Melton Mowbray has its Pork Pies and Eccles its cakes. Swindon, roundabouts and Hull white telephone boxes. Think of London and Dick Whittington springs to mind. Edinburgh – and it’s Greyfriars’ Bobby yapping at you from the gates of the cemetery, a saucer of Irn Bru having been lapped.
But what about Didsbury?
This birthplace of the RSPB, final home of Manchester Ship Canal’s Daniel Adamson and residence of the current Poet Laureate. This leafy suburb was the birthplace of 70s footballer/cricketer Jim Cumbes; hosts the resting place of two of bonnie Prince Charlie’s men and incorporates Fletcher Moss; man, pub and meadow.
A river runs through it.
What are we synonymous with?
Didsbury Son’s self-created Scooby Sandwich? It features 5 essential hydrogenated e-numbers and several incompatible layers. It is good, but…
Didsbury still loves its birds. Rare birds by the river, well-hung ones in Evans and mesmerising rotisseried chickens at The Didsbury Village Farm Shop.
The ship canal spirit lives on in the Mersey Basin and there are professional, amateur and Tai Chi inspired poets giving our village rhyme and lyrical beauty; but they do not define us.
So beyond supermarkets, young professionals and an M20 postcode what is our USP?
I think we have two.
Not the abysmal cell-like flats that have replaced two of our iconic buildings (Capitol Theatre where The Avengers was shot, Withington Hospital where I had my first endoscopy).
Not the ignoring of private car spaces and general manners by the not so yummy mummies at our primary schools.
Not even Wilkinsons on Barlow Moor Road, the shop that defies progress in the most delicious fashion.
In Didsbury – beyond doctors, lawyers, teachers, media luvvies and music biz veterans we do Barbers and Coffee Shops like no other village, enclave, borough or suburb.
Muswell Hill LOOK and LEARN. Alderley Edge, tell the nanny to take notes.
The spirit of Sid the Barber lives on. From Chalkie White and Blade in the East of Didsbury, down past the barbers on School Lane that now outnumber residential houses 2-1. From John at Gentry Grooming and the achingly naff Edward Scissorhands to West Didsbury’s boho barbers of Burton Road. Say it loud Didsbury… We are hirsute and happy Didsbury Dads, Granddads, sons and nephews. Boys and men who need a regular trim and not necessarily anything for the weekend…
We can distinguish between an arabica bean and a full-roast from any number of differently coloured coffee shops. This is no village for Mellow Birds, wherever the RSPB was founded.
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