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

Monday, 29 September 2008


It's turned into a tug-of-war for baby Oscar. Everyone wants a turn of holding, jogging, and patting and he doesn't seem to mind a bit. He's taken a particular liking to the taste of my chin


but I took the hint when his dad asked me if my chin was clean!

We went to 59 Rodney Street the other day, where a professional photographer lived with his wife until 1988. When he died, the National Trust took the house over and now it's open to the public. The couple lived for their work and did nothing whatsoever with the house - it's just like a time warp and even the cupboards are full of pre-war food. Fascinating.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


This has been some weekend. It started for me with my letter in the hot spot in the Times, followed by the birth of our beautiful first grandchild on the London son's birthday


Then today the London son has had his letter in The Times. Add to that the glorious weather and - perfection! I hate to tempt fate by writing about it all - but I can't help it.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


This is our younger son's birthday and is likely to be Oscar's too. Our daughter-in-law and our older son are in the maternity wing right now. And a beautiful day it is too. I've already walked down to the village twice and to the beach and back - to try to keep calm, but it's not working.

Yesterday I had a letter in the Times and managed to get the bottom right corner - very satisfying!

It's no use - I'm going to have to go for another walk......

Friday, 19 September 2008


Liverpool was buzzing tonight - it's the start of the Biennial and all the arty people are out in force. The streets are packed and people are going from one venue to another, soaking up feisty modern art. Our main port of call was Novas CUC on Greenland Street where the artist son is one of 26 international artists with their work on show.





And then as we were leaving we saw all the glitterati arriving for the Bloomberg Contemporaries 2008 over the road - security men in abundance

Thursday, 18 September 2008


It seems to be a well-guarded sectret that Razorlight are appearing at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall in October. If you didn't know, and you fancy going, the tickets haven't yet caught on on eBay and are still going for next-to-nothing!

I've just bought tickets to see Rob Brydon and I plonked our daughter in front of her laptop at 9.20am because I had to go out and tickets for New Kids on the Block went on sale at 9.30. She got them but gave me duff information. She yelled that we were on the front row. I'm not certain, but I'm fairly sure that seating at the MEN doesn't start at Row W. Heaven knows how old members of the band are now - but to prove that we're fans from way back we can go to the concert equipped with NKOTB dolls bought  X years ago. Thinking that these dolls may now be worth a bob or two I went in search of them, only to discover that Jordan (I thought it was Gordon!) has a broken leg - apparently sustained when the youngest son belted our daughter over the head with it when they were playing "my favourite band" .

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

C.U.C Liverpool

The artist son has work in a couple of exhibitions - one in Liverpool and another in London's Brick lane.

The Liverpool has its opening night on Friday so we're all off to that one




Our daughter is back from Atlanta. She looked suitably tanned and had a stash of "bargains" in her case including some snazzy trainers......



She brought home a leaflet that named 50 things to see and do in Atlanta and judging from her photographs she did at least 49 of them including panda spotting


and tall building spotting....

Fortunately she didn't get into any scrapes although she relates how one dark night she was followed by a down-and-out for quite some time. Eventually as they were passing a police station (of all places) he sidled up to her and said  "come here". Apparently she said "no" and he walked off! - It's all in how you say it!

Upon perusing his Barclaycard statement my husband spotted that he'd been charged for tickets to an event at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. He flicked through my diary and discovered that he's going to see Boy George in October. He's rather worried about who he might be sitting next to and I've been given strict instructions not to leave his side!

In tonight's paper it said that Razorlight are going to be on at the same theatre. This I just cannot imagine - it's quite a small, sedate place, so it needs to be seen. I managed to get tickets without any problem - does anyone else know they're on?

I've now lost three stone and so that I don't put all that horrid weight back on I've just sold every item of big clothing on eBay and I never want to see another roll of parcel tape or join another post office queue.

Monday, 8 September 2008


We decided that it was about time we visited the London son so we booked an apartment near West Wycombe - from the internet and set off on Friday. That's last Friday - the day of the deluge. I think we saw every drop of rain there was and it was almost impossible to see a thing on the motorway. However, the apartment was better than we could have hoped for and our French windows had beautiful views over rain-soaked Chiltern Hills.

Whoever invented sat navs deserves every penny of their fortune. It cleverly got us to our son's front door in Hammersmith in 45 minutes. We walked to the Anglesea Arms  for lunch and my husband, who is a bit of an expert on steak pies - having eaten so many during his 62 years - declared his beef pie and mash to be the best ever.

While we were in the High Wycombe area we visited the village where The Vicar of Dibley is filmed, Turville.

and we saw the church where the wedding scene was filmed....


Spookily enough, when we got back to our apartment we watched Midsummer Murders and there was the very church.  We also went to Windsor and Oxford - so much to see and do. We'll have to go back.

