READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)

Firtree Newsletter                June 2022                             Issue 519


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

How did it get to be June already? That means I will be another year older, although this year it is all about the Queen. 70 years on the throne (no jokes please)! It is quite a record but some of us were there when it all began and on television as well! Janet was there, as her school was close to the parade, standing on her own marked paving stone though the only thing she saw was between the two larger people in front of her and a bit of carriage going by. I can’t remember what I was doing as we didn’t have a television for another three years, though I did see the Stanley Matthews Cup Final at a friend’s birthday party, and for a young boy that was much more exciting.

I apologise for the delay in getting this issue out but I had a computer breakdown, and none of my usual wizards were available until yesterday. Then, Alison made it look so easy!!! I suppose I shall have to get used to feeling foolish. I don’t know if there is an official age for legitimate foolishness but I am certainly getting there.

Joking apart, it is a historical moment of celebration and a just cause for celebration. We have celebrated with Bert on the accordion and a red-white-and-blue sing-song. On 13th June, the Garden Circle members will be meeting in Gloria’s garden for a Platinum Jubilee Tea Party, with a plant swap included. Please note that this event is for Garden Circle members only.

On 7th June, Stuart Pearce (accompanied by Olivia, his dog) will be talking about guide dogs for the blind. We have games on the 14th and a show from Mark (mainly cartoons and clips from old TV comedy shows) on the 21st. Then it’s games again on the 28th.

If you want something to do in the summer, why not join the bowls sessions on Thursday mornings? Just have chat with Dick. A little tuition is available. The only requirement is for flat bottoms.  (Shoes that is, just in case you fail to qualify otherwise). Bowls goes back to the first meetings of Firtree and at one time we had over forty bowlers and our own bowls club.

We are, of course, rapidly approaching our own landmark date in October, when we have our own Golden Jubilee. Our committee is still looking for good ideas as to what we might do to celebrate. If you have an idea, please let any of the committee know.

Reading is hosting a variety of Platinum Jubilee events, and most if not all of them are accessible and in the daylight. I hope you saw the beacon lighting ceremony at the Abbey ruins. That was in the evening on the 2nd June at 9.15p.m. On Saturday the 4th there will be several street parties but during the day there will be fun in the Forbury Gardens from 11.00am until 5.00pm with the Reading Water Fest. Also in that area there will be a host of street food traders, bars, hay bale sofas, live music and so on.

Reading Museum and the Museum of English Rural Life are presenting a special exhibition, “Biscuit Town: 200 years of Huntley and Palmers in Reading”, which is open from Tuesday to Saturday until 25th September. If you fancy doing a walkabout “Biscuit Tour”, you can get a leaflet from the MERL or the Museum and follow a biscuit crumb trail at your own pace.

When I was at work, my office was next door to the old doll’s hospital on the Bath Road. On one occasion I went across the road to one of the shops and was shown down to their cellar. The various levels of the Bath Road were effectively his front wall. The present Bath Road is nearly three foot higher than the road along which we saw the coaches trundling into Reading, when the passengers would be offered the biscuits made by Mr Palmer. Just along the road is St Mary’s Church, which at one time was independent of the Church of England. This is why there are two St Mary’s so close to each other. This was the site of the local gaol in which John Bunyan spent some time. The plaque commemorating this is still there. At that time, the local name for the Church was the Pepperpot Church – can you see why?  Central Reading is full of history.

Is your life littered with embarrassing moments? Mine certainly is! One of my first such cringes was when I agreed to do the beginners’ length in the school gala. This was a mistake a) because I was in the fifth form and all the others were first year pupils and b) I had never swum a length in my life! Swimming and I just do not get on with each other. I had swum a width before, but anything more and my natural tendency to sink took over. Sure enough, I made it halfway, but then had an attack of cramp so had to be rescued. I was hauled out right in front of the Headmaster. He leant over and asked, “Are you all right, Ferguson?”

Absolute embarrassment, not only failing so dismally, but right in front of the Head too. And even worse – he knew my name!! I still can’t swim. Nowadays, of course, we just call it a senior moment.

For information about this newsletter contact Colin Ferguson –
colindf@btinternet .com or 0118 9482557.

If you want to know more about Firtree contact Mark Bowman – 0118 9677130 or Liz Prior (Membership Secretary) – 0118 9422958.

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