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 tag “blaggs”

Love, Hate and The Festive Season

The Festive Season is nearly upon us. Nearly as in the nauseating adverts have been launched and there is a slight sense of panic surrounding everyone I know. I don’t even have to worry about accessorising my little black dress; but from the taint of the wrong toy to a misunderstanding about the origins, ethos and expectations it can be stressful. There are certain aspects of Daddom that make even the most benign aspects of the season something to dread.
Here are my top ten…

1. Jools Holland’s Hootenanny: In my murky media lifetime I spent many New Years’ Eves throwing the party. There are late September, early October teens and early twenty somethings whose existence is down to these parties. They leave a legacy of slightly crumpled thirty plus ten somethings. However eclectic and enthralling the musicians are – watching a bunch of Z listers pretend it’s New Years’ Eve just doesn’t cut it.

2. The 5am pain of Christmas Day: Didsbury Son was a beautiful bouncing Blondini bed banger at 5am on 25th December. Finally, the Christmas before the twins were born he ambled in at 8 ish and then made a cup of tea. We lolled and had the most laid back and groovy day. I now have another decade of door slamming and early early footsteps to manage. My head, back and knees have lodged a formal complaint.

3. Mince Pies: these sweet and juicy, sticky, crumbly heralds of baby Jesus and a Christmas Market. These hand-sized waist tormentors and palate coverers. I love you, but in the cause of waistline not wasteland I must ignore you and treat you like someone who not only thrived on Movember, but decided to keep it because it “suits me”.

4. False Bonhomie: Hey, how are you. We’ve had no contact but you’re Jewish, I’m an Atheist let’s have a Christmas drink? The human equivalent of a casual Facebook like.

5. The 7am Xmas Eve queue at Evans and Axons. It looks as though civil war has broken out, middle-aged, middle class men from across the southern suburbs have been forced to get from their beds to queue for supplies and hand over wads of cash for a Copper Bronze Turkey. It’s when men know their place and the taste can be worth it.

6. 28th December – knockdown.
You spend £15.99 on some plastic tat. You cut two fingers on the unwrapping, spend £8 for a battery that lasts 6 minutes at the only shop open Christmas Day afternoon and three days later – having stubbed your toe tripping over its unused, unloved cadaver on the stairs, it’s 2.99 in Tesco.
This venting is working, I already feel more festive.

7. The Queen’s Speech
I am sure she’s a lovely woman. Bringing up four kids in the spotlight must be difficult, although Victoria and David are doing okay so far. BUT. If I want to hear old people talk about their lives, whilst talking on behalf of the nation I can listen to a phone in on BBC Local Radio.

8. The Stove Room.
Lovely shop. Great to have it in West Didsbury. The cost of a bag of wood. It’s enough to make you go Aga.

9. Wine at £6.50 a glass
My time on the other side of the bar learning the rudiments of wet sales and profit margins on them has ruined me as a date. Didsbury Wife has to put up with a cost breakdown to ruin each round. Only out hated by paying for sparkling water. No need, no point.

10. Christmas Specials
I love watching TV. Couch slouching whilst watching aimlessly with Didsbury Son, hands on snacks is one of life’s pleasures. But (with the exception of Porridge, Dad’s Army and On The Buses) I am struggling to find a Christmas Special less sour than a lime. It’s the screen equivalent of bonhomie.

With that out of the way there is much to enjoy – The Snowman is slowly edging out Frozen, Atuls is always open and time off work means a quick stroll to Bisou Bisou and The AiryFairyCupCake Boutique. There’s the Xmas Light Switch on (and talk of it being plural this year), there are Blagg’s Christmas Trees and the chance of a day without email. Yet more, even more than this is wide berth people offer a family with more than one toddler. I’m looking forward to it already.

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The queues for Axons and Evans Warm up.

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The Mighty Headed Boy awaits a Mince Pie

The Costa Identity / Supremacy / and the other one

It’s 3pm and I am in Costa Coffee on Wilmlsow Road in Didsbury, ostensibly to work on my laptop. Thinking it may be a creatively difficult afternoon I have a cup of coffee that is so American Fat it has 2 handles and I am slightly ashamed by its obvious greed.

I love it in here. Costa’s clientage always give inspiration. (Although as a liberal media Didsbury Dad I obviously support the independents and am an Art of Tea regular.) The staff here are corporate friendly and professional. The camp over decorated indifferent moaners so beloved of small coffee houses don’t last long.

The Costa day pulls in the village, strata by strata. In term-time harassed dads delight kids with overpriced smoothies and cakes to tempt them to school. Then at 9am come the mums, mums to be and pre-college kids swamping the occasional early business meeting. It is loud, competitive and marks out the territory of the surrounding playgrounds.

A long shot of Didsbury Son that will be relevant to the next blog, not this one

I am usually here about 10. It’s Freelance central. Strong coffees and laptops push the ambient temperature up as individual men grunt cautiously from behind screens that hold draft versions of scripts. Potentially impressive phonecalls are handled loudly. We all leave for a meeting, nodding supportively about the failure of commissioners/producers/editors/audiences etc.

By late morning it is the retired and comfortable (they also take the lunch/post lunch period) who remember Blaggs, the old Boots, Percevals and Tesco in the village.

They give way to excitable schoolies and students who share exorbitant drinks and talk whilst texting and tweeting with a speed and code that impresses and depresses simultaneously.

And then… At 6, the early evening brings first dates and Internet-arranged blind dates.  I have been lucky enough to be “working” next to three of these excruciating occasions which made me thankful for Didsbury Wife and Son and for the self-delusion of those in here.

Time for a refill. What is the point of a frapuccino in England? Is it meant to be ironic?

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