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Change of Journal Status

As I post publicly in just about every forum under the sun, a girl's got to have a place to hang out in private with her friends.  So from now on, this journal is going to "Friends Only"

You can also find me at:

http://www.racheljlewis.com/ - Main website
http://www.lewislodge.com/ - This journal continues over at WordPress
http://www.motherofreinventions.com/ - Health and stuff
http://www.everydaylifeandfaith.com/ - Faith and things

So how did I end up..?

Previously on fireflylive, you may remember I was dieting - a lot.

So how did I do...?

Fairly well actually...

Came back to LJ because veronica_milvus told me off for not reading things anymore.  She's quite justified in saying it too.  But interestingly, because this isn't my main journal anymore, it's all nice and private and full of friends.

Very private... hmm...  I can haz fun? 
*wicked smile*

EDIT:  Note to self, before posting, check you're not still shipping things straight to Facebook... muppet!
We have good news from Lewis Lodge to share with you today!

In the grand scheme of things, it won’t even register a blip on the global seismograph; but for us, and particularly for Simon, my husband, who is the recipient of the good news; it’s the result of an awful lot of hard work, year in, year out, for over a decade.

Simon is an Academic – a University Lecturer. His specialism is the Quaternary – which is that bit of the geological record that largely focuses on human evolution and ice ages.

Anyway, less of the chit-chat. Our good news this morning is that Simon has been conferred the title of Reader in Quaternary Science. A what? Ah, I can see this will require a little explanation, so let’s just take a little succinct bit from Wikipedia…

“Reader requires evidence of a distinguished record of original research as well as a significant record of teaching excellence and service to the university.”

They don’t give these things away free with a packet of Cornflakes you know!

Promotions in British academia are not easy to come by – not least at the University of London. He had to submit his application right at the start of the year and then there was not a peep out of the review committee until yesterday – a whole seven months.

It’s not done by what your Department Head and colleagues think of you, it’s done by what the wider academic community think of you and your research. They ask six noted academics in his field – two whose names he supplied and four that they appointed independently – for their opinion, as to whether he was worthy of promotion. Basically, they were asked if they thought Simon is good enough at what he does to be a future Professor.

They said YES! *punches the air*

Because frankly (and I’m speaking as the person who sees the hard graft, the worry, the early mornings, the late nights, the not-gone-to-bed-yets), he jolly well deserves it!

He’s a hard worker my husband and he’s also a rare beast in academia -a team player – which hasn’t always worked in his favour. The last time he applied for this he got knocked back for being ‘too nice’. But with a gorgeous sense of serendipity, it’s precisely that ‘nice’ collaboratory set-up that yielded the globally-significant research, which contributed, in part, to him being awarded this promotion.

AHOB, the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (not, as I call it, the Another Happisburgh Opportunity [for] Beer project), last summer published research that, to quote the BBC and the Natural History Museum ‘literally revolutionised the way we think about the early human colonisation of northern Europe.’ So, we’re not talking academic small-fry here; Simon’s a key collaborator in a project that pulls together lots of people from Quaternary disciplines and publishes ground-breaking work. So working together as a team would be what? Mutually beneficial to all concerned? I think so!

And THIS is the link to my blog post that rounded up all the media posts about their discoveries, which was published last July.

This is the way he likes working and it’s yielding amazing results. I’m so proud of him! Finally, after a long hard graft, his work institution have recognised what those of us who have the privilege of knowing him in person have known for ages. He’s absolutely fabulous and now judged to be academically fabulous too.

It’s back to the beach at Happisburgh this September for Nick Ashton, Simon Parfitt and Simon Lewis, to start work on unlocking more bits of the ancient human record in Britain; and yes, there may be beer at the Hill House pub. But these three, working quietly away together since the early 1990s -and who aren’t usually three of the grumpiest-looking blokes (see below) – are putting out an astonishing body of work, which is now, finally, being justifiably lauded and recognised.

So there we are. It’s not earth-shattering news, but it’s an important personal pat-on-the-back for Simon;

  • for recognition of twenty one years of contributing to science in the UK,
  • to lecturing to hundreds of students getting degrees in Geography (including one Rachel Collier at the University of Gloucestershire in 1991 – wonder what happened to her…)
  • and being (I’m sure) a valued part of the Geography Department at QMUL.

Excuse me, I have to go off and be ridiculously proud.

You are cordially invited...

Well, it’s happened.  Our wonderful (now former) Pastor Stephen, is now in the service of Colwell Baptist Church on the Isle of Wight. We are now Senior Pastor-less, although we are not rudderless, as we’re being masterfully kept in line by Martin and Ken, our Associate Pastors. They will be keeping a firm hand on the Ampthill Baptist Church tiller, until some mad eejit can be persuaded that they really want the theological equivalent of herding a bunch of cats.

