back to article Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

Imperial traditionalists have expressed dismay that allotments will henceforth be measured in metres, thereby ending a 600-year-old system of staking out municipal veg patches in poles. According to the Daily Mail, shocked gardeners have received rent renewal notices from their town halls reclassifying the standard "10 pole" …

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  1. Bilby

    So the allotment owners are horrified...

    ...at being forced to accept an extra 0.1 sq m?

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      Re: So the allotment owners are horrified...

      Forced to pay for an 'extra'* 0.1 sq m.

      * the allotment size won't have changed in reality, but become bigger on paper, which is where bills are calculated.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Lost Acres

        by Robert Graves ...

        I wanted to post this poem here, but it seems absent on the interwebs ....

        1. VinceH

          Re: Lost Acres

          Lost Acres, by Robert Graves.

          1. JimmyPage Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Lost Acres@VinceH

            Thank you indeed. Saved me digging out my "A Choice of Poets" from schooldays (where, ironically, I was the only pupil in 1982 to *fail* Eng Lit. My teacher would be proud of me !)

            However the obscurity of the location is intriguing .... is Graves still in copyright ?

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: Lost Acres@VinceH

              Graves died in 1985, and English copyright extends an eye-watering 70 years from the end of the year in which the author died. So yes, he's still very much in copyright until 2056.

              After all, it's the only way we can make sure he gets rewarded for his creativity, right? Anyone remember what a cultural wasteland England was before we had these copyright terms?

            2. Les Matthew
              Coat

              Re: Lost Acres@VinceH

              "where, ironically, I was the only pupil in 1982 to *fail* Eng Lit"

              Maybe you should have spent less time learning to play the guitar. :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the allotment owners are horrified...

      Today the allotments, tomorrow the colonies....And our road signs...

  2. Ole Juul

    How would anybody know the difference?

    Since the size of the allotment remains fixed, it seems to me that both units and measuring instrument would be irrelevant. Who cares what you use to measure it with. You could use a spoon if you knew the multiplier.

    1. FartingHippo
      Headmaster

      Re: How would anybody know the difference?

      Burn the heretic! Burn him in Fahrenheit!

      1. Roger Greenwood

        Re: How would anybody know the difference?

        Yes I have a model 212 safe here. Why 212? Because it can stand the heat.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How would anybody know the difference?

          "Yes I have a model 212 safe here. Why 212? Because it can stand the heat."

          So your safe can resist being boiled?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imperial traditionalists

    Congrats for not using the incorrect "metric martyr" nomenclature ... though to my mind the correct (and catchily alliterative) term is "imperial imbecile"

    1. TheTick
      Thumb Down

      I would be more likely to consider those who need numbers to be based on their finger count as imbeciles than those who can count in a variety of bases in their heads.

      1. dogged

        Ooooh, downvotes for you I see. Some people don't like being told they do it the easy way.

        Oddly, everyone I know who grew up with Imperial weights and measures is considerably better at mental arithmetic than those who grew up with metric but the affordability of the pocket calculator may also be implicated in this situation.

        1. h4rm0ny

          I don't know what effect it has on mental arithmetic. I would say that people who grew up with the Imperial system also grew up in an age where schools drummed more mental arithmetic skills into people, so it could be mere correlation. What I would say is that pre-Decimalization coinage was much more flexible. Twelve, and obviously 240 (pennies in a pound) have many more factors than ten (and one-hundred pennies in the pound).

          This makes the calculations much easier and the results much more often easy numbers.

          1. Fluffy Bunny

            Measuring area in rods is as stupid as measuring the speed of light in furlongs per fortnight. And nobody would want to go back to pre-decimalisation money. It just used such stupid units. Quick, how much is 10 donuts at 1 pound, 3 shillings and 6 pence? Complete bollocks the lot of them and best left in the stone age, where they came from.

            1. David Cantrell

              10 pounds 30 shillings and 60 pence. Obviously. Or £11.15/-, which makes them bloody expensive doughnuts.

            2. PassingStrange

              "10 donuts (sic) at 1 pound, 3 shillings and 6 pence" is... £1/3/6d.

              Now - if you'd asked about doughnuts at £1/3/6d EACH... I'd say you're definitely shopping in the wrong places. But you'd pay £11/15/0d (10x £1 = £10. 10 x 3s = 30s = £1/10/0. 10 x 6p = 5s. Utterly trivial when you're used to actually doing mental arithmetic - even after 42 years.)

              1. Werner McGoole
                Holmes

                Now that's proper mental mental arithmetic... a counting system with multiple fields and different bases in each field. Who on earth would invent a system like that? Oh, hang on... I seem to recall spending several years of my life practicing that stuff.

                FWIW I also recall we had a computer* made out of relays when I was at school that could do arithmetic in yards, feet and inches and suchlike. I think it could calculate pi as well, but rather slowly.

                * IT angle.

        2. David Cantrell

          It was decimal currency that really destroyed mental arithmetic, you know. In real life you rarely have to convert between inches, feet, yards and so on - I'm 6'3", not [thinks] 75". But you very much had to convert between L, s, and d all the time.

      2. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        count on their fingers

        Twelve?

    2. Jim 59

      Measurements

      The issue is that the council made an arbitrary change for no real reason, as bureaucracies are wont to do. If we define this mistake as 1 deciBasinstoke, then a single Basingstoke would be quite a big snafu, and--

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Measurements

        Is your Basingstoke scale base 10 logarithmic? Because if we're in an anti-SI mode, we should really be using base 2 (or 12, 14, 16 or even 5.5).

        Incidentally, here in the semi rural south west, there are still streets where the houses are 1 rod, pole or perch wide. I expect there are plenty of other places like that.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Measurements

          Its not really anti-SI - its just a silly change that will make life harder. Allotments are often divided. They are generally laid out in poles. To have a half allotment you normally divide it in two along its length. Now you will need a whole army of idiots with theodolites trying to calculate a fraction of a square root of 325 or something - and bandages for all the nosebleeds this will cause the tablet waving council officials.

          1. Vociferous

            Re: Measurements

            > To have a half allotment you normally divide it in two along its length. Now you will need a whole army of idiots with theodolites trying to calculate a fraction of a square root of 325

            Or you could just divide it in two along its length.

            Also, and somewhat surprisingly, it's also so practically arranged that one pole can be rounded to five meters (five meters two centimeters).

