The Day in the life of Tony Cliffe

The blog that's full of discussion, advice, travel and ramblings!

Category: funny

Look back on 2017 via Instagram: Part Two July to December

Okay so we finished the last post at the end of June, let’s dive in and see what other gems i can find for the back end of 2017!

Let’s start off with a little fun shall we? Laura was one of the first people i met while doing a PhD and since then i like to think we’ve grown pretty close as friends and by time July came i thought we knew each other well enough for me to do this and get away with it!

In July after four years of having the same glasses it was finally time for some new ones! Glasses if you wear them all of the time become a part of you. I loved my old glasses but it was time for a subtle change and improvement and i’m glad i did! I now love my glasses!

I was honoured to be a Best Man for my Brother from another mother Luke and even more so to be the Master of Ceremony at his Wedding! It meant a lot and such a thoughtful gift to receive from him on the eve of the wedding! Plenty of whiskey will be drank from this i can assure you!

Wedding day finally arrived and it was a wonderful day and everything worked out great! Luke and Amy deffo win my couple of 2017 award! They also win the wedding of 2017 award too but i only went to theirs in 2017 but even if i went to others i’m sure they would have won too. Stunning venue, great organisation and just a lovely day and night filled with love and laughter!

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Last night 😂

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Wedding night with the family though…oh that crazy wonderful family of mine! I like this picture because it sums up how bonkers we really are!

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50 shades of pug 🤣

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This picture was taken the day after the wedding and is still probably one of my favourite days of 2017. It was one of those perfect days full of laughter! I love these two and there was nothing but laughing and goofing around in the sun. We were the three that were most often in the office together and a little trio formed, we’re all very different and we each have our quirks but one thing we have in common is having a laugh. It was one of those days were if you had the ability to replay it, if you were ever feeling down you’d whack that episode on and watch it time and time again and you’d cry with laughter. That weekend was such a good weekend with nothing but love, laughter and memories. I can still hear the sound of the pug now :D. I had bigged Formby Pinewoods up to these two and it didn’t disappoint!

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"Act naturally you two!" So we did. 😂

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If a picture summed up our friendship i think it would be this one!

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Romantic meal with Quayle. 😉

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After using my excellent fashion skills and hours of shopping with Laura and after trying to find a place to eat i stumbled upon an old Italian restaurant i used to go to. A nice romantic meal for the most coupley non couple of 2017 ;)!

After weeks of literally hitting my head against the desk to get my models to work i did something (i still haven’t figured out what i did!) and it worked and it was a wahoo finally moment! Sometimes you just have to take the credit even if you have no idea what you did. I was happy as this formed a huge part of the PhD and was a breakthrough for me! Plus they cool right?

Another of my favourite images of 2017! Another day full of laughing! Despite our paint war i think us PhD students did a cracking job of painting!

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#PhDfamily

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PhD family is always more than just the PhD! We weren’t painting any old room it was for Vics wonderful new house! She has done an astounding job decorating her house, i mean it is seriously good! If the PhD ever falls through or you get sick of academia Vic then you most certainly have a career in interior design!!

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#Nnnnneeeerrrrfff

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The moment Katie became an official honorary Scouser by getting a selfie with an actual scouser and the Iron Men! That was a fun day out and quite possibly the biggest steak i’ve ever had! I’m sure it was half of an actual cow.

In August we ended up in Prague for a brilliant five day trip! This picture was taken on arrival for our adventure despite the delay! That was a really good trip that had many funny moments in as always with these two. Prague itself was a stunning city and one i’d love to go back to one day!

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Coolest selfie yet 😂😂

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Still by far the coolest selfie i’ve ever been in!

If you wanted to know the dynamics of this group here is a taster…they both just gang up on me and bully me but i wouldn’t have it any other way 😛

In September it was great to present at the EFL conference and having a catch up with my old boss! Never did i think 7 years ago when we first met that we’d become friends and eventually become office buddies together! Dr The Most Scouse Plastic Scouser there is 😉

I just love this picture! The sunrise manages to light up the rainstorm giving a whole new meaning to there is always a silverlining. Special moment and great to capture it on camera. Walking through the park on my way to work is always a pleasure for moments like this. Nature is beautiful, you just have to keep your eyes open for it so that you don’t miss it!

At the end of September my Operations Manual was approved and my licence became official! 2017 achievement award!

At the end of September i started that epic solo adventure. My first stop Iceland was breathtaking and i so long to go back there!

It felt so good to be back in Canada especially for their 150th birthday! Naaaw i always forget how young Canada is compared to its big brother the UK! This was my first day in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Later that day i would travel to Peggy’s cove the most photographed Lighthouse in the world!

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Trying some local food, moose stew! 😊

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After travelling on the plane for 2hrs 30 up to the frozen North East of Canada to St John’s i settled down in a cosy pub to escape the -5c wind chill to try some local food. Moose stew was pretty decent and i just loved the pastry!

The next day i travelled to the most Easterly point of North America! Pretty special to say i’ve stepped foot on the most Easterly piece of North America. Amazingly rugged place and today was the day that i would fall in love with St. John’s and Newfoundland.

I had an amazing time solo travelling so far and nothing i love more than hiking up a mountain alone thousands of mile from home! I loved this place and the caption sums up my feelings perfectly as the sun set!

Even if that solo hike was fucking scary at times!!

Charlotte town completely stole my heart of this trip. There is not a day i don’t wish i was back on this wonderful Island of Prince Edward Island. It was just amazing from start to finish!

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😍

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The 2017 most amazing sunset award goes to my first night on Prince Edward Island!

What happens on travels stays on travels hey?  Hahah.

My most serine moment of 2017 has to be my last night on Prince Edward Island listening to the most beautiful music with another stunning sunset with the birds flying home to roost. God i miss that place!

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The awesome Canadian Cliffe's! 😚

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It was great to end my trip with my first Canadian thanksgiving and again what amazing hospitality they gave me! As the caption states oceans between us but the bond is as strong as ever! As much as i miss Prince Edward Island i miss these guys so much more, family is family no matter where we are in the world!

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Business class upgrade 👌

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One last gift from this trip was a lovely upgrade to Business class home! Sometimes i am just lucky!!

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Great evening at the fireworks! 💥🔥

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November it was back home and back to work but it was great to watch an amazing free firework show on Liverpool’s waterfront with these guys!

One of my fav pictures of me and Em taken on a very cold November beach! We did however see many squirrels for the first time in like forever have i ever seen that many squirrels in the woods! It was almost as if they were following me…

That moment that you both turn up to work wearing pretty much the same thing! I still don’t know if that is a good thing or not!? #Twinning

Maybe the Squirrels were following me? The award for WTF!? moment of 2017 goes to this little buddy climbing up my leg in Chester!

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Great yearly catch up with Han and Dan!

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Always a pleasure catching up with Han and Dan and even better in Chester where it all began 7 years ago when me and Han struck up a conversation about Muse because i had a Muse T-shirt on in the first few days of undergrad then the rest is as they say, history!

My luck continued into December where Em had got free tickets for Kasabian and invited me along. Not only did i get a free ticket, i got upgraded on said free ticket and we both got closer to the stage! Awwww yeah! Cracking gig and my first in 7 years!!

It wouldn’t be a review blog if i didn’t mention my favourite ginger! An interesting year for the both of us its safe to say but as always and as per the last few years i know that we will always try to get each other through the madness that is life! We get one selfie every year and i quite like 2017! At least this time we’re not being photobombed by 2016’s giant LED reindeer!

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Happy Christmas from the PhD office!

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But 2017 has been dominated by the PhD and these guys as i spent nearly all of my time with them and in the office so its only fitting to leave 2017 with this image of this crazy lot! I hope 2018 is full of adventure and fun and i look forward to more fun and pictures. Have a great New Year everyone!!

