Category Archives: Boat

10 Achievements in 2015

2015 was a year of big change in my life. Here are 10 moments in 2015 that I think sum up the year pretty well.

April: Played in my first Roller Derby game ever

MMDS

May: Completed Tough Mudder, an 11km assault course

Tough MUdder

May: Presented my PhD research at Eurographics in Switzerland

Eurographics

May: Garden Society got a new committee and won over £1,500 to spend on beekeeping equipment (amongst other things)

Garden Soc

May: Quitting my PhD. Long story, but in short I wasn’t happy with the direction the research was going in and I wanted to work on something that had more real-world prospects.

PhD

Jul – Starting my new job as an Integration Test Engineer at Sky UK, working on the new Sky Q product

Sky

Jul – Watching Hamilton win the British GP at Silverstone with my Nephew

Alastair

Aug – Taking the boat to Bristol. It was a very long way to go, and it took most of the summer in weekends, but it was 100% worth it!

Boat

Aug – Moving in with Emily to a (very) little place we can call our own (for the next 12 months)

Us

Nov – Winning prize at CVMP. Very unexpected, but still very cool!

CVMP

Who knows what 2016 will bring!

Rough Shudder

I won 3 mini bottles of wine for reciting pi to 52 decimal places. Geekiest thing I've ever done?
I won 3 mini bottles of wine for reciting pi to 52 decimal places. Geekiest thing I’ve ever done?

The last month has been an interesting one. Certainly a lot has happened over Easter that has got me thinking about my long-term career prospects and even short-term goals.

To start with, the University has started an ‘Operational Review’ seemingly in an attempt to stifle research efforts and reduce the student experience all in the name of short-term cost-savings. My two cents is that the university should be investing in better marketing to entice new undergraduate students to Surrey instead of the other top universities with with we now compete due to increased entry requirements. But what do I know, every time students are ‘spoken down to’ regarding the changes, dumbing down information with meaningless metaphors and simply saying ‘don’t worry your little heads about it, let the adults work it out’. Frankly, it’s pathetic.

The food at vegfest this year was really good. I'm still not convinced about the whole "meat-free meat" thing though.
The food at vegfest this year was really good. I’m still not convinced about the whole “meat-free meat” thing though.

Moving on to something more exciting and positive, Emily and I went on a boating weekend in March. Just the two of us in the fresh midlands countryside gave us time to relax and get away from all the stress of operational reviews, thesis reports and conference deadlines. Life in the slow lane for 48 hours. It was bliss. To say I’m looking forward to this summer’s marathon boat trip to Bristol would be an understatement.

Back to PhD life again, and it was time for my thesis review at the end of March. This is a new report you have to write for your 2-year milestone. It caused much argument and debate between my supervisor and I for a good many weeks, resulting in a stale-mate where neither of us are happy with the outcome. I’m still unsure about what to do about this, but thankfully the head of department has been very helpful in moving things along, albeit with me still carrying more than a teaspoon full of scepticism. Alas.

carrying these back from the Boat Race on packed public transport was totally worth it.
Carrying these back from the Boat Race on packed public transport was totally worth it.

I’ve been taking more of an interest in my personal fitness again. Stuart and I are still going climbing on a weekly basis and hoping to transcend to new heights by taking our skills outdoors very soon. I’ve been keenly going to weekly Roller Derby sessions, and went to cheer on the girls team in a game in Coventry a few weeks back.

By far my biggest achievement recently has been playing in my first Roller Derby game! It was a men’s rookie game made up of guys from various teams around the country. Playing with people I’d never met before in front of a crowd (containing my parents!) could be described as being “thown in at the deep end”, but Emily had made me a sign saying “BRING THE POWER” and I managed to score 14 points for my team! It was a great learning experience and I’m now eagerly awaiting my next chance to play.

If that wasn’t enough fitness news, I’m attempting Tough Mudder on Saturday. I say attempting because it’s a 12-mile military-style obstacle course and I’ve done next to no training. Should be a laugh. I might die.

