TAMWORTH’S oldest man, Alfred Powell, isn’t quite sure what the secret to his longevity is, but a daily constitution of morning and afternoon naps couldn’t hurt.
Alf turns 105 today, a milestone he plans to celebrate with staff and residents of the Bupa nursing home where he resides.
Yesterday was a family affair, lunching at the Tudor Hotel with his daughter Judith, a former director of Lifeline in Tamworth, his niece Wendy and four generations of extended family.
The self-sufficient man, who up until December 2011 was living at home, baking his own bread and making his own muesli, said he was first asked the secret to a long life when he celebrated his centenary.
Since then he’s been posed the same question many times over, but his answer remains the same.
“If I knew what it was, I’d bottle it and sell it,” he said.
Reminiscing, Alf said he was a cynical child.
“I didn’t like a batch of custard my mother made and my dad told me, ‘eat it up, it’s just like ice cream,’” he said.
“Well, I thought if that man confuses custard for ice cream, I wont take much notice of what he says.”
Although he left school and started his first job as a messenger boy at the age of 14, Alf says he tried to avoid stress as much as possible – and still lives by that motto to this day.
“I get breakfast in bed every morning at 8am, then I have a little nap and wake in time for morning tea,” he said.
A “I don’t do mornings” plaque hanging on his door reminds people not to rouse him out of bed too early.
In addition to his morning siesta, Alf has an after-lunch nap, which then sees him through to the night.
Alf, who made a successful career working with media production and publishing distribution companies, retired just before computers where coming into full effect and hasn’t taken up any of the gadgets kids these days can’t live without.
When asked what the major difference is now compared to 50 years ago, he says “almost everything has changed”.
“Life is lived at a faster pace and everything costs a bit more,” he summarised.
Alf was lucky enough to have two loves in his lifetime, but has outlived both his wives. With second wife, Betty, who he was married to for 16 years, sadly passing away only a couple of months ago.
But daughter Judith is always by his side to lend a hand – playing taxi driver since Alf handed in his licence two years ago. She also reads to him after his eyes gave up the ghost six months ago.
“I don’t know what I’d do without her,” he said.
“When I remember I have a 74-year-old daughter I think, God I’m old!”