14th October 2017, with

parades, music and dancing in the

streets. The day ends with a

fantastic pyrotechnic display.

Burton St Leonard?s has wonderful

architecture and like all of Hastings

and St Leonard?s is steeped in

history.

Sara Lawes, (Devon)

What are your top three

?must see? things?

The coast, with its long sandy

beaches and great surfing.

Darlington Crystal at Great

Torrington.

Clovelly Court Gardens.

Where do you recommend for a

traditional English afternoon

tea?

The Hidder Treasure Tea Room in

Exeter. It offers delicious traditional

scones with homemade jam, not to

mention its fascinating location.

Tell us about something that?s

not on the usual tourist trail?

The Gnome Reserve, West Putford,

Holsworthy. It?s something

completely different!


13

Let's Cook

Tea Time Treat

Tea and scones with clotted cream is a quintessential part

of a traditional English afternoon tea.

The idea of breaking the fast between

lunch and dinner with a selection of

finger sandwiches, scones, miniature

cakes and a refreshing cup of tea,

came from Anna, the seventh

Duchess of Bedford, in 1840.

It seems the Duchess tended to get a

little peckish around 4pm and as the

evening meal in her household wasn?t

served until 8pm, she created

afternoon tea to fill the gap.

Scones are an essential part of a

traditional English afternoon tea and

are typically served with butter, jam

and cream.

The sandwich was ?invented? by the

18 th century Earl of the same name.

A compulsive gambler, he refused to

leave the table during a 24-hour

session and asked for a slice of meat

between two pieces of bread to

sustain him.

Anna,

Seventh Duchess of Bedford

English scones with jam and cream


14

Let's Cook

Plain scones

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

- 1.5 oz /40g butter at room temperature/ slightly soft

- 1.5 tablespoons caster/fine sugar

- 8oz/225g self-raising flour

- a pinch of salt

- ¼ pint/ 150ml milk (you may need a little extra)

- Extra flour for dusting worktop and rolling pin

- A rolling pin

- A flat baking sheet greased or lined with non-stick

baking parchment

- A circular pastry cutter roughly 2 inches/4 - 5cm

across.

- Set your oven to: 220 o C, 425 o F, gas mark 7

Let?s get started

Sieve the flour into a medium

sized bowl.

Add the butter and rub it into

the flour with your fingertips

until the mixture looks like fine

breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar and salt.

Add one third of the milk and

stir it into the mixture using a

knife with a broad blade. Add

the remaining milk in two

batches. If the mixture is very

dry add a little more milk. The

mixture should be soft but not

sticky. When all of the milk is

incorporated, flour your hands

lightly and gently knead the

dough into a ball. Sprinkle some

flour on the worktop, tip the

dough out on top. Put some

flour on your rolling pin and roll

out the dough to a thickness of

not less than 1 inch/3cm. Cut

out rounds with the pastry

cutter and place on the baking

tray a few centimeters apart.

Remix the remaining dough and

repeat. Dust each scone lightly

with flour for a plain finish. If

you would like a shiny finish, mix

an egg with some milk until

combined. Then use a pastry

brush to paint the top of the

scones with the mixture. Bake

near the top of the oven for

12-15 minutes or until they are

risen and golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool

but eat them as soon as possible

as they go stale very quickly.

Serve with butter or clotted

cream and jam.

Tip: Do not roll the scone dough

any thinner than 1 inch/3cm or

they will not rise properly.

Tip: Freeze as soon as cool.

Re-heat on a low temperature

before serving warm.


15

Let's Cook

Clotted cream

Clotted Cream is a delicious complement to scones. It is mainly associated with

the south west of England and the counties of Cornwall and Devon in particular.

It enjoys protected food status once the product originates in Cornwall.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

4 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 100C/200F

Let?s get started

Pour the cream into a heavy

bottomed oven proof shallow

container.

Put it in the oven for 8-10 hours or

overnight. When ready, a thick

golden crust will have formed on top

of the cream.

Remove from the oven and allow to

stand in a cool place for 10-12 hours.

Remove the golden top part with a

slatted spoon and gently stir to create

clotted cream. Don?t agitate the

mixture or it will start recombining

with the liquid beneath.

Put it into a tightly sealed container

and place in the refrigerator to let it

settle for 2-3 hours.

