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 “Caffe Nero”

Evans, Delia and There’s No Place Like Home

 Look – not one pointless apostrophe or errant comma.

I am to blame. Me and others like me. “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Show a man Eddie at Evans and he will joss half his wages on a Royal Dorade and Samphire.” Until… the cost of twins at Boots, the inability to walk more than 50 yards without a Costa and the come hither ease of M&S fish porn mean that a wallet-emptying, life-enhancing trip to Evans becomes less regular. 

My grandmother first took me to Evans. After my pram was pushed to Inman’s, I held my Didsbury Grandmother’s hand as we went to the “new fish shop” to buy Hake which then became the greatest Gefilte Fish (chopped and boiled or fried) each week.   Exotic seafood

I have wooed on the back of their langoustines but recently, laziness and children have reduced me to roll mops and kippers. As Hamlet said, “oh that this too too sullied flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a Fish Stew (ish). 

If the staff takeover works I’ll be back next week with a Halibut hop and the jauntiness of a cheeky bream. 

And so to Delia’s. It’s not all Hispi Chic and Botanist beauty in M20 (although I have offered to trade a child for their Salt’n’Pepper Onion). Delia’s Gone. I remember original Delia. I was an impressionsble teen, she was a bit vibrant and scary and I think I had a crush on her between Banaramama and Clare Grogan. The flowers were a treat I learned went down well. Delia sadly died but her name has gone on for several decades with brilliant Darren most recently running the shop and the delivery from Holland. The wall full of bath bombs looked like an admission of failure and smelled awful but we need a Delia’s in the village and should hang our heads at the ease with which we slipped into the garage or Tescos. I told him to get a Costa Machine in to bring in the punters.     When Delia’s closure was announce people movingly rushed to put flowers outside as a tribute.

What next? Will Karma Sutra move downstairs? Is there room for a new Waitrose? How can these shut when Bourbon & Black stays open? 

With Felicini’s / Mud Crab / Y Fabrica changing its name every week and Manor Service Station becoming an Off Licence these are strange days. The village centre is starting to feel a bit empty and the rents are proving prohibitive. This is not strong and stable. However it does mean that traditional Didsbury is now probably epitomised by one of our oldest residents, Kansas Fried Chicken.

I’m still working away a lot at the moment but I know now. Whenever I’m homesick I click my red Nike Air Force Ones and say “There’s No Place Like Home, can I have Chicken gravy?”  

 The new official colours of Didsbury – Melchester Rovers. 

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Just a simple country tale

Whilst Didsbury Son sloped off to … Chorlton (like Didsbury but with skinnier hips and less acceptable facial hair) where he could sit in the dark watching Anime with a similarly aged friend who understands his tortured genius, the rest of us headed for the country.  When Aspecto trainers meet the countryside. 
I am a huge fan of the countryside and firmly believe that all it needs is a roof, decent flooring, transport, Caffe Nero, Virgin Active, decent tapas, 4G and less cow poo to make it inhabitable. Oh and supermarkets would be a bonus.
The countryside is all about stress relief for city folk like me. There’s no chance of Wi-Fi, reception or Sky Sports so there’s no point worrying about football or the less vital news until you get near enough to a settlement to pick up 5Live. Then, after sometimes up to almost an hour with poor AM, the insistent, persistent minutiae is like a balm you love, but to which you are slightly allergic.  

 Country hens remain protective of their eggs after boiling. Many employ soldiers to help

Anyway – with only 4 bags, 2 nap sacks, a food suitcase, an armful of plastic toys and a Didsbury Dad Car Moose filled to the brim we set off for 24 hours out of M20. The event was a big party for children who are 3 in the next month. The twins have been asking if it was their birthday for weeks so this was a day without context, but with cake and a bouncy castle – somewhere in Warwickshire. 

I set the SatNav for “Middle of Nowhere” and off we set; to Caffe Nero. When he was small I drummed into Didsbury Son that a journey of 1000 Miles (or anything involving the M6) begins with a single coffee. This is when I realised that my babies are Didsbury through and through. As I returned to the car the wailing began. Two toddlers united in one grief. 

“Daddy, daddy. Where’s My Babyccino?”

To Be Continued: in the next episode we find a traffic jam on the M6, snacks run short, the toddlers fall asleep, we reach the party; night follows day. 

