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

Monday, 3 October 2011


We love to trade on the fact that our younger son went to Cambridge by going each year to the Alumni Weekend. For two days we get a little taster of what university life was like, going to lectures and mixing with very clever people. It's a real treat. This year we were played sounds from the universe by one lecturer who had raised the frequency of the sounds given off by the sun and various planets and meteor showers. The normal frequencies are much too low for human ears to pick up, which is just as well or we'd all have to shout to be heard against the sound of the sun rumbling away in the background. Another talk was entitled "Are Your Genes to Blame When Your Jeans Don't Fit?" and surprisingly (to me anyway) they could be. Apparently a deficiency of something called leptin can make people put on huge amounts of weight. All interesting stuff and the best bit is that we can sit and listen and it doesn't matter one jot if we forget it all afterwards - no-one is going to test us!

David Starkey was a controversial speaker - talking about his biography of Henry VIII - praising him and telling us how misunderstood he has been over the centuries. All the while I couldn't help remembering all the beautiful monastreries that we've visited which are in ruins thanks to that 'wonderful' king.

Our younger son celebrated his 28th birthday on the same day that Oscar celebrated his third. Family celebrations were put on hold until this weekend when everyone was together. Oscar loved the dinosaur egg that his uncle gave him but was desperate to find out if the baby dinosaur that would emerge when the egg was submerged in water, would be real. In fact dinosaurs made up the birthday theme with jigsaws, sticker books, rubber models and story books among his presents. And when I stood on the bitrthday boy's doorstep holding the train cake that I'd made, a crestfallen Oscar said "But I wanted a dinosaur cake". I had to remind him that three weeks ago when the cake was being discussed Thomas the Tank was flavour of the day.

It reminded me of the television programme Outnumbered when Oscar was whizzing around on his new motorized quad bike. After doing a perfect three point turn on the pavement and running over my toes in the process, Oscar then swung his machine into his front path with his dad shouting: "stop now Oscar, stop Oscar...STOP" as Oscar careered up the front step and straight into the hall.

Quad bike and dinosaur helmet - of course.

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