Look back on my year via Instagram: Part one January to June

 

As 2017 is coming to a close i thought i’d take a step back from writing my travel blogs and dive into my Instagram to find some of my favourite shots of 2017 that i’ve taken. Each picture i’ll explain why i like it so much, it may be the story behind it or the subject to just the colours and setting. I’m writing this as i go though my Instagram in chronological order so i have no idea what i will find! What i do know is i suspect plenty of landscapes and friend selfies that’s for sure! This first blog is January to June So here we go…

Ah yeah what a nice start to the year it was in the world of the PhD office! We all hit rough patches while doing a PhD and mine was definitely between the months of January and May. This post in particular was a culmination of nothing but crap for like three weeks and on that Monday morning i had an email which just topped the lot! But sweets made everything better :D. I like this picture because it sums up those who i share this journey with, they always pick you up when the PhD knocks you down.

It was nice to have my first trip of the year to see the Irish family and on the way back on a particularly cold February morning the frozen Welsh mountains gave a lovely sight on the flight home! I never get tire of taking pictures of landscapes from the air.

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His and hers 😂 #cycling #roadcycling

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I gained a new cycling partner in Laura in 2017, i just think the size difference and looks in our bikes is just cute and therefore worthy of a mention! It is super cute tho.

This was an odd day, sitting in front of TV cameras giving a speech about your PhD research! Was really cool to do and kind of felt like i was on the news!

A video this time! Storm Doris hit Merseyside with 90 mph winds…of course me and Rosie thought it would be a good idea to leave the relative safe confines of the office to walk in it! At least now i have proof that i’ve walked in nearly hurricane winds!

Had such a good time with Em in March for our little trip away. We did indeed feel like a King and Queen looking out onto the sprawl of Amsterdam at midnight. It was a great trip with a long and well loved friend and sometimes you get those perfect nights. It was a pretty cool view that’s for sure! What i love most about this photograph though is a definition of our friendship, no matter what we’re always at each other side.

This picture and the caption makes me laugh as it pretty much sums up our expressions 90% of the time that we’ve hung out for 12 years! 😀

Not long after i arrived back from Amsterdam did i go ahead and book the 2 week solo adventure to Iceland and Canada for September and October! Here it was jotted down in my notebook. I like this picture because having done this trip its crazy to see it written down at the time of booking on one piece of paper. A few months later that page would travel thousands of miles with me!

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Packing the bike up for Ireland

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In April it was time to grab the passport out again and head to Ireland for a few days cycling! This was to be the first time i’d ever taken my bike outside of the UK and my travel bag worked a treat!

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First time faster than a plane!

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This was pretty cool cycling away from Dublin on stage one of the tour of Ireland! That turned out to be the easiest ride of them all and that route is something i’ve wanted to do for ages!

By far one of my favourite personal moments of 2017 captured in this photograph. Of all of the years i’ve been cycling and been travelling to Ireland i’ve always wanted to cycle up the Iconic Howth Head climb. I finally got the chance and not only did i get up without stopping, i smashed it with 2nd quickest of the day! This moment proved to me that all hard work on the bike over the winter paid off, it showed that mind over matter always works and that sometimes goals are only achievable if you work for them. Despite the 30mph winds and brutal 16% incline i was chuffed and still am!

Sticking with the cycling theme, this is one of my favourite shots of my bike. This was at around 7 a.m on a spring morning training ride and the sun was just perfect. As a photographer i couldn’t just pass this bridge without taking a picture!

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Gulp. First assessment day.

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Still get sweaty palms just looking at this picture! After months of revision and online modules it was the first day of three days of Civil Aviation Authority RPAS Pilots licencing exams. Still one of the hardest things i have ever done and certainly the most pressured thing. If i didn’t pass these exams i would have no PhD…So no pressure at all.

3 days later and right after a touch and go practical exam i became the UK’s newest qualified RPAS pilot. A dream and a goal i’ve had since i was 5 years old was to have a pilots licence and i finally achieved that. What better way to celebrate than a pint before my three hour train ride home. Deffo 2017’s “You finally did it!” moments. That never tasted so good!

By time May came around i was having another of my Birthday’s outside of the country! This time i spent it in Berlin in a bar full of monkey’s while being beat at Darts by Wolfgang and his bitches. Quite a surreal way to spend your 25th birthday if i’m honest!

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Brandenburg gate! #travels #Berlin

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Berlin was a lovely city and i recommend you visit it at least once! Luke’s stag do was a brilliant few days away in Germany, with cars, bratwursts and a football game!

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My RPAS pilot wings came today! 🛩

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My RPAS Pilots wings came and within that small metal pin badge is a lifetime of trying and goals achieved. Means a lot to me that does getting that and i wear it with pride while flying.

PhD life summed up in one picture…Coffee and Computers. PhD at this point was heavy going with having to create from scratch a 20,000 word Operations Manual for my UAV. It was one of the longest and most frusrating things i’ve ever had the displeasure of doing but as with all PhD’s there are hurdles like this that you have to plough on with and win. I got there in the end…

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Cya work hello three day weekend.

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Following on from that Operations Manual it reached a point by June where i ran out of fucks to give with the PhD and everything in between. Logging out for the weekend like…

Probably 2017’s most random thing award has to go to the man who was standing in a field playing the bagpipes. I mean as you do right?

It still amazes me the rollercoaster of emotions you get on a PhD. Only 9 days before this post i was at the point of no fucks having been worn down by writing the ops manual and i was in need of a win. It came with the news that a paper i submitted in March had been accepted for publication! My first ever journal article! Another goal achieved this year and i was very proud to have got my first one under my belt. 😀

This things you do for your bro…i get a call asking if i’m free. I didn’t expect it to end up lugging a 60kg log through the woods for his back garden! In his defence it’s now a lovely plant holder in his garden and i’m proud that i didn’t die doing log PT for a mile!

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Hiking!

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June i was off to the Isle of Man for the British National Road Race Championships. It was my first time on the Island and what a beautiful part of the world it is! I greatly enjoyed my time on the island and especially Snaefell!

What a great way to cap off the first half of the year surrounded by beautiful Isle of Man scenery!

Part Two July to December coming up next!

Travels, a monkey gif and an achievement unlocked.

Hey guys,

How are you all doing? Thought I’d check in with you readers and update you on life. Long-time no blog but I feel like I open all of my blogs that way lately! I am working on trying to get more regular blogs out. I am planning however to do a special edition dedication blog soon which I’m excited about. Every so often I do one of those special edition blogs and more often than not they tend to be some of my favourite pieces. The dedication special edition blogs have been dedicated from family to PhD friends and to individuals. The next one will be very fitting and worthy of one. So check back in a few weeks’ time for that one! In the meantime please do leave a comment or get in touch via social media if you have any topics you’d like to see me write about. Some of my old blogs have come about from suggestions from you guys so please, fire away.

So my last blog was about me fulfilling a lifelong dream and goal of finally getting a pilot’s licence Hard work gets you your dream… eventually. Granted it wasn’t the one I ever thought I would get but hey, beggars can’t be choosers right? So that was where I was basking in the glow of self-achievement and feeling the immense amount of stress and pressure flow out of me. That sense of achievement and elation quickly faded in all honesty as I’ve spent the past two weeks and probably the next two, writing an operations manual for my UAV operations. It’s as boring and as dry to write as it is eating plain Rivita. 88 pages of policy, specifications and procedures have been written so far. It’s as exciting as it sounds. Yet, I am grateful to be doing it in a way as it means I’m in a position to write one. Only qualified pilots get to so, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Plus, every time I pull on my RPAS pilots high Vis jacket, I look down at those silver RPAS pilots wings pinned to my chest and smile. A symbol of a great deal of hard work.

