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 “Ken Loach”

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.


Just out of shot: Gareth Bale, Ivor The Engine and Alex Jones open the Welsh Assembly’s new changing facilities

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).



Work on the new Didsbury Deli continues

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