For as long as I can recall, I have always been a ‘sneezer’. When I was very young, my mum taught me to put my hand over my face when I sneezed, and as soon as I was old enough, she gave me a cotton handkerchief to keep in my pocket, telling me to sneeze into that when I could.

When I sneezed as a toddler, I actually remember her singing the old nursery rhyme to me.

Ring-a-ring o’ roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down

As I grew up, it got worse. Almost anything could make me sneeze, and once I started to get Hay Fever in my teens, that trebled the amount of sneezes during the high pollen season. I had some notion that I would grow out of it eventually, but that wasn’t to be.

There are occasions when I might sneeze as many as twenty times, with hardly a pause in between. Unlike some people, I am not able to stop myself sneezing, by wiggling my nose, or some other method. And these are not ‘polite’ or ‘snuffly’ sneezes, oh no. Each one is a full-on blast that rocks my head back and forth, and can end up leaving me exhausted.

Being such a prolific sneezer has many social disadvantages. I sometimes had to leave a film showing in a cinema when I was sneezing so much I annoyed the other patrons. I stood in the foyer of a theatre once, when my sneezing all but interrupted a play in the West End of London.

Another night in a Soho Jazz bar, the main act was halfway through his show when I started sneezing. I was sitting at a table only a few feet from the stage, and he finally stopped singing and playing his piano. Turning to me, he smiled and said. “When you’re finished, I’ll get back to my song”.

I went outside until the sneezing fit passed.

At an awards ceremony, I was on stage about to be given a medal, when I started sneezing so violently, the man dishing them out had to wait until I had finished before pinning it on. And that was in front of over 200 colleagues.

Driving my car can be dangerous too. I once had to pull onto the hard shoulder of a motorway when a continous bout of sneezes made it unsafe for me to continue driving. Then yesterday when I was walking Ollie, I started sneezing as we walked along the riverside path, and couldn’t stop. The final sneeze was so violent, I fell over sideways.

Luckily it was onto the path, and not into the river.

54 thoughts on “Atishoo!

  1. God Bless You, Pete!

    Sometimes when I sneeze, I am, apparently, in an odd position and it rather painfully seizes me up. After (what feels like) a few minutes my body relaxes and then it’s back to business as usual. Unpleasant, to say the least. I’ve heard that our hearts stop beating in the “instant” of the sneeze.

    Best wishes of the Season to you, Julie and Ollie — and always!

    Safe holidays to all!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I once suppressed a violent sneeze when we were out eating in a restaurant and ended up having to go to the ER because I did something funky to my back. Maybe it’s better just to let them rip.

    My wife had an odd experience a couple of months ago. A cashier was ringing up her grocery items. Suddenly, he pulled his mask down and sneezed into the air. She said everyone was standing in line, wondering what he was doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel sorry for you. I didn’t become a sneezer until my sinuses really started acting up about 10 years ago.
    My mom sang that children’s rhyme too, but the words were a bit different.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel for you Pete, even if I also had a laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m more of a loud sneezer, but only two at a time as a rule. People think I’m putting it on its so loud, but there’s nothing I can do, they just come out that way ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have taught the kids ring a ring a roses, they think its great, especially the falling on the floor which they do with painful enthusiasm ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry to hear Pete. You are full of perseverance mate. Praying for a relax of your chronic condition.

    On the other hand? Based on your current serial it sure doesn’t seem to effect your cognitive functions. . . That’s a blessing. ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was 16, I was sent for allergy ‘patch tests’. They told me grass pollen, some tree pollen, dust, and quite a few other things (that I forget now) could irritate my skin, and also make me sneeze. I would have had to stay inside for the rest of my life if I had followed their recommendations, Darlene.
      At least I wasn’t allergic to animal fur, or I would never have Ollie. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I had not heard the poem said like that. Thomas mother’s family was English her father Irish, Tom’s own father was Poruguese. More to the point is she would say poems, etc that filtered down from her English grandmother and mother. And those things came on down through my own grandmother. I love that if we pay attention to the blend of influences, we have bits of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ring o roses poem comes from the time of plague. A ring of red spots would appear on the skin (the roses). People would carry a bunch of herbs to ward off infection (posies) and symptoms would include sneezing and end in death.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I heard that in school, and it is repeated on Wikipedia.

        Since after the Second World War, the rhyme has often been associated with the Great Plague which happened in England in 1665, or with earlier outbreaks of the Black Death in England. Interpreters of the rhyme before World War II make no mention of this.

        By 1951, however, it seems to have become well established as an explanation for the form of the rhyme that had become standard in the United Kingdom. Peter and Iona Opie, the leading authorities on nursery rhymes, remarked:The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions have given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, and posies of herbs were carried as protection and to ward off the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a final fatal symptom, and “all fall down” was exactly what happened.

        Best wishes, Pete.


  7. I’m a sneezer too, especially when I’m around any kind of animals; cats, rodents and rabbits are the worst. Then I sneeze continually in June in the hayfever season. I guess I’m just an allergic type of gal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t been any worse around animals, and having Ollie doesn’t appear to affect me. But I do get fed up during the very long bouts. I once hurt my back quite badly (pulled muscle) because of a monumental sneeze, and had to take painkillers for a fortnight! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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