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 Festival”

More of the same please

 On the wall is a picture of the twins at 1-day old with my hands around their tiny heads. My pearly princess looks angry. Eyes screwed up, she is bemoaning the need for oxygen and probably hoping The Mighty Headed Boy will shut up; he hasn’t. You may not see much of old friends but you do get to pet a lot of goats.

His huge round head – like an animated bowling ball reflects a sense of anxious confusion which lasted a few weeks before settling into a bullish, balletic enthusiasm that never drops below flat out. And Alpacas

This, a picture of a hairless, toothless and smiling Didsbury Son aged 4 months and a tear stained screenshot of the winning goal in an improbable cup final are my gallery of inspiration. Mighty

This week the twins are 5. I know this without checking any calendars. I know this because I look 10 years older, have not seen any of my friends voluntarily since 2013 and my hips, elbows and knees creak like a Caribbean gazebo in a hurricane. Pearly
I’ve been through this before, but the prospect of them being 5 is terrifying and baffling. 5, that’s half a decade, add a decade to them and they’re surly strangers who no longer think I’m wonderful.
The 5 years seem like seconds and an eternity. My life pre-twins seems as distant as a Sunday afternoon black and white war film. I remember it, but it could just be a film.
It also seems like seconds ago I was showing off walking downstairs with one in each arm and they were inert smiley blobs that were 90% head. 
5. I can’t call them boddlers or toddlers at 5. I can’t pretend that they’re babies anymore – although I still think I’m slightly in shock. I can empathise with the 50 items in a big transformer type bag that new parents have, but our commonality is drifting. All I need are the occasional pair of extra pants and the ability to produce Kinder Eggs on demand. 
In every way they are a joy to me and the very busy centre of my world. Their little successes are ones I am openly a big softy about and their trials fill my thoughts. It is the most wonderful curse and one that removes you from many of the arenas and people you used to crave.
I’m a dull doting dad and I love it. In Emma Jane Unsworth’s brilliant book (soon to be film) “Animals” the response to a pregnancy announcement is “Another one lost for a decade.”

I’m halfway there and happily lost. 

Advertisements

Home is not just a cinema or the church cafe

. When Felicini’s became the Mudflap cafe I nearly cried. It’s glossy black sign and euphemistic name was a part of my history and stood proudly in the same giggling pointlessness of changing The Cheese Hamlet to Helmet. Now, with the stripped back wood still settling in to Gregg’s and an eviscerated Inman’s being re-imagined as Thai favourite The Chilli Banana I am almost out of my depth.
felicinsmud-crabfutureistic-pic evolution
At least it’s only 8 months until Didsbury Festival returns in its usual format – unchanged since Bonnie Prince Charlie led the procession, which featured the 88th Scouts.
This is Didsbury. A wheel turning and creating new identities – including cash converting, laser surgery, fifteen diet clubs and an ever growing coterie of Pet Grooming services. Only 86% of trading premises in Didsbury serve coffee, 71% cut hair (human or canine). Didsbury Library is a portal to 1973. I go there when I only have tuppence ha’penny and need a cup of tea (coffee not being invented until The Premier League started in 1992).
The other big news is that Didsbury Dad Towers is no longer in Didsbury. We are now a castle, a Didsbury Diaspora outpost.
In a year that has seen us cough up more in Stamp Duty than the national debt we have moved twice. First out of the village to near the river and now, out of town.
We have moved so far away that we are the cultural diversity. It’s a city, it’s semi-rural and it’s not Didsbury.
So I am part-time Didsbury Dad. I am still working in my capacity as Meeja Luvvie doing something non-specific in MediaCity – but only weekdays.
It is strange. All Didsbury Son has known is Didsbury. My life with Didsbury Wife has been played out to the backdrop of Piccolino and Barlowmoor Road. The Mighty Headed Boy and the Pearly Princess are Harriet & Dee. But. We have begun to sever the link for a period of time.
It’s only been a few weeks and it’s still a bit like being on holiday. It does make you realise how easy it can be living somewhere that is the edge of the metropolis, has travel options to envy and it’s all in walking distance.
It’s early days yet. I have had to develop a whole new rhythm to each day. I am a little lost without my morning fix of Pete, Tom and Claire at Fusion Deli after a cheery wave from Darren at Delia’s Florist. There is no Piccolino, Bisous Bisous, St. James & Emmanuel and I don’t know everyone.
This has great advantages. When I get my Fusion fix the coffee tastes great and I have stories to share. I now know just how good New Peking House is and sometimes the anonymity is liberating.
I think I will always be a Didsbury Dad wherever we live. My Gamma Male, liberal approach to life on the Focaccia line is settled. We may be away for a short time or for good, not decided yet. But Didsbury Wife, Son and I are M20 raised and made and know the difference between a good idea and some of the money pit no chances that we’ve seen trying to cash in on the perceived wealth in Didsbury.
The boddlers are still confused. On Saturday, as we perused the rolling hills and unfamiliar accents that surround us, they clamoured for the sweet shop on Dene Road. As we walked through the Metrolinkless roads they wondered where all the Magic Buses were.
Starting from scratch after a life in the subsidised suburban bliss of M20 is exciting. But I think we’ll be coming regularly. It’s not just home, a river runs through it.

