THE OLD MAN AND THE KNEE. Little, Brown, 2017.

Although in my seventies, I am convinced I am not old.  Not yet, anyway.  I play golf, I walk the dog, and no one ever stands up for me on crowded buses and Tubes.  I have all my own teeth and hair, and I do not require a hearing aid - despite what my wife may tell you to the contrary.  I am, in short, enjoying late middle age and making the best of it while I still can.

Older people are always being encouraged to take up fresh hobbies.  Might a local choir welcome one's reedy tenor, perhaps?  Could one acquire a sudden taste for Tchaikovsky and tutus, or for swanning Helenically round the ancient world?

Discover a whole new meaning of the word 'trump' at the bridge table? Or a nose for a nag at Newbury and Newton Abbot?

More to the point, how does one know when one is old? Does old age creep up slowly or arrive out of the blue like an outsize pigeon dropping? Will one be able to summon up some half decent last words, and what should they be?  Witty like Oscar Wilde's about the wallpaper, or helpful like the Ist Lord Grimthorpe's 'We're low on marmalade'?

No one likes the idea of growing old, but this cheerful guide to life in the last lane might persuade other late-middle-agers that they have more to look forward to than they might imagine.