Gout gags are not funny for sufferers | Brief letters

Quads, courts and Englishmen | Maggots in medicine | Gout | Compostable packaging | Glass half full | Guardian readers’ longevity

In his review of Michael Peppiatt’s The Existential Englishman: Paris Among the Artists (Review, 12 January), Steven Poole states that “an Englishman ought to know that Cambridge does not have quadrangles (they are courts)”. I didn’t know that. But then perhaps I’m not the type of Englishman Steven Poole has in mind.
Michael Coverson

• When I was nursing in Manchester in 1956, we successfully treated a patient with severe osteomyelitis with maggots, revealing a nice white femur (Maggots to be sent as aid to help heal Syrians’ war wounds, 11 January). He was soon walking with crutches and discharged home.
Enid Braddock
Horbury, West Yorkshire

• I have had gout in the past 12 months and believe me there is absolutely nothing funny about it (Pass notes, G2, 7 January). It is excruciatingly painful. Who thinks it amusing to mock gout sufferers?
Dr Angela Gunning
Guildford, Surrey

• Well done on your new compostable wrap. No longer need I be troubled about unwrapping my plastic-enveloped Guardian. Your recyclable wrapper will now serve double duty in containing my food waste. Congratulations and thanks.
Phil Hoby
Hayes, London

• There used to be a saying at the BBC (Letters, 11 and 12 January): the producer says the glass is half full; the engineer says it is half empty; the accountant says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
John Prescott Thomas

• With my glass almost full, I am aiming for longevity (Letters, 11 January) by writing regularly to the Guardian and doing its sudoku and crosswords.
Elizabeth Dunnett (a mere 80)
Malvern, Worcestershire

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