READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

Firtree Newsletter                         February 2021                              Issue 504

You would not think that there was anything wrong with the world as I look out of my bedroom/office window. Blue skies all around, birds flitting about, snowdrops starting to flower, bulbs pushing their way through the frozen earth. It is a beautiful winter’s day and does not indicate anything of the appalling death rate from Covid-19 or those who have been flooded out of their homes.

I am very glad that Janet and I have both had our vaccine but I feel guilty that my life is seen as more important than those who meet the public every day and in doing so are putting their lives at risk. It is not true that Covid-19 is just attacking the elderly and putting them at risk. It is attacking everybody and many healthy younger people are dying. Just this week I see that a 42-year-old teacher and mother has died.

It is hard to understand people who are denying the facts and deliberately trying to undermine the work being done by our doctors, nurses and other staff who are risking their lives daily. Even with the vaccination we need to be careful. It is not a cure but would make the effect of the virus less damaging and it will protect you most of the time. Even with the vaccine we will need to be careful for a long time because this virus is not going to go away. I have added a copy of our local information for you in case you have not seen it.

We press on however and our Tuesday Zoom meetings have grown every week. The first Movement to Music session (which takes place on Tuesday) has proved popular. If you would like to take part in this (planned for the fourth Tuesday of each month) you must let Mark know so that he can send you the link you need to join in.

Kevin Little and yours truly entertained us this last month, both of them having an abundance of stories. We have a talk from Avis Furness on the History of the Reading Bridges on the 2nd February and then on the 16th February Mark will be presenting a quiz. Looking forward, we welcome back Jeff Rozelaar with a talk entitled ‘Bagels and Bacon’ on the 2nd March and then, on the 16th March, Katie Amos will tell us the secrets of the Mansion House. 6th April is the Tuesday of Easter week and we plan to have an Easter concert. I would be grateful for volunteers to do readings or to offer acts of their own. The Christmas concert worked very well so we look forward to an entertaining Easter as well.

I am glad I am not in America at present. Their new President has a massive job to do after the mayhem of the Trump regime.

You will already have guessed that we have given up hope of getting back to the chapel before Easter. Sadly, we have lost one of our friends as Bea Gostelow, who moved three years ago, died earlier this month from the virus. While with us, Bea ran the craft group and took part in many activities as well as the committee. There is a website for anyone who wants to pay tribute to her and Monica has the details.

Janice Scruby has now moved to be closer to her family and we wish her well. She has been a member longer than anyone else and regularly came to as many meetings as she could. Recently we tried to recognise her long and faithful membership but she declined as she just wanted to be a member. That is what makes Firtree a good place to be. I know that one of my Scrabble opponents, Joan, will be 90 this February so very happy returns, Joan. If you know of anyone who is celebrating a special date, do let me know. Good news is important when we otherwise only hear the sad stuff.

A friend of mine is a cartoonist and he has done a series looking at the funny side of the virus. Sadly I haven’t been able to transfer his recent pictures as they are due to be published but use your imagination to see these pictures:-

James and his wife are going for the vaccine and it is being held in the local darts club – quote – James hadn’t been feeling nervous right up to that point!.

James and his wife are playing a board game:- Of course, being locked down since

Boxing Day was a pain, but all the same James was delighted: it was the first time he had ever finished a game of Monopoly.

A few worldly bits of wit and wisdom: – Age is important if you are wine or cheese.

By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.

By the time you are 80 years old you’ve learned everything, it’s just a problem remembering it.   (George Burns)

Don’t forget that age is largely about mind over matter. If you don’t mind it, it won’t matter.      

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older it will avoid you.

Never ask old people how they are unless you have the rest of the day free!

You are only young once but you can be immature forever.

As it is Burns Night this Monday I leave you with a line from him:-

“O wad some power the giftie gie us to see wirsels as ithers see us.”

(I used a video once for a training course – the following week all the ladies had been to the hairdresser!! Now we have Zoom.)

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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