Clotted cream will last for 3-4 days in

a refrigerator. You can use the left

over liquid to make bread or scones.

To serve

Clotted Cream is delicious when

served with warm scones and jam.

Doris Day was a celebrated

American-born actress, singer and animal

rights activist, who died in 1973. Her

talents stretched across musicals and

drama and she starred alongside film

legends such as James Cagney and James

Stewart. She had a wonderful singing

voice and here she sings of finding

happiness in spending time and drinking

tea with a loved one! For a bit of escapism,

check out her sparkling performance in

the movie, Calamity Jane!

Ask the expert?

I love making meringues but I

hate the way they weep when

baked. What causes this?

Meringues will weep for two main

reasons: you have added the sugar too

quickly or you have added too much

sugar in one go. Always add the sugar

gradually in small amounts and let it

mix through.


1

16 NEWS

The Freebird Club Comes of Age

Nga-Hong Lau, CTO, The Freebird Club, Moira Allan, Paris, founder Pass it on Network & Peter Mangan , CEO, The Freebird Club

The Freebird Club came of age on

April 5 th , 2017 with its official

launch in Dublin. The event,

which was hosted by founder

Peter Mangan and CTO

Nga-Hong Lau, also celebrated

the fact that the organisation had

already reached the milestone of

1,000 members across 34

countries.

Numerous guests, including

Freebird Club members,

representatives of ageing

organisations, public institutions

and journalists were welcomed

by the start-up team, in the

charming setting of Airfield

Estate, Dublin.

Reflecting the international

nature of The Freebird Club, it

was appropriate that the launch

was attended by representatives

from abroad. These included

Moira Allan from France, the

international coordinator of the

Pass it On Network who also

coordinates the 2Young2Retire

network in Europe with its

French counterpart ? Le Cercle

des Seniors Actifs. Facilitated by

video link, Crispin Baynes, Aging

2.0 New York, Merry Alexander,

TFC area champion in NYC and

Doug Flockhart, CEO Clubs

Queensland in Brisbane also sent

their best wishes.

Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise

and Innovation, Mary Mitchell

O?Connor also sent her

congratulations, stating: ?I?m not

the only one that thinks yours is a

very good idea", pointing out the

numerous awards won by the

start-up already, including the

European Commission?s Social

Innovation Competition.

Speaking at the launch founder

Peter Mangan said: ?We are a

real ?heart and soul?venture

which aims to connect older

adults in very real and valuable

ways. We seek to create an

international community which

provides opportunities to enjoy

the world around us regardless of

age.? He went on to say that as

awareness of our rapidly ageing

society grows, it is hard not to be

struck by the sheer numbers

involved. "Worldwide the

number of adults over 60 is

projected to soar from 840

million in 2013 to around 2

billion by 2050,? he said. ?This

presents obvious societal

challenges, but also opportunities

for organisations such as The

Freebird Club to address this

growing market.?


17

Tech Savy

Staying In Touch

HEAD

LINE

by author

Skype is a great way of staying in touch with family and friends

Finding ways to connect

meaningfully with friends and

family across the globe is always

a challenge. The telephone is

great, but there is no substitute

for seeing a loved one?s smiling

face or watching the fun of

grandchildren playing or

receiving a virtual hug from a

close friend.

Skype is a great free way of

staying in touch with family and

friends very easily .

All you need is a computer

screen ? on a desktop, laptop or

tablet. Skype uses your

computer like a telephone.

It allows both sides of the

conversation to see and speak

to each other ? regardless of the

physical distance between

them.

Skype is ideal for making a voice

or video call, but it has

additional interesting features

you can master to enrich your

engagement with your loved

ones.

One example is the screen

sharing option. This lets you

share live video of what's on

your computer screen. It is an

easy way to show another

person what you're working on

or get help from your service

provider with any technical

issues you may be having with

your computer.


19

Living & Lifestyle

Time to Become 'Virtuous' About Your

Toothbrush

Dylan's Eco Tip

I really worry about the over use

of clingfilm. It is a very high use

item in most households and as it

usually ends up with food

particles on the surface, this

contaminates the whole recycling

bin. One alternative is to use

waxed cloths to cover food or

wrap your sandwiches in. Cloths

can be made to any size, washed

and reused. You can also make

them look good by choosing

fabrics (100% cotton) with a nice

pattern. It is possible to buy them

online or you can make them

yourself.