The week following that flight exam didn’t allow me much time to bask in said glory however. It was a busy week in work, the big graduate school conference was that week. As one friend put it to me on WhatsApp “Tony, do you ever stop?”. As a PhD student you’ll attend many conferences related to your field and some are more important than others. The graduate school one in University is one of the key conferences of the year. They’re paying you a lot of money to do your research so you do have to show up and show what you’ve done to keep everyone happy. Our PhD family is very well established but it’s nice to see what other PhD students are up to in the University. Usually at conferences I’d give a presentation but for this one was just a poster and I was pretty happy with my poster! I bent the rules a little, it wasn’t what should I say … academic. Yet, why stick to boring rules anyway?! I think with some modifications that poster could do well in future events.

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My poster

I didn’t win the top £300 prize but that’s no surprise. Unless you’re curing cancer or doing some hard science PhD you never get a look in. I’m certainly not saying that my poster would have been a worthy winner, it was probably too left field despite many positive comments from others that day. It’s just that social science, education type research or posters, never win. There is an ever present bias in research against such subjects and that won’t change any time soon.  Kudos to the winner and all but there are some great sport or social science research that goes on and they had some amazing posters to reflect that but alas, I’m not the judge so. The day wasn’t a complete waste, in fact it was one of the funniest days I’ve had in a long, long, time! Conferences like that can be dull at times and I always try to make them fun by saying a joke here or there. They’re just too much of an easy target for my sarcastic comments.  Little did I know a simple office monkey gif would have me and Katie laughing for hours like we were back in school. I’m sure you’ve all been there, serious situation you’re not meant to laugh, yet you cannot help it. I had my head almost between my knees while biting my tongue trying not to laugh.

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The gif that has so much meaning to it 😀

It was the final of the three minute thesis challenge but I spent the whole hour trying not to look Katie in the eye and trying to stop my head from exploding from holding my laughter in. In fact, I’m actually laughing as I type this! I haven’t laughed and had tears in my eyes from laughing for ages that day! Some friendships and relationships are defined by either pictures, a song or moments, I think that gif will be forever synonymous with our friendship. While having an important Skype meeting in the office for the journal I’m an editor for, she sent me the same Gif and again, trying to keep a straight face on a Skype call took every ounce of self-control! I hate you ha-ha!  I also walked through a chair and nearly fell up the stairs that day of the conference and had cake which made my tongue blue. Such a random but fun day.

After the conference, it was back off on my travels again for my birthday and a stag do. This time, Tony Travels took me to Berlin for my best friend, well actually he’s more my like the brother I never had, stag do. New country and new city ticked off the list. It was a great few days seeing the sites, an amazing car museum, watching a Bundesliga game in the Olympic stadium and playing darts in a bar full of monkeys…don’t ask.

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A random Berlin bar with monkeys…everywhere. 

Still not entirely over being hustled by the 70 year old Wolfgang and his groupies who just so happened to be Berlin champions. Little did we know. It was like the blitz all over again, we were battered by the Germans that night!

It was really cool to go to Berlin but they weren’t that accommodating to English folks. Especially not a group of lads. Would I visit Berlin again? Possibly but it’s not on the list for a while. I got to see most of the sights and it was amazing to see the Berlin wall etc. but I do feel there are better European cities that are out there that are friendlier. Very little war jokes either which was very un-Top Gear like. Although, I did have to laugh as we walked through a Berlin park at night with a group of 20 young German lads walking in front of us and one of us said “Help yourselves everybody, there’s no fighter escort!”. I appreciate 98% of you won’t get that famous quote from the Battle of Britain but I did. One thing I will say though however is how embarrassing Brits abroad are. That flight out to Berlin full of Stag and Hen do parties was a disgrace. Someone actually pissed themselves on the plane. Yes, we were on a stag do but the Groom doesn’t drink so we had a very cultural Stag do with museums and football games and sightseeing, not being pissed off our faces like those on the plane where going to be like. No wonder the Germans hate us! At least the flight back was nice and quiet and I’m still getting stick for being the only one with priority queue ticket and then us all being put on the same bus, thus rendering my priority ticket and absolute waste of money much to the amusement of the rest of the stag party. Hummppphhh.

It was fun to spend another birthday out of the country. Last year it was my final day in North West Canada that I spent my 24th birthday and this year my 25th was spent in the heart of Berlin. Not sure if I’m making this a habit but it is kinda’ cool trying to turn a year older in a new country each year. My goal this year was to go away every month in 2017. I failed that goal in January by not going away but have gone away every month since. It makes for one hell of a blog at the end of the year I’m sure! My trips have been:

  • Ireland in Feb by myself
  • Amsterdam with Emma in March
  • Then it was back to Ireland for a cycling holiday this time with Shaun in April
  • Berlin in May with Luke and the stag party
  • In June me and Shaun are off to the Isle of Man for the Road cycling national championships

As July approaches I have no plans sadly but maybe that’s a good thing for the planet and my bank balance. I’m sure my carbon footprint could do with a rest but I’m still potentially going around the country visiting old Uni friends in July. So the rest of my year’s plans look like this so far, with maybe a conference to throw in to that mix too!

  • August I’m off to Prague with the wonderful PhD ladies Laura and Katie
  • September off to Iceland for a solo adventure which bleeds into
  • A solo October adventure in Canada
  • and finally currently trying to plan a European trip somewhere with Karen in November followed by Amsterdam again but this time in December with Rochene! I’m really enjoying these travels and its great having so many different travel companions along the way! I feel a bit like the Doctor ha-ha.

I seriously advise if you can to try and get away for a few days a month. It works great for your productivity and you get to explore these places with awesome people! I am grateful that I can be in a position with the job I do, to be able to travel when I want to. I’m certainly trying to make the most of that freedom while I can!

The month has been after the exciting start, rather more mundane.  The PhD has plodded along with not a great deal to do other than tiny bits here and there. University is winding down for the summer and I’m spending more and more time outside burning in the sun at lunch which is nice! Our PhD family finally moved into our own new big office! So now it really does feel like a sitcom! Room 105.

Just yesterday I got news of another big achievement. I could get used to getting a new achievement unlocked every month! Two months ago I wrote a paper of the benefits and drawbacks to virtual field guides in geoscience in higher education. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my supervisors because I did it just as a little test. I submitted it fully expecting to be rejected. I mean, what PhD student who’s 8 months in writes a paper, let alone gets it published. So I was under no illusions that it would come back as a rejection which is why I submitted it. It has to be peer reviewed and when it’s rejected the reviewers will give me some constructive feedback which will help my writing style over all. So that’s why I submitted it. I was shocked to see it come back with major revisions but not a rejection. I was like oh wow…okay! The revisions weren’t actually that major. I spent about two weeks revising the paper and actually putting some effort into it! I sent the revisions off and found out yesterday that its going to be published in a very good educational Journal! I appreciate those not doing a PhD but that is massive news. It eclipses getting the pilot’s licence. Breaking that glass ceiling of getting your first published paper is huge. In this world, it’s publish or perish. It should keep the wolfs at bay for a year or so. It’s good to get a name for myself early on in my career and it’s great to see your hard work paying off. I’m aiming to get at least four published papers done before I come to do my viva. It’s very rare but not impossible to do. That’s one down in my first 8 months. That’s because your viva is there so that your Thesis and research is peer reviewed and in that hell 4 hours of a viva when the examiners ask you about your research and question why you’ve done this or that over the past three years its so that they can say yes, this person is an expert, their research is sound and has been checked by more than three academics. Now you can go forth and become a doctor. If you’ve got four papers published from your thesis before you enter your viva, you’re effectively immortal. Your work has already been peer reviewed because journal articles are peer reviewed by experts. So it’s almost impossible for them to fail you in your viva. Imagine it as in a game, each paper you publish is like collecting a token and when you get four you can use that as a cheat to help defeat the big boss at the final level. If you publish six then you don’t even have to do a viva! You get your doctorate via publication. Now that is rare and I’m not aiming for that because it hardly ever happens….seriously like ever.

