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 “March, 2015”

Things Ain’t What They Used To Be

How times change. Didsbury Son is a fan of all things Japanese and has decided to master the art of healthy, precise Japanese cooking. Being a supportive Didsbury Dad I tried to convince him that the Admiral’s Pie was named after Admiral Pikachu, Japan’s greatest imaginary sailor and that mashed potato is the original sushi. 

He didn’t believe me, saying I was about as convincing as David Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (if you get that reference you are older than you think).
So, as night fell and the rain lashed our early spring we set out to find Nori – travelling through Upper Brook Street, China Town and Oldham Road in search of a Japanese-food selling supermarket open after 8pm. There weren’t any… But M20’s Japan Deli saved the day. I digress.
This trip through the night time centre of the city took me back to my pre-Didsbury Dad days when I lived, thrived, worked and shaped the beating heart of our cultural landscape (bear with me).
The buildings and the city are very different. They are now a Turkish supermarket, a museum, soon to be a restaurant and various other venues, some now flats, done flattened. It made me realise that even the terminology that shapes my life now has altered meaning:
Large-ing it – once a night out, now a call for more wipes as The Mighty-Headed boy has overfilled a nappy. 
Going for an early night – once a euphemism. “She asked me for a euphemism, so I gave her one” now a plea to go into bed alone and not be disturbed.
Loadsamoney – waving your wad from your cash in hand was so satisfying. Now it describes the nursery bill, the food bill, the repairing my iPad screen on a weekly basis bill etc.
Top One, Nice One, Sorted: Calpol, pre-Nursery nappy, the sock pile
Saturday Morning Lie-In: It’s 6.45am and after an hour of head-butting, being kicked like Vinnie Jones and asked for milk, biscuits and Dora you give in and get up. 
A cab home from a night out – I await my instructions as to what time I am to be summoned to drive home Didsbury Son and his mute accomplices. 
As we drove back. I looked at the lights twinkling and one thought filled my mind – is sciatica fashionable?

Lessons I have learned, although not that well

Things I have learned as I sail past 39 years, 12 months, another 12 months, another 12 months, another 12 months etc. 

1. The difference between Didsbury Son going on a Beavers’ expedition and an Explorers’ expedition is that I am 8 years older. The level of my organisation and Didsbury Son’s planning skills are unchanged. Be Prepared has never really worked for Aston Villa, and they’re adults. Being prepared for a new teen involves last minute panic and bottom lip curling every now and then. It is one of the growing number of moments when you realise you have become your parent, the one who moaned at you for being disorganised – it’s more than genetic, it’s human. 
2. Two year-olds lack of any gender, race, culture and ethnicity bias is a beautiful blueprint (or pink print, either works). The Mighty-Headed boy’s eclectic food, friend and music taste, coupled with his insistence on football shirts, Frozen dress and umbrella is the kind of statement that takes me back to the early 80s. 
A world of reactive tantrums forgotten in seconds would be a far better world in which to live.
3. The clock sprang forward this weekend like an early alarm. As I limped downstairs with an excited boddler on each leg babbling, looking forward to Dora the Explorer and looking out for Swiper I counted my blessings. I don’t know if it was the sciatica, the waft of a nighttime nappy or the rain hammering the windows but I felt quite special. 
4. Easter is one of the few festivals where people studied the Jewish model and realised that the popular catering commands the message. Although does the mountain of boxed chocolate by the entrance of every shop this year seem too over-facing to anyone else?
5. Being a dad does have its perks. I realise that Didsbury Son has reached the age where he knows he is better asking Didsbury Wife for advice and guidance – unless he has time for a pre-millennium reminiscence that veers from the point like a jelly compass.
Next week. Who to vote for this May, how to avoid election fatigue, the secret of eternal life and the story of a normal family with no piles of clothes anywhere in their house. Tune in for more fantasy.

Don’t believe the myths about two year olds.

 

 A two-year old considers their next kick-off

 I like to think I can be as slovenly and lazy as the next man. One doesn’t always need a tissue for a nose blow and if there’s an easy fob off for the children I say, “Spare the iPad spoil the lie-in.”

Childminders are vital to your toddlers development and I heartily recommend Dora, Peppa and Shaun 0’Sheep who bring so much for a small outlay.
However, there is a response more predictable, lazy and pointless than the people who stared at the twins in their pram as babies and droned “double trouble…” This is “The terrible twos”.
In this house alone we also have the awkward early teens, the slightly stiff and not as flexible 39 XXLs and two cats that don’t like each other.
The twos are not terrible. They are challenging as is each stage. The boddlers can talk (a lot), plead, laugh (a lot), cry (a lot) and it’s all at an utterly instinctive level. Their complete lack of notions such as danger and volume control make negotiating a thought provoking issue. The Mighty-Headed Boy is becoming wonderfully eccentric – a biscuit refusal sees the bottom lip come out like a wobbling drip tray. However, he also has a sense of humour and a mimicked lip out usually brings laughter as the biscuit outrage is forgotten. 
The “terrible” twos are peppered with moments when my Pearly Girl grips me and says “Love You Daddy”, this is the winning the league good on a daily basis and all I have to do is keep the bananas peeled and the Amazon Prime subscription. 
So. There are only 52 weeks of them being 2 years old. We are nearly halfway through. They have already moved out of high chairs and into conversations, out of mush and into shared dinners. 
The therapeutic threes lie around the bend and potty training looms. I’m off to my virtual shed. 

