READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

 November 2017                    Firtree Newsletter                    Issue 467

What a good afternoon we had on the 24th October. Everything went smoothly, nobody was in a panic, the Mayor came and thought she might join us when she gives up her council work, the songsters were brilliant as was the display by the movement to music group. Thank you to everyone who brought cakes, well up to Firtree standard and the fact there was not much left spoke for the enjoyment everyone had on the day. The craft folk always had a crowd around to admire the work, photos of our holidays from Michael, the table tennis had some use and Terry got us tapping our feet with his dance music with several on the floor showing how the dancing could be done. Even the bridge and scrabble players had time to enjoy  a game or two. Over the day we had about a hundred people (including ourselves).

We tend not to think about what happens on days when we are not involved but Firtree is quite a special club when we all come together and share in such a creative way.

But it’s back to the day job and here are the Tuesday morning talks for the month:-

7th Nov.       Mark is running a quiz for those who are not away on the holiday

14th Nov.     Nigel Wright introduces us to the birds and animals of Africa

21st Nov.     Citizens advice talk on saving energy over winter.

28th Nov.     TBA – but we expect David Coles to  lead this session.

5th Dec.       Christmas is coming -Party pieces  (let Colin know if you can take part.)

12th Dec.     Carol Service

Firtree is on holiday until January 8th (Monday)

A reminder that the turkey and tinsel holiday to Eastbourne leaves the YMCA at 9.30 a.m. on Monday 6th November and returns on Friday 10th. Gloria has labels for your baggage. The tour includes trips to Brighton and Hastings. Our spring break is later next year and leaves on the 3rd June for a week in the Lake District (based in Kendal). Fuller details will be in the next newsletter.

We are planning to have a Firtree dinner sometime in January. If any of the groups want to celebrate before Christmas please let me know so it can be in the newsletter.

It was good to be involved in the older peoples day at the Rivermead and for our songsters to set the day off so well. The next open meeting for older people in Reading is this Friday the 3rd November at 2.00 p.m. in the Civic Centre (Bridge Street). I would be surprised if the Reading Buses new ideas are not on the agenda.

As Chairman I often get invitations to represent the club at meetings such as recently with the AGMS of both the YMCA and Reading Voluntary Action. The first of these introduced the new Chief Executive (Arlene Kersley) and the second was full of reports about the voluntary work being done especially to reduce loneliness in the community, which of course is very much part of Firtree’s raison d’etre. We have recently been approached to see what we could do to meet the needs of other groups, especially the retirement homes, where it seems so hard to get people out and about.

One of the groups that overlap with us are the ‘Carers Hub’. Some of us know only too well how difficult it is to be a carer. We do offer free attendance to anyone who comes with someone for whom they care. (I.e only one pays membership). On Friday 24th November at 10.00 a.m. there will be a Carers Rights Day at the chapel. Leaflets about the morning are available next to the sign in sheet.

It really has gone too fast this year! Last month I was in sunshine, this week the leaves are blowing past my window and my car looks like it has been in the car wash every morning. Yes, Autumn is here and the heating is on, fireworks are already banging away each night and the children are trying to look more horrible than ever for Halloween. Worst of all the shops already have Christmas fare advertised. I was in Kuala Lumpar once in early October and was amazed to see their big stores full of Christmas goodies . There is only 1% Christian population there!! But does Christmas actually have anything to do with Christianity these days, or is it just an excuse for getting into debt and having a party?

I want to celebrate the 1st November, the day we remember that good does overcome evil and sends all the ghouls and witches packing. But it is a time of increased danger for the elderly as the weather changes and the cold sets in. On the 21st we have a visit from the CAB with their very wise advice on looking after yourself in the winter. It is not too soon – the clocks have gone back, the nights are starting earlier and lasting longer, and we are off to Eastbourne for Christmas this month!!

Look out for yourself and your neighbours; don’t be alone. In Reading Christmas begins on the 4th December when the annual early evening (5.00 to 7.00) shopping for the elderly and disabled takes place.

 If you want to know more about Firtree, contact Colin Ferguson ( or Mark Bowman (0118 967 7130)

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