In other events I’ve been house viewing with Katie the past few weeks and that’s been fun, it’s that anticipation of if the landlord is a murderer and has lulled us in with an advert just to kill unsuspecting victims. The first apartment I’m still so confused by, it was this big grand old hotel off Sefton Park, it had a vibe that it gave off the impression that people lived there but it felt like no one did or hadn’t for years. Very blink episode from Doctor Who. As an author that really got my creative juices flowing. Maybe I’ll write a short story next Halloween based on that place with its big gates and fallen trees in the driveway!

Of course we had the election take place and I won’t go into that in this blog because I feel my ranting would go on for days but I am so proud that my generation finally stood up and made a difference. Come on Jezza lad!

I also went to watch Wonder Woman with Vic the other day, I highly recommend that movie. In fact I’m going to actually state that it is the best super hero origin story of all time. Yep. It’s that good. It’s not the fact that the actress who plays Wonder Woman is an actual goddess either. In the movie it is said that she has been created from clay and sculptured by the gods. It’s hard to disagree that Gal Gadot hasn’t been sculptured by the gods. She actually comes close to dislodging my ultimate woman of Amy Adams. So close. But yeah despite her being an absolute babe, the way the movie shoots her it’s a breath of fresh air. As a guy of course you appreciate her beauty but as a character she is so much more than that and that’s what makes that movie so great. Other female superhero roles are so overly sexualized that it takes away their bad ass-ness. For example Black Widow. Yet the way the movie portrays wonder woman is when she’s on screen she’s feminine, strong, powerful and beautiful all at the same time and she’s one hell of a bad ass! I think it sets a precedence for how female leads should be portrayed in movies and that’s a good thing for everyone. So go and watch that movie!

So that’s a whistle stop tour of my month of May and early June. Keep an eye out on that special blog soon and remember to get in touch if there is a blog you’d want me to write about. I love hearing from you guys!

Until next time,

Toe

 

 

Life of a PhD student three months in.

So i’ve been a PhD student for three months now, so i thought i’d do a fun little blog about the trials and tribulations of gaining the hardest known academic qualification. Dr Awesome!

  1. So you’ve done your undergraduate degree, probably gone and got your Masters degree, maybe even worked as a research assistant for a few years. By this point its pretty clear you’re never leaving the education system so hey. Three year PhD, why not?
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  2. Even better when for the first time in your academic career people are paying you to be a student! Not only that, you’re now tax exempt on that money for three years! It’s basically a 22 grand job!
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  3. So you’re a student but you’re also staff. You’re a PhD researcher which means you get to use the staff room, have your own office and generally feel really cool walking around campus.
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  4. You have these big and bold ideas and you can’t wait to start! You’re the best in your field, you’ve made it through the gruelling application process. You can do it! Your research idea is going to change the world.
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  5. But your supervisory team are like…
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  6. You either get on great with your supervisor who will do absolutely anything to support you and build you up to be the best Dr ever. (luckily like mine!)
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    Or you can despise them or more likely they despise you, you’re an inconvenience and an embarrassment to the research empire
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  7.  So you start reading every journal, book, piece of information ever created in your chosen field. Your supervisors are telling you to look up theories, research paradigms, people keep saying big words and random french dudes names and you just sit there like
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  8. So you write a first draft of your lit review and your supervisor tries to be supportive
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    and you’re holding back tears as everything you’ve done gets ripped apart
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  9. But you realise you’re not alone, the other people in your lab/office have started the same time as you. You’re all in the same boat and through your mutual anguish of the PhD you all become friends and instantly feel like a PhD family.
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  10. You help each other out, keep each other motivated and before you know it, you’ve formed your own supergroup which will last for three years
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  11. More than likely your research idea will have to pass a boards approval before you can start. No one tells you how to fill the form out so you rely on other peoples information.
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  12. So you submit your forms and after a stupidly long time, they reject it outright. Not because its bad, it’s just they love to fuck with you and keep you in your place.
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  13. You make some changes which take far more time than they should and you get rejected again, expect this time their pointers are extremely vague which makes you question if they have actually read your report…Because it’s cool if you haven’t, i mean you didn’t just spend two weeks in a caffeine induced comma to write it or anything, no biggie.
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  14. By this time, you and your PhD office friends are so over this form. By this point you gather around to help each other. You can do this! We will do this! But we won’t let anyone else see how much its killing us.
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    You try to vent to your friends and family outside of the PhD life but they don’t understand as much as they try to.
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  15. So at this point you’ve done some work but you haven’t actually been approved for study yet because a committee of unknown evil people keep writing vague comments on your research report. No one in your office has passed yet. You’re all at the point of mental exhaustion and a lack of motivation.
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  16. You check your emails and it comes back again…

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  17. This is it. THE LAST TIME YOU A-HOLES|
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  18. IT’S FINALLY PASSED AND APPROVED. A committee has approved your study, your methods and basically you’re finally a PhD student.
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    And the rest of your office are pretty much approved too!
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  19. So now you can get on with sciencing the shit out of your research and take small steps on the way to becoming a Dr.
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  20. Then you realise its another three years of this. Better buckle up.
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    but you can do it! We can do it! As a PhD student, you wouldn’t have it any other way.
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What would the perfect girl be if she existed?

Long-time no blog! Sorry, I fully expected to have at least a few blogs a month but it has just been so incredibly full-on. I’ve had a lot to deal with lately and its big stuff in terms of where I’ll be come August. It’s no coincidence that the mileage on the bike has rapidly increased in the past two months! I vent and relax by two ways, by cycling because that means I don’t have to think about a problem or I write, where I get to distract myself and have some fun, or I tackle the issues. I’ve avoided a big issue for long enough so the latter I will do next week and will be in a blog about what big decisions I have to make in the next few months. Real big decisions which are weighing on my mind a lot, ironically once again history repeating itself as I was in this position around two years ago when decisions are made out of your hands which define which way you’ll go. So look out for that one next week.

However, tonight is more about distraction. I don’t want to get too depressed with how bleak the outlook to my other problem is. I was today going to write a blog about cycling and my love of it however I thought me discussing Lycra, shaved legs, mental strength, Strava data and puking at the top of a climb is probably not a fun blog after all (although I will do a cycling blog at some point!).

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So I sat down and thought about a conversation I had in work before I went on Easter annual leave and I thought it would be fun to do this one instead. It follows on from previous blogs when the issue of relationships has come up (here we go again I hear you say!). Once again last week I had the same old “why are you single chat” someone who clearly hadn’t read my previous blog (https://thedayinthelifeoftonycliffe.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/an-honest-look-at-why-im-single/) and despite my explanations the good old you’re just too picky comment occurred again! By this point, it is about as funny as hearing Adele every time I walk past a radio. Which, is about as amusing as meeting an ex’s mother by saying “oh, is this your nan?” Yep…I did that once!

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Seriously wanted the sky to swallow me up when that happened.

So anyway this person despite my protests kept saying I’m too picky and that I compare every girl to some perfect girl in my head. This couldn’t be further from the truth, so I’ve decided to indulge in their illusion of me comparing people to this mystical “perfect girl” that apparently I have in my head to compare to. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t have a type per se. I have favourable traits but I’ve been attracted to many different girls, so while out cycling the other day as the forecasted sunshine turned to gales and wind and nearly choking on a leaf that blew into my face, I gave this some thought, as if I was creating a real-life Sim, what would the perfect girl for me look like, act like and be like? Well, here it is. Please bear in mind this is very satire and not in any way serious! Although if you do so happen to match this description, please apply within!

