Last week I mentioned that a Dame of the British Empire was a great competitor in V8 Fords, lived to be 90 and was involved with the world’s first enclosed motor track. I asked who was she? It was Dame Ethel Locke King who developed Brooklands after her husband died.
So to this week. What is the connection between the Bugatti Atlantic and the Lunar Roving Vehicle? And I mean construction, not the fact that men rode in them.
We had Bird Flu and apparently sporadic cases are still coming to light in Cambodia and Vietnam. With Bird Flu on the rise again in Cambodia, will it fly across the Mekong and infect Thailand? Of course it will, and probably has done already. But since the world statistics from Bird Flu (A/H5N1) has only been 564 cases over eight years, you are more likely to be run over on the road (especially during Songkran).
However, there is another “chicken” disease, Chicken pox! Actually, chicken pox (AKA Varicella) is not really caused by chickens, nor even carried by them. Chicken pox is a common disease caused by the varicella zoster virus which is a member of the herpes virus family. It is very contagious and all communities experience epidemics.
A few years back there was a real outbreak in Thailand, with 22,833 patients with the complaint between January and May. This nasty condition never actually leaves the community, lying quiet for a while and then attacking in epidemic proportions. Make no mistake about this one, it is a most aggressive disease that sweeps through schools and institutions and while generally a disease of children, it can attack adults too with devastating results.
The varicella zoster virus is known for the characteristic chickenpox lesions. These come out very quickly after an initial period of vague symptoms such as fever and aches in muscles and joints. The lesions (vesicles) are very superficial on the skin and grow like a mini-Vesuvius, burst and then crust over. That cycle of events takes around four days, but new crops of vesicles come up in waves in the first three or four days, so you can have some vesicles growing bigger while earlier ones are drying up and crusting over.
The vesicles generally come out on the trunk and face first, but can spread to all over the body and even inside the mouth and on the tongue. Now while scarring is always a worry for the Mums of this world, there are far worse effects from this little virus. There is a distinct possibility of an encephalitis in older children and adults can actually develop a varicella pneumonia. Pregnant women who get chickenpox also run the risk of infecting the unborn child, and this can run as high as 10 percent. Very often, especially if the child scratches the lesions, there can be an added infection by an opportunistic bacterium on top of the viral lesions, so you get a double problem.
So what do you do when chickenpox is doing the rounds? The first thing is to keep away from those who have the disease. It is highly contagious and is spread by inhalation of micro droplets in the air, or by direct contact with weeping vesicles. In a family, this means that little Johnny gets his own towel that no-one else must use and a bed-time kiss is strictly forbidden.
Calomine lotion does help with itchy and weeping vesicles and trim the fingernails in young children to lessen the chances of scratching. With very little ones, I even suggest putting their hands in socks, just as you do with little babies.
If the temperature is raised (more than 37.5 Celsius) then a little paracetamol will help (but not aspirin as this drug should not be used with children), and if there is the “super-infection” by a bacterium it will be necessary for your doctor to prescribe an appropriate antibiotic.
The other important duty that you have as a parent, is do not send little Johnny back to school until the very last vesicle has dried up. This is generally around a week to ten days, but is so important in trying to stop the epidemic.
The other nasty part of this virus is that it lies dormant in your system and can strike back many years later as Shingles, or as we medico’s call it, Herpes Zoster. No, chickenpox is not fun, and to those of you who are struggling with it right now, you have my sympathies.
However, we do have a varicella vaccine these days, and vaccination is recommended from about 12 months of age. Like all vaccination programs, this will radically reduce the impact of epidemics.
The Automotive Focus Group (AFG) celebrated their events year with an address by noted columnist Voranai Vanijaka, one of the most straightforward and straight talking media persons in this country. This was given at the Amari Ocean Tower.
Last Friday, “All at Sea”, the pantomime performed by Pattaya Players, was a parody of plays and a portable performance of pirates (run out of “p’s”, sorry) and attracted a huge crowd of an appreciative audience. Numbers were estimated at 80,000 by landlord Kim Fletcher, after returning to Pattaya after counting the one million people at the democracy monument in Bangkok.
