A serious and seriously funny book about weights and measures. It explains what they are, how they come about and how they are formed and shaped by the one guiding principle of measurement that no one ever mentions: that most of us have better things to think about. This is the only book devoted to the mishmash of bodges, estimates and rules-of-thumb that makes up the 'system' of measurement used by most people most of the time and the only book to reveal how they have given rise to traditional measurement systems. You will find out why an old wellington boot is as important an instrument of spacial awareness as was ever invented, why how tired your ox gets, how much water it takes to drown you, and how much you can hold in one hand while doing something else are all essential principals underlying how man has balanced and judged his world since the dawn of time. In part this is a case for the use of Imperial measurement in Britain, but not entirely so: common measures have been used in all societies and ages; the metric system is often adapted to suit them rather than the other way around and Imperial measures themselves are not always a true system of common measurement (the older American version of it is closer).

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