Looks

Okay, so let’s start with looks. “Beauty is on the inside”. Nope, sorry, it’s on the outside too. I don’t want to wake up next to a troll every morning no matter how beautiful you may be on in the inside. I have to look at myself every day in the mirror, which is a shock within itself. Beauty and the beast I most certainly reside on the beast scale.  I’d rather not wake up terrified by rolling over to look at you. You may fart rainbows and bring life to sick puppies, but if I’m not attracted to you, then it won’t work. Is that wrong to be honest? People on high horses may say so but let’s face it, we all do it. You do need a physical attraction to someone to make things work. The difference is my idea of beautiful looks may be different from yours. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all, but it’s definitely not a troll. Please see the attached picture of scary Icelandic trolls that my sister brought me back!

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Hair colour

Okay so first and foremost let’s just get this not so secret, secret, out there, if you’re ginger you get extra points. Seriously I have a massive thing for ginger girls. It all stems from my first ever crush, which was Ariel, the little mermaid. Regardless of the fact she was a cartoon, nor the glaring omission of her having a tail and probably smelt of seaweed and fish, she was really hot. You may laugh, but she was the original definition of a babe. Granted she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, for Christ sake, it’s a fork, not a hairbrush. Even a hermit crab could work that out. Or when a creepy classic Disney villain asks you to sign a contract, you don’t. However, let me take this opportunity to say that why are clam bras not a fashion staple in this country? So you allow people to walk around in crocs, yet not hot women ginger fish women in clam bras? Where is the justice in that?

ariel

Still a babe!

Sorry, I digress. I’ve always had a thing for ginger girls, I’ll come onto eye colour (to which I have no real preference) but if you’re ginger and have blue eyes, I kind of melt inside. Despite my ever-present love for Taylor Swift and however much I would love to “Shake it off” with her, the one women I think is perfect in terms of looks, body type and I rate, shock horror, higher than T Swizzle is, in fact, Amy Adams. Ginger, blue eyes, curves in the right places ahh ginger blue combo is my Achilles heel.  I’m yet to meet or know a ginger-haired girl who wasn’t a little crazy in some way. I’ll come onto personality etc. later but I may as well address an observation here. I’m a pretty reserved, predictable guy. I find comfort in order and knowing what to expect, and to an extent, I would like that in a girl too, it scares me if a person yo-yo’s too much. With that in mind, however, I love someone who is a little unhinged at the same time.  I find that very enticing, mainly because I’m so straight, laced! It’s a sweet and sour combo. Every redhead I’ve ever known does give off the vibe of being a little crazy in some way, which only adds to the sex appeal. Gingers are relatively rare and so if I had to look back at my crushes both people I’ve known and celebrities, blonde is definitely up there. Taylor Swift, Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, my last girlfriend, all blonde. There’s something homely about blonde chicks and those on the lighter end of the spectrum. So the perfect girl would have ginger hair, but I’d settle for blonde for example. Ha, who am I kidding I’d settle for anything with a pulse…kidding!

Eye colour

I’m not particularly fussed, it’s more about the depth of colour and what I would see in them. Eyes tell you everything you ever need to know about a person. You could be all smiles and laughs but if you’re in pain, if you’re sad, if you’re angry, if you’re happy your eyes will scream it. A lot of people don’t pay as much attention to people’s eyes as they probably should. Windows to the soul, so use them. But if this is an exercise of building up a picture of my perfect woman, we’ve already established she’d have red hair and her eyes would be blue. Blue just so happens to be my favourite colour too!

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Body type – I’m not exactly the fittest guy in the world so as long as you’re not bigger than me (hard to beat), I don’t really care! Although I must confess, I’ve never been a fan of really skinny girls. All bones while cuddling, no thanks. I don’t want to date a CAFOD advert. Plus I eat a lot, so I’d just feel really bad if all you ate were carrot sticks. By all means, a girl who looks after herself is a good thing, I don’t want you dying early on me but the more crap you eat once in a while, the more attractive you become. Nothing sexier than a girl who loves burgers and steak over celery and low-fat insert never heard of vegetable smoothies. Have you ever smelt those things by the way? You shouldn’t be drinking something that smells and looks like something the incredible Hulk would flush down the loo. Just an average body type would be excellent, whatever that is. As long as you’re happy with your body then so will I. Never a fan of the girls who say “oooh I’m too fat or I’m too ugly”. Zip it. If you’re not happy, do something about it although 9 times out of 10 you’re absolutely perfect the way you are. People get too caught up in body image and type. Sure supermodels are good to look at but are they good for anything else like cuddles? Probably not. Plus, why even post that shit anyway? “You’re proppa fit babezz” … “Tar hunnies!” Eugh. Nearly throw up in my mouth every time.

 

 

Moving on, I can’t address body type without addressing the age-old question. Guys fall into the Boobs, Bum or Legs category and I’m firmly in the first category. Bum’s never really seen the appeal, I mean I appreciate a good bum, but I can take it or leave it. Despite cycling a lot, my arse is as flat as my saddle. From the back of my neck to my heel is a vertical drop, you could base jump of that shit all the way down, so as long as you’re packing more in the trunk than me, then I’m game. Plus I’ve never really seen the appeal of a bum because well…it’s a bum. Some guys go on about doing anal with a girl I mean dude, human evolution didn’t happen so that you could put your little dude in that hole. That and a graphic description from a friend is enough to make me feel queasy. Corn on the cob is all I’ll say on that one and I quote “imagine having sex inside a warm hula-hoop”. Never looked at beef and onion hula hoops the same way ever again. Now neither will you, enjoy!

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A good set of pins is always welcome, however, and maybe because I’m a cyclist if you have well-defined calves, which stands out to me. Only because in a narcissistic manner, I do find myself admiring my own legs at times. It’s my only good feature, okay! Stop judging. All cyclists do it. Trust me I have little to work with here unless you like noses in the shape of a penis and hair the texture of an expensive carpet.  So bums and legs are not a deal-breaker but boobs kinda’ are. Boobs are the best invention ever and clearly the pinnacle of human evolution. Yes, they’re just muscle and fat, but they’re boobs! 34C boobs are the perfect size. Most guys go for giant boobs but maybe because I have had loads of girl mates over the years that I just feel genuinely sorry for girls with huge boobs. That backache and having a forward centre of gravity must be a killer! I’d hate to have a sack of potatoes pulling me forward all day, every day, so despite appreciating them I can’t stop thinking about how sore you might be! Yet I don’t want them too small because if my moobs are bigger than yours, then that’s just embarrassing, not for you but for me! Pretty sure I’m rocking some sort of A cup.

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Personality

So while looks are important, they probably only make up around 25% of the perfect girl or any girl for that matter. Personality is the big deciding factor. You may look like a goddess, but if your character resembles a brick, then that’s not much good. I always have and probably always will be attracted to really driven and ambitious women, which is both good and bad at the same time. The perfect girl would have something that gives her fire, direction and purpose. Be that to be successful in a job or passionate about some cause. I absolutely love it when someone has that motivation and drive to make it happen because I’m like that. The problem arises in relationships, and it happens all the time is when yours and her ambitions don’t align. Two driven people heading in different directions. So if the perfect girl could accommodate that then sweet. Following on from that, I absolutely love a girl who keeps me on my toes and knocks me down a few pegs. I love a good mental sparring and especially in the form of sarcasm. Banter and quick wit are so endearing. Again I’m like that so someone who can counter me is both a fun challenge and it’s a cute form of flirting. I think so, anyway.

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As much as having no common sense is pretty cute in a girl sometimes because you just want to pat them on the head and wonder how they’ve survived this long, the perfect girl really does need intelligence. I’m really nerdy. I have Stephen Hawkins books and a guide about quantum mechanics on my shelf as my idea of ‘light reading’. I don’t expect you to have an A-Level in Quantum physics nor a PhD, but I do want a level of intelligence. I love talking about the complexities of nature or the vastness of space or global news events and what that means. My mind needs to be stimulated, and learning and I love a good debate. If a girl disagrees with me but puts up a great argument, man I love that! Comes back to that passion before and that grit and keeping me on my toes that I love.