Bonnie Prince Charlie & The Didsbury Festival 

Funny day. That is the first Didsbury Festival I’ve had to swerve since 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jaccobite March south took in Barlowmoor Fields and stopped the festival. Two remain buried under Oak Trees near Simonsbridge, the stories say. They liked Didsburye so much they stayed to set up their own Jacobean Fishmonger, Cheesemaker and Butchers, but they couldn’t break the stranglehold of Ye Originale Cheese Hamlette, Evans and Axons.  * If you are not from Didsbury then honestly, that’s a good gag. That year there was controversy when the local town cryer Didsburye Magazine proclaimed ” Hale, Altrincham and Bowden” to be part of a Didsburye Territory they would control through shiny horses and people with teeth and without scurvy. 

18th Century Didsbury Delicacy

Two Hundred and Sixty One Years later this was the year of the Aqua Plane. The Fire Brigade were there collecting water for a change. There was an impromptu Frog display after the Wet Dog Show and the fairground became Didsbury’s Own Water Park.On a Day when Manchester’s two biggest events, Parklife and Didsbury Festival collided like The Rumble in the Jungle, it chucked it down. As though the weather has gone all Manc and thought “F it”.

plans to turn the Mersey flood plains into poppy fields have been shelved

Saturday night the carnival left town. The rides parked at the side of Wilmslow Road like Pimped up Tourans sided whilst hassled parents re-adjusted the car seats and wiped down the inhabitants and next year it will return – dryer, happier and thankfully exactly the same as it has been since the Eighteenth Century. 
An Oak Tree that does not have the remains of one of Prince Charlie’s Men.

NEXT WEEK: How Evans saved a Whale, Axons fought the Bratwurst War and The Cheese Hamlet may really be a village

Hello Didsbury, I’m Home – Postcard from the edge of town

Contrary to rumours I have heard I have not moved to Chorlton (as if), grown a beard or started working for Didsbury Magazine** and now spend my life checking out Altrincham and Hale. I am excited that it’s Didsbury Festival day and I have been working away, beavering at home and generally been to busy to even watch football.

Doig something media-ish and almost high falutin’ I have been to the Far East. These are the excerpts from Didsbury Dad’s Diary.

Postcard from Outer Didsbury 1:

38000 feet and several hundred miles above Didsbury.

I have a 13 hour flight to where I am tasked with delivering something media to media people in a media building so far from Fusion Deli that my breakfast coffee is your late night snack. 

I’m halfway through The Martian. This is the first thing I have watched for months that isn’t Paw Patrol, Blaze or Gnomeo & Juliet. The swearing may be bleeped out but just to see anything with jeopardy feels like a rare treat. I am on the way to somewhere allegedly, that sees the phrase “Paw Patrol, on a roll” with different connotations.

paw patrol I see more of these guays than any of my friends and family.

Sitting here with a Gin & Tonic in a skiff, an empty pretzel bag and Matt Damon on Mars makes me realise how out of practice I am after 3 1/2 years of nurturing blobs to toddlers and Didsbury Son from squeaky solo to hear honcho of the Krispy 3. Twice now I have wondered if The Martian is a true story. I think I need to go abroad more.  

IMG_2918 When this seems luxurious and watching a film on a 6 inch screen framed by the back of someone’s head a treat – you need to get out more.

So… Not much blogging recently. Didsbury Village is storming forward with the kind of independent vigour usually reserved for Burton Road.

Casa Italia is now worthy of the term bustling. Somewhere between the beardy hipsters and the independent artisans, the Makers Market and the cycle shop on the cobbles, Saints & Scholars still thrives on a 90s menu and service throwback.

