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 “Greggs”

This Much I Don’t Understand

This much I don’t understand.I’m willing to admit I’m no longer in my 30s. In fact as I really left my 30s the idea of us looking back fondly at a Con-Lib coalition government because it wasn’t as craven or desperate as the current government, ludicrous. The only Clegg I knew was in Last of the Summer Wine. 
The notion of a British number 1 tennis player and Leicester City’s league win being eclipsed by the vulgarity, racism and lynch mob mentality of our exit from the Europe and even that not being the biggest story of the year… mind boggling*. It’s hardly surprising then, that even the transformation of Greggs on Wilmslow Road  from stand-up sandwich shop to sit down McDonalds decor, sorry McArtisan decor raised barely a murmur. From Bowie to Murray to Aleppo it’s all been jaw on the floor material this year.unemployed with small children, spare a thought for him.

* I don’t really know what boggling means. 

Mind you. As I really left my 30s the notion that Didsbury Son would be taller than me and use Lynx was also unbelievable. So, as we enter the final chapter of a year when “Liar, liar, pants are on fire.” Has been appropriated as the shout of the mob eulogising their leaders, this much I no longer understand.50s to 5s in one easy vote

1. Brexit means Brexit. At the end of the day (which also means.. ummm, nothing.) Brexit is a portmanteau. It sounds a bit like Brisket and for all it actually means we may as well add gate on the end to make it sound interesting. I only found out what portmanteau meant by googling it. Ying Tong yiddle i Po means Ying Tong Yiddle I Po, Brexit means Brexit. I’m none the wiser. I peaked at no means no. 

2. People who read The Daily Mail and think it’s warping influence is less corrosive than nasty porn to a teenager. In fact people who read The Daily Mail by choice. 

3. What’s happened in Coronation Street. Whilst visiting my own Didsbury Dad it was on with such volume that the neighbours had their own sound off so they could hear clearly. I last tuned in about a month ago but the whole programme seems to be based on each character simultaneously living four lives. I then found out Phil Mitchell is still in Eastenders. Hasn’t he died several times? Are the soaps now reincarnating characters until they attain Nirvana? 

4. How Saints & Scholars survives, although I’m glad it does. 

5. Twenty somethings with full beards and checked shirts. I still don’t get it. Irony imitating life. I know recent transatlantic political moves have made many people look towards Canada but is this an attempt recreate Alberta between Chorlton and West Didsbury?

6. Why 808 State and MC Buzz B aren’t still massive. 

7. Bros making a comeback and selling out in seconds. Bros are back 

Right, that’s the bah humbug out of the way – ready for some Christmas cheer next. 

Is it Spring Forward, Fall Back or Fall forward, spring back?

This is it. The final, official, scratching the bottom of the pan, stretching it as far as it will go, hope over reality, these jeans still fit honestly, end of summer 2014. Later this week the clocks go back or is it forward? Spring forward, fall back or the other way around? Either way, it gets dark at lunchtime and the sun only comes up Wednesday half-day closing.
This is TV on the couch, jumpers, endless talk of “incubating something” weather. Time to be pressured into creating a perfect Christmas that encompasses the beauty of innocence and the financial clout I have only occasionally achieved in Monopoly.
As my children continue to defy my indifferent parenting skills to be lovely, I look around me and know that before its time to gather at the Cenotaph next month and look at the empty terrace where Cafe Rouge once ruled, The squish of leaves underfoot and the fear of gas bill in my inbox will take hold. There is only one thing to do – plan your treats.

1. For a little male grooming, the wetshave at Blade on School Lane takes some beating, although the military-trained deep massage at G4 Physio I once had was so deep my hamstrings are still undercover.

2. For your take-out morning commute there is now real choice. The coffee and pastries at Bisou Bisou are so good they can’t possibly be every day occurrences. In the village The AiryFairyCupCakeBoutique still know how to dress a sponge for the City Centre tram, whilst West Didsbury has Fusion Deli, consistently great coffee with a welcome to kickstart the day. My jar of Nescafe is now three years old and a sad, unloved, never-to-be-used clump.

3. Notworking: should you be meeting “colleagues” or “freelancing from home” there are many warm welcomes once the decent TV finishes. Café Nero is so child-friendly I can’t go through the door without a Rugrat, but if the free top-ups ’til 11 hold then a Chalk Bar & Grill Flat White can keep itself in adult company. Healthy Spirit (I just had to ask Didsbury Wife what Nature’s Grace is called now) is sooo nice, so boho, so right-on its virtually Chorlton. Art of Tea blends indifferent service into an art and Albert’s is the place for a posh meeting. I go there and pretend its 1989 all over again – well if it’s good enough for the decor its good enough for me.

4. Lunch: The Japan Deli in Withington, opposite The Red Lion. How it survives is a mystery, but the Sushi is stunning and there is never a queue. I find it difficult to take anywhere seriously for lunch that promotes a Scotch Egg as haute cuisine – but sitting alone in The Jade Garden for their business lunch, playing “Name that Tune” is an experience sidestepped by too many.

