Didsburydad's Blog

From the not so mean streets of M20, blog about being a dad, Didsbury and dealing with parental confusion

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Domino’s Dancing and Step Back in Time

I had to go to Wilmslow on Monday. I am not showing off or trying to gain sympathy but Didsbury Son and I had an appointment in the cheekbone-friendly, WAG filled Cheshirery of the Wilm. As with most visits to areas of Manchester where the Trafford Centre and the A34 have killed the local shops, it made be even more aware of the diversity and independence we have nestling between M&S, the approaching Domino’s and our blue and red coffee chains.

Domino’s in Didsbury. Its slot between Earle & Ginger and Carrington’s sums up the village nicely – a thorn between two roses. It has a great view through to the back wall of Gourmet Burger King unhindered by there being anyone in there. I like GBK, there are so few open spaces left in Manchester.

I like to slowdown Didsbury Son’s enthusiastic stories and dull his senses a little by talking him through what shops used to be when I was his age. Realising that this is even less interesting than when my dad did the same to me as at least he was running around in the Blitz when shops closed down more dramatically, I carry on.

The Aldi was a bus garage. It had a bit of mystique to it as I could not see over the wall and had to guess what went on inside. When it was announced that a German cut-price supermarket was landing on the site there was NIMBY led outrage, but nothing like a credit crunch to give 29p courgettes an extra bite.

The new houses behind the village were Healds Dairy and all the houses have milk deposits in the foundations. The Fletcher Moss was the pub for the Dairy. It was The Albert then and the nearest I ever got to feeling rural. I used to find it sad that the Fletcher Moss had a sign up saying no work clothes as it seems to be unnecessarily wiping the past. But they do have a good selection of snacks so are forgiven. O’Neill’s spent years as a Save The Children Fund shop; Didsbury’s only charity shop for decades (honestly) and next to it, Caffe Rouge and whatever the pub between the closed shop and the GBK is called, was a lovely cobblestone parking and mooching bay that had been the entrance to the station where you got the train to London.

I am on the Train to London now. Two hours only and there’s a Caffe Rouge, Subway and M&S Simply Food at Euston in case I get homesick. If Evans, Folk, Fusion Deli and Blade opened up here this place could do well. Next year I can pop on the metro and be at the new media capital of Britain in 10 minutes. Next they’ll be inventing Xbox Kinect.

Now fetch me Pomfret Cake and back to the reminiscing. When I give Didsbury Son this meander through the not mean streets that we tread, he looks at me like a gentle carer with a slightly confused patient. He puts his arm around me, smiles up with big grey eyes and ignoring it all, goes straight back into some technical breakdown of Legend of Zelda that takes the same time as your average shop re-fit.

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Chris Tarrant v Jabba the Hut; a generational schism

When Didsbury Son goes into overdrive about some technical point on Zelda or begins to explain to me the difference between R2D2 and a Ford Zephyr I smile, zone out, remember to sound interested and silently thank my own Didsbury Dad. Didsbury Son is a bright and typical 10 year old. Whatever is his latest must have/see/do is endlessly fascinating and he is an expert. It also seems to have a directly negative correlation with whatever interests me.

In my mind I zoom back to the late 70s and realise how much more patient my own Didsbury Dad was compared to me. Actually he may have been able to sleep with his eyes open and put his “ooh” and “yes” on autopilot but at the time I thought he genuinely cared about 2nd Division football, what happened at break and Tiswas.

I think I give away my lack of interest too easily.

I have become expert at looking for a pause (anything from 2-20 minutes) and diving in to distract him with a cheap gag, shiny object or task to complete. Then that fantastic middle class guilt kicks in and I feel bad for not being able to feign interest, or better still join in and care about Clone Wars. In my mind the West Didsbury Dads of Freyas and Archies are on their hands and knees on their polished wooden floors re-enacting the battle between Manequin Moonwalker and Shabba the Hut or singing along to Glee, whilst I offer Didsbury Son 50p to go to the shop and buy some sweets or ask him to finish his homework.

However, this guilt, indifference and avoidance does have its upside. On the rare occasion our interests collide, the homework is done and 5Live is quietened there is magic. Magic in a slouching, hands on snacks, eyes on TV, snuggled up in one corner of the couch kind of magic.

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Didsbury is closed, give generously

January in Didsbury. The last of the Wensleydale with Cranberry is on special offer at The Cheese Hamlet. Snipers stalk Gourmet Burka King in the forlorn hope of customers to snipe at and East Didsbury is closed until February half-term.

Wing mirrors have had to leave the north to find work

 

On the Bo-Ho Westside there are offers that translate as “guilty about trying to detox like everyone else? Still pretending you are young and your liver and laughter lines can cope? Spend money here on drink you don’t want and food you can’t stomach – free staff member with each order (PAYE not included).”

Let’s be honest. We are northerners and it’s January. We love moaning and this is a slush fest for our empty accounts, creaking knees and high energy bills.

Celebrate the dark starts and leaden skies. When we have that 90 degree day in June you will pine for the “is it actually daytime” retro pit-pony feel of January. Revel in the lack of dilemma. You cannot afford it, you don’t need it, you don’t really want it. It just fills that need for instant gratification that reaches a crescendo around New Years Day.

Didsbury in January. I have a full diary, a tired Didsbury Son, an empty wallet and Ranitidine in the cupboard; perfect.

A large cat considers the credit crunch

The Ultimate Guide to Happiness and Fulfilment – 25 Ways to make your life better

A Miniature Pinscher looks forward to 2012

Having fought as hard as he could, Didsbury Son finally gave up and went to sleep on the night before school started. He is actually looking forward to returning. That took me back to my school days. Anyone over the age of 20 who tells you they enjoyed school is lying. My greatest joy was a note getting me off games on a Wednesday. My greatest achievement was learning how to do my make-up in the girls’ toilet. The 80s, we backcombed our way through that recession.
My inbox, all magazines and conversations are full of good intentions; positive thinking, and adjectives. Every guide, guru and geek has a plan for success now it’s the New Year. On January 1st I felt inspired, 2nd it was mildly irritating and exhortation on the 3rd to “grasp the sweet nettle of challenge and climb the mountain of productivity” has me reaching for the carbs, and negativity that I had resolved to give up.

So here are my top tips for a fulfilled 2012 topped up with health, wealth and happiness.
1. Save the Sausage Sandwich for the weekend. There is a Polish saying “the sausage is not for the dog” or for Monday –Friday. Whether it’s a Didsbury Village Farm shop barm or a Herb and Brie Art of Tea breakfast – don’t sneak one in on a school day.

2. Delegate – If Didsbury Son craves adult style independence then he should be granted that wish. School uniform preparation, bag packing and washing up can all be delegated easily with straight face as requested.

3. Live with An Attitude of Gratitude: as the rain lashes the street and you are out before the sun has risen. As the pinhead on minimum age makes you seethe; as Didsbury Son comes back from a friend’s house with specific anatomical questions just smile and thank the universe for the joy of dilemma.

4. Remember Rupert: His minions hacked the phones, his wife stopped him taking a custard pie in the face but thanks to him you are never more than 36 hours from a live football game in January.

5. Look to the future. This time next year I can get on a metro less than 2 minutes from home and be at the airport to pretend to fly somewhere warm.

6. Beware Get Rich Quick: Playing the lottery does not give you an investment portfolio.

7. Count your blessings. If you can get to three then take break, have a brew and relax. You have had a productive day.

8. If you break your resolutions then there is always next year.

9. If you run out ideas, be good to yourself and stop.

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