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 “December, 2016”

A better educated turkey

There are times when teenagers and toddlers together is a combination so toxic it wouldn’t even have got a mortgage pre 2008. 
When tantrums, hormones and a complete lack of self-awareness collide. When tiredness erases the flashes of compassion and forethought. It can be like being pinned down by hyenas circling their prey. 
But over the last few days peace and love have broken out. It could be the magic of the season. It might just be that there is now 10 days between Didsbury Son, Didsbury Wife and work. This sense of family is helped by the sheer excitement that a Milky Bar Advent Calendar and a triumphant afternoon at pre-school as sheep and star have breathed into the Twins. Their new place is a little more rural and one of the teachers brought her own donkey for an al fresco Nativity. 

I don’t really mind. We are celebrating Winter Solstice by talking to the Sun and moon. We’re starting our weekend with latkes for Chanucah. We’ve brought a turkey from Waitrose which, for the price of it should come with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. We’ve also given to charity, been nice to the pets and I’m looking forward to celebrating Boxing Day with elasticated waistband, paracetamol and a full day of football on TV. 
The lights are twinkling in the house and as I lie here snug against the now sleeping Mighty Headed Boy, I am surrounded by rhythmic breathing from toddlers and teenager. 
Didsbury Son has retreated from teendom as the smiley ghost of Christmases past finds a gap in the over-stimulated mind and sneaks in. The four year olds have been convinced they can see or hear Santa so before bedtime we set up a little ruse. As we took them to the window to see the moon, Santa’s sleigh bells could be heard jingling.

The effect was magical. My brave little boy virtually jumped into my arms in shock and our Pearly Princess could not sleep for fear of people on the roof.
Didsbury Son and I laughed, bonded and silently agreed to watch Grimsby again before the end of the holidays. It’s the magic of Christmas. 
Enjoy yours, whoever your faith lies with
Quick Christmas sweepstake.

1. First “can we go downstairs now?” 

2. Which child will cry first and declare undying avarice for the other’s toy?

3. First over-excited forgetting to go to the toilet?

4. First broken toy?

5. Time you think back to your most miserable Christmas and think longingly back to how quiet it was?

The Didsbury Dozen

It’s that lovely M20 time of year. Those preparing to queue fromq

6am on Christmas Eve morning to collect their turkeys from Evans are planning their wardrobe. The white elephant formerly known as Chalk and Nido harks back to being a small and popular Turkish  restaurant with a belting takeaway and the price of a pint of milk in the Shell garage (now a Londis? In Didsbury?) finally gets more expensive than a barrel of oil. Didsbury Park is packed with Freyas and Archies chasing French Bulldogs and residents of Cavendish Road, Elm Grove and Beaver Road count down to schools closing and being allowed to use their own parking spaces without abuse – its Christmas.

turkeyA turkey this morning in training for the Evans challenge

By any popular account 2016 has been momentous. Never mind politics, celebrity death, refugee crises and hacking becoming more fashionable than Vogue. 2016 will always be the year when, after a quarter of a century as a flyposting board – Sweaty Betty’s reopened as Nueve.

stop-inn The Ghost of Christmas Past

It’s also been the year I became a part-time Didsbury resident for the first time… this century. So here is my 2016 Didsbury Dozen. Not the pub crawl but the 12 places I think fly the flag for us.

There are loads of great places missed out here and some dodgy ones that we won’t namecheck. But for family reasons Croma, Solita and Folk are always good. for cheeky drinks I love Wine & Wallop, The Charlie George or whatever its called on the edge of Burton Road and The Fletcher Moss is still ace. The Third Eye is always a winner, Sangam 2 always better than you’d ever imagine and Copson Street has a great Japanese Restaurant and a Halal Butcher that sells the best hot wraps in Manchester. Bourbon & Black is still open and Cau never seem to have a table when I want to go.

This is not based on anything over than personal taste. But in the year when Stop Inn and The Mud Crab Cafe went, Jade Garden and Laughing Buddha look as though they are near wheezing their last and I’ve barely made it to Dot’s Cafe in the park – these are all worth checking out.

