I'm celebrating my Victorian grandmother's 120 birthday today.
Sadly, Nan won't be there to blow out the candles. But 20 years ago today she celebrated her 100th birthday, and enjoyed two further anniversaries.
Gwendoline Annie Skinner (nee Dymond) had a remarkable life. She was born on 22 April 1891, and turned ten a few months after Queen Victoria died. The Titanic sank the week before her 21st birthday and she was married the week Alcock & Brown made the first flight across the Atlantic. She made just one flight herself: from Cardiff to Bristol in her nineties.
She was a perfect grandmother: kindly, lovely and a source of endless stories. I was fascinated by her tales of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. And moved by her harrowing story of helping fetch her dying father's oxygen cylinders by Hansom cab in 1912.
Like many of her generation, she had a tough life in many ways. She lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. She was bombed out of one home in London's blitz. Her husband's twin brother died in the great flu epidemic at the end of the Great War. And she was widowed at 51 - exactly half way through her long life.
Yet she had tremendous spirit. She took great pride in the success of her three children and five grandchildren. And lived to enjoy the arrival of six of her nine great grandchildren.
Turning hundred was quite something, especially as she had been so ill during the war, fifty years earlier. (The devoted care of daughter Dorothy, whom she lived with after husband Frank's death, was a big factor in her longevity.) We all enjoyed a special party at County Hall in Cardiff. And on her 100th birthday the Lord Mayor of Cardiff visited Nan and toasted her centenary - below.
Finally, here's a photo of Nan as a young woman.