DNA – a tall story

No other words for it – I’m excited! Part of my Christmas present was sending off my DNA kit to AncestryDNA and six weeks on, the final part of my Christmas present has been dropped into my email account – the results.

I’d no idea what to expect. Reports about DNA results for ancestry purposes have been on my radar for some time now. They were often negative, however, I chose to close my mind to any negativity and to have this self-indulgent adventure anyway.

Who would have thought a few years ago that one’s spit, a product of the vilest of insults to another, could actually be the key to so much, to life itself. It will take me some time to get to the bottom of all the information and to decide how I’m going to work with it, however, the initial surprise is that I’m far more European than British. I suspected that my great-grandfather’s native Germany might be something of an influence however, the inferences of 18% Scandinavian got me twitching with excitement. Perhaps this is why I love cold weather so much? I’m 62% Western Europe and only 10% British! Suddenly my heart and head that patriotically existed on the British side of the channel all my life are unapologetically tugging me across to the other side of that dividing watercourse.


The ethnicity estimate was only part of the information they provided. I was informed I’d got 31 4th-8th cousins on AncestryDNA. How could they possibly be right? Yet what jazzed me even further was that some of the links to cousins carried ancestral names already known to me. I now had contact points for all these ‘cousins’, so I picked one of the names I knew from high on the probability matching score and fired off a message. Sure enough he came back to me and named a distant point where we were probably related. It was information I had already got via my genealogy work. I can’t explain it – the tingles and fizzy excitement at the thought of one couple getting together two hundred odd years ago and cascading their genes through time and space to here, now, strangers connected by DNA and technology.  I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of something life-changing.

Amongst the excitement, a few thoughts are stirring. I voted Brexit. Admittedly that was because I disagreed with the control the EU had but I was approaching this from a feeling I’m completely British and that I celebrate the different nationalities out there and want to preserve them, not dilute them. I don’t like the thought we’ll lose that and end up as one mishmash of people. I love the French, Germans, Italians, Dutch etc for what defines their wonderful unique countries. Now I know I’m more European than British it is a bit mind-numbing and I’m questioning who I am, who I want to be. The truth is there really isn’t such a thing as a pure race or nationality. We all are a cocktail so complex, so huge, so…. so related and inter-related. I AM a mishmash of people and can’t be defined by words, nor contained by labels.

It will cost me more money doing my research. The Ancestry website has the information sewn up in slick sections and there are payments to be made to access different information. I will be joining Ancestry.com/.co.uk because I need access to all the other family trees that exist on line already. I want to be part of the Ancestry community along with my other cousins.

And I need time – lots of it because I can feel this is going to take me over. I want to find living (and deceased) relatives and ancestral connections. I want to find out where my 6ft tall genes come from (although my bet is on my Scandinavian ancestry!). And I want to unearth stories; stories that I can’t even imagine today.

I suspect this will be the Christmas present that will just keep on giving…



Divided by a common language – us & US

What every traveller or communicator between the US and UK needs to know – the language differences… You could be forgiven for thinking that English is a one-size-fits-all.

When I was enjoying a front row seat unwittingly living the inspiration for what became Love Travels, we came across many terms that were alien to each country. It was a source of great amusement and entertainment. That was in a social setting but there are some I wouldn’t want to get wrong. We talked about creating our own version of what so many people have since published to ease relations between the countries.

I liked the one that found me today and reminded me of those fun exchanges; some of which are referred to along the way in Love Travels.


It isn’t just the language, it’s also the spellings. American spellings often have fewer characters. For example we say travellers, they say travelers. We say colour, they say color. Have you realised how many words there actually are?

This is a useful list: http://www.tysto.com/uk-us-spelling-list.html

Left me wondering how fewer printer cartridges the US uses simply because they use fewer letters in some common words? I suspect someone could actually measure that.

As someone who has battled through the hidden settings of US English spelling and grammar checkers, I wonder if one day in the future we may decide on a little more agreed commonality… The world seems to strive to make things easier but then there is often resistance to change. Brexit and Trump – say no more.

Text-speak of course took off with a life and language of its own. However that’s the young for you! I love languages, I love differences. And I’ll always have a soft spot for what the US and its ancestors have done with the English language.


Did I take a wrong turn in my career? Is a wrong turn ever reversible?

