Tracing roots to The White House

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

Somehow at work the other day we got on to surnames and where they come from.

My co-workers have a lot of unusual names and we had a great laugh looking them up online - just don’t tell my boss!

Our receptionist traced her name back to Ireland and discovered her family were a clan of horsemen who traded steeds all over the world.

Another workmate, whose name sounds very Scottish, found out its origins are from Italy and the name was altered to be easier on the Scottish accent.

So I looked up Livingstone, which turns out is a pretty well established Scottish name. Although it has origins in Scotland, the Livingstones - or Livingstons - were well-travelled people and spread far and wide.

There were Livingstons in residence at Callendar House for many years and George W Bush can trace his roots back to the Livingston clan.

So, it turns out I don’t have ideas above my station - I do belong in a castle - or at the very least a White House!

Talking of ideas above your station, did you read about the mother who found a note in her son’s bag demanding he pay for a birthday party he missed?

The birthday boy’s mother invoiced the family for £15.95 after the boy said he would attend the party but failed to show up. Having thrown many parties over the years for my two - and helped with the organising of my grandchildren’s parties - I appreciate how frustrating it is to pay for places, only for parents to not even bother to tell you they can’t make it.

Parties are expensive businesses by the time you add up the activities, food and party bags and they seem to be getting more outlandish. In my day, children had a wee disco in the house, or went to McDonalds with a few friends, but now everyone has to top each other’s party and be as extravagant as possible.

But to invoice the parents is taking it too far in my opinion. Yes, the parents were rude not to get in touch and it probably did impact on the birthday party with the others waiting around for the expected guest to show up. However, charging them is ridiculous.

Why not behave like mums have for generations? Smile sweetly at the offending parent, then discuss how awful they are with the other mums at the school gates!