I HAD a bit of a shock the other day when I popped into the doctors’ surgery for a medical for a new role I am hopefully about to undertake.

The doctor introduced herself as someone who was in the same class at school as my third son!

I thought to myself: “Doctors are supposed to be old and wise, smelling of Old Bruno and mint imperials, wearing a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches, and full of homely saws and instances about wearing red flannel under your vest to keep the chill off your kidneys.

“They are not supposed to be young girls barely out of the sixth form …”

Then it hit me; it wasn’t she that was young, it was me that was old!

Although I like to think I am reasonably fit and well, if more than a little portly, for a man of 70 summers, I do have to concede that parts of me are wearing out with alarming speed.

I was in my late teens when my eyes started to go, and I had to go to the opticians for my first pair of glasses.

Before that, I had got by by poking my fingers in my eyes to compress the eyeballs, and pulling faces the Wallington Hall gargoyles would have been proud of to get a better squint at what I was trying to look at.

Reading menus at seaside rock stalls was a particular challenge, causing stall holders to rear back in horror at the gurning and grimacing goon in front of them.

My first pair of National Health glasses transformed me from rock star to geek, but I didn’t care as for the first time in a decade I could see where I was going, as the dull grey world sprang into crystal clarity.

The hearing was next to go, as decades of listening to records at full volume on the car radio took their toll on my tender ears.

I didn’t really notice at first how bad they were getting; it wasn’t until Mrs Hextol suggested that I turn the sound on the television up just a few notches more as they couldn’t quite follow Coronation Street three doors away.

I got by with discreet lip reading for years, as I was reluctant to try hearing aids, which in my experience were always associated with humiliations.

I was out at a posh lunch when there was a commotion at the next table, where a man was gently berating his elderly companion by declaring: “Mother, you’ve dropped your deaf aid in the minestrone!”

However, I eventually agreed to try out a pair which would have set me back £1,500 had I chosen to purchase them.

My hearing improved only marginally, possibly because the batteries lasted only about four hours, and bits kept falling off them.

I muddled on for another few years of aural fog before biting the bullet and getting a pair from the NHS for free.

They opened up a whole new world of taps sounding like a firehose at full pelt, birds singing with the power of Pavarotti and sausages sizzling like a white hot horseshoe being plunged into the farrier’s trough.

Being able to hear properly was wonderful beyond the telling of it, but there were of course drawbacks. The aids made the inside of my ears itch as though they had been zapped by a thousand blood thirsty midges each carrying a bunch of nettles.

It was unspeakable, unbearable agony, and I found myself unable to wear them for longer than a few minutes at a time,

After losing several pairs, I eventually got used to them and now I wouldn’t be without them.

The eyes and ears were the vanguard, but now the rest of the body is starting to follow suit.

If I kneel down, I can’t get up again without groaning like a Bulgarian weightlifter, as my hips and knees debate which one of them hurts the most.

My hands, particularly my thumbs, ache as though they have been repeatedly kicked by Ted Hastings’ wee donkey, and my teeth are starting to drop unbidden from my mouth.

However, while my poor worn out body is paying me back for seven decades of road accidents, falls, fights and other abuse, my mind is still holding out, and I can still tell you who won the FA Cup in every year from 1946 to 1990.

Just don’t expect me to get the names of all our seven grandchildren right at the first time of asking, once they are allowed to come calling again.