The oldest woman in Scotland has celebrated her 109th birthday and says the secret to a long life is plenty of porridge, but no men, reports the Daily Mail.
Centenarian Jessie Gallan, who has never married, was born in 1906 in a tiny two-room cottage on a farm in Kintore, Scotland. She had a simple upbringing with five sisters and one brother, sleeping top-to-tail every night on a straw-filled mattress, according to STV.
Her family rarely had a penny to spend, but Jessie said her childhood was filled with happiness.
“My mother fed us, made all our clothes and my father worked the cattle. There was nothing to worry about. I never worried about anything. We never had any money but we were all very happy.”
Jessie left home at age 13 to become a milkmaid.
“I always worked hard and seldom would I ever take a holiday,” she said. “I always had good jobs with very nice people. It’s amazing to see how completely different the world is now from the one I grew up in.”
After a few years, she started work as a waitress at the Lauriston Hotel in Ballater, Scotland, where she said the visit of Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother each year was the highlight of the season.
“We always waited to see the Queen when she arrived at Ballater on the train.”
Jessie remained there for 10 years, but, determined to make a better living for herself, she moved back to the city to work in the dining rooms of Aberdeen’s finest townhouses.
Gallan, who now lives at the Crosby House care home in Aberdeen, said, “My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They’re just more trouble than they’re worth. I also made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married.”
Jessie celebrated her birthday on January 2, with lunch and a slice of cake at the Crosby House.
Senior support worker Rebecca Streeter said, “Jessie still takes part in the group activities, she likes her exercise. She goes to all the concerts and enjoys her church on a Sunday. And obviously she has led a very healthy lifestyle.”
Jessie Gallan became Scotland’s oldest woman following the death of Clare Dawson, of Glasgow, in June, 2013 at the age of 109.
[Image via Daily Mail]