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Posted by TheFallen on October 13, 2004

In Reply to: Correction posted by Lotg on October 13, 2004

: : As I child I grew up using Pounds Sterling as currency (errr.... well no as a child, I was more likely to have threepence - pronounced throopence with a short 'oo' - I never had more than 2 shillings on me at any one time - and if I did, I was filthy rich), and I had to learn Imperial measurements at school.

: : In 1966 (when I was 9), our currency was converted to decimal. And much later, in the early 70's I think (not sure about the date), our Imperial measurements were converted to metric.

: : But there were many sayings and slang terms that evolved based on the old currency and measurements. Some have lingered and some haven't.

: : eg. Yesterday it was really hot. It reached 38deg Celsius (thank goodness I live in the Mountains, only 28C here). Hottest day on record for that date in Spring. My 11 year-old stepdaughter phoned for a chat and I said to her "it reached the ton in Sydney today" and she had no idea what I was talking about. Because in the 'old speak', 38C was 100F. We also used to say things like, "the Holden can do 0 to the ton in 60 seconds" (highly unlikely probably) - which meant 0 to 100 mph. But now because we're metric, it would be no achievement to reach 100kph.

: : Use of the word 'ton' like that seems to have dropped away here, because for a start we don't have 'tons' any more, we have 'tonnes' and secondly most metric measurements do seem to end that tidily. We also used to say, if we had 2 shillings, that we had 2 bob. Some of us older people still say that when we're holding a 20c coin, because the coins are pretty much the same size and feel the same. But again, my stepdaughter has no idea what a Bob is. She'd probably say it was Bob the Builder.

: : But other sayings like "the penny dropped", still linger.

: : I was wondering if anyone can offer any other legacies like these of bygone currencies, measurement standards and eras?

: : And what other countries have undergone such currency conversions within the last 50 years?

: In a previous paragraph I said "most metric measurements do seem to end that tidily". That was an early morning - pre coffee typo. It should have read "most metric measurements do NOT seem to end that tidily"

I can't even remember when decimalisation of currency took place in the UK - 1971 maybe? However, we didn't switch to dollars, but stuck with pounds and (new) pence - we just lost the shillings aka the bobs, the tanners, the thruppenies and the half-crowns. We did briefly retain the ha'pennies.

The process of going metric has taken a lot longer, and although there's now a law requiring shops and supermarkets to display weights in kilos, and although all schools now teach maths and the sciences in metric, everyday life in the UK is still happily dominated by things like "miles per hour" on speed limit signs, and friends will smile happily at you if you ask them whether they've shed a few pounds. Everyone in the UK will know their weight in stones and pounds, and I remain unclear on things like temperature, whether weather or body) if it's told to me in Centigrade/Celcius.

"Trust me" Tony, our grinning PM, a rampant Europhile if ever there was one, and a chief proponent of forcing everyone going metric, caused much wry accidental amusement the other year when his last child was born - upon being asked by journalists, he repled that the baby was a healthy "6 pounds 12 ounces".

For the record, I'm sure that a car such as the Holden (which is a bit of a beast) could happily reach 100mph in well under 20 seconds, let alone a minute.