Over the last decade, retreats have become increasingly popular with pensioners, particularly those who like to meet numerous like-minded people and ignore them completely for protracted periods of time.

For the over-65s, retreats can be places of real peace and tranquillity, ideally suited to contemplation and reflection, accepting and even embracing their own mortality and relishing the simple pleasures of sleeping under a patchwork quilt, discovering you have chakras which can open and adding borage to anything you eat or drink.

Many retreats have a strong spiritual element and may involve flagellation, self-denial and signing large cheques to organisations with names like The Church of God the Egg, The Seminary in the Sky and The Lumberjacks of Saviour Forest.

Most secular retreats tend to concentrate on lifestyle issues such as renewable energy, plant-based diets and gender neutrality, and repeated exposure to these may lead to a significant increase in the consumption of lentils, self-identification with beavers and random use of Farrow & Ball decorating products.

Retreats involving extended stays in caves on remote islands are best avoided by pensioners, unless they know how to trap and cook a guillemot or are particularly interested in lichen and hypothermia.