Bit of a rant coming up I'm afraid. With sincere apologies to my followers who drive on the wrong side of the road, but is anybody else out there getting sick of seeing and hearing 'kilometres' used instead of the statutory 'miles'. Who made the decision that our English distances should be annotated thus? I've seen it on signs warning of temporary roadworks, I see its use all the time in the press (even the Telegraph for God's sake) and I've lost count at how many times the BBC trot it out. But I threw coffee all over my freshly-laundered sheets this morning as a reporter on the Today programme talked about a 50 miles per hour speed limit being imposed on a 12 kilometre stretch of the 'dangerous' Buxton to Macclesfield road. Who said that it was perfectly acceptable to do this? I imagine it's part of yet another insidious government programme to remove every last shred of 'English Difference' with Orwellian Newspeak. What are they teaching in schools? If one of my boys says 'kilometres' to say how far he went on a Scouting expedition he knows he runs the risk of having to go and sit in his bedroom for an hour with a 1957 AA Handbook. Maybe it's a sore point with me because I was obliged to give metric equivalents for Built for Britain's international market, but here at home I don't want the signposts changed to read 'Steeple Bumpstead 3km'. 'But I have promises to keep, / And kilometres to go before I sleep...' as Robert Frost didn't say.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)