A question for Kit...

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A question for Kit...

Postby Greymalkin » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:58 am

I've been meaning to ask this one for a while now but somehow I always managed to forget.

In the Stonewylde trilogy you often use metric measurements when explaining the distance or size of something.

Knowing that the Stonewylde books were probably going to be read mostly by British people and that most British people prefer using the Imperial measurement system I am interested to know why you made Stonewylde metric.

Sorry if this seems a bit 'picky' but this whole "Britain converting to metric" thing really gets under my skin.
I don't see why we have to dump a perfectly good weights and measurement system just to be more 'european' :evil:
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Postby kit » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:20 am

You really are a challenge to me, Grimalkin! What a question! :lol: Well, here's my justification:

As a child at school in the sixties, I battled with £SD - adding up money sums in long columns with 12d making 1 shilling, and 20 shillings making £1. It was a nightmare, and Stonewylders of my age will probably remember it too. I remember when decimalisation came in, all the older people and many younger ones grumbling and moaning and converting new money back to old. I also remember the same type of sums with inches, feet and yards, and 1760 yards in a mile and all that.

I was delighted when money became less complicated, and also lived in Europe for a couple of years in my early twenties so got used to grams and kilos etc. I must admit I still cook in lbs and ozs, weigh myself in stones and lbs, but generally speaking the whole metric system is so much easier to cope with.

As a school teacher, you have to work in metres and cms. Children aren't taught inches and feet and haven't been for years. It's a generation thing I suppose, but as a teacher you have to think and work with the same system as your class of children. When I wrote Stonewylde, I thought I was writing for the teenage market. So it would have seemed strange to use feet and inches, although as you say, Stonewylde perhaps wouldn't have used the metric system perhaps. In fact they'd have still used rods and perches and all those other bizarre measurements I remember being printed inside my exercise books at school (again, older people will probaby remember this!).

I did consider using a unique and antiquated measuring system for Stonewylde that might have evolved in the community over the centuries. But then I thought of the Hallfolk and their doings in the Outside World. There's crossover at Stonewylde between the old ways and the modern world because of the Hallfolk and their ability to switch between the two worlds. So in the end I decided that for the sake of my intended readers' understanding, and the fact that Magus and the Hallfolk were modern people liaising and sometimes living in the modern world where all the younger generation at least think in metres and cms, I'd use that system for Stonewylde.

I hope that answers your question. I understand your irritation with a system you don't like or use, and you're not alone in this of course. How old are you - or is that too personal? It would be interesting to hear what others, particuarly our younger members, think on this subject.
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Postby Taz » Fri Sep 26, 2008 11:29 am

:lol:
I still think in good old feet and inches which was 'challenging' when I was working in the education sector (I too have now escaped!).
:lol:
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Postby Greymalkin » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:10 pm

I'm 35 and was one of the first few generations to be taught in metric, but to be honest metres and kilograms just pass me by - I cannot understand them at all :shock:
I had an idea that it probably was because of your intended audience but then I have a 16 year old sister who weighs herself in stones and pounds and measures herself in feet and inches so I think your readership would have understood, and besides, you do use miles in the books which I was pleased to see because 'kilometres' are just sooooo wrong, even the word itself just sounds akward. LOL
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Postby Taz » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:41 pm

:lol:
Give me Imperial any day Greymalkin, I can 'do' Metric if I have to but sometimes I just come over all peculiar :wink: and go blank when faced with it!
For instance, my daughter has just text me the measurements for ordering her Graduation gear: I had to text her back and ask for it in inches as I couldn't get my head around it all :roll: :lol: :roll: !
Good job I wasn't responsible for teaching maths!!!
:D
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Postby kit » Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:45 pm

Unfortunately I was!! :( In fact at my last school I was Head of Maths!!! How wrong can they get it?? :shock:
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Postby Firecracker » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:14 pm

I'm 27 and was taught metric at school.

I tend to use a mix of measurings though. If you ask me how tall I am I will say 5 foot 3 inch and if you asked me what I would I would tell you not to be so nosey :lol: But it would be in stones and lbs lol.

But it I measured my living room I would work out square meter and not square yards.

I just like to be different lol. :D
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Postby Ebany » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:55 pm

Having lived in the Netherlands for the last 29 years, I'm well used to all things metric, used to weights in kilos, length in metres + kilometers etc. Mind you, if someone over here asks me my height + weight, I say 77 Kg and 1 m 83, if asked in England, the height is no problem, around 6 foot, have to think hard before I can translate the weight (I think about twelve and a half stone!!).
The one that really gets me is people (okay, chiefly yanks) who insist in quoting temperatures in fahrenheit - I mean, that was being phased out when I was at school ( and that's a very long time ago!!!). When it comes to working things out without too many mistakes, give me metric every time!! :D :D
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Postby Firecracker » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:57 pm

Ebany I have got a clue when it comes to degree F. I am Celcius all the way!!!
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Postby solsticedreamer » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:43 pm

i go with a mix of both :?
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Postby kit » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:17 pm

Absolutely! I cannot think in Fahrenheit! Which is my point really - you get used to one system and it's very hard then to go back. I suppose not only was I thinking of the teenagers today, but also future generations when I chose the metric system for measurement. Mr B, who although not in my life when I wrote the books was involved in the final editing and production, was very keen for me not to include things which would quickly become dated. I therefore had to remove all references to GCSEs and A levels, and also laptops. It's tough being a writer! :lol:
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Postby Greymalkin » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:22 am

Ahhh yes but I don't think imperial measurements will fully go. People are just used to them and that's that.
Metric is so complicated I really can't get my head round it at all.

Not that I want to being a fully paid up member of about half a dozen groups resisting europification.

Did I just make up a word??? :?
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Postby iWitch » Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:48 pm

Imperial measurements were abandoned three years before I was born, so I have no idea about them, which makes life here in Britain rather difficult for me.

I'm glad you chose to use the metric system, Kit, as I can understand it! :D
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