Friday, September 21, 2012

Wales, Papers, Networking, Driving

Well, it's been QUITE a while since my last post.  I'm going to try to recap everything here that has happened in oh, the last 5 weeks or so.

After I got my driving license I was very excited.  I have since driven to London and Wales.  Which brings me to my next point: Wales.

Sagar had sort of a last week hurrah before he started his job at JLR at the beginning of September.  While I was trying to work on research (reading, planning, writing, etc) we were also trying to think of fun, yet affordable things to do.  We came up with a day at Thorpe Park (a theme/rollercoaster park) and a weekend in Wales, finished off with my half marathon in Kenilworth.  Thorpe Park was fun, we went with Sagar's sister, Avni and one of her friends.  It was sort of a rainy day (and of course, I forgot my umbrella in the car) but it cleared up towards the end of the day.

The drive to Wales was nice.  I drove much of the first bit (until the roads got a bit too windy and narrow for me) and then Sagar took over.  We found a really sweet deal on a tent and decided we were going to find a camping ground and camp.  Our plan for day one was to climb Mount Snowden, the tallest mountain in Wales.  It's official height above sea level is 1086 m, which only just qualifies it for a mountain, but it counts!
Llynau Mymbyr, the Welsh name of this lake, with Snowden in the background

Llynau Mymbyr, the Welsh name of this lake, with Snowden in the background

Driving in the mountains.  All the walls along the road are carefully built up with stones that fit together, with no way to hold then together other than their own weight.

Driving in the mountains.  All the walls along the road are carefully built up with stones that fit together, with no way to hold then together other than their own weight.
 We parked the car at a car park (parking lot) at the bottom of Snowden and begin our climb.  Sagar chose a relatively challenging route for us to take up the mountain.  It was quite beautiful.
Nearly at the top!

Us at the top!  It was chilly!

Climbing down was also challenging!

There were SO MANY sheep along the way...but I couldn't pet them.  They run away if you get too close.

This was in the door in the bathroom in the cafe that was at the top of Snowden.  All the signs in Wales are in English and Welsh.
That night, we found a campsite close by and tried out the new tent.  It was pretty sweet.

Our tent!  The view was wonderful!

The next day, we decided to go canoeing before heading home.  We rented a canoe, after having some coffee, and off we went!
We stopped at the Pinnacle Cafe in Capel Curig.

Sagar is a serious canoer, complete with kneepads

Scenic stream just outside the cafe

My view in the canoe.
That afternoon, we drove home to Kenilworth, where I tried to prepare my body to run a half marathon the next morning.  
Getting my playlist set

I did ok in the race, finishing around 1:47.  I was shooting for a 1:40, so I was a bit disappointed, but it was quite a hilly course and the weather was actually quite warm and humid, so I'm not too upset.  

Sagar started work at JLR at the beginning of the month, and I continued to focus on organizing my research.
I had my annual review for my EngD at the beginning of the month.  The feedback was overall positive, though I do need to work on focusing my tasks a bit (I'm a bit spread out at the moment...there's a surprise!)

I went to a couple of events the second week of September, one was Cenex ( at Millbrook Proving Grounds, which is a race track/testing track about an hour south of Warwick.  It was a very interesting event focused on Low Carbon Vehicles.  There was a lot of interest in fuel cells!  Then, the weekend after that, I worked the Sustainable Moto Expo in Cheltenham, ( which was more of a public event, as opposed to the industrial focus of Cenex.  Both events were really interesting!

Then, last week, my room mate Aurelie moved out, having nearly finished up her Master's at Warwick and moving onto bigger things.  I was sad to see her go, but I think she will be happier in the warmer climate.  
This week, I was focused a bit on inspections for my apartment and getting my new room mate in for this coming year- Sagar.  His work at JLR in Solihull makes the location good for both of us, so it was a good choice.  Plus, I kinda like the guy.  A bit.  :)

I've also moved buildings!  I am now in an office with one of my academic advisors, Jay Bal and his group of PhD students who all work on collaboration and collaborative tools.  I think this will help me focus a bit on my research.  Also, I got a brand new desk!  I will have to take a picture soon to post.

So that in a nutshell, is the last few weeks.  I've got a few big projects going simultaneously at the moment, but nothing I can't handle.  

I'm running a marathon in 8 days in Scotland!!  Will blog again soon!

Here are some videos of driving in Wales.  Enjoy the roads (these aren't even very narrow ones) and the music!


  1. loved getting all caught up! I have to be on my other computer to see the video, so I am looking forward to that.
    Still working on the plane tickets and I hope to talk to Carrie....the holidays in Dicksonian is that!