River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Runnin' On

December 2002


Something a little bit different this month as the "Pump" seems to like trivia amongst its pages. As retired "old folks" we seem to spend lots of our time doing crosswords and puzzles and one of our most used and well-worn possessions is a 1966 Collins New Gem dictionary.

Anyway, back to the trivia. While waiting for inspiration I very often turn to the back pages of the dictionary, to the useful information section, where I can find all sorts of data such as, conversion tables, chemical symbols, roman numerals, highest mountains, longest rivers, and even the distance by air from Johannesburg or Bombay to any other capital in the world. But there are a couple of more interesting, but now redundant sections.

One section is headed "Quick ways with figures" and remembering this is the time before decimalisation and the common use of calculators, it makes me think how lazy we have become.

I shall give just one example to make the mind boggle !

To find the cost of a cwt, when the price of a lb is given. Reduce the price to farthings, and multiply by 7 divided by 3 and call shillings.

e.g. Cost of 12 cwts. @ 10.5 d per lb.10.5 d = 42 farthings,42 times 7 divided by 3 = 9898 shillings = £4-18 shillings.Therefore 12 cwts. Cost £58.16 shillings.

Easy isn't it, and cheap at half the price.

That section was for the mathematician, but this next part tests the memory and comes under the heading of "Miscellaneous weights and measures".

The first part is about Barrels of Liquor, there are

* Firkins @ 9 gallons,

* Kilderkins @ 18 gallons,

* Barrels @ 36 gallons,

* Hogsheads @ 54 gallons,

* Puncheons @ 72 gallons, and

* a Butt of ale is 108 gallons.

Coming back to Hogsheads,

* only Sherry is 54 gallons,

* Brandy is 60,

* Port is 57 and

* Madeira and Claret are only 46.

There must be logic in there somewhere.

And finally this is for the fishmonger

* A barrel of cured herrings is 26 3/4 gallons

* A Cran of herrings is 37 1/2 gallons

And if you want to know them individually:

* A Warp of herrings is 4 herrings

* A Long Hundred is 33 Warps or 132 herrings

* Ten Hundred of herrings are 1320 herrings

* and a Last of herrings are 13200 herrings

NOW I CALL THAT A LOAD OF TRIVIA! It might win you a pint in the Pub quiz.

Happy Christmas!

Brian Tilburn

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