Finally Spring has grudgingly given way to  what passes for Summer – mostly rain and wind with infrequent spells of tepid sunshine. This week, after a prolonged wait, the sun did finally manage to emerge for more than a few minutes. Women quickly rummaged in their wardrobes for summer dresses, men donned shorts, and a few optimistic souls fired up the barbeques.

Of course, the prolonged damp Spring and equally damp early Summer only put off the inevitable event which, once the sun started to shine, came along in its usual miserable fashion. Hayfever season. Urgh.

Like many I’m a hayfever sufferer, though not quite as bad as I was when I was younger. You’d think that the excess exposure to pollen I’ve been subjected to by living here in the countryside would somehow make me immune. Alas no. The culpret for me is grass pollen, and possibly hawthorn too. Some other people suffer when the oil seed rape is in flower (of which there is always plenty around here), others from early birch pollen (ditto) or any number of other plants.

The thing is, in the country you pretty much can’t get away from it. At haymaking time the clouds of dust and pollen rising from the fields to be wafted on the wind isn’t a cheerful sight when you’re reaching for a box of tissues to dab streaming eyes or you actually ache from sneezing so much.

On my worst days I use medication which I find lasts for two or three days (I try not to use it much, so seem to get a lot of mileage from it) but I do know some who struggle even whilst taking extra strong prescribed medication and they sit out their summers in perpetual misery when there is a high pollen count. Grim also for those poor kids sitting exams. As if exams in the summer weren’t bad enough, they coincide with pollen season too.

Today, though, the hayfever is gone. Yes, it’s Summer. But it’s raining again.

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