A Night at the Hilton

Up at 4am, working 10 hours, 90-minute drive to Gatwick, and then 10 hours of drinking.

Well that was my day in the simplest form. Obviously there was much more to it. There was an award ceremony, photos, silly antics, meet and greets, laughs, eye candy, and an all round drunken time.

As our company lost their contract it will be our last ever winter ball sadly, however a cracking good time was had.

I left work at 4pm ran to Asda and grabbed some vodka and then made my way to the Hilton. I arrived just before 6 and got straight into the shower. Shortly before 7 the friend I invited turned up. Drinks in hand we headed into the crowds and mingled.

Dinner and celebrations started at 7.30. After the awards the live music started, and the drinking began.

At about 10pm a photo booth was set up where people could dress up and take photos. I had to get in on it this year. We grabbed a few friends to come and join us to have a laugh. I even grabbed someone from upper management!




Winter ball - John and Darren

Winter ball - John and Martin

The band who played the music were amazing. They really did some great numbers that night, and everyone seemed to agree.





As the night drew to a close at 3am we wondered as a group over to the McDonalds across the road. Grabbed something to eat and headed back. As I arrived back at the Hilton I had an unfortunate encounter with the kerb. As I stepped up I misplaced my foot, and ended up twisting my ankle. Down I went like a sack of shit. Being very drunk I didn’t feel much pain, but after a night of sobering up and trying to sleep off the alcohol I woke up to a foot that I couldn’t even put it down on the floor without almost crying.

Even after all of the pain from falling over I can honestly say I had a good night. It’s been a long time and I think I deserved it.



Visiting C.E.R.N has been one of the things I have been wanting to do for quite some time. I found out recently that they have tours of their facility and ordinary members of the public can request to join them.

After finding out they did tours I naturally got excited. It took me a couple of weeks to find a slot between seeing the kids, work and an availability in the tours. The next challenge was the price of the flight. I thought it was going to be expensive as hell to get a flight over to Geneva, Switzerland. Turns out it wasn’t! Using a website a friend from works introduced me to called Sky Scanner I was able to book a return flight for £42! It makes you wonder how it’s even possible!

I’ve never been on an aeroplane before, so the trip over to Geneva was going to be a completely new experience for me. I was so excited but so scared at the same time. I didn’t know what to expect.

So this was the plane I was about to get on

I boarded the plane and all of my anxiety went away. I didn’t book a specific seat I left it all to chance where I sat on the plane. I ended up with window seats on both the journey out there and back, which was great luck.


The weather was quite gloomy that day so I wasn’t expecting a great view up on the plane, but boy was I in for a surprise! Less than 10 minutes after taking off we were above the clouds. It was that sunny and beautiful I was shocked!



I touched down in Geneva at around 11am local time. The airport was like a ghost town. I was expecting so many more people there.


After finding somewhere to buy a drink I headed off to C.E.R.N. I walked in the direction of the taxis, and got a little lost. Quite surprisingly everyone I approached spoke english. One of the guys who works at the airport spoke to the taxi driver and told him where I wanted to go. 40 CHF later I arrived at my destination. I later found that I could have got a free ticket for the tram system when leaving the airport. If I ever go back I’ll know not to spend a stupid amount of money on a taxi again.

I arrived at C.E.R.N. a couple hours before my tour started so I had some time to look around their exhibitions. Sadly the Universe of Particles exhibition was closed due to major renovations on the exterior of the building.


However the Microcosm exhibition was open and I wondered around and snapped a few photos.









It soon turns 1pm and my tour guide turns up with 12 other participants.

This is the control room where they control the experiments and record all of the data.
A close up of the ATLAS experiment monitor

Near to the control room they had a lego version of the ATLAS experiment. I thought it was rather cool and had to snap a photo of it.


After a talk about some of the experiments, what they are for and what has been accomplished from doing them we headed over the road and into another building where we had a walk around one of the earlier accelerators.

It was housed in a large room with 5m thick walls and was only recently opened to the public due to the amount of radiation that it produced while it was in operation. It was a huge piece of equipment. We were in there for around 20 minutes. We had a video presentation with some of the history surrounding C.E.R.N. and the early history of the accelerator, what it discovered and how useful it has been, and then an answer and question session.


After my tour which lasted roughly 2 hours I went on a walk around the airport to see what bargains I could grab while there. Turns out bugger all, but as with all places I visit I have to grab myself a hat (one for C.E.R.N. and one for Switzerland) and some Toblerone.


I was going to get some cheese as this in my eyes is the most famous thing that Switzerland produce, but I couldn’t find anywhere that sold any, however I did come across this while searching! Melting cheese using tea light candles!


I was also looking into getting a genuine Swiss Army Knife, but then I had second thoughts about bringing it back on an aeroplane! They would probably stop me and take it off of me. A waste of money!


Maybe I can post myself one next time I go! Probably not the most efficient or even cheapest way of doing it!

Sadly I didn’t get to see either the ATLAS or ALICE projects, but while I was at C.E.R.N. I spoke to the guide who works for C.E.R.N. and he suggested that I should write to them and simply ask and see what was possible. He said others have been on a tour of the detectors before, so he doesn’t see why it won’t be possible in the future.


Ryans 10!

My son is now 10 years old! His birthday was on the 14th, but I had to see him the weekend before. This was a good thing as I found something that Ryan would enjoy so much.


Ryan is heavily into beatboxing. He watches hours upon hours of videos on youtube of various artists performing their talent. What better gift could I get him than to take him to the Championships?


To go along with the trip out to Clapham I got him a few things as well. A speaker system with a microphone so he can perform his beatboxing at home properly, some new games and a headset for his Xbox One.

As with most kids a box somehow becomes a toy!


From his house we took the train to Clapham. The championships were held around the corner at the Clapham Grand. A short one minute walk from the train station. We arrived before the event had even started, so got to see some of the warm ups.

We scouted out our location and stayed there through the entire show. We had an excellent view. Below are a few clips and photos from the event.







After trying to complete the Three Peaks Challenge and failing due to my lungs I have taken it upon my self to finally quit smoking – again!

At first I tried to go cold turkey and completely stop smoking. That didn’t last too long. By 4pm that day I was outside smoking again. Failure. So I decided to go down another route.

I have been speaking to people who are now smoking those e-cigarette things. Asking such questions as how do they compare to proper cigarettes / tobacco. Do they provide the same type of hit that normal fags do etc, and they sounded quite positive about the whole thing.

I wasn’t too convinced at first, but I thought fuck it. I really want to quit smoking and this seems like an option, and by this point I’m willing to try anything to quit, so I went and bought one. It cost me about the same as a pouch of tobacco, which is good.

The lady in the shop help me set it up and showed me how it worked as I have never tried one before. She understood that I was new at it and was very helpful.


I am now three full days without smoking a single cigarette, and I’m feeling good for it. I still get the craving every now and then, but as long as I’m busy and I chug on this e-cigarette thing I’m generally ok.

They say after 28 days without smoking you’re a hell of a lot more likely to quit for good, and this is what I want. Lets hope that I can achieve it! Wish me luck.

Have you ever tried to quit smoking? Do you use one of the e-cigarettes – if you do how are you finding it compared to a proper one?