It is around this time each year, that people who made New Year resolutions are beginning to flounder. Whether you were resolutely going to the gym, avoiding alcohol or trying to eat less cake, this weekend is probably about the time when you’re ready to give in to temptation. I decided to forgo all that torment and this year I simply downloaded an app. But more on that later.
In fact it seems to be a very British thing not to rush into anything. We are a nation of due diligence and giving consideration to matters before taking action. We also don’t like to make a fuss. If things aren’t quite right we tend to just put up with it rather than jump up and down and complain. This perhaps goes part way to explaining why Major Tim Peake is only the fourth Briton to join the 200 mile high club. Back in the ’60s when everything was black and white and a bit flickery, the Americans and Russians were competing to see who could get through the door into space first. Here in Britain we decided not to don our tweed caps and head outdoors, but instead to remain in our wingback chairs and observe johnny foreigner blasting off into space.
So what of this current mission to the International Space Station? I think it is an incredible thing that Tim Peake is doing and I for one salute his bravery and determination. However, I’m not entirely sure that I agree with the journalists who claim this will turn us into a nation of scientists and explorers. What exactly is he doing up there? This week we heard that he went out for a walk, but suffered a leak in his helmet. When he is not out and about he is mostly doing experiments with plants and peeing into a tube. All in all it doesn’t really sound like much fun. In fact contrary to the glamorous high tech world of Star Trek, Dr Who and other such televisual entertainment, it is probably quite miserable.
Id be prepared to wager that right now, all Tim Peake wants is a cup of tea. Luckily NASA got the memo about the requirement for regular tea breaks and came up with a plan.
NASA regularly send up supply Rockets and for this mission have included a special space cup designed by previous astronaut Don Pettit. Inside the cup sits a plastic pouch. Tea is then brewed in a separate vacuum-sealed container, after which it can be squirted into this pouch where capillary action forces it up to the lip of the cup.
This all sounds very high tech, but as usual, there’s a problem. The main flaw in the plan is that Americans don’t know how to make tea. As a result they have used coffee creamer rather than milk and the water won’t be boiling. But it’s all ok because Major Tim is British. And as such he will adopt a stiff upper lip and when Houston call to check there isn’t a problem, he will smile and say the tea is lovely. This will mean more Brits will be allowed up into Space and everyone will continue to be nice to each other.
Which brings me back to an app that I purchased last week. Clearly I was never going to join a gym. I’ve already tried cycling with limited success and I can’t give up gin because my choirs keep buying it for me every Christmas and my gin cupboard is already full. So as a result, I decided I needed to drink more. In order to achieve this I purchased an app which records everything I drink and then nags me to drink more. The irony of it is that the more alcohol you drink the higher the daily target becomes.
So this week I have been doing some scientific research of my own. After a week of drinking more or less what I normally do I ran a report which came out as follows: