READING RETIREMENT CENTRE (registered charity No. 281830)

(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

November 2020 Firtree Newsletter Issue 501

Welcome to my second century! It is obvious now that the virus is with us for Christmas and sadly it is back with a vengeance. All those who invaded the beaches, ignored the safe distancing, raved with their mates and generally ate, drank and were merry now face the price. Thankfully we live in an area with a low rate but it is still here and growing alarmingly so please still wash your hands, wear a face covering when you are in any enclosed space, and keep that distance especially if you are not wearing the mask. Also if you do get together with friends keep it down to six. Ray has been celebrating his 100 by having groups of five friends several times. Locally, in Caversham, people have been very good at this and I am sure more people smile at me now as I step apart for them. But when I went into Reading it was quite different with the one-way system totally ignored and people barging past going the opposite way to the arrows.

It costs nothing to be considerate of others and it says a lot about you when you aren’t.

Sadly I have to tell you that Shelagh Wyard has passed away this last week. She was with her daughter in Wales and the funeral will be there, but they hope to have a service of celebration of her life locally at a later date. Shelagh had been a member for over twenty years and will be remembered as our always-willing pianist at social events, involved in table tennis and bowls and our holidays in spite of her poor eyesight. More recently she has felt unable to come but she welcomed visitors for a good chat.

Your committee have agreed to continue with the Zoom talks on Tuesday mornings. I know that is not much help for many of you but it is the only way in which we can meet together. I am not happy with it for large gatherings but in smaller groups it can bring people together in a great way. My family all meet together for a quiz once a month even though they are scattered over the country. One member of my writers’ group joins us from Australia, getting up at 4.30 in the morning to do so.

I do recommend the purchase of an iPad. It is easy to learn and is a link to the world and family that is quick and easy. Just because we are older does not mean we cannot learn.

Firtree has now agreed (committee) to buy our own licence so that the meetings we have will not be confined to just forty minutes but also give time for a chat. We have also started building up a group of people, old and new friends, who are willing to give talks by zoom so it won’t depend on just Mark and Colin.

The Tuesday talks are now going to be on the 1st and third Tuesday of the month, and as I have mentioned already, we will not now be confined to forty minutes. It is still important to join on time as once the talk starts you may not be able to join. The meeting depends on a host who opens the meeting to those who ask to join. Mark tried to do both the talk and the hosting the other week and got into a right pickle when people arrived late. The coming events are –

Tuesday November 3rd at 11.00 – Avis Furness will be talking about Henry Thomas Bosdet, the stained-glass artist from Jersey.

Tuesday November 17th – at 11.00 – We welcome back Nick Brazil with a presentation on Chile and Easter Island

Tuesday December 1st at 11.00 – Mark presents a short talk and a quiz

Tuesday December 15th we try to return to a touch of normality with Party Pieces
Colin will be collating and chairing the Party Pieces programme so if you wish to take part let him know by December 1st (

“Wild about Reading” is on from Saturday 24th to Tuesday 27th and if you want to know more about this contact You need to contact them beforehand to book your attendance so it can all be done within Covid19 guidelines. Activities include Gardening Fun in the Waterloo Meadows from 10 – 12 on Saturday 24th and Planting for Spring at Prospect Park at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday 25th.

I receive regular emails from Shearings and they are now advertising Christmas breaks. We won’t be organizing anything ourselves but if anyone wishes to know what Shearings are doing I can pass the information on.

I would also try to book a post-Christmas meal if there is enough interest. It would of course be in groups of six and subject to the rules at the time.

Growing old according to my Wrinklies book could mean –
Getting lucky means finding your car in the car park.
When you are told to slow down by your doctor instead of the police.
When your partner says “let’s go upstairs and make love” and you can’t do both!
Joan Rivers – When a man has a birthday, he takes a day off. When a
woman has a birthday, she takes at least three years off,

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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