 

  1. Casa Italia: A Finnish owned, Italian cafe with a nice line in wooden boards to eat from; brilliant. Has been busy since day one and hits the mark in quality over quantity sending you out sated not pogged (it’s a technical term).

 

  1. Pizza Express on Lapwing Lane: It had a refit (I think) to cope with the pincered challenge of Chilli Banana at  Inman’s (heard great things but you can’ buy a Chanucah card there any more) and the latest pointless pub refit at the Greenfinch in Hand. You can’t beat the Tuna Nicoise, everyone’s always friendly. A visit is also a chance to catch up with at least five old friends as you all now get the same discount vouchers.

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  1. Volta: Burton Road chic and design at its finest with the added bonus of good service from people who know how to treat customers.

volta Don’t waste a visit on children

  1. Art of Tea:  Indifferent service, uncomfy chairs, expensive coffee. The best toast and peanut butter, something I can’t define and one of the best places to contemplate life or write a masterpiece or two.

 

  1. Costa on Wilmslow Road: This is down to the manager. She’s lovely. Always slightly hassled but stretched like a good pizza base rather than a spring. When Costa opened in the old Boots home it was revolutionary. Now there are 38 coffee outlets and 2 Costa vending machines within coughing distance. It holds its own.

the-ghost-of-christmas-past If only they’d sold coffee

  1. G’s Gourmet Kitchen on Fog Lane: Curried Goat. Horse Carriage. Morecambe Wise. This is a great addition. Friendly, tasty, spicy.

 

  1. Khandoker: From its table settings to its car park it does not look Didsbury. The view from the window of 4 traffic lights, a walking bridge and the less glamorous view of Parrswood’s entertainment centre do not bode well; but it’s superb. Affordable, well-cooked and friendly. Each visit I learn a staff member’s life story.

 

  1. La Cantina: The Green Cafe Rouge. My only report says it’s muy bien but it’s like looking at an old friend made up as something you know they could never be.

images And Lo, a star appeared in the sky where Cafe Rouge had been

  1. Refresh: it’s tiny and tucked away behind the Co-Op but it’s worth turning off at Carmello’s for China cups, gorgeous bread, a range of sandwiches worth the carbs and a decent chat. No sausage sandwich should ever be taken for granted; they don’t.

 

  1. Fusion Deli aka Pete’s: Pete, Tom, Claire and the cast of privately educated teenagers who work have created a little world. It’s a community resource, a commuters’ drop in, has the best 24 hour matured reduced sandwiches in the city and I love it. A caffeine comfort blanket.

 

  1.  New Peking House: there are other Chinese food outlets and restaurants in the area but then again you can buy Norpak Butter at Aldi. I’ve watched the children grow up, serve and leave – but the Hot & Sour Soup and Salt ‘n’ Pepper Ribs have never dropped in quality.

hot-and-sour-soup This is in my diary next to a picture of the children

  1. Piccolino Didsbury: Francisco, Nico and the team get it right every time. It’s worth saving up for a visit and hard not to write this as a fan letter. They are even patient when the twins are losing it loudly and it’s busy. I always walk out feeling a little bit special. I never thought anything would be better than The Nose on this site. But The Nose didn’t do pasta like this or make foil animals to entertain my kids. piccolino-didsbury Clam Place Calm Place Calm Place Calm Place

With the pearly princess distracted by the attention she gets I can flirt with Didsbury Wife. We can pretend we shall sweep home full of joy, good wine and passion fruit sorbet and our first thought won’t be “Do you know where the pull-ups are?”

Goditi il pasto, ci vediamo presto.

 

  • No bribes were taken in compiling this list but I would like to thank Omeprazole for helping me through.
  • images-1My hero, putting the Aaah into acid reflux.