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The perfect girl would have some sort of creative or caring aspect to her personality. I’m never in relationships for the short term it’s always the long term. It takes me literally half a year to decide to go out with someone, so I want to make sure it will last. Caring and kindness are beautiful qualities, and the perfect girl would possess them in abundance. She would need to be family orientated too. I have a huge, crazy and very wonderful family and I’m a big family person so she would need to be the same also. We’d make good parents that way in the future! Adventurous side as in someone who wanted to travel or explore is really good to have too. I’m really not a nightclub or going out kind of person. My idea of a great night out is a pub quiz and bed by 10pm. I can’t be arsed with drunkenness or immaturity. The perfect girl would be someone who likes quiet restaurants, walks and strolls and more importantly cuddled up in front of a warm log fire watching movies or tv and chatting about crap.

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I do tend to splash out on loved ones in the past, but I wouldn’t want a high maintenance girlfriend. One who can rock the cute expensive dresses but isn’t too obsessed by brands, price tags or looks. If you’re the kind of girl who wears a dress only once, then you ain’t for me. To me, who’s financially savvy, i.e. tighter than a ducks arse in water, I see that as an incredibly wasteful use of money.

Finally, the perfect girl would hold a pilot’s license, be a cyclist but not as good as me because I couldn’t hack that because I’m a shovenist pig, cook and bake, again shovenist but damn I love cake. If you can’t cook, I don’t mind because I can pretty well but if you make a Victoria Sponge then yeah you’re marriage material.

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So wow, that was fun. Now I realise that this blog probably sounded like the worlds most complicated job advert. Now that is some lonely hearts advert right there. I’ve just realised that now that I’ve created this ‘perfect girl’ in my head will I now judge all non-existent females who are interested in me against this person? Have I now made a paradox? Oh no, what have I done!

Remember, this blog was a bit of fun, and the perfect girl does not exist for the umpteenth time! Unless you happen to be a ginger, blue-eyed, 34c, ambitious, driven, intelligent, witty, baker, cycling pilot. In which case, I would say apply within, but we all know my ability to flirt is on par with Andy Murray’s ability to smile. So for the last time, I do not place women against a perfect girl in my head. I am single for far more significant reasons, mainly a firm lack of interest from any female to actually compare to. So that was my sim life creation of the perfect girl. Ironically I do feel that whoever controls my love life is in effect has made a sim, put me in a swimming pool and has taken out the ladders. Swimming around an empty pool of life while the grim reaper sharpens his stabby thingy. At least I haven’t wet myself…yet.

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Until next time.

Toe

My Facebook status’ of the year and what a story it tells of 2015

Every year I do a blog looking back at the previous twelve months and this year will be no exception. I have been very busy despite being off work over the Christmas holidays and so that big full review blog will come within the next few weeks. However, as a stop gap I’ve gone through my facebook to pull out some of the stories from the year. So here are some of my most liked Facebook status of the year and what a story it tells on my 2015!!

January

Falling on people

January started off in typical Tony fashion, by making a complete ass-hat out of myself. Those who follow me on social media will know how much I go on about Merseyrail, be it delays, cancellations or retelling a funny story of something that I’ve seen. Often in life I observe many stories around me however once in a while I become the main character and not by choice! I still have an immense sense of shame reliving this memory and the exchange when I saw this woman many months later was just as awkward as the first encounter! The day got even worse when I knocked coffee over another person. I should never have left the house that day!

A day of being an accidental Ass-hat

A day of being an accidental Ass-hat

A terrible commute home

I’ve been travelling on Merseyrail for many years and i’ve witnessed everything from fights between ex couples, a psychotic man in a Turkey hat mooing at people and i’ve even witnessed a fat woman running away from the ticket inspectors but getting stuck in the aisle between the seats. I’ve seen it all. One thing I never expected nor ever wished to witness was a suicide on the train. This was probably one of the lowest points of the year. If I was in the middle of the carriage it wouldn’t have been as bad, I would have felt disconnected from it all. Sadly I had my back right up to the drivers cab. The noise of her poor scream and the feel of body being obliterated by a train moving at 70mph still haunts me. The moment, the image, the feeling all flood back every time I travel through Capenhurst station. Everytime the train runs through there I physically tense up expecting to feel the ferocious thud. Having to then sit in the pitch black for two hours due to the power being cut and being trapped while you can see bits of body stuff on the windows was far from pleasant. I really appreciated everyones texts and messages trying to keep my mind occupied. It saddens me more that  it was a suicide and he was only 16 years of age. I also felt really sorry for the driver, she had no chance to avoid or brake in time. I really didn’t want to step foot back on a train and it took me two days to pluck up the courage to get back on one, but it life moves on.

Sad day on Merseyrail

Sad day on the train home

February

Feb not a great deal happened but I did enjoy my mum and her twin, my uncle Mikes 50th birthday meal. Which according to my Facebook I clearly enjoyed all the meat served at a brilliant Brazilian steak house. For Feb however I chose to highlight my first academic conference. By this point I’ was three months into my new job as a research assistant and I was still very much finding my feet. My boss couldn’t make it and sent me along as his research assistant to take notes for him. Like all good academics and certainly as a student I perfected the art of looking like I know what was going on. The following status summed up my very fish out of water conference. My mind was certainly challenged as although this came under my remit of community energy/sustainability research, some of the level of detail made me wish I didn’t have a masters in Sustainability and Business but a Masters in Electrical engineering!

Feb1

Fish out of water

A silverlining however was the day after on my way to work to pass over and debrief my Professor on the days events I witnessed a real highlight on 2015. It deserves to be on an endless repeating cycle!

Feb2

Have you had a slip, trip or fall at work?

March

By time I got to March I already thought i’d have enough stories to last a year. How wrong was I! This story still has me in tears laughing because I still cannot believe it happened to me! I mean who the hell gets run over by a mobility scooter!? That’s right me, I do. It was the look in her eye of complete disregard for anything but her Bingo! Her lack of remorse for her hit and run felt like I was in a weird GTA game. Crazy bitch! I was in my own little world too until that was shattered along with my right leg!

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A OAP hit and run

March continued when I graduated with my MSc in Sustainability for Community and Business and it was great to spend the day with my fellow classmates, my family and Chloe. It was touch and go as to whether I could afford to do the masters but family chipped in, believed in me and their continued support throughout and from my friends, made finishing with a merit a real honour. As proud as I was of myself, I was more proud for them as their investment in me paid off and they never stopped believing in me,even when I didn’t believe in myself. After a night I went home to continue the celebrations in the most Tony way like possible.

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Master of Science

April

April was quite a quiet month but for the 6th year running i’ve won the Grand National! Still amazed when I won at 100/1 a few years ago but I won again in 2015. My avgeek roots never let me down! All the more weird was seeing a horseshoe in the bottom of my cup an hour before the race!

April

Avgeek horse for the win

May

May was my Birthday, the three queens event, EUROVISION!!!! and sadly the general elections. Real shame the Tories didn’t get a Eurovision nill points. It was warm but not hot and my yearly rant about people with tops off came out again and a weird dream. Oh and a very very rare thing of me breaking a social norm but as I suspected the UK will go to shit with Tory rule (for which I was correct) I exercised my right to protest and commit anarchy in the most mundane Tony like way. THUG LIFE. Yes that is sarcasm. Yes I did feel guilty and found it hard to sleep that night…

May1

No more cheese before bedtime

May2

Suns out guns out

June

June was a really hot month for us in the UK and it felt uncomfortable for everyone. After a long hot sweaty day the last thing I needed was a two hour delay on my commute home. After holding back endless abusive tweets and status updates their announcements made me angry. When I get angry I get sarcastic, but seriously if brooms actually flew that’d be so much easier!

