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 “Giddy Goat Toys”

Charles Darwin, Giddy Goats and The Bisou Conspiracy

The fashion for hipster beards and the move towards e-cigarettes has given the Metrolink station a specific retro look. The gauche style of inhaling the e-cig as though it were a pipe has given the ramp to the ticket machine the look of a WG Grace / Charles Darwin look-a-like competition.   
Victorian favourites the peacocks plan to ride in on the wave of the summer retro look. 

I don’t understand e-cigs. I used to smoke many years ago, pre-Didsbury Dad days when a) I could afford it and b) you didn’t have to stand outside like a plane spotter at the airport. There seems no pleasure to e-cigs. With nicotine patches you could forget you were wearing them and “accidentally” have a smoke to get a genuinely scary hit. Nicotine gum gives you something to do with your teeth other than bite your nails and going cold turkey makes you look dangerous, which can be useful in a crowd.

I never take being an “ex” for granted; but know that there is more chance of Cibo and Nido returning to Didsbury and becoming successful chains than there is of me buying flavoured vapours to inhale.

Anyway, whilst I’ve been off there have been many changes in Didsbury’s retail look that need attention.

1. Zizzi, gone? This faux Pizza Express and its signage have disappeared from the building that sits in a prime location on the corner of Wilmslow and Barlow Moor Road, but has floundered since it was the Old Grey Horse in the 80s/90s and shows no sign of gaining popularity. Would make a great 3-floor Bisou Bisou Bisou. Sneaking around Didsbury with a turquoise box full of French patisserie has become our naughty little habit. 

2. Didsbury’s first day spa has ground to a halt. On the site of the legendary (to the 40 and overs) Sweaty Betty’s Chippy, the insulation sits in the window like lost bales of hay and the window display has changed from advertising for staff to offering time shares. 

  
Didsbury’s next charity shop?

3. The Dog Grooming shop, In The Dog House on Barlow Moor Road is still open, defying the “How Long will it last” sweepstake kit in the South Manchester Reporter. Not sure if it’s the drop-off proximity to Albert’s Shed or the sudden influx of Pugs and Daschunds to Didsbury’s parks but well done – it’s cool as fox merchandise and breezy demeanour are superb and I’ll be in for a wet shave on Blade’s day off. 

4. The laser clinics are here, Cafe Rouge still stands like a ghost ship and we still haven’t got a Waitrose. There’s a great new clothes shop on School Lane and the Fish Masala at Sangam 2 is worth the view into the Karma Sutra. 
I had the perfect Didsbury conversation in Giddy Goat Toys a couple of weeks ago. I was having a natter with Mrs Goat when Jed the Windowcleaner, complete with Manchester City sweatshirt breezed in. Our three-way conversation moved seamlessly from childcare, the weather and Bisou Bisou, to children and the angst and stress caused by them being led astray in their choice of football team. Mid myopic drone all three of us turned to the patient and brave mother at the till buying her 4 children presents with a hearty “Eid Mubarak” before settling back to judgemental football chat. Anyone who takes more than one non-sleeping child into a toy shop deserves respect. 

  Rumour has it that Zizzi shut after failing to win planning permission for this extension.

Next week – the perils of poverty discussed through the prism of the Bloke selling Sticky Toffee Pudding in too pushy a manner outside The Cheese Hamlet last Saturday. 

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Zombies in the heart of Didsbury

The Returned. Spooky French series where the town’s dead return (hence the title), unaware they are dead . Lots of moody French people standing around smoking shruggily. Not like the beautiful people sitting outside Shed D’Albert, but gallically challenged.

Yesterday lunchtime, I was driving distractedly through The Village, when, as though it were a scene straight from Dawn of the Didsbury – I saw a small woman in a t-shirt and jeans. She looked human and real down to the last detail, but for one tiny flaw.
I saw her outside the open doors of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which was open. How? Was it Didsbury Open Gardens? Was this a chance for a final stroll of the last great empty indoor space in the region? Would Zombie Burger Kitchen be taking over and eating our many barbers and Estate Agents?
GBK died in the great pandemic that also took Nido. A virus that infected restauranters into thinking they could make a buck in Didsbury with any old crap.
What next? Razma Reads re-appearing with living dead and political biographies only. Domino’s serving food so processed it has a half-life? Aldi doubling as a bus garage?
These are strange times. The addition of Wine & Whallop from the team that brought you Folk and South Park series 8 looks promising. The French Patisserie that has taken over Ashley Brown can have its own blog and Giddy Goat Toys will soon see off Toys R Us. But…

Casa Tapas has either turned into a closed film set or followed Spain out of the World Cup and news reaches DD HQ that Cafe Rouge is going. This is a public disaster. Rouge is more influential in Didsbury Child Rearing than Gina Ford and Aptimil. It has hosted more dates than an Algerian port and deserves listed status, not the chop. Over 20 years the staff have been unfailingly helpful and the food great. I will be signing the petition and march for them before popping down to the Shaun of the Dead Burger Kitchen.

