BRIGHT-EYED and bushy-tailed, my dear old mum reached the grand old age of 92 yesterday, and she’s still going strong. In fact, we’re having a job trying to slow her down.

For example, I didn’t expect to spend the afternoon of her 92nd birthday in the accident and emergency department of Darlington Memorial Hospital because she’d had a fall while running round the garden.

She’d taken the tumble a few days earlier but didn’t want to make a fuss at the time. It was only when I picked her up, to bring her over to my house for Sunday lunch on her birthday, that the alarm was raised.

She pulled up her trousers to show that her leg had turned black and blue, all the way from her knee to her foot. Despite her protestations, I immediately called 111 to ask for guidance.

“And how did the injury happen?” asked the NHS advisor, once she’d taken down all the basic information, such as my mum’s name, address, and date of birth.

“She had a fall while chasing a squirrel cos it was burying its nuts in her garden,” I found myself explaining.

“Sorry, could you repeat that?” asked the advisor after a pause.

“Yes, she was chasing a squirrel that was digging up her lawn to bury its nuts. She fell over, banged her knee on a step, and her leg’s turned black and blue,” I replied.

“Oh, I see,” said the advisor.

The conversation resulted in her being booked into accident and emergency for a check-up. “What a carry on – I wish I’d never shown you,” she moaned all the way to the hospital.

After blood tests carried out by a nurse, she was seen by a very nice young doctor, who examined her leg and asked: “Oh, dear, how did this happen?”

“I was chasing after a squirrel because he keeps burying his nuts in my lawn,” my mum replied.

The doctor looked at me with eyebrows raised: “Chasing a squirrel round the garden at 92? I wish I had some of your mum’s energy – she’s amazing!” she smiled.

That was the cue for my Mum to proudly launch into further detail: “Well, I do half an hour of exercises first thing every morning and I still do my own garden. I mow the lawn myself – with a push-mower, not an electric one – and I’m not having that squirrel digging it up,” she gushed.

She went on to add some historical context: “I was in the Land Army after the war, and worked as a post lady for decades, so I’ve always been active. You’ve got to keep moving!” she told the poor doctor.

To be on the safe side, it was decided that my mum should be taken to the x-ray department, so the porter was the next to hear about the squirrel and his nuts, before he invited the three patients in the x-ray waiting room to sing Happy Birthday to her. None obliged, which is entirely understandable since they were all grimacing with injuries.

Happily, three hours after our arrival at A&E, we were given the news that there was nothing broken, her blood tests came back normal, and it was just a case of dramatic bruising due to her age.

“Enjoy the rest of your birthday, Margaret – but maybe don’t go chasing squirrels,” said the doctor.

To be honest, I’m not convinced that my mum’s learned her lesson. “I know what I’ll do with his bloody nuts if ever I catch that squirrel,” she said as I drove her home.