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

Monday, 30 March 2009


The London son hasn't been too well, which is a shame because if ever he needed to be on top form it's now. Tomorrow he's moving flat which involves renting a van, moving boxes, crates, clothes etc etc down four flights of stairs, driving his possessions across London to the new place, unloading and carrying everything upstairs; returning to clean his old flat and then sorting out his new one. He sent  a photo of his flat floor to my phone and it just reminded me of the chaos that ensued in our house at the start and end of every university term. And I've just worked out that we did the loading and unloading regime 162 times (three children). It makes my back sore just thinking about it.

Oscar visited yesterday and can now swivel his way round 360 degrees.



Months ago, when I saw that Rowan Atkinson was playing Fagin in Oliver I bought tickets for a Friday night in July. Then feeling rash I bought tickets to see Gareth Gates as Joseph in the Saturday matinee the following day. This weekend I broke the news to my husband that he would really like to see Oliver, but I didn't know how I was going to tag a second theatre visit onto our weekend break and I felt pretty sure that Oliver would be as much culture as my husband could swallow. I could sell the Joseph tickets on eBay, but I discovered they are selling for less than the original price, or I could just forget I'd ever bought them and never even mention my purchase. So how about this - today I received a phone call and an email from Ticketmaster informing me that all performances of Joseph for June and most of July had been cancelled and my money would be refunded. Thank you Gareth Gates.

Thursday, 26 March 2009



We went to see Rob Brydon last night at the Southport Theatre. Very funny - although my husband spent most of the evening sliding down in his seat so that he wouldn't be the target of  jokes. Funnily enough there were only two empty seats in this sell-out performance, and they were right next to us - we were sure that they were going to be used as part of the show - but no. If I'd known they were going spare, our daughter and a friend could have gone with us. Rob Brydon is tiny and could almost get away with his Ronnie Corbert impressions without sinking to his knees.

Oscar is getting his own passport and every time I look at his passport photograph I have to laugh.


While he was here the other day I gave him his dinner (shepherds pie) and to see if he would wait patiently I did a spoonful for grandma and a spoonful for teddy first. Well, by the time it was Oscar's turn he was bouncing up and down in his seat and then gave a very appreciative "mmmmmmm" noise as he savoured his spoonful. What fun.

Monday, 23 March 2009


Good news. I've sold the green Aquascutum mac that I bought on eBay. I only hope the buyer isn't as disappointed with it as I was.

The London son was at his desk by 8.45 yesterday morning after our early morning start to get him on the 5.25 train from Lime Street. He played football at 7.20pm so he must have more stamina than us and apparently he had the strength to trip another player up, because we received a text at 8.30 "we won. Got sent off again".


Inside my anniversary card from my husband was a bookie's ticket from  Coral's (coral anniversary). £3.50 (35 years!) on Romantic Verse in the 4.35. We sat down to watch the race on television and saw straight away that the jockey was wearing a coral coloured vest - that was it. It had to win - and it did. By miles. So today I'm in the money.

The artist son has 200 drawings to do before his exhibition in Portugal in May and had decided to spend yesterday getting on with them. I can categorically state that he didn't do one drawing. I know this because all our email inboxes were flooded with 65 invitations to view his photo albums on Picassa - and one of the albums contained 992 pictures of Oscar (all of which had to be loaded and sized) - it's a wonder Oscar hasn't got permanent flashes in front of his eyes. So that still leaves our son with 200 drawings to complete.



A couple of the photos we hadn't seen before from Picassa

And in amongst all the photos was this one - like father like son.


Sunday, 22 March 2009


Today is our Coral Anniversary - 35 years. And I can confirm that global warming is taking place because on March 23rd 35 years ago there was only one daffodil in  flower (in our garden, anyway) whereas this year they have been in flower for weeks already.

I don't like to gush but on this occasion I will, because we have got three thoughtful children and a thoughtful daughter-in-law who, for our anniversary clubbed together and booked us a break in the Abbey Inn at Byland - where we had to cut our stay short because of snow last month. I'm sure our jaws hit the floor when we opened the card and saw what they'd done. We're going in June - when the chance of snow should be very small.