To make your own cloths see

less-stuff.co.uk for instructions.

Dylan Regan, inventor of VirtueBrush.

Dublin-based Dylan Regan first

had the idea for the VirtueBrush

when he was running a blog called

greenliving.ie. ?I was thinking

about items in people?s homes

with ?green? potential and the

plastic toothbrush kept jumping to

the forefront of my mind,? he says.

?Most plastic toothbrush handles

can?t be recycled and this is very

troubling considering how many

millions are discarded each month.

Plastic toothbrushes ultimately

end up in landfill and clogging our

seas and waterways damaging

delicate aquatic ecosystems.?

Regan began looking into

alternatives to plastic handled

toothbrushes and quickly

discovered that toothbrushes

made with Moso bamboo were

popular in countries like Australia.

?I realised there must be a gap in

the market in Ireland and many

other countries for them and I set

up my company, VirtueBrush, to

introduce them to Irish

consumers,? he says.

?Moso bamboo has been

recognised as a ?plant of virtue?for

millennia. It?s a type of grass with

naturally antibacterial qualities

that grows up to three feet per

day and re-grows very quickly

after harvesting. It dries out

quickly and has a tensile strength

that rivals steel. I did a lot of

research and eventually tracked

down a 200- year old company in

China that grows its own bamboo.

They are now manufacturing the

VirtueBrush for me. I chose this

name as I believe customers

appreciate that sustainability is a

virtue. "Unlike plastic which is a

danger to our food chain, bamboo

is an environmentally strategic

material for the twenty first

century with over 1000

documented uses,? Regan adds.

?We have also started an initiative

with Trees for the Future (who

work around the Equator) to plant

three trees for every brush we

sell. We feel this is a positive visual

representation of the good that

people do when they refuse

plastic and go with biodegradable

and sustainable options instead.?

To know more, visit our website

http://www.virtuebrush.com/.


20

2

Age Is No Barrier To Innovation

Joe O?Brien, 71, has

developed a portable blood

lab that could change the

world.

Joe O?Brien spent a large part of

his professional life in the UK

where he worked in the

engineering, petrochemical and

pharma industries. But work alone

was never enough to satisfy his

enquiring mind. His interests were

wide and he admits to having an

?obsessive interest? in science,

especially physics.

In 2012 the idea for what has now

become the award winning

Medimorpho Micro Blood Lab

was born. Joe then spent three

years refining the concept for his

compact, cloud-based,

GSM-enabled, portable blood cell

counter and measurement device.

Revolutionary Technology

Joe?s technology has the

potential to revolutionise how

blood samples are taken and

analysed. At present samples are

sent to labs for processing and

little about this method has

changed in decades. If Joe gets

his way, however, every doctor?s

surgery in the world will have a

Medimorpho and routine blood

samples will be processed by the

GP in less than 10 minutes at a

fraction of the cost of using a lab.

?Blood analysis requiring the

transportation of samples to a

lab followed by a wait for results

was a problem begging for a

solution,? Joe explains. ?The

model currently in use is overly

centralised and 80 percent of

the analysis at the world?s

35,000 blood labs is completely

routine and could be done at

healthcare facilities. Yes, there

were complex technical issues to

overcome with the development

of Medimorpho, but it was a

question of becoming immersed

and finding the solutions. The

machine itself is about the size of

a ladies?Hermes clutch bag, but

half the price!

?People talk abut putting an old

head on young shoulders. While

developing Medimorpho I have

had experience of the inverse! I

found myself working with a

team of young people and it was

exhilarating. What takes place is

lively and dynamic and life

enhancing. But what about

respect for age? Well, it was

blended in equal measure with

forceful and irreverent push! I

am grateful for the experience -

one that cannot be potted or

preserved."


21 Living & Lifestyle

Banking On Alpaca Farming

Meet Joe Phelan one of the new breed of mature entrepreneurs

who is quitting his job as a banker after 37 year to follow his

dream of setting up his own business.

