But time waits for no man and eventually it catches up with all of us. It starts with twinges in our backs, usually around 45 seconds after blowing out the last candle on our 40th birthday cake. Gradually the decay spreads to our knees and then our eyes begin to fail, as we gradually end up holding books and newspapers so far from our faces we eventually run out of arms and end up having to buy reading glasses.
And so it gets worse. And yet, oddly enough, if you’re willing to declare to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that you’re still fit to drive, you can carry on causing mayhem and havoc on the Queen’s Highway well into your 80s and 90s; or until the long arm of the law finally catches up with you once you’ve mown down a group of pedestrians waiting at a bus stop or flattened a couple of kids on a zebra crossing.
An example of this geriatric driving was reported in the weekend newspapers when an elderly lady driver clearly lost her basic motor skills and managed to drive her car over a cliff in spectacular fashion.
The disabled woman in her 80s had just had her car adapted from pedal to hand-operated controls. She obviously thought it would be a good idea to get in a bit of practice in before going out on the road. This she did by driving around the car park of the Cliffhanger Cafe, in Highcliffe, Dorset.
Now call me an old cynic, but I would have thought the words 'Cliffhanger' and 'Highcliffe' would have been a handy warning that the place might be less-than-ideal for practising driving a car fitted with completely new controls that you'd never used before.
The woman tried to pull into a disabled parking bay facing out to sea, but instead of coming to a stop, the car lunged forwards, crashed through a park bench, sailed through the air and toppled over the cliff’s edge, before rolling down a steep slope and eventually coming to a halt in a patch of gorse.
Miraculously the woman escaped unscathed and sustained only a few scratches from some brambles that scratched her as some passers by dragged her from the car. She was taken home to recover with a cup of tea, which was probably stirred almost as much as she was shaken.