It was clearly big news. The guy on the radio had a hushed portentous tone to his voice…”and in London today – 32 degrees!’
‘Oh wow!’ we were meant to feel. Not like one of those characters in the comics with a bemused question mark hovering over their heads. But I am ready to bet that there are scores of people out there who were also doing a quick calculation. ‘Hm…32 degrees: double it, and then add on 30. What does that make? …90 degrees. Oh wow!’ Except that the wow came around five minutes after the item had ended.
By that time a woman had come on, talking about the dreaded Harlequin ladybirds who are invading Britain. They are alien ladybirds, not at all like our very own native ones. Indeed, they are known to even eat them. We can recognise the violaters, she said because they are a different size – up to 8mm! Er…OK.. Pictures of monster ladybirds skittered around my head.
When will the BBC realise that not everybody thinks automatically in metric and centigrade? Being in ones 60s is not being historic. It’s not like shouting at deaf Great Aunt Jane, ‘No, we don’t use candles nowadays, Great Aunt!’
We’ve got our marbles, but we also have – many of us – different scales of measurement. Don’t shut us out.