If anything, Beryl James’ social calendar has got busier over the years.
At 102, she is not slowing down and anyone planning to visit her would be well advised to make an appointment.
Between the many coffee mornings, lunches, afternoon teas club days, bingo sessions and catch-ups with firnds there is little time for sitting around doing nothing.
But it does happen once a week, Beryl says.
“Fridays we generally just muck around,” she said
Birthdays are always big, usually beginning early and extending far beyond the actual day. Last year, the celebrations ran for four weeks.
This year, it was contained to a week, starting with a brunch last Sunday, afternoon tea on Monday at Aveo The Parks in Earlville, and lunch at Rydges this Friday.
But it’s hard to beat the top-level shenanigans that went on in Canberra for Beryl’s 100th – with the help of Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
“I’ve got a daughter in Canberra and when I sent down there she said, “Mum, we’re going to Parliament House’. I said ‘I don’t want to go – I’ve two or three times’.
“When we got there, some chap met us and said we’re going to have a look around”.
Ushered into an office, Beryl was surprised to be met by Warren Entsch and a birthday cake.
Then he said, ‘You’re coming into Parliament so that’s when it all happened.
“I’m sitting there and all of a sudden they’re all sining happy birthday – the whole lot.”
Beryl was acknowledged by the Speaker during Question Time and even got to meet then Prime Minister Tony Abbott afterwards. “He spoke to me after Parliament,” she said.
“I had to go into his room. It finished up a nice day.”
Daughter Erica – who lives a few houses away from Beryl at Aveo The Parks – said big birthdays were a family tradition.
“When my aunty was alive – she lived her with mum we had a 100th birthday for her and 180 people cam to it,” she said.
“Politicians, councillors, doctors, nurses, everybody cam. It was brilliant.
“She was the wild one,” Erica said.
This article appeared in the Cairns Post on 25 July.