As if the Didsbury Village Farm Shop had never existed comes Three Little Pigs. A butcher so achingly trendy it may just work. Axons have seen off pretenders before. But this is no Victoria Highfield mistaking Didsbury’s residents for the wastelands of Bramhall. This is not a Wedding Dress shop. This is meat so trendy it gets the tram to the Northern Quarter for a night of Benelux Lager. 

The space formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland has a sexy looking symbol, Bosu Body Bar is spreading low-carb love and even the old Global News space sees movement. 

gonadWhatever this is meant to be, to readers of Viz this is Buster Gonad’s testicle

With house prices currently increasing at a rate that defies logic but means new adjectives need inventing, these are vibrant times in the land of the Fletcher Moss. 

An hour later.

I cried at the end. I don’t know whether it was the Chicken Penang or the cramp creeping up my thigh but I cried with joy for Matt the Martian and realised with joy that as a 40 something with dodgy knees and claustrophobia – I think it’s a good journey if I don’t have to shut the windows.

IMG_2924

The view from the hotel inspires with the majesty of the East.

** In an early version of this blog I accidentally referred to Didsbury Magazine as Didsbury Life. Apologies to Didsbury Life, promoting M20 in all the best ways.

Didsbury Festival Live Blog 8am

Wanda and the Alien jogs along happily in the background. Didsbury Son, typical. He was a beaver in the parade last week – all squeaky voiced giggles and clammy squeezes and now he is an explorer pushing baby beavers up a climbing wall in the park.

The no-longer-Boddlers are unaware that today is Glastonbury, Bestival and Lattitude rolled into one with everyone they know from nursery. In fact it’s a bit like the hose dreams you have when everyone’s you went to school with is in the future yer at Fawlty Towers and John Cleese has morphed into the lovely Eddie from Evans Fishmongers; just me?

It’s overcast. The bunting is up, the clouds are down and they haven’t started testing the loudspeaker yet.

The Stone Roses have cancelled but the dog with the waggiest tail competition goes ahead as planned and talk of a duel between Brimelow and Wadden for who is the most purple estate agent linger.

Time for a cup of tea before Wanda finishes.

New Order, Grayson Perry, The Didsbury Festival and the next summer of love

One of the issues with social media is that this newish communication genre, with its instant global reach and even quicker reactive response means that your past is never far from your inbox.  – Didsbury Festival 1965 before the Mods were attacked by a giant thumb coming from the left.

The joy of finding that tune you loved so much in 1980something is followed by invitations to reunions, groups and endless backward glancing connections to remind you why you (and they) moved on. We haven’t spoken in years? Probably a conscious decision on both sides.

Remember Glastonbury ’86, Red Wedge, thinking Flock of Seagulls were cutting edge? Me too. Great times, of their moment and best remembered occasionally and in specific settings. 

 another night of sleep depravation leaves you feeling hungover and your knees creak at the thought of the stairs as you trundle down for milk and clean clothes, you don’t want a notification. Certainly not one that reminds you 25 years ago three hours sleep meant an early night; a silk cut with a brew and The Smiths was the vegetarian breakfast of champions and kickstarted your day.   

– getting ready for “Jump Around” on another comeback tour. 

So to festivals new. The idea of pitching a tent next to a load of 19 year olds seems as enticing as re-living teething with the twins or Didsbury Son’s primary school music evenings. I saw all the great pre-millennium bands pre-millennium. With the exception of Madness, most of them are better on iTunes and YouTube. I already get to be kept up all night by the incoherent, self-obsessed and verbally incontinent on a regular basis.

So my festival season for Summer 2015 looks local. It’s fun, affordable and if I need a little, you know, lift, I can get some Solpadeine Max from Boots and anything from the shelf at Bisou Bisou.

  – I found this old picture of me after Reading Festival 1991.
Coming up we have Didsbury Open Gardens (New Order headlining but keep it to yourself), Didsbury Arts Festival (Grayson Perry v Tracey Emin mash-up is what the grapevine says), Makers Market West Didsbury (just starts later and is more BoHo than this weekend’s in the centre of Didsbury) and the mighty Didsbury Festival on June 13th. With WestFest, Rosh Hashana and Harvest Festival to round it off it looks a big summer.
The boddlers are up for it, Didsbury Son is mad for it and the vibes are good. Now fetch me a Werthers and some Vicks, I’m going Old Skool.   

