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 “May, 2013”

The Giddy Goatgate

Since I started this blog I have suffered several personal threats. Most of them have come from Didsbury Wife regarding the difference between honesty in writing and telling the world our personal issues (am I the only man in the world who believes Lorraine Kelly should be Prime Minister?).
I have unwittingly made a few non friends. I think Gourmet Burger Kitchen might get fed up of me pointing out that most of their furniture is pristine from lack of use and Carringtons once got very shirty. But beyond this I have been lucky enough to only have had three twitter rages come after me.
I once had someone suggest that my research on Didsbury in the 70s / 80s was not always up to scratch. Research? What I can’t remember is all made up. I haven’t got time to research, sterilising bottles and praying for sleep fill most of my day. I had a Scunthorpe United fan living in Sale with an anti-Didsbury thing going on sniping from the sidelines (they’ve been relegated, Schadenfreude my favourite German dish after Steffi Graff and Bratwurst) but now comes an animalistic outburst; threats, from a goat. Not just any goat but The Giddy Goat itself.

The Giddy Goat - stepping up in the world

The Giddy Goat – stepping up in the world

One of Didsbury’s anomalies is that its pavements rumble to the sound of the Bugaboo and City Jogger army, but its centre is full of shops that have a step too high for a pram and a door that will not take a double buggy. Caffe Nero is mummy central because its gentle slope doorway accommodates buggies effortlessly and there are two changing tables. This is why they can charge a month’s rent for breakfast – you can get your people vehicles in without waking the contents, priceless. This can’t be said for swathes of the traders, including our favourite toy shop… The Giddy Goat.
This Didsbury Deli (easy access, wide door, needs changing facilities) of toy shops is an affordable and affable joy – the inverse of a soulless schlep around Toys R Us… But only if you can get in.

I have been warned not to diss the shop. Warned that there may be a playdoh goats head in my bed.Told Mr Potato Head would sort me out, that the Lego Star Wars fighter jets would find me, that the staff would help bring the twins in; but that ruined the story.

Your Goatness. I have read Billy Goats Gruff, taken Didsbury Son to stroke goats in fields across the country and eaten delicious goat curry after many a night out so your message hit home.

Brad Pitt wears a goattee, not a goat

Brad Pitt wears a goattee, not a goat

 

Goat Curry, delicious

Goat Curry, delicious

The Mighty-Headed twin boy with the full body laugh and the awkwardly Aryan hair is already taking his first tentative steps across the living room floor. He whoops with joy at steps that still have the stiffness last seen by Kenneth Moore as Douglas Bader in rehab in “Reach for the Skies” but soon he will walk. Then his pearl-headed smiley twin sister, all toothless grin and happy concentration will walk. Steps will become racing around the house. This will lead us outside and eventually, after months of effort we will walk heads held high up the step in to Giddy Goat Toys. I will crouch down to speak to them at eye level and tell them “you have achieved greatness, choose anything you want”. I will smile proudly then realise my mistake and shout after them “up to £5, its not a big present”.

 

goat

20130523-080356.jpg

The twins – Giddy Goat style. Pearl-headed girl in pink, Mighty big bonce in blue. Available from our favourite Goat

More Metrolink Musings,more hairdressers

If you build it they will come. They being Toni & Guy.

Just when you thought that the saturation levels of hairdressers in Didsbury had reached a level where only a convention for the Hirsuite could service this scissor-wielding infestation, it becomes a possibility.

Manchester has a Northern Quarter, a Gay Village, Chinatown, The Linen Quarter (it’s real) and The Curry Mile. Manchester City have disappeared so far up their own fundament that they call their football ground Metrolink stop “The Etihad Campus” (they offer a range of courses including entry level practical courses such as finding the meat in the hotdog, to advanced choreography with your back to the pitch). We have a re-invention of Ancoats as New Islington so why can’t Didsbury be The Snipping Quarter. We missed out on the large Hadron Collider (see last year’s blogs) but we have everything you need culturally (including Subway) to be a hairdressing tourist destination local.

