Converting Large Units

There are relatively few absolute certainties in life. This both keeps bookmakers very happy and is a lesson to us all. That lesson is “Don’t walk in to a pub and tell your mates you’ve got a tip on a race horse and it’s a dead cert.”

But here is something that is actually a ‘dead cert’. There are no levels of how much of a certainty it is, because the certainty is 100%, not 99.9% or less.

Later today, I will tell Mrs Scribblans that I weighed myself this morning, and she will say something like “Oh dear… Go on.”
And I will tell her the precise weight the scales unemotionally and non-judgementally measured and she will say, and I’m telling you this with all the above 100% certainty:

“What’s that in stones?”

This is a stock picture for illustrative purposes, not my actual scales or what they said

For I will have told her what I weigh in kilograms, the SI unit for measuring the mass of an object–living, dead or just asleep–and her mind is set to a measurement system that is so internally complex that it has evolved the power to bend the minds of anyone now over 70 years old to call it ‘Simple’. Or, in America, ‘Normal’.

Very often followed by ‘I’ve never got the hang of all that metric stuff.’

So, in order to understand the amount of kilograms I have told her and turn that into a quantity equivalent to ‘Gosh, that’s a bit hefty’, she will want to convert it into an amount of ‘stones’ (14 pounds) and remaining pounds. In this scenario, the ounces (16 to a pound because reasons) will not be required.

Just to set the record straight here, Mrs S is NOT over 70 years old. However, she does appear to be of the generation bought up by parents who still used ‘imperial’ units of measurement at home, and has therefore been exposed to the same nonsense.

I do have a standard answer for anyone that wants to know what my measurement in proper metric actually is, if converted to the old, archaic and apparently made-up-and-added-to-as-we-went-along-through-the-centuries ‘system’ of imperial units.

‘Google it.’

Because, rightly or wrongly, and possibly snarkily, I feel that I have made the measurement in the units that I, and most of the rest of the world, would understand. And, if you want to know how many ounces, pounds, stones or king’s testicles are in my kilograms, or indeed how many miles, poles, chains, firkins and squashed hedgehogs there are in my kilometres, then you can jolly well go off and look that up.

It won’t be long now until the last generation who know how many barleycorns (yes, that’s real) there are in a size ten shoe are dead and gone, and the rest of us can just get on with making sense.

Anyway, the point of this post was to reveal the results of my said standing on the scales and their unemotional and non-judgemental measurement of same. In kilograms. And the point of doing that is engendering a sort of public accountability for my attempts to actively decrease the measurement over the coming months.

My bicycle on a previous sunny outing. Resting.

Unlike blogging friends James and Colin, I won’t be attempting this by running. Not because, like them, I don’t enjoy running, but because running is not an activity that a person who has to use a walking stick to even walk can normally do for any great distance before suddenly achieving the status of ‘not running’. And, very likely ‘not still standing’ either.

This doesn’t burn many calories. Unless you persist in getting up and trying again time after time I suppose, but eventually the bones in knees and elbows would break, although you might have lost some weight due to having slightly less skin.

So my normal method of mass reduction (expelling it out of my body and in to the non-me elements of the universe via breath, heat and sweat) is doing a lot of cycling, because oddly for a person finding walking a challenge, riding bikes works for me. (Something biologically technical is going on with my nervous system not having to calculate and send signals back and forth between the brain, down my spine and to my leg muscles and back as, instead of trying to hold me upright and making constant adjustments and decisions about how to do that, my feet are clipped in and my legs are just effectively doing the up, down and round and round of pedalling.)


Because part of the reason my mass has increased to such terrifyingly large proportions that I only have one pair of trousers left that can be stretched enough to sort-of fit, is due to cycling temporarily not working one time.

I had an incident involving a sudden body/tarmac interface at something like 25kmh. This is NOT a common cycling occurrence for anyone, it was just bad luck as there were sudden light showers on previously sun-dried and sheep-shit encrusted single track tarmac lanes making it… unpredictable. If you don’t cycle down the sort of lanes that have so little traffic on them that they have sheep using them–and even then the sheep have the time to stop and have a shit on the way–you’ll probably be fine.

This resulted in some cracked ribs and sleeping upright in an armchair for a few weeks about eighteen months ago. Time off the bike for that to heal turned into ‘too cold/wet/windy to go for a ride‘, which was followed quickly by 2020 and months of ‘thou shalt be just too bloody afraid of Covid death to poke your nose out beyond the end of the driveway‘ and various MS issues.

But now the sun is out. Spring brings optimism and a gradual reawakening of life, hopefully in all respects. My beach body, cunningly hidden by a large winter hibernation overcoat of fat, is keen to come out now.

I did intend to officially start and post this piece yesterday–i.e. the first of the month–with the intention of then using the first of each subsequent month to do a progress and update post. I missed posting it yesterday by virtue of the fact that I didn’t write it, despite having the intention to do so, but I am now fully with the programme and if you are reading this, have finally written it and pressed the ‘publish’ button, so now there’s no going back. Unless an MS flare up hits, in which case I’ll be doing nothing until that goes, which is just one of the challenges facing me in trying to be consistently fit instead of fat.

So it’s off to the garage for some quick bicycle fettling and then some tentative laps around the local lanes at first, before hopefully getting back into my three times weekly routine of longer routes.

Oh, and yes, the ‘starting’ measurement.
It was 104.8


Google it.

