We had scarcely witnessed ample blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers ahead of we had been informed that a perfect sneeze-storm of hay fever is getting stirred up by exuberant catkins. A touch of spring has manufactured hay with the flowering organs of hazels and alders, which waft blizzards of microscopic pollen into the breeze. After the alders have calmed down, the birches will be obtaining up steam, exploding their unseen particles in direction of a million delicate nostrils. Hence the British sporting season is dogged by a series of floral blitzes: plane trees for Badminton, lime trees for Wimbledon and grasses for Henley. There won’t even be a weekend off for the Derby, if newcomers like oilseed rape waft powdery irritants on cue. For 4 fifths of the country, these are idle tears and sniffles. For a large minority, rain and shine conspire to make indoors a refuge on a spring day not to be sneezed at.