Although Irene Strachan couldn’t be more different than her twin Sheila Mathieson, she was thrilled to celebrate her 85th birthday with her.
Irene’s daughter Arlene Johnstone, 56, said the fondest memory she had of her mother and aunt were the fabulous house parties they used to have.
So it seemed only right to throw a big party for her mother and her twin to celebrate their 85th birthday.
Irene said: “We had a party and we both enjoyed ourselves. My sister said it was the best day she has ever had.”
Arlene added: “On the day, my mum read out a poem about her and her twin sister growing up.
“She wrote the poem an hour before she arrived at the venue. That’s the kind of the thing she does.”
Irene, who was born in Woodside and currently stays in Sheddocksley, still speaks to her twin sister, who lives in Heathryfold, every week.
And even though they may be as different as the sun and the moon, they share a special connection.
Irene said: “I think having a twin sister is great. When we were brought up, our mum always dressed us the same.”
However, Irene never got confused with her twin because they didn’t look alike.
She said: “No one would believe we were identical twins.
“We’re very different. I’m flamboyant and she is very plain, well, I don’t want to say plain, but I’m more sparkly.
“She’s always lovely dressed, but if I wore high heels she’d wear flats.
“We’re so different, but we think alike.
“When she’s got an idea, I have the same idea. It’s unreal, really unreal. I just cannot believe it. When she thinks of something, I think of the same thing!
“It’s really nice to have a twin sister, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
One year, when they were celebrating Hogmanay together, Sheila shocked Irene when she told her she was pregnant.
But the real surprise came when Irene said: “Well, I’ve got news for you – I’m pregnant, too.”
Their children were born only a month apart.
And three years later they were both pregnant at the same time again.
“What a coincidence,” Irene said.
And the pair both have three children. Sheila is mum to Raymond, Sheila and Nicola, while Irene’s three children are Irene, Arlene and Beverly The sisters are also great grannies and it seems twins run in the family – as Irene is a great grandmother to a set of twin girls.
She added: “It’s just really uncanny.”
Arlene said: “My mum is unique, she was never old-fashioned. She was always a modern mum – even back then. There isn’t one bad photograph of her.”
However, even though Arlene thinks everyone in Irene’s life thinks of her mother as flamboyant and glamorous, her life wasn’t always a smooth walk through the rose garden.
She met her husband Thomas when she was only 15.
“I think I told him I was 16,” Irene giggled.
They had a great life together until tragedy struck.
Irene and Tommy flew to Seychelles to celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary. But after a week, Tommy, who had never been ill in his whole life, had a heart attack. Irene had to fly his body home so their family could say final goodbyes.
She said: “We would have celebrated our 64th anniversary this year.
“He was a lovely, lovely man. He was the life and soul of any party.”
“But that’s life and I’ve enjoyed life so much,” Irene concluded.