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 category “Morcilla”

In The Night Garden v The Football Factory

Introducing children to culture early on in their development is important for them to attain the kind of middle-class snobbery that make X-Factor, Jeremy Kyle and popcorn such guilty pleasures. Didsbury Son was scared by a number of clowns and bored by theatre early on; the scars should open nicely later in life.

Thus today, the Mighty-Headed boy and The Pearly Princess made their theatrical debut; In The Night Garden Live at The Trafford Centre’s Showdome. It was a combination of Shakespeare, Siegfried and Roy and Cirque du Soleil and as we cheered, laughed and cried… Iggle Piggle found his blanket before the smell of filled nappy and Aptamil overwhelmed the space.

The lead-up had been tricky. I am a keen supporter of Arts and Culture (it’s paid the mortgage occasionally) and this week my diverse cultural tastes collided. The week had begun with the start of the football season. I engaged the frame of mind needed to cope with dodgy backstreets , testosterone rushes and the need to swear whilst singing in sync with the other 4000 former thirty-somethings pretending they hadn’t pleaded to get a pass-out.

This successful night out bled into plans for the big In The Night Garden day. I sat the twins down to remind them that even if the whole presenting team from Milkshake, riding Thomas the Tank Engine and led by Peppa Pig fronted us up – we never run (my knee is way past that), for today we are CBeebies.

When I received a text telling me I could meet Iggle Piggle and Macca Pacca afterwards I got all Danny Dyer and had halfway filled a sock with plastic building bricks when Didsbury Wife stopped me.

I came to my senses. The Tombliboos won 2-0 (although all that scratching noses and sitting on the floor saw them cautioned for time-wasting) and we got a police escort back to the car.

The play was brilliantly conceived. It was big and friendly and it’s audience was enchanted. This was a lovely escape back to gentleness for an hour. My pearly girl stared open-mouthed at the gigantic figures. She believed this world in a way that removed all adult cynicism and restored a little magic bubble to a week when the real world has sometimes seemed so harsh, the news so bleak – that even the 6am charge across the landing shouting “Daddy Mummy” seemed in danger.

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The urge to shout “Behind You” was overwhelming.

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Thankfully this was a fiercely partisan crowd, although several infants were ejected for starting anti-Balamory chants

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.

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Didsbury Dad, Agony Uncle

I never realised how easy it was raising just Didsbury Son until the Mighty-Headed Boy and The Pearl-Topped Princess turned up. Becoming a new father well over the age of 39 and 364 days exposes the physical scars of a misspent youth very quickly and from elbow to knee I have been in agony most of the time. My sciatic nerve is so pinched it looks like Ann Robinson and 20 months of this qualifies me as an agony uncle.
This week my imaginary inbox has been bulging with questions from soon-to-be, new and confused dads. Remember always do as I say, not as I do – one of the few genuinely useful pieces of advice I have given Didsbury Son.

Dear Didsbury Dad
I am considering a change of career from something mediaish and successful to loafing about as a freelancer once my partner gives birth to twins early next year. What do you think?

Dear I.M Mad
Are you joking? Ideally look for a full-time job which requires you to be away once a week, cancel all social arrangements until 2019 and before Boots relieve you of any spare cash, buy a shed.

Yo DD
As a former something media and occasionally successful something thingy what do you think?

Good Question. Cafe Nero until they are about 14 months for the baby change, the free babychino and the lovely staff; then Cafe Rouge so they can run around.

Mr Dad.
I have three children – 1, 3 and 4 strange names I know, the wife chose them ( courtesy of Ted Robbins). Will the numbness in my left leg and shoulder ever go?

No, but you’ll stop caring.

Dear Mr Dad
Having children of quite different ages and needs how do you make sure that they all know they are equally loved?

How or why? Soon as Didsbury Son finishes the ironing and the car I’ll ask him.

That’s all for this time. If you need more pearls of wisdom leave a comment or contact me through Twitter @DidsburyDadBlog.

The best advice I can give is apologise most days and don’t hold a grudge. That and a hot Pain Au Raisin and Americano from Nero solves most things.

Next week – live blogging from Didsbury Festival.

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The view from my shed

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My parenting video – a taster clip

10 Ways Becoming a dad changes everything

There are more than 10, most are quite dull but some surprise me. When I first became a Didsbury Dad (well once I’d had coffee, flavoured vodka and some kind of olive oil based poncey bread) a few things clicked into place.

