I was chatting to Mike @ realdadshangout earlier about stuff and the age-old subject of measurement came up, him being from the US of A and me being Brit.
I grew up in the UK to feet, miles, inches, yards, pints, gallons, pounds and stones. This is despite being born the year the system was supposed to have changed to metric. In theory I was supposed to have learned all about metres, centimetres, kilometres, litres, kilos, grams and centigrade.
But it never happened. Well, not really. School tried hard and I don’t know how to measure in fractions of inches, although I do know how big an inch is and how many there are in a foot. We did all our measuring in cm and mm at school.
Trouble is, my parents and everyone else in the UK were still on the imperial system, so metric never really took off, despite being the official unit of measurement. Plus all the things in real life were still imperial – pints, miles, height (feet and inches), weight, bags of apples, fuel in gallons. So its no wonder that metric never really stuck.
We we have the stupid situation now where distance is measured in miles on the road, but in metres in schools. Where liquids are sold in pints in the pub, but you buy milk in either pints or litres. Where fuel is dispensed in litres, but cars measure efficiency in miles per gallon. Where you buy a pound of apples, but a kilo of chocolate.
Its nuts and very confusing.
I have no idea (visually) how big a centimetre is, but know an inch is the length of my thumb from to first knuckle. I can weigh a pound in my hand but not a kilo. I know a pint when I see one, but can’t really tell you what a litre is, and I know I’m 5 feet 7, but what that is in the actual unit of measurement I was supposed to learn at school, I have no idea. The only thing I think we did learn was temperature – in Celsius and not Fahrenheit (sorry my American friends, I can do 32F, 65F and 100F in C, other than that, it’ll be a wild guess or google)
And people wonder why the UK never entered the Euro and joined up with Europe – its been nearly 40 years since they went metric and they’re only 1/3 of the way converted. Can you imagine having to change over to 100% metric and the Euro? People would spontaneously combust with confusion.
So, world travellers, when you come to the UK, get a conversion app for your iPhones. Then order a pint.
God save the Queen.