WHEN WE WERE FIFTY.  Decorations by David Eccles.  John Murray, 2007.

These days we feel almost as young at fifty as we did at thirty – give or take the odd twinge.  However, we are also becoming increasingly aware that the cradle is a lot further off than the grave.

Is this the moment to start shaking things up a bit?  The last chance to realize those long-cherished dreams?  To chuck in the humdrum job and strike out? To set the pulse racing with a view earthwards from a hang-glider, perhaps, or over the handlebars of a Harley Davidson?

Is this when you make it at last on to the main board?  Or become the Gauguin de nos jours?  Start a new life in Goa with Lindy from Personnel – or possibly Trevor from Accounts?  Or just look forward to grandparenthood?

Already well-known as the bard of the over-sixties, Christopher Matthew now reverses through time to take a hard look at the hopes and fears of those who are still in the prime of life – just.

The result is a brilliant collection of verses – inspired once again by A.A.Milne – mostly comic, some subversive, some touching, that should hit the spot for those who have reached their half centuries, or soon will, or can remember what it was like when they did.