It began as a tiny vision

It began as a tiny vision

IMG_1036.JPG (2)D

untilour village centre was full of Hi-Vis jacckets - bring it on

until our village centre was full of Hi-Vis jackets – bring it on

Didsbury has its own cultural season starting with Didsbury Festival and ending in West Fest. We have the al fresco cafe experience coming to Didsbury Park and nightly on the pavement next to The Nelson. Chains and indies welcome you to eat and drink away and we have our own university, twins club, sporting facilities and massage parlour. This is before the opportunity of a casino night out, the echo of the empty Gourmet Burger King or the chance to park your Gondola outside Cibo and enjoy a Venetian experience.  e also have Wilkinson’s – the original mode forMr Benn’s shop and Pete’s Pockets. If you break it they will fix.
We need this. There is an empty shop on School Lane where Nest moved to the village. Sweaty Betty’s chippy shop (RIP) on Barlow Moor Road will one day be refurbed which means at least two more hairdressers in Didsbury. If Toni & Guy or John and Yates ever fall out there could be more hairdressers. By 2016 we could have a hairdresser on every street corner from Parrs Wood to Burton Road.

We will need metros full of hairy tourists to fill their faux leather chairs and keep the small talk going.
10 years ago banks and estate agents ruled the roost, then came the charity shops but now we are the snipping quarter – this is no place for the bald.

He is only 7 months old and already has hairdressers stopping him in the streets

He is only 7 months old and already has hairdressers stopping him in the streets

It’s Metrolink week in Didsbury

The Metrolink is coming, not in some distant future with a Star Trek type date. “Captains Log 2.73 Donkey 48. Didsbury Son is now a grandfather and the metro will be here soon”, but on Thursday.

I am genuinely excited and we have planned a family trip on the bright yellow horse. We may go to Bury market to try boiled black pudding (my choice), we may go to Chorlton to see a Morison’s supermarket as we only have Tesco (3), Co-op, Aldi and M&S in Didsbury Heck, we may even go to Droylsden to get a flavour of Tameside.

Many years ago; pre Didsbury children, Didsbury wife, the millennium and even David Beckham I used to make a twice weekly trek to Droylsden. Before my dreams of a Bafta turned to dreams of a shed and a lock on the bathroom door, I dreamed of pop stardom. In those heady bouffant days Droylsden’s finest rehearsal rooms, with a panoramic view of the M67 was my Abbey Road. The rooms were dark, the place stank and we fitted in well. Now, a double decade on I can share this creative cul-de-sac with my loved ones without having to work out whether Belle Vue, then Hyde Road is quicker than the M60. This is the stuff that makes dreaming and scheming worthwhile.

The Metrolink has taken the finest father-son mooching territory in the city. The old railway track was a magical land of fallen trees and iffy graffiti. Here, a tiny Didsbury Son and I bonded, shared secrets and saw the world evolve on the way down to a Saturday morning sausage from Tesco whilst Didsbury Wife had a rare lie-in.

Whenever we head past the shiny new track I fill up thinking about my squeaky-voiced little boy and counting my blessings that I have two more goes.

We can now all slide down the slope by the scout hut to the platform. Didsbury Son can retreat behind his Beats and into his iPod, I can tell the twins the same stories and jokes I shared so conspiratorially with him, recycling them as we circumnavigate the city between feeds. This is the dad’s role.

By 2016 we will be able to go from Didsbury to the airport on the Metro (look at me using slang from Didsboire – the M20th Arrondisiment pour Le Metro). 2016? By then we will be living on Mars, eating capsules, Wall-E will be Prime Minister and I will be entertaining The Mighty-Headed boy with the pull my finger trick as we metro about.

20130519-123623.jpg

Metro metro men. I wanna join the Metro Men.

20130520-203816.jpg

How Didsbury Can Save The World (ish)

Paul McCartney duped Stevie Wonder into singing Ebony and Ivory. One of the world’s greatest songwriters let his English mate talk him into making music for frisky pensioners to hum salaciously into each others’ hearing aids? Muzak to change the world? It was a lovely message; piano keys as metaphor for race relations. It was so bland it could have been served to newborn babies without fear of reflux.

ImageStevie Wonder smiling at being infallible – before Paul

Tolerance, understanding and cultural diversity are the positive roots of a society. I even have friends and family who openly choose to live in North Manchester and I once shopped at Lidl.

I was thinking about this as I listened to the morning news on the radio whilst changing and feeding the Mighty-Headed boy and his pearl topped sister. There was a slurry of manipulation, mal-intent and bigotry followed by the sports news containing cricket and tennis. Both depressed me.

