My grandmother, Lillian Iris Gillespie, is 100 years old today.
Off to see her later this morning. This is a woman who's lived through two world wars and the Great Depression (plus the current one.) Quite something, really. Her dad- my Irish great-grandfather, was the chief groom to the Earl of Stamford at Dunham Massey; apparently his skill with horses was remarkable. A genuine 'horse whisperer'. His skills saved my gran's life when she was a baby; she caught double pneumonia and he used a poultice on her that he used to treat sick foals (this was in the days before antibiotics.) If not for him, and the skills he had, she wouldn't have lived to grow up, meet my grandfather, raise my mother... and I wouldn't be here. One of those little stories which makes you a little awed by just how much chance, how many random factors, come together to make you who you are.
My great-grandfather was also in the Territorial Army- my Gran was actually born in an Army barracks in Liverpool- and fought at Ypres, losing an arm and possibly also being gassed (he died of throat cancer in 1945.) One of these days I really need to find out more about his family, the Lynams (and yes, I am apparently distantly related to Desmond of that ilk!)
Both of my grandmothers are still alive. It's only in the last few years that I've realised how incredibly rare that is, and how lucky I am. My Welsh gran will be 100 in another five years. I hope I'll get to go to another party like today's.
Happy Birthday Nana.