Bolton Clarke Macquarie Shores, NSW, resident Aileen Giles is looking forward to using her computer more in her 101st year.
Aileen, who turned 100 on 30 May, was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia and moved into the residential aged care community at Bolton Point, Lake Macquarie last year.
She loves watching AFL (particularly Adelaide Crows and Sydney Swans), playing dominoes and knitting. She is still in regular contact with her best friend Bernice, who lives in Adelaide and celebrated her century only 15 days before Aileen.
“We met as her mother and my mother were friends,” Aileen says.
“Bernice lived outside Adelaide, and she lived with our family in Adelaide so she could do her nursing training, which is when we became close.
“We are very different and we are great buddies – I was her matron of honour.”
Aileen and husband Walter lived for a time in Papua New Guinea while raising their family. Their sons attended boarding school in Sydney.
“I used to write every week and include a self-addressed envelope so they could write back,” she says.
“When one of our sons took too long to write back my husband would speak to the headmaster about it, and threatened to withhold their pocket money until they did.”
On their return to Australia the family moved to Sydney, where the boys had friends from school and university.
It was Aileen’s fervent wish for a brick house that saw them settle at Wilberforce.
“I wanted a brick house but my husband said not to bother asking the agent about one as there weren’t many around.
“In the end I got sick of looking at other houses and in desperation asked the agent for a brick house.
“He showed me the only brick house he had, that was an old chicken farm out at Wilberforce with sheds all over it.”
They bought the property and with space available developed an interest in horse riding.
“My son wanted a pony to ride on weekends so we bought one, but we also saw an Arab pure bred mayor in foal.
“I told my husband not to buy it, but somehow he did. We knew nothing about horses but at 3am one morning we also had a foal to look after!
“We sold the purebred to a person in Western Australia and it went on to win the Perth Derby.
“I wasn’t young, but I then took up riding – my first riding instructor would not let me canter, so I found one that would.
“I ended up buying the horse that I learned to canter on, Candy. Candy and I would spend so much time on riding trials.”
These days, Aileen enjoys her knitting creations.
“I started knitting simple things and they turned into complicated things – I look at some of those complicated things now and wonder how I did it.”
She celebrated her birthday with family and friends, and looks forward to joining in community activities, using her computer and spending time with family this year.
Aileen is among the newest members of Bolton Clarke’s Centenarian Club, celebrating the lives and experiences of centenarian clients and residents across the organization.