today. Page three of our state newspaper has a picture of her. I can already hear her telling me, "Not your usual page three picture dear!"
I met her when she was a fit young 70-something. She walked the district, went to church twice a week, shopped in the local shopping centre, volunteered at the charity shop "Vinnies", kept her extended family in order, gardened and knitted for charity. She did not have a car. If she wanted to go somewhere then she would "hop on a bus dear. That is what buses are for."
She kept all this up until she was 98. In the very hot summer of that year her children demanded she stop volunteering at Vinnies. It was, they told her, too hot to walk to and from. She gave in reluctantly. "I suppose they're right dear but I don't like letting the team down".
I sympathised and gave her an extra jar of marmalade that year. She gave me a number of the small mascot dolls she had made and they went off to a charity raffle instead. I took her yarn to make more.
There were worries about her living alone in a fair sized house which had not been renovated for more than seventy years. "It works dear. I don't know why everyone has to have everything new these days."
The winter she turned 99 she became ill - one of the winter 'flu like bugs that seem to come around every year. Her children decided that enough was enough. They said it was time for her to move into a nursing home. She protested. They won.
For a little while my old friend went quiet. We even thought she might not make it to 100. Then a mutual friend went to visit and was quietly told, "I don't like to complain dear because everyone is so nice but there is not enough to do in here."
That complaint was fixed smartly. Now she goes to a craft group in the church next door. She helps with the flowers and cleans the brass altar rail. She keeps some of the pot plants watered and tidy. The library service provides large print books ("none of those soppy romances please") and she is knitting mascot dolls again.
"I have so much to do dear and it is so nice not having to do the cooking." At one hundred she is content again. I am glad she has made her century.