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Angst, insomnia and motoring trivia

2015-04-06 08:02


FAST AND FURIOUS: Dave Fall is rather talking sleep algorithms while lying awake deciphering motoring riddles and other trivia. Image: Newspress


Of late I've been having trouble sleeping. I worry.  I toss and turn for hours. Sleeping pills might work for some people – but not for me.

A tedious medical condition called shingles continues to drive me crazy by causing nerve area woes, thanks to the varicella-zoster virus. (If you had chicken pox as a kid there’s every chance of it recurring to you too, as it has me, some 60 years later.)


Without fail everybody I know who’s had shingles has got over it in a few short months. Family, friends and colleagues are relieved the tell-tale rash around my mid-riff has gone but what I’m left with is nerves in that area that simply refuse to relax and get some shut-eye (as the rest me usually enjoys).

It’s almost intolerable and driving me nuts. Two years of it… Still, lying awake for long periods does give the solitude to mull over riddles, trivia and generally useless miscellany; let me share some of it with you

Consider this: the next time you follow a Subaru (like the one in the image above) study that Japanese brand’s name on the boot. Nothing? Spelled backwards in reads:  You Are A Bus.

Another riddle, mainly in Zulu township-speak, is why is Toyota’s Tazz known affectionately as a starter pack?


Staying with the motoring theme, is it really just coincidence that my editor recently moved into a rather nice duplex off Blaauwberg Road in Cape Town. The block is called Silverstone…

Moving up-country to Pietermaritzburg in kwaZulu-Natal, why is it the McDonald’s food outlet is found in Burger Street while one of the bigger medical centres is located in Payne Street (pain, geddit?); and while living there for many years I swear on my Yorkie’s life there was once a popular dry cleaners called ‘Spot On’ found in the city centre.

Languishing in the Western Cape, as I do these days, it’s good to know that if you need a hair-do look no further than Curl Up & Dye, a ladies’ hairdressing salon in Retreat.

Reverting to motoring matters, if you’re driving a rental (or maybe a stolen car) and are not sure which side the fuel cap is on all you have to do is scrutinise the fuel gauge and you’ll spot the outline of a petrol pump… with a triangle halfway down… it points to the side with the fuel filler.

This, incidentally, works for 95% of the cars and bakkies sold in South Africa.


Again, driving a strange car and not sure if its petrol or diesel-fuelled [trust me, I’ve driven with a few motoring writers who weren’t sure either] again, look at the rev counter: if it redlines at 4500-5000rpm it’s a diesel – 6000-6500rpm and more and its petrol.

Or, of course, you could sniff the opened filler pipe….

Most people know that many passenger planes are powered by British Rolls-Royce jet engines, but did you know they are named after British rivers - Trent, Avon and Conway, for instance Why rivers? you ask.

Because rivers provide a steady flow of power and never stop! (Are you taking note, Eskom employees?)

Their [Rolls-Royce] piston engines of yesteryear such as the Merlin found in the Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes were named after a small, northern-hemisphere falcon (Falco columbarius). Similar engines included the 500kW Peregrine, the Kestrel, the Vulture and the Buzzard.


Talking feathered birds, other trivia that worries the hell out of me come doo-doo time is why you never ever see baby hadedas pecking away on our lawns and gardens?

Speaking of which, why do they (hadedas) always scream when they take off? I’m reliably informed the reason for the blood-curdling alarm call is they’re afriad of heights!

Am I going to sleep well tonight?

Probably not!

Read more on:    dave fall

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