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

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


Anybody out there? It's been so long since I added a post to this blog that I'd forgotten my user details. It's not really that nothing's been happening, more that it's all been pretty run-of-the-mill stuff.

There have been a couple of personal highlights - a letter in the Times followed by my piece being used in that paper's "You the Editor" column, although their description of me as "retired journalist" made me sound older than I feel (I didn't say look).

A relative has just had a big birthday and I was stumped when it came to thinking of a gift. However,  I saw that Christies was going to be holding the Althorp Attic Sale at the beginning of July - perfect timing and the birthday girl LOVES anything to do with Diana's family. As soon as I saw the Telegraph supplement about the sale in May I registered to bid online (a lengthy procedure during which I was asked if I would be bidding more than £30k - I hardly dared admit what my upper limit was.). I bought the catalogue, listed 50 possibilities and on July 7th I was in front of my laptop at 9.30am ready for the sale to start at 10. A webcam picture showed me the auctioneer's podium and lots of to-ing and fro-ing around it. Ten o'clock came and went and I shouted to my husband, who was in the loft: "You'd think they'd start on time wouldn't you" at that point my laptop went black with lots of warnings on the screen - it was dead. Nightmare and Absolute Panic! I ran round the house - my husband's laptop is only used to coping with instructions from an elderly silver surfer and gave up the ghost at the first attempt. My ancient computer was in a huff - after all, I'd deserted it months ago for a second-hand laptop. I had to go back to the warning notices and the black screen. I know not how but by as if my magic I got the auction room back and they were onto lot 16. YES, the very item I knew my relative would adore was just about to be shown. The bidding went up and then stopped - still shaking from the "on-off" episode, I pressed "bid now" . "an online bid from Southport" the auctioneer shouted (how exciting!). A rotter in the stalls outbid me and the auctioneer was on his "for the third time" when the devil got into me and I pressed the button again. The rotter knew he was beaten and I GOT IT. I don't often run round and round the house (except when my laptop freezes) but I did then - round and round and round and round. I rang everyone I could think of, I even dialled the number of the relative it was for, until I remembered. I just couldn't believe that I had won this exquisite item. When I calmed down, three days later it struck me that the item was at Christies and I was in Southport. I enquired about transport - £100 and a courier with a van would be used.  I have a wealth of experience of couriers with vans. There was nothing else for it, I had to go and get it. I felt like a secret agent on the day I whizzed down to London and back on the train. I was totally amazed when I had the item in my hand - so sure was I that something had to go wrong. I left Liverpool at 10am and I was back on Lime Street station at 3.30.  So the gift has now been given and the story told.

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