Image Not playing tennis

Summer sports bring out the worst, we are not cut out for them in Britain – the Olympics was the exception, not the rule. Cricket only works if you drink heavily and after once seeing The Chuckle Brothers spend two hours saying “To Me”, “To You” it struck me; this is tennis without grunting. I looked sadly down at my little gifts. Not only is there strife and war globally, but the football season’s nearly over and weekends without the droning blah of 5Live stretch out before me with only Didsbury Festival to interrupt the countdown to pre-season friendlies.

My own Didsbury Grandfather, a tree-hugging, teetotal, animal loving pragmatist taught me his key tenets of life. Be good to your family, don’t drink black coffee, look after the animals and… deep down everybody is Jewish. This eclectic mix of pre-Californian hippy, businessman and family man was heady. It probably underpins my view that all Obama, Annan, Putin et al need to solve the crises in The Middle East, The West and the England central defence is to sit down with Chicken Soup, lockshen and alkies (with maybe a little chopped liver and pickled cucumber for the late night sessions). They should think what their mothers would say and if Paul McCartney can earn millions from Ebony and Ivory and believe its a driver for world peace then there is hope for all of us.

Image The key to world peace. The bigger the kneidlch the better the chance of peace.

If it doesn’t work I can at least retreat to my bubble where, for the immediate future, no matter the state of my hair, there are two gummy mouths smiling and four arms flapping with uncoordinated joy as I walk in with their morning bottle and sleeping next door, there is one Didsbury Son who will still laugh at my old jokes.

Wales: where are your changing tables?

The Didsbury family are all safely home from our trip to Wales. I like Wales. Parts of the North Wales and stop-offs on the journey home are so good they are almost like Didsbury; but with narrower roads, early closing, less choice, grey brick, no Cheese Hamlet and proper Welsh Cakes.

Wales, like Scotland with a less impenetrable accent, like Cornwall without Rick Stein pushing his haddock at you day night and… to overuse the word “like”, like a family holiday without facilities.

I am not Walesist, some of my best friends are Welsh (to paraphrase the “people” who voted UKIP).

Sunday afternoon was a perfect example. The journey from Didsbury was punctuated by stops at a range of cafes and hotels. Each stop met with friendly incredulity at the request for a baby change. Our pleas seemed as outrageous as having pram access to a toy shop ( Giddy Goat Toys, let us in).

I have been spoiled in M20. Caffe Nero has two changing tables (knowing its clientele well), Didsbury Lounge may drag you up spiral stairs but when you get there it’s worth it and even the independent Didsbury Deli is promising a changing station soon – I keep checking and the antipasti just arrives at my table, that’s my excuse.

This lack of facilities led to Didsbury Wife and I putting our knees and backs through unseemly hard floor, cubicle changes that were like going swimming in the 70s. The babies have spent so much time on toilet floors being changed by a tired and sweary dad they thought they were in a Ken Loach film about Wales in the 50s
(*Read the following Oscar worthy dialogue in ‘Nessa from Gavin & Stacey accent).
“We ‘ad to keep movin’ see – no place to sleep and a toilet to change the babbies mind.”

Anyway it is back to Sunday afternoon 3.45pm. One of those magical family outings that began in indifference and spiralled quickly into antipathy. I had a car full. One angry, one bored, two needing a change. Then, Nirvana. Cliff side location, beatific panorama and inside it got better. WiFi for Didsbury Son. A safe heaven and a good choice of refreshment for Didsbury Wife and, whisper it quietly – Sky Sports 1 cued up for Super Sunday and they took cards.

I grasped the wary family to my bosom and charged in. I was new man and ready to change a Mighty Headed boy whose nappy was threatening to emigrate.

I spent the next 20 minutes balancing him one-handed between basin and blower as we recreated our cubicle scene one more time.

We left the pub with friends, a new happiness and pong-free babies; but Wales, it’s 2013. there is no need for a fancy refurb, just a bit of fold-down plastic attached to a wall. Your resorts are full of young families and more importantly, I have two more years of nappies.

20130506-165842.jpg

Just out of shot: Gareth Bale, Ivor The Engine and Alex Jones open the Welsh Assembly’s new changing facilities

The Didsbury family are all safely home from our trip to Wales. I like Wales. Parts of the North Wales and stop-offs on the journey home are so good they are almost like Didsbury; but with narrower roads, early closing, less choice, grey brick, no Cheese Hamlet and proper Welsh Cakes.

Wales, like Scotland with a less impenetrable accent, like Cornwall without Rick Stein pushing his haddock at you day night and… to overuse the word “like”, like a family holiday without facilities.

