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

Saturday, 28 April 2012


Today I received a certificate showing that I have passed my first Latin exam. I really should now go on to level two but with a wedding coming up in three weeks and with serious sunbathing to do, I'm delaying it until the autumn. I know this is a stupid thing to do because if Latin is anything like the two-year German course I did, I'll have forgotten every single word, to say nothing of the nominative and accusative by the time I re-enrol.

Oscar started Sunday School last week and I did wonder how it might go when he picked up a stick in his garden on the way and announced that it was to "kill people with". I managed to persuade him to leave it outside the church door until we left and once inside he entered into the spirit of the occasion wholeheartedly, banging a tabourine throughout the hymns. Picking out the word that interested him most from the "wicker's" sermon - "died" , he got right to the nub of the whole of Christianity and asked me how Jesus came to life after he had died. I think I'll ask the Sunday School teacher to explain that one.

Our older son is at the Glasgow International Art Fair this weekend and apparently he's had trouble making himself understood due to an accent he didn't know he had. He booked into a b&b near the venue after reading some positive reviews. Last night he sent us a picture of his room's walls:

I rather think the picture says a thousand words that reviewers have left out.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


My husband used to be a whizz at tennis, winning every local trophy possible, but it's a number of years since he played. Oscar seemed to be showing an interest the other day, while playing in the garden so I left him and grandad to it while I prepared the lunch.
By the time lunch was ready, Oscar was doing full serves and batting every ball back that was thrown to him. I couldn't believe it, I'll have to leave them alone together more often. I think my husband has found his forte.

Oscar is to be a pageboy at his uncle's wedding next month (shyness and tantrums permitting)  and has tried on his very smart suit. His uncle rang on Monday while Oscar was with us and they spoke. Oscar said that he liked his new suit because it made him look like Batman. Apparently, that night he told his daddy that he thought he might wear his skeleton suit to the wedding, adding: "That would be a nice idea, wouldn't it?"


On Mondays we're lucky, because we look after three-and-a-half year old Oscar and his baby brother Hugo - our grandsons. This Monday, after dropping Oscar off at his little pre-school group, I brought Hugo to our house as usual, put the front door key in the lock and it refused to turn. Hugo took a seat on the porch floor while I continued to grapple. No luck. I got on all fours and peered into the keyhole - a piece of the  lock had parked itself right across the middle of the hole. What to do. My husband was out at golf and turns his phone off, and even if he came home, what could he do? Nightmare. I called my friend and neighbour who fortunately was at home and then I went over and got a scewer from her kitchen drawer. Every time I managed to move the bit that was blocking the centre of the hole, it jumped back again. By this time Hugo was fed up and my back and knees were aching. My friend ran over bearing a sharp knife. It seemed to work and with trembling fingers I pushed the key into the lock - it took a couple of hard turns but then something wonderful happened and I could open my own front door - what a relief.
The following day I spent the morning shopping in town, for five birthdays. Gift cards were purchased, boxes, cards, wrapping paper etc etc. I limped back to the car, worn out and put the shopping in the boot. But wait. Where was the bag from Boots with the gift cards, the much-needed vitamins, supplements, pain killers and cosmetics? One thing was certain, it wasn't in my hand or in the boot. My stomach was churning. I had been to so many shops that I didn't know where to begin. I was too tired to retrace my steps and the car park fee would jump another £6 if I didn't get moving.
I got home and made light of the situation to my husband who was demanding to know just how much money I had lost that morning. I sprinted up to the bedroom and rang three of the shops I'd visited. Not there. Someone was obviously having a field day, spending my gift vouchers, taking my supplements and using my make-up. Then I rang Clinton Cards. It was there, waiting for me behind the counter! Joy of joys! I've been lucky twice in two days. I don't think I'll be pushing my luck again, any time soon.

I managed to get another letter in the Times today:

Beyond the cringe
For those readers from Merseyside, Ladies’ Day at Ascot has just as many faults as the equivalent at Aintree
Sir, I can reassure Robert Crampton (Times Modern, Apr 17) that, here on Merseyside, our cringes when watching coverage of Ladies’ Day at Ascot almost equal the number of times we hide behind the settee during the same event at Aintree.
Deb Atkinson
Southport, Merseyside