I DON’T understand it. I’ve never sat in a baronial hall eating venison and throwing bones to the hounds by the fire. I don’t drink port and I haven’t had six wives.
In fact, there is little I over-indulge in when it comes to rich food and mulled wines. I have no affiliations with rich living.
Give me a bag of cheese and onion and a pint of bitter and I’m happy.
So why do I think I’ve got gout in my big toe?
Yes, gout. That old man’s affliction.
What do you mean, I’m an old man?
Anyway, my big toe has given my gyp periodically over the last few months, making it difficult to get comfortable in bed. At times, even the duvet hurts.
But it’s not a constant or severe pain. It sneaks in like toothache, as if having a weekend away, and then leaves again on Monday to go and do some real work.
Then the other day I was in an art shop in the Corn Exchange in Leeds when the pain returned with a sudden surge that took me totally by surprise and left me clutching a framed picture of Natalie Wood as if I we were madly in love.
“I can’t walk,” I said to Maria. “The pain in my toe is awful.”
“If you don’t let go of Natalie Wood you’ll have a pain somewhere else,” she said.
Thankfully, the ache subsided and I relinquished my grip on Ms Wood and we were able to leave the store without having to buy her.
The pain has returned, once more, but for only a brief period. At other times, the pain lurks there, threateningly, and I can almost hear it smirking.
So I went for an opinion, like you do. Not to the doctor, who is far too busy to bother with a pain in the toe, but down at those other consulting rooms at the pub.
“It’s gout. Without doubt,” said Lord Honley, a man who has close affiliations to rich living.
“Oh, aye,” said Ian, a genuine sufferer, who has close affiliations with Guinness. “It sounds just like gout.”
But how did I get it? I mean, as far as I know, gout doesn’t run in our family. It doesn’t even limp in our family.
So I checked it out on the internet and found it is a form of arthritis that affects mostly men aged between 40 and 50, which made me quite
chuffed at getting a younger man’s disease at my age.
Food to avoid includes anchovies, herring, mackerels and other fish I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole; vegetables such as asparagus and lentils (which I don’t like anyway); kidney, liver, veal, turkey and venison. Apparently I should drink plenty of liquids, but not beer, stout or port.
Studies have shown that wine should not contribute to an attack of gout.
And cherries, cheese and celery seeds are said to be good as a prevention.
So I shall change my diet then.
Barman, a bag of cheese and celery crisps and a pint of Chardonnay, if you please. And put a cherry in it?