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Let’s just gloss over – for a moment – the fact that as people we aren’t actually related to any of the pets. Not really. Not in the same way we are to, say, oh I dunno, each other. Let’s just pretend it’s totally normal and reasonable that we, when considering our pets, know they are part of the family and act accordingly, even if that means pretending that we’re ‘related’.

When The Mom was off on her Aussie Adventure, before she left she made me a promise. She said she would look out for any of Newton’s (my departed parakeet) or Mrs Beeton’s (the current parakeet in residence) people. I know they’re birds, but trust me if you’d have ever met Newton you’d see why using the word people is less incorrect than you might think at first. I mean, he was the sort of chap who enjoyed fine dining, a good long soak in the tub, and frequented many of Toronto’s finest cultural establishments, including the Art Gallery of Ontario. (There were a lot of fire alarms being tested in an old apartment of mine and neither he nor I could bear the sound of it and the art gallery was a close refuge…)

Each morning when I checked my email to get the latest update on The Mom’s ridiculous shenanigans, I expected to hear tales of having finally found the elusive Bourke parakeet in the wild. No such email arrived.

But I suppose that’s sort of the way things go with our lot and tracking down distant relatives. Grampy, The Mom’s Dad, went on a weird genealogy kick for a while, wherein he basically became Quite Scottish. Which was fairly alarming as a child. He took to wearing tartan waistcoats (which at the time I would’ve called plaid vests, not realising how wildly inaccurate that was) and little plaques about our family’s clan started turning up, accompanied by unusual pamphlets and brochures.

An extreme scarf also turned up around then, fashioned out of the Buchanan tartan, which is one of the more God-awful tartans you’re likely to find. There is a lot of ‘golden yellow’ in it, which may have been dashing at one point, but these days look rather closer to llama shit brown as The Mom would say.

Anyhow, having moved over to the UK (but unable to get a heritage visa as these British relatives were one generation too far removed) I took a vague, passing interest in these things and my ears perked up when I heard mention of clans and suchlike, especially whilst I was living in Scotland.

Good job I listened too. Because that sort of bullsh*t is what each and every North American who goes to Scotland (and I suppose to a lesser extent Ireland) spouts and it makes the locals’ blood boil. Well, maybe not boil, but they certainly take great pleasure in mocking said tourists.

I am very glad to have never mentioned anything about clans or the Buchanans in my time up there. Because I would have never heard the end of it.

Which is sort of why I can see where Grampy was going. Eventually he got bored maybe, or just gave up, because it was a bit tricky to find one’s roots whilst ensconced in a condo in Toronto. Though, living up in Scotland didn’t make it much easier either.

In fact, the only whiff of finding our roots has come from a strange Nigerian Prince type email The Mom got from a solicitor in London a few weeks back. But so far nothing’s come of that either. Not unlike the parakeets then: elusive to a fault.