The by now standard television use of Wales as a unit of measurement has evolved over a number of years. The first country to get this treatment was Burkina Faso. This small African nation was initially used as the unit of measurement for very bad stuff because of the unique nature of it hostile interior. Deep within the country is a plateau the size of Wales filled with the most precipitous crevasses on the face of the planet. They are so deadly that no explorer has yet penetrated their greatest mysteries. Although Google earth recently showed them to be filled with nothing more remarkable than a lost civilisation peopled by giant humanoids and imperious flocks of dinosaurs.
Calculations proved the folds of the crevasses, if ironed out would cover a space equivalent to the entire earth’s surface. Because of this the country was hailed by newscasters everywhere as a godsend when they reached for a way of putting physically large but also relatively flat things into perspective.
“The BBC can announce that an area of the Atlantic Ocean the size of Burkina Faso has been captured by pirates. Scientists are confused. An area of rain forest the size of”…. You get the picture. It wasn’t until something interesting happened in an area of Wales, a full hundred and fifty two years after news was invented, that the flaw in their logic became apparent. On that day they switched allegiance to Wales with not so much as a nod or wink in the direction of BF as it was by then known.
These days we think of it as normal for hurricanes to be twice the size of Wales or North Korean sports gatherings to be half the size of Wales. If an area of the ozone layer disappears it’s likely to be some multiple of Cymru. It seems that it was ever thus but let us not forget that great pioneer of senseless comparisons, good old BF. It served us well for may years so hats off to it. There’s no going back.