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 “April, 2014”

The Soundtrack to my journeys

Taking a pre-teen to school swings between being lost in the poorly enunciated and grammatically suspect Capital FM breakfast show on an up day and spending half an hour listening to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds without vocals on others. I heard the pin drop, it gave up.

On the other hand driving The Mighty Headed Boy and The Pearly Princess home from childminder’s a few miles away combines bedlam with the need to be able to sing nursery rhymes, distribute jelly babies and swivel like an owl auditioning for The Exorcist.

Didsbury Wife has perfected the art of being silent until the moment the scores are updated on 5Live, which leads us back down the path to Smooth FM – where Didsbury Son dons headphones, sighing with disappointment at Now That’s What I Call Old People Music and the boddlers return to staring out of the window shouting as if they had been weaned on White Lightning.

It’s time for a singalong.

Twenty First Century Pub Crawl, with children

Every place has its pub crawl and M20 is no exception. Back in the ’80s when hair and collars reached for the skies and there was no such as thing as too much make-up, it was a full night out that started with The Olde Cock and The Didsbury ( Now both gastros with differing successes)  and via Crown, Dog, Albert, Nelson, The Old Grey (now Zizzi’s) and The Railway – it would be chips at Sweaty Betty’s now a poster site but rumoured to be Didsbury Lounge 2) before the Three Lions. The Golden, The Red and The White. The White Lion had bands downstairs, could be a bit lairy and a cab home afterwards from Tripps cost £2.

 

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com  I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think "One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here".

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think “One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here”.

It was pints (although not for me, always the shorts and being really honest – I was really more interested in the snacks than the drinking. The advent of Scampi Fries in 1986 opened up a whole new world), Malibu if you felt lucky, Silk Cut and the latent threat of violence – heady times. A really good night could stretch to Mulberry’s or Severe/ Murder in Fallowfield. You could make a complete show of yourself without a single text, picture, Vine, Facebook, Pinterest, What’s App or truth getting out – marvellous days with less comeback. 

You never knew who you would meet on a night out

You never knew who you would meet on a night out


Last week, to celebrate Easter and Didsbury Son being out for the day, Didsbury Wife and I decided to recreate it for the twins. The Golden Lion is now a car park, The White Lion a Sainsbury’s and The Olde Cock is now crap – but we were not daunted. 

However, the thought of pushing the pram and downing drinks between nappy changes no longer enthralls; Didsbury Wife and I created the 40 something, small children Didsbury crawl.

1. Late breakfast at Caffe Nero with Pain au Raisins to share.

2. Then in the car for an adventure which took us to Alderley Edge for a toddler sized walk and lunch at The Wizard. Lunch out with toddlers and no high chairs does mean you need to be able to down in one. – bit it’s the parfait not the Pernod and Black.

3. Back via John Lewis where the Mighty Headed Boy lay down and staged a protest in the toy department. We coaxed him back with afternoon tea in the cafe; where at 18 months old they are SO last year. The number of floppy necked baldie babes not only made me pine for the days when they were toothless and inert but they looked huge; it was brilliant. With the sugar rush from a JL Battenberg calming down we left, satiated.

We got home feeling as we had done 25 years ago – not sure how we had spent so much, a little ashamed of our indulgence, with a stomach ache. We also had stories to tell and lots of laughs and the only time anyone had tried to hit me they used Iggle Piggle and shouted “Mummyo”; result.

Goodbye Gourmet Burger Kitchen – Hello Summer

Childhood is so fleeting. It feels like a finger snap since I walked a blondini Didsbury Son up the disused railway line; poking trees, reading graffiti and talking rubbish together. Then we would savour a trip to Gourmet Burger Kitchen whose wide open spaces always a had a slightly anxious and over-zealous welcome. Didsbury Son loved GBK Olympics – running unfettered from table to table and the burgers were Mmm, ok. But it had to end. Our nature trail is now the Metrolink and GBK is gone, joining Nido, Cibo and the other Os as a footnote rather than a memory. All of which makes Sol-I-To’s (no idea) bid to replace Cibo, back on to new Ashley Brown and be the flagship of Warburton Street even braver (my money was on a Nandos).

It’s a unique enclave. The grumpiest bookshop in Britain still enthrals, the physio makes you limp over cobbles to arrive and No. 4 is one of the best independent restaurants in the city.

Thankfully the old guard of AiryFairyCupCake, Alpine Cafe, The Now Wholly Croatian staffed Didsbury Deli and The Art of Tea survive. Cafe Crema has gone. It’s combination of poor service and average fare not grabbing the attention, but our teenage protege in Applebey’s fights on for a 2nd summer. It is not easy.

In pre pre DD days I spent a spell of my “portfolio” career running live music venues. I know about dry and wet sales, have a recollection of Health and Safety (it was the 90s) and learned how to spot the sad notes that signal the end – the staff take up less space, the saleable furniture dwindles – the doors shut.

So good luck Solito, The Stokers Arms, Chalk Bar Grill, Wine & Whallop on Lapwing Lane and Urban Grille 2. If Kansas Fried Chicken is a symbol of hope in the village as well as a sweaty eyesore then grasp it and go large.

