Glorious Break

Dad's 100th Birthday

I often have a feeling that the topic generator is psychic, mystical, some sort of a link to my writing. Today I got a glorious break, after a week away from the computer, prompts, writing and everything. I was offline spending a week in London to celebrate with my dad his 100th birthday and here is one of the photos. Dad and me in his apartment with balloon and enjoying the day.

He lives in an extra care home, has his own four walls with kitchen bathroom, bedroom and living room and is so well looked after that I can relax. I live in Switzerland, he lives in England. Our normal contact is by phone and once a year when I visit him, usually around 24th September when it is his birthday.

This year was a special birthday, he was 100 years old. He can no longer walk so well, usually has the support of a Zimmer frame and if he has further to go someone takes him in a wheelchair. There are a few apartments where he is, all elderly residents, and once a week there is a special traditional english dinner for those that want to participate and twice a week in the afternoon a lotto game.

I arrived at my dad’s place on his birthday to discover that the local newspaper were already there taking photos. Today it was in the newspaper so being so proud of my dad here is the link to the article

Dagenham Post – Dad’s Birthday

I think that covers most of the main events in his long life. He would tell me stories of his war service, of his early days. His taste of jazz from the 20’s and 30’s was my musical background. Of course the highlight of the morning was when the postman called with the telegram from Queen Elizabeth. It is a custom in England, but as she does not know personally when all her subjects have their 100th birthday you must organise it. In my dad’s case he had a visit from the local government who took all the particulars. My dad is a real special case. He never had a big thing about the Queen, she was just there, but when the card arrived he was really excited. I noticed he was looking at it now and again and re-reading it with the comments “I wonder if she sends a lot of those cards?” etc. etc. He also got a card from the British government minister of pensions, although no-one is really a fan of his, so that was put on one side, although I must say it was a nice card with a view of Tower Bridge.

He had visitors all through the day and in the afternoon the home where he lives had organised food and drink and a birthday cake and there was a little party for him in the main hall. The great thing was that although my dad is the oldest where he is living his memories of the early days are also the memories of his co-inhabitants, so there was no lack of conversation.

Dad's 100th Birthday

When I left him in the evening he was tired, but very happy and probably looking forwards to his Lotto match the next day in the afternoon.

Yes it was more than a glorious break and dad still wonders how he got there.

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44 thoughts on “Glorious Break

    • Although as newspapers are, there was a little mistake. He was not in charge of the prisoner of war place, he was only in charge of a section. I remember my dad telling me his instructions “if they try to escape, let them go” (to save food rations probably). He was only a private soldier, but they gave him one stripe to do that job. As far as his home is, it is perfect. Lovely ladies looking after his needs and it is government run and owner, so there is no great financial pressure. I am very lucky that he is there.

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  1. And all those Republicans in the UK who want to end monarchy should see how happy people like your Dad are when they get a card from the monarch for a very special occasion! As you say, he was not as happy about the minister’s card! An elected president would not make him half as happy, either, I’d say! He is slightly older than Her Majesty, even older than her husband. None of my grandparents ever made it even to their 90ies. Oh the stories he has to tell – and which should be recorded for the young ones who do not have a clue about the war.

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    • We were never Queen fans, but we lived with it. My dad is really happy with his card. He brought me up with his stories and I grew up in a bombed out London. You know yourself the traces war leaves behind it, but we all carry on. My playgrounds as a kid were bombed out houses. I think mum would have had a fit if she knew where i was playing, but it was life. These days the kids seem to grow up in cotton wool padding.

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      • Yes, and no … Yes, as their parents try to keep them safe, but no, as they see and hear so much more than we heard when we were kids, in the times of internet news travel faster and you can’t escape it as easily.

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    • Apart from walking he is fairly active in the brain. I don’t know about the gene pool, but I also had a great grandmother on the other side of the family that passed away in 1911 at the age of 91.

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    • To be honest Dai, I am glad to be back. It was a good week in england, but my age is no longer cut out for large journeys and I am really no longer at home in England. Of course seeing dad was great and celebrating with him.

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      • I can well understand that, Pat. I was thinking about you yesterday while watching a Swiss flight arriving from Zurich. I was waiting for my TAP flight back to Lisbon. I’m no longer cut out for long journeys either. I far prefer to be at home now.

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  2. 100 wow. Now that is something!! I feel 100 days is a long time. A century – he has seen it, heard it, and done it all for sure. I can not even imagine.
    Glad you visited him and you had a good time 🙂 so sweet.

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    • The birthday cards do not just happen, you have to organise it, but they organised it all in the care home where he lives. she also sends them for diamond wedding anniversaries.

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  3. Congrats to your Dad, he looks great.
    I have got to 81 and I have always reckoned to make 95. I don’t allow anyone to call me old – I’m not – I’m just me. Age is just a number. A 21 year old once told me: ‘You work harder than me, you work longer than me, and what is really annoying is that you dance better than me! I’m an ex-pat Londoner. I live on the Isle of Wight now. I’m brand new to blogging. Myra.

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    • Welcome Myra. My dad is now quite proud as he is no longer 100 years old but 100 years old plus a month. Congragulations to your start in blogging. I am just a youngster at 69, I think the secret is never give up, although I am not planning a bungy jump or parachute jump. I love the Isle of Wight. I spent many happy holidays there with my mum and dad, Totland bay. Originally I am an East Londoner from Bethnal Green but move to Switzerland 49 years ago, met Mr. Swiss and have been here since.

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      • Thank you. My Dad said he was born in Bermondsey, but his records show Bethnal Green. Within the sound of Bow Bells, anyway. I was born in Ealing, ther’s posh, but we were just passing through. I was brought up in Colindale, end of the Northern Line. Mr. Cricklewood died after a very happy 51 years together. I keep going and enjoy life. Driving, singing, behaving badly. I can do what I like now, and nobody minds. Off to choir now. Myra.

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