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 “Manchester City”

Westfest15, Bradley Folds and David Beckham 

The Didsburyest  – #Westfest15, Bradley Folds and David Beckham. 

 even the yellow lines look effortlessly cool. 

Westfest seemed a great success. From Former City star Michael Johnson’s new bar on the corner of Nell Lane (I must admit that this is on my route home and for months during renovation I thought that the portaloo by the front door was a bold new design feature) to Eve’s Retreat it rocked nonchalantly, coolly and was family and hipster friendly.
Last time I saw that many tureens and tables and chairs outside was the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. We Mooched down on Saturday afternoon. The programme had not made it clear that essentials included beards, babies and specific dog breeds (French or English Bulldog, Daschund, anything under 12 inches high). Luckily, we came with two strollers and stubble but at one point there were so many ironic beards around a table I thought I was in Chorlton.
It hit the spot. Volta’s food, drink and bonhomie were faultless and Folk’s flags flew brightly. Chocolate Martinis, Kangaroo Burgers, a BBQ party to match an unforgettable family bash outside The Epicurean and a constant queue outside “And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon” that should see them gold plated. The whole place smelled fantastic as Namaste, Wendy and Mary & Archie blended and the perfect warm-up for The Bradley Folds Allotment Open Day. It felt independent, Didsbury and a great combination. Well done. It was the perfect warm up for the Bradley Folds Allotments’ Vegetable Sale.
Which I didn’t make. Instead Didsbury Wife and I teamed up with two other sets of toddler parents for a trip to… Lancashire / near Liverpool. More foreign travel. This time we went to Windmill Farm. I had forgotten how great a trip to the petting zoo is. As with all successful days out this started with good food. We arrived. We ate. 
I engaged. I took the Mighty Headed Boy down a zipwire and after I fell off (7-8 inches) he has already sworn off going with me again but I had a ball. Whilst all the under 6s were too scared to feed the goats and sheep, the barn was full of dads reducing their blood press to double figures with an hour stroking animals under the guise of childcare.
My Pearly Princess thought the Alpaca was a Giraffe and this has made her week. She didn’t want her ice cream, which Foghorn Leghorn ate and that made his. I cannot recommend this enough and it set me thinking that this would be the perfect use for Cafe Rouge or Inman’s. Never mind the usual calls for a Waitrose, a niche Sauna or Didsbury’s first day spa (sic). What we need in M20 is something missing since the last goat in Fog Lane was poisoned some time in the 80s – a Petting Zoo. 
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Charles Darwin, Giddy Goats and The Bisou Conspiracy

The fashion for hipster beards and the move towards e-cigarettes has given the Metrolink station a specific retro look. The gauche style of inhaling the e-cig as though it were a pipe has given the ramp to the ticket machine the look of a WG Grace / Charles Darwin look-a-like competition.   
Victorian favourites the peacocks plan to ride in on the wave of the summer retro look. 

I don’t understand e-cigs. I used to smoke many years ago, pre-Didsbury Dad days when a) I could afford it and b) you didn’t have to stand outside like a plane spotter at the airport. There seems no pleasure to e-cigs. With nicotine patches you could forget you were wearing them and “accidentally” have a smoke to get a genuinely scary hit. Nicotine gum gives you something to do with your teeth other than bite your nails and going cold turkey makes you look dangerous, which can be useful in a crowd.

I never take being an “ex” for granted; but know that there is more chance of Cibo and Nido returning to Didsbury and becoming successful chains than there is of me buying flavoured vapours to inhale.

Anyway, whilst I’ve been off there have been many changes in Didsbury’s retail look that need attention.

1. Zizzi, gone? This faux Pizza Express and its signage have disappeared from the building that sits in a prime location on the corner of Wilmslow and Barlow Moor Road, but has floundered since it was the Old Grey Horse in the 80s/90s and shows no sign of gaining popularity. Would make a great 3-floor Bisou Bisou Bisou. Sneaking around Didsbury with a turquoise box full of French patisserie has become our naughty little habit. 

2. Didsbury’s first day spa has ground to a halt. On the site of the legendary (to the 40 and overs) Sweaty Betty’s Chippy, the insulation sits in the window like lost bales of hay and the window display has changed from advertising for staff to offering time shares. 

  
Didsbury’s next charity shop?

3. The Dog Grooming shop, In The Dog House on Barlow Moor Road is still open, defying the “How Long will it last” sweepstake kit in the South Manchester Reporter. Not sure if it’s the drop-off proximity to Albert’s Shed or the sudden influx of Pugs and Daschunds to Didsbury’s parks but well done – it’s cool as fox merchandise and breezy demeanour are superb and I’ll be in for a wet shave on Blade’s day off. 

