I've been bearded for 2 and a half years now, and Mum wasn't so complimentary back in 2006. This is just one of those plausible comments that Mum makes which disguise her lack of any true memory.
I hand her a large Easter Egg and notice fresh flowers in the room. She tells me that she has no idea where they came from. After a few exchanges, we fall into a conversation about the telephone and how she's just not using it (I haven't seen any billed calls for a good 10 months now). I ask her if there's anyone she'd like me to ring and I'm unsurprised to hear her nominate her Cousin. I dial the number and get through and am astonished to hear that the Cousin visited Mum only last week (so that's where the flowers came from). It's really great to hear that another family member has visited Mum. Before I hand over the phone I get to hear all about how well Mum looked and how lovely the building and facilities are.
After the call, Mum announces that she'd really like a boyfriend, though she's unsure that a suitable candidate is going to turn up any time soon. I tell her that I feel exactly the same way, and she stuns me by asking me 4 times in the next 10 minutes if I've met a nice girl recently. I'm trying not to correct her these days but just work with her reality, so I find myself making the sort of throw-away excuses I had to make to relatives all through my teens and twenties.