So, looking like Quasimodo, I made my way in turn across Arnhem, Roosendaal, Antwerp, Brussels South, St Pancras and Paddington stations. Changing trains when you have gout is quite laborious. Especially when you are trying to get to the designated smoking area at the far end of the platform at Roosendaal, while at the same time looking for change to use one of the two, self-cleaning, toilets on the station.
I wore white trainers for the journey, and I received quite a few raised eyebrows when I crossed the Belgian border; the Belgians are much more attuned to fashion than the Dutch. In England they actually stared at my feet; the English always check your shoes.
So what made Arnold forget, just for a moment, about his gout and a terminally ill mother?