Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The price of pears

Tesco pears, but not exactly the ones I bought
I bought a bag of conference pears (lovely and crunchy) at Tesco last night, for £1. As I opened them today, I thought, "£1, that's quite cheap, how much is that per pear?" I counted them, and there were eight.

Without conscious decision, the calculation flashed through my head as follows: "Eight for a pound; that's half a crown each", then a slight pause before the next step: "so that's 12-and-a-half pence each."

half a crown: big money!
Half a crown? What's that, I hear you youngsters say. Well, back in the dim and distant past, we didn't have this new-fangled dumbed-down decimal currency. We had proper pounds, shillings and pence. 12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings to the pound; 12 times tables; the lot. How long in the past? Well, we went decimal on 15 February 1971. (I remember the excitement of getting shiny "new pence" in my change on the bus to school.) That's 40 years ago to the day.

40 years: oh dear, and I still think in old money! (Not all the time, I hasten to add. It's just that "eight half crowns to the pound" was so well drummed in that it's still the natural association. Then there's always 6/8d.) But, to the day: wow.

Never mind that. What about half a crown for a single pear! Outrageous! (OTOH, 12.5p is really cheap...)

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