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

Sunday, 25 November 2007

My husband has done a lot of driving recently so when the sun was shining on Friday I suggested a trip to Chester by train. Never again. The normal 50 minute journey by car took two hours by train, waiting on chilly platforms for connections and then sitting in carriages next to people who should have been nursing their sniffles in bed. People watching was enjoyable though. Two university students were discussing their education. We learnt that they'd taken some of their A level modules three times before passing them and that neither of them knew what an appendix was. One repaid the other a £1 loan saying: "You can't go letting people lend off you all the time."

Saturday, 24 November 2007


I think I'll have to acknowledge gracefully that I am getting older. I can roar with laughter at Peter Kay (as I did while listening to him via my ipod all the way to Hamburg and back) and I used to find Jimmy Carr almost equally as funny. But we went to see him last night and although all the youngsters around us were drunkenly splitting their sides, the only reason I was forcing a smile was because we were on the second row and I felt sure I'd be singled out if I sat there with a straight face. Granted, I did find the odd bit amusing but so much was simply sick or downright blue that we might as well have been in a seedy workingman's club. We left at the interval - not just because we didn't find him terribly funny, but also because being so close to the stage gave me a crick in the neck and there was an icy blast blowing on the side of my face.

When we got home we watched the recording of last night's HIGNFY with Ann Widdecombe and Jimmy Carr and found it hillarious!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Someone has just told me that they googled "embarrassing mums" and my site came up! Perhaps I'd better stop now.

Although I prefer the Yorkshire Dales to the Lake District, I have to say the scenery on the road between Keswick and Borrowdale takes some beating. We went this week to take my husband's 80 year uncle out for lunch. It was miserable and pouring down when we left home but as we travelled the day brightened up and by the time we arrived at the Borrowdale Hotel the sun was shining and it was peaceful, still and warm. The reflection of the autumnal trees on the lake was stunning. After the meal we stopped off at Keswick for a wander and I bought a huge Cumberland sausage and some local pork - which lasted no longer than tea time.



We went to see "Whipping It Up" starring Richard Wilson (Victor Meldrew) at the Lowry this week. It was ok - a bit boring in parts - but it was good to see him in real life and also the man who played Nick his neighbour in One Foot in the Grave. I couldn't understand why the theatre was about a third empty though. Then after the interval lots of new people arrived - they'd been in coaches that had been held up because of an accident on the motorway - what a shame. They only saw 45 minutes of the play but I didn't hear anyone complaining - "It's just one of those things," said one elderly man. How refreshing to come across that sort of attitude instead of the compensation-culture we've grown used to.

The Lowry

Before the play we had a lovely meal in Lime, one of the bars at the Lowry Centre. It was beautifully presented and hot and tasty - my three main markers when it comes to a decent meal.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


I studied King Lear for A level English but I don't remember it being a brutal play. I'd managed to get superb seats for the RSC production of the play in London, starring Ian McKellen. And at the end of the three-and-a-half hours I was completely washed out - the brutality was absolutely amazing and brilliantly done - people swiping blades all over their skin and apparently gushing blood, eyes being gouged out and the first half ended with the "fool" being hanged from the scaffolding - and continuing to hang from a noose right through the interval, while people ate their ice creams. Ian McKellen was fantastic - it was a once-in-lifetime experience. We took the car as far as The Holiday Inn near Hemel Hempstead and then crossed the road to the station. It was a very easy way to do London and meant we could set off and arrive early in the day - instead of waiting for the cheaper train times.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


We enjoyed a lovely weekend in Hamburg, where the Innocent Drinks son is working. We even overcame our intense dislike of flying and I have to say that Air Berlin were the business. Efficient, smooth and on time and the return fare was only £79.

We stayed in the Mercure Hotel, a lovely room with everything we could ask for but the hotel itself was a little bit out of the way - in fact it was so out of the way that over the weekend we must have walked 50 miles. And that's no exaggeration - my legs, hips and feet will back me up on that. The shops in the city were fantastic and I could easily have spent a fortune if my husband hadn't frog-marched me past every shop window. There are lakes, rivers and canals right in the middle of the city - and I believe there are more bridges (2,000 plus) in Hamburg than in any other European city.
And the food - the food. Germans love their meat and fried potatoes and more importantly their cakes. We had cakes for breakfast, elevenses and afternoon tea - all varieties but mainly filled with glorious custard.


Thursday, 1 November 2007


We went to the Manchester Apollo last night to the War Child charity event starring Keane. They were as good as ever but they had to cut it short - the singer had flu and although he started off full of life, by 10.30 he couldn't stand and had to do a couple of numbers sitting down - anyway we all appreciated him being there at all - especially after the disappointment of Sting calling his Manchester gigs off. The compere came on in a Hallowe'en outfit with a large Peter Kay mask in front of his face. He came on again later in the show and removed the mask - it WAS the man himself - what a brilliant surprise. He did a ten-minute stand-up slot which was hillarious even though he was obviously just making it up as he went along.