Of Writing (by me and potentially you), Books and Health History

DSCF3269.JPGThere are diminutive sandy shorts on the washing line, the pile of washing-up stretches from here to there (where there is a very long way from here and the only dishwasher I have is human), toilet rolls are disappearing like fairy dust and I have just tripped over a plastic hippopotamus for the third time. This can only mean one thing, yes, the descendants have descended, hence the dearth of posts recently. I have had great fun collecting shells, dressing as a gnome, identifying breeds of plastic puppies and trying to sound like I know the difference between a telehandler and a front loader (no, no idea). I have played a very small part in persuading a two year old boy that teeth cleaning is not an ordeal; the real credit goes to his patient parents. A whole menagerie of animals have had their teeth duly scrubbed and what a joy for us all when the stress free teeth cleaning session was followed by him beaming, ‘I made it!’ (no plastic creatures were harmed in this process).

This does mean that ‘work’ has taken a bit of a back seat. Mind you, nothing I do to earn a crust ever actually feels much like work. This week has seen the start of my Maps and Surveys course for Pharos Tutors and I look forward to our first online chat on Saturday. With students from five different countries picking a time when we are all, nominally at least, awake has been a challenge but we are giving it a go. I am also putting the finishing touches to my Are you Sitting Comfortably?: Writing and Telling your Family History course, to be presented by Pharos in September. If you feel that you need extra encouragement to put fingers to keyboard (other formats are available) you can sign up now. No excuses, you can do this from anywhere in the world. You know you owe it to your extended family to create something special from all your research efforts.

I took a break from being smeared with peanut butter and reading Meg and Mog in order to meet up with local authors and other booky people. What a wonderful afternoon, networking at Killerton House, thanks to organisation by Devon Book Club. There were bubbles, there was Eton Mess and plenty of book chat. I spoke briefly about Remember Then and it was well received, with interest in its use by people caring for the elderly and those with memory problems.

Then, an opportunity to make use of my forays into the history of medicine, as we are interviewed by a PhD student in connection with family health history. A fascinating morning. After spending three hours with two of us, we learn that a previous interview had taken the researcher only seven minutes. Surely we cannot be accused of talking too much? We did seem to be particularly relevant to the study on several counts. It also made us think again about how the information about health and death that we glean as a result of our family history research could be used. If we discover what appears to be a tendency to suffer from a particular health problem, are we interested or scared? How do we feel about telling other relatives for whom this information may potentially have personal implications? If these discoveries reveal mental health problems, is this more sensitive than the realisation that many ancestors died of heart disease, for example? Definitely thought provoking.

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