I used to sniff at hay fever sufferers — now I’ve become one of them I weep

Phoebe Luckhurst

Most of the advancing frailties of age are creeping, infinitesimal. Hangovers do not become toxic overnight but over years; knees do not crumble suddenly but crunch increasingly, until at some point you must manoeuvre downstairs like a Monty Python Minister of Silly Walks (presumably; I’m not quite there yet). My forehead wrinkle is — I imagine — a result of years of my resting b**** face.

By contrast, my adult onset hay fever has arrived overnight like the pollen bomb threatening to land this weekend (eye masks at the ready, fellow sufferers). Suddenly my eyes are streaming and swollen, my throat is prickly and hoarse and I am spending £14 a week (minimum) on antihistamines at Boots.

Hay fever , I now learn, feels like having a terrible hangover — which, incidentally, it really will if you drink while using said over-the-counter medication.

It is cosmic revenge, probably. For years I scorned hay fever sufferers as weak (sorry, Dad), and judged their symptoms to be a manifestation of collective delusion and poor character. Naturally, their wheedling would coincide with a run of beautiful spring days, and I believed them to be the ultimate contrarians, complaining about the radiant weather that delighted everyone else.

It seemed a bit attention-seeking and overdramatic; not to mention inconvenient, having to switch a picnic in the park for spending a sticky afternoon hemmed in a pub garden, periodically dunking your elbow in an ashtray drowned in cider. It also did not help that a particularly stricken hay fever sufferer looks a bit like one of the rabbits struck down with myxomatosis in Watership Down; namely, repellent.

In other words, I was the worst type of illiberal, absent of any empathy and only prepared to believe something when it affected me. With age comes wisdom — and also hay fever.

I fall for Robyn with every heartbeat

Robyn (Matthew Baker/Getty Images)

Despite Alexandra Palace being at the very end of the Earth (I would rather fly long-haul, anywhere than have to go there on public transport again; do not @ me), I concede it was worth it for Swedish hypebeast Robyn, whose show on Friday evening was bonkers, high-camp pageantry with — duh — an incredible soundtrack.

The 39-year-old appeared on stage in a very silver, very micro mini and thigh-high matching boots. After a few numbers she changed into a saucy red matador costume and threw herself around the stage, sometimes with acrobatic abandon, sometimes with the hapless grace of a totalled wedding guest.

Like most of the men and women in the crowd, I fell in love with her snake-hipped, handsome dancer Theo; screamed the words to all the hits (full cliché achieved!); and, inevitably, cried along to Dancing On My Own — and only partly because I was literally dancing on my own after losing my group on account of an ill-timed loo trip.

Parties always end up in the toy kitchen

A 16-year-old girl has been arrested after throwing a party at a rented flat in Belfast, wreaking £40,000 worth of damage. Her band of adolescent vandals were invited via Snapchat; obviously, this bacchanalia was unsupervised.

At the only party I threw in my teens, my parents refused to leave. Duly, there was no damage, and very few guests, after an advance text warning that it was “lame”. I hid my “stash” — a 250ml bottle of Smirnoff — in my younger sister’s toy kitchen. It was the edgiest thing to happen that evening; she found it and gave it to Mum. I skipped two days of school to recover from the humiliation.

Supercar yobs plague our roads

New research suggests that motorists tend to pass closer to bikes that are travelling in painted cycle lanes. When there is no demarcated lane, they tend to give riders more space and overtake properly.

The findings confirm what many cyclists anecdotally believe to be true, though I wonder when there will be research into what’s surely another certainty: that west London’s supercar drivers are the very worst, and most reckless, of all motorists on the road. They rev with fury, career down residential streets at 60mph and pass so close that you can feel the breeze in the slipstream of a wing mirror.