Birthdays and the Autumn Breeze

Wine & Wallop is open. It’s a lovely space and the fact they are finishing it around you as you drink just adds to the ambience. Chalk Bar & Grill is now settled in the village at one end, whilst Croma flaps its big white awning like swans’ wings over the clock tower end of the village, near the newly opened and yet to be investigated Solita. Gregg’s new gift shop neighbour has an opening in site, wooden boards shade it as though huddling around praying it will last longer than all of its predecessors back to the then innovative Cloud 9. Didsbury has its winter line-up ready for the Christmas spend and with the festival season over, the traffic jams getting earlier on Barlowmoor Road and boards up on the old Casa Tapas ranch, it’s show time.

This is a great time of year. The mornings aren’t dark enough to be depressing and Didsbury Son’s school experience is lightened by the the last rays of summer sun.

At Didsbury Dad Mansions its a big weekend. The Mighty-Headed boy and the Pearly Princess are 2 this weekend – a milestone as full of shock and awe as that moment earlier this year when Didsbury Son’s clock ticked into teendom.

Two; we still have buggy, pram, nappies and strings of sounds that evoke, but are not sentences. Are they babies? They are to me, so is Didsbury Son – they are my babies to the point that I could almost use an emoticon.

They have all the boddler attributes to enthral parents and bore the Bodens off friends. Last week they said “Blah blah more pie etc.”, “Ooh, look at that picture – they look like Spandau Ballet when they were cool.” Every point of movement still entrances me, even at Stupid AM after hours perched on a rapidly disintegrating knee.

Above all they are 100% Didsbury. I realised this thinking about the following routines. How to tell if your baby is Didsbury.

1. On Sunday mornings, after an early park jaunt, stop at Caffe Nero for Babyccino and Loacker Wafers.

2. They are on gurgling terms with the pastoral team at St. James’ AND Emmanuel, knowing Dimitri’s has it over The Old Cock every day of the week.

3. I have to wipe the seat before and their hands after a go on the swings in Didsbury Park.

4. They think a People Carrier is a normal car.

5. The only time they have seen a Fish Finger it was homemade at Folk.

So this weekend, with the moving elbow and the working knee I will raise a baby or two, toast Didsbury Wife and try and wangle a celebratory visit to Piccolino and a bit of Sky Sports amid the festivities.

Twenty First Century Pub Crawl, with children

Every place has its pub crawl and M20 is no exception. Back in the ’80s when hair and collars reached for the skies and there was no such as thing as too much make-up, it was a full night out that started with The Olde Cock and The Didsbury ( Now both gastros with differing successes)  and via Crown, Dog, Albert, Nelson, The Old Grey (now Zizzi’s) and The Railway – it would be chips at Sweaty Betty’s now a poster site but rumoured to be Didsbury Lounge 2) before the Three Lions. The Golden, The Red and The White. The White Lion had bands downstairs, could be a bit lairy and a cab home afterwards from Tripps cost £2.

 

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com  I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think "One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here".

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think “One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here”.

It was pints (although not for me, always the shorts and being really honest – I was really more interested in the snacks than the drinking. The advent of Scampi Fries in 1986 opened up a whole new world), Malibu if you felt lucky, Silk Cut and the latent threat of violence – heady times. A really good night could stretch to Mulberry’s or Severe/ Murder in Fallowfield. You could make a complete show of yourself without a single text, picture, Vine, Facebook, Pinterest, What’s App or truth getting out – marvellous days with less comeback. 

You never knew who you would meet on a night out

You never knew who you would meet on a night out


Last week, to celebrate Easter and Didsbury Son being out for the day, Didsbury Wife and I decided to recreate it for the twins. The Golden Lion is now a car park, The White Lion a Sainsbury’s and The Olde Cock is now crap – but we were not daunted. 

However, the thought of pushing the pram and downing drinks between nappy changes no longer enthralls; Didsbury Wife and I created the 40 something, small children Didsbury crawl.

1. Late breakfast at Caffe Nero with Pain au Raisins to share.

2. Then in the car for an adventure which took us to Alderley Edge for a toddler sized walk and lunch at The Wizard. Lunch out with toddlers and no high chairs does mean you need to be able to down in one. – bit it’s the parfait not the Pernod and Black.

