READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)


March 2018                  Firtree Newsletter                   Issue 470

What a cold and wet February we have had so far and so many friends and associates who have left us. I must confess that I always look at the obituaries these days and apart from June there were two other people I knew, one of them being our good friend the Rev. Brian Blackman. Life is so precious that it is such a shame when people do not enjoy it for as long as they can. I am sure my erstwhile friends certainly did. They will always be remembered with great affection.

But we are now in Lent, a time I always recall from my childhood when I asked my great-aunt what she was giving up for Lent. Rather cheeky for a seven-year old but her reply has stayed with me all these years – “Colin! If there’s anything you should give up for Lent, you should not be doing it anyway!!!” I have always seen this time as an invitation to do something positive. Many people join in discussion groups, others take up a challenge or simply do something they have always thought of but never got around to, like coming to Firtree or inviting someone to come with you.

That’s a hint that all our activities have room for more members, songsters, card players, table tennis and bowls, etc. Our programme for March on Tuesday mornings is as follows –

27th Feb.              Daniel Kasaska of Symponia – Planning ahead. Symponia is a company that works with people who want to prepare for their future. The talk today is about advice on what lies ahead for all of us. The work they offer is commercial.

6th March             Sue Milton talks with us about Compton Acres.

13th March           David Hunt takes us visually to the Lake District. Our holiday next year is there so this may be a preview.


20th March           Mark Bowman and Family History

27th March           Alison Steadman (no not that one) describes ‘Living in Iraq’

There is no meeting on the 3rd April as it is Easter week so we wish you a peaceful and refreshing break. We have begun to greet new members again so please make them welcome to all.

Thank you all for your support in agreeing that as from this year the membership annual fee will return to £35.00. Mark is already collecting on Tuesday with help from Sue Prior collecting on Wednesdays.

The holiday balance (£350) needs to be paid soon as well so please see Gloria if you have not already been caught by her. If you have any ideas for outings or a holiday do let Gloria or Jenny know. The Lake District is already booked for next Spring and there are suggestions that we may go to Stratfield Saye House and return to Longleat. Watch this space!!

The Garden Circle lost no time after Christmas getting together at Christine’s home to plan for the year. Pat Llewellyn is still in charge of the group’s activities. In February they had a quiz run by Pat Nicol which was great fun with prizes of garden seeds, followed by tea and ‘homemade’ cakes. Their next outing is to Dobbies, on Monday 12th March, meeting at 1.30 at the YMCA. Please let Pat know if you need a lift. You are welcome to join the group but please let one of them know so you can be included in their travel arrangements.

Over the years I have been a supporter of Charities such as Christian Aid and Oxfam. The work they do in crisis situations is first class. They bring water, food and shelter. Christian Aid especially works directly through churches in the areas and helps with development schemes. They have done so for many years and with the state of the world at present they will still be needed for many years to come. It is not easy to find people who are willing at times to risk their lives to help others and often they rely on students on a gap year though many professional people, such as doctors also give time to share their skills. It is a great shame that the recent press outrage about a small number of volunteer/employees behaving inappropriately six years ago seems to be more newsworthy than the great work that is done. I doubt if those who shout loudest will make any effort to replace the revenue that will be lost or go to the help of the next disaster.

That’s all for this time unless you want to know about the old man who was driving along the motorway when his wife rang him. She says she has just heard about a car that’s driving the wrong way up the motorway. ‘’I know says’’ the old man, ‘’but it’s not just one car. It’s hundreds of them’’.

It’s not just old men of course. A police officer passed a car and noticed on old lady knitting while she was driving. He drives along side trying to get her attention. She looks at him as he shouts ‘’Pull over madam’’, to which replies ‘’No its only socks’’.

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

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