The angry red bloodshot splodge changes from one eye to the other in the matter of hours, reminding me that whilst Spring has sprung in Switzerland, I am allergic to all of it.
Hayfever never troubled me in Australia, except for the three years that nasal polyps blocked each and every sinus drainage point. This occurred during the bad old workaholic days, and my team reckoned that they knew when I was in my office (not directly visible to them) because of the window-rattling, endlessly honking nose blows. Managerial mucus, if you will. Thankfully, surgery occurred, scraping the inside of my face clean and then feeling the sheer relief of being able to speak without the other person looking at me with pity and inevitably asking, "Do you have a cold?"
Here, however, I'm chalking it down to a different hemisphere, different time zone, different season and different flora (and possibly fauna. Who knows what those pesky woodpeckers and squirrels do up in the trees when we're not looking). It still seems incredible to me that bulbs can emerge when covered in thick snow and ice only six weeks earlier and trees switch from bare to bursting with blossom when my back is turned for a mere moment.
Nasal spray and tablets do help slightly and are well-earned after my attempts to act out 'hayfever' to the non-English speaking girl at the chemist. However my walk with Milly in the mornings still results in sneezing a dozen times in a row with the air suction generated then causing every third one to be punctuated by a robust fart, pushing and shoving my body around like a disoriented set of blonde bagpipes. Three steps back and a big one forward, thanks to the butt trumpet fighting the good fight on behalf of my itchy throat, streaming eyes and torturously tickly nose.
Milly also sneezes more than usual, but hers occur out in front of our apartment door in the marble-lined foyer by the lift doors. "Ah-yeeeee! Ah-yeeeeee! Ah-yeeeeee!" reverberates down the hallway, in direct contravention of the Swiss-enforced 'no unnecessary noise before 8am on weekdays' rule. If either of our neighbours opened their door to complain, they'd be presented with Milly's first real stretch of the day - head resting on her front paws as the rump is lifted towards them to expose a pencil sharpener arse already dilated and ready to discharge a poo in the park.
Outside and soon unencumbered by excrement exertion, she's as happy as the unknown-but-obviously-always-joyous-and-oft-referred-to Larry, scooting madly between the rows of daffodils, her paws flicking dew drops up against her belly.
This time last year she scooted in the rows of daffs, mouth open like a mobile hungry hippo as she avidly devoured the yellow petals. This year she's either forgotten the joys of wanton destruction or has outgrown the taste. I dawdle along behind, pausing every now and then to honk into my hanky, rub the reddest eye and do an exaggerated swallow in order to ease my throat.
It's all worth it.