Back between the 1970s-90s I found it relatively straightforward to get employment. I lived in a big city, was young, and had a variety of roles from IT Training to database work. I was a happy bunny at work feeling like I was doing something useful and important; I revelled in meeting new people and sharing my rapidly expanding IT skills I had a smile for everyone. A couple of job roles during my late 20s saw me driving around in brand new company vehicles, although for me, carrying a briefcase was the ultimate status symbol.

At some point this was no longer enough. At some point it didn’t feel like progression and I wanted more – I wanted a role that meant I had to think rather than regurgitate my well-rehearsed performance. I was hankering after a role that made me feel clever as well as important. I worried the need for IT trainers would diminish as the schools were bringing children up to that level – it wasn’t the last time I’d be wrong.

In response to my gut nagging for me to reach for more, in the noughties I started a part-time OU degree (which took me almost a decade to complete). By 2012 I was officially clever – I’d arrived for the second time since buying that briefcase in the late 80s.

From the 2004 – 2009 I worked in a Project Management role and then I did something crazy; and wonder if I’ve been paying for it since. I moved area and took on the project management of a derelict house. My husband and I assumed the roles of bread-winner (he was also our civil engineer) and project manager respectively, until we had a brand-new home and were able to sell the caravan that had been our home for 9 months.

During the time I’d been occupied with builders, plumbers, electricians, planning officers, financial spreadsheets, kitchen fitters and trips to B&Q, a recession had got a grip. I’d emerged excited with my new-found experience to a world that wasn’t interested.

I was lucky on a few occasions to secure some temporary work but I needed to fall back on more generic, basic and transferable skills. I picked up an eclectic mix of non-contiguous, temporary, and usually part-time contracts which left me wondering who on earth I was in terms of an employable entity. My label had fallen off. And the more I did, the more I tried to capture the experiences, the more complex my CV became. Was I diluting my appeal by actually working at all?

I soon realised life in recruitment had changed. No longer could you walk into an agency and be listened to by wide interested eyes as the recruiter had a light bulb moment knowing where they’d place or promote you. No more did the recruiter place you in a temporary role so you could try it for size and be picked up by an impressed manager. Organisations didn’t trust recruiters. Recruiters didn’t trust candidates. Now you had to attend an interview to even become a temp. But the biggest shock was the rates were the same as I earned circa 1987 and often I wasn’t picked, trounced by someone younger! How low could I go?

Soon it was apparent that one size doesn’t always fit all. In my search, the talent of matching skills and experience had been drowned by an automated tick-box exercise. As a candidate who rode the wave of technology in the 80s, I was never out of work. What I was able to offer was in demand. A linear role. All they needed to know was ‘which software’? Now, having added a raft of experience from qualification project management to house renovation, I truly had no idea where I could fit.

So without a pigeon-holed label to guide me, I was left with clicking ‘one click apply’ buttons across a variety of job roles. I was filling up recruiters inboxes when all I’d have loved was a conversation with a talented recruiter who could see what I’m good at and with a human bent to thinking outside the box, understanding what the client  and industry wants and perhaps play more than a game of snap.

Eventually when a long contract came to an end, I made a decision. It was time to write the novel I’d had bouncing around my brain for ages. I sat down and started. It took me months and months, and months. During that time I also tried to become a useful house-person, cooking most evenings for my husband and attempting to look content with the ironing board out during an afternoon watching the Corrie omnibus.  I nearly lost my mind trying to assume two labels and although my husband was adamant I didn’t need to work – I realised I wanted to; for me. How else would I justify my Clinique skincare habit?

Putting one word in front of another, finally in January 2016 I self-published my first novel. I did the writing, editing, formatting, uploading and marketing myself. Approximately 80,000 books are published on Amazon every year. Without good marketing, it doesn’t matter how good you are, chances are your masterpiece will get buried under the others. Yet that is one herculean achievement! And those who’ve read it agree. Love Travels has received some lovely reviews. However, you need to sell an awful lot to make a living from it.

As fate would have it, I need to be looking for work again to support my husband as the company he worked for has unexpectedly gone into administration. We are waiting to see if redundancy and notice payments will appear and in that time, we both have to be job-seeking. I don’t know exactly what I’d like to do because I’d like to do something around the many skills I have that I’m good at and enjoy. Yet writing is pretty much all I’ve known for a few years. I don’t know how to translate my skills into a job role, largely because I’ve not been out in the big wide corporate world for years and don’t know or even understand what is out there. With the expectations of the Job Centre weighing on me, I have to play ball and look for work.