* There will be a candlelit vigil for all the businesses that were not properly thought through at this year’s Didsbury Festival – possibly.

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Kabuki comes to Burton Road

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Sol-I-To; the new Cibo or the new La Tasca?

Nido, the final battle

And Nido is…

@Didsburygirl is like Wondrwoman but she has better coffee and remembers when the Laughing Buddha had all it’s letters and was a KFC.

So when she tells me that Nido, much discussed but little dined is to become The Chalk Bar Grill I believe her. So the rumours of Sainsbury’s, Waitrose ( pretty please – if only to depress everyone in Cheadle Hulme) and a Roller Disco are wrong. And my in depth following a link reveals that Chalk Bar Grill are opening in Didsbury next month.

So welcome @chalkbargrill with ex Gaucho (serious beef palace in town) MD in charge apparently.

We wish you luck here at DD HQ. admire your creativity at not having Didsbury in your title and hope you avoid the pitfalls.
1. Do not add an O to your name.
2. Do have a pram ramp and changing space.
3. Do not paint the place MudFlap grey.
4. Do the opposite of everything Nido did.
5. Do not Go purple, Brimelow will give you virtual wedgies.
6. Do have a vegetarian option ( not just “go elsewhere”

Lovely – now I can get back to channeling the Oxfam shop into being a John Lewis so I never have to drive to Cheadle Royal again.

A Melancholic Meander through M20

There has been so much going on that I have had barely enough free time to make sure I avoid The Winter Olympics, Katie Hopkins and her male doppelgänger Nigel Farage. So as we welcome April, here is March in a moment.

1. A joke for people who watch CBeebies (cheaper than a nanny) in the morning. “My wife came downstairs and told me about a terrible nightmare she had. There was a mute called Claude, a weird grinning ageless woman who smiled but seemed sinister, the least convincing doctor in the world and a woman in a pink taxi who’s an advert for carjacking.” I looked at her stunned “Oh my word that’s uncanny” I said “Me Too”
This and a Jewish cartoon about a working farmyard called Schlepper Pig are what fills my head early morning.

2. The vivid green on The Crown has to have gone through a committee with the decision shouted down a bad line to a decorator with hearing impairment – doesn’t it?

3. The Turkish- Nido refit is impressive. We so want it work I was considering chanting outside. The Laughing Budda; now au in da is losing letters faster than a crime wave on Sesame Street – sort it out.

4. Didsbury welcomes Golden Beach Holidays and good luck. Replacing Co-Po travel means you have small shoes and average service to live up to. I used to enjoy going in to check exchange rates on days when I had not been tutted at enough. If business gets tough buy a coffee machine and a chair and mirror – it’s the default fallback in Didsbury.

5. When will The Strokers Arms re- open? Or is it a supermarket by stealth?

Does anyone else giggle at Brimelow’s insistence he is the original purple one. I think suntanned Oompah Loompah when I see that.

This is a bittersweet week. My inert little blobs are now bouncing, noisy, cat-grabbing, Didsbury Son loving, snack-snaffling people. This week they officially become toddlers – not babies. My only saving thought was that my Didsbury Mum still tells me I’m her baby.

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Sweet Home Alabama: Do they have a Cafe Nero?

I am sitting at the back of a hot room listening to a man who looks like a refugee from a Lynyrd Skynyrd video. He is telling us about how he is a creative whose job title can’t be defined. How very very creative, his lack of definition is not endearing. I can think of a four-letter word beginning and ending in T but one that is not a pallendrome. This is the first time I’ve been able to drift into a few thoughts for a few weeks. So here comes the splurge.

I have several days in a guilded City delivering something mediaish and exciting. It’s my spring job; annual, stressful in the most exciting way and as with 99% of the careers I have had – does not mix with babies and is a lovely niche.

Normally a few days working away is something I would grasp chirpily, feigning sadness at being able to go to the bathroom without holding at least one child, grimacing at the thought of not being woken by tiny fingers up my nose – you know , the usual. But this time, nothing. Something sinister has happened. Another platitude has reared it’s cliched head like a toy with a primary colour.

When I kissed the children before they left for school and childminder I filled up as though this were some important cup match and they were my team running out to play.
As Didsbury Son mooched down to the bus stop, pitch oscillating and mood following, I had to fight the urge to follow. When my boddlers left I waved them off, turning to the JP Morgan of Catnip for solace as they disappeared by bus and people carrier.

For the umpteenth time this year I surveyed the scene and wondered when all this became mine. Children, plastic weightless and all pervading mess, creaking knees and a cup way more than half full, but probably containing cat food, a toy and baby spit.

Now if I was writing an American dad’s blog I could say they weren’t mine, just loaned from God or Colnel Sanders. If I was not in Didsbury, I could have gone inside, packed and gone to work.

But

I am a Didsbury Dad so I took the only possible route. Coffee at Didsbury Deli, a peruse of The Guardian, a quick discussion about Nido’s new incarnation and then I got blocked in by some rude mother in a people carrier who thinks the school run is Tron.

Silly hat day will be a few days late

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