An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: K

Kilometres.

Luckily, we still have road signs in miles here. If a place is twelve miles away, I can picture how long that will take. I have driven in Europe, and never settled easily on things like speed limits and distance signs in kilometres. They always seemed so much further away for one thing, and a speed limit shown at ’80’ could confuse me into thinking I could drive at 80 mph.

For many years, the speedometer gauges in cars have shown speed markings in both miles and kilometres, but constantly checking the smaller figures didn’t come naturally.

Then they started to estimate a car’s fuel consumption in kilometres per litre of fuel. How was I supposed to work that out? Tell me it did 45 to the gallon, and I had a fair idea that was reasonably economical. But Kms to a litre? The metric method was starting to creep in, and I suspected that one day we might lose our familiar signs in miles.

I used to try to imagine just how much work it would take to change every traffic sign in Great Britain. And what that would cost.

I still don’t know whether or not Brexit will put an end to the eventual total acceptance of metrics where miles are concerned.

But if it does, that okay with me.

61 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of Things I Don’t Like: K

  1. As for the questions of why American cars have the kilometer dial too, it is very useful when we go up to Canada. There all speed limits and distances are metric. I realized driving there that I keep forgetting that kilometers are shorter than miles. We kept arriving much sooner than I thought I would.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m happy to say I can cope with both. πŸ˜‰ I rely totally on the speed limiter in the car, what a great invention. Not that I can possibly go faster than 60 mph on the narrow, winding country lanes in Norfolk though …

    Hope you are all well, Pete. Take care and give Ollie a big hug from me.
    Best wishes from the four of us,
    The Fab Four of Cley Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I find the cruise control, as it’s called here, very convenient, too. On the one hand to keep within the posted speed limit, on the other hand for absolutely relaxed driving on the highways.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve never had one in Germany, but even our very old Ford F-150 from the early 1990s had it. So I’m really used to it and don’t want to miss it any more. What I don’t like is what is called “adaptive cruise/speed control”, which automatically adjusts your speed to that of the car in front of you. I want to have my own control of my speed and distance.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I can do Miles to Km’s, Metres to yards but just loose the plot with inches to centimetres
    obviously something went wrong in that part of the maths lesson. Or is it that I just see the big picture

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have got used to the Km and as long as I’m driving a Polish car I tend to drive slower, but you are right, put me in a car with mph and I speed πŸ™‚ As for the road signs I think I prefer KM, they seem to go by quicker πŸ™‚

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  5. Interesting! I’ve always assumed you folks in England used meters for everything! I learned about the metric system way back in junior high and while it seemed more logical at the time I’ve forgotten most of it since then.

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  6. If they’d just gone ahead years ago and done it we’d all be used to it by now – like when they changed LSD to decimal. I can use use metric weights when baking but when I weigh myself I need stones and pounds to understand my weight. I still can’t visualise lengths and distances in metric. And the way people totally ignore the two metre social distance rule seems to point to most people not understanding metric! My son, thinks I’m a dinosaur because he learned in school. In fact, when I found a box of old coins my dad had collected I had to explain, many times, that there were 12 pennies in a shilling and 12 shillings in a pound – and he’d never seen a sixpence, a threepenny bit or a farthing.

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      1. I remember it very well – not farthings, I’m not that old. I was a Saturday girl in Boots when we changed to decimal currency and had training sessions so we learned to do very rapid conversions which I still do from time to time:)

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  7. We won’t have to worry about changing over here in the US. There was almost a civil war when we were suppose to change over to metrics. Right now 40% of the US are fighting the figures of COVID deaths and fact that their leader has lost the election. They know how long it takes to drive from Point A to Point B now. They would have to refigure the time it would take if was measured in kilometers instead of miles.

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    1. That’s something I “know” but am still having difficulties with realizing: that miles are longer than kilometers. After having been used to the metric system for 60 years, it’s not easy for my old brain. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I adopted metric measurements of length & area when I was a student [so, over 40 years ago now], because I found them much easier for scale drawings, and now they’re second nature, and I can quite easily visualise a kilometer; also, working in Germany for a spell helped there. I’m OK with litres, but I do struggle a bit with weights. I don’t think you need worry about anything being forced on us here: piecemeal will still prevail! πŸ˜‰ Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. While I am a fan of every country having their own unique cultures, food, language etc. There are some things that seem to be more efficient if there were a “worldwide” universal process in place…I still can’t drive in the UK because I’d crash, since I’ve spent my entire life driving on the other side of the road!

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    1. We have this strange system where many things are sold in metric weights and volumes, including milk, wine, petrol, etc. But we also have ‘Five gallon containers’, Miles, and ‘Pounds of potatoes’. It is a mash-up that most of us have finally got used to.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Of course, for me, as a German, it is the other way round, when I’m in Britain. And also, nowadays, here in the US. I still have difficulties in understanding mile per gallon and comparing that figure to Liter per 100 Kilometers. I use a spreadsheet for that calculation, and for any other necessary conversion. Btw, the metric system definitely is more logical.
    BUT: I still hope the British will keep the pint. A beer in a pub would not taste as it used to be if it wasn’t poured by the pint.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There was that old saying, that the Britisch Empire would go down if the monkeys on the rock of Gibraltar and/or the ravens in the Tower of London died out, but I have always maintained those two determinators are totally irrelevant. It would be when beer was no longer sold by the pint.

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  11. I don’t mind either, though tend to work in miles. Have driven in Europe so many times it’s no longer a bother to me to be in kilometres. I wouldn’t think they’ll waste money changing road signs, though with this shoddy govt anything is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Well, this is a thing that doesn’t bother me, as I don’t have a drives licence. At least not at the moment anyway😊 That said, I think I would be getting very confused if it were in miles…as we only use metres/kilometres here in Holland😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I lived in Spain so I got used to distance in metres/kilometres. It does make a lot more sense than what we had to learn at school, twelve inches to a foot, three feet to a yard, 1794 yards to a mile (I might have got that wrong.) But it is hard to adjust, especially to a half-arsed system

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    1. The Imperial system I learned at school was so ingrained in me, it is second nature to think of it. I know that a kilometre is 5/8 ths of a mile, but find that harder to work out than the old way.
      (There are 1,760 yards in a mile, so you were close.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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