 

– The organic Hog Roast is marinating ready for Didsbury Festival 

A Quick Guide to surviving the Didsbury Festival

In addition to not eating for three days beforehand so you have room for all the lovely pakoras and samosas, there are some key things to remember so you survive, thrive and not end up making the mistakes which led me to disgrace (2006), hospital (2007), Nido (2013).

Didsbury Festival has all the essentials of a great festival. There is a procession, there are stages, a tremendously over-priced mini fair, a dog show and portable loos to send the healthiest bladder into retention.
Surly teenagers terrified their parents / siblings will speak to them and call them by their pet home name roam hoodily, perfect.

Camping: normally it’s the 16-18 year olds who are way too cool to come to Didsbury Park who camp it up. Be yourself and if you want to sleep – you can walk home.

Health & Safety: keep little kids on a tight rein, make them wear something bright and don’t be distracted by the puppies in the dog show. Should you need supplies Tesco, Copo or Aldi are on hand.

Drugs: it’s a festival, people let their hair down and what goes on in Didsbury, stays in The Reporter. I condone nothing, but if you get brain freeze from an ice cream, need sun cream or have a headache there is a Boots and Peak Pharmacy ( the weird independent one with no stock).

Security: this is no time to leave your pram unguarded. There have been thefts and “swaps”.

Music: usually surprisingly good. Do not miss the Zumba

Travel: Metrolink is promising that they may have a tram running this weekend- just the one mind you.

Manchester City: the year they brought the FA Cup was fantastic and there is a rumour (started by me) that they may bring The Premier League Trophy. United are rumoured to be bringing a picnic.

But most importantly, do not park in a residents’ car park, give credit to the bloke in the hat who is on the tannoy for all 6 hours and if you see sleeping twins please do not wake them.

…@craftwords, it’s just about getting the young ones through and then sneaking to the Fletcher Moss at the first opportunity.

20140606-214000-78000550.jpg
One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for an eerie walk past with the pram.

20140606-214136-78096094.jpg
Rhymes with Nell Lane

20140606-214522-78322805.jpg

Urban Legend, Political Campaigns and an Apology

Didsbury Son is on a scout camp in the middle of nowhere. There will be lots of gung-Ho camping, climbing and sharing small spaces with other people. Thank The Lord for CRB checks and the lovely Scout Leaders who pass them and give their free time to teach him skills for living and learning. The Remembrance Day parade is always moving and their scouting means I don’t have to expose myself to any camping experiences or weekend slumming it in the name of bonding. If I can wriggle out of going fishing, the summer is looking good.

Urban Legend 1: Didsbury is full of focaccia-eating, self-obsessed yummy mummies and daddies. That’s Alderley Edge, we’re only half full.

There are some serious issues that need addressing:
The Stokers Arms’ free lunch offer booked up before I could get my date confirmed. It’s gone from being O’Neills which you wouldn’t want to go near to The Stokers which you can’t get near.

Urban Legend 2: Gourmet Burger Kitchen once had a queue of almost 6 people that stretched to the door before the financial crash of 2008.

2. I owe a big apology to the owners of The MudFlap Cafe in the centre of Didsbury. Their quick Felicini’s demolition and ludicrous early publicity put me off. On the recommendation of several people we braved it… And were a bit bowled over. Didsbury Wife is a water sign, I am Vegan Intolerant and The Mighty Headed Boy gets upset by food beginning with W. No bother. The food was good, the coffee spot on the staff treated us with a welcome throughout that normally evaporates when the first missile leaves a high chair bound toddler or the fiifteenth chorus of Incy Wincy Spider shakes the window. Thank you, we are coming back.

Urban Legend 3: in 2008 a man looked the wrong way on Wilmslow Road and didn’t see a 42 bus for over 8 minutes.

Finally, before festival fever takes over ( It’s only 2 weeks to Didsbury Festival – I love Didsbury Festival, I’ve directed dozens of festivals in many different genres and cities but nothing beats Didsbury Festival on a warm day in June). I want to start a campaign for Pram Lanes in Didsbury. I walked to Withington today (always good to go to the edges of M20 to see what gives and hang out with my brothers from a different mother and school). On the way our double buggy met 3 other double buggies, 16 single buggies, two wheelchairs and a tourist from Chorlton. This entailed much wiggling and stopping to share the pavement whilst the cars hogged the road selfishly.
With prams being such an essential accessory it must make sense for the inside lane to be pram only between 8 and 6 on weekends. All right thinking people must join the fight. Let’s be honest, people were stupid enough to vote UKIP so this might have a chance.

