READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

May 2020 Issue                    Firtree Newsletter                  Issue 495

Welcome to May and hopefully we can get out again in the sunshine. Thankfully we are still fit enough to take our exercise on one day and do the shopping at the same time. I have never liked crowds too much so shopping is quite a pleasure after we have been let in. Thursday evenings have become part of our social calendar as we meet most of our neighbours when we clap for the essential services. It is good how little things take on such a bright new meaning and how what was regarded as menial work is recognised as the essential basis of support for everything else.

This week we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war in Europe. After the euphoria at the end of the fighting life returned to the pain and depression of shattered lives and homes. I was a child then and we were amongst the many homeless families that moved from one place to another. Eventually we settled in a single room at the top of a three floored Victorian building. I was nearly sixteen before we were given a council house. I remember jumping on the bed, my bedroom, the first time in over ten years that I had a room to myself. During the war I recall being woken just as a shell flared past my window and exploded at the end of the road. Janet was in London throughout the war though too young to be much aware except when they were blown out of their flat by a bomb destroying the flats next door.

If you ever want to see a film that captured London after the war it is “Hue and cry”. The story is children’s adventure but the scenery is horrifyingly realistic.

Social isolation wakens many memories of the past and I am sure that many of us can recall their childhood as a dangerous time. Because we were very much on our own, I was a great reader – there was no television and the radio was dodgy as you had to make sure the aerial was in the right place. Workers playtime, Housewives choice and of course my favourite, Dick Barton. Thank goodness there was fantasy because the reality was not encouraging. The reality of now is not very encouraging either, though there are signs that things might be easing up. I am not enthused by the idea that over 75s may have to stay isolated for longer.

Like many of you I miss contact with other people, especially Firtree. I am glad that telephone contact is taking place. I know how good it feels to have a letter or a telephone call or even an email, just something to say there is a world out there and someone cares enough to get in touch.

So the rules remain to stay indoors especially if you are unwell, wash your hands thoroughly if you have been out (that applies to all viruses) keep a distance from each other when you are out, and make sure you take exercise, walking is probably the easiest thing to do. You don’t need to be a Captain Tom – what an inspiration.

If, you have an existing illness, and need advice, I have the telephone numbers for all the support groups. If you need help for food or medicine to be delivered, the One Reading Community Hub is on 0808189 4325. I f you feel you have any of the corona symptoms – do not leave your home or go to your doctors. The signs of the corona virus to be aware of are a high temperature, and a new dry, continuous cough that goes on for an hour, then if you are worried ring 111. Face and mouth covers will stop you spreading your germs but not from receiving from someone else. For all other medical needs just ring your surgery as usual.

I remember in the film Gregory’s Girl the young man tries to impress a young woman by telling her ”Do you know that when you sneeze it comes out at seventy miles an hour?”

You can help yourself by drinking plenty of water to stop dehydration, go to bed and try to get plenty of sleep, take paracetamol to lower your temperature. Hopefully all this advice will not be needed but I would rather you got fed up reading it than not be aware of what is out there. I want to see you all again soon. Sadly, soon won’t be in May but keep smiling and dig out your Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn’s and we’ll meet again some sunny day.

Now with thanks to my book of Wrinklie’s tales is when Ron and Eth are now still around and they are sitting in the garden. Eth leans over to Ron. “Ron, I remember that when we were first courting you used to kiss me every time we were alone”. Ron reaches over and kisses her.

“Ron!” “Yes Eth”

“When we were first courting, I remember you used to hold my hand”

Ron obligingly holds her hand. They sat there holding hands for a while.

“Ron!” “Yes Eth!”

“When we were first courting you used to nibble my ear.”

Ron leans over and then gets up and walks towards the house.

“Where are you going Ron?”

“I’ll be back in a moment dear! I just have to go and get my teeth”.

Old people are not stuck in their ways, they got it right first time.

Old people are not forgetful they are just thinking of something else.

Thank God for older people. They are the grannies and grandads you all depend on.

Please do take care of yourself and contact either Mark (0118 9677 130)

or myself (0118 9482 557 –


Formatting difficulties prevent me from publishing my quizzes and puzzle pages on the net. If you are interested in having a go at these, email me on and I shall send you electronic copies.

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