I’ve been living in England for a little over a year now, and it was a hard adjustment at first. There were a lot of new things to get used to. Or not. Some English/British things I think are pretty awesome. Like the NHS and shortbread cookies. Other things I am indifferent to. Like driving on the other side of the road. Other things I don’t like, but that’s just a matter of taste. Like fish and chips. Other things I don’t understand enough about so I don’t have an opinion. Like monarchy, the lack of a written constitution, and Dr. Who. And finally, there are just some things that England does wrong.
Measuring weather in Celsius
This is wrong. I’m not saying that just because I’m used to Fahrenheit. I’m used to pounds (as weight) and dollars, but I can get behind stones or kilograms and pounds (as money). But measuring your weather in Celsius makes no sense. Here’s why.
The Celsius scale is based on water. Zero is freezing. One hundred is boiling. Ok, so if you are boiling water, it makes sense to use Celsius. We used it in science class in school, so I always associate it with science. So if you’re doing sciencey stuff (hell, even climate studies), use Celsius.
But if you are checking the weather to see if you need a coat or setting your thermostat, for the love of all that’s holy, use Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit is based on weather. Some guy in Germany said this is a really cold day. Let’s call is zero. And this is a really hot day. Let’s call it 100. (Ok, so this isn’t actually what he did, but it fits.) So you have 100 degrees in which to describe weather. In the Celsius scale, you only have about 40 degrees to describe the same thing. It makes the difference between a few degrees very noticeable, and thus a very unforgiving scale to get used to.
My husband scoffs at me and says, well, in Fahrenheit, there isn’t such a big difference between 70 and 72, so why do you need 100 increments to describe the weather? This is a feature, not a bug. During the winter and summer months, we’re told to try to save money we can adjust our thermostats one or two degrees colder or warmer (depending on the season). We won’t feel the difference, but we’ll save money. You can’t do this with a thermostat in Celsius.
I know the rest of the world uses Celsius for weather. They are wrong too.*
Separate taps for cold and hot water
This also is wrong. It’s like they have never heard of warm here. When you wash your hands, you can either get boiling hot water or freezing cold water. Or, if you want to change things up, you can scald one hand and freeze the other. Washing your face is a nightmare.
People say, well, why don’t you fill the basin with hot and cold water until you get the desired temperature then wash your face with that? Because that’s gross and uses too much water. That’s the basin in spit in after I wash my teeth. That’s where all the gross germs go when I wash my hands after using the toilet. I don’t want to wash my face in that. But if that is your chosen method of washing your face, which is fine, I won’t judge, why can’t you do that with a normal tap? There is no benefit to the separate taps.
Finally, I’ve also noticed that I see a lot of signs in public restrooms warning us to be careful because the hot water is very hot and could scald our hands. So even the English admit there is a problem. This problem would be remedied by using one tap for both hot and cold water and/or by measuring temperature in Fahrenheit. One tap for both hot and cold would allow users to adjust to a temperature they find comfortable. Measuring temperature in Fahrenheit would allow the owner of the facility to fine tune the water heater to find a temperature that is suitable.
*nb, measuring in Celsius is acceptable if you measure in half degrees. I have seen no where–not thermostats or weather reports–that does this.