In her just published novel “Animals” (which is superb), Emma Jane Unsworth has a character whose response to a close friend’s pregnancy is “… Another one lost for a decade”. I read this, gulped and nodded in recognition. I have friends who, in my mind are at the end of a phone knowing I’m swamped, happy and knackered. In reality they have scrubbed me off all lists as the ignorant one who dumped them once he had kids. This mirrors my pre-Didsbury Dad thoughts. How busy, tired, obsessed, sappy and dull can you be for a small screaming ankle biter who removes the opportunity for the epicurean nature on which you have thrived? The answer is personal.

1. A big night out: after bath time, I popped out for an early drink at the Fletcher Moss and delayed bedtime until after 7.30 PM.

2. A really big night out: you get a babysitter (double rate for twins) and after the second drink you realise you are exhausted, have little adult conversation and are really wondering if the babysitter would watch the boddlers if you came home and grabbed a couple of hours un-disturbed sleep.

3. An allnighter: the milk, dummy, singing, rocking and Calpol have all failed and you are watching repeats of Columbo whilst reading Incy Wincy Spider on a five minute rotation to a wired boddlers crying and laughing like a prom-night teenager.

4. You go to Boots for creams and lotions, none of them are for pleasure – all of them are medically based.

5. That tune that won’t leave your head. It’s not the one that brought the night to a crescendo – it’s 64 Zoo Lane and you cannot stop humming.

6. You still look lovingly at your partner and think “I hope they are in the mood for an early night” but you mean will you let me go to bed and go in the spare room so I’m not disturbed.

7. You fill up watching One Born Every Minute

8. You suddenly realise how see-through kids are and how much more patient your own Didsbury Dad was.

9. Staying in is the new going out.

10. You start to have opinions about things you have never cared about. Last week there was a seismic shift. The actual topic is irrelevant, it was what it meant. We were watching Master Chef (Big Bang Theory for adults) and Didsbury Wife asked me what I was thinking. All men know that this is normally a cause for concern as you are either thinking about nothing, football, nothing, somebody inappropriate, nothing, whether Eddie Murphy was convincing in “Coming to America” or nothing.
Without pause I was able to share my ideas around a child development issue. Halfway through my speech the enormity of this hit me and I asked for an early night.

The Essential Top Ten Tips For Bloggers

As the one of the best bloggers in our house (not counting Didsbury Son) I thought it was time to join the other untrained, uncalled for, unrepresentative people who call themselves experts.

Here are Didsbury Dad’s top ten tips.

1. Remember not to check anything before it goes out. Typos and predictive text can be the difference between dull and unintentionally funny.

2. There are 3964 parenting blogs in Britain. All are as necessary as a second piece of cake.

3. Be current. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.

4. Swearing can alienate a lot of family readers, so use it carefully.

5. Writing successfully needs inspiration. Didsbury has several places that are awe inspiring and all serve cake – AiryFairyCupCake Boutique, The Alpine Tea Rooms and Cafe Nero.

6. If you are writing a parenting blog you can only mention lack of sleep and sick on your shoulder every 100 words.

7. A picture can tell 1000 words but 500 is more than enough for a blog which can be awkward.

8. Work out if you actually have 10 tips before you start.

9. Otherwise

10. You’ll have to waffle.

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This picture of a fog warming sign on the M62 has nothing to do with the blog; that’s No. 11 for free.

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A rainbow at MediaCityUK

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars in Didsbury

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. This was a great idea and worked well on radio until the second series when the B list celebs got wise and we were treated to a feigned angst over “I’ve never had a full body massage from a £300 per hour West End masseur followed by dinner at The Ivy and advice from a Tax Lawyer”. The reveal didn’t work.

I was thinking about this because a) there is only so much Iggle Piggle or Minecraft a dad’s brain can hold. B) oooh, a nappy. C) I’ve never watched Doctor Who (intentionally or for more than 5 minutes.) it was a global phenomenon last weekend. I met the writer at an event. He seemed lovely. Whilst all the talk was of Gallifrey ( or Gallipoli or something), all I could think of was how much I despised big scarves at school. I’ve only seen 1 Harry Potter and managed to find friends and family to take Didsbury Son to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dungeons and Dragons, zzzzzzzzzz

But. – what is the Didsbury equivalent? I’ve never parked on a double yellow in Didsbury Village? I’ve never had a haircut on School Lane? I never worked out what the smell is at Cineworld? Here are mine…

1. I’ve never stood outside The Nelson dancing for the traffic. It’s always my favourite set of lights to stop at. Last week Didsbury Son and I were treated to a beer inspired Soft Shoe Shuffle that was worthy of Strictly…

2. I’ve never seen anyone coming in or out of Didsbury Conservative Club. Once Fred Silvester disappeared they melted like (insert melting Doctor Who character) Nigella’s chocolate pudding and bankability.