June

Alternative transport with a side order of truth

July

I spent most of July in work, at airshows, cycling and enjoying life. Even when my hands blew up to triple the size after clearing nettles by hand from a welsh river for eight hours (don’t ask, long story. Just another day in the life of a research assistant!). However I finally got my contract renewed for another year and what an exciting opportunity I was given! I tried not to squeal with delight while I got the final confirmation via email while having tea at a harvester. Love my job I really do! 😀

July

Over the moon!

So after relief of being kept on and having my contract renewed I was feeling pretty happy with life. Students had left for the summer and my research was well and truly underway. However like all moments in my life just when you think the world is on your side, it throws you a challenge…one I failed! Miserably.

July2

Mancard lost.

 

August

I was well into my research in work but it also gave me some down time to write up my own personal research on carbon offsetting of the aviation industry. Like all good researchers we access a lot of information from different sources but for the life of me could I find this one little thing. I turned to the power of social media and it came up with the goods! It turns out an old classmate from high school had written about them for one of her assignments during her masters course, such a life saver. The actual spinny thing is about two sentences in my journal article but it needed to be in there!

Aug

Researching at its best!

of course August carried on with more merseyrail rants. Every day this chav couple would get on the train and argue or just generally be a twat. I was so annoyed with them! So very british I facebooked it and tutted in a disapproval at them without uttering a word…

Aug2-1

MC-UNT

and it continued with what has to be the weirdest conversation i’ve ever heard on the train and trust me there has been a fair few!

Aug3

Errrm yeah…that happened

but I also spoke of the unspoken in August. I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one who did this.

Aug4-1

Henry sucks, it’s his job!

September

Here I am fully established in my job as a lead research assistant writing about research loafs. Goddammit! Loads damn you!

Sep-1

loafs

September marked the fact that I had now been single for three years (I know. With all these stories and poor writing skills you’d think i’d be a good catch right? I mean I am confused as to why i’m still single! Yes sarcasm) and people were reminding me by telling me I was picky. That day I had eight people tell me so I decided to set them straight. I mean seeeeriously you guys i’m not asking for much here 😉

Sep1-1

Perfect woman

Also I continue to mess up in life in both a professional and a social environment…

Sep3

Fake it till you make it

October

October continued where September left off. Making a complete twat of myself…AGAIN! Made it worse I tweeted a few Taylor Swift videos and my love for her…to all staff and students. Yep. Just another day in the life of Tony.

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Why always me!?

If I were a Jedi Yoda would say “Ineptitude is strong with this one”

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Kill me now.

but the best thing I have witnessed all year award goes to this! Seriously if there wasn’t hidden cameras i’ll be amazed because it was comedy sketch show gold! Unbelievable yet amazing! My drink nearly came out of my nose just thinking of It hahaha.

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My moment of 2015

November

The day my personal research came back to haunt me…well I thought it would it actually turned out to be a pleasant experience!

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Cliffe, Tony Cliffe, Licence to fuck up.

It seems this status obviously a lot agreed with!

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Unexpected Item in the bagging area

December

As always failing at life continued into the festive season. My knee is still sore and I still think my jeans are wet.

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Taking it like a man

but thanks for reading this blog looking back at some of my most liked statuses of the year. They certainly outline what a story 2015 was and now often I mess up in this life! I shall leave you with this, I hope you all had a great 2015 and have an even better 2016!
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Let me know what your favourite one from 2015 was in the comments!

 

So Tony, what motivates you to write?

Answering the question of why I blog – An honest delve into the emotions that motivate me to write.

Recently someone messaged me who wanted to get into blogging and asked me what motivates me to write. I sat back and tried to think of a short answer but in truth there really wasn’t one. I write for many reasons, topics vary wildly, tone and style do too, it all depends on the subject of the blog in question at the time. I blog things because it helps me relax and get a lot of emotion out and I think that helps with my writing. I find writing a very relaxing and empowering thing to do. It’s also a scary thing to do putting your work and your opinions out there for all to see. I have a big old creative brain and I’ve always had that ever since I was child, I listen to way too many movie themes and I dream up loads of scenarios in my head or replay things that have happened. I have a photographic memory so I can still taste, feel, smell and see in perfect detail all of my memories and feel all of the emotions. Example if you asked me about one of the many times I broke my leg a sharp pain makes me wince as it shoots up in shin bone. I can still taste the garlic of the anaesthetic and the feel of it running through my body when I had my operation to remove my tumour from my shin. Eugh shudders. I find the process of describing all that imagery and feelings onto paper so you can see and feel what I feel, a challenge. When you really enjoy it or you get many positive comments or views from a blog it feels very rewarding.

I very rarely go to people for advice, I often find a session on the bike to clear my head or a logical sit down with myself to thrash out all the scenario’s always solves most things. You know it works well because when you all come to me with your problems, you know how stoic and logical and rational I am when I offer you advice. I differ no differently with myself. The only difference is (not to blow my own trumpet) I offer you lot good, sound advice, but never any good advice to myself. It does actually make me laugh at how emotion informs my writing yet very rarely my decisions! (Note to self I am trying to be less of a robot!).

Luckily due to my stoic personality which is a big plus point for many things, one thing is that my emotions very rarely differ from the centre.I’m never too happy nor too sad. I like it that way because despite my exterior and Facebook status being mundane and enjoying the simple things in life, behind that persona is a very passionate person. Yes I know you have just spat your drink out at the sentence but it is true! I have a brilliant control over my emotions which I feel is one thing I am known for. However boring that sounds or comes across in real life, i find it good because I know myself inside and out. It’s a known quantity. I analyse everything like a super computer and that’s got me very far in life. Knowing your emotional state and having a firm grasp on your emotions is a skill set I’ve homed over the years. Emotions can cloud your judgement when logic and reason offer a much clearer view. Trust me it takes a lot of control when you loved your best friend for many years, to keep that hidden and offer objective relationship advice when she asked, despite it always being detrimental to myself. I had many years to compartmentalise things growing up!  However the only times I do differ from the centre is when I’m in love or so angry that when I killed you off in my latest novel, I really wish it was real…I’m just kidding…or am i? 😉

If you’ve ever been loved by me or you’ve been on the end of my quite fierce anger (I am a typical Taurus, it takes an awful lot to get me angry but  you really don’t want to wake the bull by pushing too far!), you’ll see how deep my emotions run. If you’re one of the lucky few that I’ve ever loved, you’ll see how that usual boring Tony is actually a little crazy and that I would do absolutely anything for you. I’m quite a selfish person, let’s be honest. I like doing a lot of things for myself yet when I love you, it’s all about you and only you. That passion is important for the bedroom too. I can’t lay claim to sleeping with many women but I never got any complaints. One thing many guys forget is it’s a two way street and the more you devote to your partner in the bedroom the more rewards you receive. Yes, yes I know that’s not a statistically viable sample size of one…

That’s one reason I’m actually scared to get into a new relationship because when I’m in love I can’t control that emotion. I literally love you with all of my heart and there is no controlling or keeping a lid on that. That’s why I take ages to make sure you’re the one before I commit because I want to know my effort and giving you my heart won’t be wasted. I am terrified to be hurt again and that sadly is the truth…

What I’m trying to say here is before I do go on a tangent about being single and before I go into too much detail about my antics in the bedroom, for which I actually have some very romantic, passionate stories if I were to recall them and well some quite frankly horrendous stories worthy of a comedy film not a porno too. I mean the night I lost my virginity is a blog in itself which will never see the light of day because I don’t think I can see passed the tears of laughter at how embarrassing it was. I can still see those eyes of disappointment from her. Emotions certainly ran high that night but passion was replaced by shear nerves ha-ha. Oh dear lord. Move on Tony!

