Monday, March 12, 2018

Is this what I am in for now?

A few days ago I received, after some problems with my current postman which I will not go into today, the personal alarm which I ordered to make me feel safe from falling, dying and being eaten by my starving cats.

It is not really that bad but there is hardly anyone up here on the top floor of this apartment building and I only ever seem to meet the other residents when travelling up and down on the lift.  To make isolation more extreme there is no master key and anyone moving around the building needs a special fob to unlock the lift and any doors in and out of the secure areas.

Because my balance is not good due to vertigo there is always a danger that I might fall so I ordered and received a nifty little alarm which is basically a small mobile phone with five phone numbers programed in and which ring in sequence if I press the alarm button.  It also has a GPS tracker, speaker phone facility, a fall alert and I can phone the person who is No.1 in the call sequence which is D2.

So far, in the two days I have been wearing it, I have had two telemarketer calls and one call from someone who wanted to speak to Stephen.  Not exactly what I had expected.

Ever since I received my DNA readout I have been busy upgrading and adding to my Family Tree.  There were a couple of sticking points with my much-married Davies family, the ones who have given me such a huge percentage of Welsh genes.  The first sticking point was the maiden name of  *Ted the Tanner's mother but I have, after spending the whole of Saturday and part of yesterday scrolling through census and BMD records for Wales found her in England.  Luckily she had a slightly unusual given name which has been perpetuated down the generations  -  and the others who had her on their trees were right all along.  My problem is that I need proof and sources, not just someone else's work (or guesses).

My second sticking point was with her daughter Elizabeth (actually there were two shown)  The difficulty for me was that the first Elizabeth is recorded as having died the very day that the second Elizabeth was born.  I know that sometimes a subsequent child was named after a dead sibling but the callousness and the timing had me suspicious.

So I have concluded that there was only one Elizabeth Davies and I think that she remained unmarried but I will have to hunt through the 1861 and 1891 census records to be sure.  It is enough to give me crossed eyes  -  it is very tedious.

*I should explain  -  a distant cousin who lives over the other side of Australia collaborated with me to search out our Welsh forebears:  The patriarch was David Davies and he has a son Edward and a grandson also Edward so we identified them by their professions  -  Ted the Tanner and Ed the Architect.

Today's Sudoku:-

With much searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

DNA - no surprises there

My DNA results came back yesterday and there was nothing pointing to anything exotic which might have explained my B blood group.

39% is made up of Ireland/Scotland/Wales.  So far I have not come across anyone on my family tree who came from Scotland, I have an Irish great great grandfather and until I discovered him I thought that I was almost the only one in the world who had no Irish ancestry and then there are the prolific and much represented Davies family from Wales who were, and still are prone to scatter their seed in a somewhat random fashion over the known world.

Next on the list are the Vikings who represent 23%.  Also scoring 23% is the Southern England (Wales and West Midlands) contingent, followed by what are described as Low Confidence Regions:  Iberian Peninsular 4%, West Europe 4%. South Europe 3%, Finland/Northwest Russia 2% and East Europe 2%: and my Great Grandmother was so proud of her Prussian blood!  Oh dear!

Actually, I do have a Prussian ancestor, born in the 1600s who moved to England and married an English woman,  I have that family tree thanks to research (not by me) of all the Sugar Bakers in England.  Harman was a sugar baker (look it up).

I realise that only those who have had DNA samples analysed and who have connected them to their family trees are featured in the count but it lists only two of the Davies relatives and I know one of them of old; we researched our family together with amazing results although we have never actually met face to face.  There was one other Davies with whom I had contact as I have helped with his research in the past. He featured as well but I would have expected to see him as he had a specific reason for his search for his family and DNA would have been a part of it.

Other than that, the two third cousins whom I met a couple of months ago were there along with everyone in the English-speaking world whose name is Smith listed as possible matches the premise being that if you have someone named Smith on your family tree then they must be connected somewhere  -  a very false assumption when considering the number of craftsmen who were smiths of one sort or another  -  and so far I haven't found any who are remotely related to me.  And yes, I have some Smiths on my tree, but not these ones.

All a bit disappointing  -  I had at least expected a smattering of Mongolians and Chinese but my B blood group must have originated with those much travelled traders, the Vikings.

