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 day “June 8, 2013”

Didsbury Festival – The Final Countdown

The camp fires are being dowsed and there is a heart-shaped, flower-strewn, luvved-up vibe in Didsbury. CavFest, WestFest, Chorlton the gauntlet is down. Didsbury Festival rides into the sunset with a cleared park and bleary eyes.

The stroll back through post-festival Didsbury was fascinating. The Chinese Crested dogs won my heart. Outside The Crown a man in a grey vest is trying to offer free hugs to passers by, egged on by afternoon beer friends. The response veers from amused and occasionally enthusiastic to scared or dismissive.

The sun and the stalls have brought out the greatest variety of style and middle aged man squeezed into Blue Harbour shorts since last year. Pasty legs and horizontal stripes are the male uniform of choice. Didsbury still hosts a colony of Goths. Not sure if they are Emperor or Gentu but they shuffled in a miserable, sweaty and pale pack before going to be ironic elsewhere.

Now it feels like Didsbury needs a nap. Didsbury Son is slumped on the couch with the Mighty Headed twin staring at him adoringly. My take on his pre-teen Development is dwarfed by the adoration of his baby brother and sister. He is sugar, E number and Climbing Walled out. In many ways this has been his greatest festival ever. Friends, food and attitude – the perfect festival experience.

Didsbury Son releases the Official Didsbury Eyecare balloon to signal that 2014 Didsbury Festival will be back and exactly the same next year.

The Holt Pavillion. Didsbury Lounge in the Park

This much I know. Coming out without the changing bag, whatever the shortness of your escapade is tantamount to daring your baby to fill their nappy.

Hence I am sitting in the Holt Pavillion, Didsbury’s newest caffe in the park, with a mug of tea and the pearl-headed girl. Didsbury Wife is stretching nose and tricep popping back to change Mighty-Headed boy who took the challenge and won.

The New Holt Pavillion is lovely but this is no Arabaca threat to the Nero, Costa or the independents in the village. This is a £1 cup of tea in support of an Elderly Community Project. It’s lovely but I am hankering after a flat white. Mmmmmmm overpriced coffee in huge cups.

The sun is still shining, the guy with the microphone is still Stephen Fry without wit; Amongst other oratorical failings and the champion Didsbury Dog is marking its territory.

A good year for the festival, the Didsbury Traders and the groups of polite pre-teenagers lurking aimlessly in the corners of the park.

Pram Jams in Didsbury Park

I decided to try and blog live from the year’s Didsbury Festival. So far I’ve patted 31 dogs, seen ex friends, hairdressers and made a couple of new ones. I’ve had weak tea, overpriced cake, been a bit sticky and enjoyed the bonhomie.

The problem with blogging live at Didsbury Festival is that its beauty is its repetition. Each year is like the last. The parade is a chance to wave to neighbours, the host in the park is excruciatingly naff, the dog show is fantastic and the best food is home-cooked curry.

The experience adapts to the age of child you are with and the size of crowd is dictated by the weather but it is as much fun each year. I love it. Didsbury Wife and son love it and the twins have had a shoulder high, stranger cuddling, sunscreen of a day.

The pram jam on Gilbrook Road was a lovely way for the Ice Cream van to cover M20’s babies in exhaust fumes but we are back for a change, feed and drink before we head back for round 2



Dog Day afternoon

In a scene straight from Caligula it was obedience this, sniff that, sit, speigh and lie down as the Dog Show reached a crescendo. A dozen different Freyas and Archies cried into the groomed necks of their springers as the winners strutted through.

The Brichon has 3rd , the hairy brown one 2nd and honestly. No 69, a Chocolate Lab wins.

Just the grand final to go.

Didsbury Festival Live & Direct from the cake stall

The Parade has passed. They say you never forget your first festival but at 8 months, it may be a festival remembered digitally for the twins. It straggled its way hopefully down Wilmslow Road as though we had been invaded and told only take Boden and White Company with them.

I missed the Belly Dancers this year, Madame Whatever’s hopeful forty something’s usually make the day but this year… We were usurped.

There they were at the front of the parade THE TRIPLETS. Sitting there, cutely looking beautiful whilst all adults eyed looked on in awe at the parents. A running joke with Didsbury Son is to see a single pram, look at each other and mouth “easy”, but triplets, you need faith and more.

The Cat Protection League have won best stall. The cakes are tasty but phenomenally priced and its half an hour to the dog show…

We’ve just been door stepped by Didsbury Arts Festival. If it kicks off I’ll let you know.


Dads – Know Your Place

Being a dad is not always a natural and easy job. Raising children for us is a series of incidents. Some of these are life-affirming wonderful moments such as that first skin-to-skin, the first time they make their own breakfast and the first time you realise they are all asleep and you can have a cup of tea and stroke the cat in peace.

Some stretch you more than you can imagine. That school concert that clashes with an advert you’ve only seen once or the quick thinking strategy required when a nappy has burst like a dam in a storm and the wipes are just out of reach. As babies grow to children women have three basic advantages over men. First, with regard to child rearing they are innately better at pretty much every aspect. Kids may love their dads but they need their mums and from everything beginning with why a gripe at 3am needs a bottle to why the vagueness of a year 7 memory should be ignored on an exam day I, and most dads know their place.

Secondly, in a greater percentage of women is that maternal gene for reproduction that men are often unable to comprehend. Once we join the club it makes sense but it seems a bit like talking about a PHD when you are doing your GCSEs.

The third axis of maternal is the ability to forget. Once Didsbury Son (lovely, easy-going, barely a tantrum) cranked through the gears of childhood I spent many hours watching, remembering and cringing as my own see-through childhood bleating and blagging was laid out before me. I finally appreciated just how patient my own Didsbury mum and dad really were. Didsbury Son is hampered by my memory of being his own age and knowing there would always be more mileage in going to my mum. The cycle plays on.

If the women ever learn to teach and enjoy pull my finger / burp on demand or see the unending comedy in wearing pants on your head we may as well head for our own Jurassic Park.

Having twin babies is a little like being in a soap storyline. You miss a week of Corrie or Eastenders and when you switch back on the story has moved along so quickly you spend the episode thinking how? When? What? Really? I am back from 5 days away in a port city with no decent coffee shops but an accent that made me feel I was an extra in The Archers, my lovely. The change is ferocious. My mighty headed baby boy has two teeth coming through and enough hair to have bed head syndrome when he wakes up. On Skype they sat upright on the bed eagerly chewing toys, but this morning their independence in sitting, rise in appetite and the pearl-headed girl’s insistence that the morning baby porridge be low-carb were a frightening vision forward.

From Midday… Live blogging from The Didsbury Festival and tweeting from @didsburydadblog
Please join in the carnival as I try and find a quiet corner on my own

The Jumparoo, preparing for the 2028 Olympics.

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