Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Calculations and Measurements Old and New -- Blog 19

There cannot be many countries that have such a wide variety of calculations and measurements as the UK, be it lenght, areas, weights, money and quantities or volumes.

Take volume for instance you start with a Barrel which is forty two gallons, then there is a Bushel equal to eight gallons or four Pecks  or 32.24  litres and on down to cubic inches.

One Peck equals eight quarts, one quart is a quarter of a gallon and it takes eight pints to make a gallon. from there it is four cups to the pint and one cup equals eight fluid ounces.

So the complication continues with other measurements which are no better being mixed all up by the metric conversions or equivalents, starting with the shorter ones, a Nail is two and half inches, then a Hand is four inches, then a Foot, a Yard, a Rod five and half yards, a fathom, a Chain twenty two yards,  a hundred Links is also Chain, ten Chains to the Furlong and eight Furlongs to the Mile, then a League is three miles. Then all that went metric.

On areas the hectare has taken over from the acre officially, but the acre is still in the older generations mind and still used for on farm calculations (on mine anyway) as is the square foot and the square mile. An acre is made up of four roods and a rood measures out to be one furlong by one rod. It was always reckoned that an acre was just about what a pair of horses could plough in a day "in one hook in".

"One hook in" is explained as follows, The horses, usually shire horses in UK, were brought in from their night pasture (in winter they would be stabled over night) and fed and groomed before being harnessed up ready for the job at hand that day. The wagoner, that's the chap who looks after and works the horses then sets out mid morning say 10am, with his team to the field and hooks up to the plough, they would not be taken out again until mid afternoon, hence the term "one hook in".
In that time he would rest them at the end of the furrow every now and then and could if the going was not too stiff, or the ground too heavy, they could cover around an acre a day

The younger generation who have been through school on the metric do not know how many old pence made a £ (240) or what a guinea is, (one pound one shilling). Some auctioneers selling pedigree livestock alway sold in guinea's, the pound went to the seller and the shilling went to the auctioneer as his commision. Then down to the ten bob note (a bob was another name for a shilling) then to the half crown (two shillings and six pence) then the florin which was two bob, --- are you still following this lot, on again to the shilling which is twelve pence, then six pence piece, then the threepenny piece, locally known as the thrupenny piece, down to the penny , the halfpenny, and the farthing whitch was a quarter of one penny, no wonder we all went metric.

All this we learned at school, without calculators, adding up money and calculating weights. That's another  thing weights, starting with the ton, there seems to be three sorts of the ton, one is the US ton, (2000 lbs or sometime called the short ton), then the metric ton, or tonne,( 1000 kg known as the metric ton) then our own ton,(2240 lbs) called the long ton,  all weighing within a different weight of each other.

Our ton here in the UK was made up of twenty hundred weights, a hundred weight was (and still is) made up of one hundred and twelve pounds (lbs). then there is the stone, this is fourteen lbs, and is what humanity is weighed in as in UK. there are sixteen ounces to the lb. A Quarter equals two stone and eight stone equals one hundred weight .

Are you still following,  because there are still Ounces, sixteen ounces to the lb. and Drams, there are sixteen drams to the ounce, then there is the Grain, there are 7000 grains to the lb. a grain being the weight of a grain of wheat. This was the believed to be the original start of most weight systems.

Wheat and other grains, barley,oats, beans, peas,  are measured in Bushels, bushels being the prefered measure of yields used across the pond in US and Canada. For instance a bushel of good wheat is 60 lbs, and a bushel of oats is 32 lbs a barley is 48 lbs, these weights can vary according to the quality of the grain at the time of harvesting.

So the complications are never ending and take almost a lifetime to get used to then they, the  UK government, decide that we all go metric,  All the above vital information was learnt fa nowt, a new metric system is now been in use for twenty or thirty years now, but me brain is still calculating and visualising in imperial.
Ya conna win, so the best thing is to do is join them, and start learning all over again, but in my case its too damned late, ov retired and now I find round the super markets and other shops all goods be it food or furniture has all gone metric.  I still have me fathers old wooden two foot ruler, and a tape measure with duel measurements on it, thats a good help, but me brain is still working to the old  way of life



Me Mind is Like an Old Computer

Me mind is like an old computer, memory getting full,
Takes a while to liven up, and the thinking’s getting dull,
Information’s going in, it’s difficult to recall,
Need a transplant right away, but it’s difficult to install.

Co-ordination’s not too bad, site and hearing too,
Legs are getting tired and old, and had two knees anew,
Arms they are just as long, but me back is getting bent,
Me waist is getting further round, of that I do lament.

So write it down while its fresh, just now I won’t recall,
Memory’s a funny thing, as through my mind I trawl,
Of things that happened years ago, eventually come back,
Think about the olden days, before they call the quack.


Owd Fred

















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