5. The newbies. Bourbon & Black looks exciting; Croma has queues not seen since the last Gregg’s pastie sale. Solita seems lively and we await news of Sweaty Betty’s. Wine & Wallop looks a goer and Burton Road bulges with indie pride.

These possibilities keep me focused on a 7am park trip with the boddlers; but there is one place where I am beyond the smash of a dropped babychino, the demand for wi-Fi and Hot Chocolate or the call to prayer at John Lewis. It has no windows, no atmosphere and the service is average – but in the cafe at the gym my phone has no signal. There’s a couch where I can slouch and drift off… perfect for a winter’s morning.

IMG_3994.JPG
The sushi at Japan Deli is the nearest Didsbury Son is getting to a fish tank this Christmas.

IMG_3997.JPG
If you close your eyes it’s like Cibo never existed.

IMG_0666.JPG
Looking forward to those beautiful November mornings.

Birthdays and the Autumn Breeze

Wine & Wallop is open. It’s a lovely space and the fact they are finishing it around you as you drink just adds to the ambience. Chalk Bar & Grill is now settled in the village at one end, whilst Croma flaps its big white awning like swans’ wings over the clock tower end of the village, near the newly opened and yet to be investigated Solita. Gregg’s new gift shop neighbour has an opening in site, wooden boards shade it as though huddling around praying it will last longer than all of its predecessors back to the then innovative Cloud 9. Didsbury has its winter line-up ready for the Christmas spend and with the festival season over, the traffic jams getting earlier on Barlowmoor Road and boards up on the old Casa Tapas ranch, it’s show time.

This is a great time of year. The mornings aren’t dark enough to be depressing and Didsbury Son’s school experience is lightened by the the last rays of summer sun.

At Didsbury Dad Mansions its a big weekend. The Mighty-Headed boy and the Pearly Princess are 2 this weekend – a milestone as full of shock and awe as that moment earlier this year when Didsbury Son’s clock ticked into teendom.

Two; we still have buggy, pram, nappies and strings of sounds that evoke, but are not sentences. Are they babies? They are to me, so is Didsbury Son – they are my babies to the point that I could almost use an emoticon.

They have all the boddler attributes to enthral parents and bore the Bodens off friends. Last week they said “Blah blah more pie etc.”, “Ooh, look at that picture – they look like Spandau Ballet when they were cool.” Every point of movement still entrances me, even at Stupid AM after hours perched on a rapidly disintegrating knee.

Above all they are 100% Didsbury. I realised this thinking about the following routines. How to tell if your baby is Didsbury.

1. On Sunday mornings, after an early park jaunt, stop at Caffe Nero for Babyccino and Loacker Wafers.

2. They are on gurgling terms with the pastoral team at St. James’ AND Emmanuel, knowing Dimitri’s has it over The Old Cock every day of the week.

3. I have to wipe the seat before and their hands after a go on the swings in Didsbury Park.

4. They think a People Carrier is a normal car.

5. The only time they have seen a Fish Finger it was homemade at Folk.

So this weekend, with the moving elbow and the working knee I will raise a baby or two, toast Didsbury Wife and try and wangle a celebratory visit to Piccolino and a bit of Sky Sports amid the festivities.

25 YEAR MAKEOVER – THE RETURN OF SWEATY BETTY

Just a quickie…

But there is high excitement in our house as Didsbury Wife and I prepare to celebrate the return of an old friend. Driving the Child Truck through the sunny streets of M20 there are many new things to admire.

On Lapwing Lane the new arcade has been launched with a fanfare and Wine & Wallop even opened briefly before going back to building a mezzanine that has now taken three years to construct. I am still salivating at its possibility. Next door the new Post Office has disappointed all as it has opened without the opportunity to post al fresco or event get a haircut. In fact this is the only barberless street in the whole of the village. Walking through Didsbury Village now and being accosted by tourists handing out fliers offering exotic haircuts at knockdown prices is a fantasy I keep having; I digress.

Last time these doors opened a kebab was exotic, Fred Sylvester was our MP and Bilko's (now The Metropolitan) was a sophisticated night out

Last time these doors opened a kebab was exotic, Fred Sylvester was our MP and Bilko’s (now The Metropolitan) was a sophisticated night out

Bisou Bisou is open serving exquisite French patisserie, Solita NQ opened with a bang and looks lively in the old Cibo/La Tasca. Burns Fish Restaurant space. The latest attempt at a gift shop in the centre of the village next to Gregg’s is taking shape and there is a feeling of refreshment being refreshed BUT…

The Piece de resistence, the bauble on the tree and the light of my life is the return of Sweaty Betty’s. The pristine re-design next to Axon’s was a chippy up to the mid to late 80s run by three sisters (this is all getting a bit Shakespearean). I cannot even remember if it was good, bad or greasy but it was legend in my teenage years alongside the slightly scary Mr. Marvel on Barlowmoor Road (well overdue a re-opening). This yellow and black striped grease pit closed without warning and has been the only part of Didsbury not rebuilt since the days when Margaret Thatcher’s ascent was still a novelty.

