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 “Catherine Wheel”

The Lion King, Parkin and Steven Spielberg

How you celebrate festivals as a child is crucial as to how you deliver them to your own friends and family. My Didsbury mum, auntie and extended entourage celebrated everything. Bonfire night was all tomato soup outside with treacle toffee, Parkin and anxiety amid the awe that a Catherine Wheel would take my eye out. 70s safety adverts lacked nuance but were packed with graphics to scar the psyche permanently. Once I found out the reasons behind Bonfire Night I loved it more, immediately taking the side of the conspirators; a normal Northern reaction. Jewish New year meant apples and honey; Eid brought pistachio sweets from Syrian friends of the original Didsbury Dad. 

  This is apparently cutting edge Anime. I thought it was from Pink Floyd. 

This was too exotic for words. Remember this was the when the Queen was in her 40s. If you had pineapple people thought you had won the pools* (Note 1). 

We also loved Christmas. Our house was decoration free and no pigs had blankets. Non-participation at home gave me the best out to see everyone else’s. To me, a decorated Christmas tree was the epitome of cool and I am still a sucker for a string of lights and a chocolate bauble. I also get giddy on FA Cup 3rd Round Day (Bovril), Winter Solstice (Cake and Wine) and anything celebrated with fried chicken.  

 High-tech Halloween.

The next generation are already starting to shape their own future. My pearly princess is a happy soul and easy going spirit who skips lightly through whatever is infront of her. Didsbury Son likes the detail and the art of a festival and The Mighty Headed Boy found Nirvana on Saturday in Didsbury.

He has been through the excitement of Christmas and greeted it with an enthusiasm that could be lifelong. He has sampled the best Friday night Dinner chicken soup and given it a toddlers’ thumbs up but… Nothing will ever match the logic and sheer joy of Halloween.  



Dressed up as a monster with hands free and mouth available he knocked on strangers’ doors, shouted Trick before mumbling incoherently and they gave him sweets and chocolates. 
The generosity of Didsbury was quite stunning. Across M20 the pumpkins were out and the kids from 0-teenage were welcomed with open bowls and quirky sweets. It was uplifting in all the best ways. 

In terms of training children to anticipate danger this would seem as appropriate as the 1970s BBC giving Jimmy Saville a show making children’s dreams come true; but he loved it. 

Mind blown, plastic bucket filled and several blocks shaken down for Haribo, he sat on the couch like Mufasa showing off Simba to the animal kingdom. 

Had he not been surfing the wave of a sugar rush I am sure he would have turned to me and told me, Jawsesque, “Daddy, We’re going to need a bigger bucket”
* Pre Lottery, pre scratch cards, pre Big Brother and Sky this was your best way to upgrade to a Vauxhall Firenza. 


This much I know: I like Bonfire Night not Halloween

As I sail so far past 39.9999 years old that I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall whenever I hear “Voodoo Ray”. As I realise that playing The Cocteau Twins to Didsbury Son is as relevant as my Didsbury Dad describing Vera Lynn as a cracker, this much I know.

SPARE THE CALPOL – SPOIL THE CHILD and ruin the parent

cocteau twins
1. Bonfire Night has gone. It’s the vinyl to Halloween’s download – subsumed by the gaudy nylons and cigarettes of the child friendly marketing monolith to follow the American grey squirrel of a festival. The old fashioned joy of commemorating the attack on democracy and the torture and death of the poor bloke left holding the candle; gone. That simple terror-filled evening when a semi-drunk uncle lit fireworks with a smouldering cigarette then ran like crazy to the Parkin and Heinz tomato soup will be as scratchy as my fake Top of the Pops album from Sykes to the next generation. I think I have seen my last collective dive for cover when a Catherine Wheel makes a dash for it.

Proof - were it needed that Guy Fawkes was a New Romantic

Proof – were it needed that Guy Fawkes was a New Romantic


American Squirrels picking off our festivals one by one pose a great risk tot he environment.

Sorry Guido and your band of insurgents against the crown, apparently the devil does have the best tune here and we prelude All Souls Day by copying American suburbia. If Thanksgiving takes off we may as well all move to the Costa del So where British traditions are respected.

2. If you are stuck in the house with fractious children of any age, stick them on the sill and open the window. Whether gurgling babies or excitable eight year olds – it’s a winner guaranteed to enchant the neighbours.

3. When something works – do not over analyse. My pearl-headed baby girl has one word, “Daddy”. She chirps it in every situation and to whoever is within view. A little part of me knows this. But there are moments, usually early in the day when I am trying to contain her pre-dawn excitement, when she holds my gaze and my hand and chirrups “Daddy” over and over. In those moments I am beyond gravity. This is where I go when I realise the cost of the childcare.

4. Caffe Nero’s decision to ramp the entrance in Didsbury Village and make the baby change wide enough for a double buggy is a piece of planning genius that buys loyalty, however corporate.

American Squirrels cast envious eyes over our festivals. They beat Bonfire Night, next it's Cheese rolling

American Squirrels cast envious eyes over our festivals. They beat Bonfire Night, next it’s Cheese rolling

5. Despite this serenity I now see pavement-parked cars that block pram access through a red mist far beyond that which is necessary or justified.

6. CBeebies, an iPad and a knife to peel and cut an apple are all you need before 8am.

7. Finding a pub to watch football, then finding they don’t let in children is a guilty pleasure.

8. The key is that I now know I will never again control the remote for the Television. Having lost it to Didsbury Son several years ago for a constant rotation of Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, I am now third in the pecking order behind Cbeebies and my mighty-headed baby’s ability to fit the remote in his mouth.

When they leave home as I near infirmity I’ll get it back. Or as Vera Lynn might say, “We’ll meet again”



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