 

Boat trip 2014

It has become something of a tradition now that every year I invite a few of my friends on my dad’s narrowboat for a week pottering around the Midlands, relaxing, eating and drinking (usually with much of the latter). This year was no exception, except for a slight change of scenery.

For a bit of a change, and a bit of a challenge, I wanted to get the boat to Llangollen in Wales. I say challenge because this particular route involves travelling over one of Tomas Telford’s greatest creations: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. The aqueduct is a 307m long, 38m high masterpiece of 19th Century engineering. An iron trough carrying 1.5 million litres of water over the River Dee valley, originally allowing for goods from Welsh mines and quarries to reach English markets, now serving as the tourist highlight to the busiest canal in the country, the Llangollen Canal.

And so our voyage was set and, on a surprisingly sunny week in the middle of August, we set off. Passing secret nuclear bunkers, drinking cider and champagne and navigating lift bridges we weaved our way through the English and Welsh countryside. It didn’t fail to deliver relaxation and calm to the entire crew, and after a week of inhaling diesel fumes and eating far too much, I felt ready to tackle the monotonous world of research once again.

Charles x

A Summer in Lost Photographs

Today I want to walk you through some of the amazing times I had over the summer using photographs you haven’t seen before… let us begin…

placeholder
Like so many good summer’s this one started with the end of the University year. Tradition is to go down to the lake on campus, have drinks and be merry with friends. The picture tells the rest of the story pretty well.
placeholder
Will “drying off” after going on the wettest log flume ever at Drayton Manor theme park. We went there for the day with his sister and my sister because the canal goes right past the entrance! That first boat trip of the summer was amazing and provided much needed time off to relax.
placeholder
Will and I being our usual stupid selves on one of the rides!
placeholder
This was the summer that started me going to Schism rock club in Woking. The first Friday of every month is a rock/metal night which lots of our friends attend. Great atmosphere!
placehodler
The first social organised by the committee of the Postgraduate Society was a Games Night in Wates House pub on campus. To our surprise, over 30 people showed up! It was a great success!
placeholder
Ankur and I attended Grad Ball. A bitter sweet affair since it was the last time I’ve seen a lot of my friends who were graduating. But an amazing night, my favourite Grad Ball ever! And I’ve been to 5 now…
Placeholder
A photo of Ankur and I from a stall making mock movie posters at Grad Ball. Ankur makes a very attractive princess Leia!
placeholder
Picnic in Richmond Park! Lots of climbing trees, eating cous-cous and chasing deer. How middle-class of us.
Plaecholder
Boat Trip number 2! Only a weekend this time, but despite the injuries, everyone had a huge laugh! Highlights include eating wild boar sausages, randomly going to a rock club in Wolverhampton and playing the Ukulele for everyone :)
placeholder
My 24th birthday was just a massive party! Hiring a room at the local church in London and having 30 friends eat and drink the night away! Here’s one of my presents, very awesome!
placehodler
Bristol! The home of ALL THE CIDER! Great catching up with friends and seeing a city I’ve never visited before! I just wish Guildford had this much choice of cider… although maybe it’s for the best.
placeholder
The Postgraduate Society stall at Freshers Fayre! We got over 150 sign-ups in one afternoon! The year is going to be big!
placeholder
Our first Meet & Greet for new Postgrads took me by surprise when over 30 people showed up! We made it work though, can’t wait for the next one!

So that’s just a small snippet of the last few months, we haven’t even touched on the random nights out to Tickled Ivory, or the Comedy Nights at The Stoke, or the many trips to the cinema, or seeing Jamiroqui live, or trips to Cambridge… the list goes on! It’s been a seriously great summer! And lots to look forward to going into the last few months of the year :)

Stay classy x

Taste the Rainbow

Settling back into the slow life is so comforting knowing that you are doing something for your future, and living the present the best way you know how.

