Living Between the Lines

In touch with your DNA

A bit of spit and we can tell where our ancestors were at any given time in the last 200,000 years, according to Eddie Izzard. I watched enthralled, as he retraced the steps of his and our, ancestors from a group of 10,000 Homo sapiens living in ancient Africa, all the way to the 7 billion people populating the planet today. Thanks to the BBC, we were all able to see how far he and we have actually come. All it took was a bit of spit.

I haven’t spat at anyone lately but I have been moved to wonder if our DNA recognises the places where our ancestors lived and awakens something stored within us from time to time.
Have you ever gone somewhere and, deja vu not withstanding, thought you belonged there?
Last month, we were invited to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 60th birthday and we travelled up to Suffolk.
Granted, the weather had shown a sudden improvement and there was a welcome move towards Spring after the weeks of rain and floods but this does not really account for the sudden feeling of “coming home” that assailed me as we drove into the county.
The feeling was intoxicating and I just drank it in. The soft, Suffolk light welcomed us with outstretched arms, showing us gentle, slumbering cottages and meandering streams. It was mesmerising and I could not shake the feeling that I belonged here despite having been born in neighbouring Essex and now living in Hampshire.
The tension of the four-hour journey lifted. The sun had shone all day and now that we were here, seemed altogether softer and warmer than it had back home, a mere two hundred miles south. We were staying in a beautiful, converted barn by the river, a couple of miles from my brother-in-law’s house.
Determined to make the most of our visit, we planned a walk along the river’s edge to Snape Maltings in the morning. The weather continued to be kind as we woke and gazed across the water. We strolled down to the water’s edge in the early morning sun.
The breath almost left my body as I stepped onto the estuary path. The river was so peaceful, the estuary so full of wildlife, the only sound, apart from my own breathing, was that of birdsong.
As we walked, I became acutely aware that I felt a connection with this place. I knew of course, that my Great Grandfather and his family and generations before them, farmed the Suffolk landscape but I had never given their lives much thought really. Now, standing by the Estuary, drinking in the sights and sounds of Suffolk, I could feel them all around. It was a humbling feeling.

I was so struck by the tranquillity that I stopped to capture just a fraction of the morning, on film. Here is the result:

A few seconds of peace...

So, I wonder, do you think our DNA really does affect the way we feel about a place? We hear a lot about getting in touch with one’s inner self but perhaps we should be getting in touch with our DNA instead. Who knows, one day we could be having our DNA read instead of our palms. It is an interesting thought.

Now for a little giggle:

I entered the #shelfimprovement competition run by National Book Tokens and was delighted to be told I had won. Not having paid proper attention to the rules, I believed I was about to receive some book tokens or ebooks. Not so. The postman delivered two large boxes of hard backed books the other day, beautiful books I might add, all 50 of them. Needless to say, I have spent two days sorting out a shelf to house them and can’t wait to get reading!

50 Top Titles
The prize

Finally, This is a worthy one – my youngest daughter left her children at home with their father and went to man the phones for an evening for Sports Relief the other week. Being Laura, she dressed for the part and this is her just before she left the house.

Sport Relief
Laura doing her bit for Sport Relief
Not the most flattering photograph but it made us smile! Well done Laura!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Hilary

    Hi Debbie ..I just wrote a long post and it swallowed it – gosh I get frustrated! … I wrote about that Eddie Izzard series last year ..

    Here is what is the 2nd post – I’d written a back ground one before that .. and I wrote a follow up one this year ..

    How you won 50 books is amazing and whether on earth you’re going to be able to potter through 4 or 5 posts I dunno!

    Your daughter looks amazing and good for her going out and volunteering – it must have been an interesting evening ..

    That time in Suffolk sounds ideal – my E post comes up on Friday – do you want to do it?! I’ve done it .. but your Estuarine thoughts are just wonderful ..

    Congratulations .. A-Zing is busy time .. cheers Hilary

  • Deborah Barker

    I can empathise Hilary – happens to me so many times that I now write comments in word and cut and paste (when I remember). Yes, I loved your posts about Eddie Izzard and the rest. Yours were far more informative, mine a mere meandering of the mind. So glad you liked my “Estuarine thoughts” (Great term), it was a wonderful weekend. As for reading your A-Z I do try to keep up but I will leave the E post to you 😉 Debbie

  • susanjanejones

    Hi Debbie, oh, well done Laura that’s a brilliant job and she really does look the part. Yes, I saw Eddie Izzard, and my daughter always says to me she feels Irish. I tell her how can that be when you have an English mum and a Welsh dad. So when we watched that together, she said, ‘see, that’s what I meant.’ Suffolk must be in your dna as well. Great post.

  • Teresa

    Suffolk is very much in my dna and there are parts of the county where I feel very much as if I belong.
    I’m so pleased you won all those books. What an amazing prize x

  • patricia60

    Love the book win – of course I would! And I just finished helping with a fundraiser for a cancer suffering friend, but I did not dress the part. Very clever of Laura

    Yes, My career would have probably been much more successful, but when I had to make a choice between Chicago and real $$ and Western Washington State for $500 a month start up job….I knew I had to come home. I would have had health ins. these past 64 years if I had moved to Canada!

    Happy reading – I haven’t been doing much blog reading lately with such a huge reading schedule…but today feels like a good day to catch up

  • screenscribbler

    Congratulations on the book win Debbie. I like your DNA theory. I feel drawn to parts of Yorkshire where my father and his forebears originate from. My son went to Sheffield University and has made his life up there. My grandchildren were born in Yorkshire, so things have gone full circle in my family. I also feel very drawn to India when I read about it or watch a documentary. I have never been there but feel part of it because my mother was born there.

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