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

Friday, 13 August 2010


Just back from Stratford where we saw the RSC's production of "The Winter's Tale" . Greg Hicks - who I last saw when he was covered in blood as Coriolanus - took the part of Leontes and was just brilliant.

The play lasted for just over three hours and I found that my knees had become sort of hinged in a very uncomfortable position - I even found myself worrying about DVT (I hope that's not rude).

We saw some of the meteorite shower on the way back to the hotel after the performance but although I really wanted to stay out and see more, I'd looked up for so long that I'd developed a crick in my neck - is this what getting old is all about - hinged knees, dvt and a cricked neck?

This morning at breakfast I was just about to place a slice of bread on the hotel's toasting contraption, using the tongs provided when a girl of about 11 raced up, manhandled the white cloths covering the loaves and started grabbing pieces of bread - desperate to get her slices onto the toaster before I could get mine on. I told her mother that there were tongs available if she'd care to wait for a split second. "Oh we don't bother about that, it's only us who'll be eating it," she barked. Judging by the number of slices that the girl had her hands all over - I doubt that - but who knows.

We'd just sat down to enjoy our  first-past-the-post toast when a father, dressed in shorts and flip flops (Stratford in the rain) stood up, bent over his table so that his face was two inches from his son's (son about seven) and started berating him for some crime to humanity in an exceptionally loud and booming voice. "We had all this in London, why won't you listen, it shows that you have no fidelity, no thoughtfulness, no sincerity...." etc...etc....etc for ten full minutes. I looked at the family - the little wife was shrinking in her seat, the white-faced son wanted the floor to swallow him up and the man's mother didn't know where to look. It was like something from The Fast Show, except it was extremely unfunny. Just when we felt it was safe to get stuck into the now cold toast, he started again: "YOU DO UNDERSTAND WHY I'VE TAKEN THIS ACTION AND SPOKEN LIKE THIS,"  he bellowed. For pity's sake leave the poor child alone and give us all a break I wanted to shout. I had chronic indigestion all morning. Hinged knees, dvt, cricked neck and indigestion - are these holidays worth it?

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