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

Monday, 15 February 2010


My Christmas present from our daughter was a pair of X Factor tickets so last night we went along to the Liverpool Echo Arena next to the Albert Dock. This was the first time I'd been in it - the location is spectacular and I made a mental note to visit the Pizza Express place next to it - with a window seat you'd be looking across the Mersey to one side and over to the beautiful new buildings at Liverpool One on the other.

The show was great fun, we had front row seats and we enjoyed every minute. The atmosphere and the acoustics weren't quite up to the standard set by the MEN and the person in charge of props seemed to favour swinging the acts over our heads as though they were Peter Pan. But that aside, everyone on stage was brilliant - belting out all the songs that had helped them through the X Factor rounds.

Lloyd had grown up and improved, Olly should have won and Jamie's rendition of Sex on Fire reminded me of why I thought he would win way back at the audition stage.


x fact 2



And I can't believe that I queued for ten minutes to buy a signed picture of Stacey for a friend. It was an occasion when I wished I was sporting a burka.

Meanwhile Oscar has again mislaid his blanket and we've all been trailing the streets  and car parks of Southport in an effort to find it. But this time it is well and truly lost. He now has blanket number two, which I hurriedly knitted last time number one temporarily went missing. It's no real substitute but it's the best we can do and needless to say I'm now working on blanket number three!

He's  been trying on his half-term swimming gear


Saturday, 13 February 2010


Have I slept through two months and woken up on April Fools' Day? I've just read (in a reputable newspaper) that Holiday Inn hotels are to offer guests the opportunity to have their beds pre-warmed by members of staff who will lie in them before the guests retire for the night. WHAT? My first question is does the guest get to select the member of staff, because, call me picky, but the thought of some sweaty, greasy-haired fatso lying in my bed would not be conducive to a sweet night's sleep. What sort of ninny is being paid by Holiday Inns to come up with this rubbish? And haven't they heard of hot water bottles? Don't tell me - health and safety.

I finished Thomas the Tank and Oscar looks very smart in it. The trouble is he keeps pulling the jumper away from him so that he can see the train - not the ideal way to treat lambswool.

thomas jumper

He took us all by surprise this week when he suddenly shouted "digger" as a digger drove past - he must have been working on that one. "Na" is "again" and I have discovered that Oscar particularly likes the 2006 Eurovision entry by Daz because I have now had to listen to it 2,000 times - responding to each "na"

Tuesday, 9 February 2010



I know it's probably not yet spring but looking over the beautiful flowers on the kitchen window ledge to the blue sky, yellow sun and white frost and seeing the birds flit from branch to branch - I'm in heaven. This is the best bit - the time of year when there's so much to look forward to. And never again will I dream of winning the lottery. I read yesterday about a millionaire in Austria who had worked every hour God sent to accumulate his vast wealth. He has now sold everything and given it all away because he realised that it wasn't making him happy. The multi-star hotel in Hawaii where he had his last holiday was without soul and the people staying there, shallow.  Mind you, I'd still like to have the money, just so that I could give it away.

I've finished the P.D. James book and had to control my urge to look at the last chapter to see who dun it. So now that's out of the way I can concentrate on knitting the Thomas the Tank jumper that's on the go.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010



I've arrived rather late at P.D.James's novels. I've been looking for ages for a book I can't put down and I only decided to dip into one of her books when I heard her interviewing the DG of the BBC on Radio 4. She sounded intelligent and forthright and was a formidable interviewer. The book kept me quiet all the way from Euston to Lime Street and right through a football match on television last night. It's great to have a book to enjoy again.


Apparently the odds of getting six double yolked eggs in a carton of six is a trillion to one. Our local greengrocer used to advertise his large white hens' eggs as "double yolkers" and promised to replace any that turned out not to be. Over the years, buying a carton a week, I never had cause to ask for any to be replaced. I wonder if he or the hen realised what an extraordinary feat this was.

Monday, 1 February 2010



We've just had a weekend of enjoying Christmas presents. My present to my husband was a weekend in London at a hotel overlooking the Thames with a theatre visit on the Saturday night. We went to The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville Theatre - it was the final performance and the cast were visibly moved by the standing ovation and the flowers that were thrown onto the stage.

On the Saturday afternoon we joined our younger son and his girlfriend for the Christmas present he'd given us - afternoon tea at a Mayfair hotel. It was quite an experience and we'll remember it for a long time. We were waited on hand and foot and our plates of delicious little sandwiches, warm scones and miniature cakes and desserts were constantly replenished - I have a feeling that Brown's Hotel might now increase the price of their afternoon teas to cover what we ate between us. We had more than 20 teas to choose from and our cups were topped up every other minute - it was sheer bliss and it's how I'll live when I win the lottery.

Our weekend was made all the happier when Oscar's mum sent us photos of Oscar tucking into homemade fish pie. He'd been off his food and not his usual happy self before we left. However he's back on top form and ready for the off. His dad thinks the hat I bought him to keep his ears warm is a girl's but Oscar didn't seem to mind - he's as snug as a bug in a rug.

o feb 2

We've all just about recovered from whatever horrible bug we had but coming home from London on Sunday night we had the misfortune to share a rail relacement bus with a student who had one of the worst coughs I've ever heard and she'd obviously never heard of "coughs and sneezes spread diseases" or handkerchiefs so we're dosing up on Vicks First Defence and saying our prayers.