The sun is shining. It’s very warm even at 7.30 am. Og the dog and his minders are on their way to Togher woods for their morning constitutional. The woody fragrances are overlaid by those of bovine ordure, not unpleasant. SWMBO asks if I see the pretty flowers. Then she looks at me. Eyes running, nose streaming, chest heaving to force breaths in and out. ‘No, I suppose you don’t’. She’s right. Everything is a blur. So is the screen as I type, now an hour after we’re back, and after antihistamines, salbutamol and whatever it is that’s in the dark brown inhaler. Prickly eyes, prickly skin, it feels as if there’s a wire brush down my trachea. Oh bliss, summer is upon us.
Here is an extract for today from http://www.met.ie/: ‘Grass pollen affects up to about 95% of hay fever sufferers. The early-flowering grasses will be reaching their peak during the warm weather this week.’ What a joy. This, I suppose, is why bread makes me feel prickly inside, why whiskey and I have a fraught relationship (thankfully), why cakes and buns are not good for me. It’s kind of people to offer me them when I visit. A couple of weeks ago I took one, had a bite, then surreptitiously put the bun it in my pocket. Later that day when I was foraging for coins to pay the M7 toll I forgot about the bun so there was a shower of crumbs all over the front passenger seat. Still there I think.
My childhood in agricultural Cumberland was blighted by corn, wheat and hay. Going with my father into his flour mill was just not on, any notion of following in his footsteps unthinkable. Playing among hay bales soon demonstrated the law of cause and effect. Funny, though, I kept doing it. Wasn’t it Einstein who said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? I knew there was a reason why cold and sunny weather suits me best.