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 “October, 2013”

Magic Moments, Communal Living and Football

No Privacy but a little bit of Shmaltz

A few years ago I was cash rich and progeny poor. A close friend with three children confided in me.
“There is no hiding place. Once you get home personal space is a Defunct concept.” I nodded with feigned understanding, thinking of the morning I had planned doing… Nothing. They carried on “This morning I had to shut the bathroom door and shout – going to the toilet is not a spectator sport, please leave me alone” for some reason this story stayed in my head. As my Didsbury garden grew with Didsbury Son and then sprouted spectacularly with Mighty-Headed Boy and Pearl-Topped girl it moves from story to prophesy.

In the morning, the crawling-cruising-walking the landing leads to two tottering babies trying to gatecrash the shower and Didsbury Son’s reluctant school preparation. This Dystopian future is my present. The only practical lock here is on a stair gate.

It is a 24 hour cycle of pre-teen identity, post-feed teething trauma and trying to separate Science homework from primary coloured puzzles. There is no let-up. We play tag when work or European football calls but International games, nothing. There are plenty of laughs, but it is constant in a way that even my male-tuned football obsession finds hard to comprehend._

Within this 24-Hour cycle that breeds grey hairs and furrowed foreheads faster than a filled nappy, there are Little House on the Prairie moments. Snatches of soppy, eye-wetting pureness that are more soothing than the Pethidine strength drugs I will need to correct the damage lively twins can do to a spine looking backwards to. 39.

In my life I can think of 3 such moments of pure bliss. The first happened in a previous century when after many many years I witnessed a first and long-awaited Wembley victory. Groping teary-eyed through my Malibu-drenched psyche I sidestepped the pre-Didsbury Wife attachment to sloppily hug my equally clueless friend as we mumbled ecstasies. As we snuggled our then partners prepared their exit strategies.

The second seems a finger click away to me but was with a little Didsbury Son. I awoke one Saturday morning to find my little blondini inches away from my face, waiting patiently for my eyes to twitch open. It was simple and the most beautiful site. The look of delight on his face was far more than I deserved and altered my perception of reality far more than a lost weekend at a festival in 1987.

The third was last night. A combination of teething and tiredness had taken my little pearl-topped girl beyond soothing. She howled from the utterly safe arms of Didsbury Wife and, grasping for sleep she caught my eye. I looked at her wide-open and wide-eyed and realised how lucky I am.

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Didsbury Village – an Autumn update

Sometimes I wander through the not so mean streets of M20 and think how lucky I am to live in an area with parks and metros, Neros and Airy Fairy Cupcakes. An area so awash with old and new community that there is an acceptance of the vagaries of life.

@Craftwords pointed out to me that the evolution of Estate Agency. Look and learn world, Estate Agents took the sea to land leap here in 2013. Darwin, Attenborough ( David not Richard), Dawkins ( Richard) your guys took a hell of a beating; looks uncannily as though it was designed after a Genius Bar appointment in any Apple Shop. I think there is a touch of Vision Express meets JP & Brimelow in the design and colour scheme, a touch of Tron in the marketing and a gorgeous spicy smell from being underneath The Sangam. I would buy it, but Didsbury Wife thinks it’s not child-friendly.

In Village news- Nido continues to defy the laws of economics and stays open. If you have fallen out with anyone and need a good row over dinner, there’s plenty of room to eat and say the unsayable without being overheard.
Jaanum, once Elite Deli where the bagels were crispy, the salmon smoky and the service rude enough to evoke New York, has gone. I liked the guy who worked there. He was friendly and cooed at the babies and Inwish him well, but let’s be honest, you wouldn’t eat there.

There are more changes in Warburton Street, Didsbury’s very own Northern Quarter. The wonderful Wendy J Levy gallery is closing before the end of the year. Wendy is carrying on, but we are losing our cultural centre. I thought that the glint from all the Pandora jewellery in Harriet & Dee was too much BUT No, Wendy is off to work shopless by choice; a rare gift.

