READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

June 2020                   Firtree Newsletter                  Issue 496

I have just had a week’s virtual holiday. Did you notice it? We should have been in sunny Kent this last week. It is going to be more difficult to get a holiday company after this as both Trueman’s and Shearing’s have gone into administration. As far as I know, our holiday group is still functioning though obviously not being able to take anyone as yet. Several centres have begun planning for the possibility of starting again in July but only if they can function with distancing. That of course is impossible for coach companies. Any train travel will be difficult and will only be done by booking ahead.

It may be that the chapel will be able to open again but – and it is a big but – only if distancing can be arranged. That will I’m afraid make it impossible for us to play scrabble or bridge, indeed it will not be possible to set up the small room at all and any activity we have will be in the chapel or the sports hall or possibly in the entrance hall. That should be possible for the talks and movement to music or some of the smaller groups like craft who don’t need to be too close.

As you can imagine it is all a bit confusing still, though we can see some possibilities now. It would help if we could get the committee together. We need to confirm the annual accounts for tax purposes and our general meeting will have to be a double whammy next year. In the mean time we need to find a way of reflecting our closure in your annual subscriptions. So much of what we can do is in the hands of others so it is a case of watch this space! In the mean-time keep in touch with each other and pass this newsletter on to anyone you know may not have email. If you do have email and are nor receiving this please contact me or Mark or Karen.

Apart from our shopping trip once a week we have only really seen anyone when Thursday clap-time brings us all out to the front of the house, otherwise it is distancing over the fence. At least we are now able to have one visitor, as long as they stay the requisite distance away. It is good that the death numbers are falling, but in some parts of the world it is still spiralling out of control and it certainly is not helped by the President suggesting you drink bleach even if it was said in a humorous way. Now he is taking a tablet for malaria even though it could be dangerous, Thankfully, we are more concerned about people dodging the lockdown. But that’s all right if you have a friend in the right place.

The Council is calling residents to check on their welfare. This may include you. The council understand that you will want to know how genuine such a call is. The Council Staff will identify themselves as calling from Reading Council. They are checking to see if you are missing out on any wellbeing help. They will never ask for personal or financial details. If you are in any doubt or if you do need personal support the telephone number for Adult Social Care is 0118 937 3747

The weather has been very kind to us so far and there is no excuse for having an untidy garden. Have you noticed how clear the sky is and how fresh the air? For all the horror of the corona virus there have been some very good results. People have also shown how kind they can be and how appreciative of those who we so often take for granted.

Sadly, the stress of being restricted is the cause of a lot of mental stress and being able to get out and meet one another can’t come too soon. This last week has been trying to raise awareness of how our mental state can be so easily affected by isolation. It is bad enough to be alone but when you feel alone it is extremely depressing. So, we are trying to set up a scheme where we can be much more in contact. I know that many of you are keeping in good touch with each other but I am sure that some of you are slipping through the net. Please don’t let that happen. Get in touch – don’t sit there feeling nobody cares. We care – Firtree stands for Friends in retirement – friends care for each other.

One thing that has come through to me this week is the opportunity to be part of a comedy writing/acting group run by the Strike Up Theatre especially for the over 70’s. It is a computer-based course but training will be available and the lessons are in your own home. This is the same theatre group that did the play that I was involved with in the writing. Rachel Taylor is the theatre manager and is very keen to get as much community participation as she can. If you might be interested contact her –

A few witticisms from Wrinklies – worldly wit and wisdom.

Middle age is having the choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.

Now that I think of it, I wish that I had been a hell-raiser when I was thirty years old. I tried it when I was 50 but always got sleepy                (Groucho Marx)

The important thing in acting is to be able to laugh and cry. If I have to cry, I think of my sex life. If I have to laugh, I think of my sex life.               (Glenda Jackson)

As you get older three things happen. The first is that your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.                        (Norman Wisdom)

If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them on my knees.

(Roseanne Barr)

If you want to know more about  Firtree, contact

Colin Ferguson ( – 0118 9482557,

Mark Bowman – 0118 9677130  or Liz Prior on 0118 942 2958

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