            Yes, this does strike me as something of a first world problem.

      2. Black Betty

        Re: Measurements

        I would hazard a guess that with the computerisation of records, it's making less and less sense to build into new software, routines to back-convert records which someone had just been paid a lot of money to normalise under one consistent measurement system.

        These people sound like that old woman who famously back in the day, suggested that the government wait for all the old people to die before introducing the metric system.

        The smart money should have been on duo-decimalization with the introduction of Arabic numerals and positional notation, however Roman numerals, and abacuses, fairly conclusively demonstrate that even back then, ordinary people and bean counters calculated by looking at their fingers. It was basically only merchants and people divvying up land who found 12 and it's greater number of factors useful enough to bother with.

    3. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

      Imperial imbecile?

      Wasn't that the nickname given to the guy who designed that tiny, 2 metre wide flaw in the Death Star?

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

    It's area should be in nanoWales, but the linear size might be in double-decker buses. Or will the humble linguine (unboiled, sea level) suffice?

    1. frank ly

      Re: So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

      Thank you for writing 'nanoWales' and not 'NanoWales'.

    2. Euripides Pants Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

      But what is the area in Jimmy Wales?

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

        The Jimmy Wales is not an unvarying unit* since he might adopt, or give up, the 5:2 diet or suffer an injury that prevents him exercising.

        *Yes, I know Wales is not invariant either but the percent change is minimal compared to the potential % change in the J Wales.

        Yours a Physiologist

        1. Euripides Pants Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: So what is the correct unit in the Register's System

          I suppose next you'll be yammering about the average airspeed velocity and lifting capacity of the European swallow vs. the African swallow....

  5. malle-herbert

    And...

    How many parsecs is that ?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: And...

      How many parsecs is that ?

      I'd say you've got your units confused there. Parsecs is dependent on soil quality, weather, the skill of the allotment holder, etc.

      Oh sorry, you didn't mean parsnips per second...

  6. Nigel 11

    Enter the metric pole?

    The timber industry works in "metric feet" i.e. units of 30cm.

    There's clearly a "metric pole" waiting to be invented, namely 5m. The ~1% difference between a square pole and 25 square meters is surely too small for anyone involved in small-plot agriculture to notice. in any case there's no way to change the allotment boundaries for existing allotments in order sto squeeze in one extra one at the nd of a row of 100. (Are there ever as many as 100 in a row? )

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Enter the metric pole?

      There's clearly a "metric pole" waiting to be invented,

      Poles are already metric, although those now working in Britain may have needed to convert.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Enter the metric pole?

      Very sensible.

      Metric is easy to do calculations in.

      Imperial tends to correspond well to the size of everyday natural objects.

      So metric feet, metric ton, metric pound, metric pole, metric firkin, metric mile all seem to be a sensible and practical compromise.

      I remember being in a French market and people were asking for a livre of whatevers, and they've been metric for a couple of centuries.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Enter the metric pole?

        I remember being in a French market and people were asking for a livre of whatevers, and they've been metric for a couple of centuries.

        It's common in Germany and the Netherlands to ask for fruit and veg in multiples of Pfund/Pond rather than fractions of a kilo. Everyone knows it's 500g so there's no problem. But somehow I just can't see it working in Tunbridge Wells…

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
          Trollface

          Re: Enter the metric pole?

          "But somehow I just can't see it working in Tunbridge Wells…"

          I can. The sort of people who make a big fuss about Imperial units tend not to be terribly technically minded, so if you change the size of their "pint" or "pound" then they probably won't notice. You could probably swap their miles for kilometres and they'd be pleased about getting better mpg.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enter the metric pole?

        "Metric is easy to do calculations in."

        Not really, unless you avoid all division and round everything nicely. The imperial system evolved to be easy for people to do calculations in. Specifically, it was used by people otherwise unschooled in maths let alone geometry.

        There are some decimal relations in the imperial system. For example, 1 cubic foot of water was 1000oz (50 pints) and a gallon is 10lbs of water (160oz) but the underlying non-decimal sub-devisions tend to make up for the shortcomings of the decimal system in these cases.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enter the metric pole?

        > I remember being in a French market and people were asking for a livre of whatevers

        Well, they may have switched to metric, but occasionally they still do read books.

        :-P

      4. david 12 Silver badge

        Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

        If it's so easy to do calculations, why is the length of a car specified in mm for manufacturing? Because ordinary workers can't do conversions from mm to cm to m to km.

        Stupid metric/imperial measurement failures that you read about are the result of errors in conversion between metric and imperial measures, which points to the only actual real advantage of a single common measurement system: it makes trade and manufacturing easier, cheaper, and less error prone. For this reason, both France and the UK had to give up thousands of traditional measure, to create imperial measurement systems.

        Then the French and the English had to further agree to consolidate to only ONE common measurement system. As you no doubt know, the English agreed to use the French mesurement system and the French agreed to use the English navigation system.

        Removal of conversions BETWEEN multiple national, local, and trade measurments has been a benefit. Don't confuse that with thinking that "decimal point" conversions WITHIN the metric system are easy. On an absolute scale, conversions within the metric system are approximately just as difficult and error prone as converson between systems.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

          "conversions within the metric system are approximately just as difficult and error prone as converson between systems."

          How many decimetres in a dekametre? :-)

        2. Vociferous

          Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

          > why is the length of a car specified in mm for manufacturing?

          Because of significant digits. The tolerance is a fraction of the unit used.

          > Stupid metric/imperial measurement failures that you read about are the result of errors in conversion between metric and imperial measures

          Yes, the smart solution is to only pick ONE system, not keep translating back and forth. Metric is considerably easier to use, especially in science and engineering; imperial is traditional.

          > On an absolute scale, conversions within the metric system are approximately just as difficult and error prone as converson between systems.

          Only when comparing base-10 units. How many grains to 0.17 troy pound?

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

          If it's so easy to do calculations, why is the length of a car specified in mm for manufacturing? Because ordinary workers can't do conversions from mm to cm to m to km.

          Technical drawings specify the unit ("All sizes in mm") to keep size and weight information consistent within the drawing. Those units will be engineering units, ten to the power of multiple_of_3, so mm, m or km, but not dm or hm. Also, there's generally no reason to do otherwise, because you'll find few drawings that have a dimension spread of more than three orders of magnitude

          1. David Cantrell

            Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

            Any bridge, or ship, or oil rig, or aircraft, or piece of railway infrastructure has dimensions spanning more than three orders of magnitude.