3. Back via John Lewis where the Mighty Headed Boy lay down and staged a protest in the toy department. We coaxed him back with afternoon tea in the cafe; where at 18 months old they are SO last year. The number of floppy necked baldie babes not only made me pine for the days when they were toothless and inert but they looked huge; it was brilliant. With the sugar rush from a JL Battenberg calming down we left, satiated.

We got home feeling as we had done 25 years ago – not sure how we had spent so much, a little ashamed of our indulgence, with a stomach ache. We also had stories to tell and lots of laughs and the only time anyone had tried to hit me they used Iggle Piggle and shouted “Mummyo”; result.

The Co-Op, Spandau Ballet, Francis Lee and the M6

Co-Op, WaitroseThis much I have learned:

As I have journeyed so far past 39 that I can now see it in the wing mirror without glasses or squinting I have noticed some startling developments

1. My twin lovelies are suddenly somewhere between babies and toddlers. They are tabies or boddlers. They sway in a 10pm Friday night way; they fall, cry, get up. They get knocked down, but they get up again. You get the picture.

In the middle of the night your eyes can play visual tricks. Last night my beautiful pearl-headed girl went full throttle around 1am. Via a quick fumble with Ewan the Sheep, I began rocking and sushing in the dark. I looked down at her, snuggled in a bright pink sleeping bag made grey in the dark. All I could clearly make out was a fringe and a high-necked short bib. In my stupor I thought she looked like a mini New Romantic. Specifically, Steve Norman at the height of Spandau Ballet’s fame. This was pure gold. To cut a long story short, whilst she cranked up Chant Number 1, I moved seamlessly from 64 Zoo Lane Through the Barricades. Eventually she calmed and as I put her back in the cot I thought “I’d Fly For You”.

In the middle of the night she tranforms into...

In the middle of the night she tranforms into…

 

I also felt slightly guilty. My mighty headed boy has a smile so infectious it could cheer up a Goth. Yet I am convinced he is the spit of 70s Manchester City icon Franny Lee. This after his Uncle Sol and Phil Mitchell phases. Note to self, they will take revenge.

...the one on the left, Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet. (pic www.allposters.co.uk). The likeness is uncanny

…the one on the left, Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet. (pic http://www.allposters.co.uk). The likeness is uncanny

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The Co-Op refit.is fairly spectacular (www.all-truelondon.com)

2. I have been lucky enough over the years to have presented on radio and to have organised major live and broadcast events. Back timing to the second, doddle. Bringing a crew of 100 and an audience of 1000s to the same point of a show – easy. Getting 13 month old twins, pre- teen Didsbury Son and sleep-starved Didsbury Wife in a car to go to London for 9am, impossible. The Everly Brothers on tour had less friction, the group tasks in The Apprentice have a stronger shared vision and the Formula 1 teams travel more lightly when shipping cars across continents.
By the time we stopped for our first nappy and coffee stop, ( My theory is that pricing at Service Stations is decided by spinning a wheel which begins at “Selfridges” and goes through to “Organic Grocer in Notting Hill”) the list of items we had forgotten really needed their own car. If you ever want to feel humble, buy nappies and wipes on the M6. I will never again complain about the cost of Premier League football.

3. When I see Didsbury Wife juggle the needs of Year 8 joy and pain in the same breath as coaxing two 1 year olds I am slightly less smug about my pride at washing up, whilst listening to the radio and chatting on the phone.

4. The New Co-Op in our village centre has undergone a transformation so drastic that I half expect to see it on QVC promoting its extreme makeover. In a week where Co-Op has been ridiculed for its ministerial management’s misunderstanding of metropolitan manners we’ve had free muffins and fruit. But Co-Op, surely to be known as Co-po also chose mid-November to open al fresco dining and all the over 21s have disappeared. Where is the stern blokevwho likes to begin pontificating with “Anyone in their Right Mind… ” and ends with Capital Punishment. What happened to the lovely women? The new staff are fine, but just a little too perky for Copo, it’s not Waitrose ( yet).

The post fit out Co-Op (www,all-truelondon.co.uk)

The post fit out Co-Op (www,all-truelondon.co.uk)

5. Didsbury Son took me to a charmless Japanese day in a sports centre. It was too full of geeks in fancy dress and gamers whose idea of personal hygiene peaked with licking their fingers after chicken wings. He was in his element and his happiness was my joy. But I’m sticking to football

Wales: where are your changing tables?

