AS poppies spilled forth everywhere, preparations well underway for last September's commemoration of the end of the First World War, I spoke to school pupils taking part in a service to mark the centenary.

The thought of 100 years boggled them. It was such a stretched space of time that they could not quite compute it, never mind think back further to 104 years ago, the year the war began.

Early in 1914 the world's first scheduled passenger airline service takes off, the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, a short-lived endeavour but one that paved the way for our current commercial aviation industry.

Charlie Chaplin makes his film debut and green beer is invented in New York to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

The Empress of Ireland sinks near the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River. The ocean liner had been built at Govan's Fairfield shipyards, on the Clyde, and, in the aftermath of the Titanic sinking two years earlier, was well equipped with lifeboats. Still, 1,012 souls were lost.

The news of that year, of course, was overshadowed by the assassination in the June of 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and all that came after.

It may be hardest for young people, having only ticked off one decade and a bit, but it's no easy feat for anyone to imagine life more than 100 years ago.

I though, as I boasted to the teenage pupils, knew someone who had experienced life across 10 decades, who was a teenager in the 1920s before such things as teenagers had been invented.

My Granny Porteous was born in the same month Archduke Ferdinand was shot and she died last week on September 11, 2019.

An astonishing 105 years old.

Granny P would not have called herself astonishing. She would not have been so boastful. She was the kindest of women, never, ever to be heard saying a bad word about anyone.

On reaching the grand milestone of 100 the sure question is "What's your secret?" Some centenarians will tell you they like a wee dram a day, others swear by clean living.

Ever honest, on her 100th birthday May Porteous said she had no secret other than "pure good luck." There was a caveat, though, "walking everywhere and staying active" was added to the mix.

On her 105th birthday, Granny Porteous was put to work accompanying her family on the piano as they sang her Happy Birthday. That was another remarkable thing, that at 105 she was still playing the piano, all the music stored in her head and performed with apologies that her fingers were not what they were.

Upwards of 100, it's quite fine for knuckles to not behave themselves so well.

Granny Porteous married Tom in 1942, a union that lead to four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. A piano and singing teacher, she gave up work to care for Tom until his death in 1982.

As well as music, church played a central role in her life, very rarely was Sunday service missed. When she was young she sang in the choir of Wellington Church, in Glasgow's Hillhead, taking two trams - even during the blackouts - to make sure she attended.

It was a good, decent, generous life full of love for her family.

In the deep sadness at losing Granny P is the loss of that generation of our family, the last of our grandparents. My cousins will back me up on this, I'm sure: our grans were the benchmark of classic grandmotherliness.

On her 100th birthday, in these pages, I lamented that proper grannies are about to go extinct.

At the loss of one more I reflected on that again. The grans I grew up with all, as a matter of course, had the skills we now reserve as kitsch or hipsterish. That my peers consider ironic to learn. My grans could knit, darn and sew .

As standard, they could take a pattern and make a dress just as readily as going to the shops. Disposable fashion? No, not after all that effort and certainly not that level of waste - they lived through rationing, you know.

Cooking for young women fell out of favour as anti-feminist but these grans could cook and bake, with recipes written on paper, and they would comfort you with food.

Any time I visited Granny P the tea and biscuits would be on bone china and cups would rest on saucers. Will a generation of women ever have close cropped perms again? Will they wear pleated skirts, never slacks, on principle?

I can tell you now that people are very kind to crying strangers. I had hopped in a taxi, full of beans, only to be quietly sniffling minutes later as the news of Granny P's death came in by phone.

"Granny Porteous has died," I blubbered at the poor driver. He reached forward, reverentially, to switch off the radio so there might be a respectful silence.

I pulled myself together enough to chair a children's hearing - "You are a grown woman!" - but, later that morning in a coffee shop, the question "Small or large cappuccino?" was too much and the kind barista offered me a wee seat in the staffroom as my chin wobbled.

As the news sunk in I thought of how, as well as her loving presence, her memories will be missed. All that history, the personal and the societal.

Will my generation become used to living to 105, I wonder? Super old age is becoming more common. The latest figures show that in 2015 there were 850 people reaching the age of 105, up from 130 in 1985. Will my cousins and I see the world in 2075? Or 2085? 2095? I can't imagine it.

On the return journey from the school where we'd held the hearing, I told a second taxi driver about Granny P. About how she had adored her children and grandchildren and how she had made even those who weren't blood relatives feel like kin.

"How old was she?" the driver asked, agog at the answer of 105. He mulled over how many milestones her life had spanned: two world wars, the moon landings, the national grid bringing electricity into homes. We sat for a while in silence thinking of this arc of history.

"105," he said as I was stepping out. And then he applauded. Quite right. May Porteous's was a life deserving of applause.