Furlongs per Fortnight?

Until he retired, my father spent a good part of his life as an engineer with the Australian subsidiary of General Motors. He didn’t design cars, he designed the plant that made the cars. All 3D drawings of equipment, piping, electrical circuits, etc. Very interesting. He had lots of reminders for me that in the real world, things don’t work out the way they do in theory. He had dozens of stories.

One trivial example is the time his boss decided to change the spec for the motor that was going to move something between buildings; his boss wanted to save money. They installed it and two hours later it was dead. It had the same power rating as the original motor my father specified. Any guesses? Well, you’d never know unless you’re in the business, but heavy motors can only start so many times per hour or they burn out.

Another example from my own life is when I helped a neighbor run some computer cabling on an old house, down in Norfolk. The only path to the upstairs bedroom was outside, under the eaves. At one point, it had to go under a short run of steel on the roof and then into the outside wall and on to the bedroom. Well, a roof can get hot and heat increases electrical resistance. So, when the sun came out the cabling couldn’t pass data as fast as on a cloudy or cold day. Took me a while to figure that one out…

The title of the post refers to an off-the-cuff comment made by my dad as he was showing some drawings and I asked about the units. He said that different engineers used different units sometimes and they were always the most useless, for example furlongs per fortnight. (I’m wondering how many US-based reader of this blog have heard of either unit…)

When my runaway wife (thanks SG!) left, she took the electric kettle. The cheek!

In summer, I have less tea in the mornings, but I still need my Earl Grey sometimes. Tonight I was on Amazon.com looking for a replacement that matches the other appliances in the kitchen. (For something so simple, there are a *surprising* number of electric kettles with crappy reviews.) I was trying to compare the Top Sellers and here are the units they offer to ‘help’ me compare sizes:
– 1.8 quart
– 17 ounce
– 10 cup
– 1.7 liter
(They come in different sizes, like 48 ounces, 7 cup, etc.)

The acronym WTF was devised specifically for situations like this.

I say bring on the metric system right now. Or least sometime in the next 2 to 4 hectares.


About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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7 Responses to Furlongs per Fortnight?

  1. The girl next door says:

    Again I’m so sorry for your predicament but it appears as if you are making the best of a bad situation and are there for your daughters which is so important as I’m sure they feel jilted and most likely are not as well equipped to deal with this type of life situation.

    I love electric Kettles they are the best! Don’t buy the one I had (I wish I could remember the name) but I”m sure it was up there with crummy ratings. I’ll give you the advice I haven’t taken myself yet. Go to Sinoma Williams most likely they will have a decent one with a good substantial design as mine did not. It literally fell apart. I returned it, got another and that one fell apart as well. I tossed the second one and haven’t been to Sinoma Williams yet.

    Good luck.

    Now “Furlongs per Fortnight” I have no real knowledge of this saying, but I can imagine only.

    • Ahh, yes, “xmemore” … I did wander across to your blog (although you warned me not to, as if that would make it less interesting) and I see you …. went a different direction to me. I get the impression you are keeping it quiet from the husband — good luck with that!

      I debated getting a kettle for the stove until I remembered its fatal flaw — a loud wake-up-the-whole-house whistle. So that was the end of that. I love electric kettles: quick, efficient, clean (I only put filtered water in). Tea in a minute or two. (I also like coffee in the morning, but it takes longer.)

  2. Surrey gal says:

    I’m glad you used my suggestion. I’m shocked she took the kettle. Was it any special? Gilded perhaps?

    • No, but some months ago, the appliances were all replaced with stainless steel ones and it was one of the few small appliances that actually matched the big ones!

      Thanks again for the good idea. It shall be used forever more, well, until divorced becomes a reality.

  3. TikkTok says:

    I have an older electric kettle for when we travel- iir, it’s a GE. It’s literally at least twice as fast as heating on the stove (even with gas) and makes a tea pot full of water in around the same time as a pot of coffee. The power cord is a monster and we can’t use the microwave at the same time (only use it in the RV), but it’s so fast it’s usually not a problem.

    And Earl Grey…..mmmmm…..have to admit to being a sucker for Double Bergamot, too. πŸ™‚

    • In England, I had a mixed stove: gas for the stove top and electric for the oven. When I moved here, to the USA, that wasn’t practical, and I found the newer radiant heat ones are as fast as gas without the downsides (for example, stuff dripping/leaking into the base).

      Double Bergamot … have to try that one some day…thanks for the idea!

      • TikkTok says:

        We’ve got gas again; don’t think I’ll ever go back. The one I have now has a sealed base, which is really nice because anything that drips down can be easily wiped out with disrupting the flame.

        And, fwiw, I have a stove top tea kettle with a lift up whistle. I am always up several hours before the kids, and usually at the other end of the house when it starts steaming. Whistle flipped open- no noise. Copco has a pretty good line of removable/plug in whistles for easy pouring.

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