Thank you for visiting Scribblans today. Sorry it probably wasn’t very good this time.
Did you know, if you share this post on your social media, it might have the effect of making you feel better? About everything?
Yes it could. Well, try it if you don’t believe me then.

26 thoughts on “Converting Large Units

  1. If it makes any difference (and it probably shouldn’t) I will have lost quite a lot of weight when I am your weight. But since I started running longer distances on a regular basis I appear to have gained weight and there’s only so far the ‘muscle is denser than fat’ argument will get you (although I obviously still use it to justify a second slice of cake). I’d consider switching to cycling but I feel it would be cruel on the bike.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I think the cycling returns a higher calorie burn for the amount of time spent doing it, which is another reason that, even if I could run, I probably wouldn’t.

      I know humans apparently evolved to be efficient runners, but perhaps efficiency at it isn’t what you need when attempting to burn off the ill-gotten gains of very high cream bun consumption.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I’m only doing it because I tried seven pairs of trousers (pants) on from my wardrobe yesterday, and none of them, NONE at all, fitted me any more. I knew it was heading that way, and losing some weight is cheaper than buying new clothes so that’s the way I’m going.

      So, if you have more than one or two pairs that still fit, I shouldn’t bother if I were you Herb.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not over 70, but for body weight my brain works like that of your missus; I’ve been 12½ stone for as long as I can remember, and it’s only when I DuckDuckGo ‘metric conversion’ that I discover what that is in what I agree completely are more sensible units — however, my brain refuses for some bizarre reason to be retrained, so next time I think about my weight the answer ’12½ stone’ pops up’ and there seems to be bugger all I can do about that, and to be honest life’s too short to be troubled by such things, I feel, and I suspect you’d like a full stop here so here it is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. 80kg. I mean, how hard is it to remember ’80’. Or work out that 79 is less and 81 is more? Like with Mrs S, it’s only when you want to know what that’s equivalent to in mouse droppings per square yard that it gets tricky at all.
      By the way, are you only 1.2 metres tall by any chance? Sorry, 4 feet.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah, I hear you… every time I do bother to do the conversion, I think “oh, yeah, I remember now, it’s ’80′” — and then I forget again, until the next time. And, no, I’m not a hobbit.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. It’s even hard to convert 12 and a half stone into just pounds when converting to ‘American’… Hmmm, that’s 14×12–or is it 16×12? Anyway, whatever that makes, plus a half of either 16 or 14… so that’s umm…

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with your wife… stick with what you know best!
    Here in Canada we are ‘bimensuric’ – we metrified, but because we have close ties with the non-metric country that resides south of us, we maintain many Imperial measurements. I was an adult when we ‘metrified’. While I can think in either metric or Imperial, my inclination is to work in Imperial!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So a lot of your country even speaks the language of the inventors of half the metric measures we use, but even then you can’t use them… I see.. 😉


  4. Everything is very metric over here, and I can confirm it’s very straightforward and no one ever has to have weird conversion conversations unless an American sneaks in somehow.

    Good luck with the cycling. This last year has been a total mess for outdoor activities. I’ve been vitamin D deficient twice (actually twice in less than 12 months, yes I boosted it to normal levels after the first low). Which is particularly embarrassing as an Australian.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The conversion conversation was had, as written (but after I had written and posted it) and went entirely as predicted. I smiled knowingly to myself then showed her the post… I would say it went fairly well, if you measure fairly well as ‘still alive’.

      Yep, it will be great to get out again, although I’ll probably be on the huffing and puffing side of things for a while until I get some fitness up.

      Sorry to hear about Vitamin D (blame the sun being blocked out by smoke from the forest fires maybe? 😉 )
      I know the lack of it was being talked about with MS but I haven’t seen anything recently.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Best of luck, so many people are suffering from lockdown weight gain. Which reminds me, I need to get off this computer and go out for a walk! I regard my weight in stones and pounds, my ideal weight range according to BMI immovably fixed in my mind, as well as my best weight (from around 1991) and a more recent best weight from around 2009, and my sense of what is okay, concerning, better and pretty good, all in stones and pounds! It’s probably more on the ‘concerning’ side at the moment but as we don’t have any scales I don’t know! Enjoy yourself getting out and about again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rachel. Not a great start to my campaign by virtue of the fact I had my first vaccine shot yesterday, so today I am not feeling particularly exercisey… (go away spellchecker red wavy line, you just don’t know that word yet…). Hopefully a proper start on it soon after that.
      I remember my ‘best’ weight from 2013. It was in kilos and I was cycling around 150-200km per week then. Hills are definitely easier when you are 25 kilos lighter.
      Have a good walk (I have tried to make mine a bit longer but the dog is only little, 3-4km–2 and a half miles–is about her limit.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hope you soon feel better. I’ve had both shots of the Pfizer one, John has had one of same. We were ok but I did take a little nap after the second one. My 2009 best weight was whilst training for a Swimathon of 200 lengths of 25 metre pool- ?5k? Anyway I trained for ten weeks, towards the end swimming 160 lengths three times a week. I remember chatting to a man training for something in the showers and us both saying how good it was to be able to eat as much as we wanted! I’m thinking of taking up swimming again- not as full on- when we move and I go back into high powered full time work again- April- as it will be a good way to wind down as well. I saw a dear little bouncy dog on my walk today actually! All the best!


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