My look back at 2018 part one
by Dr Anthony D. Cliffe
Hey guys, 2018 well I’d give it a solid 7. The first half of the year was up there close to 10 but the second half of the year hasn’t been so great so brings it down to a 7 overall. I’ve had worse years, but I’ve had better ones that’s for sure. However, in this first blog, I want to look back with the help of my Instagram to talk through my year with some of my favourite images that have captured those moments this year. So let’s have a trip down memory lane!
For me, the picture above was one of the first ones I took in 2018, and it’s one of my favourites of the year. For Laura’s birthday, we made a snowy trip up to the Lake District and after battling snow and icy roads we decided to stop at the top of the valley, stand in the middle of the road to capture this image. It was a brilliant day and a great first trip of note in 2018. Even if I did have to run in the snow!
January wasn’t all play, sadly there was a lot of work too. By the end of January, I had analysed the first part of my PhD data, but that didn’t stop me going a little bit doolally.
By the time February came around work was well underway and the weather started to take a turn for the wintry. February is often one of my favourite months for photography, at least for star photography anyway. This year the full moon in February didn’t disappoint.
Of course, when it comes to wintry weather and merseyrail, they’re two things that never quite go together. This commute home took me a grand total of just over 3 and a half hours. It involved numerous cancelled trains and a 2-mile walk to then get a delayed train. Joys of commuting in winter.
When the weather abated it was time to get the bike out of the warmth of the house and head out onto the open road. It became a standard thing on Sunday to go out on our cycles together, this is one of many cycling selfies this year!
With the winter Olympics going on at the same time in Feb the office decided to get in on the action too with a closely fought sweepstake. Each day I would put the medal total on the large chart we made in the office, but after a close 2 weeks of competitive nature, Vic was the eventual winner of the 2018 PhD office Olympics!
Finally, after 8 years we finally got a good snowfall in Maghull!
I would often every Monday morning do a doodle to leave on Katie’s desk and this was a fitting PhD related message when everyone felt like they were in a slump, including me!
This picture still makes me laugh. I had walked home in the crunching snow and the closer I got to home the more the temperature had dropped. Underneath the snow was sheet ice, I hadn’t heeded the warnings of a few near slips as I ploughed on home. I often take pictures of St Andrews church near my house, but I’d never taken any pictures of it quite like this in the snow. Polar Express was playing in my headphones as I crouched down to take this shot with the glow of the street lights and the snow, my footsteps the only ones on the show. I love this shot, except as soon as I stood up it was a comedy of me trying my hardest to stay upright before eventually gravity won and I slipped on my arse and busted my knee. Totally worth it…
March saw the Beast from the East arrive. While this brought chaos to the UK with snow and winds for me, nothing sums the beast from the East up more than trying to have a bath, but the wind sounded like a train. Choo-Choo mother fuckers, the beast from the east has arrived!
As an office, we decided to do something cultural and have a look at the Terracotta army that had come to do an exhibition in the Liverpool Museum. I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by the experience, but that didn’t stop my usual humour replacing that disappointment.
March was fieldwork time for me, and the joys of being a PhD student is you get to look after your bosses dog on fieldwork. While that sounds like a great thing, I’m allergic to dogs and Pip wasn’t that happy with me but at least he stood still for 2 seconds so that I could get this picture of him!
I do love to get out of the office on fieldwork, however, and this picture sums up any Geographer on fieldwork. Muddy boots!
March also saw one of the greatest Six Nation tournaments that I can ever remember watching, and the mighty Ireland team won a grand slam. Dad and I were very happy!
I was off on one of my first solo trips of the year up north to see one of my favourite people ever!
Chloe has been one of my best friends since we first met on a cold Slapton beach on our first-year Geography field trip. I have a lot of women in my life, and Chloe has always been the one I often seek counsel on anything and everything. Quite simply my life would be very different today if the choices made on that day sitting by the River Dee were different. After talking through everything we both decided to take drastic choices, her to start a PhD and me to turn down the logical job offer and do the irrational thing of becoming an RA. If it weren’t for her clarity, I wouldn’t be here doing this PhD, and I’ve always owed her for that. We hadn’t seen each other for such a long time, since my Master’s graduation and so it was such a fabulous weekend meeting up with her again and exploring Hull. The best part of it all within 30 seconds of meeting up it felt like we’d never been apart. Next time I see her will be at her wedding! We’re all growing up so fast!
