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 “June, 2014”

Didsbury’s Top 13 Coffee Stops for 2013

Didsburydad's Blog

In a move as contrived as an inclusive multi-faith Nativity play.
In a year when nothing has yet happened  beyond changing nappies, patting babies and coping with Didsbury Son’s increasing technological needs, I present my guide to Didsbury 2013.
When I say a guide, I mean Part 1; places to park your buggy, rest your feet, work quietly and catch up. Coffee, cake, work, wasting time:
 1. Airyfairy Cupcake Boutique. Like the bumblebee that represents Manchester it shouldn’t work, but it does. In the space that housed the Withington Reporter when it was part of the community is a little haven. Quirky, but not Chorlton. Friendly, but not interfering and not cheap, but worth it. The free wi-fi helps and the Lemon Poppy Cake wooed Didsbury Wife into a  relaxed hour between feeds. Still not sure what a cupcake actually is but then I’ve never really understood why clowns were…

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Zombies in the heart of Didsbury

The Returned. Spooky French series where the town’s dead return (hence the title), unaware they are dead . Lots of moody French people standing around smoking shruggily. Not like the beautiful people sitting outside Shed D’Albert, but gallically challenged.

Yesterday lunchtime, I was driving distractedly through The Village, when, as though it were a scene straight from Dawn of the Didsbury – I saw a small woman in a t-shirt and jeans. She looked human and real down to the last detail, but for one tiny flaw.
I saw her outside the open doors of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which was open. How? Was it Didsbury Open Gardens? Was this a chance for a final stroll of the last great empty indoor space in the region? Would Zombie Burger Kitchen be taking over and eating our many barbers and Estate Agents?
GBK died in the great pandemic that also took Nido. A virus that infected restauranters into thinking they could make a buck in Didsbury with any old crap.
What next? Razma Reads re-appearing with living dead and political biographies only. Domino’s serving food so processed it has a half-life? Aldi doubling as a bus garage?
These are strange times. The addition of Wine & Whallop from the team that brought you Folk and South Park series 8 looks promising. The French Patisserie that has taken over Ashley Brown can have its own blog and Giddy Goat Toys will soon see off Toys R Us. But…

Casa Tapas has either turned into a closed film set or followed Spain out of the World Cup and news reaches DD HQ that Cafe Rouge is going. This is a public disaster. Rouge is more influential in Didsbury Child Rearing than Gina Ford and Aptimil. It has hosted more dates than an Algerian port and deserves listed status, not the chop. Over 20 years the staff have been unfailingly helpful and the food great. I will be signing the petition and march for them before popping down to the Shaun of the Dead Burger Kitchen.

A Zombie’s brain pattern



Extra security has been drafted in , so have dormitories

A fleeting moment of perfection

There are moments of perfect happiness and pure sadness that you go through as life progresses. Sometimes, lying next to one of the twins on the premise of getting them to sleep you get the first. Let’s not dwell on the latter.
They don’t need a body with them as much as they get one – bedtime with boddlers is sometimes more my treat, than duty.
I have had sport-induced moments of ecstasy in various European cities. I have been able to share and to sometimes produce events where collective abandon has positively swept the room, venue, square.
I have sipped Mojitos on Ocean Drive and been lucky enough to have eaten fried chicken in the Caribbean and to have been on stage in Las Vegas BUT…

Only the fried chicken came anywhere near the moment tonight when my pearly-topped princess pulled my arm around her, snuggled in, sighed and went to sleep; just perfect.
Although to be honest Vegas was more fun and less tiring.


Bedknobs, Broomsticks, Wayne Rooney and stretched concentration

Hell is the consolation for those who turn their backs on forgiveness. Hell and a three-hour training session delivered via PowerPoint by someone who thinks adding an exclamation mark to a sentence is comedy and showing a years old badly-taken pet picture is a way of being endearing.

They aren’t. The exclamation marks merely emphasise the inability to write a funny sentence, the dog is now a four-foot, eight stone, child menace and I am so bored I am re-running this morning’s episodes of Peppa Pig and wondering if Daddy Pig is a loveable, laid-back boar or an idiot.

As we moved on to numbers of emails etc. I imagined the cartoon animals from Bedknobs and Broomsticks beating England 2-1 in the World Cup, whilst the TV Pundits described the Hippo as “too much of a handful for Wayne Rooney and Leighton Baines”.

This is sadly the root of all daddom “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Didsbury Son’s last parents’ evening was a joy. Searching to be critical, the only notes that came back were that he sometimes drifted and was distracted. I zoned out of the rest as there was a great picture behind her but lalala – pay more attention.

I realised that this is not a character flaw, this is in our DNA; like Male patterned Baldness, the magnetic attraction of hand to trousers whilst watching TV and a mistrust of weekends with more than one immovable event.

As I look around the room at my fellow trainees, the male contingent are all doodling, gaming, reading twitter feeds or are asleep.
This debunks the lack of Multi-tasking within men. Each person here can give you a breakdown of the event despite 3 hours spent catching up on emails. It’s the ancient skill, akin to sleeping with one eye open.
At 5.30am, singing “Twinkle Twinkle” for the 5th time, it is the only way to survive.


Shiny object / calm place / shiny object / calm place

Homer Simpson, Didier Drogba, The Archers and Me

This is a gruelling time of year. School age children are all out of attention span and too far into the year to really care. The clear Manchester air often leaves baby chests clogged and the 4am dawn is a siren call to the under 5s.

In addition there are now up to 6 hours of live international football on TV each day that can run between 5pm and 4am. Oh and there’s work and family life.

