Didsbury Son and I are going to Peterborough, no football is involved. This is so far east of Cineworld and Virgin Active that even Rightmove does not consider it to be M20 with great access to the airport, MediaCityUK and the thriving metropolis. We have to be there very early so it’s a school time start that has Didsbury Son in two minds. When he asked me what Peterborough was like the only three things I could think of were flat, many roundabouts, second division (or whatever it’s called now it’s the 2nd tier of … Oh don’t get me started)
He weighed up the options carefully. On the one hand, three hour drive with the promise of high salt, low nutritional value food, uninterrupted iPod/3DS and the chance of an adventure. On the other hand a dawn start, a grumpy Didsbury Dad trying to locate glasses, keys and wallet whilst Didsbury Fat cat mewls for an early breakfast followed by the potential for 3 hours about big school, trying hard and generally doing what I say, not what I do, did or have ever done – all in an enclosed space.
I searched for bonding and entertaining things we could do whilst we were there. The nearest attractions I found were Holland.
So it is our boys’ day out. It may not be white water rafting or a Futuramathon but I have promised there will be no talk about babies, he can have at least one hand down his trousers whenever we are not eating (which to be honest does not leave that much time) and he can have Capital FM on. This swung the deal. He has not realised that the signal will go within half an hour and I can get back to phone-ins, endless Assange and being angry about The Archers becoming so dull even I am hoping for some Eastenders-esque carnage.
I am really looking forward to our day out. Not the pick-up, not the early start, but more the hours of endless mooching, small talk, shared gags and pointless conversations with neither structure nor end. Since the Metrolink took out our favourite route we have been a little stuck for the kind of aimless timewasting that can be as developmentally important as a David Attenborough and shouting at live sport on television.
At some point in the next few weeks Didsbury Son will become a big brother twice over. I cannot guide him. I am the youngest in my family. He has taken the endless procession and pram talk with an openness that has been a joy to share. After an initial lip-trembling and leg-clasping reaction he is now a full member of team twins and makes plans, asks questions, gulps and cheers with the rest of us. We have practiced changing nappies on the toys and can now pick out the minutest detail on a scan picture.
Waiting for an ante-natal scan is a great leveler. All, well almost all strata of society comes through here. The really rich may have clinics with carpets and a choice of water but within the NHS it’s a sociological dream.
This could well be the nearest the British post-hippy, post-modern, post postal service digital native generation get to a summer of love.
After a climax to the football season that had more false endings than the film version of One Day, a brief May heat wave, a Jubilee that saw Buckingham Palace turn into the MEN Arena, a damp but delightful Didsbury Festival and an Olympic Games that squashed the chippiest of cynics under a medal load of good vibes and six packs what more could we ask for?
Another Hairdressers on Wilmslow Road next to a Holland & Barratt that threatens Healthy Spirit and could lead to Tofu Wars? You would be more likely to see every other pub and service station in the country open a concession for the ubiquitous Costa with tasteless coffee in a cheap red cup or see the city’s youth wearing more sky blue than red.
These are heady days filled with passion, potential and pasty faced Olympic TV addicts. Heck Danny Boyle won the Olympics and Andy Murray smiled.
But in the world of Didsbury Son there have been bigger fish to fry. Having cast off the shackles of primary school and scored a pair of Dr Dre Beats for his birthday, the Didsbury Son who squeaked blondily is less and less on show. The mornings of being woken at 5am by hopeful eyes and squeezes seem a distant joy. Didsbury Son is now last up and lopes down with a Kevin the teenager lurk not far behind him.
With twins on the way and a nursery to prepare it has made for interesting times.
The new skills Didsbury Son is developing are helpful and practical. Although he has not yet found his voice as an ex little boy, what we can hear sounds promising and… To my quiet delight; when I can prise him out from under his headphones and away from YouTube to mooch the not so mean streets on which we live- it turns out he is the same little boy, it’s just his voice is heading south on a monthly basis.