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Reasons to be cheerful – part 100

August 7th, 2009 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 2 Comments · Life

The birthday girl

The birthday girl

A few more photos from and thoughts about Tuesday’s big event – Auntie Ivy’s 100th birthday party.

In retrospect I wish I had taken the day off rather than going straight from work, hitting the rush hour traffic and getting there an hour late.  Since my own commute is a mere five miles I underestimate how bloody awful the traffic is.  I will remember that the next time somebody turns 100…It was, not surprisingly, quite a big do.  Joan, never one for understatement, really went to town on this one.  She hired the Old Rectory in its entirety, laying on a couple of ponies for the kids to ride around on outside.  There was a three-piece band (mostly jazz and old standards) and a fantastic buffet – salads, hot and cold meats, curry, chilli, whole salmon, and lots of pudding.   There was also a cake in three parts.  And a birthday card from the Queen, which Ivy was thrilled about, plus a telegram from Yvette Cooper which was nice but, I suspect, less of a thrill.

Ron, all the way from Queensland for the party.

Ron, all the way from Queensland for the party.

So the food was good, the music was good too – very impressed with the keyboard player doing the bass guitar parts on one keyboard and piano parts on another with such independence that I had to keep reminding myself there was not a bass player there.   So far, so good, that sort of thing can be planned, but you have to take your chances with the weather and that turned out to be perfect.

The turnout was good too.  One of the first people I saw when we arrived was Jim.  Jim used to live next door to Ivy 40+ years ago.  We were frequent visitors and more or less grew up with Jim’s so Ronald.   As we got to the Old Rectory I saw Jim’s younger son, Andrew who had made the journey all the way down fro Bradford where he now lives.  What I didn’t really expect was to then see Ron himself, because Ron has lived in Australia for the last twenty or so years.  It really shows just what a big deal it is: that is not a trivial journey, nor a cheap one!

Both my sisters were there too – Mary from up the road in Southend and Jane from Bradford – and Mum and Roy.  There were lots of Ivy’s ‘real’ family there (we are only sort of adopted family) who I mostly don’t know, and a sizeable contingent from the sheltered housing where Ivy lived until quite recently.  They all turned up in a minibus and I just bet that bus was rowdy on the way back at the end of the evening because the thing is, these are not old people: just young people that have been around for a long time!

The four kids together

The four kids together

The remarkable thing about the evening was the atmosphere, full of genuine affection for Ivy, who is quite remarkable herself.  OK, she is not as agile as she used to be but I really can’t see her as any different to how she has always been.  She is still in possession of all her marbles, and able to take and make a joke.

I really don’t know why it is, but just looking at the photos of the evening makes me well up.  It was an emotional evening.  Perhaps it is seeing Ivy so obviously happy, well, and well-looked after.   She now lives with her daughter and it is so obvious that Joan wants her there: this is not somebody putting up with an ageing parent out of duty and that is good to see.

I got to thinking about how much Ivy must have seen in her time.   It was a very different country 100 years ago.  Obviously there was no TV, but there wasn’t even radio when she was born – the technology was invented but there was no broadcasting – it would be thirteen years before the BBC would come along.  Telephones were invented but nobody had one, and the same for motor cars.  Movies were still silent, Edward VII was still on the throne and Australia was still using British pounds.  Louis Blériot’s historic crossing of the Channel was only a couple of weeks before Ivy was born!   It still amazes me to think of that.

Ivy with Mary

Ivy with Mary

I remember looking round the ghost village of Tyneham in Dorset a couple of years ago, amazed by just how different life was in the 1940’s than now.  Life in 1940 was probably more similar to life in 1840 than to life in 1960, so just what was 1909 like?

How can you observe such a complete change in life and remain so unaffected.  We take plastics for granted but in 1090 even Bakelite was a brand-new invention!  Half the time I am in a daze to know that I can fit a Terabyte of data in my pocket, and could make a video telephone call from the middle of a field…  I have enough trouble with those culture shocks, let alone remembering how it was without electricity in the home, indoor plumbing, cars, newspapers with colour photos, zips, and just about everything else.  It makes reaching 100 with marbles intact even more of an achievement.

But I digress.  The point is that we all had a brilliant time, so thanks to Ivy for having a birthday and thanks to Joan for all the arrangements.  We are already looking forward to the 101st next year 🙂

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • The Godmother

    Andrew that is so lovely – Can’t tell you how much appreciated. Will get mum to the computer to read it for herself…………. Have a great holiday in Crete and come back with lots of pix.

  • skud's sister

    We also had a great time – so well worth the trip down (especially considering I slept for a lot of the journey in both directions….).
    And of course it was the best party – the party of a lifetime when your lifetime is 100 years was always going to be something else!