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

              Any bridge, or ship, or oil rig, or aircraft, or piece of railway infrastructure has dimensions spanning more than three orders of magnitude.

              Overall, yes. But you won't find the size of individual bolts on an overview drawing

          2. Uffish

            Re: Metric is easy to do calculations in.

            Where I worked, in France, the purchasing section sent an order to a supplier for a length of a standard cable with standard connectors attached. The order referred to an accompanying engineering drawing for the item. The length of the cable was shown as 600.

            The item was meant to be 600 mm long. Guess how long the manufactured item was.

            It all ended happily, the price of copper went up shortly after and we had a large stock of cable at the old price.

    3. WraithCadmus
      Pint

      Re: Enter the metric pole?

      Please correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most UK measures really metric 'under the bonnet' so when they check you're not shorting people on a pint they compare it to 568ml?

      So what measures in the UK are still truly Imperial and not just an alias to a given number measured in metric?

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Enter the metric pole?

        So what measures in the UK are still truly Imperial and not just an alias to a given number measured in metric?

        Horse racing: Furlongs are used extensively which are 220 yards as everyone knows. The weights, penalties and allowances are all done in stones and pounds.

        Cricket. The length of a pitch is 22 yards. Or one chain.

        Which brings us onto an acre - one furlong by one chain. The size of a footie pitch. Dead easy and I didn't have to faff around with hectometres which to me is a complely random measure.

        What's wrong with a pole being five and a half yards? Take five yards and for the decimal purists add on ten percent and there you have it. It's actually about four strides, so it's easy to measure.

        1. Gordon 11

          Re: Enter the metric pole?

          Which brings us onto an acre - one furlong by one chain. The size of a footie pitch.

          That's some weird footie pitch!

          The size used to be 50 to 100 yards wide and 100 to 130 (150?) yards long, and it had to be longer than it was wide. (Pitches for international matches were more constrained). (It's now defined in metric, I think).

          A 22 by 220 yard pitch would be the result of sticking two pitches together along the goal-line and only using up to the side-edge of the penalty area.

          And even the minimum size pitch would be > 1 acre. A "normal" professional league one is around 1.8 acres.

        2. LesC

          Re: Enter the metric pole?

          Not just imperial but international:

          Flight Levels - in thousands of feet so FL360 = 360,000'

          Aircraft, ships - nautical miles per hour (1 nautical mile = 1 minute of longitude at the equator), this is an excellent example of a natural unit of measurement.

          Wind speeds are still measured in knots.

          My farthings worth.

          LC

    4. John H Woods

      Re: Enter the metric pole?

      I've always thought there should be a metric ounce and pound

      1 oz = 25g

      20 oz = 500g = 1lb

      Unlike g and kg, which are useful for nought but salt and potatoes respectively, at least the imperial units were the right sort of magnitude for cooking.

      1. Grikath

        Re: Enter the metric pole? @ john H Woods

        Actually in Dutch the ounce ("ons") is 100 grams, and the usual measure for cooking in the Old Books.

        Funnily enough it's not defined as a 10th of a kilo, but rather by it's original as 1/5th of a pound.

    5. PJI

      Re: Enter the metric pole?

      And here, in Switzerland, one sees, sometimes, a Pfund (pound) of bread. But it is 500 grammes today, so a generous pound.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Back to school

    Reading this reminds me of the conversion tables on the back page of my school rough book*.

    * I'm sad to find that Wikipedia doesn't have an article on rough books. You kids will have to use your imagination.

    1. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: Back to school

      Hmmm what wallpaper did you cover it in?

      1. Efros

        Re: Back to school

        Had to be anaglypta!

      2. WraithCadmus

        Re: Back to school

        Flock was best, made it more comfy if you needed a nap.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Back to school

          You ended up with an impressed print on your face though.

          Also, I'm not sure bout the 'kids' remark. I'm only in my late twenties and I used a rough book at school...

  8. theModge

    How accurate do you think they are marking out allotments?

    0.1 square meters will get lost very quickly in poor spade work \ sides of plots being walked on....

  9. bigtimehustler

    The fact that no one will own up to it suggests even the person who did make the change is perhaps a little less than confident in his/her decision on this. If you are in a position of power, by all means make the changes you see fit, but when you are called up on them, you better damn well be willing to speak up and defend your position, otherwise you shouldn't be in the position at all.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Or perhaps, being a product of an education system that has been using metric for many years, and never having heard of 'poles' (me neither, and yet I do know my imperial measures, being old enough to have used them in anger), they just thought it was an obvious and sensible thing* to do? And wasn't expecting a bunch of luddites to get all airy fairy about it?

      * It clearly is the obvious and sensible thing to do.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Or possibly failing to find theodolites and GIS packages that work in medieval

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          theodolites and GIS packages that work in medieval

          Oh very good -- if they've actually resurveyed all of their allotments.... Except that it appears that they've just rounded out, which means that all the areas won't match the actual allotments anyway,

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: theodolites and GIS packages that work in medieval

            Medieval? Surely you mean Tudor, of the 10 Pole variety?

      2. bigtimehustler

        If you had read my post, why didn't you notice that my point was, if they believe what they did was right, stand up and be counted and say why you did it, don't hide.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Maybe nobody made the decision, at least not recently enough to remember it.

      Think about it. Generic regulation that came down from central gov't decades ago: all official measurements to be designated in metric (with a few specific, itemised exceptions, e.g. miles per hour on roads, but I bet you a thousand groats "allotments" weren't explicitly mentioned. After all, how many senior civil servants have allotments?).

      Instruction to town hall lawyer: update all these contracts.

      Result: contracts specifying measurement in metres. What could be more natural?

      Now, if (as I strongly suspect) that's approximately what happened, who exactly are you expecting to "own up" to "making the decision"?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "who exactly are you expecting to "own up" to "making the decision"?"

        That would be the person who made the decision in the last 12-24 months. If you RTFA you'll notice that the change occured between the last rent renewal notice and the current one which,, depending on the local rules followed will be every one or two years.

  10. Stoneshop Silver badge
    WTF?

    10' pole

    The pole, aka the "rod" or "perch", is 5.5 yards

    So, a 10 foot pole is actually 0.6060166 pole.

