Blain vs Grass. Pollen Wins.

Forget Covid. Hay Fever is the immediate threat. And it’s whapped me.

Blain’s Morning Porridge – June 23 2022: Blain vs Grass. Pollen Wins.

“The pollen count? That’s a difficult job. Especially if you’ve got hay fever..”.

This morning – Forget Covid. Hay Fever is the immediate threat. And it’s whapped me.

I had Covid. It was a very mild, barely noticeable, flue that triggered two lines on the test, and lasted a few days. I was very lucky. Not so the very many people who caught the earlier more virulent version of the disease, or are still suffering – as some friends are – with Long Covid.

This morning.. I feel properly crap. I have something that feels much, much more immediate and debilitating. Hay Fever – seasonal allergic rhintitis.

I used to get it every year – when I was living in London and cycling everywhere. Ever since I moved to the South Coast and spend more of my free time sailing, paddling and recently, swimming, I’ve not had it for a long while. I’m thinking I might have triggered this outbreak driving home from London with the roof open after a homing pigeon missile took out the car air-con on Tuesday…

How very dare these trees, grasses, flowers, weeds and shrubs release pollen, which my body thinks is a virus, thus ruining my day? Can’t we just concrete the countryside over..?

Well maybe not. But, what we could do is think more about how to address our allergies to pollens? Something has changed – plants have been producing pollen since year dot. A healthy, diverse environment will produce lots of pollens. But Hay Fever was unknown 200 years ago when society was largely agrarian.

So maybe it’s something we’ve changed/broken – like pesticides, car exhausts or something else.. Some think its because we are too obsessive about hygiene, while others cite over-use of anti-biotics. Even worse; chocolate and alcohol make it worse!

The fact is we just don’t know why Hay Fever is such a pain. What we do know is it can occur in anyone at any time in their lives – I didn’t get it until my 30s.

This morning my throat aches, there is a river pouring down my nose, I can’t stop sneezing, I’ve a sinus pressure headache.. and I’m as grumpy as a Russian on a particularly grumpy morning. Nearly 10% of the UK population new suffer – a number which has doubled in less than 20 years.. Another 20% get symptoms.

My main problem with hay-fever is brain fog.

I’ve taken so many anti-histamines yesterday and this morning my mind thinks it works for British Rail and essentially has stopped working. So much as I would love to write a morning porridge this morning and comment on:

  • The Threat of mild recession in the US
  • The Threat of a devasting recession in Europe and the prospects for the ECB avoiding a concurrent debt meltdown
  • Bond Market liquidity
  • Why railways matter for the UK
  • The coming collapse in oil prices – yes, that was on mind!
  • Good Tech vs Bad Tech
  • China vs China

These are all going to have to wait..

I’m going back to bed to try to sleep this off. The anti-histamine is screaming: Sleep, sleep, sleep..

But… but, and but again.. I’ve race boat to get ready for Saturday morning… Ah, to be far away from dry land its bitter pollen memories…

On Saturday 25th June I shall be racing in the world-famous Round The Island Yacht Race on behalf of Walking With The Wounded.

It will be a day spent navigating my yacht, Batfish 5, around The Isle of Wight in Southern England in the company of some 1100 other boats.

I’ve put together a crew of colleagues from Shard Capital and experienced sailors for the day. While it should be great fun, the aim is to put a couple of thousand pounds in the pocket of the charity to support wounded members of the UK’s Armed Forces.

Please visit: if you care to support this deserving charity by making a donation.

Thanks, and apologies for no proper comment.

Bill Blain

Strategist – Shard Capital (Broken)


  1. Get well soon- as a fellow sufferer, it’s brutal.

    Keep up the good porridge and best of luck for Saturday.

  2. one could try hypo-sensitization

    an article that predicts that with climate change the pollen count will increase significantly:

    brain fog is a typical long covid symptom and it has been proven that some people have covid reservoirs despite initially no symptoms – covid acting like aids should not be ruled out with all the consequences such as increased cancer rates / compromised immune system ect.
    >we detect SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen in a majority of PASC(Post acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection) patients up to 12 months post-diagnosis, suggesting the presence of an active persistent SARS-CoV-2 viral reservoir

  3. Bill, I am not a doctor but suffered from hay fever for many years until this year. Antihistamines take time to work. I was told to to start a daily (zyrtec) and keep on it for the season. It takes many days for your body to build up the effectiveness of the antihistamines. Taking antihistamines after feeling symptoms doesn’t work like would an aspirin for a headache. In the US I started antihistamines in early April and have not suffered any sinus headaches or brain fog this year. Amazing actually. Cheers- appreciate your writings.

  4. Bill , as retired MD, help is on the way. OTC intranasal steroids I am sure are available in UK. Get a nasal rinse device and lavage your nasal passages.

    If access to your your family MD is possible via Zoom etc. Short course of oral steroids and possibly use of oral monteleukast for a few wks til season is over will help.

    Improving your symptoms might improve your gloomy worldview

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