The mysterious nut allergy
I nearly died a few years ago, alone in a cheap hotel room in Florida. I’d scoffed half a bag of Trail Mix before realising I was having an allergic reaction to the hazelnuts. My throat felt as though it was slowly closing up and within a few minutes I could hardly breath. Being English and not wanting to make a fuss and didn’t call for a doctor, I had a glass of water and kept my fingers crossed. It passed and here I am.
Allergies, of course, can be very serious. They are no laughing matter, I realise that, so forgive me, just for a moment, while I bring a little levity to my own disconcerting experience.
Since that night in Florida, I’ve avoided every hazelnut that’s come my way, and often told friends the story of my near-death experience.
A couple of years ago, friends in Tenerife gave us a box of locally made chocolates. I polished them off in one sitting, leaving just one for Philip. He ate it and asked if I was feeling okay because, he explained, each chocolate had a hazelnut inside. It rather took the wind out of my sails and since then he rolls his eyes every time I claim to have a nut allergy.
Which leads me to last week when I helped a talented young singing duo with their cabaret show. To say thank-you, they gave me a huge bar of milk chocolate. Only when I’d sat down with a cup of tea and the Antiques Roadshow did I realise the chocolate was completely covered in hazelnuts. I hesitated but couldn’t resist a couple of tentative nibbles. I felt fine so scoffed the rest. My working theory is that chocolate magically neutralises the harmful allergic element in the nuts. Maybe I should swap my epipen for a Curly Wurly. Or, perhaps it’s more likely that it wasn’t a hazelnut that nearly killed me after all.
So, to avoid any potential allergic reactions this Christmas, instead of giving your loved ones an assorted nut collection, give them a Gary Williams CD*. There are plenty to choose from. Click here to see what’s on offer.
* There have been no reported incidents of allergic reactions from listening to me singing, but please proceed with caution.