July 27th, 2018


Melting Pots and Infusions

Two new Gloucester Rd establishments visited in the last couple of days. One is called "Art and Chocolate", and consists of a single room, in one half of which a young bloke with a Spanish(?) accent sells artisan chocolate (I bought some ruby chocolate there, and highly recommend it). In the other half his half-Guatemalan half-Japanese friend makes and sells art with a Bristol theme (I bought a coaster showing the Suspension Bridge). The only connection between the two businesses is the friendship of the men involved, and their location.

A hundred yards north is "Per and Kor", a restaurant run by a couple - he's from Iran and she's Korean. They have a Persian menu and a Korean menu, and you can choose from either, or mix them up. When I went with Htay, for example, I had a kimchi starter followed by lamb, aubergine and split yellow peas. Both were delicious, and their dissimilarity was no drawback.

Time was when fusion restaurants were all the range, and such a restaurant would have looked for ingenious ways to serve up lamb and kimchi on the same dish - but perhaps we're entering a post-fusion age?

Lawks - a Mercian!

Well, my DNA test results are in, and although they hold no radical surprises it's certainly very interesting to see my genes spread across the map like iron filings and clustering around certain magnetic poles.

DNA map

I do find some of this hard to parse, though. It turns out I'm 37% from Great Britain, and especially from "Wales and the West Midlands", but a different 26% of me is from "Ireland/Scotland/Wales". So does that make doubly Welsh? Or Welsh in more than one way? I really can't say.

But the "Wales and West Midlands" sounds right: I have plenty of known ancestors both east and west of the border, although this of course is but the iceberg tip of the genetic story: the Butlers hail from Claines in Worcestershire, and my mother's family is scattered either side of the border in such places as Wellington, Wrexham, Ruthin and Chester.

As for the rest, I've more continental ancestry than I expected, considering that the nearest I've been able to trace is eight generations back and should thus account for less than 1% of my genes, but then I've not been able to follow every forking path, or anything like it.

Finland, Northwest Russia and the snowy Caucasus may account for less than 3% of the whole, but they provide a welcome note of exoticism in what is otherwise a predictably Western European story.