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 “Linen Emporium”

Didsbury puckers up for the spring

Bright crispy mornings with frost on the car and blue in the sky. Long beautiful nights. The week’s full moon has had a yellow/orange lamppost tinge, a smattering of cloud cover and has hovered hopefully over Didsbury village as if it could re-open the lamented closed shops or put a barber’s chair and scissors in every premises from Withington Baths to Parrs Wood.

The moon can throw some interesting shadows. Carrington's and Domino's look different in this light.

The moon can throw some interesting shadows. Carrington’s and Domino’s look different in this light.

It’s Spring and getting warmer. The sun that had seemed as rare as a queue at Gourmet Burger King or a three-piece suit in Elvis’s Kitchen is squinting sheepishly at us at last. There are snowdrops, scaffolds and For Sale signs springing up everywhere as Didsbury gets dressed for the new season.

This is prime mooching time. Didsbury  buzzes with the sound of pram wheel on pavement. On Wednesday I was in Caffe Nero when South Manchester twins group finished and the convoy  of double buggies measured on the Richter scale.

At home, there are changes afoot. To my initial shock and continual sense of nagging disappointment Didsbury Son is slowly backing out of our mooching mornings. My little 4-year-old blondini who would squeeze hands, talk unaware loveliness and look in awe at the detritus we would spot as we walked on what is now the Metrolink is busy with team sports, distracted by Cartoon Network and generally losing impetus. He is still my lovely boy, but adolescence is creeping in and walking around aimlessly with a Tesco sausage at the end of it is no longer the pull it once was.

I have new partners. They are still in their pram and if I get it right they are primarily asleep, but, still strangely good company. Walking the not so mean streets of M20 with babies allows me time to see developments.

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It is nice to see everyone out and about without a coat on after a long winter.

The village is rife with change and this year’s Didsbury Festival will march down a very different high street. Elm Interiors really is shutting (room for a small Waitrose?), with rising rents blamed, but pointless stock not helping. La Tasca (my eagle-eyed spy tells me) is coming back as a Venetian Restaurant which opens up many possibilities. A moat, the scent of warm sewage, exorbitant pricing  and large Americans OR… Superb food, small coffees and a chance of drowning if you get too drunk. The Mud Flat Crabicinis is being pimped. The scaffolding is up, the building is being lowered and expect to see alloys.
We have an open air cafe coming to Didsbury Park, Giddy Goat Toys has some genuinely exciting stuff in it and one day Pixie / Linen will re-open, Sheilaless but hopefully a little slice of glamour on the road to the Fletch.
There is building behind Aldi (Guessing it’ s not a Waitrose) and the pace of 30s house renovation for profit on Spath Road and its surroundings is reaching a crescendo; with the village’s estate agents salivating at the easy commissions coming their way.

This is a longer blog than usual so I thought I would put in more pictures

On Barlow Moor Road and the Old Lansdowne gateway to the West the gentrification is almost complete and done “in keeping” with the original build (just different) and my new favourite, School Lane gets better as it warms up.

This is the new  Indie Didsbury. As you come out of the park and over the Metro to School Lane; past the bizarre white block of flats that should have been built in seafront San Fran and jar hopelessly with all of their surroundings there is a real community. The road to Airy Fairy Cupcake Nirvana is not just paved with barbers (although there are 28). Before Hazeldress’ cavern of costume and the musical instrument shop that must be a front for something. Before the munificence of Peking House and the barbers who all used to work together and now snip separately. Before the gym next to the chippy there is gold.
The School Lane Cafe does a Full English for a fiver and knows Latte is late spelled wrong AND next to Didsbury Perk’s art and Hot Chocolate is a pop up hands on gallery; brilliant.

We shall be mooching Parrs Wood way more this spring.

The School Lane Heritage Trail.A boy, a pencil and white flats in the background

The School Lane Heritage Trail.A boy, a pencil and white flats in the background

An essential guide for every new parent (ish)

I felt it was time I shared. Shared my vast experience of almost 15 days of twin fatherhood. Shared the minutiae of detail that can substitute Nightnurse when spoken out loud and shared my scientific analysis of how to be a new Didsbury Dad.

WWHD: my canyon-deep experience of bringing up Didsbury Son in the way of the slouch has given me a deep understanding of post school pre-bed television. You have to remember to keep those dark thoughts inside. Think don’t say or… What Would Homer Do?

Learn to use the kitchen: For most right-thinking dads washing up and a superficial tidy with radio droning in the background trumps any technical parenting hands down. Then glide up with wrinkled hands and up to date 5Live for a glory goodnight kiss and cuddle; magical and without pointless questioning about something unfatomable.

Pick your homework carefully, what you volunteer for at 5 years old may stick. Offer to help with all the non specific subjects that are not compulsory after year 8. It’s long term planning but it works.

With the preliminaries over I have decided to set up master classes for Didsbury Dads. There will be twin, sibling and male classes and each attendee will get a complimentary copy of my opus “Mooching aimlessly with Didsbury Son”.
Each class will be long enough to avoid a vital chore at home whilst not being so long that it upsets Didsbury Wife/Girlfriend/Partner. They will take place under the entrance porch of what was La Tasca.

1. 20 Credit module – knowing your place when out and about. In your head as you push your pram next to smiling wife, you are the proud father and doting guardian of a pair of reasons for every other pedestrian to poke their nose in and make a banal comment. To some other women you are now invisible. That unhelpful middle-of-the-night axe to grind. They will come and coo over Didsbury Wife and Didsbury Twins praising their own martyrdom. The level of conscious ignoring is quite a feat and can only be repeated by a Didsbury Son looking in his room for a protractor.

2. 20 credit module – understand the environment. The Internet is useful for many things beyond football and inappropriate searches. It is awash with support forums for women before, during and after pregnancy. This enveloping resource can be a tyrant, a comfort, a stick to beat you with and an early warning system. Take notice of the minutiae; take care of which way the wind blows and heed the clues. If you are told pointedly that some partners aren’t making meringues for their new babies and dusting properly get the oven on low, beat those egg whites and reach for the feathers -it’s cleaning time

3. Other Men: twins can be emotive. Years pre Didsbury Son and Didsbury wife without progeny to parade has taught me that my bundles of joy may be troublesome for someone somewhere. Be like the philosopher and take your happiness and your sadnesses with equal measure and enjoy them inwardly and indoors. You should also try not to to respond to comments from other men such as ” I didn’t know you had it in you”. It isn’t a compliment. It’s the equivalent of “Have you lost weight?” letting someone know you remembered them as fatter than they are.
This male minefield can be fun and can be a joy to share as well as giving you the chance to settle old scores.

Next week – back to being baffled by cupcakes, spoiled for a choice of barbers in the village and getting ready to mourn the demise of Linen on Albert Hill Street as it gets ready to shut its doors at the end of the month and fly like a pixie out of the village.

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