Traditional Scottish dish mince and tatties is key to long life


Mince and tatties are a key component in a happy life an Alexandria woman has said as she celebrates turning 105.

Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Irving, a tenant at Bield’s Oakbank Retirement Housing development put her longevity down to the Scottish supper favourite accompanied by a cup of tea.

Bessie said: “Mince and tatties are my absolute favourite and I’d say everyone could benefit from a portion every now or then – and washing it down with a good cup of tea is always a winner!”

Since turning 100, Bessie Irving has celebrated her big day with her fellow tenants by hosting an afternoon tea – ensuring she gets a chance to enjoy her favourite drink.

Bessie said: “It’s lovely to be able to have a bit of a chat with everyone over a cup of tea and a slice of cake. It’s become a bit of a tradition.

“I really feel like part of a large family, the staff are so caring and are delighted to help out with anything at all. I definitely could not be in a better place.”

Bessie spent her youth working as a maid at Westerton House in Balloch, where she met her husband Jimmy who was working on a neighbouring farm and was quickly promoted to take on cooking and baking duties for the Lady of the house.

Now in her 20th year at Oakbank, she was happy to let others do the baking as she enjoyed a selection of teas and treats with her niece, Mary, as well as the other residents and staff.

Since moving to Oakbank in 1997 Bessie has felt right at home and has enjoyed getting out into the community where she is much loved. Nowadays these friends are glad to return the favour and call in on Bessie regularly.

Linda Hall, Retirement Housing Manager at Oakbank, said: “We all had a wonderful day celebrating Bessie’s birthday.

“We have been lucky enough to have her here for 20 years and she has always been very popular with both tenants and staff, so we like to make sure that we can all celebrate her birthday properly.

“It’s nice to have built up a bit of a tradition with the afternoon tea as well!”


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