What I’m trying to say is when I write, despite being in the centre of the feelings scale, I tap into those vibrant emotions that run deep and that helps in my writing and informs it. When I can’t go out on a ride blogs become that release valve. It’s no surprise that my most viewed blog posts have been about relationships or love or in the case of the Merseyrail blog post that has been viewed 34,000 times in 94 different countries, anger! Well sarcasm too! They’re some of my favourite blogs to reread because it really is all my emotion put into them. Often people say they read my blogs, those emotionally driven blogs anyway in my voice which I do find funny. Oddly they’re always my best written pieces too!

Although emotions help me to write I’m not always driven by the blogs of anger or most of the time love and emotions. I also blog when I feel information is worth reading about, such as my latest trip to Ireland. More so the plight of rural Ireland and my feelings of witnessing modern day life slowly creeping into part of the world it was yet to lay its greasy fingers on but also showing you the beauty and kindness of the people I met there. I always enjoy giving you glimpses into my life. Those blogs about friends and family are very personal to me so I love sharing them with you all. More often than not however it’s because something has happened in my life that needs to be shared and it’s often hilarious and at my expense! Those who follow me on Facebook and Twitter will see the absolutely crazy things that happen to me on my way to work or just in general life. I mean if I have to suffer all of that randomness I’m sure as hell gonna’ share it all! Ah I’m still laughing and cringing at the same time at some of the stuff that’s happened over the years.

I also blog as a way of a public diary. I often read back blogs to remember things but more so to look back and reflect on things and I can see exactly my thought processes and emotions at that time. It’s effectively a photograph of words, capturing a moment in time. I don’t know if you find it fascinating but I certainly do. I do hope you do enjoy the highs on lows of my life and what it’s like to be inside of my brain and see the world through my eyes! Someone the other day said “I know that bit in your blog was aimed at me” and they’re correct. Some people appreciate that, other throw a hissy fit and ask for it to be taken down. Truth hurts sadly sometimes! Some blogs within all the emotion and creative writing have a purpose. Subtle or in some cases not so subtle hints to people. They’ll either be hidden messages, unspoken apologies, and the ever so subtle as a sledge hammer fuck you bitch. Or just simply me playing things out in my head of what I wish would happen without ever alluding it to you in person due to many reasons. Blogs are complex and fun just like everyone’s life is. The beauty about those types of blogs are they may be directed at someone but they could really be anyone but if the shoe fits, lace that bitch up and wear it!

I make a lot of mistakes in life and I learn a lot of lessons from them. I certainly have been in many situations to blog about! When you’re so completely sure of yourself you don’t mind being 100% honest in your blogs. Sure I do take a risk to be so open with the things I do say on my blogs but that’s me. What you see is exactly what you get. So when I’m going through a terrible patch I don’t mind telling you all when I’m defeated, angry or depressed because when I’m at my best I like to share the good times too. Above all of that I know there are many people who have different personas in real life and social media. I’ve gotten to know many people over the years and broken down many walls and seen the real person behind all the walls that some people will never see of that person. They’re scared to let those walls down. What you read on my blogs is pretty much me in person.

So to answer the question why do I blog? One main reason is those mistakes I make, those things that I see happening, those things that need to be said, those lessons I’ve learnt. They’re all situations, lessons, feelings you may be facing and I’m just a normal guy trying to write down how I bumble through this life. If my advice or my situation aligns to yours and you can take something away from it, even If it’s just a laugh, good. If you went through a breakup and felt as bad as I did and feel lost. Brill, you’re not alone, you’ll get through it like I did. If you’re on a train while a psycho dressed a turkey eyes you up on the train, you’ll be fine because you’ve seen me deal with it! If you’ve been inspired to visit the places I’ve visited because you’ve read my blogs of that place, even better! If my blogs about family and friends has made you pause for a second to appreciate your own then awesome. If you’re a hopeless single 23 year old who has no clue after being single for a few years, while everyone you know is getting married, having kids, buying houses, have their life planned out and you’re just well me. I hope you don’t feel alone. I hope these blogs bring you comfort, education and most importantly I really do hope they make you laugh!

So to answer the question of why I blog. It’s because of you my readers and it’s also for my own sanity. Always blog from the heart! They say the best writers write about what they know. I know my own life and how utterly clueless I am in this big world! So always write from the heart because the heart never lies.

Until next time!

Toe.

The Single Life of a Tony

So I’ve been single for quite a while now, and while that doesn’t bother me, I do find it funny the way everyone lately says I’m too picky or I need a girlfriend. I think doing Sudoku on a Friday night has tipped a few over the edge. So let us take a look at how I feel being single right now.

  1. First of all, I’m mostly single because I simply haven’t been looking. After my last break up, I threw myself into my education and then my career. All of that was done without the support of a girlfriend, and now I’m financially much better off than I would have been if I was in a relationship.
    money
  2.  Because as far as experience goes, girlfriends cost money.
    gf money
  3. Being single for a while really does make you question what’s wrong with yourself and why no women have asked you out yet. Then you sit down and actually think about it and realise the list is actually quite long. Yet, there is still that inner confidence and hope that one day she’ll come along.
    hey girls
  4. You look like a roman coin, your hair is the same texture as a carpet, your thighs due to cycling are bigger than trees, you possess a pair of moobs, you can’t see shit without your glasses, you’re awkward, yet you still think you’re goddam sexy…smart is sexy girls.
    heygirl
  5. Oh, it’s your 2 month anniversary? Oh, you have someone who loves you? Oh, it’s a cute couple holiday photo, oh you’re engaged on Facebook…Nah I’m not jealous…Hahaha…hahah…hah…ha…sniffle…sobs…but seriously you should only celebrate yearly anniversaries. Two months!? I spend longer having a shit in the morning.
    medal
  6. Eventually, someone comes along who does take a chance on you. They’re really hot, and you’d definitely never expect them to take an interest in you. So you instantly think it’s a trap or some sick twisted game. Cupid! He’s turned into Jigsaw! He’s testing me! So you take it very cautiously.
    bewildered
  7. You get chatting, and it’s going really well, but you’re so out of the game when it comes to flirting. “You’re really hot!” …”Geez, I know! It’s 25c out there today!” …”FFS Tony. That’s not what I meant.” …”Oh…but I am hot due to the weather though…”
    oh i see
  8. This chick wants the D…
    do-you-want-to-have-sex-with-me
  9. Her answer…
    yxno
  10. Which is probably a good thing. I’ve been single for so long and haven’t had sex in so long that even the slightest touch…
    ejact
  11. You think it’s going well and then you realise you have very little in common. So much promise fizzles out.
    dsppntmnt
  12. But that’s okay because just when you think being single sucks, you see a break up on Facebook and your friend is getting back with their ex for the billionth time!
    drma
  13. Family parties are the worst. Especially when everyone, like your cousins, are all partnered up, and you’re just like…
    familyparty
  14. They tell you that you’re just too picky. Yeah because I have soooo many to choose from right?
    picky
  15. But then they instil confidence in you and tell you, you’d be a great boyfriend to some lucky girl. Damn right!
    bestfriend
  16. You find a girl that you like, you become friends, but you enter the friend zone and trying to get out of the friendzone is like…
    hula
  17. While other guys are hitting the gym to look as buff as possible, I’m just eating. I eat a lot. There is nothing wrong with eating a lot! I like to eat. Surely a girl would prefer a soft pillow than a rock hard abs. At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.
    candy for dinner
  18. So you finally find a girl to take you out of the island of single isolation.
    amy adams
  19. It happens in the movies, so it must happen in real life, right?
    taylor-prince
  20. You felt self-confident before, but now someone is attracted to you and actually loves you. What did your ex say “You’ll never find anyone as good as me?”
    diva
  21. But they have to meet the family first. Will they pass the interrogation?
    seal-of-approval2
  22. They do! You finally have a girlfriend! Your parents might finally get that Grandchild, it might actually stop the suspicion that you might be gay, hell might actually have frozen over. Your family and friends can’t believe it. PARTY TIME!
    dnc
But until then I’m still single……and I’m totally cool with that.
crybby_
Till next time!
Toe