Ever since taking over the MINI marque, BMW has been trying every trick in the book to make the public nostalgic hearkening back to Issigonis’ ground-breaking concept of the original small Mini with a wheel at each corner, front wheel drive and a transverse engine layout.
Well, we didn’t get the fairy tale win for the retiring Mark Webber (Red Bull) nor for the final Ferrari drive for Brazilian Felipe Massa. However, we did get the best Grand Prix of the year. More action in 71 laps than we have seen all year collectively.
A little history if I may. Ever since man managed to make contraptions that were self propelled, man very quickly afterwards found that he needed a reliable way to pull up. The first to experience this was a military steam tractor, which with a top speed of three km/h managed to knock down a wall on its maiden outing. The fact that it weighed several tonnes did not help the retardation process either.
Last week I asked you to please identify this car. The one behind is an MG TC, I wanted the one in front. It was a Jowett Jupiter R4, and I will have to make these questions harder, as too many of you get the correct answer.
Can you beat the aging process? A mixed answer I am afraid, sort of Yes and No! Well, you can’t stop getting older, but you don’t have to mature!
Looking at the local scene, there are many retired British ex-pats, and with the cost of living and the dreadful climate in the UK (summer fell on a Tuesday last year), do you blame them for seeking a warmer retreat for their dotage? But is everyone over the age of 65 really dottled? Simple answer, No! But those of you over 65 will have found that the younger generation tries to push you into that retired person’s home category. Here we go - God’s waiting room and who’s next to die!
A few years ago, my eldest son (then 29 years old and a strapping 6’6") and I went to the UK to visit my dear old Mum and my sister. While there we decided that father and son might like to go and explore the night life in the fairly large city close to my sister’s rural retreat. Upon asking where we should go in town for some drinks and dancing, I was told by my sister, “Oh there’s nothing for you there!” “What do you mean?” I replied. “You’re too old!” was the answer. “But what about him?” I said, pointing to 6’6" of youth and enthusiasm. “Oh he’s too old too,” was the response!
What a sad indictment of today’s world! At 29 years of age, this young fellow was considered to be too old to go out and enjoy himself? Of course, for me at age 60+, it was sinful to even contemplate it!
There is an unfortunate tendency in the western world to write everyone off after the age of 25. It seems you don’t have to wait till you are 65 to be redundant. But why should this be? The only real difference between “old” people and “young” people is that the older group have much greater experience. There is precious little of substance worth doing that older people cannot do. And I am not talking here about people over the magic (and arbitrary) 65 year retiring age. I am talking about anyone still wandering around the planet unaided, no matter how old they are. For example, if you are 80 years old and want to do a parachute jump, can anyone tell me why not?
The reason I say this, is that by the time a person is 80 years old, they have a fair idea of what they can or cannot do. After all, they’ve had that same body for eight decades, they must know it pretty well by now. The problems you come up against when deciding to do something is not usually a “physical” restraint, but a mental one. You get conditioned by the western society that you are ‘over the hill’ and you must sit in the corner and quietly rot away.
Well, that’s exactly what will happen to you if you do sit quietly in the corner! Like any living creature, you need stimulation (and I’m not talking about the ‘stimulation for hire’ bars), and mental stimulation will get you going physically as well. Forget about your chronological age and think about things that you want to do - and then work out how you are going to do these things.
Obviously, if you are 80 years of age and you tell me that you want to run a mile in four minutes, this is not only impossible, but it is silly! However, if you tell me you want to take up running and want to train for the marathon, I will say, “Go ahead!” I might suggest starting off with shorter distances and work on from there, but the concept is the same - if you want to do something - go ahead and do it.
Do not accept “age” as a barrier to anything. Work out how to do it and get on with it. Live life to the fullest, every day, for as many days as you have got left! And there is nobody on this earth can tell you how long that will be, not even Gypsy Petulengro.
The Autodromo Carlos Pace in Sao Paulo Brazil plays host to the F1 circus in this their last race for the season. However, with both the Driver’s championship and the Constructors championship already sealed, there will be no nail biting down to the wire racing.