This week we are listening to 6Music, watching Episodes and The Little Princess and getting excited about Wine & Wallop on Lapwing Lane.

Didsbury, a desirable residency with room for an extension

Didsbury waves goodbye to the summer and welcomes indoor dining and drinking and hairdressing. There are changes but its back to the future across M20.

The Pound Bakery scam stickers on the site of the old Didsbury village Farm Shop (proof we are not yet ready for a £4 sandwich) is still my favourite trick. Apparently it is still set to be a Toni & Guy, they are just waiting to see if they can adapt the cold store for beauty treatments.

Dimitri’s has changed names but not  pricing strategy, Nido and Applebeys still defy the laws of economics to stay open. Each time I pass I feel a little pang of guilt at their emptiness and a little source of joy they are not mine. A bit like being at school when someone else is being told off.

WestFest was responsible for more weight gain that De Niro for Raging Bull and… It’s a sign of the times- we have TWO new Estate Agents ready to fight of our business.

This is back to the future. Before we were the charity shop Northern HQ. Before every shop sold coffee and flowers, we were a village of banks, off licenses and Estate Agents. The TSB is now Nero, Merrills, a shoe shop and 10 years ago this month Jo Padmore’s beautiful displays replaced Victoria Wine. Now we have a flange, or is it a whoop of Estate Agents coming to Didsbury – and there is previous.

Just as Didsbury Barbers fell out and became two barbers within yards of each other, so we welcome back Julian Wadden from his self-imposed Stockport Sojourn. In a nutshell ( a spacious shell with split level living options and planning permission for a utility room) and with no attempt at specific reality here goes an anecdotal Didsbury memory. Once there was Jordan & Fishwick. A flame-haired young agent joined and they were Jordan, Fishwick and Wadden – Mazeltov.

Local residents welcome a new Estate Agents in Didsbury

Local residents welcome a new Estate Agents in Didsbury

THEN he left. Jordan & Fishwick went back to being a duo and Julian moved to the upwardly mobile end of Stockport where he raised an army of Estate Agents using a simple purple on white board that conquered The Heatons and Reddish and now… He’s Back.
The window display promises evolved estate agentry, no spells, no curses and the window looks just like JP& Brimelow who are already successful, so it’s a winner. I like Estate Agent wars. It’s similar to watching the coalition government debate – you don’t really want either to win but you might get to see sharp suited people getting uppity.

But the Wadden Army has competition in the West. Callaghans Estate Agents are opening on Burton Road at the heart of our BoHo left of centre. Both promise a new kind of estate agent ing – which unless it means they are cutting hair, selling coffee and not selling houses is hard to understand.

Failure in business has a high price

Failure in business has a high price

The excitement never stops. Now if I want to buy flowers and coffee and sell a house my choice is bewildering. I may go and have a massage to ponder. Didsbury Wife reckons The brilliant Village Physio is the most suitable – if not the one most searched for online when people look for a massage in Didsbury.

Didsbury Festival – The Final Countdown

The camp fires are being dowsed and there is a heart-shaped, flower-strewn, luvved-up vibe in Didsbury. CavFest, WestFest, Chorlton the gauntlet is down. Didsbury Festival rides into the sunset with a cleared park and bleary eyes.

The stroll back through post-festival Didsbury was fascinating. The Chinese Crested dogs won my heart. Outside The Crown a man in a grey vest is trying to offer free hugs to passers by, egged on by afternoon beer friends. The response veers from amused and occasionally enthusiastic to scared or dismissive.

The sun and the stalls have brought out the greatest variety of style and middle aged man squeezed into Blue Harbour shorts since last year. Pasty legs and horizontal stripes are the male uniform of choice. Didsbury still hosts a colony of Goths. Not sure if they are Emperor or Gentu but they shuffled in a miserable, sweaty and pale pack before going to be ironic elsewhere.

Now it feels like Didsbury needs a nap. Didsbury Son is slumped on the couch with the Mighty Headed twin staring at him adoringly. My take on his pre-teen Development is dwarfed by the adoration of his baby brother and sister. He is sugar, E number and Climbing Walled out. In many ways this has been his greatest festival ever. Friends, food and attitude – the perfect festival experience.

20130608-181545.jpg
Didsbury Son releases the Official Didsbury Eyecare balloon to signal that 2014 Didsbury Festival will be back and exactly the same next year.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: