Although not as prevalent in the UK as in the past, gout still affects some 70,000 pensioners every year, almost 90% of whom are male.

Early indications of the condition include reddening of the nose, wearing peau de soie waistcoats, buying a buttonback foot-stool and trying to speak like Donald Sinden.  Left untreated, it eventually causes significant and painful swelling of the hallux (big toe) and can spread to poultry and wheat via the larvae of the gout fly which normally hibernates in shalloon socks and fingerless zibeline mittens.

To alleviate the pain, special dahl-lined toe cosies can be obtained on prescription and the swelling may also be reduced by the application of weak infusions of bishopweed or garlic mayonnaise.

Retired tilers may also suffer from the related condition, grout, which can usually be treated successfully by repointing.