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A Zombie’s brain pattern

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Extra security has been drafted in , so have dormitories

The Giddy Goatgate

Since I started this blog I have suffered several personal threats. Most of them have come from Didsbury Wife regarding the difference between honesty in writing and telling the world our personal issues (am I the only man in the world who believes Lorraine Kelly should be Prime Minister?).
I have unwittingly made a few non friends. I think Gourmet Burger Kitchen might get fed up of me pointing out that most of their furniture is pristine from lack of use and Carringtons once got very shirty. But beyond this I have been lucky enough to only have had three twitter rages come after me.
I once had someone suggest that my research on Didsbury in the 70s / 80s was not always up to scratch. Research? What I can’t remember is all made up. I haven’t got time to research, sterilising bottles and praying for sleep fill most of my day. I had a Scunthorpe United fan living in Sale with an anti-Didsbury thing going on sniping from the sidelines (they’ve been relegated, Schadenfreude my favourite German dish after Steffi Graff and Bratwurst) but now comes an animalistic outburst; threats, from a goat. Not just any goat but The Giddy Goat itself.

The Giddy Goat - stepping up in the world

The Giddy Goat – stepping up in the world

One of Didsbury’s anomalies is that its pavements rumble to the sound of the Bugaboo and City Jogger army, but its centre is full of shops that have a step too high for a pram and a door that will not take a double buggy. Caffe Nero is mummy central because its gentle slope doorway accommodates buggies effortlessly and there are two changing tables. This is why they can charge a month’s rent for breakfast – you can get your people vehicles in without waking the contents, priceless. This can’t be said for swathes of the traders, including our favourite toy shop… The Giddy Goat.
This Didsbury Deli (easy access, wide door, needs changing facilities) of toy shops is an affordable and affable joy – the inverse of a soulless schlep around Toys R Us… But only if you can get in.

I have been warned not to diss the shop. Warned that there may be a playdoh goats head in my bed.Told Mr Potato Head would sort me out, that the Lego Star Wars fighter jets would find me, that the staff would help bring the twins in; but that ruined the story.

Your Goatness. I have read Billy Goats Gruff, taken Didsbury Son to stroke goats in fields across the country and eaten delicious goat curry after many a night out so your message hit home.

Brad Pitt wears a goattee, not a goat

Brad Pitt wears a goattee, not a goat

 

Goat Curry, delicious

Goat Curry, delicious

The Mighty-Headed twin boy with the full body laugh and the awkwardly Aryan hair is already taking his first tentative steps across the living room floor. He whoops with joy at steps that still have the stiffness last seen by Kenneth Moore as Douglas Bader in rehab in “Reach for the Skies” but soon he will walk. Then his pearl-headed smiley twin sister, all toothless grin and happy concentration will walk. Steps will become racing around the house. This will lead us outside and eventually, after months of effort we will walk heads held high up the step in to Giddy Goat Toys. I will crouch down to speak to them at eye level and tell them “you have achieved greatness, choose anything you want”. I will smile proudly then realise my mistake and shout after them “up to £5, its not a big present”.

 

goat

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The twins – Giddy Goat style. Pearl-headed girl in pink, Mighty big bonce in blue. Available from our favourite Goat

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

Didsbury, spring and full of frolicing

My footsteps took me down to the seedy side of town. This being Didsbury it was the caraway and pumpkin seedy side of town. It’s spring. 5am dawns and much chirruping from the baby boy with the big round head and his pearly-crowned sister with the open mouth smile. 8.30 sunsets herald the thankful end of this house’s Cartoon Network viewing and Didsbury has its spring coat on.

The Mighty-Headed twin baby boy looks across his empire

The Mighty-Headed twin baby boy looks across his empire

One thing I love about walking a pram around is watching the year and shops change. Whilst I am still coming to terms with Bath Bombs surviving the demise of Elm Interiors to limp malodorously over to the magnificent Delia’s there is hope.

Let's be honest - it may not actually say "we stocked bath bombs it's our fault" but...

