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 Park”

Didsbury – The Story As it Stands

Say hello, wave goodbye. The
places to stretch your legs, sit back and get stuck in this Autumn in Didsbury are a changing and Halloween is in the air.  The meter is starting to tick down on 2015.

These are mysterious times. Somebody thought opening a Victoria Highfield in Didsbury Village would be a good idea. Geese have been flying backwards across Didsbury Park. In the next block the North Wales cruise specialists Gold Beach Holidays may have lasted less time than it takes to say “All You Can Eat Buffet”, but they didn’t stint on the paintjob when they arrived for their two weeks in Didsbury Village and it still looks as shiny, new and forlorn as when they arrived.
Loft, about as West Didsbury as a hipster without his irony shuts next weekend. For affordable non-chic, the Buy-to-Let chattering classes will now either have to go upmarket across Burton Road to Frog, or follow the 4x4s down the bypass to Stanley Green – where hope goes to die and they built a Costa as a man-crèche. 

 Loft don’t sell spiders for your house. I found a great websit to help you grow your own indoors. 

There are retail vacancies to be filled across M20 and some weighty spaces to fill. We have passed the point where there is now a 1:4 ratio of barista:resident and new hairdressers are banned until at least four shut down. The battle of the purple estate agent supremacists has created a vacuum in the village as roaming Brimelow and Wadden militia re-draw the M20 boundary – Cheadle is getting annexed.
Still no word of a Waitrose, a day spa, another clothes shop or a properly kiddie friendly hangout in this borough of babies but…

Inmans, Caffe Rouge and Sew-In are still empty shells. There is talk of Sew-In becoming Bosu, a Chorltonite healthy deli. News of John Lewis, Waitrose and an Apple outlet store in Didsbury remain fictitious rumours I have started and failed to get viral.
I have my spies and in true Mystic Meg fashion I predict that 

1. In Didsbury Village either an Estate Agent, Charity Shop, Hairdresser, coffee shop or Northern Quarter started restaurant will open up before Christmas.
2. In West Didsbury’s booming heart the next phase is a Middle-Eastern inspired new tapas with its own beer in shoe boxes served by skinny-hipped, tattooed-up fashionistas.
3. Even with the fabulous Boulevard Deli, driving for any reason through Didsbury Point will always make you glad you didn’t buy there.   The view of the recreation square at The Boulevard – residents, often locked in their cells for 23 hours per day.”

I’m off to kick leaves and see if Bisou Bisou has a Reduced counter and as they say in Italy, “Qualunque cosa ti chiamano, sarete sempre Felicinis” a me.*
*Whatever they call you, you will always be Felicinis to me.”

Didsbury Festival – My tuppence worth

There is something wonderfully timeless about Didsbury Festival. The parade, the mix of charities, scouts and local causes peddling goodies and the eye-watering prices at the funfair. It has a community spirit that is genuinely uplifting and a lack of threat that is one of South Manchester’s greatest strengths.

However, I must admit I felt a slight sense of tiredness and staleness . It might be me. Didsbury Son volunteers, keeps his profile as low as possible and slopes off. The Mighty Headed Boy and his Pearly-Princess sister are a year too young to be part of it and a year too old too need a sleep so we can hang out and speak to friends.
I had the feeling that it needs a bit of an upgrade. The festival is/has been a great call to congregate for the whole of M20. The 21st Century vibe that emanate from WestFest, Makers Market and Didsbury Arts Festival have upped the ante. No longer is there a Cibo, Nido or suchlike to lower the expectation. 
The. Field felt a little sparsely used this year and the compère  was barely annoying; something not quite as Didsbury as usual.
We have a Metrolink station and are a media savvy/luvvy crowd. Without losing the essential feel – a few new tweaks and a decent marketing campaign are needed to come back in 2015 and draw the crowd away from the European Championships. 
Thinking caps on…

New Beginnings, Old Goodbyes and The Northern Quarter

It’s been a time for new starts and changes in Didsbury Dad Towers. The end of the football season always marks that period when Didsbury Brother phones me and we wonder how we will get through the 8/9 weekends coming up with no constant football interference to fill the space and act as punctuation.
  

Headlining this week is Dora the Explorer…

The Mighty Headed Boy and Pearly Princess are saying goodbye to nappies. It’s been a week measured in gaps between potty visits and frequent visits to Co-Op for more kitchen towel. Like all these rites of passage, the reality positively outwits the dread and it’s been constant but weirdly satisfying. The realisation that intent, action and vocalisation have a fluid running order you need to shape carefully is an uplifting thought.
  
The new all you can eat buffet. These are the new currency.

Didsbury Wife has been a blur of action this week – without realising it, the boddlers have been changed forever with only stickers and Cadbury Chocolate Buttons as props and the floor has been cleaned so often we also realised we could never be bothered being OCD. 

  
Oasis at Maine Road, The Roses at The Hacienda, Catatonia at The Roadhouse, Chris Blackwood in Didsbury Park.