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: 10' pole

      "Spare the rod and spare the child"

      <gulp!>

  11. David Pollard

    Henry Doubleday heritage seed swaps

    Here's a link to the Henry Doubleday seed bank:

    http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/hsl/

    A few years ago, numerous heritage plants and vegetables were threatened by EU legislation which introduced mandatory registration for each and every variety of seed that is sold. Because this is an expensive overhead, seed merchants had been going to drop a slew of the less popular varieties. The Henry Doubleday Association came to the rescue with a creative solution, by setting up a seed swap club which has preserved this valuable asset.

    Nil carborundum chaps. Bureaucrats and gauleiters can be beaten.

  12. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Things change.

    Get over it.

    1. NogginTheNog
      Pint

      Re: Things change.

      I'd like to improve on that a little bit if I may?

      EVERYTHING changes eventually. That's life, and the nature of the world we live in. You don't have to like it all, but for your own sake don't waste too much of your precious time and energy trying to fight it!

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Things change.

        You may. And you did very well.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: Things change.

      Yes things change but look what happened Ireland when it changed from MPH to KPH.

      Electricity went out for weeks, riots started, people were forced to barricade themselves in their homes, murders went up 3000%, rickets and polio became commonplace amongst infants, and 1/3 of the population starved to death.

      Actually I lie. Road signs began switching on the day of changeover, it took about a month to complete and life generally went on exactly the same as before.

      1. AlanS

        Re: Things change: Ireland

        I played Dromoland Castle golf course some years ago (you may remember it for the Pro/Celebrity TV programme over Christmas/New Year - which is why I wanted to play it). The original 9 holes were built in the days of yards, the second 9 in metres; the distance markers were accordingly in a mixture of metres (new holes) and yards (old). Problem: the tees and greens have since been moved and 1. not all the markers have been updated and 2. some of the 'old' markers are now on 'new' holes and vice versa; you really must use your eyes or be 30 yards wrong into the green!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Things change.

        >and life generally went on exactly the same as before

        I agree. It was a pointless waste of money and effort.

        1. Fluffy Bunny
          Unhappy

          Re: Things change.

          It wasn't pointless. They caught up to the 20th century. All they need to do now is update their manufacturing base. I'm tired of having to buy an extra spanner sets in imperial just in case somebody is still in the dark ages. It's a complete waste of money.

          1. dogged

            Re: Things change.

            > It wasn't pointless.

            What - exactly! - did it achieve?

        2. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: Things change.

          It was only pointless, if you consider there being no cost to Ireland of sticking with a system of weights and measures that only one other country in Europe used and that only a handful of countries in the entire world used.

          1. dogged

            Re: Things change.

            Well, of course, the Irish thinking in kilometers first must be an enormous benefit, why think of all the...er... the, uh.... well, there's.... um....

            No, there's fuck all benefit. It gave some bureaucrats an erection and probably got cronied off as a signwriting job for some politicians nephew and that's it. That's literally all the benefit it could ever be.

            Don't even give me the odometer argument - while the Irish still drive on the left their odometers are calibrated for both miles and kilometers.

            1. dogged

              Re: Things change.

              Ah, the explanation-free downvote. You disagree, but you don't know why.

      3. Tweetiepooh

        Re: Things change.

        Although I haven't been for years modern road signs had distances in km but some older rural ones where still in miles. This could mean that you'd pass a sign that said 10(miles) then later pass one that said 15(km).

  13. P0l0nium

    Tibetan currency

    For obscure units, its hard to beat Tibetan currency : 6 and 2/3 Tangka = 1 Srang

    It makes sense ... 20 Tangka = 3 Srang

    1. Irony Deficient

      Re: Tibetan currency

      P0l0nium,

      that currency proportion was already claimed, much closer to Blighty than far-off Tibet.

  14. Steven 1
    Mushroom

    I really do hate the Daily Mail with a fucking passion.

    That is all.

  15. PyLETS
    Pint

    Mixing measurements

    Using more than one system at the same time is the worst as this results in rocket fuel strength or weak beer. On an international brewing forum I try to discourage exchanges of recipes using gallons as often no-one knows which kind of gallon others are using unless they know which side of the pond they're based. Pounds and ounces are the same both sides, but gallons are smaller in North America, also having the effect of us Brits making us think Yank gas guzzlers drink even more gas than they do.

    Getting beer too weak or strong is not as bad a fault as crashing a spaceship into Mars on account of mixing up the measurements.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Headmaster

      US gallons

      are smaller, because US *pints* are smaller. They stick with the 1707 definition (16 fl. oz), whilst the UK had an "upgrade" (to 20 fl.oz) in 1824.

      Also "stone" (14 lbs) is unknown in the states.

      1. NogginTheNog
        Coat

        Re: US gallons

        "US *pints* are smaller. They stick with the 1707 definition (16 fl. oz), whilst the UK had an "upgrade" (to 20 fl.oz) in 1824".

        Ha! That'll teach 'em to get all uppity with that independence nonsense!

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge

          Re: US Independence

          also explains some of the words they use.

          "fall" *used* to be English, until we had a fad for things French, and started using the poncy "autumn" (from l'autumne). I blame Keats.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: US Independence

            > until we had a fad for things French

            That's a quaint way to put "been invaded by the Normans". :-)

            (Ok, they spoke Norman rather than French, but they're largely mutually intelligible, sort of like English and Scots--Ok, maybe not the best example).

          2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: US Independence

            How do you make "fall" into an adjective? Autumnal. autumnal. autumnal. mmmmm

            1. Irony Deficient

              How do you make “fall” into an adjective?

              J.G.Harston, by commandeering the past participle fallen — much as “spring” could be made into an adjective with sprung as an alternative to “vernal”.

              In practice, though, “fall” (like “spring”) is used attributively as an adjective, e.g. fall foliage.

    2. Tim Worstal

      Re: Mixing measurements

      and ounces are the same both sides

      Not quite. The fluid ounce is different either side. Can't remember which way round it goes but it's something like 1.02:1

    3. Trygve Henriksen
      Pint

      Re: Getting beer too weak or strong is not as bad a fault as crashing a spaceship

      Not as bad?

      HERETIC!

      Without beer, that spaceship would probably never have existed in the first place!

      Beer is the fuel for the creative genious, the backyard hacker, the honest workman...

