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 “Cartoon Network”

Into every rain a little sun may fall

The thing about family life as the parent is that you are hero, villain, unpaid slave and feted emperor(ess), often in the same day, sometimes in the same conversation.
For every matrimonial slight magnifying exponentially as sleep depravation crescendoes, there is that complicit nod, a shared joke with Didsbury Son or a boddler leap and hug.
The scattering of re-imagined objects on the floors, at times a joyful motif for the imagination unspoiled by Cartoon Network – on another day when the Middle C note has been hollered before 5.30, the planets unaligned and the day has gone downhill, it is a sinister coupling of the results of a conspiracy against you to negate all you have done. It is neither. It is just the detritus of a lively house and you are in a trough; with a peak hiding the other side of the Nightgarden.
I have been keeping a list of the little things that have made me happy and sad/angry/paranoid this week. The list, a mundane arrangement of MIS-interpretations, imagined slights and the odd moment of clarity.
If I had read it in a magazine I would have nodded in recognition, distancing myself from the pettier, ignoble side.
However – seeing ideas and behaviours laid out so bluntly is like a plooking back at a teenage diary and suddenly realising that it wasn’t that no one understood your genius, just that most people try to avoid you when you behave like Kevin the Teenager and pout like a trout.

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Didsbury, spring and full of frolicing

My footsteps took me down to the seedy side of town. This being Didsbury it was the caraway and pumpkin seedy side of town. It’s spring. 5am dawns and much chirruping from the baby boy with the big round head and his pearly-crowned sister with the open mouth smile. 8.30 sunsets herald the thankful end of this house’s Cartoon Network viewing and Didsbury has its spring coat on.

The Mighty-Headed twin baby boy looks across his empire

The Mighty-Headed twin baby boy looks across his empire

One thing I love about walking a pram around is watching the year and shops change. Whilst I am still coming to terms with Bath Bombs surviving the demise of Elm Interiors to limp malodorously over to the magnificent Delia’s there is hope.

Let's be honest - it may not actually say "we stocked bath bombs it's our fault" but...

Let’s be honest – it may not actually say “we stocked bath bombs it’s our fault” but…

Gourmet Burger King has something to smile about. There is still a 1:1 ratio between the staff and diners most days, but in addition to saving on cleaning costs they are no longer the emptiest chain in the village. Come on down Holland Barratt. Healthy Spirit has slayed you (in a crystal healing, hands-off, organic and spiritual way). The staff of H&B (look at me using slang) look forlornly out from their empty shop like the last table at a car boot sale. I have been past a dozen times and the only person I have ever seen inside was Didsbury Wife, when I had arranged to meet there to see once and for all what the ginger wine tastes like; people must be buying their pre-packed healthy high salt snacks elsewhere.
When we walked past this morning H& was deluged with a customer who had mistakenly popped in for a haircut

When we walked past this morning H&B was deluged with a customer who had mistakenly popped in for a haircut

There is news. News as surprising as waking up to find day has once again followed night. A new hairdresser is opening up in the village. The carcass of The Didsbury Village Farm Shop is being transformed into Toni & Guy. A hairdresser. In Didsbury. This is brilliant. We haven’t had a new hairdresser open in M20 for weeks. If they’ll do eyebrows wholesale I’m in.
Around the corner Nest has taken the Pixie/Linen space and put the chic next to the awesome toy choice of Giddy Goat. If you could just get a pram into the Giddy it would be bang on.
Nest is a lovely, classy, drape strewn, comfy front room of a shop. I have no idea what, if anything Nest sells but it looks and is a haven in the village where lack of pram access is a bonus.
It could be exciting. A new bar with a working title of Loungers is bidding for a licence in the centre of the village and with a triple-dip recession coming some time this year the Aldi extension cannot come quickly enough for the sell-by sticker savvy Didsbury locals.
Finally in the village, the People’s Republic of Cibo taking shape. Venice in the Village is a St. Marks Square away from finishing and when it opens I expect Cibo to invade Gourmet Burger King, who will have room for everyone.
With a specially-built canal around the outside, the Venetian influence in Didsbury is stronger than ever...