I want to inject a bit of nostalgia into this post, knowing full well that this blog has started to show its receding hairline this year with the lacklustre modicum of posts. As the new year beckons, and lets be honest its already on the horizon, I usually turn the content switch to “past” and start idolizing the perfect moments from the year gone by. And this year will be no different in some respects, but I want to start early because it’s been such an incredible year!

January

My best memories from January lie scattered amongst many weeks spent in Switzerland, as in fact most of my memories from the year. But there’s another theme for January, random lols. If it was Sophizzle offering words of comfort to her triffle on the bus home from Tesco, Frazer and I contemplating the benefits of nipple cups, or Sophie getting a super-low voice over serious Skype discussions about housing… it was a laugh. The best moment however?

Walking around an empty Zurich airport in bare feet. Like the set of a film…

February

Another month filled with Swiss air, but also featuring a couple of trips to London to see Maroon 5, Mr Scruff and Lifehouse. And while going dressed as Sherlock Holmes into Guildford town was the best fun ever, the Lifehouse gig at the Roundhouse has a special place in my heart…

March

Sometimes life hands you fragments of perfection, that second when the world stops and you feel that despite the worries you may have, and the challenges you face, you’ve actually got it pretty good :) One particular Friday afternoon, sat outside Lugano airport in the gorgeous sunshine waiting for a plane back home after another great week at work, and the fragments just seem to fall into place. You know you’re doing the right thing and you should never stop being who you are.

April

The last one for today… April. April. Where do I start… There are two things that stand out about April. One was the house boat trip, possibly the single most hilarious, drink-fuelled, best times of my life – spent on my dad’s narrowboat with my then-future-now-current housemates. Initially a bonding weekend to get to know each other better, but once we’d got the formalities out of the way it was all about having the time of our lives. The week was so good we are still quoting from it now, in fact we have a book of quotes in our living room from that trip that goes some way in recreating some of the hilarity: everything from carnivorous geese to gooches, heart-attack sandwiches to the helm of insobriety. This is undoubtedly not the last you will hear from this trip in the run up to the new year. And as for the second thing about April, that will have to wait :)

I want to finish the post with a few pictures from the start of the year that you hopefully haven’t seen before…

DSCF4862

Even as early as January the temptation to buy chocolate (against my new years resolution!) was staring me in the face… I walked past this particular idol in the Zurich terminal building every Friday on my way back to Heathrow…

DSCF5028

Jake comes to Guildford, and we find the FREE Guildford museum to be worth every penny…

DSCF5079

Doing the speed limit in a Mercedes convertible on the Swiss motorway…

 DSCF5096

The sign outside the building next door to our hostel in Amsterdam. It was ideally located for our needs… there was a supermarket and bus stop nearby.

DSCF5173

The boat trip provided lots of time to relax and take it easy, and have cider at every possible moment.

DSC00243

Charlotte’s birthday party had a “what did you want to be when you were younger” theme… obviously I chose geek.

Next time I promise I will talk about my current housemates and give you a tour of the grounds. I just need to be writing in here when it’s light outside!

Until next time…

Charles x

She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain

It’s on it’s way… I’m just a bit pre-occupied with this moving house, travelling around Switzerland and Italy, birthday party, and boating malarkey.

But not to worry, I’m only off to Scotland on Thursday, back off to Switzerland next Monday and then in Sheffield the following weekend… And then I move into my NEW house :)

So, yea, just ambling around…

switzerland

^ Switzerland

italy

^ Italy

father

^ Father

mother

^ Mother

boating

^ Boating

  • Happiness. 9 out of 10
  • Tiredness. 5 out of 5
  • Free Time. 0 out of 5
  • Last Meal. Tuna pasta
  • Song of the day. Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson – Gangster of Love
  • Thought for the day. …it’s beating twice as strong
  • What I’m Doing Now. Packing. The story of my life.