Monday, February 20, 2017

immigrant, emigrant

Last year my Mum got her DNA test results, or more accurately her brother's in order to get both male and female lines. It turns out that my Granny's side of things is far from dominated by the Yorkshire heritage she proudly lay claim to, but instead is a mere 9% English and the largest component 28% Yemeni. Probably just as well she's long gone, I don't think she'd be very impressed with that result!

I realized when discussing this with a fellow genealogist recently that I knew next to nothing about Yemen other than it currently being in a civil war mess. How on earth could we have ended up with such a large percentage of that bloodline? Were there British connections with the area? Well a quick look at Wikipedia the other day highlighted a gaping hole in my historical knowledge and I discovered yet another example of British colonialism in the Aden Protectorate. Well I guess it was appropriate enough reading for Waitangi Day.

I didn't get that far though as it was time to head down the road to see Phyllis and I've still yet to get back to reading more, but I mean to. I'm really intrigued as to which branch(es?) of the family connect to there. How did they end up in Britain? It could be through the East India (shipping) Company base in Aden, but given the rather turbulent history of the region it's not impossible they were refugees, a sobering thought given the current state of the world, and the USA restrictions on refugees from Yemen. There but for the grace of god....

We already knew we had a family history of emigration from the UK out around the world, not to mention extensive migration around the British Isles, but now we have a new chapter of immigration to explore. Given our apparent lack of ability to stay in the same place for more than a couple of generations I wouldn't be at all surprised to find nomadic roots near the surface on all arms of the family tree, not just Granny W's!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

November, and everything after...

Erm, happy new year! Chinese new year that is.... So yes, it's been a while and I still haven't sent out my Christmas epistle to all those who usually get it. I've been even more late than usual this season.

Why? Well basically November happened, and then December... For me, like most people I know, the major political event of November 2016 was pretty galling, but I was already in a state of altered reality and discombobulation. Nothing to do with Brexit (although that too has added to the general feeling that somehow we seem to be living in Discworld where parody has overtaken reality), but a day after her 90th birthday Phyllis took ill. Three days of scaring the living daylights out of me with her rapid decline led to hospitalization, treatment, further decline and the prospect of losing her loomed large.

Having reached the point where the Doctors were saying 'you do realize this is end of life care don't you, we're just making her comfortable for her last days, perhaps weeks' everyone started turning up to say goodbye to Grandma. She was ready to go, prayed to go in fact, but whoever was listening decided that there were other plans afoot and instead she started to get better.

It has been a slow, but steady improvement. And after a transfer back to the local hospital for rehab and now the local rest home for more of the same, she's literally back on her feet again if a tad unsteady at times. Not back to how she was (remarkably well for 90!), but there's time yet and currently the issue is reminding her how sick she was so don't over do things!

So I'm now rather well acquainted with the local hospital staff and routines, Joanne and I could probably get a pretty good reference if we wanted to be auxiliaries and we've learned more than we ever wanted to about a whole heap of things to do with the personal care of an incapacitated person. We've also learned how desperately understaffed our hospitals are and that the prospects are slim for anyone who needs that level of care who doesn't have family and friends to be at the bedside almost 24hrs a day coaxing food and drink down in minute but regular quantities, who help can adjust positioning the moment discomfort is felt, who can assist a nurse rather than them have to wait until two of them are free to change dressings and pads, toilet, shower etc.

Gradually life is now slipping into a 'new normal' and feels somewhat more connected to the outside world rather than being in some strange bubble. In fact I have been blogging for a couple of weeks, but that was setting up Marion's blog for her recipes etc. Basically she doesn't have time to get things publishable, so it's a team effort where she drafts stuff and I post it. After her and Mandy rescuing the gluten free and/or non-meat eating Summer Gatherers from the results of miscommunication and understandings and whipping up some fabulous food with the kitchen staff her recipes are in even more demand than ever! So now I just need to get my own blog back on track again, oh and get Docs in Advance ready for the printer, and the last bit of the new EcoCentre website drafted, and..... hmmm, anyone got a timeturner I could borrow?