My mother celebrated her 100th birthday last Sunday, 14th December, and demonstrated that if you're lucky enough to keep good health and mental alertness, being incredibly old, can be loads of fun. It was an important anniversary and all her close family and friends turned out in force to celebrate with her. There was even the traditional message from the Queen, signed in her own hand.
Sunday was a day of celebrations and meetings as well as a day for long distance telephone calls.
The celebrations began on Friday night when we, the family, held a dinner here in my home town of Lewes, UK, at the elegantly welcoming Pelham House Hotel - just down the road from where I live.
It was a joyful mix of formality and informality.
My mother, of course, managed to upstage the Queen in her regal entry but this was not one of those starchy parties where everyone was on their best behaviour. It was a meeting of generations with my mother's two surviving sons, her five grandsons and her new and first great granddaughter along with partners and friends with, appropriately enough, an age range of 100 hundred years. There was much talking and laughter, 100 candles to blow out and live music supplied by my son, Adam's band, Octopuses.
Life has returned to normal now and my mother is more concerned about unveiling her latest needlework design - this season's latest knitted tea cosy. The secret of my mother's longevity and good health is, apparently, the ability to look forward with hope. Many happy returns.