diamond geezer

 Thursday, February 28, 2013

During February 2003 on diamond geezer I kept myself busy by counting things. Ten different counts, to be precise, in a none-too thrilling daily feature called The Count. My 28-day tally chart may have been deathly dull to the rest of you, but I've continued to count those categories again, every February since, purely to keep tabs on how my life is changing. Ten years later, I think we can agree it's changed quite a bit, and yet not changed too. Below are my counts for February 2013 (also available in graphical form via Daytum), accompanied by the previous statistics and some deep, meaningful pondering.
(Part one yesterday, part two today)

Count 5 (Nights out): Only four. That's not good. That's an average of one night out a week, or to put it another way six nights in. All I've managed up until today is one night in a pub, one trip to the cinema and one visit to Best Mate's house. Even worse they were all in the same week, like I was gorging on attention, creating a lengthy social drought on either side. I'm only upping the nights out total to four by heading to Norfolk tonight and spending the evening with my Dad. That'll be lovely, but somehow going "home" isn't a proper night out. What I have managed instead this February are a number of days out, or mornings out, or afternoons out, but alas under the official rules they don't count. I thought my evenings had been getting a bit livelier over the last few years, but either I'm retreating again or else there aren't the opportunities there used to be.
The number of nights in February 2013 I went out and was vaguely sociable: 4
Ten year review: It's been a very consistent picture over the years, with one exception. February ten years ago was a social whirlwind - heading out most nights, drinking here, showing my face there. Best Mate emigrated three days later, which both explains the excess and killed it off, and things have never really picked up since. You don't visit this blog to read about London's sparkling nightlife, that's for sure. But perhaps I should try experiencing London a bit more often rather than forever writing about it.
(2003: 21) (2004: 7) (2005: 2) (2006: 2) (2007: 3) (2008: 7) (2009: 7) (2010: 4) (2011: 9) (2012: 6)

Count 6 (Alcohol intake): Disaster. I've only been to one pub this month, where they didn't serve Becks so I couldn't order it. And that would have been it, had not Best Mate sprung a surprise the night I went round to his for dinner. "I've got you some Becks," he said, "because it's February and you're counting." It's every statistician's nightmare - to have one's data collection skewed by the act of trialling - and probably invalidates the result. Had he not acted, though, I'd have recorded a miserable lager-related zero. My liver would no doubt have rejoiced, but where's the fun in that?
Total number of bottles of Becks I drank in February 2013: 2
Ten year review: Again, 2003 is the outlier, with a couple of further uptick years in 2008 and 2011. But overall my Becks consumption is falling, not least because considerably fewer pubs are stocking the stuff. How my heart sinks when I scan the selection behind the bar and realise I'll have to order something else. I like familiarity, and ease of ordering, even though I know this gassy lager is hardly an erudite choice. If current trends continue, I fear another zero year can't be too far off.
(2003: 58) (2004: 17) (2005: 0) (2006: 7) (2007: 1) (2008: 28) (2009: 4) (2010: 3) (2011: 20) (2012: 14)

Count 7 (Tea intake): Apart from one dodgy year when workplace kettle usage was banned, my tea consumption remains astonishingly consistent. I am, it seems, a four-and-a-half cups a day man. Although I am fractionally down this year, which I can blame almost entirely on taking a week off work. My office days are always remarkably consistent, brown-liquid-wise, whereas days off tend to find me rushing around without pausing for refreshment. Milk, no sugar, thanks.
Total number of cups of tea I drank in February 2013: 127
(2003: 135) (2004: 135) (2005: 81) (2006: 128) (2007: 137) (2008:134) (2009: 129) (2010: 136) (2011: 135) (2012: 133)

Count 8 (Trains used): This one's normally remarkably consistent too... always just over a hundred a month. That's apart from the year when I had a "one train" commute rather than two, when the total dipped a bit. And apart from this year, when I appear to have upped the total somewhat. I can blame this almost entirely on "writing about the Bakerloo line", which has involved several short trips between stations I'd not normally make. We Londoners do swan around on trains a lot, don't we? Whereas tomorrow, once I'm safely up in Norfolk, I think I can guarantee absolutely no trains at all.
Total number of trains I travelled on in February 2013: 139
(2003: 103) (2004: 109) (2005: 117) (2006: 107) (2007:100) (2008: 117) (2009: 103) (2010: 83) (2011: 109) (2012: 118)

Count 9 (Exercise taken): Rather than fork out good money to use a gym, I get my step action by walking up escalators, usually at tube stations. I always attempt to walk up every escalator I ascend, which usually works so long as there's not some tourist, suitcase or buggy blocking the left hand side. I'm quite pleased with my total this year, but my commute doesn't afford the multiple climbs it once used to, so I could do better.
Total number of escalators I walked up in February 2013: 40
(2003: 73) (2004: 72) (2005: 38) (2006: 35) (2007: 31) (2008: 33) (2009: 28) (2010: 13) (2011: 32) (2012: 43)

Count 9a (Steps walked): Here's an innovation for 2013. By uploading the Moves app to my iPhone I've been able to keep track of my daily step count without the need for a pedometer attached to my waist. It's a brilliant app, and free, if a bit of a battery hog, and potentially stalky because it records everywhere you go. So, what have I found out. I've learned that a typical working day requires me to walk only 4500 steps. I've discovered that I walk 1000 steps in about 10 minutes. This month I've walked more than ten thousand steps in a day on ten separate occasions, and more than twenty thousand steps three times. And I've never walked less than 4000 steps in a day (although that might go wrong today because I'm off to Norfolk where the car is king). I'm chuffed to have managed more than quarter of a million steps in four weeks, but disappointed not (quite) to have reached the magic daily average of 10000 steps.
Total number of steps I walked in February 2013: 273300

Count 10 (Mystery count): Sorry to disappoint you all, again, but the legendary diamond geezer Mystery Count continues to be nil. I will confess there were a few times when it could potentially have increased, but I favoured inertia, and the count probably wouldn't have risen anyway. Which means that February 2013 has thrown up yet another big fat mystery zero. Ah well, maybe next year...
Total number of times that the mystery event happened in February 2013: 0
(2003: 0) (2004: 0) (2005: 0) (2006: 0) (2007: 0) (2008: 0) (2009: 0) (2010: 0) (2011: 0) (2012: 0)

» The Count 2013

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