FullSizeRender

The man in the picture is not part of the re-fit and you do not have to look at this through the side of the a car – but it helps

Rumour has it in the same stable as Didsbury Lounge. Conjecture has the spirit of the Sweaty Betty returning to the city. Last time you could buy food on these premises hummmous was not available in Britain and smoking was compulsory in pubs. All I know is that one of the city’s finest flyposting sites has gone and there will be yet more temptation for those sneaking into Lighter Life next to our area’s finest pub, butcher and Sweaty re-incarnation.

picture courtesy of zettashouse.wordpress.com COMING BACK SOON?

picture courtesy of zettashouse.wordpress.com
COMING BACK SOON?

 

Me, Tony Curtis, Zabaleta and formula

Normally I’m not one to namedrop. I’m too busy hanging out with City players eating Fish & Chips in Didsbury or riffing with the media cognoscenti round Gregg’s and The Royal Oak.

So I am sitting here outside a hotel bar in a lovely Spanish resort. Didsbury Wife is socialising, Didsbury Son sits next to me in comfortable silence watching Minecraft videos and there is a double buggy on my right with finally motionless boddlers dreaming of swimming pools and being the boisterous darlings of the patient hotel staff. This is bliss. A bliss I had never imagined or expected and I have no idea how I managed to get here.

I looked over earlier today and saw me, dual nappy changing by a pool thick with the waft of the outdoor smoking still so popular in Southern Europe; saw some pacifying of Didsbury Son who has shown stoic patience beyond his years and thought it was my own Didsbury Dad.

So back to the name dropping. Many years ago in a pre-DD life I ended up in a pre-show conversation with Tony Curtis. I had been introduced because the New York crew on the show could not believe they had met…
“Tony, a Jew. From England. This guy even knows what a bagel is. ”
We shook hands. I blessed my knowledge of ethnic baking and thought how proud my dad would be to meet him. I wondered if he liked football and felt a bit guilty for preferring Kirk Douglas.

He was deaf. Could not hear 70%, or understand my accent for the other 30% and we both look confused in the photo; I digress.

He told a story which made no sense to the Brits but had the Americans crying. He talked about coming to Hollywood as a very young man . After his first day on set he was tired and hot. He was staying with a friend who had a pool. He dived in and swam the whole length underwater. When he surfaced, it was today. His story of the passage of time struck a chord with me today.
I remember going on my first boys only holiday to Aranel in Majorca. I was 17. I back combed my white blonde hair, put my string vest over my white t – shirt and tucked my Rothmans Reds into my white 8 pleat turn ups and headed out for a night of Bacardi and trying to avoid getting punched. When I came to I was asking Didsbury Son to get the formula from the room so I could get the twins down.
The Dog & Partridge is still the same, Nido was the worst idea bar Betamax and I’ve ordered a Bacardi to toast my own luck.

20140220-224134.jpg
The beauty of older children is that you don’t have to join in so much.

20140220-224331.jpg
There’s no place like home.

Palatine Road, Take Me Home

I have just spent a week away on an allegedly glamorous job in a guilded city. Now I normally take a South Manchester Reporter and a pic of Didsbury Library with me if I’m on an overnight, so 5 days with no Fusion Deli, no Greenhalgh v Greggs Strategy and 5 days without wondering what some of the shops on School Lane sell would be tricky.

5 days with no Didsbury Son. The novelty of no questions, access to a television and use of my own computer wore off by the end of Day 1.

By the end of Day 2 I could almost wish to trail behind him as he moonwalked out of clothes, toys and gadgets to pick them up disapprovingly.

By 3, the joy of homework and tooth brushing seemed like a gift and by the end of Day 4 I was willing to watch Star Wars.

What I also noticed was a little heartwarming reciprocity. Our first afternoon call was 8 bored seconds drowned out by CBBC. By day 4 it was as though we had met in a bar in Alaska having found out we went to our first teenage party together at Didsbury Scout Hut.

I made a triumphant return. Didsbury Wife and Son were out, thin moody lady cat harrumphed a bit and sloped in as I unloaded the car and began remarking my territory.

I thought back to the space I had just enjoyed in one of Britain’s top fast foodesque hotel chains. The UHT treated portion millac(R) that always makes the tea taste of plastic more than milk. The power shower with the average flow of an octogenarian and the walls so paper thin I was able to clap along with the amorous couple next door.

The freedom of eating a takeaway in bed squinting at a TV that only spiderman could have placed was only trumped by the 3am fire alarm, accompanied by tatooed cheers from the bar floors below. Wilmslow Road, you never looked so good.

The homecoming didn’t really start until Didsbury Fat Cat, sensing a treat or two began to swish around me like a Stoke centre-half at a corner.

This was just a warm-up. Didsbury Son leapt at me like he was four again. I swirled him around and remembered all the good things about being Didsbury Dad.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: