Just as Archie was getting over his man cold of last week he managed to pick up another bug, this one a nastier version, as he's had a high temperature and a fever. We've mostly been dealing with that this week, and a couple of things have stood out for me during the process.
The first is how, sometimes, your base instincts can be downright wrong and you need to trust to science and the rational. Archie seems to have picked up this particular bug from my wife, who had it 24 hours earlier. She woke up in the middle of the night, shivering acutely. Her reaction was to try to wrap up in the bedclothes and add more layers - she was absolutely convinced she was freezing and needed to warm up. Once we realized she was running a temperature we did the opposite and cooled her down and she started to feel more comfortable. The intuitive, "common sense" response to the shivering, and the old myth about sweating out a fever aren't helpful.
The second is what a wonder drug paracetamol is. We kind of take it for granted but its combination of positive effects with minimal side-effects (at standard doses) are awesome. It's one of the real wonders of modern medicine, in my book, and the fact that you can pick up a generic for 15p a packet is remarkable. A big shout out to Harmon Northrop Morse and the others responsible for its invention. Also, in the same vein, kudos to Ibuprofen and its inventors. There is evidence, I've just learned, that it is more effective in treating fever in children. I may use that nugget in the future, though Paracetamol did the trick this time round.
So, what's all this got to do with windmills? Well, Archie definitely responded to being in the fresh air so despite it being a bit dank and miserable, weather-wise, I took him for a stroll on Wimbledon Common on Thursday. We did a bit of Womble hunting but, with no luck on that front, headed up to the Wimbledon Windmill Museum. Notable also for being the home of the founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell, the museum gives a nice introduction to the development of the windmill and you really get a sense that the builders and maintainers of these machines were very much the geeks of their day, with a fantastic amount of craft and engineering on show.
One of my favourite parts of the museum is a small tool room containing all the tools of the windmill operator's trade - masses of different planes, chisels and other equipment. I'm not much of a handyman myself but it demonstrates how the professional craftsmen valued the right tool for the job. It's worth a quick visit if you're in the area.