The search feels impossible. The job titles and descriptions that don’t match; the fields that only let you enter what they want to know and don’t allow for explanations. Eg are you prepared to relocate? Y/N and I’m expecting to move house later this year. How do I capture that in Yes or No terms? Job searching people deserve more sophisticated software than a one-size-fits-all approach. A large amount of energy will continue to be wasted (on both sides) and quality candidates will inevitably fall by the wayside without it.

Meanwhile I consider: am I washed up now I’m in my 50s? And with that thought, I will put my author label on again and continue throwing some words into my second novel.

Why I love the Victorians

The Victorian Slum was an emotive series touching those who know little about the era as well as those who know much more about it. As I tweeted at the time, this programme should be on the school curriculum.

I’ve long been fascinated with the Victorian era. For me it is the era where history starts. Anything since the Victorians is just modern day whereas anything before it stands as a Victorian gateway, guiding us yet further into our past.

Queen Victoria died in 1901, just seeing us into the new century. It was the century during which almost everyone I know (older than 16) was born. Somehow that connects us along the production-line known as the human race.

The Victorian Slum was a well-crafted insight on fast-forward across several decades into what life might have been like for the poorer end of society. I initially watched as an observer but got emotionally pulled into the trials of all of the inhabitants of the tenement building. I’d never before considered the connectedness and the intricacies of how one person’s bad luck then might be good luck for another inhabitant. I lived it with them.

And I was particularly outraged for The Victorian Slum-dwellers when the paying wealthy public were permitted to tour the slum homes and gawp at their misfortunes. Yet gawping is something we still do in this day and age at both the wealthy and unfortunate, yet perhaps a little more in the privacy of our own homes – via the internet, television or newspapers.

wp_20161205_11_06_25_pro-1During my lifetime I’ve met real-life Victorians. My maternal great-grandfather (a German – pictured) came to Sheffield, England in 1888 as young teen for a better life. He moved with family down to Birmingham where he married and settled into a new life, marrying in 1897. Sadly he died when I was a young girl in the 1960s and although I can remember him as an elderly gent in a tall Victorian front room sat in front of an open fire, I wonder what the younger man was like. What was going on in the world that made his mother pack him off to relatives in Victoria’s England for a better life when he was so young?

My paternal step-nan was born in 1899. She lived into her 90s into the 1990s. What a world of change she must have seen. She’d have been a toddler in 1901 on Queen Victoria’s demise so, strictly speaking she was a Victorian and we only lost her about 20 years ago. That IS recent history.

Victorian memorabilia surrounds us in abundance of what they’ve left behind – design, industry, architecture, monuments, commercial buildings and houses. Paintings, documents, books, crockery, fashion, events, a way of doing things. We see it, use it, live with it all daily.

This is the first era captured comprehensively by photography to give us clues as to what life might have been for them. The Victorian era can be brought alive by photographs – real pictures taken of our ancestors. Whether it is with formal photographs of rigid looking families all dressed up in their Sunday best or those less formal taken by the very wealthy who owned a camera or news enterprise. I stare in fascination into the faces of those caught on camera, time-travelling and pondering on what they did immediately after breaking their frozen pose. They walked our land.

For me this all adds up and contributes to the feeling the Victorians have only just got up and left our planet. They’ve left so much of themselves for us to ponder on or enjoy.

Life has changed considerably since the black and white world of the Victorians was here. But it’s important that we don’t lose this history nor stop making the connection that most of us touch these ancestors in some way.

Another of my favourites is back – Who Do You Think You Are? Tantalising series pulling us into the depths of someone’s ancestry and mixing in social information of the day. Invariably they transverse the Victorian times, sometimes they stay and explore awhile. Victoria came to the throne in 1837. A census exists from 1841 and every 10 years thereafter facilitating this research.

It’s important to know where we came from if not to stand back in awe at how far we have come and how grateful we should be for the advancements in science, technology, medicine that we are able to take common advantage of today. For the very fact we can sit in the warmth of our centrally heated homes, enjoying a journey into an often uncomfortable past on our flat-screen televisions; sustained by popping to the kitchen cupboards for a high calorie snack or hot drink – the things we take for granted are vast.

