I have a little trouble with geography. More specifically, I often don’t know quite where I live.

It’s a historical quirk, over the centuries governments have tried to impose new lines on a map, but people are stubborn and cling to the old names. And then the next government draws new lines.

We’re taught in school that the UK / Great Britain... ok here’s a refresher..

... let’s just skip to “England”. So England is split into counties. Each county has towns and cities and villages. Simple. Simple? Well, sometimes those counties are moved, split, or merged. I’m not quite sure if Rutland currently exists. (It does! Hurrah!). We don’t talk about the short-lived Humberside. Unless you need to call the extant Humberside fire service, perhaps. Yorkshire and Lancashire still squabble over villages in the Pennines. And if you go by the road signs, York is not in Yorkshire. As you leave the city in each direction, you see “Welcome to North / West Yorkshire”, implying the city is outside those boundaries. Historically speaking York was simply not included in the three original Ridings (East, West, North) of Yorkshire. That’s the old East Riding, not the modern East Riding, which actually includes some of the old West Riding. Why no South Riding? Um...


Confused yet? We haven’t even touched on politics or religion.

Politicians drew different lines on the map, splitting us into constituencies. Each constituency elects one MP (Member of Parliament). The current debate there is how to (re)draw the lines to make it a fair fight. You have to consider the number and demographic of voters within the boundaries - suddenly including a large wealthy village will change the result of the vote. Somewhere above, or below, or within these politics lie the County, City, Borough, Town, and/or Parish Councils. Throw in a Mayor or two while you’re at it.

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(Ladies and Gents, London’s noble Mayor vs a 10 year old Japanese child. *sigh*)

Religion gets hazy, especially with two main Christianities running in parallel. There are Dioceses and Parishes and Archbishops for both sets, and I have a sneaky feeling they aren’t working from the same map.

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Coming into the 2oth century, consider utilities. Telephone area codes are sort-of logically based on city regions, except where they’re not. There is the urban (rural?) legend of the old guy complaining his postcode put him in one county, his telephone area code another county, his town council a third, and so on.

I could keep peeling back the layers, like an onion - or an ogre -but time ticks on.

All I wanted to know in the first place was who to contact about a road needing repair.

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What’s boggling your mind today, GT?