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

Friday, 29 July 2011


I was pleased that my letter was published in today's Times. I don't often submit letters on serious topics but I was glad to get the opportunity to talk about internet forums.

Demons within

Sir, I wonder if the people who write the sort of abusive e-mails and letters that Matthew Parris refers to would repeat the words face-to-face (“Scrawls well . . .”, July 28). Poison pen letters have always existed but the internet, and particularly “forums”, seem to bring out the very worst in some individuals who can be as spiteful and vicious as they please while hiding behind a screen.
Perhaps, as Mr Parris says, “we all have something of the monster inside us”, but I like to think that some of us have less than others.
Deb Atkinson
Southport, Merseyside

Friday, 22 July 2011


I just can't make up my mind. We saw The Merchant of Venice performed by the RSC at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford on Wednesday and it was hugely entertaining but in a weird way. Roulette tables, Las Vegas, Elvis, game shows and American accents dominated the three hour play.  Although I know the play inside out I found that after half-an-hour, I had no idea what was happening. So I decided to "go with the flow" and just sit, watch and enjoy. In the main, Shakespeare's beautiful language was completely lost (although the script was word-for-word Shakespeare's play) in the American drawl, glitz, singing and dancing which was a real shame. However towards the end we were treated to a truly touching scene when Shylock (Partick Stewart) demanded his pound of flesh and acting I will always remember as Antonio quivered and shook - hands tied above his head wearing an orange Guantanamo jumpsuit, waiting for Shylock to stick the knife in. It was certainly a new twist on an old theme but I'll have to revisit the play in book form to remind myself of what I missed.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Not sure about rest and recuperation. We've just got back from a lovely two-week cruise, all round the Med. Everything was going swimmingly and in the diary I keep for my mother, I'd just written: "The holiday has done us good. We feel great." That was a BIG mistake because the very next day (final day of the cruise and the packing day) we hit what the captain described as "a big depression and a huge swell" in the Bay of Biscay. Neither of us suffer from sea sickness (obviously, or we'd be very silly to book cruises) but that did for us. I spent the day between the cabin bed and the bathroom. Every time I tried to get out of bed to pack I was thrown across the room, and head-swimming, had to fall back in. In the end my husband did my packing as well as his own. Once out of the Bay of Biscay we both improved, but only enough to have melon slices brought by room service for our evening meal. Driving home we felt shattered, looked rotten and wondered whether we'd ever book another cruise - EVER.
Things didn't improve the following morning, when, feeling much better, I was up at 5am to attack the washing and ironing. I slipped on the top stair, bounced down four steps bruising my back and spraining my wrist and fingers and while I was at it I threw a cup of coffee in the air splashing the wall, our new carpet and ruining my clean dressing gown. As is my custom, I rang Mum at 8am to ask how she was. She'd fallen. Hurting her back, wrist and fingers.

What a swell party - the evening before the big depression!

Seeing Oscar again did a lot to restore our spirits and while we've been away he's learnt to say "please may I...." instead of "Oscar wants...."  which is all well and good but more often than not the "please may I..." was uttered when whatever activity it was referring to was already underway! Still, it sounds very, very polite.
We brought him back a Portugal football shirt bearing Ronaldo's name so now my husband is going to teach him how to dive.

And Hugo has been doing lots of smiling