December is here. That means Christmas is not far behind it. I love Victorian-influenced pictures on Christmas cards, the kind I rejected first out of the box when I was younger. I savour anything with children, snow and frosted shop windows on it! Perhaps its time I got Charles Dickens out for a reminder of the grim reality of Victorian Britain. Although I can be effortlessly transported via the written word and pictures into a Victorian world, I suspect I only do it so readily because I can decide at the flicker of a few brain cells to return to be living more than a century later where we can decide to luxuriate in and spend time on pleasure, rather than the more immediate business of trying to stay alive…

Migraine – my 500 lost days

I can see, but something is missing. Just like when someone takes a photograph with a flash and you look away but what you see has a hole in it. It’s incomplete. This is usually my first indication an attack is underway. No warning, no build-up, just wham I’m into it. No pattern and anytime of day or night. I can wake and be too far gone to even take medication.

Panic immediately sets in because I know the horror that’s to come. Adrenaline, disappointment, confusion are all there in differing amounts. I might be miles from home, I might be at home or I might be fast asleep and miss this first sign. Quickly I take pain killers. I’m lucky now (post menopause)  because although attacks are frequent, they are less aggressive. I no longer need to navigate self-injecting, which I did for a decade, when adrenaline is pulsing through my veins panicking me even further. The number of times I’ve been in the loos at work and mis-handled the injector pen to see my only potential relief spray up the cubicle door. Then I’m really in trouble and scared. ‘How will I get home?’ ‘How long will it be until I’m in my own bed and able to suffer in the privacy of my own home?’

I’m rarely sick with attacks now (although it does happen in 1 out of 5 attacks) which gives me the opportunity to take a whack of over-the-counter pain killers that can now find their way into my stomach. At least I have a sporting chance of limiting the effects now I no longer am vomiting within 10 minutes of the onset of sight disturbances.

The distress of vomiting migraines is the pits. Not once, then relax and feel better – several times an hour, hour upon hour to the point I can’t kneel any longer and have to have a bucket by my bed. My body retches and there’s nothing there. Why would my body do this to me? And I’ll not even mention the chaos at my other end.

Once the gap in my vision starts to move, I brace myself for the light display. Zig-zag moving and flashing lights start. And what many people don’t know is if you close your eyes they are still there. No escape. As that fades I usually notice parts of my body are going numb. I can’t feel my hand or my leg. Sometimes my whole arm will go numb. It can travel down into my mouth and throat. Once I came running out of the sick room at school into the foyer yelling ‘I can’t breathe!’ to anyone who’d listen. I thought I was dying.

Then the headache… Oh God no – don’t do this to me again. The pain throbs and makes me immediately want to be sick. Once I drove myself home from Milton Keynes after the light show had eased. With a numb arm but able to change gear and armed with a plastic bag and tissues I got on the motorway. I drove for miles to Birmingham and seemed to be able to keep the progression of the attack on hold. That was until about a mile from home when I projectile vomited in the car, down the door and out onto the road as I brought the car to a sudden standstill. I pulled up on the drive, got into the shower and into bed to suffer one of the worst attacks ever. I couldn’t clean up my car until the next day.

Not on every occasion but sometimes I couldn’t co-ordinate my speech. It was worse than being drunk. Grim. Debilitating. I was vulnerable during an attack.

The first attack I had was when I was aged 10. Standing in a queue at school and I couldn’t see. I had no idea what was happening to me. I suffered a headache like no pain I’d ever known and it was only when I started vomiting that school sent me home.

From then on it was a quest to find out what was causing them, how I could prevent them and what to do when an attack happened. Almost 45 years later I’m still doing the same. I’m still experimenting cutting out what I eat, trying to live a de-stressed life and taking the latest preventatives on the market. Yet twice I had a reprieve of almost 4 years. The first time from the week after I took my History O-Level early until I was 19, I didn’t have an attack. During those years I ate copious amounts of chocolate, I discovered alcohol (and boys), I argued with my parents, I became a vegetarian eating lots of cheese, I took many exams, I started work and I passed my driving test. Years of change and stress. No attacks. Great – I was going to get a life after all?

Contrary to that, in my 30s after 12 attacks in a 12 month period, I made a determined effort to address my life holistically. I visited an acupuncturist and I gave up tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolate overnight. I started drinking hot water. I stopped worrying about my weight and I left my job to work freelance. 4 years I managed without an attack. I stopped carrying any drugs with me. Had I finally grown out of them?

