Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


IF EVER I’VE needed a health resort, it’s now, right?. So I turn to my Cook’s Handbook to see what meets my fancy.

It’s a 1905 edition? Whatever. 

Cook’s Traveller’s Handbook Health Resorts, Thos. Cook & Son, 1905.

This particular Cook’s has a fulsome title page describing its focus. Fine. I’ve visited several of these locales in less stressful times. Tidbits follow, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, gleaned from Cook’s and memory. 

This and other images from Cook’s Health Resorts.

The Attractions. Cook’s describes, “Thousands of travellers—some prompted by pleasure, others seeking in the genial climate of Southern France restoration to health, or fleeing before the winter of their own colder latitudes—hurry southwards, to bask in the sunshine of the Riviera, to gather sweet flowers and delicious fruit in mid-winter, to bathe in the ultramarine waters of the Mediterranean; in short, to enjoy to the full the thousand charms and attractions of an earthly paradise.”

Yep, full marks to Cook’s.

The Climate. “Although the climate of the Riviera is not perfect,” Cook’s maintains, “it is one of the best in the South of Europe within 30-48 hours of London…. The actual rainfall at Nice during the winter months is greater than in London, but the number of rainy days is about thirty, as compared to seventy-six in London. The chief objection to the Riviera climate, especially in the western districts, is the amount of troublesome mistral or north-west wind, against which the surrounding mountains are not sufficiently high to procure immunity. The average mean temperature in winter is 50º–51º Fahr., or about 10º higher than in England.”

Note this was all before climate change. So I would take Cook’s advice on choice of clothing with a grain of salt. 

Thanks, Cook’s, for including an ad citing “physical disorders such as sea-sickness, train dizziness, and a digestion disordered by sudden changes of climate, food or water.” Fortunately, the ad offers a preventative as well. 

I am especially comforted that Eno’s Fruit Salt “never causes griping or weakening effects.” 

Given effectiveness against spasm, hysteria, palpitations, neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, d’arrhɶa, cholera, dysentery, fever, croup, and ague, we might conclude that Dr. J. Collis Browne’s product was the hydroxychloroquine of its era. 

Dressing Smart. Back in those days, pure wool seemed de rigueur, preferable to cotton or linen wear. 

Did you know that vicunas were so much rarer than camels?

Nor did I realize that car coats of the era weren’t merely dusters. Tomorrow we’ll continue with advice about where to stay and what to do when health is restored. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020


  1. Bob Storck
    November 1, 2020

    In the DC area in the seventies, it was cool to have a British sports car … especially with the college crowd. And especially the moderately well off kids at Georgetown, American U and UVA. Many were Poly Sci students, and upon graduation the congressional staff parking lot was filled with ten+ year old MGBs, big Healeys, XK120-150s and TRs. They flocked to the many local car clubs.

    Come winter, they lost the thrill of open air motoring, and all came down with “Smith’s Disease” … that endless cough and sniffles brought on by that tiny under dash, inadequate quart milk carton sized Smith’s heater! The heater’s efficiency has been described as an asthmatic hamster panting on your feet!

    Then a wise guy showed up at a rally/autocross looking all snug and toasty in a full length mink coat. When he mentioned that he had bought it at a thrift store for a twenty, light bulbs went off, and since the animal rights movement was in full cry, Mom’s vicuna went from storage to Good Will … the rush was on! Top hats and homburgs replaced tweed flat hats!

    Soon sports car events looked like a furrier’s display! Instead of gas mileage, bragging rights were based on bargain prices, and no one paid attention to a bit of moth remodeling. For those with male insecurities, a tailor just above Embassy Row offered to reverse the female button pattern … and even advertised in the local sporty car weekly, the Stopwatcher!

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