Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday, 28 June 2010

Allergic to Triffids

Today I have been truly blessed. Repeatedly. By all and sundry. Thanks to a bad bout of hay fever, I can’t stop sneezing, and every time, some kind soul says, “Bless you!” (which is frankly rather galling for an atheist).

Still, there’s no reason to take offence, although personally I favour, “Gesundheit!” instead. They mean well, even if they then put me in that dilemma of whether or not to thank them (that does upset some people, unaccountably).

There’s been a lot of speculation recently about the rapid increase in hay fever among adults. People who have previously never suffered so much as a sniffle in June are suddenly breaking out with the full eyes/nose/throat package. Sales of anti-histamines have gone through the roof, and those lucky people at Kleenex are rubbing their hands with glee, thanks to the mystery proliferation of the allergy.

My money’s on conifer hedges; newly fashionable back in the 70’s, in imitation of West Coast America, small saplings of newly-created hybrid varieties were merrily taken home by thousands of new owners to form hedges in newly-built housing estates.

And when they finally reached reproductive maturity, the genie was out of the bottle. They produce dense clouds of pollen designed to float for miles on the breeze and, as the years go by, increasing numbers in built-up areas get to an age to reproduce.

Something familiar about this? An artificial hybrid plant cultivated on a massive scale that, on maturity, unleashes an attack on its human creators? We’re straying worrying close to Triffid territory here.

These hybrid conifers may be merely a nuisance at present, but when next year’s predicted spectacular meteor shower arrives, I, for one, will be keeping my eyes firmly shut.

Meanwhile, Ray Davies says it best....


  1. Off triffid topic, Macheath - thank you, I will be in contact with the poster re - the 51st Reel.

  2. Indeed the pollen is heavy this year and the sort of plant that produce it are more in evidence. There is another factor that has arisen in only the last few years which is the scale and nature of air pollution at present. I think we both know why.