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

Sunday, 31 October 2010


We had a Hallowe'en visitor yesterday in the shape of a multi-coloured "pider"

it reminded us of last Hallowe'en when an orange fluffy pumpkin holding a black balloon on a chopstick knocked on the door.

It was half term last week which gave us the opportunity to get things done in the house. A strip of ceiling paper in my office needed replacing - sounds easy. It took us half a day of neck-breaking contortions, my husband up a ladder and me on a chair, first scraping off all the old paper and then putting up the new. My husband reckoned he'd watched a decorator at work and had seen him paste the paper and then concertina it before putting it up. It was like something off a Laurel and Hardy film - especially when we discovered, after getting all the creases and bubbles out, that the paper was 10 inches short of the wall. That's the very last time we attempt any sort of diy.

The main car has clocked up a very high mileage - and they say the devil finds work for idle hands - so again, while we were free over half term, we searched the internet for a low mileage, one-owner, comfortable car. Found one in Derbyshire, spoke to the salesman by phone - it had had one little elderly owner from new who only took it out of the garage when the sun was shining and in six years he had done just 18,000 miles. Fantastic. We agreed a part-ex price and set off on Friday to claim this fine specimen. We were shown the car documents while the car was being serviced - no service book (funny!) and a load of bills in somebody else's name. Turned out the car had had three owners and the mileage didn't stack up. The interior was more marked and scraped than ours. So no deal. We made the best of the day, stocking up on original Bakewell puddings before we left Derbyshire and as soon as we got home we got to work on Google Street View to look at the little old third owner's address. A very pokey terraced house - WITH NO GARAGE! I'm just glad we weren't born yesterday.

Monday, 18 October 2010


We went to see the Armstrong & Miller show when it was on in Manchester. We had great seats - centre front row of the circle. Far enough away not to be hauled onto the stage and a very good view. But I was amazed to find that the small theatre was only half full. Those who weren't there missed a wonderfully funny evening. All the sketches from the television shows were included plus more and best of all, there was no support act.

One of the landmark homes in our area has been demolished. It was a beautiful big 1920s' detached place set in acres of woodland, which the elderly owner had left untouched to encourage local wildlife, including red squirrels, natterjack toads and barn owls. When he died a property developer bought the gorgeous pink house for a knock-down price and knocked it down. The trees have been felled, presumably the wildlife slaughtered or at best homeless and the site flattened. On the plus side we have a ready-made afternoon's entertainment for Oscar within walking distance. The diggers, dumper trucks and men in hard hats who wave give him more pleasure than a trip to Disneyland.

Oscar has started a pre-school group where he has to be left for three hours. This he is not overly keen on. In fact as soon as we get into the car on a school morning he instructs me to drive in the opposite direction. But I can remember the tears and tantrums when I left my own three children at their respective playgroups - and that was just me. So I wait in the car park for half an hour and then ring the very nice pre-school ladies to see if the tears have subsided. They always have.

time for school