      How many inventions haven't begun with two blokes enjoying a cold one after a long days work, and one saying 'I wonder if...'

      The whitehouse has a microbrewery... Just saying...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Getting beer too weak or strong is not as bad a fault as crashing a spaceship

        It was an American spaceship so its design would have been fueled by American 'beer' - it was probably a mercy that it crashed

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Headmaster

        Re: Getting beer too weak or strong is not as bad a fault as crashing a spaceship

        Actually, I think you'll find it was alcohol that powered early rockets not beer.

        Now that I think of it, some early rockets were built by poles in underground factories concentration camps.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mixing measurements

      @PyLETS

      Gallons in North America are not smaller than in the UK. They are smaller in the USA whereas Canada uses Imperial Gallons and Litres. In Canada, we generally have two of everything: two official languages, two sets of measures, two competing governments (Provincial and Federal), two sales taxes and too much confusion.

      Mines the one with the maple leaf in the pocket.

      1. Trygve Henriksen
        Happy

        Re: Mixing measurements

        Which maple leaf would that be?

        Canadian or Norwegian....

  16. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Devil

    surely shome mishtake

    Anything measured in Poles should fall into the El Reg volume units?

    1 pole = 20 strippers per night x 2 jubs per stripper = how many bulgarian airbags?

    1. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: surely shome mishtake

      I think you mean Polish airbargs?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get a life...

    As someone who was taught imperial units those who continue to cling them are an utter pain in the a***. The pole or rod is a horrible unit even by the standards of a stupid measurement system 16' 6" ! There was perhaps some point retaining archaic units when everybody was used to them but I think you would struggle to find many who knew even roughly how big a pole is let alone a square pole whereas most people know metres and square metres.

    Anybody who has to do calculations using measurments knows how much eaiser the metric system is. Money was used by everyone but we went decimal successfully, lets get rid off all the remaining archaic units. Our children at leats will thank us.

    1. David1

      Re: Get a life...

      Feet and fathoms are much better than metres for nautical (and aviation) purposes.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Get a life...

        Feet and fathoms are much better than metres for nautical (and aviation) purposes.

        I think if you're aviating in fathoms you have a problem.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Get a life...

          The BBC report the MH370 debris as moving at "24 knots per day"...

          1. welshie

            Re: Get a life...

            knots or nautical miles per hour are not Imperial, US Customary or Metric measurements.

            They are something else entirely.

            A nautical mile is (approximately) one arc-minute of the Earth, measured along any north/south meridian, or 1852 metres. A useful measurement if you are dealing with charts with lat/long grid lines.

            These days, it's rounded to the nearest metre, and is exactly 1852 metres.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Get a life...

              > These days, it's rounded to the nearest metre, and is exactly 1852 metres.

              Sorry to be a pedant, but it's not "rounded to". It is defined by ICAO (a UN agency) to be exactly 1852 metres.

              Btw, it is actually useful for a rough situational awareness check while navigating (by air or sea), as in both cases we express position in latitude and longitude (and a seasoned air navigator knows his cosine tables--there is not so much need for that in marine navigation where the speeds at which you get lost or into trouble are a couple order of magnitude smaller, so you can always go and grab a calculator or ask the 2nd officer).

          2. Evan Essence

            Re: Get a life...

            Wow, you're not wrong.

            13:00: Experts say currents in the area are generally moving in a north-easterly direction, at about 24 knots a day, but different objects can drift at different speeds, according to the Washington Post.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-26704101

            1. PNGuinn
              Coat

              Re: Get a life...

              The currents are accelerating? What's the raisen? Is it Global Vermin?

          3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Get a life...

            Accelerating at that rate, it'll soon reach escape velocity.

        2. Fluffy Bunny
          Unhappy

          Re: Get a life...

          "Feet and fathoms are much better than metres for nautical (and aviation) purposes"

          Actually they use nautical miles.

      2. Kernel Silver badge

        Re: Get a life...

        "Feet and fathoms are much better than metres for nautical (and aviation) purposes."

        Back in the days when I could still afford flying lessons, I seem to remember that weight was in measured in kilograms, visibility was measured in metres and kilometres, height was in feet and fuel and oil quantities were in US gallons and quarts (Cessna 152).

        I seem to recollect a number of years ago that a commercial flight in the US, using one of Boeing's fine products, had to make an emergency landing because one of the pilots had mistakenly assumed the recorded fuel load was in Kg, whereas it was actually in pounds.

        Incredible as it may seem, given the stakes involved, aviation appears to be the one field of human endeavor that attempts to cater for all measuring system preferences.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Get a life...

          > I seem to remember that weight was in measured in kilograms, visibility was measured in metres and kilometres, height was in feet and fuel and oil quantities were in US gallons and quarts (Cessna 152).

          Depends on whether you measure fuel by volume (light aircraft) or mass (all other aircraft). It also depends on whether you are flying in the world: Russia and other CIS countries use the metric system across the board, so your altitude is in metres or metric flight levels, your speed at the lower flight levels in kph (same for light aircraft and microlights in France btw), wind speeds and vertical speeds are given in m/s, etc.

          > I seem to recollect a number of years ago that a commercial flight in the US [...] had to make an emergency landing

          I believe that's known as the Gimli glider? Look it up.

          > Incredible as it may seem, given the stakes involved, aviation appears to be the one field of human endeavor that attempts to cater for all measuring system preferences.

          Well, it keeps you on your toes. :-)

    2. Len Goddard

      Re: Get a life...

      Rubbish. The pole is a quarter of a chain, which is perfectly logical.

      As for the perfect acre being 4 poles by 40 poles, it is much easier to remember as a chain by a furlong. Since a furlong is 10 chains, an acre is thus 10 square chains. What is a chain? 100 links, of course.

      As for money, the old system had many advantages - restaurant bills could be easily divided between parties of 3, 6, 8, 12 or whatever. Plus it gave innumerable opportunities to cheat foreigners.

      I still miss the old red exercise books with all the measures on the back:

      rod, pole, perch, bushel, peck, Troy ounce, furlong, and so on.

      Metric units are so ... pedestrian ... by comparison. Just because we have 10 fingers doesn't make 10 a good base for a number system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get a life...

        A chain being 22 yards is also a 'stupid' unit 22 is awkward having factors of just 2 and 11 which is why the pole being 'logically' derived from it is the strange value of 5.5 yards.

