Why 'try and' rather than 'try to' in British English?

Jay Nordlinger writes:

It is a curious fact that British people say “try and” instead of “try to”: “I’m going to try and make your party, but I may have to watch the kids instead.” They all do this: including the most literate and erudite. (I know this as an editor, of many sparkling Brits.)
I was reading a Q&A with the novelist Howard Jacobson in the Financial Times. Asked, “How physically fit are you?” he answered, in part, “I try and walk.”
As I said, curious.
Any suggestions?