3. I’ve never ordered something at Folk without having to repeat 5 minutes later. Give the waiters pens.

4. I’ve never worked out which tree covers the graves of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s soldiers by the river.

5. I’ve never got over the loss of Hippins, then Linen.

6. Altogether now… I’ve never been to Nido and it looks like the lights are off for good on the restaurant that cast no shadow.

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More lights than Nido and looking for a pen for a Folk waiter

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars in Didsbury

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. This was a great idea and worked well on radio until the second series when the B list celebs got wise and we were treated to a feigned angst over “I’ve never had a full body massage from a £300 per hour West End masseur followed by dinner at The Ivy and advice from a Tax Lawyer”. The reveal didn’t work.

I was thinking about this because a) there is only so much Iggle Piggle or Minecraft a dad’s brain can hold. B) oooh, a nappy. C) I’ve never watched Doctor Who (intentionally or for more than 5 minutes.) it was a global phenomenon last weekend. I met the writer at an event. He seemed lovely. Whilst all the talk was of Gallifrey ( or Gallipoli or something), all I could think of was how much I despised big scarves at school. I’ve only seen 1 Harry Potter and managed to find friends and family to take Didsbury Son to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dungeons and Dragons, zzzzzzzzzz

But. – what is the Didsbury equivalent? I’ve never parked on a double yellow in Didsbury Village? I’ve never had a haircut on School Lane? I never worked out what the smell is at Cineworld? Here are mine…

1. I’ve never stood outside The Nelson dancing for the traffic. It’s always my favourite set of lights to stop at. Last week Didsbury Son and I were treated to a beer inspired Soft Shoe Shuffle that was worthy of Strictly…

2. I’ve never seen anyone coming in or out of Didsbury Conservative Club. Once Fred Silvester disappeared they melted like (insert melting Doctor Who character) Nigella’s chocolate pudding and bankability.

3. I’ve never ordered something at Folk without having to repeat 5 minutes later. Give the waiters pens.

4. I’ve never worked out which tree covers the graves of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s soldiers by the river.

5. I’ve never got over the loss of Hippins, then Linen.

6. Altogether now… I’ve never been to Nido and it looks like the lights are off for good on the restaurant that cast no shadow.

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More lights than Nido and looking for a pen for a Folk waiter

Father’s Day, a report card on your prowess

Father’s Day. Two words that can strike dread into the heart of many dads. It is a report card on how you’ve done since Christmas. The level of effort put in is a direct grading of your role as supporting artist in the great film of family life.
This is not about money spent or responding to the abysmal Americanisation and spreading over the weekend of what was always traditionally a card and a cuppa before normal service resumed.

I had a trawl through the mmm, detritus that is being passed off as a present for dad. I saw an advert for Canadian Maple flavoured ribs and beer. Fine, if you’ve never had Gavuscon or Oemeprozole but not for the other 99% of us literally a recipe for disaster. This and a thousand Top Gear / presents aimed at 10 year olds with more hair passed off as what the retailers decided we should stress over for Father’s Day; rubbish.

There is the same nuance and care needed in a Father’s Day as there is when responding to a question from partners beginning “I want you to be honest with me…” (NB you only fall for this once every six months)

We know a great sage once decreed that the perfect childhood for boys was to have a father until they were seven years old before taking over as pack leader and sending father back into the forest to forage.
Handwritten cards, something you secretly wanted, a hint taken or anything fried and you have an A*; with gradings all the way down to a Co-Op card and a picture of your children to remind you who they are.

I think I did okay. Definitely on the upside and had an easy weekend with a family that becomes more lively and interesting by the week.

Sunday began at 2am with teething terrors traumatising the Mighty-Headed boy and ended alone in a double bed with all baby duties suspended until 6am as I had a big day at work; the greatest act of selfless love in a bedroom that the mother of your children can give you.

Didsbury Son had a break from being short-changed of quality dad attention, spending a sleepover with friends and Didsbury Wife and I spent a chummy afternoon on the couch with the twins before I didn’t have to go to John Lewis.

I felt special. As we wheeled the twin Meerkats out for an early evening drink in a sun-dappled West Didsbury I felt relaxed and sure in the knowledge that the world was right and I was one inappropriate joke away from a Top Gear compilation.

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Hands full, all three of them

Twin Guilt and The Curate’s Egg

I used to think that twin guilt meant I hadI used to think twin guilt meant I had snaffled both Bountys on the way back from the garage without offering Didsbury Son a nibble. Since becoming a dad of twins, twin guilt takes on new and expanding boundaries.