Mother's Day was lovely with everyone around



The London son who is a Villa supporter didn't have much to cheer about when he saw his team lose 5 - 0 to Liverpool (the team his sister supports) and even less to cheer about when we got him to Lime Street station for the 8pm train. The Birmingham train had been cancelled (typical) and the queue for his London-bound train was at least 1,000 thick. There was nothing for it but to come back home and try again this morning. So we were up at 4am and he's now en-route for work on the 5.25am service - grabbing a bit of sleep I hope.

Friday, 13 March 2009


Last autumn I wanted a colourful mac like the Scottish weather girl Carol wore on "Breakfast" every morning. Eventually I tracked one down in a trendy boutique in York - it was gorgeous but it was £350 and Aquascutum.  I was on eBay the other day and spotted what looked like a soft turquoise Aquascutum mac at the buy-it-now price of £38. I made an offer of £25 and lo and behold, it was mine. It arrived today and it's not a soft turquoise at all, it's a Sherwood Forest green and it makes me look like Robin Hood. But teamed with a belt it doesn't look too bad and I've just been round town and I have to say that there's a lot of green about. I don't know what to do.



I suppose I could always re-advertise it on eBay using the nice soft turquoise lens ..........


who would have thought it was the same garment? The one I now own reminds me of my science overall at school.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009



Occasionally while we were laughing uncontrollably at Count Arthur Strong, in Bolton's Albert Hall, my mind asked my brain what on earth we were doing. Here was a bumbling old man, stumbling to string five coherent words together, wearing odd shoes and with a wire coat hanger trailing from his jacket. The tickets were cheap, and he was on stage for exactly 65 hilarious minutes. I bought the dvd and when I'm feeling like a laugh I'll watch it. The performance took me back to the days of Harry Worth and Sunday afternoon comedy on the radio. My dad would have loved the Count.

Oscar has been taken to view the local swimming baths and judging by his movements on Sunday, he shouldn't have any trouble with the butterfly stroke.


Monday, 9 March 2009




The London son was home for a long weekend, to catch up with his fast-growing nephew. He's moving flat soon so brought a big suitcase of winter clothes here so that he won't clog up his new wardrobe! The trouble is he's a bit of a slave to fashion and as soon as he offloads one case, he's ready to fill another. A pair of trainers was his latest acquisition


I bet Oscar can't wait till he's old enough for a pair of his own, although he put up a brave contest, arriving on Sunday in a pair of tartan sneakers.

I've collected all the passwords from the Times to book a cheap Eurostar trip for the London son and his friend. He was going to let me know his preferred date in time for when booking opens online, this morning. However I just happened to take a sneak preview of the site last night and it was already possible to book - in fact a lot of dates had already gone. This means that by the time I get to know when he wants to travel, there'll be nothing left. What a swizz.

I'm beginning to think that there's more of a north/south divide than I'd ever realised. Our son's girlfriend said she learnt three new expressions over the weekend - bar snack, standard lamp and barm cake. EEE by gum.

Monday, 2 March 2009

The Times

Today I have a letter in the Times (bottom right). Unfortunately on the internet version they have seen fit to change my name from Deb to Eb which makes me sound like a character from the Bible. Annoying.


The younger son loves his football - watching and playing. But he seems to be turning into a bit of a thug. Last night I received a text from him saying that his team had won the Monday night match but he'd been sent off (again) for two minutes for knocking over the same person THREE times. Two minutes didn't sound like much of a penalty to me and I was slightly worried that the victim might follow our son home and get his own back.

The artist son has been invited to stage a solo exhibition in a new gallery in Portugal. I just hope he can get some sense out of Ryan Air. What on earth is the point of offering dirt cheap tickets and then charging for taking a suitcase and using the toilet?

Sunday best

I was very pleased and more than a little surprised to find that the tank top I'd knitted for Oscar would actually go over his head. The top looked tiny once I'd finished it and I'd decided that I'd have to give it to one of my teddies (second childhood syndrome). Anyway, with a bit of a tug, it fitted. Very satisfying.


I have never known a baby like Oscar. He was here for four hours on Sunday and during that time he chuckled, cooed and raised his voice a few times, but didn't whimper or cry once. And when his mum thought he was ready for a nap she lay him on his side in his bouncing chair and gently closed his eyelids - and he went to sleep!