READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

Firtree Newsletter                         August 2021                        Issue 510

Another summer of uncertainty – not really – it is now down to our own common sense rather than having a law – you remember common sense!  I will still wear a mask on transport and in the shops or other crowded places, but I can now sing again (wearing a mask). As a writer of hymns, it has been very annoying that no-one is allowed to sing, unless of course they are at Wembley or at a rave.

At least we have a break from Covid while the Olympics are dominating the news. There really ought to be something for fourth place. I seem to recall that many years ago there was a scorecard with points for the first six. Of course, it is great when all the effort that has been put into reaching a first place comes about. But the young man from Maidenhead whose family went berserk on television got all the praise while his fellow Brit who was .004 of a second behind him was almost ignored. That is about the distance of a finger-tip.

I am sure that some results would have been better if family had been there as usual. Most of these athletes, swimmers, etc., are very young and sometimes even the most lauded is vulnerable if mum is not there. There will never be any doubt that Simone Biles is one of the best gymnasts ever but even she could not cope with expectation and pressure on her without her usual family support.

Caversham is the home of the GB rowing team and five fourth places will be a big dent in their hopes. So much training has of course been lost over the last two years due to the pandemic, as indeed have so many activities such as those at Firtree, but I have little doubt that they will be having a long look at what went so wrong.

We are now hopeful of relocating the activities we formerly held at the YMCA to a new site. We also hope that we shall be able to start meeting at the chapel again, but this is unlikely to be before October, and is still not a certainty.

I will be sharing “poetry around the world” with you on Tuesday 3rd August. Then we will have a break until September. You may not notice the difference, but I hope you do at last have a chance to do something different, even a day trip to Bournemouth.

I have been astonished at the thoughtlessness of those who have already rushed down to the beaches and left them litter-strewn and even worse. What would they say if it was like that when they arrived?  The local councils have not always thought about the consequences of such a rush, such as not having the public toilets open. Thankfully that has now been resolved.

Meantime the Bowlers are at Prospect Park on Thursday mornings and the Garden Circle is meeting monthly – contact Pat or Gloria for details. Our next Tuesday meeting is on the 7th September and will be another quiz from Mark. Then, on 21st September, Graham Horn will be giving a talk about Reading Abbey, which was founded exactly 900 years ago. There are tours of the Abbey ruins though it is a pleasant stroll by oneself.

Whatever else is happening in October, we shall be breaking a lot of Charity Act rules unless we hold a general meeting. There is not much to say but the accounts will need to be presented and reviewed. As we have not collected membership fees, for 2020-21, our income is low apart from some generous bequests. Such money as we have received will be used to pay speakers from outside of Firtree. Mark and I will still be aiming to provide for one talk or quiz in alternate months.

The Annual General Meeting will be on Tuesday 19th October at 11.00 a.m. so if you have any report or comment please let me have it before the end of August. This is the formal notice of that meeting. Hopefully we shall be able to meet in person, but if that is still not possible it will by Zoom.

There will be an event on the 1st October to mark Older People’s Day, most likely in the Butts as usual. If you think of anything that you would like to see there let me know so that I can pass it on to the organising group.

Clive Whichelo has written a number of booklets about older people and here are some of his pieces of advice on retirement:

A retiree is someone who doesn’t work – apart from the shopping, gardening, housework, DIY, volunteering and all the things they didn’t have time to do when they were working. They still don’t have a spare minute in the day. After all, who is going to do all those crossword puzzles, sudoku and word search puzzles?

You will find yourself saying things like:

“I don’t know how I had time to go to work.”

“I think I’ll go back to work for a rest.”

“Computers are a complete mystery to me now.”

“I miss the people”.

“Day-time TV is quite interesting!”

Beware of your children – Oh don’t worry! My mum will look after them.

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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