In December, only a few months away, I will (deo volente) reach the age of 70. I’m quite surprised to have arrived at this point. I don’t understand how I got (quite suddenly it seems to me) to be so ‘dwedfully old’ to quote Dana. It has snuck up on me.

We are mortal; only ever one breath away from death and oblivion, yet we live our lives as though we were immortal.

I’m not someone who habitually watches films more than once but recently John and I watched Quartet for the 5th or 6th tme and I still found it enjoyable. The star studded cast, the humour, the music and the incomparable Billy Connelly make this a very watchable film. This is a good thing because we are not very good at acknowledging the pain and losses that come with old age.

Looking back on my life, I do not think I have recognised how fortunate I was. Although my childhood could be described as ‘difficult’ and certainly was neither standard nor conventional, it was happy. Our parents spent time and energy on educating us. My father was very intelligent and well read, and was knowledgable about many thing – all things natural, the history of Scotland, religion (as proscribed by him), woodwork (I could recognise any tool, no matter how obscure) and so on. He kept bees amd grew most of our food. He was also shrewd and cunning and a master of strategy in which he freely instructed me. He could speak the vernacular, which I never managed but he could also speak the Queen’s English and he was a powerful speaker who could raise a rabble before you could see his intent, He was a dictator of course, but I had inherited his genes sufficiently that when I became a teenager, I could deal with him. He had abandoned all his and my mother’s relatives apart from we three; but we stuck with him to the end.

My mother spoke the Queen’s English and she made sure that we did too and with an acceptable middle class accent. She ensured that I had middle class manners and knew how to entertain, run a house, deal with employees, knew how to seat people according to rank, how to cook and sew. She taught me how to dress well on little money. I had an easy rapport with men, and once I was a wife and mother I got on well with other women.

And in Eugene I had an intelligent companion, one who understood (and still does) where I was coming from. I therefore was rarely what people expected and one or two peope made catastrophic errors of judgement in relation to me (and I have to say that I was never in the least forgiving about these.)

I was fortunate in my husband and children, and I had the luxury of being able to bring up my children myself. I was also rich in friends.

In reaching 70, I feel that I have had a good portion. Life does not owe me anything. I have lived life free, comfortable, relatively healthy (I have no complaints) and. I hope and believe, have been well loved. I have been blessed with son and daughters and with many grandchildren of both sexes. I have travelled and seen many places.

I hope to live a longer portion still, but if the call came for me now, I would go without complaint. God has always been good to me, and it certainly is not because I have deserved it.