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 “La Tasca”

Forgotten Didsbury, A Trilogy. Part 1

** No actual research was disturbed during the writing of this blog**The Mighty Headed Boy squeezed my hand tightly and pushed himself further into the folds of my coat. “What happened Dear old Didsbury Dad? What caused this?” I picked him up in my arms, cradling him, forgetting he’s a lot heavier than he looks and I’m so far past my 30s it sends me reminders. “It’s Solita. They make burgers acceptable in an ironic way to hipsters with beards. They once made a burger so pretentious McDonalds had to think up the Grand Big Mac.NIMBY – Chorlton and Fallowfield are close enough. (We have transport)Before that it was Cibo, a bizarre amalgamation of PR gone wrong and too many aspirin in a Blue Sky Thinking Session.” Scallops from Piccolino. I couldn’t find anyone who had eaten at Cibo. “And?” He begged. The wind biting through the space between us and chapping our fingers.“Before that it was La Tasca. Magical and affordable when you wanted to get hammered and crawl home following the scent of garlic. La Tasca was A Spanish restaurant that thrived and buzzed before we even knew what a Padron Pepper looked like. And before that, a purpose built coffin of a fish restaurant called Burns that even the 70s rejected. Before that even I can’t remember. But I know that the original Harriet & Dee was a foundry for miniature products and the Didsbury Village Physio helped good, salt of the earth working people so they could go back to their Surveyors Offices and Solicitors before drinking and smoking at The Old Grey Horse, once it stopped being The Cavalcade.” Not Piementos de Padron.The Mighty Headed boy looked at me, bored beyond tears. “Can I have Kinder Egg daddy?” He cried.“Yes you can son, we can all have one.”

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?

 

Plain speaking wins the day

Frank Sinatra “I did it my way”
Stevie Wonder “I just called to say I love you”

Rumours of Wonder looking to open a shop in Didsbury have been dismissed. Picture www.biography.com)

Rumours of Wonder looking to open a shop in Didsbury have been dismissed. Picture http://www.biography.com)

Ronseal 5 year varnish “It does what it says on the tin”
All clear, successful and obvious. There is a lesson to be learned here. Many lives ago, pre Didsbury Dad, I promoted live bands. I shied away from trumpeting them as a cross between The Doors and Elvis invade people thought it was a band with food and intimacy issues that should not be left alone in the bath.
Does this crystal clear lesson get through to the not so mean streets of M20? Is this plain speaking Muswell Hill with less Moolah and Alderley with edge paying attention? No.
The Didsbury Village Farm Shop (RIP – the thought of your club sandwich fills me with… Well filled me with bread and meat) is a perfect example. It’s butchers may have been inspired by Smithfields, it’s sandwiches influenced by The Mighty Gregg’s and its cheese based on a book about cheese in the 80s but it was neither Axons (a butchers), The Cheese Hamlet (God’s Cheese Shop) or Fresh Save (a green grocers) . Now it is empty. The sign on the weighing machine saying “We will serve you shortly” a cruel reminder that this shop has been empty, or worse, was once the least well-run Carphone Warehouse ever.

Cafe Rouge is French (in a Whitbread way), Costa do coffee and Jo Padmore is an optician. She is not a lens-influenced, near nasal dresser who does shoe repairs if you are not keen on glasses. She also has a lovely window display. Effective and very obvious what it is there to sell.
So we come to Cibo. I really hope it works, that it is a great restaurant that is a huge success and brings people flocking to Didsbury. Well done to the Cioboans for taking the plunge. This space was previously a La Tasca which held a special place in the hearts of many of us. Before that it was Burns, a suburban fish restaurant way before there was a market for one outside of coastal resorts.
Cibo, in language that smacks of Mud Crab Cafe’s New York Australian food bakery coffee shop and hairdressers is going to be Venetian-influenced. This does not actually mean anything. As I pushed the double buggy past this morning my heart sank like an old Gondola.

Griffins, an Italian staple, are hard to farm.

Griffins, an Italian staple, are hard to farm.

Venetian -influenced? I am lucky enough to have spent time in Venice. The Mozarella Rice balls and espressos you get at the street stalls are delicious (they sell them at Piccolino’s on Lapwing Lane), but are they influential? Does Venetian influenced mean that the Ciboans are going to recreate St. Mark’s Square in the School Lame Car Park, pay homage to Paolo Lucio Anafesto, first Doge of the Venetian Republic or charge 10 euros for a coffee to the English? I once went to see Venezia play my team at football and our fans had coins and bricks thrown at us most of the game. If they are going to take their influence from Venezia’s Ultras then I think I won’t be the only one darting past anxiously straight to No. 4 on Warburton Street.
Venice, like Manchester has a canal, an airport and a strong sense of identity.
Cibo is an Italian noun meaning grub. Let us hope it is as vibrant as St. Marks, as beautiful as Florence, as tasty as the street food in Sicily and the staff don’t throw sharp objects at you if you are not local.

Paolo Luci Anafesto, tipped to be the maitre d' of Didsbury's new Venetian-infuenced restaurant.

Paolo Luci Anafesto, tipped to be the maitre d’ of Didsbury’s new Venetian-infuenced restaurant.

Parenthood – Six New Medical Conditions

Being a Didsbury Dad is a wonderful life. Not even the demise of La Tasca, the pavement parking that makes pram pushing painful or the scary designs masquerading as art in the “new” diminished Withington Hospital can dull the glow.

As Didsbury Son edges inconsistently towards teenagedom, his qualities only occasionally dulled by extreme vagueness and the odd sulk, I look at my two new Didsbury Babes with joy, apprehension and a slightly locked shoulder.