When my relationship broke up I met someone new and reintroduced chocolate and wine. It didn’t take long for the stress from my breakup and adding chocolate and wine to my table to bring the migraine monster back home to roost. Cue another 18 years of attacks despite gallant and extended abstention from chocolate and alcohol (I never went back on tea or coffee). It’s completely ruined any idea of a professional career. I’m unreliable. As peri-menopause years arrived the frequency increased – sometimes 5 across a fortnight. Sometimes they only last a couple of hours but the kicker is that when that happens it is more likely to be a pause and a day or so later, it’ll start up again. Day after day sometimes. And a new bit of evil was introduced. Just to max out my suffering, they would visit in the middle of the night and not give me the opportunity to spot the first stages. I also started suffering more confused and disorientated states where I wasn’t always sure what was happening – if that occurred during the night I sometimes couldn’t even find my tablets.

Anything and nothing will set them off. There are contributing factors like irregular sleep patterns or lack of sleep, stress, excitement, anxiety, frustration, toxic foods, low blood-sugar levels, hunger, dehydration, weather patterns, humidity, smells and even talking about attacks brought one on once! But no pattern. And nothing that works conclusively to deal with an attack underway.

I shudder to contemplate the number of days over a life-time I’ve lost through migraine. I’d guestimate about 500-700. Often it is the day after the attack that has to be spent in bed too – absolutely exhausted from the onslaught. I’ve noticed as I’ve hit my 50s that it is taking longer to recover; if in fact I ever do as they are so frequent.

And yet these days I’m grateful. Grateful to have a husband who has got used to the nature of this beast; grateful that over the counter pills and my post-menopause body will often allow me now to completely by-pass the headache stage or reduce the pain; thankful I work part-time now and am home when most attacks occur; grateful to the Migraine research that continues – PLEASE I don’t want to eventually be an old-lady who can’t communicate what is happening to me. That is my biggest fear…

The past is a foreign country…

The past is a foreign country…

Leslie Poles Hartley CBE (30 Dec 1895 – 13 Dec 1972).

I am reflecting on the fact it is one week on since the Referendum and never in my fifty-something years have I ever felt such a second-class citizen as the day the Referendum came to town.

In shock (as one of the winning majority voters), I took a conscious decision not to inflame the vitriol any further but rather take a few days to get my head around what was happening. And why.

I’d witnessed bullying at my all-girls school in the 1970s. Let me be clear – this was NEVER targetted at the 3 ladies from various ethnic minorities in our year. We had one lady from an African-Carribean background – she was sporty and had this wonderful mass of afro hair that I stared at during Maths. And two were from eastern shores one, a delicate flower of a personality that achieved straight As in everything except PE and the other, a chatty social character whose skill at that young age was bringing people together.

The bullies repeatedly taunted one girl (probably) because she had red-hair and was slightly over-weight. Glad I wasn’t her, I felt terribly upset for her. I did have one brief run-in with a bully but I like to think because I kept my cool and didn’t fight back or look too upset, I was left alone thereon. But that one moment made me feel – scared, on edge and helpless, a victim and it stayed with me. And apart from one senior manager’s incompetence in her own job role, I’ve not experienced it since – until Friday 24 June, polling results day…

The way the Remain side behaved en masse battering the Leavers took me right back to the classroom – bewildered and missing the point for the attack completely. What was my crime? But it did make me realise something else very important – how the ethnic minorities and indeed anyone slightly different may well feel living with a regular threat of verbal attack, a head shake, a certain look and the arrogant contempt by another in a country that is supposed to belong to all of us. And here was I in the majority camp feeling like I should hold my thoughts and opinions back. I’d have felt more comfortable walking into church on Sunday trying to convince the congregation there is no God.

A week before the vote, I did consider the Leavers might win. Then things got a bit out of sync and by the eve of the Referendum, I was convinced there was no chance of beating the Remain camp. I felt sick (a word some of the Remain camp also used after the results) about what staying in would mean but I accepted it and that it would bring a slow decline deeper into my existing concerns about the EU.

I did my homework. As a responsible citizen (like being on a jury) I gathered my facts, I listened to hours of evidence and I weighed up the information before turning out to deliver my verdict. Before long, my suspected belief became a deeper opinion. I was not happy about the growing control Europe had over us; I felt more should be done to keep us safe and secure without the EU dictating to us and I wasn’t happy that we were a magnet for unsustainable immigration. For years I’ve watched the corporate world have to shift and change to fall in line with EU human rights and employment law. Political correctness went mad.