Our daughter should be in the middle of packing her bags in time to get the shuttle bus to Atlanta airport. Before she went I told her to keep in touch and that we'd pay her mobile phone bill. Little did I realise that that promise has opened the floodgates to multi media messages galore including dozens of photos and today - a video! I wonder, at 26 is she too old for a smacked bottom?


Last weekend we went to my daughter-in-law's brother's wedding. And the Chinese certainly do it in style.  The wedding lasted from the Friday to the Sunday with an English church ceremony and reception (roast beef and yorkshire pudds the size of footballs) followed by a traditional Chinese reception - abalone, ducks' feet, lobster, turbot, jellyfish, shark fin soup, red bean sweet soup, sticky rice and scallops. The jelly fish and the ducks' feet defeated me but the rest was divine. We had firecrackers and dragons with the loudest drums I've ever heard - and baby Oscar (not born yet!) must have wondered what on earth was happening.



We also had a second wedding cake to enjoy.

Thursday, 4 September 2008


At 10am today our daughter suddenly popped up on MSN. A quick calculation told me that it was 5am where she is (Atlanta) - I went hot - this meant trouble. After waiting for what seemed like an age for a reply to my "instant message" of "what's going on?" her answer appeared: "can't sleep - jet lag". Phew - a minor problem. Within no time she'd plugged in her webcam and was able to give me a guided horror-movie-type tour of her hotel bedroom as well as holding up two pairs of shoes that she'd bought for me to see. We stayed chatting for a while and she told me that she was going to the zoo later to see the giant pandas that we've been following online My big mistake was to say "text me when you're there and I'll look for you on the Pandacam."

When her text came through I was in the middle of making a cake while at the same time downloading a free anti-virus programme and it was taking forever. I just couldn't get the panda website up. "Hang on" I replied - each text costing her a fortune. Ten minutes later "I'm still here" she texted. I raced downstairs to use my husband's laptop (the cake mixture was still in the bowl). "I can't c u " I wrote - oh no more money in O2's coffers. "Gone to panda shop, back soon" and so it continued for over an hour.  The Pandacam was positioned so that, if I concentrated hard enough, I could see feet walking past the bottom of the screen. I eliminated most of the feet and then had to ask which trainers she had on. I'm still waiting for a reply.....

Tonight she's going to a Jamaican restaurant and a baseball match and this time it'll be me who's up at 5am (midnight there) awaiting an email telling me that she's safe and sound in her room. Although I hate flying, I'm beginning to wonder whether it would have been less traumatic to go with her.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008



We joined a packed theatre last night for Alan Bennett's "Enjoy".  The play was written in 1980, when I suppose, fewer members of the audience were as familiar with Bennett's well-worn expressions as we are today. Being a Bennett fan I have seen, listened to and read a great deal of his work and I found the play contained much of what I'd seen, read and listened to before. In fact it seemed less of a play and more a vehicle for his northern trueisms. So at times it was quite tiresome. However, most of the audience were practically falling off their seats with laughter - so either my sense of humour isn't up to the mark or, more likely, they'd consumed more wine than I had in the Lowry bar.

The play is set in a back-to-back house in Leeds which is due for demolition. The ageing owners - played by Alison Steadman and David Troughton - are to be rehoused in a fancy new maisonette. Alison Steadman as Connie looked the part in crimplene and a pinnie and I couldn't wait to see her transformed into the character off the promotional flyers (see the picture above). But it never came. She never became that person. In fact as the play progressed her failing memory got worse and worse so that by the end, she was a wizened version of her old self - in a hairnet with her cardigan buttons done-up wrong. So I reckon we were misled. Bennett reportedly said that the play's title "Enjoy" was misleading and that "Endure" would suit it better. I'm sorry to say, I agree.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


I hope this link leads you to a video of the artist son......


We were up at 5am yesterday to take our daughter to the airport. She's now in a hotel bedroom (basic is how she describes it) in Atlanta, Georgia. By her bed, I hope, is the list of dos and donts that we have sent with her. Thank God for the internet. She managed to get onto MSN at Philadelphia Airport to tell me that it was baking hot. She said she'd tried to sit on the pavement outside the building but had been hauled inside by an official who told her it was too dangerous. So they'll probably have her down as trouble already. Her itinerary includes the Coca Cola factory, the Olympic Park and the zoo where the panda cub is - it was in an incubator yesterday so we hope it'll be ok.

I've told her that I've managed to find a streaming webcam on top of a tall building in Atlanta, so if she can find her way up it once a day that will be appreciated.

After we'd dropped her at the airport we had a run through Cheshire and a walk round Wilmslow (Cheshire Wife - I wondered if we were in your neck of the woods). Then to Derbyshire where we stocked up on the original Bakewell puddings and had lunch here


The Eyre Arms. Very nice but a bit expensive and £5.20 for a glass of ordinary wine? That's a rip off.