Author Paul Howard: ‘My brother found life hard … I hadn’t seen him for four years before he died’

When the pains started in his chest, Paul Howard felt sure it was his heart. He couldn’t breathe properly. He turned to his wife, Mary, and said: “I think this is serious.”

few hours later, just days before we meet, he was lying on a hospital trolley with a triage nurse hovering over him. “They asked me what kind of lifestyle I was leading. I said ‘dreadful’. And I thought, this is it now. That’s when I got the flash that I need to slow down. To listen to my body. But I know I won’t. I’ll be back to work tomorrow.”

The issue turned out to be something to do with gallstones rather than his heart, and while he can’t kick the work habit, the health situation has meant he’s currently off all fatty foods, including his drug of choice: cheese.

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