READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

Firtree Newsletter                January 2021 – Happy new year !              Issue 503

Goodbye 2020 with all your fears and sadness

Hello 2021 with the hope of a vaccine and a new normality

It is happening! Already some of our members have had the first shot of the vaccine. If your number comes up please get there, do not miss it!! I could not believe it when I heard that people were not turning up, or phoning up to let someone else have the shot. How incredibly thoughtless some people are. I am no great lover of needles but I will move anything to get there and if I can’t then I will let them know so that I can change my date. If you don’t want it tell them, then someone else can be given it, but for heaven’s sake don’t just do nothing.

In case you haven’t noticed, we are all in lock down, or is it lock up, and the situation may not change much until Easter. Meanwhile we will be doing what we can to keep in touch. If you want to talk, please do so. Don’t wait for us to ring you, ring one of us. Our numbers are at the foot of the newsletter.

We were on our own at Christmas for the first time in over sixty years but we saw all our family, children and grandchildren via Zoom. We still had our Christmas quiz, caught up on all the news etc. This time last year we had not even heard of Zoom! Now we go into the dining room for church, into the back bedroom for my writing groups and again in our dining room for meeting with you. It is good to see you and to talk with you. This month we have three Tuesday meetings all at 10.50 – I say that because if a lot of us come to the meeting it will take Mark a time to welcome you all into the meeting. He acts as a receptionist in a hotel and everyone needs to be checked in so it does take a bit of time and if you are late the meeting may already be under way and it then becomes very difficult for him to let you in so you may be kept waiting.

One extra bonus with Zoom is that anyone in the world can join in – one of our recent members in the writing group joins us from Australia – it is six in the morning for him!!

This month we welcome Kevin Little as our guest speaker on Tuesday 5th. He has been to us before and he is a lively and enthusiastic speaker who worked many years in a fish shop in Smelly Alley. He will be talking about the history of the Alley. Two weeks later (the 19th) I will give you a view of my childhood in poetry. I haven’t done this talk before so your feedback will be welcome as long as it is printable.

Our third meeting (the 26th) will be for the movement to music group so grab your partner or chair and get ready to boogie, gently of course. Do let others from the group know. By then they may be able to join you. If this works it will be a regular fourth Tuesday Zoom event and anyone can join in.

Looking forward to February, Avis Furness will talk about the history of the Reading Bridges on the 2nd, Mark will tease us with another Quiz on the 16th and Movement to Music will be on the 23rd.

As well as Sarah Hunneman we have had greetings from Just for Groups, RVA and Age Concern. We are not alone. Everybody is desperately waiting for a sense of normality again which will allow us to meet together without fear.

Happy Hogmanay! Scottish angels don’t play harps!

A few worldly witticisms:

“My mum died about three years ago and just before the end when she had run out of energy, she stopped trying to tell me what to do. She was 103.” (John Cleese)

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”(Dr Seuss)               

“Always tell the truth. Then you won’t have to remember what you said the last time.”

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. Try not to lose it. It may be the only thing that keeps you sane!”

“To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables.” (Prince Charles)

“Live each day as if it will be your last and garden as if you will live forever. I want death to find me planting my cabbages.” (French saying)

Colin, Mark, Monica, Liz, Helen, Val and Mary (Absalom) are your current committee. Covid-19 rules mean that even we can only stay in contact via Zoom, phone or email. The constitutional rules of Firtree have had to be suspended. If anyone feels able to join the committee, we will happily co-opt you.

Meanwhile, we wish you a very good New Year, full of all the good things that 2020 failed to deliver.

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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