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

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Something not altogether pleasant must have happened in my brain. I can only put it down to the fact that I am definitely aging. Today I was playing a Cliff Richard Christmas CD (a give-away from the paper) in my car and I was enjoying it!  "Mistletoe and Wine" is (was) my all-time most hated song and yet there I was singing along! I fervently hope that this new-found Cliff groupiness has something to do with me being a bit of a rebel. If the radio stations aren't going to play his music then I am. But a big part of me is very worried that this is the new me. Next month I shall receive my bus pass in the post - then what? Heaven save me from Barry Manilow.

Oscar has already identified all the age spots on my hands and face, although I call them beauty spots. This week when I was sitting next to him in the car he stared at my neck. What is it this time, I thought. "What's that red thing on your neck?" he asked. "Is it a beauty spot?" I said. "No it isn't", "is it a line?" "no".  I told him to point to it on my neck. "Well, if it isn't a beauty spot or a line,  it must be dirt," I told him. He leant as far away from me as he could, within the confines of his car seat, looked at his finger and wiped it on his jumper. I should think that the entire pre-school fraternity now believes that Oscar's grandma has a dirty neck.

Oscar's mummy says that when she was last shopping with him, he saw a toy that he fancied. "Put it to the back of the shelf and we'll tell Father Christmas to save it for you," she told him, cleverly thinking on the spot. She carried on shopping but began to wonder what the supermarket shelf-stackers were looking at. When she turned round she saw that Oscar had pushed almost everything to the back of the shelves in preparation for Santa's visit.

Monday, 14 November 2011


A couple of weeks ago I decided to sell a painting that had been hanging on our dining room wall for all of five days. It was bought in a charity shop for not very much by my mother.

I put it on ebay and over the ten days that it was there it hovered around the £100 mark. Five minutes before the sale was due to end it went through the roof and then into the clouds, came out the other side and almost hit the sun! It was my Antiques Roadshow moment. And the profits will see me through Christmas. Well done ebay - but now I'd like to discover what it was the bidders knew - and I'm a little afraid that the next time I see it might be on the real Antiques Roadshow when it will be valued at £10m


Just back from a lovely fast-paced weekend in London during which we saw The Jersey Boys, took in a wonderful illuminated manuscript exhibition at the British Library

looked round our son's Covent Garden office, visited family members in Kent and had a guided tour of beautiful Muswell Hill.

I find it amazing that areas of London which are only minutes from the centre by tube can be so villagey, hilly and attractive. Even the chewing gum, so ugly on pavements elsewhere, has been turned into an art form in Muswell Hill.

  What a brilliant idea

Our travels have also taken us to Hull recently where our daughter lives. I knew nothing about the city apart from what I'd read - and generally that wasn't very complimentary so I was very pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful marina full of magnificent yachts

as well as a fantastic fish restaurant, where we had lunch, overlooking the harbour.

Meanwhile, Hugo is desperate to be as grown up as big brother Oscar