Do you kNow who you Are?

If someone wanted to make a clone of you they could; people are already getting their dead dogs cloned, claims have been made that humans have been cloned. Most people have had a blood test of some sort, many of us have parted with gallons of blood to the NHS at blood donor sessions. If a blood sample was secreted away to the establishment of a mad or bad scientist they could be making clones of you at this very moment, supplying childless couples perhaps, it’s unlikely you would recognise your baby self in a pram. Or perhaps your hapless clone is being reared in a laboratory at this very moment for experimentation purposes, would your clone inherit your memory, is our DNA who we really are?

Recently I thought it would be fun to have a go at one of those on line tests, AncestryDNA. It involved spending money and quite a wait and how would we know the results were genuine? This particular test did not involve tracing your mitochondrial DNA back to Neanderthal man; it merely shows you what percentage of people in areas of the world share your DNA and is totally biased towards the Americas and Europe, because the system works on the basis of the data they have already collected. Did I believe the results? Yes; my husband’s results were neatly divided in half as we expected, although his born and bred Scottish half was classified as Ireland, a look at the map clarified that Ireland also covers Scotland and Wales.

I was hoping for something exotic, but was disappointed, I blame my parents; it seems I was neither mysteriously adopted nor are there any skeletons in our family cupboard. However I am only 14% Great Britain, so my gut instinct to voted Remain in the Eurpean Union Referendum was correct, I am 77% Europe West. The other 9% grey area of ‘low confidence region’ with some European Jewish, Irish, north west Russian and a dash of Iberian does add a bit of seasoning to the mix.

We have not so far delved into tracing family trees, finding out who shares similar DNA, but I did agree to accept a message from a name I’d never heard of and was astonished when one set of grandparents’ names came up. The granddaughter of my grandmother’s brother had traced me! I had never met this great uncle because he and his wife emigrated to Canada before they had their children. Perhaps my grandmother vaguely mentioned her older brother, but I now know for certain I have lots of Canadian relatives.

But does our DNA really matter? Only an adopted person who has never been able to trace a single blood relative can answer that question. We are all individuals who have to make what we can of our lot in life; the adopted person might be moved to have a large family of their own, or perhaps they will be forever genetically unique.

Depending on your religious beliefs  you might subscribe to the wardrobe theory; the true individual a soul waiting to be popped in to any available baby body until the return to heaven or reincarnation, or perhaps you think our whole personality and memories are passed on through our genes.

DNA remains a delightful mystery for lay people and a source of inspiration for writers. My novel ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ explores what happens when the DNA of ordinary people is tampered with.

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Chatting With The Queen

One of my earliest memories is of standing outside a building with a tall policeman while my parents went inside to vote. He was dressed in his smart Metropolitan Police uniform with the traditional helmet. The police have always been there to look after the innocent as well as catch the guilty. Many voters this week would have been guarded by visibly armed police, but going to vote is still safe in this country. A snap election that most people didn’t want, other important issues clouded by terrible terrorist attacks, people braved the rain to vote and the result was as confusing as the run up. If you enjoy political discussion you will find it twenty four hours a day on radio, television and the internet.

I am more interested in what The Queen says to the stream of prime ministers who have had weekly hour long private audiences with her throughout her long reign.

After an election the new Prime Minister must visit Buckingham Palace to tell the queen he or she is forming a new government. While the PM returns to Downing Street to utter the words ‘I have been to see The Queen’, Her Majesty has to sit down and write her speech for the opening of parliament.

Alas, the speech is written for her and I wonder how often the words ‘My government will…’ nearly choke her.

It does not matter whether you believe in God or The Queen, I’m sure she does and unlike politicians who never keep promises, has kept her sacred vows to serve the country. Wouldn’t it be great if she decided she could best serve us by writing her own speech.

As part of my research I wondered if The Queen would like to be my Facebook friend. To my surprise she actually has a Facebook page;

https://www.facebook.com/HMRoyalQueen/

I’m sorry to say only 196,569 people have Liked it, which is poor considering how many people in her kingdom are on Facebook. I was also disappointed she had made no comments about the election; not even a sad or angry emoticon.

I sent a message to see what would happen. Watch this space to see how the conversation continues.

Chat conversation start

09:43

How wonderful it would be if Her Majesty was allowed to write the Queen’s speech herself and hand out some sensible suggestions.

Thanks for messaging us. We try to be as responsive as possible. We’ll get back to you soon.

Her Majesty has not replied yet, but I’m sure she will soon when she’s finished writing her speech.

London Bridge Is Not Falling Down; It Never Will #londonbridge #Ilovelondon

TanGental’s thoughts speak for all Londoners.

TanGental

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady

It’s nothing special, London Bridge. Not as iconic as Tower Bridge; not as twee as Albert or as sharply modern as the Millennium. Its popularity stems as much from the ability to take pictures of other parts of London. Functional, really.

How many times have I crossed it? Stood on it? Dad used to tell of the London smogs of the 1950s when he feared walking into the parapet and falling into the river.

How many ways have I crossed it? I’ve walked, I’ve run, I’ve cycled. I’ve driven and been driven. I’ve caught buses, shared cabs. I’ve been sober and drunk. I’ve tripped and fallen and I’ve smiled and cried.

What views have I taken in from it. Tower Bridge…

by day and

the new, the Shard

and the old, The Tower…

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