Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
22 May 2020

Keep “three fridges“ apart at all times – and other utterly arbitrary government measures

Why didn’t they include "1.65 ottomans"?

By Media Mole

Hooray for the government! No 10 is finally answering coronavirus’s most crucial question, for the sake of our collective public health: how long is two metres?

And, thankfully, there’s a really simple way to work it out without the Treasury coughing up for Serco-issued measuring tape or G4S pool noodles for every household!

Here it is:


Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

To repeat, that’s one “bed” – you know that thing that famously doesn’t come in different sizes. Two “benches”. Duh, benches. There’s only one bench in this life, so just imagine two of that bench. Three “fridges”, which in all of our consciousnesses are imagined as completely uniform items and always come in a trio. No freezer questions allowed. And, of course, four “chairs”, the design of which doesn’t at all wildly vary.

Because some readers may still be struggling with these furniture and white good guidelines, your mole has come up with a few clarifiers:

2 armoires

1.65 ottomans

2 upturned wooden boarding school trunks, lids removed

17 blenders

1.2 Gutenberg printing presses

4.5 chimoniers

49 Pogs™

A settee

2 simple 17th century handlooms

52 penne, end to end

7 Eighties Mackintosh desktops

One Victorian era mangle, laid gently on its side

6 pouffes

29 garlic crushers, handles open

You’re welcome!

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action