The Didsbury family are all safely home from our trip to Wales. I like Wales. Parts of the North Wales and stop-offs on the journey home are so good they are almost like Didsbury; but with narrower roads, early closing, less choice, grey brick, no Cheese Hamlet and proper Welsh Cakes.

Wales, like Scotland with a less impenetrable accent, like Cornwall without Rick Stein pushing his haddock at you day night and… to overuse the word “like”, like a family holiday without facilities.

I am not Walesist, some of my best friends are Welsh (to paraphrase the “people” who voted UKIP).

Sunday afternoon was a perfect example. The journey from Didsbury was punctuated by stops at a range of cafes and hotels. Each stop met with friendly incredulity at the request for a baby change. Our pleas seemed as outrageous as having pram access to a toy shop ( Giddy Goat Toys, let us in).

I have been spoiled in M20. Caffe Nero has two changing tables (knowing its clientele well), Didsbury Lounge may drag you up spiral stairs but when you get there it’s worth it and even the independent Didsbury Deli is promising a changing station soon – I keep checking and the antipasti just arrives at my table, that’s my excuse.

This lack of facilities led to Didsbury Wife and I putting our knees and backs through unseemly hard floor, cubicle changes that were like going swimming in the 70s. The babies have spent so much time on toilet floors being changed by a tired and sweary dad they thought they were in a Ken Loach film about Wales in the 50s
(*Read the following Oscar worthy dialogue in ‘Nessa from Gavin & Stacey accent).
“We ‘ad to keep movin’ see – no place to sleep and a toilet to change the babbies mind.”

Anyway it is back to Sunday afternoon 3.45pm. One of those magical family outings that began in indifference and spiralled quickly into antipathy. I had a car full. One angry, one bored, two needing a change. Then, Nirvana. Cliff side location, beatific panorama and inside it got better. WiFi for Didsbury Son. A safe heaven and a good choice of refreshment for Didsbury Wife and, whisper it quietly – Sky Sports 1 cued up for Super Sunday and they took cards.

I grasped the wary family to my bosom and charged in. I was new man and ready to change a Mighty Headed boy whose nappy was threatening to emigrate.

I spent the next 20 minutes balancing him one-handed between basin and blower as we recreated our cubicle scene one more time.

We left the pub with friends, a new happiness and pong-free babies; but Wales, it’s 2013. there is no need for a fancy refurb, just a bit of fold-down plastic attached to a wall. Your resorts are full of young families and more importantly, I have two more years of nappies.

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Just out of shot: Gareth Bale, Ivor The Engine and Alex Jones open the Welsh Assembly’s new changing facilities

Didsbury puckers up for the spring

Bright crispy mornings with frost on the car and blue in the sky. Long beautiful nights. The week’s full moon has had a yellow/orange lamppost tinge, a smattering of cloud cover and has hovered hopefully over Didsbury village as if it could re-open the lamented closed shops or put a barber’s chair and scissors in every premises from Withington Baths to Parrs Wood.

The moon can throw some interesting shadows. Carrington's and Domino's look different in this light.

The moon can throw some interesting shadows. Carrington’s and Domino’s look different in this light.

It’s Spring and getting warmer. The sun that had seemed as rare as a queue at Gourmet Burger King or a three-piece suit in Elvis’s Kitchen is squinting sheepishly at us at last. There are snowdrops, scaffolds and For Sale signs springing up everywhere as Didsbury gets dressed for the new season.

This is prime mooching time. Didsbury  buzzes with the sound of pram wheel on pavement. On Wednesday I was in Caffe Nero when South Manchester twins group finished and the convoy  of double buggies measured on the Richter scale.

At home, there are changes afoot. To my initial shock and continual sense of nagging disappointment Didsbury Son is slowly backing out of our mooching mornings. My little 4-year-old blondini who would squeeze hands, talk unaware loveliness and look in awe at the detritus we would spot as we walked on what is now the Metrolink is busy with team sports, distracted by Cartoon Network and generally losing impetus. He is still my lovely boy, but adolescence is creeping in and walking around aimlessly with a Tesco sausage at the end of it is no longer the pull it once was.