        A restaurant bill was and is much harder to divide up between people in the old money except in the non-sensical and practically irrelevant case were the bill is expressed as an integer number of shillings, the number of people happened to be a divsior of 12 and the answer is expressed in pennies. The reality is much harder imagine a bill of 1 pound 13 shillings 7 1/2 d do you really think that is easier to divide this by any number rather than £ 1.68 I only have to do one divide instead of first converting into a single unit, then dividing and finally converting back into multiple units or alternatively having to divide each component seperately have the fractions expressed in the smaller units and then add everything together. Did you ever do this for real?

        It did give lots of opportunities to cheat, and make mistakes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Get a life...

          >A chain being 22 yards is also a 'stupid' unit

          A chain being 22 yards is exactly one cricket pitch in length

    3. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Get a life...

      I think Matt Parker has an excellent introduction to imperial units on YouTube:

      www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7x-RGfd0Yk

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get a life...

      Surely the pole was just chosen to be the nearest imperial equivalent to 5 metres?

      (yes, yes, I know. But I believe that even the yard wasn't that standardised until quite late and wouldn't be surprised if the pole varied a bit around the country in the past.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get a life...

        As one chain is the distance between the two sets of stumps on a cricket pitch it can in no way be described as a 'stupid' measure, although I might settle for 'on first glance somewhat arbitrary'.

        1. Fluffy Bunny
          Meh

          Re: Get a life...

          I'm pretty sure that the measurement of the cricket pitch was chosen to be one chain, not the other way around.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get a life...

        > wouldn't be surprised if the pole varied a bit around the country

        Exactly. The pole and every other measure.

        Before the industrial revolution, there were no unified magnitudes, although often market towns would have a set of standards that were used for trade in that town. Since antiquity Master Builders, for their part, used to carry their own set of measurement tools (their own standards), which of course each different slightly from their colleagues'. Nowadays, one of the methods used by archaeologists for establishing the identity of the builder responsible for an ancient construction is measuring certain "standard" elements, such as the thickness of a wall (one or two feet, in areas subject to Roman influence). By observing whether that one foot wall is e.g., 0.296 or 0.352 metres thick one can with luck attribute the building to Mr. X instead of Mr. Y (but one would not necessarily be able to discriminate between Mr. X and Mr. Y and their respective sons, if they continued the trade in the same geographical area and inherited their parent's tools).

        Likewise, when surveyors do title research, sometimes they will consult reference books, academic articles, or other documents that tell you how much different measures were (probably) worth in a given area.

        All this to say that, since anywhere between a few decades and a century and a half (depending on where you live), when one measures in feet, pounds, or whatever, one is actually using metric units by a different name. All because of the industrial revolution. Which started in Britain. :)

    5. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Get a life...

      I've got a life and a brain - why do you want to simplify things that dont need to be simplified.

      I can understand why some where dumb enough think there might be some benefit in decimalisation over imperial before the calculator but that was over 1/3rd of a century ago and, while it might be easier for some to count on their fingers, anything important should be run through unit tests before releasing for early testing and should even be capable of register units so to demand decimalisation of allotments is, well, imperious.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Get a life...

        How many of the allotment holders know what 10 poles of area is actually 10 square poles which is actually 10 x 5.5 x 5.5 square yards.

        How many know what square metre is?

        Clarity alone would demand using a unit people actually know.

        1. Fluffy Bunny

          Re: Get a life...

          "How many know what a square metre is?"

          Quite simple, it's a one metre by one metre square.

  18. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Flame

    1863 - a dark year ...

    incredible to think, we could have solved this all over 150 years ago ....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrication_in_the_United_Kingdom

    and reading that article, metric has been legal for use in the UK since 1896.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This sounds like the work of over-zealous municipal officials."

    Or those that decided that the 1960's are long gone and and to stop pissing about pleasing those born before the war.

  20. blokedownthepub

    Typical Mail Story

    I expect that the majority of people on the allotment plots in question don't actually care or know what a pole is.

    I'm an allotment holder, and our plots have been measured in sq. m for years. Even the old blokes don't measure plots in feet.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Typical Mail Story

      I chair my allotment committee meetings. None of us has the foggiest what a pole measures in real life. We just have to refer to the records and send out the bills accordingly. Most of the sizes seem pretty random anyway.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't touch metric with a 5.5 yard pole

    It might affect my prize leeks!

  22. LJK

    Just took a look at the Reg units, but the page has no comment section, so porting here...

    Volume is severely lacking many measurements, including all the standard beer, wine and spirit volumes like pint, dram, Firkin, Methuselah, Jeroboam, etc. Noting that barrels seem to also be a standard unit which is completely different wherever you go. Another colonial volume measurement which seems to cause confusion throughout the world is the cup.

    Some other commonly used measurements of length and area seem to be cricket pitch, tennis court etc. I suspect that in the colonies, baseball pitch, ice hockey pitch and basketball court are likely to be in common use too!

    1. MeRp

      RE: Middle England's allotments become metric battlefield

      Assuming you are referring to one or two specific former colonies (US and Canada), you are incorrect both semantically and in your assumption.

      Semantically: in the relevant colonies they are called; baseball field and ice hockey rink. Here pitch is what the pitcher (akin, but not identical, to the bowler in cricket) does.

      Problem with the assumption: While ice hock fans and basketball fans generally have some idea of the size of their relevant play environment, baseball fans do not. As a highly irregular shape, with widely varying dimensions, most would never think to try to use a baseball field as a relative measure.

      Far more common than any of those, though, is the football field. It is a different size than a football pitch (similar, but not quite the same), and, usually, rather than being used as an area measure, it is usually used as a length measure. Very common for ships.

  23. AdamT

    More or Less ...

    ... on Radio 4 covered this, I thought, pretty completely: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01p8bs2

    But, having just listened again, I don't hear them mention "pole" though ....

    Interestingly the Romans seemed to like the idea of "metricated" multiples as there was a Roman mile of 60,000 inches (as opposed to the normal mile of 63,360 inches, obviously).

    1. Herbert Fruchtl

      Re: More or Less ...

      > Interestingly the Romans seemed to like the idea of "metricated" multiple

      Of course they were metric. Mile comes from "mille passuum" (a thousand paces, i.e. two thousand steps). Easy to count when you are marching long distances. The yard as well as the metre are roughly a step.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    10 pole...

    And the allotment holders shall match into battle singing...

