A fit middle age is bit of a stretch

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When you have a birthday in your late 40s and you are lucky enough to still get presents, they sound like a stock-take of the theme tune to Only Fools And Horses.

David Bowie LPs - and all that’s missing are some Trevor Francis tracksuits from a mush in Shepherd’s Bush.

Yours truly had a birthday this week and to be honest I hadn’t banked on ever living this long. When you’re in your 20s, you never think the day will come when you have to give up doing the things you love because your body’s too knackered.

Knees like rusty hinges and spinal degeneration from playing sport most days since the early 1980s mean football is over.

Thanks to an expensive but successful 10-month course of sessions with the world’s greatest physiotherapist, the back is fine but sadly dreams of leading Jose’s boys out at Old Trafford will never be fulfilled.

The physio taught me a load of painful but necessary stretches. When you’re of a certain age and your wife walks in on you while you’re lying on the floor making groaning noises, get ready for the screams because she thinks you’ve had a stroke and are dying.

Children are little or no help either. One stretch involves lying flat out, pushing up on your arms while sinking your pelvis into the floor. Daughter #2, who spends somewhere between 16 and 20 hours a week at dance school, saw me stretching last week and said: “We do that stretch at dance, but when we do it we touch the back of our head with our toes”. Sorry, this isn’t the Moscow State Circus, that’s not happening here.

Ladies may be able to back me up here but it’s never a good idea to pick things up in shops near your birthday when members of your family are around.

It’s a bit like scratching an eyebrow at an auction on Homes Under The Hammer, one twitch and you’ve accidentally bought a run-down semi-detached house on the outskirts of Stoke for £93,000.

Which is how I came to unwrap a lovely pan that makes perfect poached eggs, after I picked one up and looked at it in Dunelm Mill last week. To be fair, it is a beauty.