From one mentor to another, on my way home I popped into York to see one of my old students and someone who’s become a good friend over the years. It fills me with such pride to see her doing so well in the job up North!
April started off a little weird with me witnessing a Sparrowhawk take out a pigeon in my back garden. I love birds of prey, and while it was a bit gruesome to see, it was pretty awesome!
I was still getting bullied in the office by my female coworkers.
This evening was one of the most unexpected but brilliant evenings of the year. Laura and I skipped out on our plans and instead got coffee and roamed Liverpool on one of the first warm days of the year, chatting and laughing until the sun went down. One of those spontaneous evenings which just made it all the better! What a way to start spring.
Before long I was back on my travels again, this time with my sister from another Mr, Emma. This time it was back to the Lakes for a few nights away in a hotel that Beatrix Potter’s holiday home.
The weather was a complete contrast to when I came with Laura in January. The snow had gone, and the sun was up in the low 20’s. Emma not only drove me to the Lakes but drove the boat around Lake Windermere. That was the life!
We’ve climbed many metaphorical mountains together over the 10 plus years I’ve known Emma, but this day we climbed an actual mountain. 26c the climb up over 1000ft was tough, but the views were worth it that’s for sure. Well, it was tough for me, Emma accidentally dopped on Nurofen for a migraine and therefore was pain-free hiking up near vertical rock faces at times! Grrr.
Still the best Bath EVER!
It really was a fantastic few days away in the Lakes with many stories to tell that’s for sure!
I finally got around to cementing our office by designing our office door sign. When I finish my PhD, I’m taking this with me as a memento of my time in H105.
May I turned 26 and what better way to celebrate than with a long ride on one of the hottest days of the year!
What’s better than that celebration? A double birthday celebration in Wagamama’s that’s what!
May saw one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. The University 3 Minute Thesis final. I’d made it through the preliminary rounds to find myself in the final with amazing contestants from all the different faculties. I’ve never felt more nervous standing up in front of a couple of hundred people with nothing but a static slide and having to talk engagingly for exactly 3 minutes no more, no less, about your PhD. The winner would go on to represent the University in the UK final. I fell short with a 2nd place but I never expected to win, and I was so over the moon to get 2nd place and finally get an Education student on the podium! What a fantastic day and a nice cash prize too! A nice thing to add to the CV.
Sadly in May, I was off to Ireland for less than pleasant reasons, and Ryanscare still suck arse.
May also saw me make my best financial investment this year, buying an espresso machine. There isn’t a day that this baby doesn’t pump out some amazing espressos for me to guzzle down.
As good as an investment was, it’s a shame Karius in the Champions Leauge wasn’t as good as an investment as my espresso machine.
Best bank holiday ever.
Over the winter and spring, our Sunday rides cumulated in Laura’s first ever sportif, the Croston crusade which we bossed like Pro’s…well-ish. Hey, we finished me a great time, and for me, I made it up Hunters Hill without stopping, that’s 25% gradient in some places, a brutal climb. I was happy and no more happy to cross the line with her. Good job!
Unfortunately, the highs of that day were overshadowed with the news that my grandad had passed away.
After the funeral it was back to work, banging my head against the desk trying to figure out how to make my models work for the umpteenth time.
June is conference season, I had a nice little warm up at the faculty conference before heading out to Split, Croatia for my first ever international conference.
Which was all well and good considering my latest model said it was going to take just a little more than a few days to render :o.
Before heading out to Croatia, I was treated to the amazing night show and the rare phenomenon of the Noctilucent clouds. What a fantastic sight to see they were in this part of the world! They truly are beautiful.
My first international conference was a complete success, and I enjoyed every minute I had in Croatia to round off my June.
After Croatia, I flew from there to Geneva Switzerland where Laura met me 😀
Geneva was a fantastic place to visit, and this was a fantastic evening!
END OF PART ONE