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Wash your hands

That's the new keybaird (keyboard) ordered. In a week's 0.r1i222222220 (-- that's younger cat Madelaine helping me type) time I will no longer be pecking a blank key thinking it is an "o" when it is actually its equally blank-faced "i". Or typing "r" instead of "t".

Yesterday's weather was pretty foul, so it was an indoor day. Reading, thinking, organising.

A day when I started to create a new systematic way of dealing with the DNA matches in my family tree which I have managed to use to confirm all the links in the chain to another person. The most distant one has fourteen intermediate steps. The person connected is a sixth cousin twice removed. Our shared ancestors were born in the 1600s. In total, I have made the match with forty-eight cousins of varying distances of consanguinity and geography. So far.

One of the things the main database I subscribe to can do for me is to show for a link I may be investigating, matches to oth…
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Tome for a new keybiard

Today is the one hundred and eighth daily episode of my reports from an 8th decader's lockdown.

For a mathematician, 108 is a "good" number. Having three digits just locks into parts of the brain that tune into threes. And at a glance, it is a number that is divisible by three. Why, at a glance? Because if you add up the digits one, zero and eight, the answer is nine. Any number whose digits add up to a number that divides by three is itself divisible by three.

If after the first add, you have answer bigger than nine, add the digits together and keep doing that until you have a single digit. This is a digit sum.

If the final digit is a nine, then the original number will be divisible by three and by nine. If it's a six, then it's divisible by two and by three. And finally, if it's a three, then it is an odd number which is divisible by three.

I am far from sure, but my memory is trying to persuade me that I was taught this at school. I am certain about the ru…

Watch my back

Every family is different, and every child will be a distinct character formed by their DNA and by their experience of life. If many of the contacts I have had over the years are anything to go by, grandparents are a vital part of most families. Yesterday's announcement that young children can hug their non-shielding grandparents will be widely welcomed.

It's not something my personal experience has exposed me to. My siblings and I grew up in a family without grandparents. When my parents married at the ages of 32 and 37 all but one of their parents had already died. As the eldest in the family, I overlapped my maternal grandmother's life by a mere fourteen months and have no recollection of her. Indeed I have no photographs of my mother's parents apart from one which may be of me on my grannie's lap. There's no one left to check with.

My family seem to have bred very late in their lives. My youngest grandparent, Alexander Campbell MacGregor, a Gaelic speaker f…