We are a lovely bunch of people, but there’s a lot of us, we’re unpredictable and… yes, herding cats is a good description.  Mad as a box of frogs would be another.

But Colwell have invited us – all 250 of us to the Induction Service. Look they even sent us a lovely invite!

Awww!  Isn’t that kind of them.

They clearly don’t know what we’re like, if they did, they’d have sent a restraining order, not an invite to the whole church!

Our dear friends at Ampthill Methodist Church probably breathe a huge sigh of relief when we all leave after a joint service.  Having Ampthill Baptist Church over to your place is like having a platoon of hyperactive cousins descend on you.  You know the type – the ones that fill the entire room with elbows, knees, smells, noises and can decimate an entire aisle full of biscuits in much the same way as pirhana’s get through human flesh.

If you are having a genteel event, you don’t invite Ampthill Baptist Church to it, you invite the Anglicans instead and stick us lot on the bouncy castle over the other side of the field. Anglicans know how to behave, us lot just stand in a huge group and look sheepishly guilty when asked who it was who exploded the can of coke over the wall.  That’d be John…  :D

So Colwell have invited us all over have they… *sucks air through teeth*  Good luck with that…

When we leave you’ll completely understand why Stephen spends so much time studying wee beasties…

…It’s because he’s been pastoring a bunch for the last 15 years!

If we’re all invited, then you’d better order crowd control barriers, paint, air freshener, extra J-cloths…

…and more biscuits than… Oh just do what I do, buy the whole aisle.

P S… Er…Colwell? You need a website.  First page of Google brings up ‘find a grave’ for your church.  Just a teensy bit of marketing advice from Stephen’s former website tweaker, that’s not really sending out the right signals…

This is all you need: Church 123 They are FABULOUS!


Ahem... *shuffles feet*

I'm sure you know that I really want to be a writer and it's something that I want to take seriously.  To do that I have to move on and do some things that perhaps seems a little heartless.  I've done one of them this week - my friend Ali has shunted everything from this blog - all 2700+ posts over to Word Press.  It's slightly chaotic, there's no paint on the walls yet, but Tales from Lewis Lodge has a new home.


But I'm not leaving you on Livejournal! 

I'm going to cross post because there's a great community here, whereas I'll be new kid on the block over there and Nancy no-mates - so you don't get rid of me that easily!

I was away when LJ got attacked again, but I saw all the frustrations that people were having with not being able to get on their blogs for the best part of a week.  This isn't about being scared off by that, it's about what's going to make me be taken seriously as a writer.  I want to do this, I hope you understand my reasons for choosing to set up camp somewhere else.

Oops... I am a very bad friend


To all my Livejournal friends - if I still have any left.

I'm really sorry for not reading your blogs.  Life has been very busy and I've just not been posting / reading as frequently as I should - especially the latter.

I'm away on holiday this next week and then I promise I'll come back and will pay attention to you and stop bombarding you with my crap until I can get this more of a two way street.

Is there anything going on in your life that I should know?

Does anyone still want to be friends with me?  :)

Ladies, but not so much Gentlemen - unless you happen to have been super observant in the bathroom recently - but you never usually are, so don't worry your pretty heads about this one.

Have you seen the Great Leap Forward we've made in sanitary protection?
Well, let me enlighten you.

Lil-lets now come fitted with Candystripe Technology.  Ooooh!  I know!  You're impressed aren't you?  It sounds right up there with sliced bread, non-iron clothing and the invention of the contraceptive pill to liberate women from the drudgery of... being women, I guess!

Candystripe Technology sounds smart doesn't it?  Nicely spacey but with a hint of pink fluffy loveliness about it. Because that's what all the best women are -  Rocket scientists in pink fur fabric bikinis.  Their website even says
" And because technology doesn’t have to be boring, we made it CandystripeTM " 

How thoughtful, they took all the boring away.  Lovely lovely Lil lets!

And that's not all.  Did you know that Lil-lets tampons are designed by experts?  That's reassuring too, isn't it?  Because we really don't want any old person designing stuff that goes down there.  We all want an expert at it.

But what is this Candystripe technology?  I've conducted an in-depth investigation especially for this blog.  By in-depth I mean that I've cracked open a Lil lets tampon and pulled out the said Candystripe device.  And I'm a bit perplexed...  Was there supposed to be more?

It's not very Star Trek.

It doesn't appear to be a helpful early warning system that tells you when you need to change the thing, before what its supposed to be keeping in goes everywhere; (because it always does), that would be too much to hope for.  No, I've checked repeatedly, dissected it with a knife, read all the technical manuals available (the box and the website), and CandyStripe Technology is apparently an anti-leak, easy grip... cord.

