READING RETIREMENT CENTRE    (registered charity No. 281830)

Firtree Newsletter                July 2022                              Issue 520


(Friends in retirement taking relaxation, exercise and education)

Well! Did you really stay up all night for the Glastonbury Festival and watch Paul McCartney rock the years away? I confess that I had to give up at midnight, but one of my friends stayed the course until quarter past one!  Let’s hear it for the 80+ year olds—-!! After all, we depend on our ageing members to keep us going.

Now, it’s Wimbledon fortnight and so far, so good for the Brits. Getting through the first round is the big challenge, and we’ve had the biggest number of players getting through to the second round for 25 years.  Even the cricket has gone well. What is happening?

Sadly, the other news is so depressing. I met a young woman from the Ukraine last week. Her home was close to the Russian border. The word is was! Reading is a good place for the refugees to come because we already have a settled Ukrainian community and a Church. Collections are still being transported to the Ukraine, especially to areas where the rural communities have had to flee just with what they were wearing.

Meanwhile we are still meeting at the Grange. Our Tuesday programme is that Avis Furness will be giving an illustrated talk on the 5th July about the famous stained glass window artist Henry Thomas Bosdet, and on the 19th July Mark will tease us with his Summer Quiz. The 12th and the 26th will be games days and then of course we close for August, returning for a games day on the 6th September.

The Garden Circle had a great time in Gloria’s garden with 15 members enjoying a plant exchange and a Jubilee Tea Party. The outing to Portsmouth on the 18th July is now full. The Garden Circle will next meet on the 8th August.

I had a walk last week into Caversham Court and I found our fir tree. It is in a clear area ideal for a picnic near the river. The tree itself is flourishing but the memorial stand is in need of work and this may be something for us to do this year. The tree was planted in 1985 when Reg Gostage, our founder, died.

The memorial stand reminds us of what was, and as such needs an uplift to tell people that Firtree is alive and well. There is a refreshment kiosk and limited parking. Buses to Caversham Bridge stop just a short walk away (from the bridge).

As many of you noticed, it was my birthday recently and I am sure that we suffer from ageism. The secret is how you can put that to your own advantage! Two of my children sent me the same card. Its capital letters said these are the wonder years.

I guess you know what follows as I am afraid it is true – because you are older you sit down on the stairs, then you wonder if you were going up or coming down.

Classic for me is opening the fridge door and then wondering what I wanted.

Whenever I feel foolish, which happens increasingly often, I read a bit of a book called “The World’s Greatest Mistakes”, so I will share some of the stories with you and hope you feel better as well.


It was a tough job for Jack and his workmates – dredging a busy stretch of the Chesterfield Canal. It had posed quite a problem, what with all the mud, rusting bicycles, fridges and even prams. The big problem, though, was a very thick and rusty chain. Eventually they managed to drag this out as well, upon which they went off for a welcome tea break.

While they were away a passing policeman noticed that the water level was falling but by the time he found the gang the canal had disappeared. They had, of course, found the chain attached to the plug which had been put in 200 years ago when the canal had been constructed.

Now the millions of gallons of water had all drained back into the river leaving several boats and the dredger itself stuck in the remaining mud.


Cricket commentator Brian Johnston was known as the clanger champion of the BBC. Two of his more printable comments were “Neil Harvey has set the field with five slips and Harvey himself at leg slip, with his legs wide apart waiting for a tickle.”

And secondly, “You join us at a very appropriate time – Ray Illingworth has just relieved himself at the pavilion end.”


Information about this newsletter contact Colin Ferguson – or 0118 9482557.

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

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