And yet another Sudoku:

First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
So beautifully. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Diminution of Wisdom

For several years, at my annual dental checkup, my dentist has been shaking his head over one of my wisdom teeth and telling me that it had to come out sometime soon.  That sometime finally arrived three days ago with unremitting pain.  Until now the pain has been intermittent and quite bearable but this was a bit much so I phoned for an appointment to have the tooth removed.

Tuesday is always a day off for my dentist but I was able to get an appointment for yesterday afternoon.  As he numbed the area  -  and numbed -  and numbed, he asked me about allergies and medication.  It is only when I have a dental procedure that I remember that I have a heart condition which I have happily lived with for most of my life so he was going to be careful that he didn't do anything to create a problem.

Problem was that it took a great deal of anaesthetic and he eventually turned to something stronger with a word to the dental assistant to prepare a syringe with adrenaline.  Ooops  -  that is the fight, fright and fight hormone which I accidentally injected myself with a few years ago but luckily it wasn't needed as the effect isn't exactly pleasant.
Anyway, eventually the tooth went numb and after a crunching wriggle and a tug it shot out so fast that my dentist almost landed on the floor.  There has been almost no blood and almost no pain but I took the day off from COTA since I was supposed to be taking it easy for a few days; but I'll be back next week if there are any clients.  I think that word is getting out that the computers are not brilliant and with Windows 10 updating itself on an almost daily basis it is getting harder to keep up.  Techie called in to see how mine is going after its heart transplant and said that he has been run off his feet recently.

And sometimes it is not wisdom but luck which gets me through.  I always do cryptic crosswords in bed at night before I go to sleep and last night I was stumped with this clue:-  

"Thanks love!  First operatic song, Winged sandals (7)"

I managed the Thanks and the Operatic Song but was unable to make a word until today when I was reading MYTHOS by Stephen Fry and was reading about the God Hermes when I came across this:

"To make Hermes even faster, Hephaestus fashioned what would become his signature footwear, the talaria  -  a pair of winged sandals . . ."  Bingo!

And your Sudoku for today:

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

Monday, February 26, 2018

It is a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a bomb?

No, it is a Fringe Twister. 

This was the parcel which I did battle with a robot to trace.  On my second try to find it I hung on through the whole menu and, as I had hoped, finally reached the part where if I pressed '4' I would be allowed to speak to a real person.  She located the package in the 'return to sender' section of Australia Post but only because I had the tracking number.

It was there because the address had been written with a gel pen which, as anyone who has used one has found, the ink is slow to dry and on plastic or shiny paper it smudges something awful.  My parcel was in a shiny plastic post bag and was so smudged that the address could not be read although the postcode could be deciphered if one knew what one was looking for.

It was STILL in the 'return to sender' section because there was no return address.  It had been opened to try to obtain information as to either its forward address or its return address but there was absolutely nothing included; no docket, no information on how to return the goods if they were damaged, nothing! 

And I can imagine how it went.  I suspect that it was carefully opened by the bomb squad as an undecipherable address and no information as to its origins would have been immediately suspicious.

Anyway, when the proper person at the Postal Office located it she questioned me closely as to what it was and who had sent it as well as taking my name and address.  Luckily I knew what was in the parcel and that that it had originated with a company in New Zealand but had been sent by their Australian agent.  So it arrived two days later and is not as easy to operate as I had hoped that it would be but I am getting the knack slowly  -  and there are an awful lot of fringe twists to be replaced so I should be an expert by the time my beautiful tablecloth is made whole again.

I will be doing a little bit at a time as the cotton string is difficult to thread through the holes left by the tassels which Parsifal the Cat ate when he was a kitten.  I could simply buy white cotton fringing and sew it on but it would no longer look block printed by hand with hand made tassels.

The Sudoku of the day . . .

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Talking to Robots

We had a rather stormy weekend emotionally Chez Minnie but hopefully things are now sorted.  It was needed because it was something from over 30 years ago and some sort of resolution was needed.

And today I have been trying to trace a missing parcel containing a fringe twister.  It has taken ages to get here and was supposed to be delivered on 16th February.  When I went onto Australia Post's site to see if I could find out what had happened to it I found a notice telling me that I should phone AP's tracking site.

So this morning I phoned and was told that the site had experienced service difficulties  -  translated as "so many people are phoning to find where their missing mail is lurking that our lines are all choked up".

I waited a couple of hours and managed to get through to one of those dreadful "if you want to open an account press 1. etc"  That lead me to the robot who had not been programmed to do anything but collect my tracking number and direct me to the web page, which was already open on my computer screen, or to phone the number which I had dialled to reach her.

