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 “Didsbury Deli”

Sweet Home Alabama: Do they have a Cafe Nero?

I am sitting at the back of a hot room listening to a man who looks like a refugee from a Lynyrd Skynyrd video. He is telling us about how he is a creative whose job title can’t be defined. How very very creative, his lack of definition is not endearing. I can think of a four-letter word beginning and ending in T but one that is not a pallendrome. This is the first time I’ve been able to drift into a few thoughts for a few weeks. So here comes the splurge.

I have several days in a guilded City delivering something mediaish and exciting. It’s my spring job; annual, stressful in the most exciting way and as with 99% of the careers I have had – does not mix with babies and is a lovely niche.

Normally a few days working away is something I would grasp chirpily, feigning sadness at being able to go to the bathroom without holding at least one child, grimacing at the thought of not being woken by tiny fingers up my nose – you know , the usual. But this time, nothing. Something sinister has happened. Another platitude has reared it’s cliched head like a toy with a primary colour.

When I kissed the children before they left for school and childminder I filled up as though this were some important cup match and they were my team running out to play.
As Didsbury Son mooched down to the bus stop, pitch oscillating and mood following, I had to fight the urge to follow. When my boddlers left I waved them off, turning to the JP Morgan of Catnip for solace as they disappeared by bus and people carrier.

For the umpteenth time this year I surveyed the scene and wondered when all this became mine. Children, plastic weightless and all pervading mess, creaking knees and a cup way more than half full, but probably containing cat food, a toy and baby spit.

Now if I was writing an American dad’s blog I could say they weren’t mine, just loaned from God or Colnel Sanders. If I was not in Didsbury, I could have gone inside, packed and gone to work.

But

I am a Didsbury Dad so I took the only possible route. Coffee at Didsbury Deli, a peruse of The Guardian, a quick discussion about Nido’s new incarnation and then I got blocked in by some rude mother in a people carrier who thinks the school run is Tron.

Silly hat day will be a few days late

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The Rise of the West, Didsbury Park goes BoHo

The death of western civilisation has been greatly exaggerated. Didsbury is the hub for the comeback. The rise of the East and it’s industrial powerhouses (Nandos, Cineworld, huge Metrolink car park) has at times threatened to swamp the middle ground of the village and the brandless, roll your own boho chic that is West Didsbury.
But
As the other axis of evil disintegrated once Hollywood got the catering sorted, so we have a new hero. The promised cafe in Didsbury Park has come good and it’s down to the niche, nice, detail savvy of …and The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.

Not only does this Burton Road bakery cum cafe buck the one-word name trend so beloved in West Didsbury, but they’ve marched through Didsbury Village pronouncing Quinoa correctly, bringing a smile to Sourdough and leaving Didsbury Deli, Costa, Nero, Art of Tea etc. with poached egg on their faces. They are so nice they make me feel I could wear sandals without irony.

Yesterday morning I sat on a camping chair in a cold awning with a fractious baby girl getting fed up in a travel cot. I slurped tea out of a melamine cup. On Thursday morning I lolled on a comfy rug in the sun of Didsbury Park, flat white in hand, sourdough in mouth and Didsbury Wife enjoying her Earl Grey whilst the babies played with unicorns and butterflies on the safe lawn created by And The Dish…

… And The Dish has taken over the Holt Pavillion until the end of September every Thursday to Saturday. It’s a great idea and an extra incentive for pram pushers to click heels and get their progeny to sleep and for dog walkers to throw the ball more quickly. The promise of a coffee and a treat and some extra quiet time looms lushly.
My only gripe is the 10am opening. On any given morning the park teems with life from before 8am and the earlier you are out , the more you need refreshing.

Is this a shift in power? And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon have more words in the title than The Airy Fairy Cupcake and I foresee a Biggie v Tupac style bake-off around the Metro station.

With Fletcher Moss’s Alpine Cafe a beacon for park life cafe quality, this Didsbury Park adventure promises a race to get the pram to the park and a dwindling Nero card until October.

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This overgrown garden needs a cafe of its own

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The new cafe is used to dealing with a varied clientele and caters to diverse tastes.

Next week: Nido – why?

Return of the Mooch

One of my greatest joys in life over the years has been my Saturday morning mooch with Didsbury Son. This meander down the old railway line in search of a Tesco sausage with my little blondini squeaking life’s joy next to me was a little slice of heaven.

Metrolink Mania, which is still sweeping Didsbury with rash tales of Breakfast in Rochdale has unwittingly returned this to me.

Didsbury Son has caught a large dose of Metro Fever – tempted by names such as Pomona and Exchange Quay. It is shiny, new and it offers the opportunity to eat a Subway in a bewildering range of locations. The carrot is that we will walk the twins until they are asleep, then get the Metro back to Didsbury. It is simple, not expensive and we all get some fresh air and exercise.

One half term morning we assembled – a buggy with two domes, one pearl, one massive. They now sit forward in the trolley scanning Didsbury like the google street car. My bold-headed boy a meerkat whilst his pearl-bonced sister smiles regally as the world rolls by slowly.

As we left Camp Didsbury Village a lovely change occurred. Although now without squeaky voice and that lovely lack of self-awareness that makes pre nine year olds so open – he was back.

Didsbury Son jabbered endlessly and actually took in my dad jokes and dull tales as we pushed our wide-eyed cargo through Manchester’s Olive Oil district. By Fog Lane, Didsbury Son had hold of my hand and as we pulled into Fusion Deli on Lapwing Lane for a bagel I had one hand-holding and two chirruping children and felt 10 feet tall.

The babies sang, so we walked to Burton Road and I told him all about The Metropolitan being The Midland and the legendary MVITA nights. I felt the joint aches diminish as we strolled.

We ventured even further west. When my boy asked what about the prison-like development at Didsbury Point (possibly the only part of M20 Estate Agents will not own up to) our bond was re-sealed and our mooching time back. It used to be Withington Hospital now its an eyesore.

I can’t wait to start doing this with both hands held.

This Much I know:
1. Money, fame, smaller clothes sizes – none of them are as big a motivation as a snooze when you have twins.

2. The last few months have increased my understanding of body issues exponentially, every joint hurts.

3. You can try. You can plan. But an eight-month old baby in a walker has a reach like a JCB digger.

4. When you have babies, for no real reason you sing everything. My full repertoire of football songs has been re-assembled without swear words for every act during the day.

5. At 7am in Didsbury Village, Cappucino in Didsbury Deli with froth to share is a little haven.

6. I love and hate Boots with a passion.

7. The Metrolink is best chain to open in Didsbury

Next week: Didsbury Festival is back…

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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

Commemorating 200 years since the USA declared war on us

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.

The picture below is nothing to do with the blog.

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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.

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