Sun sea sand

Sun sea sand

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's Spring in the UK: My Nose Says So

There have been some lovely sunshiny days here in the UK and flowers are in bloom. Aside from the obvious spectacle of colourful darling buds of May in well-designed flower beds and even sprouting from cracks in walls, I think the other hint that Spring is in the air is the fact that my sinuses are acting up.
I didn't realise this was happening earlier in the holiday as I gingerly touched the bridge of my nose and wondered what sized pimple could be causing this amount of pain. I didn't immediately think of sinuses or hay fever as I had no symptoms of sniffles, blocked nostrils or throbbing pain in any of the sinus regions. Just a slightly swollen nose, which was not even that obvious.
After a few days and no sign of a mega volcano pimple, I remembered that I had suffered a sinus blowup once before. That incident was – I think – accompanied by some other pain, which took me to the doctor. Thing is, I don't remember when this incident happened or what the weather conditions were like at the time (part of the adventures of a nomadic lifestyle, but that's another story), so I can't say with any authority that I am allergic to pollen. Just a bit funny that my sinuses are acting up at this time, unless I am allergic to the cold weather.
My family has intimate knowledge of hay fever, with the silence of the day punctuated by the (really) loud sneeze of a nose irritated by dust or changes in temperature. However, I had never noticed sensitivity to flowers on my part. Malaysia has no particular Spring season during which ad houses work overtime to attract allergy sufferers to their clients' products. In areas with four seasons, the time of frenetic bee activity and technicolour landscapes can be a complete misery to some.

I suppose the problem is so big that a kiddie story book on fairies my cousin Rozi bought for her daughter Aiesya even mentions one fairy school student who wants to be a flower fairy but can't because she suffers hay fever. (Happy ending though as the book's main character gives her fairy friend a hanky with a magic powder that clears up the hayfever. I wasn't reading the book... really. I was just looking at the pictures.)
Though there is no cure for hay fever, there are many suggested ways to reduce the symptoms, and I guess any kind of help is a godsend to people who dread the coming of Spring. Anyway, I didn't really give my nose much thought as the holiday proceeded as it wasn't bothering me that much, apart from hurting if I accidentally touched it. It wasn't even bad enough to seek medical treatment so I just enjoyed the wonderful colours of the English and Scottish countryside we drove through and sometimes stopped at to take pictures.

The pictures are: London's St James's Park (first four shots) where Carl and I walked through from The Mall to Buckingham Palace on our foot tour. Quite a nice park, though we did not really linger due it being a wet-ish, cold day and the fact that the little river/pond thing is being dredged or cleaned so there was not a lot of water for the ducks and other fowl to play in. Cute squirrels, though, one of which was just about friendly enough to come looking for food from an outstretched hand.

The two pictures below that are from the Pavilion Garden in Buxton, which is part of the Peak District (mostly of hills and caves, and where the Exeter Climbing Club went for a weekend of merriment and rock climbing all those years ago).

These last pictures are of the grounds at Haddon Hall, a manor house in Derbyshire dating back to the 12th century (with additions over the years). Cool place to go and have a look at what life could have been like in those and Tudor times (with a documentary shown inside). The award-winning garden features tulips in various (and unexpected) colours and a romantic rose plant growing up to a window which reminded me of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (it just does, even though the story has no mention of roses). There are also many wildflower meadows (left alone aside from some needing to be furrowed to loosen up the earth), which gave Carl the idea that he needn't bother to tend to the garden at his house in Portsmouth, and just label it a wildflower meadow.

Cool, I'd do that too, in Malaysia, and call it a lalang (weed) meadow.

And though I have no pictures of daffodils, I'll include here Wordsworth's poem, I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, because of the cheerful imagery of a fieldful of yellow flowers.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazedand gazedbut little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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