I am as excited today about the

future as I was when I started

working straight out of school. I?m

not the type of person who is

happy to sit back and spend my

retirement gardening, hiking,

enjoying good food and the odd

drink. With my kids through

college and independently on

their way, I?m suffering a bit from

empty nest syndrome. This got me

thinking about what I?d like to do

for myself.

My roots can be traced back 10

generations, almost 400 years, to

1650 to a family farm in

Kilcraggan, Co Kilkenny in Ireland,

about an hour and a half from

Dublin. The farm was a traditional

farm with milking cows, drystock,

pigs, horses and tillage. It was

famous for its butter. It was a

community then, but that kind of

farm life is long gone and the farm

is a shadow of its former self. It has

been rented out for the last 15

years.

While looking at the next chapter

in my life I started researching

how I could re-establish the family

farm. I found that traditional

farming activities required

significant capital investments

with returns that would be

questionable at best. Then

something a lot more unusual (in

an Irish farming context at least)

caught my attention - alpacas.

Why Alpacas?

Alpacas are easy to manage,

gentle on the land and you don?t

need a background in farming to

do well with them. They are mild

natured, intelligent and

inquisitive animals who have been

domesticated for over 6,000

years.

Alpacas are of the camelid family

bred primarily for their wool and

they come in 22 natural colours.

The fibres?unique thermal

characteristics keep you cool in

summer and warm in winter. It is

lighter than sheep?s wool yet three

times warmer. It does not contain

lanolin and so is hypo-allergenic

and can be worn next to the skin.


22 Living & Lifestyle

It is highly water resistant and is

great at wicking moisture away.

Eco-friendly Alpaca

Alpaca offers a natural,

eco-friendly alternative fibre for

active wear clothing. It is a highly

versatile fibre and has a lower

tendency to shrink and pil (ball)

than wool and cashmere.

It is more flame resistant than

plant or synthetic fibres and in

case of fire it does not melt onto

the skin like synthetics do. Alpaca

jackets and coats are hardwearing

but keep their luxurious looks and

feel. They become heirlooms such

is their enduring nature.

For sheep and poultry farmers

Alpacas act as guards against

foxes, they reduce losses to these

predators and increase the birth

rates amongst sheep. The Alpacas

will stand up to and trample any

foxes who might be looking for a

tasty lamb or chicken dinner.

Farmers have found that the

problem with foxes disappears

once Alpacas are run with their

flocks.

Mature Entrepreneur's

Bootcamp

To get things moving, I attended a

mature entrepreneurs business

start-up program to see if I could

convert my idea into a business.

Working for yourself is a lot

different than working for a large

multinational organisation and the

start-up course provided me with

a lot of knowledge and a great set

of business tools.

"Alpaca fibre is called the 'Fibre of Gods".

My plan is to breed Alpaca and sell

them to small farmers and land

owners as an alternative source of

income. I will be converting their

fibre into cash or into finished

products and will provide this as a

service to other alpaca farmers. I

am also involved in agri-tourism

through alpaca trekking. I would

like to invite Freebird Club

members to come and try out

what we have to offer in the

beautiful Wicklow countryside

including the majestic

Powerscourt Gardens and

waterfall near the picturesque

village of Enniskerry.

For more information please email

info@alpacatrekking.ie


23

Living & Lifestyle

Soothing Skin the Natural Way

Having a family with sensitive skin inspired Dr. Maria McGee to set up Marble Hill Natural

Skincare in 2013.

Dr. Maria knows a thing or two

about problem skin from personal

experience. Her children suffered

from eczema when growing up and

her husband, who is a surgeon,

developed a problem with his skin

from constantly using heavy-duty

cleansers to scrub up.

?My interest was in finding a blend

of ingredients that worked with

the skin to sooth and moisturise

not against it to cause irritation,?

Maria says. ?This led me to some

very traditional ingredients such as

neem and argan oils and shea

butter. The reason we do not see

shea butter for sale is because it is

notoriously difficult to handle. It

took us a number of years to

develop a method of producing it

in a consistent, usable way.?

Maria began by making products

for her family and friends and the

business developed from there.

