TODAY I reach a milestone I never seriously expected to get to, after a lifetime spent reeling from a series of mishaps catastrophes and other disasters

Unless another bolt from the blue bowls me over between the time of writing and publication day, I should be celebrating my three score years and ten on Planet Earth this very day.

And I have hit 70 with most of my faculties reasonably intact, if a little tattered round the edges.

I am still fairly fit, in mind as well as body, and can still run around with the grandchildren without getting too seriously out of puff.

When my parents and grandparents hit 70, they seemed positively antediluvian, doddery of step, wheezy of breath and cantankerous of manner.

The grandparents had lived through two world wars, while my parents had both fought in one of them, so they could be forgiven for being somewhat old before their time.

I could not see any of them besporting themselves in shorts, riding a bike or taking bracing bobble hatted hikes like I do.

Yet it all could have been so different, had things not turned out so well in a few incidents on my trip through seven decades which saw two monarchs, 15 prime ministers and four league championships for Manchester City.

It could all have ended when I was 10, when I walked into the path of a heavily laden coal lorry while trying to take a steepling catch in a game of street cricket.

Luckily, the driver swerved, catching me only a glancing blow before ploughing on to take out an electricity pylon which plunged our estate into the dark ages for weeks.

I escaped with only a slight bruise, but a year later, I was trying out the new bike I received for passing the 11+ to go to grammar school.

The local vicar was pulling out of our road end, so I put my trust in The Lord and followed him - and was knocked many feet into the air by an RAC patrolman’s motorbike and sidecar.

I went up so high I could see over the top of the hedges of all the posh houses at the bottom of the street, and remember thinking: “My dad will kill me for wrecking my new bike if this accident doesn’t."

Again though I suffered only minor injuries, and survived to go to grammar school, where I almost died playing my first game of rugby.

Being a little stout lad, I was put in the front row of the scrum when we played a side from somewhere out on the Wirral.

It was a wet day, and when a scrum collapsed, I found myself face down in the mud, with 15 other lads sitting on my head.

My nostrils and mouth were flooded and my lungs bursting, and I really thought I was going to die until friend and foe gradually peeled themselves off and air returned to my system.

When I started work, I bought a motorbike and had several minor scrapes before being smacked amidships by a sports car driver trying to get into a gap which wasn’t there.

I was knocked even higher than I had been on my pushbike, sailing higher than the tree tops, with ample time to think: “This is really going to hurt when I hit the ground.”

It did, and I completed my journey in a blue light ambulance, but apart from a few cuts and bruises I was fine, and not even kept in hospital.

Some years later, I was in a passenger in a rally car which was struck by another competitor at a combined speed estimated at 140mph.

My unconscious body was cut out of the wreckage, and woke up in another blue light ambulance wondering where I was.

Remarkably there was no lasting damage and I was only kept in hospital overnight for observation.

Over the next 40 years I lurched from three emergency landings in aircraft to a dangle over a 3,000 foot drop down a mountain, without any ill effects before reaching the age of 67 and suffering a stroke.

I thought my luck had finally run out when I found I couldn’t speak properly, and envisaged a future swathed in a tartan blanket in a wheelchair while a patient nurse spooned gruel into my drooling mouth.

Yet again though I was out of hospital in less than 12 hours, and have made a full recovery.

Isn’t life great!