Let’s be honest – it may not actually say “we stocked bath bombs it’s our fault” but…

Gourmet Burger King has something to smile about. There is still a 1:1 ratio between the staff and diners most days, but in addition to saving on cleaning costs they are no longer the emptiest chain in the village. Come on down Holland Barratt. Healthy Spirit has slayed you (in a crystal healing, hands-off, organic and spiritual way). The staff of H&B (look at me using slang) look forlornly out from their empty shop like the last table at a car boot sale. I have been past a dozen times and the only person I have ever seen inside was Didsbury Wife, when I had arranged to meet there to see once and for all what the ginger wine tastes like; people must be buying their pre-packed healthy high salt snacks elsewhere.
When we walked past this morning H& was deluged with a customer who had mistakenly popped in for a haircut

When we walked past this morning H&B was deluged with a customer who had mistakenly popped in for a haircut

There is news. News as surprising as waking up to find day has once again followed night. A new hairdresser is opening up in the village. The carcass of The Didsbury Village Farm Shop is being transformed into Toni & Guy. A hairdresser. In Didsbury. This is brilliant. We haven’t had a new hairdresser open in M20 for weeks. If they’ll do eyebrows wholesale I’m in.
Around the corner Nest has taken the Pixie/Linen space and put the chic next to the awesome toy choice of Giddy Goat. If you could just get a pram into the Giddy it would be bang on.
Nest is a lovely, classy, drape strewn, comfy front room of a shop. I have no idea what, if anything Nest sells but it looks and is a haven in the village where lack of pram access is a bonus.
It could be exciting. A new bar with a working title of Loungers is bidding for a licence in the centre of the village and with a triple-dip recession coming some time this year the Aldi extension cannot come quickly enough for the sell-by sticker savvy Didsbury locals.
Finally in the village, the People’s Republic of Cibo taking shape. Venice in the Village is a St. Marks Square away from finishing and when it opens I expect Cibo to invade Gourmet Burger King, who will have room for everyone.
With a specially-built canal around the outside, the Venetian influence in Didsbury is stronger than ever...

With a specially-built canal around the outside, the Venetian influence in Didsbury is stronger than ever…

Lest We Forget – Those who came and those who left us in Didsbury 2012

Inevitably, indulgently, insignificantly, in anticipation the end of the year always adds a little maudlin touch to thoughts and you remember those who have departed before the year ends. This has been a big year for Didsbury. The hulk that was Pizza Hut transformed slowly. There were rumours of Waitrose, fears of another coffee chain and a bid for the village’s 500th hairdressers. We got Holland and Barratt.
A sweet shop has opened in Foster’s chippy, Gourmet Burger King proudly welcomed over 50 diners this year and Domino’s showed that to be successful the obvious can sometimes outweigh the clever and the village rolled on, not too posh to pizza.

Remember the Lillies - they cried when Felcini's closed

Remember the Lillies – they cried when Felcini’s closed

The Croatian Deli – green and central has expanded into a quasi resturant with London style and pricing and lovely staff and they stand like an island between the red Costa and the Blue Nero. The Art of Tea offers free wi-fi and the best toast in the village BUT… you can’t get a double buggy in there and I have had to find a new office. Didsbury Son left Didsbury Schooling which lowered my threshold for the baying, 4 x 4, badly parking, agressive and competitive mothers who think that schooling their progeny gives them a free pass in life and finally Didsbury Life gets quicker to read, less relevant and more like an Argos catalogue each month.

Bless The Reporter, The Airy Fairy Cake Company, Dids

More than just a snappy logo, The Didsbury Village Farm Shop knows the value of a good sausage roll

More than just a snappy logo, The Didsbury Village Farm Shop knows the value of a good sausage roll

bury Village Farm Shop and the cornerstones of civilisation – The Cheese Hamlet, Evans and our Co-Op. A Co-Op shadowed by M&S, Tesco and bespoke foodshops but still holding its own with queues reminiscent of a Greggs near an office block. Bless also our great parks, Fletcher Moss, The Didsbury and most of the staff in the Post Office.

2012 has been the year when School Lane has bred hairdressers and barbers. West Didsbury has opened niche and quirky shops and bars with one word titles and uncomfy seating to go with the innovative produce and no-one, not even at home, asked me to turn on the Christmas Lights. It has been a good year. Didsbury Festival, Didsbury Arts Festival and WestFest hit the spot and every shop in Lapwing Lane got chairs to welcome Metrolink commuters.

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But into every sunshine a little rain may fall. In 2012 we said goodbye to ome much loved Didsbury residents.

1. Linen – farewell to the Pixie like talents that dressed our children with aspiration and gave a credible last minute present not from a Newsagents

2. Rumpus is Dead. Long Live The Giddy Goat. It has been all change on Albert Hill Street but The Giddy Goat has gladdened our hearts and sadly brought Lego Star Wars to the centre of the village. One day it may replace Razma Reads.

3. La Tasca – the Spanish debt crisis reached Didsbury and the home of so many celebrations is now a Marie Celsteesque shell on the edge of the village.

and finally, with apologies to those not mentioned, farewell Felicini’s – much loved, much attended and much missed. If I want muddy crabs and battleship grey I will go to the seaside. I have tried to love the new Felicini’s Australian Inspired, New York Themed Didsbury based fusion but sadly not. Arrivederci old friend.

This used to be Felcini's

This used to be Felcini’s

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