Marble Hill now has a range of

skincare products aimed at

bringing relief from conditions

such as eczema, acne, seborrhoeic

dermatitis and psoriasis. The

company is based in Northern

Ireland and sells its products all

over Europe and the US via the

Internet. The company?s range

includes cleansing and

moisturising creams as well as

conditioning oils, aromatherapy

products, soaps, lipsalve and

Euventol a motivation oil that

combines natural peppermint,

eucalyptus and rosemary oils to

decrease stress and fatigue and

improve alertness and mood.

The company?s flagship product is

Pedisalve a hypoallergenic foot

cream that is suitable for all skin

types but was specifically

developed by Maria for those with

diabetes. ?One of the

complications of diabetes can be

problems with the skin on the feet.

The nerves controlling the flow of

moisture get damaged and the feet

can become dry and cracked. This

can lead to potentially grave

consequences,? Maria explains.

?PediSalve is a 100% natural total

foot cream that moisturises,

conditions and improves

suppleness of the skin of the heels,

nails and joints of the foot.

Maria points out that many of the

hand washes and shower products

on the market today can be very

hard on the skin. ?They contain

detergents, usually the same as

you find in washing up liquid,? she

says. ?People often find this hard to

believe which I found strange as

dermatitis and dry, itchy skin are

now at epidemic levels and people

are using these products every day

without making the connection.?

Dr. Maria Mc Gee of marblehillonline.co.uk

MarbleHiill products in the mixing!

?Have I ever thought about giving

up? Well sometimes running an

expanding business as well as

everything else can seem

overwhelming but I have a zeal for

this and as long as our products are

improving people's quality of life I

will try and make sure as many

people as possible have access to

them.?


24

Freebirds Around the World

H ello fr om your ?Fr eebir d Club Cham pion? in New Yor k City!

W hat a pleasur e it is to r epr esent The Fr eebir d Club in the Big

Apple! H aving the oppor tunity to talk about the pur pose and

m ission gives m e gr eat pleasur e, especially when I see faces light

up k nowing that they can becom e m em ber s of this social tr avel

club. The club offer s new way of tr avelling and a fun way to m eet

new people and enjoy social inter action in later life. W hat could

be better than that? It is exciting to be a par t of The Fr eebir d Club.

East meets West

in USA!

Welcome to Merry Alexander

from New York City and

Jessica Warren from Marin

County, San Francisco. Both

ladies recently joined the

Freebird Club administration

team as ?Country Champions?

who will actively promote and

support local members and

hosts.

Merry and Jessica, who are

both experienced hosts, enjoy

welcoming guests to their

homes and share a common

interest in meeting new people

and making meaningful

connections.

M er r y

Freebird up for

European award

The Freebird Club has been

selected as a finalist in the

European Investment Bank

Institute?s Social Innovation

Tournament, which takes place

in Riga, Latvia, in September

2017.

The Social Innovation

Tournament recognises and

supports the best European

social entrepreneurs. It is

organised every year in a

different country to reward

and sponsor European

entrepreneurs whose primary

purpose is to generate a social,

ethical or environmental

impact.

I was so happy to discover The Fr eebir d Club and am

thr illed to be a Countr y Cham pion her e in M ar in

County, Califor nia. I look for war d to hosting visitor s to

our ar ea and staying with Fr eebir d Club m em ber s

when I tr avel to other countr ies.

G?day Australia!

Exciting developments for The

Freebird Club, as it joins forces

with Clubs Queensland to

launch its social travel and

homestay programme in

Australia. Planning is well

underway for the

Brisbane-based customer care

team to support Freebird Club

members with registration and

hosting queries.

?We are very excited about the

joint venture and can?t wait to

welcome The Freebird Club to

Australia in June, ? says Doug

Flockhart of Clubs Queensland.

Watch out for special offers on

new memberships and

discounted travel promotions

for booking a trip with a

Freebird host ? worldwide!

Jessica


USE PROMO CODE: FREEBIRDTIMES2017

Join our Club today for just 5 Euro*.

Enjoy an additional 20 Euro off your

booking, when you travel between

July 15th - October 31st 2017

* Joining fee usually 25 euro

Ter m s & Con d i ti on s

1) Pl ease i n for m you r i n ten d ed host that you

ar e u si n g thi s pr om o cod e

2) You r tr avel m u st tak e pl ace befor e 31st

October 2017

3) Thi s offer can n ot be u sed i n con ju n cti on

w i th an y other d i scou n t cod e or speci al

offer

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