The mother of invention


Today my mum turns 70.  But she won’t be treated to afternoon tea at Eastwell Manor, because she’s trekking in India.  Yes, trekking, with a backpack, and sleeping in a tent, and having bucket showers.

That’s not to say she won’t get afternoon tea when she gets back, but she might have to squeeze it in between voluntary work with the National Trust, school gardening club, a theatre trip, book club, dance class, yoga, a hot-air balloon ride and international espionage.

Mum was make-do-and-mending and upcycling and guerrilla-gardening before they were even things.  Need a plant support for your sweet peas?  Here’s a chopstick.  No cold-frame?  Try this photo-frame and a cardboard box.  Blu-tack was invented for her.  Mum’s inventions may be a little bit wonky, but no matter.  Who needs rules when you have vision?  She’s the most slapdash cuttings-taker: no sharp knife or plastic bag for her, just rip it off and stick it in a pot.  It works.

So I’d just like to take this opportunity to say “Happy Birthday Mum!” (because she might just get a wifi connection in Kerala) and thank you for inspiring me and your grand-daughters, and pretty much everyone else you come into contact with, by being the most positive, resourceful, compassionate, insightful, ingenious, adventurous, funny, generous, resilient, energetic and free-spirited seventy-year-old on the planet.


Have a lovely day, mum!

27 Comments Add yours

  1. annpappas says:

    Happy Birthday to you mom 🙂 That’s how I would like to be in 9 years time! My aunt has set a good example – she’ll be 92 this year and is still teaching yoga. For her 91st birthday, my cousin took her for a hiking break in the Cedarberg mountains 🙂

  2. Ali says:

    That’s incredible! The best yoga teacher I had was the most advanced in age. I hope she’s still teaching. She was so strong! And so positive. Hiking too keeps you young and joyful.

    1. annpappas says:

      She’s still teaching 🙂

  3. What a wonderful birthday wish for your amazing Mum! Happy Birthday from me too. I’m finding being 70 a pretty wonderful time too for adventures and volunteering and fun! 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      I’m so pleased for you too! Beacons of light, the both of you!

      1. I admire your Mum with the bucket showers though! Not sure I’d be up for that! 🙂

      2. Ali says:

        A bucket shower is so refreshing in the heat though!

  4. How inspiring! Happy Birthday to your mum!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, and she is!

  5. Tish Farrell says:

    What a lovely mum you have, Ali. All best wishes to her on her Indian hike.

  6. bcparkison says:

    And a Happy birthday from me too. Way to go!

  7. Wonderful tribute. She sounds amazing!

  8. Jan Battye says:

    Hi Alison

    Thank you for the words – sniff, sniff ❤️💜🧡

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Ali says:

      Love you, mum!! ❤️❤️❤️

  9. Rupali says:

    Wow such a great post Ali. Lots of good wishes to your incredible mom.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Rupali, that is very kind.

  10. gertloveday says:

    Happy birthday to your beautiful Mum, I am around her age andhavejust returned from Kerala. I wonder if Isaw her there.

    1. Ali says:

      Oh, wow! She’s back this morning, and full of excitement about it! Glad to hear about your travels too!

  11. Island Time says:

    Happy birthday, belated, to your wonderful Mum. Makes me think of my own wonderful Mum, over 80 now, and still going strong in so many ways…here’s to adventurous, inspiring Mums everywhere! Thanks for the lovely post.

    1. Ali says:

      Ah, thank you Nancy. I count myself very lucky to have the mum I do, and it sounds like you do too!

      1. Island Time says:

        Nancy? Claudia here!! But that’s okay!

      2. Ali says:

        Sorry! Not sure what went wrong there!

  12. jjspina says:

    Happy birthday to your mother! God bless her for her resilience and strength to do what she does at that age! I will be 70 this year too but I don’t go trekking or take bucket showers! Yikes! I exercise daily and with all the writing I do I keep my mind active. I also take care of my 4 year old grandson twice a week. That is a workout in itself! Nice post to celebrate your mom! Best wishes to you both, Ali. 🤗 🎂 💐

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you! My mum (and dad) looked after my daughters for 4 day’s a week throughout Primary school. My daughters have got so much out of those relationships; learnt about gardening, cooking, DIY, handicrafts; and I think it has kept my parents young too. Now the girls are at secondary, but still ask to spend time with my mum and dad at the weekend. Xxx

      1. jjspina says:

        How nice that they still want to spend time with them. 😀

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