Blissfully bad behaviour

Hay Fever at Noel Coward Theatre“Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth.” Schopenhauer may have thought so, but I don’t, at least not when I’m dragged from the land of Nod by a commotion on the bed at 5.10 am.

I open my sticky eyes to find that what feels like a dog dancing on my head is indeed a dog dancing on my head. The tail wags—that’s a nice breeze. I suggest to the dog that he might calm down. When I say “I suggest”, I actually instruct the dog to go elsewhere with language that pious po-faces think a Clerk in Holy Orders should not know. The dog, impervious to any command that he dodge lorries on the A38, wins.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord” – not so. They remain sticky and gooey. I peel them open. I arise and go to my kettle and conjure forth the first of many “cups that cheer but not inebriate”.

As we accompany Og the dog to the canal for the morning constitutional, SWMBO asks if I see the pretty flowers. Then she looks at me. “No, I don’t suppose you do”. Everything is a blur. So is the screen as I type, even after antihistamines, salbutamol and whatever it is in the dark brown inhaler. Prickly eyes, prickly skin, and a feather tickling each side of my nose.

Oh bliss, dahling, summer is upon us.

“The flowering grasses will be reaching their peak during the warm weather this week.” What a joy. This, I suppose, is why wheat makes me feel prickly inside, why whiskey and I have a fraught relationship (thankfully), why cakes and buns are not good for me, though it’s kind of people to offer me them when I visit, as Vicars are wont to do. A couple of weeks ago I took one, had a crumb, then surreptitiously put the bun it in my pocket. Later that day when foraging for coins there was a shower of crumbs.

My reaction to corn, wheat and hay meant that going with my father into his flourmill or hen house was out of the question, any notion of following in his footsteps unthinkable. Playing among hay bales was an early introduction to the phenomenon of cause and effect. Funny, though, I kept doing it for a while. 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 sunny weather suits me best, but for now I enjoy the performance. If my immune system is alive, so must I be.

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