Waking up and silently turning my mobile on last Friday, my face lit up with disbelief as I read that the Leavers had won. I watched TV over breakfast then happily went off to a wedding for the day. Meanwhile panic set in for the others waking up and within a short time en masse, we were subjected to vile comments, mocking thoughts dressed up as humour, and plain, nasty (untrue) accusations. The Remain camp screamed with all their might.

Leavers were not in their right mind, the Referendum had got it wrong! A petition was started up to overthrow the decision. Comments hit social media ‘Good luck you are gonna need it’. Vicious, venomous, angry and attacking our intellect, ability to make a judgement and worse still – our intent. What had we done? You must all be sorry now? Some hadn’t understood what they’d voted for and now they’d change their mind so therefore we needed a re-vote. Crazy, crazy hot-headed thoughts. What was a vote for in the first place if not to make a decision?

Rewind. I went back over my reasoning. Nothing had changed except the Leavers vote won. And while every vote in my lifetime had probably been to try and keep one party or other out of power – this time I had the freedom of restraint and voted from the heart. I remembered a friend on polling day had been into a care home and witnessed a distraught woman with dementia not being able to make herself understood, alongside a woman whose first language wasn’t English. This was not good enough and it swung her vote – Leave. Of course I’d made the right decision.

The likes of J K Rowling had written about loving the differences in Europe – well guess what? If we don’t take steps to preserve some of those differences we will end up in one swirling mass of sameness, and culture will be confined to glass cabinets in museums. I don’t want that for the next generation. I’m not anti-Europe or Europeans, I’m pro-Europe and those differences, just not the EU.

As the voting stats were released, the attacks got worse because there was the introduction of labels to hang blame on: white, older, working class, pensioners and they were spitting at that. The young had voted Remain, as apparently had Scotland and London.

Ricky Gervais’s media profile questioned why the old hated the young so much. The young became aggrieved. If only 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote they’d have won it! Sorry but you aren’t old enough yet and there’s a reason for that – you aren’t old enough – yet! When you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, look back and see how much more you know you’ll understand how better you are equipped for these decisions. And it is because of that experience that we voted with authority and no apologies.

Foreigners piled in – ex-pats who were concerned they’d lose their dual nationality when we were trying hard to hang on to one. The lady in Australia who wrote in the Guardian a lament over the loss of her bluebell-wood childhood because of the Leave vote and how she was going to stop delaying her Australian citizenship after 9 years in Oz. Well her old world was over the day she left our shores – anything else is just memories.

And why carve up the voters in terms of age or gender? I want to know how many vegetarians there are; which way the eldest versus the youngest siblings in the same families voted; how did short people vote compared with the tall; what about married versus single? Or what about what star signs people voted from? Now that would have been interesting!

We are custodians of the United Kingdom built on the back of some grim events if you dare to look back in history far enough. We and our ancestors have been through a lot to get to this point. 2016 has already seen a high number of big celebrities pass-away and in my mid-50s I really get a sense that life is changing and moving into a world I don’t like very much. The longer we live and the more technology infiltrates our lives, the quicker that change appears to happen and the longer we live to see it.

Lines have to be drawn where decisions are made and where the line falls people will fall on both sides of that line, and sometimes right up against it. I worked for an exam awarding body auditing papers once and I understand all about the wrong question coming up and the consequences of that. But it was fair – as fair as we could get it. Everyone had a chance to read up the facts, to ignore claims that might be too fantastical, make the judgement that if you can’t use a comb how can you run the country, and analyse it any which way you wanted. But it’s done. No going back. Another little notch in history and it’s way to early to be able to assess the merits of this Sliding Doors moment in political history, but I believe there will be some; much as I accept we are wide open to criticism.

Finally the country is getting on with the task of living again. Slowly apologies have crept in by some naturally more loving people or those who’ve realised they exploded a tad too hastily or far too honestly for anyone’s good. The smart-ass comments have done the rounds and are retreating; now we can talk real politics about how this decision pushes forwards.

I recently had a typed exchange with an extended family member who lives in Scotland. Their perspective is way different because their needs up there are different. We agreed to disagree as we could see we were on opposite sides of what is best for us as individuals and family units. Practically everyone she knows voted Remain and she is fearful for their future. Most I know voted Leave and I’d have been fearful if we were staying. That is one hard call to make and why this brush with politics is the closest I want to be to it for a very long time. Feeling like I’d lost a country is one thing but family and friends – I really want that thought to be history.