My mother has just celebrated her 95th birthday and is amazingly fit and well and going strong. I think the main reason for this is she keeps her mind alive and alert. She lives in a warden controlled block and though she is the oldest inhabitant there, she has twice as much get up and go as most of them and I really believe this is because she does not spend her entire day watching tv which an awful lot of residents seem to do. She will not switch it on until the evening and only then if there is something she wants to watch. Mum loves her sport and is an expert on golf, rugby and tennis and has been glued to Wimbledon for the last two weeks. If I ring up at the wrong time for a chat 'Oh I can't talk now, I'm watching a wonderful doubles match' and down goes the phone.
You can see how great she looks from this picutre of her and my sister taken last summer in Bath.
Mum took up water colour painting at the age of 90 when the local council had a brilliant idea of taking on an instructor to visit care homes. She simply loves it and finds it very relaxing and spends hours with her paint brushes and paints. The initiative did not last of course, with the council cutting costs so this went by the board, but she still continues to paint on her own.
She is also a great reader and dismisses most of the books that she calls 'old ladies books' as rubbish and it is down to me to keep her supplied. Earlier this year she read all the Susan Hill Simon Serrailer books and asked if 'this Susan Hill has written any more'. My reply of yes, about 30+ was greeted with 'o good that will see me out'. Mum then tackled Woman in Black which she adored so I gave her Mist in the Mirror and she soaked that up as well without batting an eyelid. Readers of this blog may recall that when I read both these books I was scared witless. Not mum. At present, she is working her way through D L Sayers again which I am passing on to her.
I could not think what to get her for her birthday until she said that when she read in bed, her wrists ached with holding the book and she found it rather tiring. So I then got on the internet, tracked down a book pillow and this was duly delivered and is a great success. Makes a change from the usual perfume or hankies.
She was with me this weekend and on Saturday an old friend of the family, Erika, who has been friends and part of the family for over 50 years, came over to tea. I did not quite run to baking a birthday cake (thank you Marks & Spencer) but I did produce a few little cakes and we had a lovely tea.
Then on Sunday, we went out for a drive to Coggeshall, and had lunch at a local pub right next door to the church where my daughter is getting married so was able to show her where it will all be happening in December and then drove her home where she is now watching the men's final as I am posting this.
I am very proud of my mum. She brought my sister and myself up single handed back in the fifties when being a single mother was not easy. We were an army family and once you are out of the army and back in civvie street it is very difficult to cope when you are used to the organisation looking after you, from accommodation to schooling, but mum did it.
We are looking forward to her receiving her telegram from Her Maj when mum reaches 100.