When I started at the Pretoria News in early 1976, I was literally “fresh off the boat”, having immigrated from the UK. I took a short maternity leave break in 1981 and went back in 1982.

Back in the old days, the newspaper was printed in the basement of the premises of 216 Madiba Street. Coming from a small town, it was an exciting experience for me to see a real city newspaper being printed; the rumble of the press below the offices, in the basement and the smell of lead and ink wafting up the stairwell.

We typed on manual typewriters using carbon paper (who remembers that?) between sheets of paper.

It was a scary day when we were updated to electric typewriters with daisy wheels - how were we ever going to learn how to operate one of these new fangled machines?

Then came electronic typewriters - even more scary.

When the newspaper converted to new technology we had to learn to work with computers.

Those who worked at the Pretoria News in those days I think would agree that technology progressed in leaps and bounds and we just had to keep up.

Some of my most outstanding memories from my life at the ’News was when President Nelson Mandela paid us a visit at the office, and greeting everyone of us with his cheerful, laughing demeanour; and when, during many centenary celebrations in 1998, we managed to pack Loftus Versfeld to capacity when we staged an elaborate fireworks show and other entertainment, and it seemed like the whole of Pretoria turned out for it.

The Proms concerts I produced for 10 years at the State Theatre must be more of my fondest memories.

When asked what do I miss, now that I’ve retired, I always answer “the camaraderie we used to enjoy, even when working to harsh deadlines, but more than that, I miss the interaction with all the readers I had the pleasure of meeting, some just once, many often, and some with whom I still keep contact”.

I wish the staff - particularly the editor (and my best friend), Val Boje, those who know me, and some who have joined since I’ve been gone, a happy birthday.

And here’s to another 120!