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

Monday, 23 July 2012


I had my 30th letter published by the Times on Saturday. This time about something that drives me (literally I think) mad!

Sir, I can’t see any reason to single out the Fylde coast when it comes to missing apostrophes. St Albans, St Andrews and St Helens all deserve similar treatment, not to mention Earls Court, Harrods, Queens Park Rangers, Reuters and Crufts.
None of them makes me “grrr” but when I saw a supermarket advertising the local paper with a sign “new’s and view’s” I exploded (although not “literally”).
Deb Atkinson
Southport, Merseyside

A couple of months ago we set aside a week which we would keep free from commitments so that we could jet off somewhere hot if the weather here was still dismal. The weather was still dismal but somehow we managed to talk ourselves out of jetting off to warmer climes and opted instead for a two day break in Derbyshire and one day in North Wales!

We visited Hardwick Hall and Chatsworth House while in Derbyshire as well as the pudding shop.

Hardwick Hall

I'd wanted to see Chatsworth after watching the television series, and it more than lived up to expectations. The trouble was there was just far too much to look at - paintings and tapestries covering every wall, painted ceilings in almost every room, fantastic four-posters, gorgeous dining tables, libraries and books galore. Well before we'd finished our tour I was just keeping my eyes straight ahead, because if I looked right, left or upwards I would get caught up in more beautiful objects that I'd want to know all about - and there just WASN'T TIME! 

We stayed at Hassop Hall, which was a treat in itself.

We were told when we arrived that breakfast would be served in our room. After asking a few questions later on, we discovered that most guests looked on this as a treat! Not me! Too much like a nursing home treat for my liking, so we asked if we could have our breakfast in the dining room. We must be decidedly odd because we were the only guests to opt for that. In the morning, while waiting for breakfast, we sat by the log fire in the magnificent hallway reading complimentary papers and were offered a pot of freshly brewed coffee. Then we were led through to a fantastically cosy dining room, full of polished panelling and antiques. Our table, next to the window,  was set with starched white linen, a jug of fresh orange juice and a vase of shocking pink roses. We overlooked the magnificent grounds while we enjoyed crispy warm croissants, local bacon and sausages. How can that compare to breakfast in a bedroom with an unmade bed and suitcases?

Our day in North Wales was made up of a visit to Bodnant Gardens and Swallow Falls. We love Bodnant but have always been in April/May. This visit was a bit of a disappointment because the vibrant colours of spring and early summer have been replaced by mainly green! Although the blue hydrangeas were a picture. And quite a novelty for us because our Southport soil/sand turns ours pink.

Swallow Falls never fails to capture my imagination. There's something very thought-cleansing and refreshing about waterfalls and I could have stood and watched the water for hours. It is a constant source of wonder and mystery to me where all this water comes from - millions of gallons of the stuff day in day out - never stopping. Our younger son even asked the question of a Cambridge professor for me and brought me the answer but it still doesn't make sense to me.

Oscar and Hugo have now broken up for their summer holidays so on one of our last days with them we went to Windmill Farm, where children can mingle with the animals. Actually, we needn't have paid the entry fee because Oscar was more than happy just to mingle with Boots, the giant Newfoundland who was wandering the car park.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on letter no 30. I had no idea that you had had so many published and I did see it this time.

    You saw some interesting places on your travels but it is so disappointing when the weather is bad for our holidays.