    Over the hills with swords of a thousand men

    1. snurfen

      Re: 10 pole...

      Bugger, I know what will be my new ear worm when I provide the motive force for the wife's allotment. Damn you! I think Edward's frock coat might be a bit impractical for double-digging though.

  25. Pypes

    For the typographically inclined types

    2.07 GPt^2

    or slightly more reasonably

    4048 sheets of A4

  26. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Fear not, ancient standards of measurement prevail in today's electronics ...

    I give you the 0.1 inch hole matrix and dual-in-line pin spacing.

    Not even the decimal gang have overcome that!

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: Fear not, ancient standards of measurement prevail in today's electronics ...

      When I did my own PCB design years ago it was easy to do drawing on 1/10" graph paper going along the lines and then going onto acatate before making the PCB (all done in mum's kitchen which was a hazard at meal times) and it all worked well. My dad and I knocked out all sorts of PCB boards for various projects that way.

      Then they came out with metric paper and the lines wouldn't match the integrated circuit legs any more.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Fear not, ancient standards of measurement prevail in today's electronics ...

      I think you'll find that there are parts with 2.5mm pin spacing. And SMD parts tend towards metric as well.

  27. Dropper

    When Did We Go Metric?

    So if England is metric, how come our currency isn't called the British 0.453592 Kilogram now?

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: When Did We Go Metric?

      how come our currency isn't called the British 0.453592 Kilogram now?

      Because of inflation.

      You did know that a pound sterling orginally referred to a pound of sterling silver? (And that Europe, including the UK, had a single pan-national currency based on fractions of a pound sterling back in the middle ages. Florins, Francs, Marks, S[c]hillings, Crowns and Thaler (hence dollar) were all originally sub-multiples of a pound of sterling silver, and circulated across borders).

      These days a (troy) ounce of silver costs around US$ 20. I'll leave working out how many grams per UK currency unit as an exercise for the reader, but it's a heck of a lot less than 453.

      1. Dropper

        Re: When Did We Go Metric?

        "You did know that a pound sterling orginally referred to a pound of sterling silver? "

        Yes.. which is why I asked "if we are a metric nation, why is our currency not called the 0.453592 Kilogram instead of the Pound (sterling silver)?" As silver, like gold, it's value does not go up or down. The reason it costs more today than it did yesterday is we devalue our own currency periodically in order to stay competitive. If we remained linked to the value of silver nothing we made could ever be sold overseas and our unemployment would be astronomical.

        It's a common economic fallacy that the price of silver and gold rises or falls. It doesn't. The value of your currency rises and falls in relation to the product you're buying. Gold and silver have not gone up in value, what has really happened is governments have devalued their currencies as one crisis after another has hit their economies. As far as buying things goes, this amounts to the same thing. It doesn't matter if its the currency that lost value or the product has increased in value.. as far as you're concerned it still costs more than it used to. But the point is if currencies remained linked to something that has a fixed value because its a finite resource, then you'd never be able to compete with countries that devalue their currency as necessary when their economies tank.

  28. nick bunyan

    Err...

    Is that Wales as in Jimmy, and is nanoWales not then a Volumetric [sic] measurement ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Err...

      But you can get two whales in a mini. How? Straight down the M4...

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Coat

        Two whales

        Ah, but how do you get *four* whales in a mini ?

        And more importantly, how do you know if there's an elephant in the fridge ?

        These are the issues we need to grapple with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Four whales

          er ... two in the front, two in the back ?

          Last time we had an elephant in the fridge, we found footprints in the butter.

          Now, how do monkeys hide from lions ?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two whales

          "how do you get *four* whales in a mini ?"

          By using a very big liquidiser.

  29. Evan Essence

    Who are these clods?

    I started school in the 1950s and I was never taught about poles – inches, feet, yards and miles were all we needed. Who are these people, so attached to this mediæval unit? Get with the plan, people, and use units everyone understands. That means square metres.

    1. Mike Flex

      Re: Who are these clods?

      "I started school in the 1950s and I was never taught about poles – inches, feet, yards and miles were all we needed. "

      They were listed on the back of your log tables.

      HTH

  30. Agincourt and Crecy!

    Area?

    Why not measure it in something agricultural(ish).

    I propose we go for barns.

    That should sort out the bean counters.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Area?

      The Barn is already taken as a unit. It is indeed a measure of area, but one so small that it's really of use only to atomic physicists. For agriculture, even a Yottabarn would be too small a unit. Oh, and it's metric.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_%28unit%29

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Area?

        My favourite unit of all, that comes up in the Higgs Boson papers, is the inverse femtobarn.

        Perhaps it could be used for measuring barn conversions, but I wouldn't.

      2. Agincourt and Crecy!
        Facepalm

        Re: Area?

        Which is largely the reason I suggested it. Barns and allotments *could* both have an agricultural meaning as well as a meaning in mensuration.

        There are oodles of barns in the area of an allotment, hence annoying for bean counters who would need to account for each and every one, hence my comment on annoying bean counters.

        *sigh*

        1. PNGuinn
          Holmes

          Re: Area?

          Ah yes, the infamous Imperial Oodle - So what's its considered value in femtobusses these days then?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone remember Ten Pole Tudor ?

  32. Big_Boomer Bronze badge

    RACISTS!

    Why use Poles, when all kinds of other nationalities can be used to measure plots of land! :-)

    I'd love to completely forget about the stupid "Imperial" system. Metric is simple, straight forward and most importantly, consistent. Keeping the Imperial system is like not picking a scab off your face because it's traditional and makes you seem different. Me, I welcome our Metric Overlords.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: RACISTS!

      If Polish lacks definite and indefinite articles as do some other Slavic languages, I can understand why the significance of the capital letter in front of Pole meaning a person from Poland has been overlooked. And yes, there is a problem with operator overloading at the start of our sentences.

      Anyway, although Poles tend to be slightly taller than the EU average height, I have yet to meet one about five meters tall.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RACISTS!

        > If Polish lacks definite and indefinite articles as do some other Slavic languages,

        It does¹ (roughly speaking) lack articles.

        ¹ I don't speak Polish although I may sound like one when I'm very drunk, but I do speak another Slavic language and therefore can understand a fair amount of Polish (except when I'm very drunk).

        On the good news front, I never thought I would see the Daily Mail coming out in favour of keeping the Poles.

    2. peter_dtm
      FAIL

      Re: RACISTS!

      I take it you are talking about the bastardisation that is SI ?

      neither cgs nor mks; just a mish mash of two DIFFERENT metric systems to allow them to come near to proper human (imperial) friendly sized measure.

  33. Steve 114
    FAIL

    'Lost'

    I did Imperial at school, and it wasn't easy but at least it's divisible and visualisable. My children did Metric, and now have No Idea. They simply don't know how to 'measure' things, or put up shelves, or hang pictures centrally. Total fail of central governance (and me too, I sometimes think, while sorting it out for them with twin-scale rulers).

    1. Fluffy Bunny
      Unhappy

      Re: 'Lost'

      " but at least it's divisible "

      I, for one, never understood what good being divisible was, when real nature isn't made that way. Go out into you back yard and measure the nearest tree. It's exactly one and a third feet around, isn't it? No of course it xxxx isn't. So what value is there in choosing a measurement that divides nicely?

  34. Tony Green

    Oh, for goodness' sake!

    It's the bloody Daily Hate! Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about the story?

  35. snurfen

    I shall mull this over when I'm digging over one half of my polytunnel's soil this evening. I shall try and work out how many nanoWales I am turning as I labour.

    I measure my allotment efforts in the equivalent of a 30 minute gym workout, so I expect to perform approximately 3.8 MMs tonight (muscle-marys) during my 1 3/4 hour toil.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tenpole Tudor

    My allotment is covered in the swords of a thousand men.

  37. Neil Gardner

    How dare these dyed-in-the-wool Little Englanders (and probably UKIP voters to boot) use antediluvian units of measure that have not been endorsed by the International Community? I mean this is nearly as bad as the French insisting on speaking French in France, when everyone else has moved onto Globalish. We should all speak te language, watch the same movies, dance to the same music, eat the same food and think the same sanitized thoughts. Please repeat after me, globalization is wonderful. Long live Globalish! Long live conformity and let's leave diversity to our corporate branding dudes!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I think...

      It's a UKIP council. Banning all the Poles...

      On the other hand, it could be sneaking EU metrication in by the back door...

      Something's not right anyway. The plot thickens. Or widens.

    2. BongoJoe

      Endorsed by the international community?

      It's not often I say this, but let our cousins over the other side of the Pond have their say.

  38. bed

    Metric wood?

    My local wood merchant uses the nearest metric equivelant for imperial wood, queries in metric tend to get an imperial response: Lengths of 150mm x 50mm are six by twos. Meanwhile, I measured and staked out our allotment in metres not realising there was an imperial convention - I just hope some of the curmugoens don't latch on and cause a rumpus at the next AGM.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Metric wood?

      Two weeks ago I had to buy 25 feet of 6mm cable to wire up a kiln that is rated at 1kW for every degree Fahrenheit per minute temperature rise it does.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Metric wood?

        Your kiln?? I'm assuming that 25 feet of cable is enough to go round - but I'd hazard a guess that even air would retain heat better than your kiln would. You'd need Megawatts for stoneware.

  39. David 45

    Rent

    I expect the rent is calculated in groats (look it up!).

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Rent

      Unless its peppercorn! Mind you a single peppercorn that's gone through the UK supply chain and been wrapped in impenetrable plastic would be more than the average allotment rent these days.

  40. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Headmaster

    The solution...

    To all these measurements conundrums is the (back of the) Red Exercise Book.

  41. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    This vexatious item has our office polarised over one crucial issue arising from the controversy: Is "anti-pole" pronounced "ahn TI poll ee" or is it more correctly "aunty pole"?

  42. Chris G Silver badge

    Boggled

    I was raised with Imperial but years of actually working with metric has largely converted me.

    I still visualise anything less than about 18" as inches, over that and I tend to think in Metres unless it is a person's height, I am still unable to see 1m 78cm as 5ft 10" and similarly I have difficulty in judging the weight of some one in Kgs.

    In 1999 I went to the States for a couple of years and worked as a carpenter, after years of acclimatising to metric to have a measurement of 1ft 9 19/32" shouted to me to cut was very difficult to get used to.

    Much as I hate to say it the metric system is more useable even if it was a Frog idea, just so long as we can stick to mm, cm, metres and Kilometres, all the deci, deca and hectametres are just an unnecessary pain in the arse.

    Even having learnt my weights and measures in the '50s we did not use poles, pecks and perches etc they were always regarded even then as archaic or old fashioned except for chains as an important part of Cricket, lets face it 20.1168metres just isn't cricket is it.

  43. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

    Obvious

    The reference unit of length is the double-decker bus.

  44. Tom 13
    Coat

    I think the suitable punishment for this is

    that once the culprit is found men with rods should shackle him/her in chains and drag him/her a league at a time until he/she fathoms the mistake.

  45. Kevin Johnston

    Meh...too simple

    At least we have stopped using a ten hundred of herring which was 1,200 fish

  46. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    When I had an allotment it was 20 feet x 65 feet, so where does that come from? I was surprised it wasn't 60 feet long, 2x3 aspect ration. What's that in perches anyway?

  47. Telboy

    I have just looked at the deeds of my house and the garden is measured in poles (square poles 5 1/2 yards by 5 1/2 yards).

    Also my timber merchant sells 100mm x 50mm x 2400mm wood as 4 x 2 x 2.4 . ( No units, that would just make it too easy!)

  48. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Daily Mail, source of all hoaxes

    Nobody thought of the source?

    1. Bunbury

      Re: Daily Mail, source of all hoaxes

      Given the source I'm surprised that their headline wasn't 'faceless Euro bureaucrats' or something.

      More likely this is some blowhard in Baingstoke who has just seen that their allotment has been measured in metres rather than rods. Probably the parish clerk who sends out the bills asked someone whether they should be imperial or metric and that person thought everything had to be metric.

      My allotment is charged per rod, though I did notice they have had to have public liability insurance now.

      Still, we're probably a throwback. The local cricket pitch is, literally, rented for one peppercorn per year plus a cricket ball on 1st June if Lord Sackville asks for it.

  49. wjong

    The land register hasn't used poles, rods, or perches, since the 1980s and hasn't used acres since 2010-01-01. The acre is no longer a primary unit.

    So the metre and the square metre become the official unit of measure.

    I think the council is legally correct in the instance, and should stand by its decision.

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