That Queen's getting a lot of attention at the moment isn't she? Not that I resent it (two days off? Thanks very much!). But this Jubilee, let's also celebrate the real 'diamond' old ladies in our own lives, who are all too often invisible in our youth-obsessed society.
And there are plenty of tales to tell. After attending Trinity University in Dublin, she became a Fanny (don't laugh) during the War, driving ambulances despite having no license. During the 1940s and '50s, she was married to a tea planter in Ceylon and Malaya, where she painted stunning watercolours of the surrounding jungle and dabbled in racing cars ("I was the fastest woman in Malaya", she claims). She tells a terrifying story about time she discovered a poisonous snake in my uncle's cot.
She's also nothing if not generous, constantly giving away her Christmas gifts, and insisting her visitors take a shot of whisky (which she naughtily hides in her wardrobe from the staff in her care home, like Marilyn's character 'Sugar' in Some Like it Hot). Last month, she enquired as to when I was bringing my boyfriend over to visit, and I wrote on her notepad that I don't have a boyfriend - she paused for a moment and then said brightly, "Well you can have one of mine!" Now there's an offer I can't refuse.