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

Monday, 31 August 2009


I watched the Edinburgh Tattoo on TV last night and thought this drum corps from Switzerland was fantastic. I wish they were on tour....

Friday, 28 August 2009


Never mind the X Factor and you can keep Strictly Come Dancing. My idol is now Maka Paka. A beige furry alien-looking character who washes stones, claps his hands and can keep Oscar and Percy the Penguin amused for a full half hour, gets my vote any day.


Tuesday, 25 August 2009


I'd run a mile if anyone invited me to a karaoke party but my timidity hasn't rubbed off on any of my offspring. The London son was raring to go to a friend's karaoke and fancy dress event. I thought he looked the part as one of the Gallaghers (I think he was Noel but he looks a bit like Liam)


 and his girlfriend looked frighteningly like Slipknot

fancy dress


Oscar went to Chester Zoo this week and had his very first taste of ice cream and chocolate into the bargain - he must have thought it was his birthday!



Until then broccoli spears and sprouts had featured high on his list of preferred foods but I have a feeling that ice cream, chocolate and the custard he enjoyed on Sunday will now take pride of place right at the very top of that list.

The London son has been at the Edinburgh Festival and every text he sent contained names of celebrities he'd either passed in the street or seen on stage. He told us that he was eating in the same restaurant as Clarissa Dickson Wright. All I can say is, he's got too much money.

The artist son has sold one bike and bought another. The latest is the fixed wheel variety and he does things called track stands on it (I discovered from Facebook). I don't know what they are but they sound highly dangerous. We lived through wheelies and all sorts of risky skate-board manoeuvres when he was 12.  He's now 32!

Our daughter is FINALLY seeing the light at the end of an extremely long tunnel. We have lived through her Master's dissertation with her and quite frankly I cannot wait for Friday when it is to be printed, Monday when it is to be bound and next Friday I'll be tempted to drive her to the university, carry her over the threshold and watch as she hands it in. Then, I don't know about her, but I'm going to party.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


A couple of months ago we booked a hotel near York through On Monday, the day before we were due to go, my husband rang the hotel to confirm the booking. Never heard of us, no booking and anyway there were no rooms left, due to it being York Races week (which was why we were going).  This resulted in a two-and-a-half-hour phone call to which is based in America. "There's been a glitch" they said. Funny how the glitch didn't prevent them taking the money at the time of booking. Fortunately we know York very well and my husband was able to rule out all the alternative hotels they came up with. To cut a very long story very short we ended up in a castle with views over sweeping parkland, fallow deer and a croquet lawn, they gave us $20 towards travel expenses and $80 towards our next holiday. The artist son is now going to book a break through and just hope they make a "glitch".


swinton view

swinton deer


Oscar is now eating and drinking for Britain, after a week of shaking his head whenever a spoon or cup was put near his mouth. He had a sore throat, swollen glands and finally a red rash all over his little body. It was horrid seeing him like that and if any of us could have had the symptoms for him we gladly would have done. But now he's back to his cheeky self, dancing to the catchy tune of "In The Night Garden" and throwing things for anyone daft enough to retrieve them.

We took him to Martin Mere recently but forgot his sun hat so he had to make do with his grandad's.

m mere

Sunday, 9 August 2009


We had a run out last week to Bury Market. We lived in Bury for two years when my husband worked in Rochdale and I have a soft spot for the market - it brings back memories of taking the artist son, aged one, in his pram for miles just so he could have a go on the da-da-dat (roundabout). However, when we got there it was completely unrecognisable. It is now huge and very, very busy. The days of fillet steak at 50p a lb and stacks of whiting for 40p are long gone. My husband kept saying that if we could locate the da-da-dat he'd be able to get his bearings. But the roundabout had gone the way of the 50p fillet steak. Not surprising really, because when we thought about it, it was 30 years since we'd last set foot in the market. It was strange to see children aged about five sitting on stone steps devouring warm black puddings and plastic cups of hot black peas - not something I could imagine many children round here enjoying.




Because a friend gave me two tomato plants earlier this year I bought, for the first time, a big bottle of tomato food - at £5 this represented a hefty investment. But it has paid off in unexpected ways. My tomatoes might still be small and dark green but my window boxes and hanging baskets, which have received a daily dose, are blooming like never before.

h bask

w boxes

w boxes 2

w boxes 3

Thursday, 6 August 2009



My husband reckons it was one of my less clever ideas - a blow up super dooper American-style red sports car in the reduced corner of TK Maxx cost me just £7. But then took three of us three day to inflate using a bike pump and our lungs. It looked great but on the fourth day it looked less great as it began to deflate - I know not why.  The London son spent a fiver on a foot pump and the job became a lot easier. Oscar certainly appreciates it and has even mastered the essential "brrrm brrrm" sound. 

He finds butterflies very amusing so he's got plenty to chuckle about - I've never seen so many - I counted 44 just on the buddleia.



Monday, 3 August 2009


Oscar was in his stockbroker attire at a party the other night


And in true party style he ended the night crawling from room to room in search of a drink.

Parties are all well and good but there's nothing quite like being pushed on a swing.......



It was the artist son's 32nd birthday at the weekend. Funny, I feel younger than 32 myself.