GENERALLY speaking, we do not approve of stunts.

I use the royal "we" to give myself an authority denied by nature. But you know who I mean and how many of us there are.

Now, if you would all (assuming there's more than one of you) shut up a minute, we, singular, will get to the point.

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My starting point is the stunt. I say stunt singular, because I'm referring to one in particular by former US President George Bush, of whom alas there are two, but I'm referring to the senior one and not the singularly peculiar Dubya one. Bush Snr celebrated his 90th birthday by making a parachute jump from an aeroplane. Way to go (down obviously).

It was actually the eighth jump he'd made in his life, the first being when his plane was shot down over the Pacific in the Second World War. But to do so at 90 was impressive. Which brings me — muted yay — to my point. To wit, you must stay active when you're older.

My generation — still only in our fifties — is going to go on for ever, because we've been working out, jogging (regrettably) and generally behaving like children, except that we don't sit around all day playing on the X-Box.

It might be irritating, but the key to keeping healthy in your mind is keeping healthy in your body.

Doesn't work vice-versa, alas. If you keep your nose in a book perpetually you'll get varicose veins of the head and die, if I might speak with medical imprecision.

Physical exercise fires up stacks of wood in your brain, the flames of which benefit your wellbeing and wider health.

You say: "Jumping with a parachute is hardly exercise. You just hang there like a pillock till hitting the deck."

That is a good point well made. But the better point is that at least Bush Snr is doing something.

He's proving that he's still alive and kicking.

Kicking: that's another one. Go kick something: a ball, a pad, a habit.

Bush père et fils weren't everybody's cup of tea politically, and I'm sure there are some folk who would have liked to shove them out of a plane without parachutes.

But it's churlish to deny an old man his pleasures.

In the past these would have consisted entirely of a pipe and a jaunty cloth cap.

Today, it's jumping out of aeroplanes, which is a singularly marvellous feat.