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

Monday, 25 June 2012


Although we enjoyed The Jersey Boys, we were quite disappointed that most of the songs we knew and loved were abbreviated to fit them into the show. So when I saw that the real thing - Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons - were coming to this country, there was no question about it, we were going to see them. And see them we did on Saturday in a never-to-be-forgotten concert in the courtyard of Hampton Court Palace. One of the best live acts we've ever witnessed. Hit after hit after hit and unlike Bob Dylan, whose voice has deteriorated beyond recognition, Frankie Valli's was every bit as good as it was all those years ago. "Dawn" "Oh What A Night" "Sherry" "Beggin" "Walk Like A Man" - and scores of others were belted out and by the end bof the evening, even though the heavens had opened and everyone was soaked to the skin, we were all on our feet for a dance.

The more hardy enjoyed summer picnics with champagne under the cover of some magnificent trees on the lawns leading down to the river.

Saturday, 23 June 2012


As long as The Times sees fit to publish them, I'll keep sending them in........


British Bouquet

Although good to see wheat included in the Olympic bouquets, it would have represented the British countryside more to use oilseed rape

Sir, Although I am pleased to see that Jane Packer is including wheat in the 4,400 bouquets to be presented to winning Olympics competitors (“Winning numbers”, Daily Universal Register, June 22), might not oilseed rape flowers have better represented the British countryside?
Deb Atkinson
Southport, Merseyside

Friday, 22 June 2012


We wanted to squeeze in another visit to Borrowby Mill in the Yorkshire Dales, before it appears on Channel Four's "Three in a Bed" programme this summer, by which time the world and his wife will want to stay there. It didn't disappoint and for £60 a night we were treated to the most beautiful bedroom overlooking fantastic countryside and cottage flowers, a breakfast of fresh strawberries served on a silver salver, home-made marmalade in a crystal jar and locally produced sausages, bacon and eggs.

We were only there for a couple of days but managed to visit a couple of lovely National Trust properties - Beningborough Hall with its delightful grounds

and Fountains Abbey which was a bit of a hike with a gammy knee, but well worth the pain....

We had a delicious lunch (I think - see below!) of hot pork and apple sandwiches  sitting by the river in the grounds of the Dawnay Arms

and feasted our eyes on the floral decorations that seem so healthy in this part of the world

It was a lovely, sunny couple of days that did us both good. But I won't be truly happy until I can sniff a rose and smell something, or distinguish between a bowl of curry and a grilled plaice! For two weeks I have had no sense of taste or smell whatsoever and when, last Sunday, I could hear sizzling from a pan, I was amazed to see that the vegetables had boiled dry and were completely burnt. Even standing over the pan I couldn't smell the acrid smoke. So that, together with an ear abcess which I can only hear through by almost touching the floor with my head (while my embarrassed husband walks quickly on)  has made me feel a bit sorry for myself. I'll certainly appreciate good health when (or if) it returns!

Oscar has a real little friend in his baby brother, Hugo. Oscar was having a bit of a tantrum this week and 13 month-old-Hugo went over and hugged him - and wouldn't stop hugging him until he'd stopped crying! Long may it last.