Given she was an intelligence decoder, ate a sheep's eye with Kuwait's future leader and mastered the Arabic language, it's ironic that Tauranga centenarian Margaret Lambourn's advice to achieve longevity is "moderation".
"Don't do anything to the extreme - always live in moderation," she tells the Bay of Plenty Times , a lamp decorated with Egyptian letters and artwork sitting on the table beside her armchair.
The once-intrepid adventurer has experienced her fair share of adventure and will quietly celebrate her 104th birthday today with her son, Michael.
The youngest of nine children, she was born near Leeds in West Yorkshire, England in 1915. She studied to be a nurse and she met her future husband Alan while working at Royal Berkshire Hospital in 1937.
She was caring for his friend when he came to visit and subtly meet the "smashing staff nurse".
Their romance quickly blossomed and Alan sent her a letter every day until they were married nine months later.
"There would be no post on Sunday so I'd always get two letters on Monday," she chuckles.
In 1938, Alan gained a job as the army's chief engineer in Egypt and the couple jumped aboard a ship to Port Said.
She worked as an intelligence decoder for the Royal Air Force before she was ordered to evacuate, along with the other wives, to protect them during World War II.
She initially refused, only leaving after she was forcibly expelled.
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"I ended up being given 12 hours to leave the country," she said.
So off she went, pregnant and alone aside from the company of her pet dog, to a new country in the midst of war.
She would not see Alan for another three years.
She arrived in South Africa on Christmas Eve in 1941 where she soon gave birth to her daughter Susie.
The couple reunited and moved back to England, where her second son Michael was born in 1945.
The family didn't settle there for long and in 1950 they boarded a plane to Kuwait after Alan picked up a job as the chief architect for Kuwait Oil Company.
Margaret busied herself learning Arabic in her new home.
"I had a natural aptitude for languages. The English Government offered us £25 for each test we passed," she said.
She would hold dinners for esteemed guests, which led to her entertaining the future leader of Kuwait, Shaikh Sir Ahmad al Jaber al Subah.
The couple went to his beach house for dinner and she sat next to him, which was highly unusual for a woman.
As a mark of respect, the future ruler offered her the sheep's eye from the meal. She swallowed it whole in one gulp.
He returned the visit by coming to a Christmas dinner.
"He came in all of his robes and when he arrived, he reached into his pocket and pulled out three gold watches, one for each of the children and Alan."
He gave her a necklace made of 21 gold sovereigns engraved with her birth year.
In the early 1970s, the family moved to New Zealand and settled in Kerikeri where she began making wine and formed the local Meals on Wheels organisation.
In 1989, Alan and Margaret made the move to Tauranga's Metlifecare Greenwood Park Retirement Village, where she continued to reside after Alan died in 2002.
She became a skilled bowls player, winning the Bowls Triple Tournament winner at the age of 99.
The adventurer sums up her thoughts on her milestone succinctly: "I may be old but I'm grateful to have all of my marbles" she said, through a smile.