diamond geezer

 Sunday, February 28, 2016

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 single February since, purely to keep tabs on how my life is changing. Thirteen years later, I can confirm it's changed quite a bit, and yet not changed too. Below are my counts for February 2016 (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 another February with eight nights out, or twenty nights in, depending on how you look at it. And that's one of my better social performances, so well done me. Admittedly half of those were trips round to BestMate's sofa, where we watch telly and put the world to rights, and one was a trip to the cinema (Deadpool, thanks for asking, and merely so-so). But one was an actual genuine proper night out, with real people and beer, so that's good. And tonight I've got my brother over to stay, but that's a night in, so doesn't officially count.
The number of nights in February 2016 I went out and was vaguely sociable: 8
2003-2016 review: In February 2003 I was a social whirlwind, but BestMate 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) (2014: 6) (2015: 8)

Count 6 (Alcohol intake): For the purposes of this long-term count, my definition of alcohol is a specific gassy bottle of German lager. I cling to Becks for familiarity and ease of ordering, plus it doesn't give me hiccups, but this month my consumption is a big fat zero. I've sunk several glasses of wine on BestMate's sofa, but those don't count towards The Count. I've downed one other bottle of lager because the pub I was in didn't serve Becks, but alas that doesn't count either. So my rock bottom February total is an inadequate reflection of my alcohol intake... but still fairly close, to be honest.
Total number of bottles of Becks I drank in February 2016: 0
2003-2015 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. Or perhaps I should rejoice at the broader selection of hip craft beers on offer across London these days, if not the premium price that bars charge for them.
(2003: 58) (2004: 17) (2005: 0) (2006: 7) (2007: 1) (2008: 28) (2009: 4) (2010: 3) (2011: 20) (2012: 14) (2013: 2) (2014:4) (2015:0)

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 2016: 133
(2003: 135) (2004: 135) (2005: 81) (2006: 128) (2007: 137) (2008:134) (2009: 129) (2010: 136) (2011: 135) (2012: 133) (2013: 127) (2014: 129) (2015: 128)

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 the year when I upped the total by blogging relentlessly about the Bakerloo line. I'm back in the zone again this year, averaging about four train journeys a day, because we Londoners do swan around in carriages a lot.
Total number of trains I travelled on in February 2016: 132
(2003: 103) (2004: 109) (2005: 117) (2006: 107) (2007:100) (2008: 117) (2009: 103) (2010: 83) (2011: 109) (2012: 118) (2013: 139) (2014: 101) (2015: 124)

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 did, so I could do better.
Total number of escalators I walked up in February 2016: 32
(2003: 73) (2004: 72) (2005: 38) (2006: 35) (2007: 31) (2008: 33) (2009: 28) (2010: 13) (2011: 32) (2012: 43) (2013: 40) (2014: 29) (2015: 37)

Count 9a (Steps walked): Here's a relatively recent innovation to The Count, introduced three years ago 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, but usually much higher. During February I've walked more than ten thousand steps in a day on ten separate occasions, but only once over twenty thousand, because the weather's reined in my usual hikes. So not quite my usual quarter of a million steps per February, but still 90 miles in a month, and a total that'll only increase as spring approaches.
Total number of steps I walked in February 2016: 238200
(2013: 273300) (2014: 254600) (2015: 282300)

Count 10 (Mystery count): Sorry to disappoint you all, again, but the legendary diamond geezer Mystery Count continues to be nil. I'll confess I never expected the total to increase, despite the relatively high score on one of the counts above. But even if 2016 has throw up yet another big fat mystery zero, there's always a chance next year, surely?
Total number of times that the mystery event happened in February 2016: 0
(2003: 0) (2004: 0) (2005: 0) (2006: 0) (2007: 0) (2008: 0) (2009: 0) (2010: 0) (2011: 0) (2012: 0) (2013: 0) (2014: 0) (2015: 0)

» The Count 2016

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