When exactly did the national greeting of Britain change from "Hello" to "Hiya"? Wherever I go in my homeland, people in shops and restaurants now greet me with Hiya, or I should say 'Iya with the H dropped. This drives me crazy, and is just one of those things I find irritating. Another thing I find irritating: when people say Twenty-ten instead of Two Thousand ten. Last year, 2009, was Two thousand and nine. No-one said twenty-o-nine. Why say Twenty-ten? It is not gonna be the Twenty-Twelve Olympic Games, it is the Two Thousand Twelve Olympics. Puh-lease.
And when did we as a nation collectively decide to switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius? When I was young, all the temperatures on the weather forecast and on ovens were Fahrenheit. I'm away for 18 years and now were all Celsius. It's very confusing.
I have a theory. Wanna hear it?
Petrol used to be sold by the gallon. It is now sold by the litre. I suspect that back when the price of petrol started to rise, the oil companies panicked and thought, "If people see the price go up too much, they'll quit buying our product, and then bang goes our pensions and bonuses and houses in the country and BMWs and the stables and the kids' college funds. If we price petrol by the litre, it'll fool them into thinking it's cheaper than it actually is, and we can ride our gravy train for life."
So that's what happened, and people pay £1.20 or so per litre. An Imperial (UK) gallon is 4.54609 litres. So in actuality, people pay about £5.34 per gallon. How much is that in dollars? Well, at today's rate, that is $7.88. Of course, an Imperial gallon is bigger than a US gallon. Pints are 20 oz. here, 16 oz. in the States, so a US gallon is 32 oz. less. That works out to about $6.30 per US gallon. I remember the outcry of dismay a couple of years back when gasoline touched on $4 a gallon. Think your bloody selves lucky. If I had my way, we'd all be driving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles anyway. We all know, and have known for many years, that the supply of oil is not limitless. One day it will all run out, especially with wankers like BP running the show. Oh, and before you all get hot under the collar about BP...
There's a lot of misinformation about BP from you Yanks especially, concerning who owns it. It used to be called British Petroleum, shortened a few years back to BP because it wasn't all British anymore. Here, from the BP website, is a pie chart showing the ownership stats.
Anyway - back to my theory. Once petrol was being priced in metric, other things began to change. Other weights and measures began to follow. Your groceries were priced by the kilo. In grocery stores, things have had Imperial and metric weights on them for almost as long as I can remember, and it's all because of the Common Market, Europe, all that stuff that happened in the early 70s when this fair isle was browbeaten into becoming a part of what is now known as the European Union. Now there's the bloody Euro to contend with, which, I'm happy to report, we do not accept at our restaurant - - yet. When I was in school we had to do maths and geometry in millimetres and centimetres, although we measured ourselves in feet and inches, knew that a mile was 1760 yards, and nobody ever said 'kilometres per hour'. Anyone remember the old rhyme - "A metre measures three foot three, it's longer than a yard, you see"? Anyway, so we Brits had been groomed for this changeover.
Everything was changing, so the powers that be thought - "Fuck it, let's change the temperatures to Celsius too, while we're at it." But I am sorry - when it's a hot day, I like my temps in good old F - not C. A 70-degree day I can understand, but it just sounds weird to say it's 21 degrees outside. That sounds cold to me. Brrr, 21 degrees. Not, phew, what a 21-degree scorcher. Just plain wrong. And I cannot deal with baking a cake at 180 degrees. To me, that just doesn't seem hot enough.
At least all our signposts are still in miles. Let's face it, who ever heard of a kilometre-stone?