Category Archives: Moments

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


May: Completed Tough Mudder, an 11km assault course

Tough MUdder

May: Presented my PhD research at Eurographics in Switzerland


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.


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


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


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!


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


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


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.


Favourite Photos From 2014

Aside from the obvious trip to New Zealand, 2014 was another great year for travelling. Barcelona started things off in January, then Nice, Hannover, Paris and Amsterdam. So many other amazing places in the UK such as Llangollen, Canterbury, Cardiff and Bridgenorth to name just a few. 2015 might have to be a bit more low key. Click on any of the photos to get a closer look.

A quarter of a century later…

I have been very busy this week after having had a great weekend celebrating my 25th Birthday. On Friday night, my Dad came over and Emily cooked us all an amazing tofu curry. Having never had tofu, my dad was curious, but really enjoyed it!

I got a load of cheeky presents from my parents, including a children’s music CD with 8 songs about how to get dressed, going to the park and going to bed, all where the singer sings my name in all of them! Classic mum :)

Emily got me an awesome travel cover for my ukulele, a really interesting book about the history of design on the London Underground (she knows I’m a massive geek) and a new rubix cube to play with that’s taken me a while to wrap my head around!

2014-09-14 22.15.05 2014-09-14 22.40.38

Still takes me about 10 minutes to solve, but I’m getting there!

Then on Saturday, we went wakeboarding, my second attempt. And it was a great success! I managed to not only wakeboard, but get all the way to the first corner without stacking it! Next time I’ll try to actually make it round the corner!

ready to wake some boards!

In the evening, 23 of my friends and I went for a curry, then headed to a roller disco. Everyone got the hang of skates really quickly, and I enjoyed skating around together with so many people I knew. The last few years I’ve been restricted on numbers for my birthday party, because of the size of my house, so going out and having so many people show up was a great way to celebrate. Needless to say that after roller disco we got a few drinks in, the less said about that part of the evening the more accurate my account of it will be.

I’ve now been writing this blog for six years! And I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing here. Who knows what the next six years will bring, but if one thing is certain, it’s that I should expect the unexpected.


Charles x 

25 is just around the corner…

On Saturday I will be celebrating my 25th Birthday by eating curry and roller-skating. By way of gearing my self up for my next quarter of a century alive, I’ve taken a look back at 25 things I’ve done in the last 12 months that have been absolutely amazing. See, I’m not getting old…

1. What a better place to start than literally a year ago when I rented out the church narthex for a special birthday celebration.
11/10 : PGS Pub Crawl a HUGE SUCCESS with over 150 people. Wates, Roots, Pews, Spoons, Legion
2. I’ve already spoken about my year as Postgraduate Society president, and this really was when it dawned on me that we had achieved something many other people thought impossible… getting postgrads to PARTY! 150 of them!
16/10 : Dinner at Tiff's with ALL THE DESSERT and Catfish, Roofay
3. In stark contrast, the next moment is spending a quiet evening in with Tiff and Roofay, eating our way through ALL THE DESSERT and being introduced to the wonderfully addictive show that is Catfish. I went on to watch all the episodes… and the movie.
19/10 : London for Zombie Apocalypse! with Will, Will, Sam, Matt. New Blithe with Will, Will, Matt
4. Being chased down by zombies in central London… standard Saturday night.
20/10 : Columbia Road Flower Market, Brick Lane, Breakfast Club, Mayor of Scardey Cat Town, Hyde Park, Covent Garden, Gordons Wine Bar, Wasabi, Balcony of Royal Festival Hall
5. Having an amazing day visiting the Columbia Road flower market the following day
25/10 : Cocktails in Covent Gdn with Julia, Natalie, Lynn, Cherry, Will, Sean, Kirsty. Then Chinatown, HENRY'S COCKTAILS!
6. Cocktails in Covent Garden. Not had a night out in London like this in a long time, and there need to be more!
09/11 : PGS Hogs Back Brewery Tour
7. Another Postgrad event, this time the brewery tour. Learnt so much, got to meet a great group of people, and learnt to love ale!

8. I don’t have a picture for the next one, but filling an entire row in the cinema to watch The Hobbit 2 with all my mates!

16/12 : ALL THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS! Currywurst, Feldshclossen, jazz club, Rosies nightclub, pool, dancing, kebab
9. Going to Germany for actual German Christmas Markets after years of just going to winter wonderland in Hyde Park
31/12 : Party time!
10. New Years Party Time! By far the best one ever. Everyone just had a great laugh. This is what good parties should be like.
11/01 : Bristol piss up, Scrumpy, Cascada, Apple, night club, broken phone
11. This was the year of the new tradition: Going to Bristol, meeting friends and drinking cider. This was a particularly notable time because I broke my phone dancing down the street to Cascada.
25/01 : Barcelona!
12. Going to Barcelona was just awesome! Never been to mainland Spain before and I absolutely loved it. The architecture, food and sangria are all to die for.

13. Another Postgrad event was the pub quiz! I wrote an impossibly difficult connections round where the answers to all the questions were linked. I hope I get to write more pub quiz rounds in the coming year.

15/02 : London Aquarium for Liz's birthday, Meza Curry, MKB
14. A great day out in London visiting the aquarium and lots of laughs
23/02 : Cardiff!
15. Visiting Jake in Cardiff is always a highlight of the year!
06/03 : Bastille Gig
16. Seeing Bastille at Alexandra Palace. Biggest gig I’ve ever been to. Great atmosphere with 10,000 people jumping around!
08/03 : Plymouth w/ Richard, Beth, Emma, Parents
17. Getting the cousins together in Plymouth. First time there, love the waterfront. Have to go back.
02/05 : MONACO! packed lunch, avoiding rain, casino
18. Childhood dream of visiting Monaco! Just a few weeks before the grand prix too so all the barriers were coming out. Might have made a few car noises as I ran around the chicane. Maybe.
22/05 : Student Awards! Won Society of the Year, SRS Society and Most Improved!
19. Winning three student awards for the Postgrad Society was just incredible and a huge result for the whole committee who worked so hard all year. No pressure this year guys!
25/05 : South Coast Roll!
20. Roller skating a whole marathon in six hours. So much fun. Same again next year!
07/06 : Aldwych Station Tour and TfL museum with Dad
21. I still want to write a blog post about the day Dad and I visited a disused underground station. Very geeky, but so cool!
14/06 : HANNOVER! Start Red Thread, following exactly, up new town hall, Romeo + Juliet in garden, rain, pizza, Football, weird Irish pub
22. Oh my Hannover! What a wonderful few days! Sophie Jones will never fail to make me laugh until I pass out!
28/06 : Bristol. Bagels, cabbot tower, clifton bridge LONG walk, cider, Mike arrives, lots of drinking and food
23. More Bristol. Finally seeing the Clifton Suspension Bridge after a minor detour through the moors.
05/07 : Canterbury. Full English Breakfast, beach, swim in the sea, walk around cathedral, Taco Locos!
24. Another first, Canterbury! Actually swimming in the sea without being frozen, touring the cathedral, and spending time with Katherine and Neil.
08/08 : BOAT TRIP
25. Finally, the Boat Trip! A week of relaxing and having lots of fun. As always, I didn’t want to leave.

May the next 12 months have just as many happy memories.

Charles x

Favourite Photos From 2013

When I decided to write this post I didn’t realise quite how many new and wonderful places I’d visited in the last year. Japan in March to Dresden in December, as well as the Grand Prix, 2013 really was a superb year. Click on any of the photos to get a closer look.