For most people it's heavenly. For me, it's misery.
Since my teens I have been plagued with terrible hay fever, my summers a hideous blur of sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses, sore throats, swollen glands and headaches.
The main culprits are pollen from grass, flowers and trees, the latter a particularly vicious trigger for me. From late March onwards, taking an antihistamine drug – Loratadine in my case – becomes as much part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth.
But lately I've been wondering whether there is a more natural alternative.
A colleague recommends herbalists Napiers which offers a tea blend which contains chamomile, nettle and plantain herb. It also provides a stronger tincture of traditional herbs such as nettle leaf, elderflower, eyebright and golden rod.
I plump for the latter and prepare for weaning myself off my antihistamines. The herbalist warns that it can take several days for the tincture to work and the time scale varies from one person to another.
The first couple of days I don't notice any difference and keep glancing woefully at my antihistamines through blood-shot eyes, but after almost a week I realise my hay fever symptoms are much less pronounced.
That said, it doesn't provide the same level of relief as my Loratadine, nor is it the tastiest of tipples. By the end of the week, just looking at the bottle is enough to make my stomach lurch.
So it's back on to the antihistamines, I'm afraid. But, according to Lindsey McManus, deputy CEO of Allergy UK, I needn't worry. She says: "A lot of people are wary of taking antihistamines and look for alternatives. But antihistamines don't make you drowsy any more and they are safe to take long-term."
Even so, she adds, there are plenty of practical tips for attacking hay fever without taking medication:
l Wear wraparound sunglasses when you go out to stop pollen getting into the soft tissues of your eyes
l Wash your hair and change your clothes before going into the bedroom to avoid taking pollen in with you
l Sleep with your windows closed
l Don't hang washing out first thing in the morning. It will spend the day collecting pollen
Having followed these to the letter, I see a definite improvement in my symptoms (especially washing my hair).
There's anecdotal evidence too that taking a teaspoon of honey from the area in which you live acts like immunotherapy, exposing you to pollen and gradually switching off the immune reaction.
Another top tip is to use a nasal balm such as Haymax which acts as a barrier to trap pollen, while bathing sore and irritated eyes with cold chamomile tea helps to calm them down.
According to Napiers, upper respiratory tract problems that cause catarrh can be made worse by dairy products so reducing your intake can help too, but be wary of cutting them out altogether.
So while there is no hard and fast cure for hay fever, there are plenty of ways to alleviate the symptoms and make summer an altogether more pleasant experience – and help banish the snottery-nosed, red-eyed monster.