90 and still right there in the zone!

Party I’ve been to Plymouth again.  This time not ‘sick’ visiting but to celebrate the 90th birthday of a special lady.  90 years of age and still right there in the zone!  We did wonder if she’s actually 100 because she’s been knocking the odd decade off the running total for years!

It was a surprise party; friends, family and long time acquaintances and a couple of buddies from the nursing home all joining together to bring an afternoon of sheer joy to Lillian, who likes to be called Les (don’t ask!).

Good old Sainsbury’s had prepared some gorgeous platters of food so it was very much a collect and place on the table event.  But, ho hum, not table.  What to do?  I set off in search of something, anything to take up to our party room.  All dining room tables in use for lunch when the advance party arrived to set up in secret.  I was a Brownie and such hurdles didn’t flummox Baden Powell.  I was on a mission and would not return until I had found an answer to the platter problem.  Nobody knew where there was a table that wouldn’t be needed for tea, if it wasn’t already supporting (literally in some cases), the elderly eating luncheon!

Finally, in the bowels of the building and laden with soil and seedlings, my quest ended.  There, in all its aluminium splendour, was a folding table measuring about 6feet by 3 feet.  Flagged down passing care assistant and explained I wasn’t sabotaging the gardening club or stealing the stock, merely borrowing the table for the afternoon for said party.  Talk about the Brownies, when I’d removed the trays of seedlings, it looked like the Brownies had been doing their gardening badge on there!  Muck plus water spillage equals mud!  Yep, had to set off in search of cleaning materials before attempting the long haul upstairs. 

Eventually and minus several months’ of gardening debris, the table was collapsed and hauled to the lift.  Now I’d been working like a navvy and hadn’t noticed the passage of time, unaware that I had been missed.  The Birthday Girl didn’t know I was there (another surprise!) and her daughter was panicking because BG wanted the loo (en suite in her room) and daughter (my friend) thought I was hiding in there to keep myself a secret!  She did say that as she gingerly opened the loo door, she hoped I wouldn’t jump out shouting "Surprise!", as it may well have brought proceedings to a premature end!

Artistic arrangement of napkins on the time worn table made a suitable covering (table cloth having been left on daughter’s table 140 miles north on the M5)!  Platters placed in an aesthetically pleasing manner, drinks at the ready and it was time to blow up the birthday balloons.  (Note to self:  never again buy the budget balloons, which have a nasty habit of selfcombusting for no apparent reason.)

The Decorating Team (myself and BG’s two teenage grandchildren) finished making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear (put it this way, one wouldn’t find such a room in Buck House) and pretty good it looked, too.

Guest of Honour was invited to go upstairs to her room by daughter but steered (walking but with zimmer frame) into the party parlour.  Expressions of absolute surprise and unfettered joy swept over BG’s face as she realised what was going on.  It was a special moment. 

Just months ago this lady was fighting for her life, having suffered two subdural haemorrhages following two falls within a week, the second caused by the undiagnosed haemorrhage following the first.  I have such respect for that generation.  They have a resilience and tenacity not common in the following generations.  Is it because they endured one and, in some cases, two World Wars?  I don’t know but their ability to pull themselves back from the edge of oblivion has been proven to me so many times.

This lady had been at the point of departing this life on a number of occasions last year.  She was unable to move, certainly unable to walk and very confused by the infections, antibiotics and bangs on the head she had received.  And now, just months later, Les was walking unaided, looking smart and mentally firing on all four to such an extent she outwitted some of the younger guests!

What a shining example of the tenacity of the human spirit!


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