Both Mrs Loadofoldstodge and I suffer from hay fever. The last few days have been increasingly difficult for us with blocked noses, frequent sneezing and streaming eyes. Now, I only started suffering in my twenties and the effects have been with me ever since.
I call what I suffer from "hayfever" but it isn't, at least not in the conventional sense. I believe I suffer from an allergic reaction to the interaction of some grass pollens and pollution-related particulates in the atmosphere. The effects are worse on hot, still days when the sun is shining. It may not be like the smogs of the 1950s but the pollution in our country has got much worse in recent times. Recorded cases of asthma among children have risen sharply and if you can ever get to a really remote place, such as Carter Bar or the far west of Cornwall, you will be able to see the pall of petro-chemical pollution that blankets much of our nation. That grey muck is what we breathe all day every day.
The next prolonged heatwave is very likely to see an increase in people suffering acute breathing difficulties or chest pains. Even the coast does not escape - I find I have to be at the water's edge before I find relief. Whether the future is nuclear or solar/wind or some other power-generating medium I don't know but the passing of coal and oil will at least offer the possibility of cleaner air.
Meanwhile, I go on sniffing and sneezing and paying, if you'll pardon the pun, through the nose for hayfever tablets. I hope for a week of cool rain - wasn't the Bank Holiday wonderful :) but I fear the heat.
A 10-day heatwave in London with daytime temperatures of over 32c is likely to cause hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths among the old and the very young. Are we prepared ? Are local authorities prepared ? Is Government prepared ?