It’s not the thought of teething, chicken pox or stranger danger that keeps me awake at night. What allows me to talk to the moon at 4am is the fear that I am going to have to sit through Junior School concerts again. At one of Didsbury Son’s schools it was so bad I booed a Year 3 “Grensleeves”. All dads know that there is only so much feigning you can do when a potential free evening is savaged by a recorder played ingloriously by unknowing fingers and partially cleaned milk teeth.

I digress – this is my 100th Blog so I am having a celebration ramble.

It’s not even the awful school concerts. It’s the low-level parental pain that is more daunting than the realisation I had at a baby clinic recently. In the years when I was larging Madchester and feeling invincible, my twins contemporaries’ dads were in nappies themselves. I talk about Wagon Wheels and Choppers, they get teary eyed over a Game Boy.

In addition, there is the realisation that every hair that grows on these tiny Churchillian bonces takes them a little further away from new babydom.

One sad day all this will be covered in hair

One sad day all this will be covered in hair

So 6 things of which to be wary;
1. The Domino Effect – Baby Boy is a whopper. A milk guzzling, eyelash fluttering, full-face smiling whopper. Leaning over to pick him up without bending properly and then lifting back up nearly 20 pounds of milk and muscle does things to a spine that’s crawled past 39 … Bad things. That pop at night is the morning’s Sciatica, the afternoon’s tingling and the following night’s Ibuprofen.

2. (SOS) Shiny Object Syndrome: I promised never to moan about sleep deprivation. Even when it’s counted in minutes; sleep interrupted by a smiley/crying/wet/hungry baby always has a redeeming feature. It’s downside is that my attention span is down to Didsbury Son’s level. Anything longer then eight minutes is a genuine struggle that needs something bright or noisy shaking to keep my eyes open.
Didsbury Wife pointed out to me that it takes about eight minutes for light to get to us from The Sun. I pointed out it takes approximately eight minutes to walk the pram once around Didsbury Park and then I nodded off.

3. Designer Milk- I never realised that babies projected milk with no warning and can reach a shoulder from 10 feet. Every single piece of clothing that I have has been tie-dyed with Aptamil.

The doctor seemed un-moved when I explained my predicament

The doctor seemed un-moved when I explained my predicament

4. Milk Neck- bibs are fine but there is always a missed trickle that comes to give you a sticky kiss when you pick up a baby to burp them.

5. Golfer’s Elbow – honestly, I have golfer’s elbow and a cortisone injection habit.  Apparently it is widespread. When I sheepishly admitted that it was painful, I was deluged by empathetic nods from fellow sufferers and  it opened a secret world to parental pain that again, no one tells you about when you’re expecting.

6. BootPov – I had wondered why Boots the Chemist had so many branches. Now I know. Every over parent of children under the age of… 30 knows that on birth you give Boots your blood group, PIN number and roughly 90% of your earnings and 50% of your overdraft. I now have enough Advantage points to buy almost a day’s worth of nappies.

These are only exacerbated by Pramrage, CHOCS (central heating overload causing sinusitis) and Shrunken World – even I realise that my daily happiness and schedule tightened by feeds and changes makes my conversation as dull as the lighting in the nursery at 3am and as shallow as the milk my baby boy leaves in a bottle after a feed.

Twins do not always grow at the same rate

Twins do not always grow at the same rate

The Euro Crisis reaches Didsbury

I’ve been working in the Northern Quarter today. It’s been like walking through my past with rose-tinted organic glasses. Manchester’s Northern Quarter is like West Didsbury without a hospital, with more people looking nervously at passing police cars and no cupcakeries

The 142 to and from town is a good indicator of the city’s temperature. At this time of year it is full of braying Home Counties émigrés trying to sound unfeasibly hip, only to give themselves away with comments such as
“New Business School, it’s proper sick (sic)”
Aah the 142, trolling up and down Wilmslow Road and depositing me home to the iPoddingly hopeful embrace of Didsbury Son and the virtually popping with pregnancy Didsbury Wife. Home – to a Didsbury Village wracked with uncertainty, insecurity and change as Euro’s crisis sees us lose Spain and Italy in one week.

La Tasca GONE. La Tasca, as Spanish as a Co-op baguette is French, whose Iberian cuisine is sourced from the olive groves off the M60, gone. La Tasca, home to some memorable celebrations and unfeasibly priced Albondingas. No longer can we marvel at Spanish spoken with flattened Northern vowels pronouncing Rioja with a K. If La Tasca can just shut without warning then what hope the stainless tables and unscraped chairs of Gourmet Burger King; where the staff to diner ratio matches that of the canteen at a High Security prison.

The new menu at La Tasca

Enough? No. Felicini’s is no more. Its having a paint and makeover and a new menu, a new name and a new identity. Just tell us the truth. Felicini’s is an ex Didsbury resident. it didn’t try to expand sideways into Delia’s? It didn’t aim to go upwards to incorporate the only health and beauty salon never to advertise, it is more radical. This morning I wondered if Felicini’s was going to launch a new Italian menu that shuns Pizza, pasta and Parmesan to return coccoon like to The Didsbury Village Wine Bar? I wasn’t too far off. It’s a coffee emporium with baked extras. Lucky, as we are down to our last 10 coffee choices in the village.

Holland and Barratt still hasn’t opened, the proposed hairdresser stil hasn’t snipped, Didsbury Village Farm shop is already having a re-fit and apparently the RSPCA shop doesn’t sell animals.

It is nearly October. The nights are drawing in and if I had any idea who might care… I could swear it was a conspiracy to cut out the middle man and move Didsbury to MediaCityUK.

“Enough, there is no more. ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.”

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Didsbury Wife surveys the venue formerly known as Felicini’s

 

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