I have new partners. They are still in their pram and if I get it right they are primarily asleep, but, still strangely good company. Walking the not so mean streets of M20 with babies allows me time to see developments.

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It is nice to see everyone out and about without a coat on after a long winter.

The village is rife with change and this year’s Didsbury Festival will march down a very different high street. Elm Interiors really is shutting (room for a small Waitrose?), with rising rents blamed, but pointless stock not helping. La Tasca (my eagle-eyed spy tells me) is coming back as a Venetian Restaurant which opens up many possibilities. A moat, the scent of warm sewage, exorbitant pricing  and large Americans OR… Superb food, small coffees and a chance of drowning if you get too drunk. The Mud Flat Crabicinis is being pimped. The scaffolding is up, the building is being lowered and expect to see alloys.
We have an open air cafe coming to Didsbury Park, Giddy Goat Toys has some genuinely exciting stuff in it and one day Pixie / Linen will re-open, Sheilaless but hopefully a little slice of glamour on the road to the Fletch.
There is building behind Aldi (Guessing it’ s not a Waitrose) and the pace of 30s house renovation for profit on Spath Road and its surroundings is reaching a crescendo; with the village’s estate agents salivating at the easy commissions coming their way.

This is a longer blog than usual so I thought I would put in more pictures

On Barlow Moor Road and the Old Lansdowne gateway to the West the gentrification is almost complete and done “in keeping” with the original build (just different) and my new favourite, School Lane gets better as it warms up.

This is the new  Indie Didsbury. As you come out of the park and over the Metro to School Lane; past the bizarre white block of flats that should have been built in seafront San Fran and jar hopelessly with all of their surroundings there is a real community. The road to Airy Fairy Cupcake Nirvana is not just paved with barbers (although there are 28). Before Hazeldress’ cavern of costume and the musical instrument shop that must be a front for something. Before the munificence of Peking House and the barbers who all used to work together and now snip separately. Before the gym next to the chippy there is gold.
The School Lane Cafe does a Full English for a fiver and knows Latte is late spelled wrong AND next to Didsbury Perk’s art and Hot Chocolate is a pop up hands on gallery; brilliant.

We shall be mooching Parrs Wood way more this spring.

The School Lane Heritage Trail.A boy, a pencil and white flats in the background

The School Lane Heritage Trail.A boy, a pencil and white flats in the background

Ewan the Dream Sheep and Alien vs Predator

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Government cutbacks mean each Ewan the Dream Sheep has to straddle two Moses Baskets to qualify for Child Benefit.

Things I have learned as I tiptoe quietly trying not to cough past four weeks with twins

1. Good ideas are all about time and place. My suggestion of a support network for fathers that meets on midweek match nights in a pub with a screen was clearly thought-through and well received. My idea to advertise it as a call to the The Muslin Brotherhood was not.

2. It’s only a month in. I have the dad equivalent of tennis elbow, Papoose vertebrae.

3. Didsbury Son and I have to fight an overwhelming desire to put them in deeley boppers and rearrange them when they sleep so we can re-enact Alien vs Predator, or at least the 70s Smash adverts.

4. Iggle Piggle is the boss. Macca Pacca may have the ears and the moves but if you’re In The Nightgarden it’s Iggle or nish. I am already thinking up my anti- Thomas the Tank Engine rhetoric. Polluting, manipulative and unwatchable – viva Peppa.

5. Pleasures come in small bundles; sleeping babies, wind on demand and Didsbury Son, now Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians, not arguing over homework.

6. 3am has morphed from 3am Eternal to the 3am feed, wind, change. If that goes well I get up and then think about the babies.

7. I cannot remember what a hot drink tastes like.

8. I am just as besotted and dull as all the other Didsbury Dads I used to curl my lip at whilst I read the paper in Nero at a leisurely pace with Didsbury Son lost in DS world next to me after a morning mooch.

9. I have not lost all my faculties yet. Didsbury Son’s new sibling consolation Pokemon Wii challenge was won by me without my glasses or any idea which button II was tapping and why. This followed my Guitar Hero debacle. My loathing for the futility of Guitar Hero is only matched by my dislike for Mr Bean, but that’s another story.

10. I sometimes lose my thread.

11. They each weigh less than a Christmas turkey, can’t speak, cry randomly and break wind at will – but the twins are already running the show and ruling the roost. The house is messy, noisy, chaotic and I can’t hear the radio – and it’s bliss.

