Conduct your own audit of pleasures
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Tuesday 24 November 1998
The Government's talk about "sustainable development" and "cleaner growth" slightly obscures a similar initiative: to identify the things that make people more contented, more secure and more likely to feel well-disposed towards their political masters.
But quantifying pleasure or contentment is an activity fraught with peril. So The Independent offers some guidelines here. A range of activities that come under the Deputy Prime Minister's "headline indicators" have been awarded the following UPs, or Units of Pleasure.
Sunny morning 20
Cold morning 3
Windy morning 5
Rainy morning 0
Cold but sunny morning 12
Cold, rainy, windy morning with dense fog, your car will not start, and you have to scrape frost off back windscreen with expiring credit card -1,000
Heatwave in Britain 250
Heatwave in Britain while you are in Dusseldorf at sewage convention -250
Sniffing ozone 0
Sniffing pollen -20
Sniffing carbon monoxide -50
Sniffing charming flower in park, plucking it and inserting in buttonhole 100
Being pursued by irate parks official with slavering lurcher and on-the- spot fine -50
Having head cold -5
Having pint of Night Nurse and four hot whiskies 40
Having medical check-up (private clinic) -5
Having medical check-up (NHS) -250
Joining gymnasium 100
Attending gymnasium 20
Having sex with personal trainer 200
Sacking personal trainer (chronic back pain) 300
Driving through English country lanes in May 400
Driving through St Martin's Lane in May -100
Driving very fast down M4 in Mercedes convertible with elbow stuck out window, glamorous companion by side and Springsteen's "Sherry Darling" playing at teeth-rattling volume on tape machine 800
Taking a taxi 30
Taking taxi with driver keen to share views on Millennium Dome funding -50
Bird singing in tree (Leicester Square) 1
Bird singing in tree (Cotswold village) 15
Pigeon on hat (Trafalgar Square) 30
Pigeon on hat (elsewhere) -10
Robin on log 30
Robin on log in snowy garden (1-25 December only) 100
Frozen chicken in Waitrose 10
Vulture on roadsign -10
Sighting of salmon in Thames 20
Sighting of dolphin in Thames 200
Sighting of shark in Thames 300
Sighting of shark and ex-home secretary in Thames 1,000
Sighting of Iraqi navy in Thames -100
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