Remember that good manners cost nothing

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

I’m not a great one for resolutions so this year I decided not to make any ... for myself. What’s the point when one week into January and they’re likely to be broken.

Admit it, how many of you decided to stop eating chocolate/quit smoking/join the gym as the first bells chimed in 2014. Lots I bet, but how many are managing to stick with them?

Well this year, not for me the onerous task of making a pledge already doomed to failure, instead my mission for the next 12 months is to encourage good manners.

My old granny always used to say “good manners cost you nothing” – which is a relief considering the pounding my credit card took in December.

I’m going to start my crusade to improve how others behave with the two little people I can easily influence, Jack and Sophie. I realise my granddaughter is a bit young not having had her first birthday yet, but it’s never to early to start instilling good practice.

As you may have gathered by now, something or rather some people set me off on my latest campaign – and it was a generation I would have thought knew better how to behave.

Emma and I were getting in a bit of shopping in Edinburgh last month. We were child-free and decided to be ‘ladies who lunch’ in a very nice tearoom in the city.

It was busy but we were eventually shown to a table and had just ordered when a group of four matron-types came in ... and left the door open and me in a draught which was my first bugbear.

Although they were told there were no tables available but they were welcome to wait, the bold foursome then split up and went to stand over people who were finishing meals. Eventually one of them sat down univited with a couple who had asked for their bill.

They then homed in on a slightly bigger table and did the same.

The tearoom owner was mortified and said she had never seen such bad manners. Her face was a picture as we left and the quartet were eyeing up the table we had vacated.

Perhaps they could be the first customers for my new charm school!