THE SPANISH PLUME that did so much to sodden our summer this year we could have done without. But at least we were spared the worst of those gritty beige clouds that migrate from the Sahara most years now to settle as a film of dust on Devon’s cars.

Which isn’t to say that Devon is a dust free zone. Far from it.   Devon’s household dust is, for the main part, no different from household dust anywhere else in the developed world, reckons Dr Noah Fierer, of the University of Colorado, whose findings on the subject of domestic dust have been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

An analysis of 1200 samples of the detritus taken from the ledges above doorways (the place least likely to be dusted reckons the survey), found an average of 9,000 different species of microbes, with the types of bacteria and fungi found varying depending on where the home was located, who lived there and whether pets were present.

Dr Fierer said that people should not be worried about microbes in their home. “They are all around us,” he said,” they are on our skin, they’re all around our home – and most of these are completely harmless. It is just a fact of life.”

Dusted off

Itching to close on a lighter note we unearthed the only dust joke we could find with a tenuous Devon link: it was cracked  on the BBC Light Programme by Plymouth-born comedian Jack Train on Tommy Handley’s  ITMA wireless programme. How we laughed in 1947.

TRAIN: (to office cleaning lady) Do you believe that when we are born we come from dust and when we die we go back to dust?

MRS MOPP: Oh, yes sir!

TRAIN: Well come and look on top of this filing cabinet will you because it looks like someone is either coming or going!

Boom! Boom!

John Fisher

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