4. The laser clinics are here, Cafe Rouge still stands like a ghost ship and we still haven’t got a Waitrose. There’s a great new clothes shop on School Lane and the Fish Masala at Sangam 2 is worth the view into the Karma Sutra. 
I had the perfect Didsbury conversation in Giddy Goat Toys a couple of weeks ago. I was having a natter with Mrs Goat when Jed the Windowcleaner, complete with Manchester City sweatshirt breezed in. Our three-way conversation moved seamlessly from childcare, the weather and Bisou Bisou, to children and the angst and stress caused by them being led astray in their choice of football team. Mid myopic drone all three of us turned to the patient and brave mother at the till buying her 4 children presents with a hearty “Eid Mubarak” before settling back to judgemental football chat. Anyone who takes more than one non-sleeping child into a toy shop deserves respect. 

  Rumour has it that Zizzi shut after failing to win planning permission for this extension.

Next week – the perils of poverty discussed through the prism of the Bloke selling Sticky Toffee Pudding in too pushy a manner outside The Cheese Hamlet last Saturday. 

Inman’s, The Doomesday Book and Regeneration

According to The Times, Didsbury is in Britain’s Top 25 suburbs. We are apparently more “real”, “less expensive” than the twin delights of Hale and Bowden (Red House Farm and the M56). They may have the footballers, but we have the real wives of Didsbury; they go to the match. 

When City first won the Premier League the street party featured reds, blues, inbetweeners and those that don’t care. Likewise, when the other teams from the region do well we are occasionally roused.

Didsbury regenerates. Cibo and Nido are now just fading memories, like a bad date where you came out of the toilet unzipped with tissue paper on your shoe. But other places leave a mark. 
It is lovely to see Broadbents taking on the mantle, but Wilkinsons will not be forgotten and now, the sad but inevitable news that Inmans on Lapwing Lane is going to close.
Josie, straight here from La Coruna, has welcomed four generations of families. My Didsbury Grandpa took me for Shoot comic when I was a toddler (the sweet shop, selling halfpenny chews is now Didsbury Noodle) and The Mighty Headed Boy/Princess Pearly Alliance have had their first Peppa Pig comics brought there. It is a rite of passage for Didsbury children.
Josie is now a grandmother and still the welcoming face of Inmans and after over 900 years in the same location it closes in April. Rumour has it that Bonnie Prince Charlie and his men, escaping back to Scotland, sneaked past Prince Rupert’s troops camped by the library and brought Werthers, a funny Birthday Card and something to read for the journey north at “Inemannes, a most favourable, but pricey stop”.
Rumours are rife of it becoming a Costa but the Whitbreadification of Lapwing Lane is unlikely.
The three inside tips bidding I have heard of are… A Cage Fighting and Mixed Martial Arts Centre, a Waitrose (pretty please) or a Petting Zoo. However this is Didsbury and my money is on a hairdresser or an Estate Agent. 
So my Didsbury Children will not be able to harangue me for novelty pens and expensive stationary here. Pete at Fusion will need a new paper supplier and I will have to find another trigger to remind when I need to buy cards for Jewish Festivals. Worst of all, I can’t swap baby pictures with Josie on the way to work.
I’ve only just got over Woolworths.  

 

inman’s first book display

   

 Pictures of the first uniforms worn by Inman’s staff are rare – but in this an early manageress celebrates the signing of the Magna Carta (copies were available at 1 groat).

A Quick Guide to surviving the Didsbury Festival

In addition to not eating for three days beforehand so you have room for all the lovely pakoras and samosas, there are some key things to remember so you survive, thrive and not end up making the mistakes which led me to disgrace (2006), hospital (2007), Nido (2013).

Didsbury Festival has all the essentials of a great festival. There is a procession, there are stages, a tremendously over-priced mini fair, a dog show and portable loos to send the healthiest bladder into retention.
Surly teenagers terrified their parents / siblings will speak to them and call them by their pet home name roam hoodily, perfect.

Camping: normally it’s the 16-18 year olds who are way too cool to come to Didsbury Park who camp it up. Be yourself and if you want to sleep – you can walk home.

Health & Safety: keep little kids on a tight rein, make them wear something bright and don’t be distracted by the puppies in the dog show. Should you need supplies Tesco, Copo or Aldi are on hand.

Drugs: it’s a festival, people let their hair down and what goes on in Didsbury, stays in The Reporter. I condone nothing, but if you get brain freeze from an ice cream, need sun cream or have a headache there is a Boots and Peak Pharmacy ( the weird independent one with no stock).

Security: this is no time to leave your pram unguarded. There have been thefts and “swaps”.

Music: usually surprisingly good. Do not miss the Zumba

Travel: Metrolink is promising that they may have a tram running this weekend- just the one mind you.

Manchester City: the year they brought the FA Cup was fantastic and there is a rumour (started by me) that they may bring The Premier League Trophy. United are rumoured to be bringing a picnic.

But most importantly, do not park in a residents’ car park, give credit to the bloke in the hat who is on the tannoy for all 6 hours and if you see sleeping twins please do not wake them.

…@craftwords, it’s just about getting the young ones through and then sneaking to the Fletcher Moss at the first opportunity.

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One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for an eerie walk past with the pram.

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Rhymes with Nell Lane

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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.

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

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There’s no place like home.

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