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

Monday, 30 January 2012


Twice in the last week I've seen the space station glide across the dark, morning sky behind our house. A magical experience. I haven't even bothered to train the telescope on it for fear of missing the experience of seeing it with my own eyes. I've just about mastered viewing the moon through the telescoipe - and Jupiter at a pinch,

but I must be doing something wrong because, although I can see other planets through the viewfinder, I find it frustratingly impossible to get them into view when using the eye piece. Any minute movement of the telescope and the target completely disappears. I might have to resort to binoculars.

Sunday, 29 January 2012


I've written before about Oscar and the super-powers that he keeps up his sleeve. Generally they are used to blast baddies and from my observations any new child who crosses his horizon is a baddie until proved otherwise. However, with the help of a Spiderman tattoo, the super powers came into their own when we visited Giggles Gym on Friday. I was settling myself into a comfy sofa with a coffee when Oscar came belting across the room, cheeks flushed and curls flying. "A little girl needs help," he shouted, before belting back, up and over a Krypton-Factor-style assault course, to reassure the girl in question. I've seen Oscar proffer help to toddlers before and it's not always welcomed or gentle so I kept an eye on things. Within seconds he was back: "the little girl is stuck and she wants her nanny" he panted and then was off once again to see if he could rescue her. When he next returned, I managed to grab him before he could race back and together we went in search of the nanny. We located her, reading a magazine and totally oblivious to the drama that had been unfolding. "Oh yes, that's Ellie," she said, adding "I can't get her I've got a bad back." Oscar now had a name and shot back to Ellie yelling it and then demonstrating how she could get down from the high ledge, but Ellie wasn't budging. There was nothing else for it, I spun round on the spot, changed into superwoman and was led by Oscar over a climbing wall and up a tower to where Ellie was cowering and whimpering. She seemed to think I was a child abductress and the whimpering turned to real tears. So Oscar grabbed hold of her legs and tugged. It worked, and although the fall was not very elegant, Ellie was now in a position to get down to her nanny, while holding Oscar's hand. He was the hero of Giggles Gym and there was just one brave act left for him to do. He clambered all the way back up to rescue his grandma.

Yesterday we were visited by a little dragon bearing gifts. Oscar had made two big bowls of apple crumble and wanted to share it while it was still warm. One bowl for us and one for his great grandma who normally shares her sweeties with him.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Our Christmas present from our London-based son was a voucher to be spent at The Inn at Whitewell near the Trough of Bowland. This is one of our favourite areas and is only an hour's drive from home, so I don't know why we don't go there more often. The Lancashire scenery is beautiful and quite different to that in Yorkshire - I was trying to decide what made it feel different as we drove down the country lanes, past banks of snowdrops. I think it's cosier than the Yorkshire Dales - as if all the beauty is crammed into a small space - waterfalls, fast-flowing rivers, old stiles, little villages, hills and lambs. We enjoyed a lovely lunch in front of a log fire, had a walk round Whalley and then visited Boundary Mill, where I managed to pick up a £197 skirt for a tenner and a top marked down from £97 to £5. A good day all round.

Sunday, 15 January 2012


When we visited my aunt and uncle in Kent I admired their citrus trees - each one was bending under the weight of magnificent fruits. Never did I think that within a few weeks I would be the owner of four fantastic specimens. Together with my cousin, they sent them as a 60th birthday present and I now have a new hobby - talking to the trees! They have become an obsession. I study them, water them and feed them as though they were children and I even have a citrus app on my new ipad. My uncle rang to ask how they were doing and wanted to know what names I had given them - no, really?


I had just about decided to abandon this blog. Who on earth am I writing it for? Who does anyone write their blogs for? Why should anyone be interested in someone whom they've never met's life (is that even English?) ? My family read my words (when they're at a loose end) but they know what happened - they were there at the time and from my observation, people outside the family seem to prefer to follow blogs where the writer is either unhappy or ill. Why is this, is it to sympathise or is it morbid fascination?
I am certainly not unhappy and as far as I know I'm not ill so there can be little here to interest anyone! However, I'm here, writing this, so I presume my conscious searching has concluded that I must continue informing whomsoever lands here about my life.

Well, I was 60 just before Christmas and not only did I receive my bus pass and my first free prescription but I was given a most beautiful ipad 2 from the three children. This was completely unexpected and I'm still discovering new and interesting things about it. For instance I can now find out where every plane that passes over our house is going to and I can discover the name of every star and planet that I can see from each window of the house. Three-year-old Oscar seems to know more about it than I do and can successfully crack open eggs and lead chickens into the correct hutch with a single swipe of his finger.

Both Oscar and Hugo were too poorly to bother with much present-opening on Christmas Day but made up for it a few days later and dinosaurs, airports, board games and rattles made walking across the carpet very hazardous.

 Oscar and his uncle play elves

while Hugo goes for a Christmas pudding look

We may as well have held our New Year party in A&E. Not only did my mother decide it would be a good place to spend New Year's Eve but two neighbours agreed. They say things come in threes, so let's hope that's it!

Oscar now attends his little pre-school class every morning which makes him seem very grown up. He has super powers up his sleeve and tends to express this by racing towards people with his right arm outstretched while making shooting noises. This can be a bit disconserting and not everyone takes kindly to it so his daddy told him that it would be nicer to have a rainbow up his sleeve which would make sad people happy. This is all well and good but the recipient will be none-the-wiser because the action of racing around with his arm outstretched while making shooting noises remains the same, be-it for super powers or rainbows. I'd witnessed this super power business while Oscar was at a local play area and had seen a number of little children running away from him pretty speedily, screaming as they did so. This, combined with fearless behaviour on the play equipment made me think he was turning into a bit of a toughy (good for him) so I was surprised when, on the way home, while he was sitting in his car seat he said : "I'm very delicate aren't I Grandma?"