READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

Firtree Newsletter                        July 2021                                     Issue 509

I’ve just had another birthday and another wedding anniversary and I still haven’t been able to celebrate with my family and I guess it is the same for most of you as well. And as for holidays! I am risking a week at the end of August and it won’t cost me because I paid for it over a year ago, when it was cancelled. Will the restrictions really end this year?

Some decisions are quite contradictory like the football crowd at Wembley can meet with all its exuberance but we still can’t sing in church even though we are all double jabbed except for the children.

The Council are very good at keeping in touch and one of the things you need to be aware of is that on the 29th June, which is very soon, all mobile phones will ring with an emergency alert test. So don’t be alarmed – it is only a test.

Also we are all being invited to review the draft Health and Wellbeing strategy. To get this you can download it from Berkshire West Health and Welfare Strategy 2021-2030 and your replies can go via

What of us? Sadly, there is still no news about where we might be for our different activities though we now know that the YMCA will not be available. If any of you know of a venue where we might sing, dance, play cards etc. please do let one of the Committee know. For now, we are still stuck with Zoom, though it has helped us stay in contact and as such to continue to exist. Sadly we have heard of the loss of another member as Wally Gilbert died last month. Our sympathies are with Eileen in this hard time for her.

Our June talks began with a most entertaining reminiscence of holidays past given by a new speaker for us, Chris Helme. I hope we shall hear more of him. On the 15th I took us on a trip around the Rockies/Grand Teton Mountains via the Deadwood stage and some of the best-known scenes from the United States Wild West.

We welcome Ann Smith on the History of shopping in Reading on the 6th July. I am told she is very good. Then get your pens ready for Mark’s Summer Quiz on the 20th July. We will meet in August but only on the 3rd when Colin will take a poet’s look around the world. We will be back on the 7th September and then on the 21st September when we have a talk about Reading Abbey in its 900th year. We are planning for an AGM in October even if it has to be a Zoom one.

Needless to say, your committee is doing its best to enable us all to get together again. The Movement to Music to group meet by Zoom on the 4th Tuesday in the month (normally) and the Gardening group meets monthly as notified to those who go.

The committee did consider running a holiday this year but as there was little apparent interest, we have left this for next year. We have not given up on the idea of an outing in the early autumn.

The followings witticisms are not my own but come from one of the books I have been given about old age by those who think old age is funny – well it all depends on your sense of humour. Thankfully I can still laugh at myself.

Sid Rawle, aged 29, a former gravedigger, is now the editor of an underground newspaper.

In Georgian days a member of parliament who had spoken for some time broke off indignantly, and said “The Prime Minister is asleep”. Lord North opened one eye and replied, “I wish to God I was”

When I was young, I was called a rugged individual. When I was in my 50s I was considered eccentric. Here I am now doing and saying the same things as I did then and they say that I’m senile.                   George Burns

Nostalgia, the vice of the aged. We watch so many old movies that our memories come in monochrome.                                                         Angela Carter

A sexagenarian! At his age? I think that is disgusting                 Gracie Allen

I always wanted to be an explorer, but – it seemed I was doomed to be nothing more than a very silly person.                                                Michael Palin

When you finally go back to your old home town, you find it wasn’t the old home you missed, but your childhood.                                                      Sam Ewing

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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