This afternoon, after my knitting group I decided to try again and hung on through the menu of options until I reached the "speak to one of our operators" option and finally got some real help.

She took my name and the tracking number, went off to investigate and came back to say that my apartment number was unreadable and the parcel was with the mail to be returned to sender but that it should be possible to rescue it.  Then she asked me what was in my parcel (a fringe twister) and agreed that that was what the parcel contained.  So hopefully I will receive it in a couple of days and then I can begin to repair the fringe on my beautiful Iranian hand block-printed table cloth with a fringe which was eaten by my boy cat when he was a kitten and ate anything cord-like.

It is a big tablecloth and he ate about two thirds of the fringe along with a silk tassel, half an apron string and a couple of nylon cat leads from when I was trying to train the kittens to walk on leads.  He needed abdominal ultrasounds for those but fortunately eventually vomited them up. 

And today's Sudoku:

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

More on DNA - Well, not really.

My immediate family are horrified that I have decided to have my DNA read.  I am not sure what they think will happen or what dreadful secrets will be unearthed  -  and unearthed is about right  -  it is identifying long dead forebears.

If the family wants scandal and mayhem they only need to look to my mother’s family, starting at about my great grandmother’s generation.  As more and more newspapers are scanned and posted online I am finding more and more things which were never talked about; like a great uncle who divorced his wife for adultery (my maternal uncles were not very gentlemanly) and then continued to live with her until he re-married.  I am not sure what happened to my great Aunt Amelia after that and maybe one day I will follow it up.

Meanwhile, someone posted a studio portrait of my father-in-law on so I have been spending some time going back in the Ds father’s line.  I have made contact with the person who posted it and it is very peripheral to her particular line of research but she sounds nice and I am hoping to keep in contact with her.

 Regarding my Slush Fund and the problems which I have been having with HTML in Windows 10, I dug out my old Windows 7 laptop (very slow) and found, to my joy, that the right click brings up “View Source” so I will probably use it to get on with recording the dirt on my mother’s family, balanced by my father’s family who were mostly clergymen and South Sea Island Missionaries.

 The man who was supposed to be observing me at COTA with the intention of joining our select little group of teachers was not there today, much to my joy.  He grabbed my second client for himself and treated me like an idiot but I was secretly pleased that he didn’t manage to sort out her problem.  As he had already ‘observed’ the other two teachers I did wonder why he needed to see what I did and it occurred to me that the two Johns had not given him a favourable report  - and I certainly didn’t.

... And today's Sudoku:
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent and reboot.
Order shall return.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Minnie in Wonderland

Once upon a time I used HTML coding to product a large website,
and became very proficient at it.  However, it has been years since I attempted to do more than play around with it or have done more than dabble , starting an embryonic exposé of the things about my family which I was never told when I was a child, for reasons which my research has informed me, were that some of the exploits of my mother’s family were not fit for Childish ears. 

 A few days ago I decided to get back to writing up this alternative family history which I had started doing in HTML so that I could use links to navigate from one family member to another, the intention being to save it all to flash drives and distribute it to any members of my family who might, at some stage, be interested.

However, what was easy in Windows 7 is not so in Windows 10.  There is no longer an option to right click on a web page and be given the option to ‘view source’ which made editing the text very simple.  I spent a whole afternoon trying to work out how to edit HTML in Windows 10, even going to a Microsoft help line where the participants were as confused as I was.

Finally, desperate, I gave one last shot at right clicking and realised that I was given, among other options, the ability to ‘open with’ and one of those options is Notepad which is the HTML facilitator which I have always used to build my web pages.  Still not all that easy since to begin with the two pages are not side by side although that happens eventually.

 So there I was at 3.00am this morning and feeling like the White Queen trying to do Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast,  my sticking point now being how to remember negotiating files within files.  I will get there  -  it just takes time and in the meantime I am gradually remembering how to create links.  I confess that I have been cheating a bit by looking at the coding on my website but it is still a bit of a learning curve since Windows 10 is not as friendly as Windows 7 was,

 Sorry  -  this is all a bit boring but I needed to get it off my chest so that I can sleep tonight.

 And now for your haiku error message for today:-

The web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.

Sorry  -  the computer is not behaving well this evening and the font size is erratic and refuses to normalise itself.