In moves similar to the final hours of the transfer window, Ashley Brown ‘s magnificently maned team are taking over the ground floor (allegedly),. ShopCatLaura v Ashley Brown’s Dog, bring it on. A new Deli is opening in their space and upstairs at Wendy’s will be a support group for people who invested in Nido or the Japanese restaurant that filled the space, if not the tables in the building, now Zizzi, that will always be The Old Grey Horse.

Now over to Didsbury Son for the weather…

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So good I snapped it twice.

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My mighty-headed warrior took the news about Wendy J Levy gallery shutting with sanguine style and went back to CBeebies.

I write this hoping that nothing bad has happened to the lovely old Jack Russell at Ashley Brown.

Next installment. The twins take over The Holt Pavillion.

This much I know: I like Bonfire Night not Halloween

As I sail so far past 39.9999 years old that I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall whenever I hear “Voodoo Ray”. As I realise that playing The Cocteau Twins to Didsbury Son is as relevant as my Didsbury Dad describing Vera Lynn as a cracker, this much I know.

SPARE THE CALPOL – SPOIL THE CHILD and ruin the parent

cocteau twins
1. Bonfire Night has gone. It’s the vinyl to Halloween’s download – subsumed by the gaudy nylons and cigarettes of the child friendly marketing monolith to follow the American grey squirrel of a festival. The old fashioned joy of commemorating the attack on democracy and the torture and death of the poor bloke left holding the candle; gone. That simple terror-filled evening when a semi-drunk uncle lit fireworks with a smouldering cigarette then ran like crazy to the Parkin and Heinz tomato soup will be as scratchy as my fake Top of the Pops album from Sykes to the next generation. I think I have seen my last collective dive for cover when a Catherine Wheel makes a dash for it.

Proof - were it needed that Guy Fawkes was a New Romantic

Proof – were it needed that Guy Fawkes was a New Romantic

download

American Squirrels picking off our festivals one by one pose a great risk tot he environment.

Sorry Guido and your band of insurgents against the crown, apparently the devil does have the best tune here and we prelude All Souls Day by copying American suburbia. If Thanksgiving takes off we may as well all move to the Costa del So where British traditions are respected.

2. If you are stuck in the house with fractious children of any age, stick them on the sill and open the window. Whether gurgling babies or excitable eight year olds – it’s a winner guaranteed to enchant the neighbours.

3. When something works – do not over analyse. My pearl-headed baby girl has one word, “Daddy”. She chirps it in every situation and to whoever is within view. A little part of me knows this. But there are moments, usually early in the day when I am trying to contain her pre-dawn excitement, when she holds my gaze and my hand and chirrups “Daddy” over and over. In those moments I am beyond gravity. This is where I go when I realise the cost of the childcare.

4. Caffe Nero’s decision to ramp the entrance in Didsbury Village and make the baby change wide enough for a double buggy is a piece of planning genius that buys loyalty, however corporate.

American Squirrels cast envious eyes over our festivals. They beat Bonfire Night, next it's Cheese rolling

American Squirrels cast envious eyes over our festivals. They beat Bonfire Night, next it’s Cheese rolling

5. Despite this serenity I now see pavement-parked cars that block pram access through a red mist far beyond that which is necessary or justified.

6. CBeebies, an iPad and a knife to peel and cut an apple are all you need before 8am.

7. Finding a pub to watch football, then finding they don’t let in children is a guilty pleasure.

8. The key is that I now know I will never again control the remote for the Television. Having lost it to Didsbury Son several years ago for a constant rotation of Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, I am now third in the pecking order behind Cbeebies and my mighty-headed baby’s ability to fit the remote in his mouth.

