Deb's Digest
Debbie Atkinson’s family life column, as featured in the Southport Visiter.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Bang goes yet another money-making scheme. I made loads and loads of cakes last autumn to sell in Manchester at a food and wine event. They were very popular and I only brought a few home, unsold. So I decided to offer homemade cakes on eBay. Almost immediately I had my first order - a banana loaf, priced at £4.50 with postage set at £3.50 (I know, £8 for a banana loaf!!?) I made it first thing this morning and as soon as it was cool, wrapped and boxed it. Next stop the post office, where I parted with £5.40 on postage. So I'm now down to  £2.60, minus Paypal and eBay fees - that should leave me with about £1.50 to cover the gas and the ingredients. In other words I'm baking cakes for complete strangers out of the goodness of my heart!

Monday, 26 February 2007

I often get hits on this site from people in America - by tracking back on my hit counter I could see that some of these people had confused me with another Deborah Atkinson. Intrigued, I started to track down this other person with my name - so easy via the internet. Within seconds I'd discovered that her name was Deborah Turrell Atkinson and that she an author, living in Hawaii. I emailed her and received an immediate reply and now I've bought one of her crime thrillers on Amazon - could this be the start of a new friendship?

Thank goodness for Night Nurse - a swig of that before going to bed and I'm out like a light. My husband reports that I'm still coughing in the night - but I know nothing about it.

Our daughter got a leaflet through her door in Loughborough advertising a bankrupt stock electrical sale with X-Boxes for £40. Did we want anything she asked. I warned her off as best I could, sending internet links to sites warning of bogus sales etc. After my proclamations of doom and gloom she rang the local police to ask them what they thought. I had visions of them with feet on desk, reclining in their chairs drinking coffee because their helpful reply was that they knew nothing about it. Anyway, the line from Loughborough has gone very quiet and I just daren't ask what she bought......

When anyone comes into my kitchen they always ask what the plant on the windowledge is. I answer "cannabis" because I know that's what they're thinking, and indeed that's what it looks like. I'm babysitting my son and daughter-in-law's plants while they're between houses and living in a relative's front room. I have to admit I was a bit concerned when I saw this particular variety being wheeled in with all the others. Anyway, I've looked it up and it's not cannabis but I'm still going to say that it is when asked - it makes me seem more interesting.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

We've just got in from a trip to Knutsford (going to re-read Cranford now) and Great Budworth. I can recommend the George and Dragon pub - log fires and tasty sandwiches.



Saturday, 17 February 2007

I was equipped with a bottle of water and a pack of strepsils when we went to Blackpool to see Ricky Gervais the other night - terrified in case I had a coughing fit with laughing so much during the performance. I needn't have worried - not only was he not side-splittingly funny this time, he also had a cold and cough (maybe the two things were related). I was in two minds whether to run up to the stage and throw him a cough sweet.

I've discovered the most expensive pizza ever - and I baked it in my kitchen. The London son is home for the weekend and was starving when he arrived. I popped a pizza in the oven and turned the gas up full. That was at 10pm. When we got up this morning, it felt like Christmas Day - the oven was still on!! That's nine hours of gas mark 9. So the heating will now have to stay off for a week until we recoup our losses.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Oh the trials and tribulations of house buying. The artist son and his wife are at this very moment loading their worldly possessions into a white van. The money hasn't yet come in from their buyer and their purchase hasn't gone through. The removal company was booked up at such short notice so our innovative son hot-footed it into town and hired a van. He had a bad back before he started so how carrying a three piece suite down two flights of stairs will affect it lord only knows.
The coughing continues with a vengeance. It's so bad that the other day I had to slam the phone down in the middle of a call - I haven't dared call back in case the coughing fit happens again. I have a horrible feeling I may have cracked a rib with all the coughing. Thinking I must be imagining it, I researched the phenomenon on Google. It seems it's perfectly possible - in fact someone on a coughing blog (!! - sad) reckoned they'd cracked eight ribs through coughing - what fun.

The other day we had a run out to Slaidburn, a little village, miles away, in the middle of nowhere - deep in the Trough of Bowland. It was sunny and we spotted a tearoom by the river so we pulled into a carpark (never been there in my life before) and sitting there in a car was my friend Hilda. Small world and lucky neither of us was doing anything we shouldn't have been!

Thursday, 8 February 2007

I was delighted to receive this from a Deb's Digest visitor.
Has anyone got a cure for an everlasting cold and cough? I'm now on my second course of antibiotics but can't stop this hacking cough and bunged up nose.

I've just had a morning's drama with my mother. She rang at 6.30am to say she'd decided not to go to Scotland as planned, because of the snow. After talking her round I collected her and took her to Preston station, carried her case up the stairs and down the stairs (hacking away all the time). The train before the one she'd booked was running an hour late and was due to arrive on Platform 4 (which is where we were standing) any minute. Fantastic, she could travel even sooner than we'd thought. Then the departure board changed the platform to 6 - over the staircase again. We ran and just got there as the train was pulling in. I shoved her on and then for some inexplicable reason, shouted to a Virgin steward to check that it was the Glasgow train. It was the London train - the Glasgow train was arriving right then at platform 4. I pulled her off and prepared for a hike over the stairs again. She sat on a bench and declared that she was going home.

Anyway eventually she got a train. I'm just about to light the fire and settle down with anti-biotics and throat sweets, looking out at a grey sky and snow and the phone has just rung - it was Mum "blue sky and sunny here," she said.

I hardly dare mention the London son in case he ends up on the Innocent blog again but he's rekindled his love of cricket and is going for a weekly practice at the nets. But, true to form, they're not just any nets, oh no. He's practising at Lords Cricket Ground!

The artist son has work in just about every magazine in the art section and a London gallery is after some of his drawings. If Charles Saatchi is reading this (haha!) please take a look at his website - You could be the one to discover him. He and his new wife will be homeless next week. They've sold their flat but can't move in to the house they're buying for at least two months. If they can't find somewhere to rent, pretty sharpish, I can see they'll be sleeping on our floor.


two of the magazine pieces

From being back to just the two of us, we're likely to have a houseful again, I don't just mean the newlyweds - our daughter is planning to make our house her own from September, when she'll be starting an MA at Chester.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

We're back from a whirlwind trip to London to visit our younger son. While we were there he introduced us to West Hampstead and Hampstead and we were suitably impressed. After a delicious lunch of pitta bread, hummous and latka (i think) he took us to a Hungarian tearoom, the like of which I have never ever seen before. We were served afternoon tea in china cups and presented with an enormous tray of Austrian-style cakes and asked to select one. We'll have to go back because you couldn't do the selection justice by choosing only one.


The Hungarian tearooms & cakes!

We had a walk round Regents Park and visited the Sherlock Holmes Museum - because I'm a huge fan.



The train journey home took almost six hours - I've never completed so many sodukos in one sitting!

We've now chosen a suite but I couldn't take my eyes off a magnificent shocking pink one (am I turning into my husband?). It was totally impractical but it would have made me happy just to open the lounge door every morning and see it there.