READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

My apologies for being late with this issue, but life has been a bit too quick for me this month, especially as Janet has injured her back. Don’t worry, she will return soon. But problems they say never come by themselves and my new printer has also broken down and the time taken to try and get it fixed has been confusing, frustrating and downright bad for my blood pressure.

At least we seem to be coming out of the worst of Covid but it is wise to keep using masks in crowded areas and on public transport. The bug is still alive. Medical advice still recommends caution. Politicians seeking popularity are not the best advisers

Our recent meeting looking fifty years ago was a real eye-opener, with many happy memories. But the facts of 1972 were also grim, with over a million unemployed for the first time ever, the miners’ strikes and the Vietnam war stilling dragging on.  How terrible now to have the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin claims he is freeing them but all he is freeing them from is freedom. The Russian concept is hardly beneficial.

The conflict affects us here in Reading. as there are many residents here with Ukrainian heritage, including a church and a school, and a Russian community as well. The saddest thing about this conflict is that the Ukrainian and Russian people share so much in common and the invasion is only caused by the psychopathic whims of Putin. I am old enough to recall a similar dictator called Hitler as his forces invaded Poland and eighty years ago hiding in a shelter from bombs. Janet can just remember walking through the rubble and broken glass of a block of flats that had been next to where she lived.

It may do little to help, but let us raise our voices in support of the right of Ukraine to be independent. There will be many opportunities to help in other ways, but we can at the very least pray for the Ukrainian people and for the ordinary Russian people who are caught up in the cross-fire.

Meantime we continue in our safety to meet at Grange Church on Tuesday mornings. Movement to Music is at St Matthew’s Church on Wednesdays from 10.30 to 11. 30. The programme for March has of course already started with Mark’s Film Fun. The 8th March and the 22nd March will be games days. On the 15th March, Bert entertains us with his accordion and on the 29th March, there will be a Quiz led by Mark. The Garden Circle is meeting at the Forbury Gardens on Monday the 14th March; please contact Gloria for any other information, or if you want to take part.

One of the suggestions for our 50th anniversary is to plant a tree. We did so nearly fifty years ago in the Caversham Court Gardens.

Please remember to sign in by ticking your name (fire regulations) and to wear your nametag (a request from those with poor memory for names). Liz is also sitting at the desk ready to receive “application for membership” forms.

All the signs of spring are in my garden now, as the snowdrops begin to fade, the crocuses as well. But daffodils are now braving the winds, and buds are appearing on the lilac trees, and even the roses are showing that it is time for their spring pruning.

There are many strange stories from the past, but I was both amused and saddened by this one, the story of the mud man. This was the name given by New Yorkers to a New Guinea envoy, Atairo Kanasuwo, who visited the city in 1978. Atairo had been chosen to represent his countrymen because of his high standing in the community, as shown by his three wives and 25 pigs. Day after day he would he would astound the New Yorkers with his elaborate tribal dances while he was covered in mud. Just before he was due to return home, he was asked by a kindly looking lady if he would go and buy a sandwich for her and she gave him $5 to do so. When he returned the lady had gone, along with all his possessions and irreplaceable tribal relics. He returned from civilisation to his island, where theft was unknown, with only an ‘I love New York’ badge.

I recall that, when I was at school, I was asked to describe civilisation. They wanted me to write an essay but instead I simply put ‘the state in which we believe ourselves to be living’. I got zero for my efforts – but I still think that my answer was correct.

Some ‘shorties’ that can be misread –

Bargain basement upstairs                            

Sterility may be inherited

Today’s weather – a depression will mope across northern areas

This was a byelaw in Newquay – No person shall walk, run, stand still or lie on the grass in this pleasure ground.

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

When the Meteorological Office in Bracknell was asked to give a definitive ruling on when winter begins and when it ends, the answer was – ‘Winter begins when all the leaves have fallen off the trees and ends when the bulbs start coming up again’.

And finally, a really stupid one – A car dealer in Connecticut, advertised a car for sale for 1,395 bananas. It should of course have been dollars. A woman turned up with 25 bananas deposit and when the salesman refused to accept them, she sued him for false advertising. She won her case, and on producing the other 1,370 bananas, she drove off.

Items for this Newsletter should be sent to Colin Ferguson –

If you want to know more about Firtree, contact –
Mark Bowman (Chairman) on 0118 9677130 or
or Liz Prior (Membership Secretary) on 0118 942 2958

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