When they leave home as I near infirmity I’ll get it back. Or as Vera Lynn might say, “We’ll meet again”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivr57dcs9-E

VOODOO RAY – YNN MIX. WHEN THE BASS DROPS THE WALLS COMES TUMBLING DOWN (SIC)

Notting Hill 0 West Didsbury 3

In an earlier pre-Didsbury Dad incarnation I spent a couple of months based around Notting Hill working with a director so tragically fashionable that if he put his pants on inside out he would quote “The Face” as his justification and compare it to a petting zoo in which he had filmed the world’s coolest llama. Even then this aching need to be hip struck me as being similar to the crowd scene in “Life of Brian”.

Brian cries “You’re all different” and as one they respond “Yes – we’re all different” before the “I’m not” punch line”. This is all a tortuously long way of explaining that when I hear of some of some suburban outpost being feted as the ” New Notting Hill” I think of a street full of pointless, daddy’s boys and girls with more money than taste, more drugs than Boots and more reasons to bypass it.
Until Saturday Night in West Didsbury when the early autumn warmth bathed Burton Road in an atmosphere that Notting Hill would maim for (killing is SO last year). This felt to me to be the feeling Notting Hill hopes to convey; independent, fashionable, creative and louche with an urban edge.
Me, Didsbury Wife and a pram full of Baby Gap, George and Sudocrem decided to stroll down to West Didsbury for a change of scene and a little al fresco dining. What we found was  a lively, unpretentious and stylish stroll that stretches from beyond the Metrolink to the gates of Withington Community Hospital ( I recommend their coffee and artwork). Even the Burton Road pound shop has a good window display and to join in the vibe – The Canadian Charcoal Pit had chained two school chairs to the front door. I offered Didsbury Wife the opportunity of extra toppings on her Prairie Dog if we could decamp there but no …
Past the Morcilla toting Pinchjo’s, the magnificent chaos of Folk and magnificent ethos of Cachumba we looked longingly at the unchild-friendly Saturday night ambience of The Violet Hour and Mary & Archie’s. This was Notting Hill without the downside of Trustafarians and eye-popping prices for small portions.
Burton Road is in bloom and with all this beautiful choice we somehow ended up squeezed in a corner of a rush-hour Metro  packed Great Kathmandu where the hour and five minutes we waited for food allowed the babies to sleep through boredom and us to stare into each others’ eyes, whisper sweet nothings and moan about how tired we were.
Thank you West Didsbury.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQqq3e03EBQ  LIFE OF BRIAN, YOU’RE AL INDIVDUALS

Don’t Quote Me – But this is wonderful

Sleep, the final frontier. That undiscovered country from whose Bourne no traveller has returned that makes us rather seek out new planets, soft you now. Hold on. I’m getting Shatner and Shakespeare mixed up again. It’s sleep depravation.
The constant whine of the parent. Hello, I ‘m Didsbury Dad and I was face down in the focaccia after a night with so much bed-hopping it was like Freshers Week at the Borgias. Even the cats moved from one side of the couch to the other chasing the final hurrah of the summer sun before they hibernate and get jabbed by the babies.
The twins are 1 this week. They stumble around the house with robotic lurches and fear-free charges. The cats’ bowl, flap and tails are magnets and watching the two nappy-wrapped bottoms take the stairs like a climbing wall is one of life’s indulgent little pleasures. Didsbury Son and I commentate as they wriggle past the “Welcome Home” banner that is now a permanent artwork and family heirloom. Even my own Didsbury Dad won the bet on a visit as Pearl-Haired girl nimbly left my little tank trailing in her wake. Their delight when they reach the top – with no plan as to what they do next is a fabulous antidote to the time-coded minutiae of everyday life.
Each movement is now accompanied by a babbling soundtrack of ascending intensity. My little blondini girl sways and dances to everything from the dishwasher to the 30th daily rendition of. “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. My tank boy sat transfixed through a whole Champions League match, knowing in 10 years we will be in the same position, doing the same thing, with our hands on the same packet of snacks.
Aah – Had we but world and time, a small step for a grown up – a giant leap for a baby. If only Everyday was like Sunday; we could mooch all day.

(Play Morrissey – Everyday is Like Sunday here and hum gracefully)

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