READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)


Firtree Newsletter                November 2018                   Issue 477

Well we are deep into Autumn already and Halloween and fireworks are just a couple of weeks away. It’s a shame they aren’t as exciting as they were fifty/sixty/seventy years ago. The Older People’s celebration in the Butts was very successful. All our information leaflets went and we already have one new member as a result.

It still surprises me that so few people know about Firtree. After forty-five years you would have thought we would have made some impact. Our half table was almost obliterated by the board displays on either side of us and the fact that I had brought a very low garden chair with me to sit in made us almost vanish. The fact that so many of you came in support gave us a real presence.

We get on with things quietly at Firtree, and it is a real strength that we manage ourselves and pay for ourselves. So many groups are suffering badly as their funding is cut because of the lack of Council resources.

Here is our Tuesday morning programme for the next few weeks.

23rd Oct      Mark is back to tease our wits with a quiz

30th Oct      Jaye Windmill returns with ‘The Witches of Pendle’ (just in time                      for Halloween!!)

6th Nov.      Older people and the services (Water, gas, etc) with Tania White

13th Nov.    Campanology – the bell ringers are coming

20th Nov.    Ray Goodman  – journey in South Africa

27th Nov.    Nick Brazil tells us about Peru

4th Dec.      Party pieces – our annual sharing of home-produced entertainment.

11th Dec.    Christmas is coming – a time for singing and reading the               familiar Christmas stories. We are glad to say that the Rev. David Jenkins       will be with us again.

I am concerned by the fact that our more active pursuits are in danger of not having enough participants. Our table-tennis group is sometimes so low that we only have one table out. The same applies to the bowls group. Now indoors at Rivermead we have been reduced to only three on a Friday morning the last two weeks. It is such good fun that I cannot believe there is nobody out there who would not enjoy it. It would be a tragedy if these activities had to cease as it would be very difficult to bring them back. If you know anyone who is not currently a member do encourage them to come along. They don’t even have to be a member as the Rivermead is an over 50’s activity.

Anyway, here we are, a wonderful cross-section of society, or are we? I heard the other day that someone thought we were full of posh people!!! How frightening! Posh people, whatever that might mean, are certainly welcome but so is everyone. But it is a worry that we have such an image. Yes, we are a club that offers activity that relies on participation but that is because we believe that older people still have a major part to play in society and that retirement is a new way of life. We don’t want people to be sitting at home wasting away and feeling nobody cares about them. I read in the newspaper today that we might be a prescription for doctors to refer lonely people to us!

Sadly the trip to Longleat failed to raise sufficient numbers and so was cancelled as has the idea of going to the pantomime. We always need to cover the cost of our outings and holidays.

Although our holiday is still a long way off it is well booked up and a waiting list for singles in particular is open. We are looking at a Spring break so it is not so long until July.

Our annual Christmas cum new year party is likely to be on Tuesday afternoon 22nd January. These need to be confirmed. I appreciate that some things are a while away but they need to be booked early and we need to know it will be supported before committing our resources to it. It can take a lot of organising.

The songsters are in need of a keyboard player to help on Wednesdays. They are also keen to welcome new singers.

Sarah always keeps us up to date with activities in Tilehurst and especially for this year, 100 years after the end of the first world war there will be a Remembrance Service at the Tilehurst Triangle War Memorial from 10.30p.m. on Sunday 11th November.

I am not forgetful, I just need longer to remember, and sometimes I may need another clue.

He’s not forgetful it’s just that his mind is somewhere else at the moment.

When I was young I was called a rugged individualist. When I was 50 I was considered eccentric. Now I am doing and saying the same things and they say I am senile! (George Burns)

You have a pair of glasses in each room so you know where they are.

If you want to know more about Firtree, contact Colin Ferguson ( or Mark Bowman (018 967 7130)

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