READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)

Firtree Newsletter                April 2022                              Issue 517


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

What a difference a day can make! The man came to fix our aerial (blown down by the gale), my son persuaded my computer and printer to talk to each other again and two of our children came armed with all sorts of ferocious-looking tools and blitzed our badly overgrown garden. And, to cap it all, the weather has been warm and welcoming in that same garden in which we can now sit without feeling guilty.  With magnolias blooming down the road and forsythia climbing over our willow tree, we move happily into spring and Easter. Now, of course, we pay for it as the clocks go forward and the dog next door wakes up earlier and earlier. I would never have been a good farmer even though I spent some of my formative years across the road from one.

Of course, this time last year we were all staying in, avoiding contact with each other, wearing masks and meeting only by Zoom. Now we are almost back to an acceptable norm and planning for an active season. Yes, we do still have to be sensible but as we have all had every jab going, even if we do get a version of the virus, we should be able to treat it like any other bad cold. Covid has not gone away, as those who have not been vaccinated are discovering. For them it is as dreadful as ever.

Liz, our membership secretary wants to thank everyone who has made getting our annual returns and membership fees in so promptly. She writes “Just over two years ago, before the pandemic, we had a membership of just over a hundred. We currently have 54 members, including two carers. (If a carer comes with the person they care for, then these two members only pay one membership fee.) This has been a very good response, and we still hope to add a few more members.”

Our new premises at the Grange and at St Matthews’ for Movement to Music have proved very suitable, and both Tuesday and Wednesday sessions are well attended.

Our Tuesday meetings, with board and card games every other week, have settled down well, and in some ways our fellowship seems even stronger than before. The 5th April will be social and the 12th April is our Annual Easter service with the Revd David Jenkins leading our thoughts as well as playing the music and singing. If you have a favourite hymn/song for the season please let Colin know this week as he will be putting the morning together with David. There is no meeting on the 19th April, but we are back again on the 26th with a social gathering. If you are reading this very early, the 29th March will be a quiz from Mark.

The Garden Circle are meeting with the usual gentle enjoyment and afternoon tea. On Monday the 11th April, they are staying quite local in the Prospect Park woods. They plan to meet at 2.00 p.m. in the car park nearest to the Liebenrood Road and then stroll up through the woods and finish at the Mansion House for refreshments. Please let Gloria know if you can go as she needs to book us in for the tea. At the last count, at least 10 are booked in.

One of our previous members would like to return, but he is in his mid-80s and his wife needs some care. As he no longer drives, he is rather stuck. We would be grateful to hear from anyone coming from the Fullbrook Crescent area of Tilehurst who could offer them a lift.

Have you ever wondered what you can do with your milk bottle tops? Well, Sheila will be happy to take them off your hands. We had milk delivered each morning for the forty plus years we have lived here, but a little while ago we were told by our ‘Milk and More’ supplier that they would only deliver if we paid via their account. The milkman calls no more and we now have to buy from the supermarket. It is easy enough, apart from having to carry it home. I feel quite angry about being forced to change from the cheery relationship we had with our milkman, who incidentally was a useful watch-man for any troubles in the street. But nowadays, we are just a cypher, a line in their order book.

One of my favourite characters in the Bible is remembered at this time of the year. She is the woman who washed and anointed the feet of Jesus before he went into Jerusalem for the last time. Regardless of the religious framework, it is a very human story. It is told in each of the gospels and is a good example of how the same story can be told in quite different ways depending on who tells it. It is a base of the saying of letting your hair down. I might say more about that at Easter.

Thankfully, I have always had a good thick head of hair but that is not so with some others. Thinning hair can be a cause of some embarrassment, though it is just one of those signs of advancing years. Here is a little tale from the Readers Digest.

My husband was bending over to tie my three-year old son’s shoes. I noticed that Ben, my son, was staring at my husband’s head.

He gently touched the slightly thinning spot of hair and said in a concerned voice, “Daddy, you have a hole in your head. Does it hurt?”

After a pause I heard my husband’s murmured reply, “No Ben, not physically.”

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

Items for this Newsletter should be sent to Colin Ferguson –

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