diamond geezer

 Friday, February 28, 2014

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. Eleven years later, I think we can agree it's changed quite a bit, and yet not changed too. Below are my counts for February 2014 (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): That's an increase to six nights out, which is a 50% increase on last year. Or it's twenty-two nights in, depending on how you look at it. Five of those six nights were courtesy of BestMate, because he's good like that, and the remaining night was the Tridentscan AGM (we meet annually to discuss the blog's bespoke commenting system, and this year coupled the event with a trip to the BBC Radio Theatre). Most of the six nights out were right at the start of the month, including a couple of nights away to see the Severn Bore, but it's been a bit of a social desert since. If your evenings are equally devoid of other people in a communal situation, you are not alone, hello.
The number of nights in February 2014 I went out and was vaguely sociable: 6
2003-2014 review: In February 2003 I was a social whirlwind, but Best Mate emigrated three days later and a long term decline set in. You can see how things picked up a bit in 2008 when he returned, settling at a fairly consistent lower level of "once or twice a week". A special thanks to the rest of you who've dragged me out of my comfort zone and shared an evening (or ten) over the years. But nobody comes to this blog to read about London's sparkling nightlife, that's for sure.
(2003: 21) (2004: 7) (2005: 2) (2006: 2) (2007: 3) (2008: 7) (2009: 7) (2010: 4) (2011: 9) (2012: 6) (2013: 4)

Count 6 (Alcohol intake): I know my favourite gassy lager is hardly an erudite choice, but I cling to familiarity and ease of ordering, plus it doesn't give me hiccups. I've only downed four bottles of Becks this year, and all of those were in the same pub on the same night on the first day of the month. Thank goodness the pub in Gloucester served my default beer, otherwise I'd be reporting a big fat zero this month. I did source Becks on draught elsewhere in other pubs, but sadly my count is for bottles, so a pint in a glass doesn't count towards my measure of monthly alcohol consumption. And I haven't been back to any pub since coming home, so I guess my disappointingly low February total is a fairly good reflection of my general abstinence.
Total number of bottles of Becks I drank in February 2014: 4
2003-2014 review: Again 2003 is the outlier, with a couple of further uptick years in 2008 and 2011. But overall my Becks consumption is falling 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. A sure sign of Becklessness is the presence of "Becks Blue", the non-alcoholic cop-out option, because if that's present the real thing is invariably absent. 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) (2013: 2)

Count 7 (Tea intake): Apart from one dodgy year when workplace kettle usage was banned, my tea consumption remains astonishingly consistent. Every February other than 2005 has fallen within a very narrow range of 127-137 teas, despite very different behaviour on weekdays and weekends. My office days are always brimming, brown-liquid-wise, whereas days off tend to find me rushing around without pausing for refreshment. But I am on average, it seems, a four-and-a-half cups a day man. Milk, no sugar, thanks.
Total number of cups of tea I drank in February 2014: 129
(2003: 135) (2004: 135) (2005: 81) (2006: 128) (2007: 137) (2008:134) (2009: 129) (2010: 136) (2011: 135) (2012: 133) (2013: 127)

Count 8 (Trains used): This count'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 last year, when I upped the total by blogging relentlessly about the Bakerloo line and travelling on it a lot. A month spent on the buses has dragged the total down a bit, but still averages about four train journeys a day. We Londoners do swan around in carriages a lot, don't we?
Total number of trains I travelled on in February 2014: 101
(2003: 103) (2004: 109) (2005: 117) (2006: 107) (2007:100) (2008: 117) (2009: 103) (2010: 83) (2011: 109) (2012: 118) (2013: 139)

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 not thrilled 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 2014: 29
(2003: 73) (2004: 72) (2005: 38) (2006: 35) (2007: 31) (2008: 33) (2009: 28) (2010: 13) (2011: 32) (2012: 43) (2013: 40)

Count 9a (Steps walked): Here's a recent innovation to The Count, introduced last year when I got myself a smartphone. By uploading the Moves app 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, if no longer free to new users, and a bit of a battery hog. It's also potentially stalky because it records everywhere I go (both when and where), plus how I travelled inbetween. I've learned that a typical working day requires me to walk only 4500 steps, whereas my weekends and days off are considerably more variable. Last weekend contributed almost a quarter of my entire monthly total, thanks mostly to a lengthy yomp along the cliffs at Dover and a quest for coffee around the streets of Bow. During February I've walked more than ten thousand steps in a day on eight separate occasions, and more than twenty thousand steps three times. I'm chuffed to have scraped together more than a 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 2014: 254579
(2013: 273300)

Count 10 (Mystery count): Sorry to disappoint you all, again, but the legendary diamond geezer Mystery Count continues to be nil. I can confirm that had The Count been for January, March, April, May, June, July, August, September or October, then there'd have been at least one occurrence over the last ten years. But February seemingly not so, as 2014 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 2014: 0
(2003: 0) (2004: 0) (2005: 0) (2006: 0) (2007: 0) (2008: 0) (2009: 0) (2010: 0) (2011: 0) (2012: 0) (2013: 0)

» The Count 2014

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