Didsbury Son, still a gift I can’t believe fell my way is having a Curate’s Egg of being a big brother so far. ( this is great. I promised someone over a literary based late night conversation I would find use for the phrases “Curate’s Egg”, “All you had to do was click your heels and think of Kansas” and ” In my day we had none of these fripperies “. One down and Kansas Fried Chicken is a given). On the upside, he loves the attention. Pushing newbie twins anywhere is like a call to coo for a wide variety of the population. He (and we) have never had so many compliments. Didsbury Son absorbs the reflected praise and a 5-minute stroll to the shops can now take half an hour and leave him an inch taller with his chest puffed out. People also love to smirk at us that ” Eeh, you have your hands full.” True, but not so full we can’t make hand gestures to people making banal or rude comments. There are also the presents. He has amassed quite a haul from family and friends keen to be even-handed and his Apple-infused Christmas present already has enough I -Tunes vouchers in his name to fill it with brightly coloured but quickly disappointing apps. I expect to only see the top of his head until March.

On the downside… The pitch of stereo crying in an enclosed space and the volume and length of time it proceeds at/for has been an unsettling shock. The dual cacophony can outstrip an average car alarm. Soon to be dads be warned – you cannot sit back for an hour on twin duty with Didsbury Son for some downloaded American cartoons. Despite the fact that if Lord Yipley the Churchill lookalike isn’t demanding attention, his sister will be, it’s too loud. Health and a safety would not let you work in this level of decibel without ear defenders but Didsbury Son and I still, with decreasing success, attempt to slouch couchwards. We haven’t managed more than an occasional Modern Family and he watches more and more sitting alone on a couch built for several as I smile meekly though muslin and milk, sterilising in a way that makes Howard Hughes seem like Stig o’ The Dump.

The main challenge for any big brother is going from sole trader and receiver of constant attention to team player with a house full of sleep-craving, narky, obsessed elsewhere adults. Whilst the upside is more freedom, less regimented teeth brushing and bedtimes, I think the downsides are numerous in the short-term. Whilst he is a doting and attentive big brother; proud, enraptured and willing; until the twins respond to raspberries, tickles and songs they seem to him a lot of effort that is light on return. It will come. but three months to a boy who lives in the moment is beyond. Comprehension.

He does not realise that this is like supporting a football team; it seems that no matter how much you prop them up, sing, throw all your money at them – they are not really bothered about you… Yet. At least we know that Didsbury Son’s real Christmas present will kick in around the start of spring when he is greeted like a returning hero every time he enters the room and the twins respond to every tickle, parp and clap with absolute delight.

As I pointed out to Didsbury Wife -if we had just got a puppy he would have had that from day one.

Playing Blog Catch-Up

This blogging keeps you current. Happy New Year everyone. 2011 already. I have a sneaky feeling that News International will be exposed and The News of the World is going to close, but it’s just a hunch.

Pets or soup? Didsbury Dad and son disagree

So it was Christmas 2010 and it didn’t go to plan, I blame the coalition. There was a discrepancy between depth perception and a television. Consequently Didsbury Family spent Boxing Day morning in a slightly sweaty shopping centre, suffering a combination of embarrassment, claustrophobia, snobbery and mortification as we searched for a just discontinued line.

That and a Christmas holiday spent trying to please other people and satisfying no one led to me some less than groundbreaking conclusions.

1. Trying to kill several birds with one stone ends with broken items and can lead to the light shakes at Meadowhall surrounded by chirpy and determined South Yorkshireans.

2. When you are entertaining your 9 year old by simply speaking and swaying, it is time for bed.

3. The Cheese Hamlet is probably more economically viable that the USA

4. Other people’s problems, whilst excruciating, can make you feel better about your own social inadequacies.

5. Hindsight is the best predictor.

That’s the end of the philosophy, on to 2011.

2011. It’s been quick, sometimes brutal, never dull and occasionally life enhancing in shouting from the sidelines dad kind of way. Highlights so far include Didsbury Wife’s birthday party at a Tapas Bar in Boho West Didsbury in February. You know it’s going well when mid conversation with the barman about the joys of Morcilla over Bury Black Pudding you decide he is the best friend you never had and want to kiss everyone.

a stunning lack of imagination went into buying this football cake

Didsbury Wife is precise. Things are either right or wrong and getting it right can be grueling so happiness, mixed with Rioja and relief are powerful stimulants and we celebrated true Didsbury style. Families, fancy food, Philosophy and gatecrashers we had never met who went home friends.

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