3am Short thoughts 

We are in a posh hotel. There is a proper pool full of narky octogenarians. One is tutting his baby bird baldy head at the Mighty Headed Boy screeching his delight as he floats solo for the first time. My prejudices assume he voted “Out”. When, later on, he coos to Didsbury Wife over the Pearly Princess she sums it up perfectly. ” Sometimes arseholes realise they’re arseholes and try to make amends.” With thoughts of vengeance sidelined in a sentence I go happily back to getting kicked, scratched and pulled around by a four year old boy who has subconsciously decided swimming is his “thing”. Didsbury’s first Downton Abbey themed hotel is very convincing. 
Despite the pukkaness of this place I am mid a disturbed night. They have parked all the family rooms down a corridor opposite the loading bay and Midnight is prime loading time apparently. This cranks up my middle of the night head. Between bouts of being told off for snoring and being edged out of bed by 3 stone of persistent princess I’m naval gazing.

In these moments Facebook is not your friend. The range of voice in my Twitter feed always gives me something to divert my attention. At 3am Facebook appears to be full of “friends” on holiday, doing more, being better people and is like looking at a catalogue of what you should have done. In daylight I know I will have liked actions and thoughts I hope others regret, but the 3am Facebook voyeur has a lack of discretion. 

I can also tell you that typing “Facebook Voyeur” into Google whilst sitting in bed with children is not a good idea. 

One thing I do like about really nice hotels is trying to working out how to get the mattresses out without being noticed. It’s previous history never concerns me. I lie here marvelling at not having to move around as it holds me with the ease and support of a new mother. The pillows are crap but if I could get the window to open further than 3cm I’d have it strapped to the people carrier to replace the unwitting imitation waterbed currently taking up space in the bedroom.  We’re not here

It’s 3.33 now. Which means only 3 hours until the buffet breakfast opens and the day starts again. Wait for me…

This Much I Don’t Understand

This much I don’t understand.I’m willing to admit I’m no longer in my 30s. In fact as I really left my 30s the idea of us looking back fondly at a Con-Lib coalition government because it wasn’t as craven or desperate as the current government, ludicrous. The only Clegg I knew was in Last of the Summer Wine. 
The notion of a British number 1 tennis player and Leicester City’s league win being eclipsed by the vulgarity, racism and lynch mob mentality of our exit from the Europe and even that not being the biggest story of the year… mind boggling*. It’s hardly surprising then, that even the transformation of Greggs on Wilmslow Road  from stand-up sandwich shop to sit down McDonalds decor, sorry McArtisan decor raised barely a murmur. From Bowie to Murray to Aleppo it’s all been jaw on the floor material this year.unemployed with small children, spare a thought for him.

* I don’t really know what boggling means. 

Mind you. As I really left my 30s the notion that Didsbury Son would be taller than me and use Lynx was also unbelievable. So, as we enter the final chapter of a year when “Liar, liar, pants are on fire.” Has been appropriated as the shout of the mob eulogising their leaders, this much I no longer understand.50s to 5s in one easy vote

1. Brexit means Brexit. At the end of the day (which also means.. ummm, nothing.) Brexit is a portmanteau. It sounds a bit like Brisket and for all it actually means we may as well add gate on the end to make it sound interesting. I only found out what portmanteau meant by googling it. Ying Tong yiddle i Po means Ying Tong Yiddle I Po, Brexit means Brexit. I’m none the wiser. I peaked at no means no. 

2. People who read The Daily Mail and think it’s warping influence is less corrosive than nasty porn to a teenager. In fact people who read The Daily Mail by choice. 

3. What’s happened in Coronation Street. Whilst visiting my own Didsbury Dad it was on with such volume that the neighbours had their own sound off so they could hear clearly. I last tuned in about a month ago but the whole programme seems to be based on each character simultaneously living four lives. I then found out Phil Mitchell is still in Eastenders. Hasn’t he died several times? Are the soaps now reincarnating characters until they attain Nirvana? 

4. How Saints & Scholars survives, although I’m glad it does. 

5. Twenty somethings with full beards and checked shirts. I still don’t get it. Irony imitating life. I know recent transatlantic political moves have made many people look towards Canada but is this an attempt recreate Alberta between Chorlton and West Didsbury?

6. Why 808 State and MC Buzz B aren’t still massive. 

7. Bros making a comeback and selling out in seconds. Bros are back 

Right, that’s the bah humbug out of the way – ready for some Christmas cheer next. 

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