PS: Ewan the Dream Sheep is addictive. It has the same effect on babies as being in a dull lecture on a warm day after a big lunch has on me. This joy is only dampened by having “The Holly and The Ivy” going in a loop around my head at 33 instead of 45.

Next week: How to make yourself invisible when people discuss nappies

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Ewan is currently in therapy after turning up to work dressed as Holly Willoughby and Ivy Brennan from Corrie.

NB: Ewan the Dream Sheep was consulted fully before this blog went to press and signed consent forms for all pictures used, He has released the following statement. “WE have now had three Toy Story films yet faux fur toys are still subjected to working conditions that wre outlawed in 19th Century Britain. I hoe that brave blogs such as Didsbury Dad can fully expose the treatment with which we contend each day.” He added, ” The Holly and the Ivy, when they are both full grown… Baaa”

The Patriots visit Hospital

11.30am Didsbury Village. With proofing to prove, edits to edit and organidling to organise I escaped to Caffe Nero. The shrill of competitive parenting was overwhelming. Assorted too young or too sniffly for school juniors piped hopefully, but the sound of bragging about offspring and moaning about partners was reaching a crescendo. It clashed hideously with Boden’s summer rainwear collection in such a disorienting manner that then men who stare at goats were taking notes.

I escaped to the relative tranquility and surly Balkan service of Didsbury Deli; a turquoise balance to the United and City of Costa and Nero.

I like it here. Young men talk business and older people discuss the time when Sivoris, Hurst’s Chemists, GT Blagg and Applethwaites dominated the village. It’s too narrow for a buggy, too reverby for shrilled instructions to carry without distortion and they serve Illy.

Today Didsbury Son went on a hospital visit with school dressed patriotically in red, white and blue. This unlikely combination, like Gourmet Burger King and a queue is likely to unsettle people or recreate hallucinations. If your first sight on regaining consciousness was 30 Pre-teens in union jack outfits you may feel you had come round too late to enjoy the pleasure of a coffee in Didsbury Village.

With SATS over and time to fill before the big holiday every schoolday has a theme, visit or rehearsal. I got so confused last week I began scanning the papers for National Days that could be celebrated .

June 1st celebrates St. Candida and is 200 years to the day since US President James Madison declared war on The United Kingdom. My suggestion that Didsbury Son goes dressed as a redcoat and then, taking a atoon of Year 4s, stands guard outside Subway distributing leaflets about Candida fell on dead ears.

Aah well. Back to my coffee and blank piece of paper and onwards to Friday. It’s half-term and Didsbury Son can dress as he likes, watch TV drinking Fanta and spend 15 minutes describing the plot of The Cleveland Show to me as I scan the Internet for new football kits over which I can obsess.

Has The World Turned and Happy (insert relevant festival)

Tesco in East Didsbury (I love the geographical split of East, West and The Village – it has a 70s European feel to it) currently has merchandise on display for Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas, Diwali, Jewish New Year and Freedom for The Flemish with Phlegm Independence Party.

Every newsagent in Didsbury now seems to be a licensed mini-mart packed with so much stock that daylight is a thing of the past.

The fight for supremacy between coffee shops and charity shops can only lead to Emmanuel and St James churches going to head to head with a Starbucks Fairtrade Chocolate concession or maybe a John Lewis themed coffee shop.

It’s October 15th and on a perfect summer’s day I strolled through Fletcher Moss with Didsbury Wife and Son past the soon to be Dimitris. The park was full of yapping dogs, happy children and the whiff of suntan lotion. We then sat squinting and basking outside Caffe Nero as cars pumped out summer sounds through open roofs and windows.

City are top of the league. I saw a fish in Evans within my price range, there was no broken glass outside O’Neills this morning and Didsbury Son patiently worked his way through a mock entrance exam as our year 6 parental paranoia cranked up a notch.

All this and last week Didsbury Library had both of the books I was looking for, whilst Gourmet Burger King had more customers than staff on successive weekdays.

These are strange times. I feel as though I may blink and find Salford is the capital of British Television, the LibDems are the government and when I get home my car will be cleaned and SkySports News will be humming behind a steaming cup of tea in my favourite mug… just wishful thinking and mad ideas

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