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 “James Bond”

Didsbury Dad’s Three Part Guide: 1. West Didsbury

Part 1: The West…

None of the research in this piece is specific, scientific or socially significant. Any misconception, misrepresentation or misanthropy is purely there for alliterative reasons and I blame the 80s.

Mooching M20 with Didsbury Son has always been a favourite pursuit and I have had to start thinking about routes that will take a double buggy with a coffee holder as we prepare to welcome twins into the family tradition of wandering aimlessly; all this wandering – it’s my cultural heritage.

Clyde Road. A three-storeyed gateway linking Barlow Moor Road’s former cutting edge with Lapwing Lane’s BoHo entry to Westworld. Barlow Moor Road used to host The Barleycorn and Mr Marvel’s Cafe. The Barleycorn, a former casino where my own Didsbury Dad and Mum lived as a young couple was the first pub I ever went into. At occasional stages I was almost cool enough to go downstairs. Mr Marvel, a now empty basement opposite Moor Allerton pre-dated Art of Tea and Costafication by several generations. Its lure for older kids and its promise of smokey naughtiness, pinball and … coffee was enticing and a little scary.

But Clyde Road. Now that was West Didsbury; a combination of dance school, studio flats and huge houses seemingly packed with dressing up boxes, tobacco and wannabees. Clyde Road leads to Lapwing Lane and Burton Road – the heart of West Didsbury. Once faded, now sought after and a go-to place for boys with big cars, girls with big heels and developers with an eye for renovation.

Lapwing Lane has always held a fascination for me since childhood. I always thought that Withington Town Hall would make a great nightclub. Lapwing Court’s flat roofs and balconies were chic beyond belief and the venue now known as The Metropolitan was a monolith in the heart of my world.

Piccolino’s was The Nose. The Nose was groundbreaking. When Liz owned it, Henry worked the kitchens and Sonia served it was the daytime Madchester office cum hangout. The Midland, first with Bilko’s and then MVITA brought the world to West Didsbury and a party to every weekend.

Duwe’s brilliant bakery is now Pete’s stylish Steranko and where I cycled with my Didsbury Dad for bagels from Somers is now a wooden furniture treasure trove. The impressive Withington Hospital may have been diminished and hawked for a development with the look of an open prison but Burton Road is a journey through Didsbury’s past through to its future. The Canadian Charcoal Pit has been there from a time when cup cakes being global currency was as improbable as Manchester being a destination city, but Folk fits seamlessly into Westworld and from the mosque to Withington Baths is a cultural journey with room for both of us, coffees and a pram with more gadgets than a James Bond Aston Martin DB7.

Didsbury Dad’s random recommendations in West Didsbury:

Folk: great vibe, great food, service so bad it’s entertaining.

Ghurka Grill: the extension gives more menu sampling opportunity.

Orchard Street: I like a mooch up and down.

Crazy Wendy’s: I like to walk past.

The Shop on the corner opposite Piccolino’s. always something beautiful.

The Metropolitan: I like to go there to watch the beautiful people and count my blessings I am married and Didsbury Son means I have to go home early.

Ante-natal scans and the football season

At some point in the next few weeks Didsbury Son will become a big brother twice over. I cannot guide him. I am the youngest in my family. He has taken the endless procession and pram talk with an openness that has been a joy to share. After an initial lip-trembling and leg-clasping reaction he is now a full member of team twins and makes plans, asks questions, gulps and cheers with the rest of us. We have practiced changing nappies on the toys and can now pick out the minutest detail on a scan picture.

It’s the pram I’m staring at, not you

Waiting for an ante-natal scan is a great leveler. All, well almost all strata of society comes through here. The really rich may have clinics with carpets and a choice of water but within the NHS it’s a sociological dream.

We had been waiting for a scan for about an hour and a half. Excited planning had descended into small talk , then sniping and eventually looking for an excuse for a row whilst redesigning the NHS.
The conversation around us ranged from the benefits of a Bugaboo over a Mountain Duet, to who’ll do the feed if it’s time for a spliff. This is where organic grocer meets Netto; where the great melting pot that is a modern city shares space, scanning gel and key stages – but looks down magnificently on the differences around them.
I notice I look at everyone in a new way. When out and about I have progressed from eying up women, through looking broodingly at their dogs, to my new hobby – checking out the pram. I know very little about cars but can talk about the wheelbase, handling and flexibility of “travel systems”. Do you know your donkey from your city jogger? I do, doh.
Travel System is the 2012 name for the Rubik’s Cube on wheels that now stands in for a pram. When Didsbury Son was a baby he had a pram and a car seat. He was safe, mobile and easy to wheel about. Nowadays, If your buggy does not have James Bond ejector seats, can swivel the baby like The Exorcist or make Fair Trade espresso whilst you perambulate your little (insert recycled Victorian name) then you will be the pariah of the support group; cast out before you have a chance to re-blow it in the school playground.The non eBay-won travel system costs an obscene amount; similar to a week with Mark Warner, a large popcorn and hot dog at Cineworld or a family trip to a Premier League – without the instant gratification or the tan / sugar-rush hangover
Last night we attended a twin induction tour which was lovely – except the midwife threw terms like catheter, snipped perineum and dilation around as though, as though, as though the men in the room were not squeamish cowards desperate to stay at the head end and receive a cordless and clean baby in a blanket.
The last time I considered the term dilation in detail was in a club toilet on a stag night, trying to work out if we could leave a friend there or should call an ambulance.

It will be downstairs at Costa once the twins arrive

I can now discuss nose-to-breast without cheap gags and I understand that gas and air is not for sharing. I have handheld, wept and beamed as the scans move from shrimp to alien to recognisable baby and, most importantly for any man – I have worked out the birthing playlist for the iPod and even decided to throw in a few tracks that Didsbury Wife likes.
This weekend the hypno-birthing partners class clashes with the first game of the season. When I took Didsbury Son to a cup final in May I joked that it would probably be the last time I would be able to do such a thing. Silly me.
In through the nose, out through the mouth, in through the nose…..

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