This can stretch the strategic skills and slothful indiscipline of the most indifferent dad, let alone someone like me. Someone who hears Ivory Coast v Japan and sees it as a cultural duty to stay up and honour the culinary heritage of these great nations, whilst falling asleep on the couch, head lolling in a tribute to Homer Simpson.

So praise your deity (fate and other non-deity touchstones are available ) for Fathers Day the morning after England’s 1am finish. Whether it’s a goldfish or offspring of Amish proportions, claim that right and milk it as though you were auditioning for parlour maid’s role in The Archers.

I have mixed feelings about Fathers Day. When Didsbury Son was little his excitement was infectious and made me feel unworthy for all my little less than perfect thoughts. Now, I count my blessings that I receive and am able to give Fathers Day cards. Coming late to the party keeps me aware that for many people this is a difficult day for a variety of reasons and you can’t always have a World Cup to distract you.
Some years this awfulness is compounded by Wimbledon being newsworthy and clogging up radio and TV in the two weeks it hogs the limelight. This year it’s all football and midnight toddler milk runs have the bonus of late night TV from South America.
I’m just perfecting my Capirahna and Aptamil.

My Father’s Day ticked so many boxes it qualified for Arts Council funding. I rolled over at 7am, 7am – that’s nearly lunchtime, to find an empty space where Didsbury Wife had gallantly taken the early shift as I luxuriated in more than four hours of continuos Zzzzzs.

After an aborted Metrolink journey ( I had forgotten they don’t work weekends), Didsbury Wife gave me one of the greatest gifts a man could receive – a family visit to The National Football Museum. I won’t describe the detail, save to say that The Mighty Headed Boy took on a whole group of Stoke fans and won and Didsbury Son is slowly embracing the beautiful game. Very slowly.
Now 2 parts rum, 1 part powdered milk and a squeeze of lime…

World Cup Tips

1. The pundits are terrible. Half time needs action – in 15 minutes you can do bottles, washing up, check homework and feed pets.
Read more…

Didsbury Festival Haikus

Muddy Park Glistens
Clean up almost finishing
Same again next year

Didsbury Festival
Triumphant Community
Three Pounds per balloon

The Haiku is an ancient verse – older even than the route of the Didsbury Festival which originally began at Catherine’s house before she became St Catherine and they built a Church.

By 7am normal service had resumed

Future processioners survey the damage

Next week – it’s the World Cup. At home, it’s just me and twins Friday night and Spain v Holland kicks off at. 8. The importance of strategic planning

Last of the Live Blogs – Didsbury Festival 5

Last of the Live Blogs

Well that’s the festival done. Not the busiest ever due to the weather, but no less for that. An unexpected bonus was lovely food at knock down prices from 3.30 – so swings and roundabouts.

The live blogging was slightly hampered by first one, then both of the twins succumbing to a bug that would have kept Benny Hill in sound effects for a decade. But then that is what this blog is really about. However, or whoever I was and whatever I did now come second to the needs of my lovely trio. It’s all consuming and is always the priority.

Back to the festival. As far as I could tell… A cat failed to win the dog show, the climbing wall was rained off, Burnage won something sporting and the Didsbury Blues brought the Premier League Trophy.

The fair was great, the kebabs were tasty, the band were superb and I had a great time talking to old friends.

As part of this weekend of community service, FOR YOU. Didsbury Wife and I tried Mojitos throughout the village before coming home to make our own. These were the best.

Thank you for your comments and support this weekend. We have now scraped the top layer of mud from the toddlers. Tomorrow will entail washing a pile of mud splattered clothes that make the floor look like the dressing room at a Rugby League match. The £3 balloons popped.



Live Blog 4: Rained but not ruined

The last hour. 10p cakes, the best chicken kebab in Manchester half price and enough puddles to entertain a toddler for days. The park looks like a 70s football pitch and Didsbury Son is going to topple over if he gets any more nonchalant; success all around.

The best line Overheard – You are not having an ice cream, it will ruin your face make-up.

Most interesting pricing – £3 for a balloon, I got stiffed for 2.

£3 for a balloon – Disney take note.

Elbow warm up

A conflict kebab, but gorgeous


Oy parky

Didsbury Festival live 3?- Home Alone

I can hear the thump of the bass and the sound of people ranging from shouty toddlers to refined matrons. The rain has eased and the party goes on, but I am in bed with the Mighty-Headed Boy for his afternoon nap.

This bizarre phenomena where small children don’t behave to order or timetable is bafflingly predictable. My Little Princess has not had the opportunity for a sugar rush as her Exorcist style emissions have abated, but the look on her face is one of wanting a quiet place to stare. Or is that me?

Trying to get Mr. Head down for his nap has involved a combination of Alligator a whispering, Greased Pig Wrestling and the promise of more sweets.

Which means Didsbury Son is probably having the time of his life – unshackled.

Nappies permitting we will be back in the park in 30-40

Didsbury Festival 2: I love The Rain

” Between lightening and thunder three seconds the gap, A warm candle glow keeps this wood room from black…
As the rain pours down in the yard. Rain, a most haunting sound”
Martin Stephenson – Rain
And a disappointing soundtrack to the Glastonbury of the North, fast becoming the Henley’s Regatta of the North-West.
Are we daunted? Is the spirit of D Day spilling into Saturday? In parts.
The scouts climbing wall is now a wet n wild Alton Towersesque ride, the smell of the great food is now mixed with that of wet dog and the shops in the village, with their roofs and all are packed but the spirit lives on.

Don’t forget the “Spot the Weekend Tram” competition. Winner bags a Unicorn.

As Ian Astbury told us, “I love the rain. Here it comes again. I love the raaaaaaaaiiiiiiin”.

Rain – Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

Rain – The Cult

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