If there is one positive aspect to commuting into central London in the first week of January, it is the fact that it is quiet.
A fair number of people have clearly extended their Christmas break until midweek, or even until 11th January, which is nice if you can manage it. I suppose that school holidays play a part in this, but whatever the reason, the Tube isn’t too crowded and you can navigate the pavements around Westminster without getting too annoyed by the crowds. This is aided by the post-New Year lull in tourists. January is a good month for tourists, by which I mean they are relatively few and far between. Of course, those who do come to visit up their game in the annoy-the-commuter stakes, but nonetheless, this is a time of year when my blood pressure is spared seas of radio controlled Asian tour groups, or randomly swarming Italians and Spaniards. There are also – and this is an important factor – no squealing masses of over-excited school children being herded from one piece of cultural heritage to another.
Sadly, Easter is early this year, arriving at the end of March, rather than mid April as it usually does. That means that the early year tourist gap will be short this year.
For 2016 this all has a greater impact on me than in previous years. As ever, I start the year with a view to losing weight and trying to get a bit fitter. I am close to attracting my own moons into orbit around my waist, so I need to at least try.
Since I am notoriously poor at keeping to strict diets, I am going to try a combination of eating less and better, but not structuring it as a diet as such. In addition, I now have and have had since a couple of weeks before Christmas, one of those FitBit fitness bands that you wear on your wrist. It’s a fairly basic version, which measures the approximate number of paces you take during the day, approximate minutes of activity, and if you remember to tell it when you went to bed and got up the next morning, it will have a stab, based upon the amount of thrashing around you do in your sleep, how much proper rest you got.
The upshot is that I am trying to make sure that, on average, I manage 10,000 steps a day. This equates to about 5 miles and even wandering to the tea point and back adds a few paces. Interestingly, even I find that if I synchronise the fitness band to my phone and find that I am a couple of hundred paces short, I am happy to take a couple of ‘long cuts’ to get the pace count up. A couple of times I’ve even broken the 15,000 paces barrier, but ironically this seems to happen when I wander off to the pub to meet friends, though I did manage to get some good numbers up when we were in Prague.
Even if I forget to synchronise at any point, the wrist band buzzes when I hit a milestone.
Anyway, so far, so good. It’s early days yet and I haven’t bothered to weigh myself. I find that to be too depressing. I shall measure progress by belt notches and shirt bulge (or even the ability to wear the waistcoat I got for Christmas fully buttoned whilst sitting down). As has been the goal for the past nine years, I want to be able to wear my leather submariner style jacked buttoned up. Not that I shall wear it buttoned up, of course, but they hang better if they can be buttoned. I managed that briefly for a few weeks a couple of years ago, but then I wasn’t trying to maintain a five miles a day walking average.