A Bitter Fluff

There are many ben­e­fits to trav­el­ling to the oth­er side of the world, not least of which is that you can poten­tial­ly skip an entire Win­ter, which I am hap­pi­ly doing as we speak. I haven’t had a tan like this since I was a kid in New­cas­tle, where burn­ing one­self to a crisp each sum­mer was total­ly accept­able behav­iour.

How­ev­er, an unex­pect­ed draw­back has sur­faced in the form of Hayfever x 2. Any­one who works, lives or walks though Canberra’s Civic in Spring willhave cursed those trees that drop the seed balls which break up into a fluffy like sub­stance, ripe for breath­ing in on a windy day. I often won­dered who the hell thought it was a good idea to plant those trees. Imag­ine my shock and hor­ror as I swal­lowed some fluff yes­ter­day from the same species of tree. In our cur­rent tem­po­rary abode in Blooms­bury, Lon­don the parks are full of them — as are the gut­ters full of their cough induc­ing fluff. Ah well, noth­ing like a reminder of home to alle­vi­ate the home sick­ness.

Tree Nerds may be inter­est­ed to know that the tree in ques­tion is called “Lon­don Plane” (Pla­tanus × his­pan­i­ca). The Wikipedia arti­cle explains that the tree “…has a num­ber of prob­lems in urban use, most notably the short, stiff hairs shed by the young leaves and the dis­pers­ing seeds; these are an irri­tant if breathed in, and can exac­er­bate breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties for peo­ple with asth­ma.”