“THE WORD RE­TIRE­MENT DOESN’T RE­ALLY FIG­URE”

Woman & Home - - In Our Experience -

So­prano LESLEY GAR­RETT, 62, lives in lon­don with her hus­band peter chris­tian, a gp. they have two chil­dren, jeremy, 24, and chloe, 22. she is a con­tes­tant on the new se­ries of Celebrity MasterChef.

I’m plan­ning a girly hol­i­day with three friends – you can’t beat get­ting away from it all. i have a cot­tage in the south of france, so we’ll go there and walk, cook, lie by the pool and just talk. i en­joy noth­ing more than a put-the-world-to-rights con­ver­sa­tion.

Peter and I have re­cently got fit­bits and they’ve changed our lives. we’re both com­pet­i­tive and de­ter­mined to outdo each other with steps! so i now walk ev­ery­where and it re­ally is the se­cret to life. i won’t say i feel “younger” be­cause i don’t think we should look at it like that, but i’m so full of en­ergy.

What do i now know about mar­riage? there al­ways has to be the pos­si­bil­ity of a fresh start. we all say things we don’t mean and do things we shouldn’t, but you should be able to talk about the things that are trou­bling you and the mis­takes you feel you’ve made – and draw a line un­der them.

I’m a great one for ask­ing for help – i don’t like suf­fer­ing in si­lence. i’ve had a lot of be­reave­ment in re­cent years, i lost both my par­ents, and i did get very down about it, so i sought coun­selling. it’s made a huge dif­fer­ence. peo­ple shouldn’t be afraid to seek help like that.

Right now, i have a house full of young adults and i’m re­ally en­joy­ing it. i’ve my own chil­dren, jeremy and chloe back at home hav­ing grad­u­ated, the chil­dren of a dear friend of mine who died a cou­ple of years ago, and my girl­friend’s son, stef­fan, from italy – all be­tween the ages of 22 and 25. it means i’m spend­ing all my spare time cook­ing with them – or join­ing their very long game of thrones ses­sions!

I don’t use the word re­tire­ment – it doesn’t re­ally fig­ure. i re­cently had a bit of a break from opera… but it wasn’t in­ten­tional. peo­ple just stopped of­fer­ing me work, so when i went up to see friends at opera north, i said, “why are you not of­fer­ing me any­thing any more?” and they said, “we thought you’d given it up!”

i hadn’t, of course. i’m now work­ing with com­posers, de­vel­op­ing new op­eras. i’m back in the thick of it again and i’m find­ing that in my six­ties life is open­ing up in a way i didn’t re­alise it could.

I’d had a fan­tasy about be­ing on celebrity masterchef for years. i’ve al­ways been a huge fan, but i’ve never been a grand chef – be­fore i signed up, my sig­na­ture dish was fish fingers three ways! so i went into it think­ing, “i might strug­gle here” – but it’s been in­cred­i­bly em­pow­er­ing.

CELEBRITY MASTERCHEF starts on BBC One this month. Lesley will be per­form­ing at Lady Tav­ern­ers 30th An­niver­sary Gala Con­cert on 24 Septem­ber; lord­stav­ern­ers.org

“IN MY SIX­TIES LIFE IS OPEN­ING UP IN A WAY I DIDN’T RE­ALISE IT COULD”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.