Inman’s, The Doomesday Book and Regeneration

According to The Times, Didsbury is in Britain’s Top 25 suburbs. We are apparently more “real”, “less expensive” than the twin delights of Hale and Bowden (Red House Farm and the M56). They may have the footballers, but we have the real wives of Didsbury; they go to the match. 

When City first won the Premier League the street party featured reds, blues, inbetweeners and those that don’t care. Likewise, when the other teams from the region do well we are occasionally roused.

Didsbury regenerates. Cibo and Nido are now just fading memories, like a bad date where you came out of the toilet unzipped with tissue paper on your shoe. But other places leave a mark. 
It is lovely to see Broadbents taking on the mantle, but Wilkinsons will not be forgotten and now, the sad but inevitable news that Inmans on Lapwing Lane is going to close.
Josie, straight here from La Coruna, has welcomed four generations of families. My Didsbury Grandpa took me for Shoot comic when I was a toddler (the sweet shop, selling halfpenny chews is now Didsbury Noodle) and The Mighty Headed Boy/Princess Pearly Alliance have had their first Peppa Pig comics brought there. It is a rite of passage for Didsbury children.
Josie is now a grandmother and still the welcoming face of Inmans and after over 900 years in the same location it closes in April. Rumour has it that Bonnie Prince Charlie and his men, escaping back to Scotland, sneaked past Prince Rupert’s troops camped by the library and brought Werthers, a funny Birthday Card and something to read for the journey north at “Inemannes, a most favourable, but pricey stop”.
Rumours are rife of it becoming a Costa but the Whitbreadification of Lapwing Lane is unlikely.
The three inside tips bidding I have heard of are… A Cage Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts Centre, a Waitrose (pretty please) or a Petting Zoo. However this is Didsbury and my money is on a hairdresser or an Estate Agent. 
So my Didsbury Children will not be able to harangue me for novelty pens and expensive stationary here. Pete at Fusion will need a new paper supplier and I will have to find another trigger to remind when I need to buy cards for Jewish Festivals. Worst of all, I can’t swap baby pictures with Josie on the way to work.
I’ve only just got over Woolworths.  

 

inman’s first book display

   

 Pictures of the first uniforms worn by Inman’s staff are rare – but in this an early manageress celebrates the signing of the Magna Carta (copies were available at 1 groat).

Didsbury’s Pickled Egg Revolution

Hola Didsbury – the newbies are coming. 

Last night, whilst perched between The Mighty Headed Boy, the furry cast of Frozen, blankie and pillow (this week’s must haves) I began thinking about Didsbury Village. What do we need? A really good children’s clothes shop to add to Bond and replace Hippins? A Waitrose (yes)? A hardware shop or suchlike. No no no. What we need is either Emmanuel Church to install a Costa Coffee Machine to finish Feng Shui-ing the village’s coffee offering or a hairdresser.
It has been weeks since Squires evolved from the chrysalis of Gentry Grooming. Weeks without a new hairdresser, barber, coffee shop or Estate Agent. Thank you Lord for answering our prayers as Sweaty Betty’s – 70s chip shop, 90s fly posting frontage and around a year a building site is Didsbury’s first day spa and 136th hairdresser.
I carried out a scientific study (I.e asked Didsbury Wife and Didsbury Mother), they told me to get back to work. Are we particularly hairy in M20? Does our testosterone fuelled manliness push the hair out quicker? Are our woman more coiffed? 
Or is it that these barbers and hairdressers are a front for a secret supernatural sect or a Stone Roses tribute band? After all, we have Blade and John (runs) Squire(s). 
I am pointlessly delighted that Wilkinsons is still painted blue and looks like it could fill the gap left by the loss several years ago of The Village Saver. A quick peek means it could be a mini Woolworths replacement for the boddlers and a decent diversion to relieve teenage moodiness. 
I’m looking forward to seeing if the new day spa honours its chip shop heritage. The day we can book in for a hot pickled egg massage, an intense curry sauce wrap and chips (not fries) with salt and sarsons not balsamic, is a day to be lauded. 



Tools of the trade for the New Sweaty Betty Spa

Broadbents – is there room for a Costa Coffee machine in there?

First Love, Real Housewives and Chips

It’s over – Didsbury Son’s first “romance” has gone the way of Taylor & Burton, Price & Andre and Ampika ‘s marriage on social experiment Real Housewives of Cheshire. It wasn’t so much written in the stars as typed on tablet and smartphone. This was a very much 21st Century affair. There was no disco, no notes, few phone calls and less meetings. This Year 9 month was less Romeo & Juliet and more pen pals on an exchange visit. They did meet up a few times, mainly with friends whose slightly jealous advice seems profound as a new teen, predictable as a 39+++. Fittingly, the farewell Didsbury Son had hoped she would make before him came by Facebook Messenger, the immortal “Let’s just be friends” tapped in an almost grammatically correct flourish of platitudes and pointlessness. Didsbury Son, shrugged, attempted a brief stint of victimness before admitting relief and munching his sausage and chips, whilst watching Maleficient with the air of a man who has heard all charges have been dropped. 

This has been as trying time for all of us. I too ate his chips (not mine, no calories) feeling a burden had been lifted; like Peppa Pig finding out humans are herbivores.

there are plenty Moor Hens in the field. An under-used cliche.



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