Didsbury Son waved goodbye to being sized by age to width/height. We went to town to cruise the Northern Quarter for clothes and art. He is a big fan of Manga so we visited Forbidden Planet. If you ever want to feel better about yourself, understand your peccadillos are fine go here. Watching hipsters and geeks salivate over Jabba the Hut and argue about fonts made me realise that I’m okay. I peaked at Carrie Fisher in the 2nd Star Wars several decades ago. I was looking for the sign behind the till that reads “you don’t have to speak Klingon to work here but it helps.”
I love mooching about the Northern Quarter. In pre Didsbury Dad says it was my domain. I worked and played here for a decade and enjoyed being part of the city’s fabric as we moved from Madchester to post-bomb tourist attraction and cultural hub. As the new Home theatre/gallery/cinema sits in the shadow of the Hacienda’s descendants so this weekend a venue I shaped a generation ago says goodbye and another piece of my personal history becomes memory and memorabilia. 
Measuring the development of my family in their milestones and this latest part of my life just adds another layer of experience – one that moves the day from the nighttime economy and being out to being home more with people for whom each day is a new world and a big idea is building a space ship out of cushions. 

The Twelve Days of Didsbury Dad Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 hours sleep,
11. Peppa Pig toys
10. Zantac calming
9. Mince Pies mincing
8. Pets a puking
7. Sky Sports Channels
6. Hours driving in a car with screaming toddlers and bored teen
5 nappies honking
4. French patisseries
3. Minutes’ peace and quiet
2. Twins a bouncing
And a life based in Didsbury…..

Your Didsbury Top 12 (almost) free to do tips:
1. Walk along the side of the metro line boring your children senseless with “all this used to be fields.” Chat.

2. Bring a picnic and take the Metro tour of Manchester to Bury Market where you remember you’ve left your wallet at home and have to come back.

3. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas/Chanucah/Solstice/(insert own) and take them to one of our great churches, synagogues, mosques, cult bases. There is usually singing, getting up and down and catering afterwards.

4. Fletcher Moss – brilliant. (Especially with an Alpine Cafe stop)

5. The little park next to Fletcher Moss, great for the under 5’s and handy for The Didsbury, Ye Olde Cocke and Dimitri’s.

6. Play hide and seek on the old Manchester Poly site – hours of endless fun.

7. Take the Saturday morning samples trail from The Cheese Hamlet down to West Didsbury and back up to Parrs Wood.

8. Didsbury Library has a fantastic children’s section, a toilet AND you aren’t meant to eat in there; genius.

9. Gym offers. Lavid Ddoyd are currently offering 12 days for 12 pounds so long as you understand it’s also £12 for a coffee and £12 for a kid’s snack as well.

10. Visit friends and relatives. It is important to rotate.

11. Didsbury, Cavendish, Fog Lane – play, remember which one has swings, which one has a BMX track and ducks and which one has a bespoke Chocolatier next door.

12. Play the old Didsbury Gsme. “Uh Oh, Where’s Nido? What was Cibo?”

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The Snowman, slowly replacing Frozen as the thrice a day treat.

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Mighty head, busy hands

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.

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One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for an eerie walk past with the pram.

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Rhymes with Nell Lane

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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

The Sun, The Didsbury and The Blue Harbour

We’re having a heat wave, dah dah dah dah dah dah, a tropical heat wave, dah dah dah dah dah dah. It means June will be cloudy dah dah dah dah dah dah dah and slightly depressing…

A tree with yellow flowers soaks up the May sun

It is gorgeous. The kind of bright sunshine with balmy nights that make you forget who and what you are.

In my mind, as I strolled through Didsbury Park to the train station I was the suave looking and stylish young professional in the kind of outfit a Bermudan banker would wear to work. Topped off with my pristine Air Force 1s.

The reality of the wide berth granted me by dog walkers and early-to-school sun lovers was different. I am swerving dangerously close to BHS’s target market. An unintentionally close-fitted blue harbour collection with Asda socks and a three-day stubble that made me look like an extra in a Ken Loach film; who had stolen his teenage son’s shoes.

Didsbury Son doesn’t mind, yet. He is still on that cusp where brand recognition is not yet an issue and he thinks many Didsbury Dads see wearing long trousers to work as an affront to legs honed to near perfection on the occasionally working exercise bikes at The Galleon.

Everywhere looks good in this weather. But it has its domestic dangers. Yesterday I worked outside. Today I am the shade of red called “Fire” or “Salsa Roja” by car makers and “you should know better” by GPs and the woman in Boots who sneered in my direction. (not Didsbury Boots, where David in the pharmacy is a prince among men but an inferior outlet).

It is the sounds and smells of the city that really make this early summer sun so special. The sound in the park of teenage boys’ newly broken voices bragging, as they lope around looking achingly uneasy in their ill-fitting skins. They search for cross-gender communication skills unused in Sniper Elite.

The smell of barbecues mixes with people caught out by the hot weather. Personal hygiene malfunctions blend with the skinned up smell of summer spiffs that waft on the breeze across M20.

The hot spell has finally kicked off some sense of Jubilee anticipation. My cynicism at the general recycling of all the Kate and Wills merchandise without the photos is melting in the May sunshine. We are Mancs. An extra day off and hot weather gets United fans cheering City, Didsbury Son lurking by the washing up in the hope of more outside play and gives me the knowledge that this year Blue Harbour is the suburban Prada and I have a George Clooney vibe a la Descendents (2nd Half).

NEXT WEEK – THE BARBERS OF SCHOOL LANE V THE COFFEE SHOPS OF DIDSBURY VILLAGE – WHO WILL WIN?

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Work on the new Didsbury Deli continues

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