Metric loss

We’ve never really been metric, so why imperial foam?

IN a wave of Jubilee red, white and blue patriotic fervor, Boris Johnson announced this week that he would bring back pounds, ounces, gallons, feet and inches.

Report them? Oh good? As far as I’m concerned, they never left.


Britain brings back pounds, ounces, gallons, feet and inches.1 credit

For five years, I have been building a house. Well, I haven’t. Builders have.

And they use what I like to call the Roman Catholic system. Which means I never have a clue what they’re talking about.

I understand that one millimeter is very small, but what does 400 of them look like? Is it a meter? A mile ? Or the distance to Cairo?

This inability to visualize metric distances is almost certainly the reason my front door – and I’m not making this up – is over ten feet tall.

It showed up on the drawings as 3200mm and since I had no idea what that meant I just said, “sounds good”.

And now Richard Hammond can’t reach the knocker.

Russian weapons used to terrify me... what happened?
I have a Massey Ferguson, and it's red and throbbing.  So... want a ride

I had a similar problem with my new garden table. It was made from concrete by a guy from Bulgaria who didn’t understand what feet and thumbs were.

And accordingly, the surface is 1,100 mm from the ground.

Which means when I sit on it, only my hair is visible. And because it’s made of concrete, it can’t be changed.

I have similar problems when I go to the doctor and he asks me how much alcohol I drink. He wants a metric answer but I don’t know what a milliliter is.

lettuce for lunch

My friend Gerald, the 73 year old head of security on my farm, went to a doctor recently and said he was drinking one unit a day. Because in Gerald’s world, and mine, a unit is a gallon.

On that front, I’ve never understood why gas pumps deliver fuel by the liter, but we all measure our car’s economy using miles per gallon.

And it’s still miles. Because a mile is five-eighths of a mile and who wants to bother knowing what that is?

Naturally, Mr Johnson’s proposals to become fully imperial were scoffed at in The Guardian, which basically said ounces and pounds etc were racist.

That may be true, but they are also useful. Because when I step on the scale and the reading says I weigh 17 stone, I mentally note to have lettuce for lunch.

If they said I weighed 107,000 grams, I would have no idea what that means. So I would go downstairs and prepare myself a good frying pan.

Healthy option

We were told this week that seaweed is a healthy alternative to salt and can be used in soup, tomato sauce and chocolate mousse.

Seaweed enthusiast at the United Nations, Vincent Doumeizel, says it boosts your immune system and is packed with zinc, iodine, vitamins, protein and nutrients.

Yes. But it’s still seaweed, isn’t it.

I can’t Adam and Eve

The gender debate could now span years after the birth of a child


The gender debate could now span years after the birth of a childCredit: Getty

WHEN my wife was pregnant with our children, a nurse shoved some kind of electrical device into her frozen belly before telling us if we were having a boy or a girl.

She was able to determine this by looking deep inside the womb for evidence of a penis.

But that, according to Labor, is no longer an indicator. The fetus may well have man-vegetables there, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a boy.

So how will parents know whether to paint the baby’s room pink or blue? Or what clothes to buy? Or toys?

And what will happen to the gender reveal party? Mothers won’t be able to hold one until the child turns 35.

Because if they do, they will be cancelled.

playing it safe

Swimming in nature could be bad for your health


Swimming in nature could be bad for your health

It has been reported that more than half of people who swam in the wild got sick afterwards.

They complained of headaches and waking up in a puddle of sick people and feces.

Simple solution. Don’t go swimming wildly. Go to your local swimming pool instead.

It will be warm and full of healthy chlorine, rather than sewage.

Hasty decision

Don't molest the alligators


Don’t molest the alligatorsCredit: Getty

A MAN searching for lost Frisbees in a Florida lake has been killed by an alligator.

Police say he must have been aware of the dangers as there were many prominent signs with an image of a ‘gator and the words: ‘Danger – do not feed or molest’.

Molest? Who will attack an alligator?

Pre-punk rockers weren’t so rotten

The groups the Sex Pistols rebelled against weren't so bad after all


The groups the Sex Pistols rebelled against weren’t so bad after allCredit: BackGrid

SKY TV shows phenomenal dramas. So I was looking forward to watching The Staircase, which got great reviews.

Unfortunately, every time I try to download it, I get a computer gibberish message that the operation failed.

An engineer came and after poking around for a while said there was nothing he could do. It is irreparable.

That’s why last night I started watching Danny Boyle’s Sex Pistols biopic on Disney+.

Like just about everything Danny Boyle does, it’s fantastic, but that begs a question.

Punk was meant to be a reaction to the rock music emphasis of the time.

And Boyle demonstrates this using various clips from the era.

We hear a lot of Rick Wakeman, Hawkwind, David Bowie, T. Rex, Kiki Dee, Otis Redding, The Who, Pink Floyd and Sly And The Family Stone.

And as I listened, I couldn’t help but think, “And what exactly was wrong with all that?”

The Star’s Diminishing Riches

We shouldn't worry too much about a fading star light years away


We shouldn’t worry too much about a fading star light years awayCredit: Getty

Exciting news from space. A huge star, which measures 767 million kilometers in diameter – almost 900,000 times larger than our Sun – has suddenly started to darken.

Just two months ago, Betelgeuse, which marks Orion’s armpit, was the tenth brightest star in the night sky. But now it’s the 21st.

Some scientists say it could be about to explode, and if it does, it will shine for a while with the same brilliance as the Moon.

So should we be worried about such a big hit? Well, in stellar terms, the star is one of our closest neighbors, but it’s still so far away that the dimming we see now actually happened in the year 1380.

When Richard II was King of England.

Bernie’s Room

AND now, the least surprising news of the week.

Bernie Ecclestone was arrested by cops at the Brazilian airport after finding a gun in his suitcase.

Bernie? Are you traveling with one piece? Well blow me.

To the point

WE have just learned that men only read books written by other men.
Yes, and for good reason.

I tried to read a girl’s book and it’s usually about a woman’s search for 50 years for her hat.

The first chapter deals with all the flowers she picked in Nepal, and in chapter two we learn how she showed her unrequited love for a man named Sebastian by moving her chair slightly to the left at a dinner party.

Chapter three? No idea. I usually gave up at that point and picked up a Jack Reacher book instead.