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

Friday, 24 July 2009


I can hardly believe how our grandson is changing before our eyes. From this chuckling baby

o passport


to this reflective young gentleman



in just a matter of weeks..... He'll be getting a job before we know it.


We had a free day yesterday so decided to go for a run to Wales. Lake Bala to be precise


We arrived after two hours, desperate for a coffee. We drove round the lake - frm one end to the other. Not a cafe or a pub in sight - actually there was no lake in sight either because the hedges and the trees completely block the view. So we decided to drive another 30 miles to Portmeirion.



It was like being in a little corner of Italy. Even the weather inside the village seemed better than it had been outside so we sat in the sunshine, surrounded by palm trees and my husband went to sleep. By then it was time for the three hour journey home. A bit of a waste really - we could happily have stayed all day given the chance.

While we were there our younger son called to update us on his partying. Two parties this weekend, one a karaoke event where guests are required to dress as whoever they're karaokying. I'm looking forward to seeing the photos.



Sunday, 19 July 2009



We were in London at the weekend. On Friday night we went to see Oliver in Drury Lane. I'm so glad we caught Rowan Atkinson's Fagin - this was the penultimate night. He really made the show and managed to squeeze in a few Black Adder mannerisms.

It was good to see our younger son on his home turf  before the show and he took us to Covent Garden and Porter's Pies for dinner where between us we put away a rich steak and kidney pudding, a delicious fish pie and a overflowing chicken and sweetcorn pie.

The next day we visited his flat for the first time and then had a guided tour of the Holland Park area. I loved the mews houses on a little cobbled street and we spotted a beauty that was up for sale. Later we saw the picture in an estate agent's window - £1.5m , which I thought was very reasonable - right out of our price range, but still reasonable!



I was very impressed with our train journeys. Smooth, fast and tilted with only two stops. Better than the train our son travelled on recently, when the train manager announced that they could "unoffer"  hot food on the buffet.

Our first port of call when we got back was Oscar's house. He now puts the phone up to his ear, which sounds good but I'm not sure that he's really cottoned on to the concept yet because he also holds beer mats and book marks up to the same ear.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


close up

Sunday saw Oscar Ying Lung's christening. And what a wonderful day it was. The sun shone, the church was packed and Oscar was the star of  the show - posing for photos and splashing in the font. After the service, the vicar took him up and down the aisle to say hello to everyone and he was in his element.  People had come from up and down the country and everyone was so kind. Our neighbour said that the glorious afternoon in Oscar's garden was just like a picture book - and she was right.

Oscar looked very smart in his linen shirt and tank top but just like his dad, he couldn't wait to get back into his old jeans and climb onto his car.



The christening cake, which I had made and baked with love and care, using tons and tons of  fruit and more than a little brandy, looked fine, topped by the dragon beautifully-crafted by Oscar's mum. It tasted ok too. The major problem was that it was totally uncuttable. It was more like a mushy Christmas pudding, so guests were forced to use spoons to eat it. What is the secret to producing a cake you can cut into neat slices?


Monday, 6 July 2009


Baby Oscar has been poorly. Teething plus an ear infection.  The doc prescribed an anti-biotic but the sleepless nights continued so, in desperation and as a new dad, our son rang NHS Direct at 2am to ask the simple question "Can we put calgel on the baby's gums while he is on an antibiotic?"

After automated questions and answers and then live questions and answers the person on the phone said she'd get someone to ring back. In the meantime Our daughter-in-law had managed to get Oscar back to sleep.

The phone rang 20 minutes later. "Is he rousable?" asked the NHS Direct man.  "No he's flat out, asleep, but all I want to know is, can I put Calgel on his gums while he's on an antibiotic?" said our son.

"Are his lips blue?"     "No"   "If you touch his ear or his face does he react?"     "No, he's asleep"   "I'm going to have to call an ambulance sir."

By this time our son and his wife were panicking beyond measure thinking that the NHS Direct man knew something they didn't. So with pounding hearts they tried to wake their sleeping son. Oscar, naturally was not happy and started to complain and rub his weary eyes. "He's rubbing his eyes" our son told the NHS Direct man. "Oh, that's alright then," he said. "Now could you please tell me can I put Calgel on his gums?"  "I'll get someone to ring you back within two hours sir."  At 5.30am the phone rang and very sensibly our son didn't answer it.