With a specially-built canal around the outside, the Venetian influence in Didsbury is stronger than ever…

Timmy Time, Ziggy Marley and the power of CBeebies

What do you call a parent who never uses TV as a filler whilst taking 5 to make a brew, go for a wee or  count lines and grey hairs?
You don’t.
They are either lying or they are the kind of uber-organised automaton that can do Year 7 maths homework without flinching and has never popped a dummy in their mouth to clean it. (Sshh, that’s just between us. )

Didsbury Son is hooked on Cartoon Network and Adventure Time, the Adventures of Gumball and The Regular Show. I silently pine for the times we would curl up to watch The Simpsons. I snipe at the cartoons whilst secretly enjoying their absurdist dreamlike core.

What Timmy might look like if he was real

What Timmy might look like if he was real

I was influenced by Scooby Doo, a scared Great Dane who ate processed garbage fed to him by his stoned owner. They held long conversations and the stoner dressed poor Scooby in a range of inappropriate outfits and put him in danger. I believe my love of Scooby and his deformed nephew Scrappy negates any option I may have to pass comment on Didsbury Son’s mesmeric viewing. He has inherited the male gene to stare endlessly, without judgement at anything animated or non-educational. Take a bow men, Lord Reith, I blame you for not inventing Ren & Stimpy earlier.

This staring gene is universal. The twins love a bit of CBeeBies. They may only be 5 months old but Smiley girl chuckles along to the odd programme whilst preferring staring at the light out of the window and The Mighty-Headed boy (60% head, 100% Didsbury) can zone out for a good half hour (  the baby equivalent of a whole day spent in bed watching Big Bang Theory or Lovejoy).

I am concerned. CBeeBies projects a world which worries me on many fronts. Take Mike The Knight, he is an idiot. On the one hand he always realises he has been a fool and that the dragons/trolls/his sister/anything else was right. On the other, his portrayal of feudal patronage, animal cruelty and a male-dominated society where women merely cook and clean is one that gives my baby boy false expectations; and the voice is so annoying I pray the dragons will get fed up and eat him.

CBeebies documentary about swans held in prison without trial in Cheshire really struck a chord

CBeebies documentary about swans held in prison without trial in Cheshire really struck a chord

Postman Pat has to be 80. I know the post office has made cuts but surely someone should relieve him. It’s the saddest documentary I have ever seen. His only companion is a stuffed cat he thinks is real and the sap in the local train station keeps giving him work, he keeps getting it wrong. Richard Branson, Adam Crozier – sort out your staff.
Where is Tilly’s parent/guardian? She hangs out with an elephant, a pig, a chicken and a crocodile. Where do Child Services think they are up to? If the elephant doesn’t crush her then pain awaits. This is not Life of Pi. and she is only six years old. The pig and chicken are gonners. RIP Porky and Licken but please, someone – save her. Pingu. You make Iggle Piggle seem like Stephen Fry.
These are the tip of a very tall iceberg. The Octonauts flout the Laws of Physics and Bernard Cribbins thinks he is called Jack and talks to a glove. At times it is heartbreaking.
There is a saving grace. A very beautiful saving grace, Timmy. Timmy is a little lamb with a lot inside and I, smiley baby girl and deep thinking baby boy love him. Even Didsbury Son loves Timmy and Didsbury Wife and I have given up Moussaka. Timmy is the son of Shaun the Sheep. I’m not sure who his mother is but I don’t think it’s the one who tried to kill Shaun for having the wrong trousers. Timmy is a ram amongst lambs, an organic fillet amid horsemeat fillings, a Babe the pig sheep in the farmyard. Timmy and his little friends have innocent fun and wipe away the sour taste that the rudderless Tilly and the tiresome Mike the Knight leave in the mouths of my innocent babies.

Timmy, It's Timmy. He's a little lamb with a lot inside - but not served with tzatziki in this house

Timmy, It’s Timmy. He’s a little lamb with a lot inside – but not served with tzatziki in this house

Thomas, stay in your train garage – you are not welcome here. This house dances to the rhythm of Rastamouse, 3rd and Bird (particularly the Ziggy Marley episode) and the glorious Timmy Time.

 

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

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