De-coding your DNA

Have you had your DNA tested?  I haven’t, but I’m tempted.  I considered doing it in the past, but balked at the cost.  A friend had hers done ten years ago, and she never managed to access the website that would give her detailed information.  I’ve read that different companies can give different results about your ethnic heritage, and that rather put me off.

One of my readers is thrilled that her DNA test led to the discovery of a previously unknown half-sister, but I don’t expect any such revelations.  Recent contact with a remote cousin has renewed my interest in genealogy and DNA tests.  I know these can be done through Ancestry.com.

I thought I could access Ancestry,com for free through Christchurch City Libraries, but when I checked I found they have a special library version which can be accessed only at a library, not through your home computer, and it doesn’t offer the full range of Ancestry.com facilities.  Sadly DNA kits and results are one of the exclusions.  My genealogical research has been dormant in recent years, but I had always thought that when I finished paid work I would transfer my Brother’s Keeper database with its 4,000 names on to Ancestry.com.  I’m now considering whether I might do at least some of that at the library.  I’m reluctant to pay for an Ancestry.com subscription, and I’m uncertain whether I want to get hooked on genealogy again.  It can be addictive and expensive!

Jane Tolerton has written an excellent book about my war hero relation, and an Australian history professor has written a book about my grandfather.  Those stories I know about my ancestors I’ve  recorded in the Family Stories category of my blog, mainly between 2007 and 2009.  A friend researched her family and wrote an excellent novel about them, but I’ve no ambition to do that.  However, I would be pleased to make contact with new relations, and to know which of the seven daughters of Eve are my foremothers.

I wonder if my DNA
would lead me on new paths today?


A Sort of a Sonnet

Our poetry group was asked to write a sonnet.  I find pentameter difficult, so tried something else:


This week’s assignment is to write
a sonnet that has lines fourteen
I wonder if a sonnet might
employ a different rhyming scheme

Pentameter’s the way to go
each line should have a beat of ten
but eight beats is what I love, so
I use eight over and again

Surely the rhyme’s the crucial thing
and fewer beats don’t make it wrong
provided scansion goes with swing
an eight beat line can make a song

Did William Shakespeare count the beat?
Would Petrarch call me sonnet cheat?


A man parked his truck outside and proceeded to remove the ‘No exit’ sign on our corner.  When I asked him why, he said it was because it was faded.

Old sign

He soon replaced it with a bright new sign.  New ones are blue with white lettering and are made of aluminium.  The old ones were steel and heavier.

New sign

He kindly placed the new one a fraction higher up, and he straightened up the Bridge Club sign too.  He had a special ladder which could be wrapped around the pole, and all the right tools for tightening the sign brackets.

He brought along a brand new sign
and made sure all were in a line.


Autumn Leaves

Our beautiful autumn trees demonstrate that summer is over.  The evenings are darker now Daylight Saving Time has finished, and the lighter mornings  are welcome.

We’ve had cold days and evenings where we’ve needed the heat pump on to keep us cosy.  However today has been one of Indian Summer.  A high of 26 degrees meant we could have breakfast and lunch outside.  I worked in the garden clearing away plants that have done their dash, and welcoming spring bulbs that are already pushing through.  Ipheions and Muscari are well on their way to brighten the colder days.

Although we’ve not felt winter’s sting
already there are signs of spring.

This was Helen Fielding’s first novel, written before she gained fame for Bridget Jones’ Diary.  It alternates between the London celebrity circuit and a refugee camp in Africa.  Some of the camp scenes are heart-rending, but the tone is kept light with amusing relationships.   The characters are well portrayed, some sympathetic, some not!  There are interesting insights into philanthropy and voluntourism.

The book’s title annoyed me because I kept pedantically wanting to make it Cause Célèbre.  The pun is appropriate because the story refers to celebrities, but it annoyed me just the same.   However this is an engaging example of chick-lit, and a good read for a rainy day.

The famous are made to examine
their helping motives where there’s famine.

Golden Grove

Grove of Intention

A Grove of Intention has been painted in Westpac Lane, where my office was before the earthquakes.  It shows seven trees, each with a specific inquiry to create contemplation, conversation, and connection, adorned by a native bird.  Fifty white thumbprints are included on the Connection Tree in memory of those we lost in the mosque shootings on the Ides of March.  The mural is the second and the largest in the world of a series of Intention Trees, interactive experiential public murals created by the Intentional Creativity Guild, whose members are found in seventeen countries globally.

These golden trees hold an appeal
to help our city start to heal.

Placemaking Projects

There are new projects in the central city, co-ordinated by Gap Filler.  These poles on the corner of Manchester and Hereford Streets, have hammocks slung between them.  Today was raining, so not quite the right weather for lazing in a hammock.  Maybe another day . . . .

Placemaking hammocks

Further along on Worcester Street there are slacklines slung between poles.   Slacklining is the practice of walking and balancing on a flat webbing strip that’s fixed above the ground between two anchors (poles in this case).  This park is to be used at your own risk.

Slacklining Park

On the corner of Worcester Street and Latimer Square the Willows on Worcester have grown since I saw them being installed last September.

Willows on Worcester

So many things to see and do
each day it seems there’s something new.