READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)


Firtree Newsletter                February 2019                   Issue 479

Is it really a month since Christmas already? We still have some turkey in the fridge. I did think we were a bit over-stocked at the time, but nobody goes hungry in the Ferguson house. I remember when Christmas dinner was a chicken (a special treat in those days). My first encounter with a turkey was when I was about ten and we had gone for a walk. Suddenly everything went very quiet, eerily so! As we turned to look behind us there were more turkeys than I could count standing behind us. Immediately they all began to gabble at us and to flex their wings. We did not stay to find out why. My mother decided to take the long way round to get back home,

Recent events in parliament have reminded me of the turkeys, gabbling away, flapping their wings and saying nothing. I doubt if any other country will think of leaving the European Union after the mess we have got into. Fortunately, we in Firtree don’t have such complicated decisions to make. Everybody is welcome here.

All our activities are well and truly back in action and we are beginning to see new members again. As an incentive to membership those joining now can pay for the whole of next year, effectively getting the next two months free. The Tuesday talks are as follows.

29th January             John Brearly introduces us to Hogarth’s London

5th February             Nick Brazil presents Castles in the Air – the bizarre inventions of the past.

12th February           Fiona Price of Age UK Berkshire – What do we do?

19th February           Stories of childhood – your chance to share your memories

26th February           Ray Goodman in Sri Lanka

The next Older People’s Working Party meets on Friday 15th February from 2.00 p.m. at the Civic Centre. This is open to all of us. This meeting will have discussions on planning for an elderly friendly town, loneliness and local support, planning for the Council budget. You can be part of the thinking.

As we come to the financial part of our programme Gloria is collecting the final payments for the holiday before we start asking for your annual subs which as you will all know are due by April 1st and which stay at £35.00. – which is good value at less than a pound a week if you come regularly.

I am afraid, that because of the new Data Protection Act, there is a new statement on the membership form that is required. So, we will all have to fill in and sign a new membership form.

All the forms have to be completed with your correct official name, address and (if you are a tax payer) whether you are willing to ‘gift aid’ your subscription. This costs you nothing but does enable us to claim back money from the tax office which help considerably with our funds – Gift Aid raised over £400 this year. If you move house change please let our membership secretary Liz Prior know your new address. Cheques are payable to Firtree and will be collected by Liz during February and March.

Once Gloria and Jennie have all the moneys in for the holiday, they will try to sort a couple of outings. If you have any good ideas let one of them know. We have begun to think about the holiday for next year! You may think what on earth are we doing anything about 2020, but as we need plenty of single rooms and ground floor space we need to get in before the facilities are all booked up. And we are looking at turkey and tinsel again for this year.

Good ideas for speakers on a Tuesday will always be welcomed by Michael, who arranges our talks. Likewise, if you know of any of our members who are in hospital or simply having a tough time do let Olive know so she can at least send a card. Looking well ahead, 2022 (only three years away) will be the fiftieth anniversary of Firtree. How do you think we could mark that achievement?

Our garden circle is already thinking of Spring and are off to the Wyevale Centre in Thatcham on Monday February 11th. New members are always welcome. Transport can usually be provided. They start out from the YMCA.

I don’t need to tell you how cold it has got. Keep warm, drink hot drinks and move around as much as you can to keep your circulation going. It is a good idea to go window shopping in the Butts or Oracle as they are both warm, full of drinking-and-eating shops and there is space to walk around and even chat to people. You might even buy something if you wish.

If you want to try something different (unless you do it anyway) there is a free introductory session of yoga at the Oddfellows Hall, Oxford Road on Friday mornings at 11.00. It lasts about 45 minutes. If interested contact Elina Zandersone on 07767 020007 –

or email


 Perhaps this is more like your new activity

I hear so many people talking about bucket lists.  If there is something that you would like to do, let us know. We may not be able to fly but we can try. Provide your own bucket.

Two older people are talking about their favourite topic – their aches and pains. “The doctor says I need another operation but there’s a twelve-month waiting list on the NHS.” The friend replies, “That is terrible. Still, never mind. We’ll just have to talk about your old operation for another year”.

The best way to get a man to do anything is to suggest that he is too old to manage it.

Before trying to do anything energetic put extra polygrip on your dentures.


If you want to know more about Firtree, contact Colin Ferguson ( or Liz Prior on 0118 9422958


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