READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

January 2020                  Firtree Newsletter                      ISSUE 489   

So, Christmas is over and the New Year has begun; the sales are almost over and the world is as crazy as ever. For us it is time to have our post- Christmas lunch, plan our holiday and get back to our weekly programme. One change we will have to face is that the YMCA will be starting its redevelopment plan in the spring so our activities there on Wednesdays will need a new home. Tuesday mornings are well booked for speakers and many of our favourites are coming back again. Here is January’s list.

All on Tuesdays at 11.00 with time to chat from 10.00 a.m. Thanks to all the volunteers who make the refreshments.

7th January       Christmas Past – memories of childhood Christmas. If you                        have a memory to share bring it with you.

14th January     Sue Morton – The story of Mapledurham

21st January     Holly Ryan – The Vyne, past and present

28th January     A Mark Bowman show

4th Feb             Nick Brazil – literary and artistic footprints of the Thames                    Valley

As with last year we have not had a ‘Christmas’ lunch but we are booked in to the Côte Restaurant in the Oracle at 12.00 for 12.30 on Thursday 30th January. There will be lists/tickets available for this and bookings should be made by the 21st. Janet Ferguson will be holding the master list so if you miss the one going round let her know (9482557). Menus are also available.

It is time to book for our holiday in Cliftonville from Sunday 17th May to Friday 22nd. Many of you have already paid a deposit so Gloria will be looking to receive the balance before long. Six days all in, with trips, insurance(optional) and tips included for £515.00. Cliftonville is in walking distance of Margate and Broadstairs, with frequent buses to Ramsgate.

Organised trips will include a full day in Canterbury, another in Ashford and Sissinghurst Gardens, a day at Tilbury fort and Rochester, and a half day at Deal. Still gives you plenty of time down on the sands. I know the area well and Broadstairs has always been one of my favourite bays.

Turkey and Tinsel this year was beset with bad weather and illness, though fortunately the hotel and the food were very good. Our numbers were very low so we will not do it again unless there is a clear demand.

Your committee are looking at alternative sites for when the YMCA starts to redevelop in the spring. This will affect the Movement to Music group, the Songsters and the whist group. You will appreciate that many of the churches and community halls are already fully booked so if anyone has a good idea, please let one of the committee know.

The Friends of Caversham Court have asked if we would be interested in a tour. It is a while since we were there and it is where our ‘Firtree’ is planted. If you would be interested do let me know. It is the site of the ancient home of William Marshall, once Regent of England and known as the greatest knight ever. Last year was his seven hundredth anniversary

Table tennis is still available, though numbers are very low. We still meet at the Rivermead on Friday mornings for bowls. Have a word with Alan if you are interested in this. It is good fun and we will be moving outdoors again in the late spring.

The Garden Circle and the Arts and Crafts group are having a joint New Year meal at the Toby Carvery on Monday the 13th January at 12.30. Gathering at the YMCA for 12.30.

If any of your friends want to join Firtree now their membership fee will be £35.00 and will include all of next year (i.e. to the end of March 2021)

If you want to know more about Firtree, contact Colin Ferguson ( or Liz Prior on 0118 942 2958

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