Last weekend was a milestone for a family member, my mother, she made it to a hundred years and we had a party.
I know one hundred years on this earth is no longer the rarity it once was but it is still a long time to spend on this planet and with all people who reach that age they have seen changes that are difficult to contemplate.
Two world wars, several other minor wars, several depressions including the big one the coming and going of various governments of different hues and qualities, advances in travel that could not be even contemplated when starting out, my mum who was a florist used to do all the big Hotels in London like the Ritz and would often walk the five miles or more both ways to work when money was tight.
The advances in household help, from the metal tub and mangle to the washing machine and the dishwasher, from the pantry to the fridge and deep freeze, from the coal fire or range for heating water to wash and bath in to central heating and constant hot water.
No Tesco home delivery but a daily shop for fresh produce that was lugged home in bags either on foot or on the bus all that and bringing up a family like so many others in WW11 and wondering wether they would ever see their loved ones again, having as children themselves worried about their parents coming home in the first world war.
The photos that my sister had rescued from who knows where illustrated the life we had after the war living in a prefab (not to be sneezed at, at that time) that had with several others been erected temporarily on a bomb site, the street scene that included just one car ! The ice cream seller with his tricycle with a cold box on the front in another photo reminded again of the changes I and my contemporaries have seen never mind my mother.
The family is not a large one, still all but one living member made it to the do, and seeing so many people that have not been seen for many years in some cases and have aged beyond what one believes in ones head they should look like and then discovering of course they think the same of you, if ever a day made one think of your own mortality this was it, coming back home that night I shed a genuine tear for what I saw and what it represented with warts and all an age now gone, not by any means all good but for the most of the things we cherish from bygone days it was all encapsulated at that gathering.
I was originally going to write a piece on my observations on London on this visit, but to hell with that , another day, this was my mum’s day.