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 “Gentry Grooming”

Didsbury’s Pickled Egg Revolution

Hola Didsbury – the newbies are coming. 

Last night, whilst perched between The Mighty Headed Boy, the furry cast of Frozen, blankie and pillow (this week’s must haves) I began thinking about Didsbury Village. What do we need? A really good children’s clothes shop to add to Bond and replace Hippins? A Waitrose (yes)? A hardware shop or suchlike. No no no. What we need is either Emmanuel Church to install a Costa Coffee Machine to finish Feng Shui-ing the village’s coffee offering or a hairdresser.
It has been weeks since Squires evolved from the chrysalis of Gentry Grooming. Weeks without a new hairdresser, barber, coffee shop or Estate Agent. Thank you Lord for answering our prayers as Sweaty Betty’s – 70s chip shop, 90s fly posting frontage and around a year a building site is Didsbury’s first day spa and 136th hairdresser.
I carried out a scientific study (I.e asked Didsbury Wife and Didsbury Mother), they told me to get back to work. Are we particularly hairy in M20? Does our testosterone fuelled manliness push the hair out quicker? Are our woman more coiffed? 
Or is it that these barbers and hairdressers are a front for a secret supernatural sect or a Stone Roses tribute band? After all, we have Blade and John (runs) Squire(s). 
I am pointlessly delighted that Wilkinsons is still painted blue and looks like it could fill the gap left by the loss several years ago of The Village Saver. A quick peek means it could be a mini Woolworths replacement for the boddlers and a decent diversion to relieve teenage moodiness. 
I’m looking forward to seeing if the new day spa honours its chip shop heritage. The day we can book in for a hot pickled egg massage, an intense curry sauce wrap and chips (not fries) with salt and sarsons not balsamic, is a day to be lauded. 



Tools of the trade for the New Sweaty Betty Spa

Broadbents – is there room for a Costa Coffee machine in there?

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2015, More of the Same from Didsbury Dad

Apologies for being blogless. It’s a terrible thing when work and life get in the way of you writing reams of blah from the single in the nursery that the Mighty Headed Boy now calls “Our Bed” after a Christmas holiday spent edging me out of it.

Normal service will return in about a week but in the week when the retirement sale sign at Wilkinsons brought a lump to the throat. In the week when Emmanuel’s prayer group requested a Waitrose where Cafe Rouge once was. In a week when Gentry Grooming’s management buyout brought independence in the village whilst one of West Didsbury’s last remaining non-bohemian stores, Loft announced it was closing…

Five things I learned:
1. Watching toddler twins in the morning is akin to refereeing a corner in the Premier League. Finding out who began the pulling, dummy stealing and Peppa Pig invocation is impossible.

2. At 39 and 12 months + a few more 12s you can party or parent. Both leaves you looking like Stig (of the dump not Top Gear).

3. You can learn the words to every Frozen song through Osmosis.

4. Life is good. When the news on TV becomes almost too difficult to watch, having someone next to you whose world is complete with a soft toy and a cuddle is a real gift.

5. Four is enough for now.

Happy New Year

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Wilkinsons – who will fix our objects now?

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Peppa Pig glasses: I am praying they have better vision than me

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If you don’t know who this is, I salute you

London – it’s not quite Didsbury

I feel a sense of irony that I live in the world’s barber and hairdresser capital yet have been so busy recently my hair has applied for its own postcode. This is fine for those 20 somethings that are the NBFs (or whatever the term is) that I hang out near at Didsbury Lounge, (I was in last week, had an awful dawning that I was the only 39 plus a lot year old in there and popped a Wellman vitamin immediately) but at my age can be iffy. Not only does it give twin babies more to grab onto but it brings with it two thorny issues.

Last week, one early ish morning I was trying to instil something vital into Didsbury Son’s long-term memory. It may have been the day the bins go out, the importance of planning for a shed of his own with wi-fi or something equally educational. I was scuppered mid-flow by him stopping me to tell me he couldn’t take me seriously as I had hair like Krusty the Clown; he was right. My other issue is that hair now grows around and from my head rather than just on it.

Women may have their beauty secrets but men’s haircuts after the age of 30 involve a tacit nod and the understanding that the clippers will do the gardening and tidy up the edges and entrances that you can’t see when shaving. This morning I considered my eyebrows and their aspirational upward mobility and thought most companies would kill for growth like that.

I am now back from my latest jaunt and felt it would have been disloyal to even consider a haircut away from School Lane’s Clipper Mile. When you have Pick’n’Mix at home why buy sweets at Tesco? Blade’s wet shave, John’s Gentry grooming and the Didsbury Barbers know where to clip and not to talk once I get into a trance and you can’t buy that ease and acknowledgement.

On my last night I strolled back to a hotel with a floor plan based on Strangeways through London’s theatre land, Chinatown and Covent Garden. For tourists and teenagers with fashionable haircuts I recognise from the mid 80s this is fine. It is vibrant, mult-coloured and busy. But to me it lacks the AiryFairy, Alpine Cafe, Fusion Deli, Evanesque charm of Didsbury. There is no guessing what 15th century Italian city state inspired the new restaurants, no playing count the empty tables or spot the customer at Gourmet Burger King and not even the disappointment of the late Elm’s unloved Bath Bombs taking residence in Delia’s florist stems the love of home. None of the bright lights could mask the fact that it may be the centre of the capital – but you can’t find a decent barbers.

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A London street. No barbers to be seen

Didsbury; the birds, the barbers, the ship canal

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…
And…

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.

Sent from my iPhone

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