So, Lil-lets have managed to sex up a piece of string, then...?


Perhaps not quite so much of a Great Leap Forward then, more like a Facepalm Moment.

So, let me get this right.  Your new, all-singing, all-dancing tampon (possibly costing me a few pennies more for the privilege of buying such an advanced technical gizmo), now comes with a piece of string that is easier to grip?  And don't give me that anti-leak rubbish, I've road tested it and it still leaks!

You have to hand it to Lil-lets, they are doing their damndest to try and put a gloss on something that is about as wonderful as period pain.  Their website gives you the impression that having your period is the most natural and fun-filled experience of your month.  Well it's certainly natural but bollocks to the fun-filled.  Trillions of women for millennia will tell you that when it comes to periods, the best you could possibly hope for is that you're never far from a loo...
... or a box of paracetamol
... or a bar of chocolate
... or a machete

But that's not going to stop Lil lets and I'm sure their competitors trying to enthuse you into buying their particular brand of things to soak up blood.

But ditch the silly string gimmick and lets go for something akin to kids plasters with cartoon characters on them.  Where are the tampons printed with your favourite vampire?  They're missing a trick there!   That would be a hilarious decision every month - Should I buy Dracula, Bill, Mitchell or Edward?  Of course the Twilight ones could come in sparkly boxes and come on, you're not telling me that True Blood shouldn't release their own line of tampons.  It would be such a laugh!

And you can be a friend of Lil lets now on Facebook.  You don't need to just confine yourself to seeing Lil-lets once a month, you can see them every day.  I am beside myself with joy. :-P  of course I'll click 'Like' on that. #nevergoingtohappen

So there we are, that's what fell out of my head this Friday afternoon.

That's five minutes of your life you'll never get back...

I'm off on holiday now, so see you next weekend. 

Comic Relief could make a bomb on vampire-themed tampons.  I dare them!


It's a year ago this week...

... since I came home from Papworth Hospital carrying a device in a navy blue case that would change my life - although not quite in the way I'd anticipated it would.

My CPAP was supposed to sort out my chronic exhaustion, to deal with the sleep apnea and let me get a good night's sleep. But a year, on I am still overwhelmingly exhausted...

... but this time for all the right reasons.

At the time, I think I posted on Facebook something along the lines of 'Dear World, they fixed me. I am not responsible for the consequences.'  A bit silly perhaps, given the very minor thing that being issued with a CPAP was.  But now, a whole year later, I'm starting to get a inkling of what those consequences might be.

Life has changed out of all recognition.  There are days when I look in the mirror and can't work out who is looking back at me.  Rachel Lewis or some strange unknown creature who possesses a degree of confidence where none previously existed.  A woman who has ambitions, has dreams and isn't so much fearful of failure, but is struggling slightly with a new and unfamiliar thing...


...and a significantly smaller arse.

'I couldn't possibly' and 'I can't' has been replaced with 'what if  I could' and 'I might be good at something.' What if I follow these ambitions one step at a time and see how many doors I can push open, can I deal with it if I succeed to some degree?

Life is exciting and life is chaotic and exhausting, because I'm making up for twenty years lost time.  My days are long, I pack loads of stuff in, but it's all a little random still - it need a bit of focus and direction put on it.  I need some plans, I need some goals to work to and I need to make some time to make those plans.  They won't be that daunting, just a rough direction and one or two goals to keep me pressing on and stop me retreating back to who I was.

Can I go back to that person or have I irrevocably changed?  I suspect I have.  A dose of success is a very heady thing for someone who has never experienced it before and it feels quite an addictive commodity.  Please sir, I want some more!

So thank you Papworth, you did fix me.  You gave me a little grey box that unwittingly unlocked more than a good night's sleep.  It's unlocked me.  The REAL me.  The me that was there all along, squashed down under so much physical and emotional baggage.

So perhaps I could say thank you by not squandering any opportunity that comes my way and not being afraid of where being fixed takes me.

And also urge everyone else.  If you're having trouble sleeping for heaven's sake go to your Doctor.

...it can change your life.


New blog at Everyday Life and Faith

This morning I've been combining the Bible and the Russell T Davies years of Doctor Who


The thing is, is if you know anything about Doctor Who since the 2005 re-boot and it’s time being helmed by Russell T Davies; then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Russell T Davies knew the story he wanted to tell, the message he wanted to get over and nothing is ever wasted in a Russell T Davies script.  There are no throwaway characters, there are no throwaway lines, they are ALL crucial to the story, they all play their part in getting to the point when it all comes together and your brain has that Space Dust feeling  – the moment when your synapses start fizzing because you see how it all fits together.

Read more at...


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