It’s hop-picking time again and with it comes the usual seasonal outbreak of ‘Hoppyitus’.
Whilst the majority of people have complete immunity from this condition, for the few who do contract it, it is completely incurable. Once you succumb, it is for life. Hoppyitus is a recurring disease, it can occur at any time of the year but the highest incidence is always in September at hop-picking time.
A foggy ‘hop-picking’ morning in late August carrying with it the scent of the hops is a certain trigger for an attack. Even Rudyard Kipling wrote about it. There is no known cure, a walk through a hop garden may help a tad but for the serious cases, the only real relief is secured from a spell of hop-picking.
Those who cannot come picking for what ever reason often gravitate to the oast house during this season. Attracted like the Bisto Kids they will linger a while to soak up the atmosphere, any traditional oast house is a very special place during the harvest. A natter, a sniff and poke at the dried hops suffices.
Some happy hoppers for the time being relieved of their Hoppyitus.
All photographs for this post were taken by Dave Berry and used with his kind permission.