Saturday, 5 September 2009

A Saturday Ramble

Where would we British be without the weather to complain about? Wherever you go and whoever you meet the first topic of conversation is bound to be the weather. And it is nearly always ‘too’ something. Today it is too wet and too windy. In fact it’s been that way for a while. I can’t recall the last time it was too hot and too muggy. Very occasionally the weather ‘turns out nice again’ in which case you are bound to hear the qualification that it was about time too or that the forecast was bad... Not that anyone believes the weather forecast but it comes in useful as the basis of a complaint when the weather itself is passable.

Folk who read GB’s blog may recall the debate about the hanging of the toilet paper. I wonder if GB was aware of the risks he was running in raising the topic. It seems that in the late 1980’s a 36 year old man admitted to St Louis circuit judge Edward Peek that he had shot and killed his younger brother. The reason: he was angry that his brother had ” used too much of a new eight roll package of toilet paper”. There was no record of whether he hanged the paper against the wall or out from it – or even if he put it on a holder at all!

Partner-who-loves-tea and I are still sorting through various belongings cataloguing those of interest for the benefit of future generations. (Or for my benefit if the dreaded Alzheimer’s gets me!) Among a few coins that I inherited from Dad was this weight.

It’s a fascinating little thing – about the size of an old shilling but thicker and heavier. I have yet to work out what S 20 refers to and if the word ‘OR’ means ‘as an alternative’ or ‘Gold’. The reason it could mean the later is that the bottom part says 5 Dwt 6Gr which means it weighs 5 Pennyweight and 6 Grains. The pennyweight is the common weight used in the valuation and measurement of precious metals. Jewellers use the pennyweight in calculating the amount and cost of precious metals used in fabricating or casting jewelry. Similarly, dentists and dental labs still use the pennyweight as the measure of precious metals in dental crowns and inlays.

A pennyweight was literally the weight of a penny, as adopted by King Henry II. A pennyweight is a unit of mass that is equal to 24 grains, 1/240th of a troy pound, 1/20th of a troy ounce, approximately 0.055 ounces, and approximately 1.555 grams. Historically, a British penny's weight was literally, as well as monetarily, 1/240th of a troy pound of sterling silver. The troy pound and the pennyweight lost their official status in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in the Weights and Measures Act of 1878. The most common abbreviation for pennyweight is dwt; d, for the Roman denarius, was the abbreviation for penny before decimalisation of the British monetary system.

GB pointed out that one of yesterday's doors had a face in it. I hadn't noticed that beforehand but when you look at it it's quite a good one. I must look for more faces in doors!

We took some of the jewellery to Andy, our friendly jeweller in Birkenhead Market, earlier in the week and he identified the stones in some of the items. We also asked him to replace a stone in one of the rings. Heavens knows how we managed not to have lost the stone - it's a tiny pink ruby. He said he thought it was worth the cost of replacing it and that the other stones were still set firmly. In the process of looking at it he put it in some magic machine that cleaned it. The gold shone beautifully afterwards. Just being professionally cleaned makes a world of difference to some of the jewellery.



  1. Those coins are amazing, John! How wonderful to be in possesion of something so old. I had to muster all my self control this week at work when I noticed the roll was put on facing the wrong way! It was hard not to change it-hahaha!

  2. I'm drooling over here. Two of my ALL time favorite things are jewelry and old coins - especially with secret codes and whimsical names - and a rich history - pun intended.

    You have got an amazing collection, and I am totally loving it!

  3. CJ wrote - "GB pointed out that one of yesterday's doors had a face in it. I hadn't noticed that beforehand but when you look at it it's quite a good one. I must look for more faces in doors!"

    Yes CJ, but don't let anyone catch you talking to one. ;-)



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