Bit of a family-post this one but happy 90th birthday to my Aunty Brenda.
Brenda Tilley was born just before the end of the First World War and has lived, happily, for the last five years or so in Selly Park Care Home. She needs to be wheeled around these days. After a second hip replacement operation she decided not to be bothered about the pain of learning to walk again and simply sat down once and for all.
She had, I think, viral meningitis aged twelve and at that point stopped developing mentally. She held down a secretarial job for many years in her late father's company and lived with my family (Mum, Dad, me and one sister) in Selly Park as I grew up. It was some years before I realised that having a slightly doolally aunty living with you was a bit weird.
She always ate her food like the termites on a Tom and Jerry cartoon going through a picnic and continues with a healthy appetite. We had a little lunch do for her and she pretty much recognised everyone and talked as clearly as she always has, once she had finished her two plates of sandwiches, bowl of trifle, piece of birthday cake, two glasses of fizz and a lemonade.
She is a simple soul in many ways - the complexities of life have never really bothered her. Not for her the mobile phone, email address or digibox. She has never texted anyone, never faxed and never photocopied. She also never forgets a birthday or how old the recipient of the card is.
She is my godmother and I still use a Prayer Book she gave me on the occasion of my baptism in August 1955. For the first nineteen years of my life I probably never opened it.
The only thing she couldn't get her head round today was where we all came from - to her Nailsea and London are other worlds. She did congratulate one woman for coming all the way from Harborne just to drop off a card. That's a journey of about three miles but the sort of long way she can grasp.
She's outlived her two older sisters and my Dad, her little brother. She may make yet it to Telegram from Her Maj. Don't bet against it.