I am not Walesist, some of my best friends are Welsh (to paraphrase the “people” who voted UKIP).

Sunday afternoon was a perfect example. The journey from Didsbury was punctuated by stops at a range of cafes and hotels. Each stop met with friendly incredulity at the request for a baby change. Our pleas seemed as outrageous as having pram access to a toy shop ( Giddy Goat Toys, let us in).

I have been spoiled in M20. Caffe Nero has two changing tables (knowing its clientele well), Didsbury Lounge may drag you up spiral stairs but when you get there it’s worth it and even the independent Didsbury Deli is promising a changing station soon – I keep checking and the antipasti just arrives at my table, that’s my excuse.

This lack of facilities led to Didsbury Wife and I putting our knees and backs through unseemly hard floor, cubicle changes that were like going swimming in the 70s. The babies have spent so much time on toilet floors being changed by a tired and sweary dad they thought they were in a Ken Loach film about Wales in the 50s
(*Read the following Oscar worthy dialogue in ‘Nessa from Gavin & Stacey accent).
“We ‘ad to keep movin’ see – no place to sleep and a toilet to change the babbies mind.”

Anyway it is back to Sunday afternoon 3.45pm. One of those magical family outings that began in indifference and spiralled quickly into antipathy. I had a car full. One angry, one bored, two needing a change. Then, Nirvana. Cliff side location, beatific panorama and inside it got better. WiFi for Didsbury Son. A safe heaven and a good choice of refreshment for Didsbury Wife and, whisper it quietly – Sky Sports 1 cued up for Super Sunday and they took cards.

I grasped the wary family to my bosom and charged in. I was new man and ready to change a Mighty Headed boy whose nappy was threatening to emigrate.

I spent the next 20 minutes balancing him one-handed between basin and blower as we recreated our cubicle scene one more time.

We left the pub with friends, a new happiness and pong-free babies; but Wales, it’s 2013. there is no need for a fancy refurb, just a bit of fold-down plastic attached to a wall. Your resorts are full of young families and more importantly, I have two more years of nappies.

20130506-165317.jpg

Early Morning and the sun is not even threatening the flags

It is 5.25am and there is rare quiet and calm in the house. It may seem unfeasible to be up by choice now, but time is precious and in a busy house with children, on an almost sunny spring day, this is magic.

The sun is coming up over the Metrolink station and the waft of Lynx seeps under Didsbury Son’s door and throughout the house. In 5000 years the Lynx particles (which have an ability to hang around pungently in a manner that makes kippers envious) will carbon date Didsbury Son to the month. This is the post-Primary pre-Hollyoaks phase. A confusing time when joyous childhood easiness makes a last stand before the inevitable rise of the surlies.

This is the last night of the fair. By the big wheel generator, a boy is stabbed and his money is grabbed and the air hangs heavy like a. Wait, sorry that’s The Smiths, I had a flashback through the glinting sun back to the 80s.

The Mighty-Headed twin boy, whose spherical bounce is a source of both pride and wonder to me is flat out. His hands look poised to conduct and his lips purse, ready for the 6.30 kisses, changing, tickles and bottle. The pearly topped presence in the next cot down is purring and there is a hint of a smile as she sighs happily towards the edge of sleep. All 3 blessings counted I make myself a mug of tea just how I like it, safe in the knowledge this is the only drink in the next 24 hours I will be able to finish whilst its still hot.

The sound of the suburbs waking up fills my senses. The fretful mothers who feigned religious observance to get the “right” primary school for free dream of getting into illegal without being asked to move their 4x4s. The Karma Sutran staff sleep and hope their dreams will have a happy ending and in Cibo they wonder if the Venetian influence in their restaurant will be enough to see off the Didsbury Loungerians or No. 4’s small but perfectly formed army.

The village wakes up slowly. Deliveries, cleaning, early workers then schoolchildren. Bottles are banked near The Fletcher Moss and Didsbury’s 3000 hair snippers ponder where everyone will be going on holidays.

As the time slips by I have only one dilemma. Do I go and wake the twins to keep them in their routine? Or do I make myself toast and marmalade, proper coffee and sit in the garden to bask in the rays, safe in the absolute certainty that the moment I have laid out a slice of heaven on a plate the first waah will tumble down the stairs and my next view of breakfast will be of coffee with a skin so thick it could wrap around a Rhino.

20130503-080343.jpg

A head.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: