Visitors in chez Pickles at the weekend. Always a pleasure – especially when they’re of the much-loved, too seldom seen variety.

One, a friend of 50 years standing, brought wine and gossip. He had news of old chums, with tittle-tattle from some of their funerals and hospital stays... we’re getting towards that age now.

The other was my brother. He was bursting with family updates, pictures of his grandchildren, welcome reminiscences of our silly youth. Both arrived surprisingly early.

“I decided to take the scenic route,” the bro said, beaming.

“There’s no other kind, when leaving west Yorkshire for Cumbria,” I gushed, proud of our landscapes and grateful for autumn sunshine to make the most of them.

“Right enough. But that A66 is great. You can really put your foot down. Perfect for this car. It does the engine good to open up a bit – or a lot. I got up to...”

Keeping his secret is essential. I’d really rather he didn’t do time before his granddaughter’s first birthday.

“Whoa!” I said, with big sisterly concern and caution. “Bad move. It’s a deceptive road. People die on it. I’d have warned you before, had I known you were driving up that way.”

He rolled his eyes. The way men do when they believe they know better.

Ian (the friend) wasn’t listening to me. The way men don’t when together they outnumber a woman trying to get a word in.

“Is that right? I might take that route back. Although I do like a bit of a shop at Tebay Services on the way home. They do a smashing rolled, stuffed pork loin in the farm shop and...”

As will have been gathered, neither of these two loved ones is in what could be considered the first – nor second – flush of boy-racerhood. By no stretch of imagination could they be mistaken for youthful risk-takers blessed with delusions of immortality. Apart from in their own heads, perhaps.

Which sort of set me to wondering why we instinctively assume all bad drivers are young drivers.

“I’m a good driver!” my brother insisted with pride. “And I’m always safe.”

Together they had a man-laugh at my fussy-old-lady ways and we wandered down to the local for a pint or three.

Their conspiratorial chumming-up didn’t stop my train of thought though. Could it be that women get menopause and men get faster cars? Are midlife changes kind of the same – only different. Do we all go just a bit loopy and stay that way in varying degrees?

Spending a few days in the Lakes and Dales with a friend earlier this year, we both had a similar feeling about the guys in leathers we encountered on our travels.

“Remember when you were young and your mother warned you, with threats of a month’s grounding, to stay well clear of lads with leather jackets and big motorbikes?” she mused.

“I do,” I said. “We even had an argument about a boyfriend with a Vespa. Now they’re nearly all...”

“Around 70?”

They were. Perfectly safe, I’m sure, as they rode between pit-stops (aka tea bars and toilet stops) on open roads. But not kids. Not edgy easy-riders. Not by a long way.

Fussing suspended, I got stuck into pleasanter catch-up stuff with the overnighters.

“Busy week ahead?” I asked my brother.

“Yeah. Dentist, dog to the vets, birthday celebration meal out, some babysitting – oh and a speed awareness course on Thursday.”

The irony.

“And you’ve boasted you drove at that eyewatering speed on the A66?”

He smiled the sheepish grin I remembered from when he was eight-years-old. He might even have coloured up a bit.

“Aye – but I was aware of it.”

For now, I’m thankful neither has progressed to Harley-Davidsons. There’s time though.

Trying hard not to cluck on like a mother hen, I eventually waved them both off with: “Take it steady, slow down – and let me know you’ve arrived safely.”

“Give up. We’re not kids,” my brother said, giving me a hug.

That penny might finally drop on the speed awareness course. It did for me, on mine.