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 “Match Of The Day”

A Brief History of Time (With Snacks)

Is it autumn already. Everyone went back to school and brought home brand new infections. Last week we had summer, winter and storms so vicious Facebook asked me to confirm I was safe. Safe? This is The North. I sent the children out to chase the lightning and see if there were reductions on any rain-damaged produce around the city. Staff at Fletcher Moss dress up for “Bring Your Kids to Work” day. 

The nights have drawn in. I don’t know what “drawn in” means. Certainly not coloured in. The boddlers are back to waking up in the dark. Didsbury Son’s teenage retreat to his room now has the cover of darkness and Didsbury Wife is eyeing up the central heating and (breathes out) Match of the Day is back. 

Didsbury continues to evolve quickly and sometimes surprisingly. Those old enough to remember 2014 (we were part of Europe, Scotland was part of the UK and BBC owned Great British Bake-Off) will recall the shock as Co-Op rebranded, toyed with the idea of being called Copo and even had tables outside for a couple of weeks. These primarily provided easy dog lead tying and Big Issue displaying opportunities. 

Now Greggs are following suit. On Saturday 8 October it bursts out from the shadow of 3 Little Pigs and Toni & Guy as a new “Artisan” Greggs. With Bisou Bisou’s bespoke Gallic beauty and Casa Italia’s specialist nosh this could be a disaster waiting to happen (Or a “Nido” as we call it). Is the Gregg’s Sausage Roll about to become a herb-infused Wild Boar Empanadas? Are the staff getting polo necks? Time will tell. 

Picture courtesy of @craftwords

There’s more. The MMU site has developed from desolate to building site via a short stint as a Caravan Park. This is going to bring an awful lot of middle-class professionals and relocating aspirational suburbanites to Didsbury. How will they ever fit in? 
Elders foretell of the great Manchester Storm of 2016.

The roads into the centre of the village become ever more blocked. Nero and Costa’s Red and Blue bookending of the village now makes them seem like old, established family businesses. 

The beard epidemic which spread (it’s an apparently chin-borne virus) has now infected the majority of Didsbury’s under 30 males. This is how they look to me. 

but I still think a mullet looks good. 

But this is M20. Autumn is arguably our most beautiful time of year. Fletcher Moss and the leafy streets lend themselves to the change in light. The shops may change, the make of car parked across your road at school time may change but… there will always be Axons, Evans and The Cheese Hamlet and someone smoking a ciggie outside The Nelson. 

What Happens on Valentine’s Day Stays On…

A couple of nights ago, at some point between Anne Hathaway and Julia Roberts, I think my Y chromosome pulled a muscle or at least had a night off.

It was Saturday night, Match of the Day had been offered to me on a plate and what did I do?
Suggested we watched a film and agreed to “Valentine’s Day”. (It’s not the shock of this that has had me blog free for a week or so, that has been caused by work interfering with my daydreaming and mooching).

Saturday night. The twins were asleep. Didsbury Son was at a friend’s house. The actual Valentine’s Night itself ended up with a non-romantic family night in for 2 adults, one sleepless Didsbury Son and 2 crying babies. It was as though the spirit of Casanova had enveloped me and then taken a nap. So – I looked knowingly at Didsbury Wife. She looked at me with the longing only a mother of young twins can create. I nodded. She nodded. I motioned to the stairs. She nodded. “Fancy an early night?” I breathed. “Oh yes” she mouthed. “You go up, I’ll shut the cats in, check the twins and try not to disturb you. If I set the alarm we can get an hour’s kip. ” Bliss, an hour’s sleep before night feed on a weekend. This is the twin parent equivalent of “What Happens in Vegas”.

We sauntered down, not being cranky and Didsbury Wife gave me the option of man’s greatest gift on a Saturday night in, Match of the Day; and I gave up the men without a backwards glance, sorry.

The film “Valentine’ Day” is a syrupy American version of Love Actually; made watchable by
A) not including Martine McCutcheon
B) not including Martine McCutcheon
C) the first scene with Jennifer Garner.

It is a perfectly acceptable film to watch with a partner if you are still trying to establish that you can talk, listen and share a RomCom without an ulterior motive but we are way past that and I was rumbled years ago.

Then it happened, minutes from the end of the film. By this The Mighty-Headed twin boy had cried himself down stairs and into a position that was slowly dislocating my elbow. Whether it was that, sleep deprivation, or fear that I had set a precedent I found myself filling up and unable to make slightly annoying comments.

Julia Roberts (who has given up acting to be a soldier if this is a documentary) used her 48 hour pass for 14 hour flight to spend one night with her son, who Shirley MacLaine has been looking after whilst she was away. Shirley looks well and don’t worry, she made up with her husband earlier (Julia’s dad). When you realise the swarve millionaire on the plane next to her isn’t trying to hit on her (He is great. Not only does he give Julia his limo so she can get home, he is the reason that star Footballer – American not real can come out and live a life true to himself), it all makes sense.
So when Julia leans over to kiss her son, baby boy posited over my shirt and I welled up.

Years ago this open show of emotion could clinch a date. This time Didsbury Wife leaned over, passed me a wipe and got back to Ashton Kutcher.


The romantic meal I had planned for Valentine’s Night wasn’t as well-received as I had hoped

Men’s Hour – Marking territory, staking a claim and avoiding textspeak

Men – It’s not easy being a modern city man. Finding a clearly defined role that maintains your innate hunter instincts whilst being sensitive to the nuances of your family’s needs and modern expectations demands creativity. There is a tipping point somewhere between the joy of baking with Didsbury Son and agreeing to watch Jennifer Aniston instead of Match of the Day. I tipped many years ago and am now having to redefine masculinity whilst making sure the nappies go on a boil wash but I’m not mixing colours.

A baby gives her reaction to the notion of gender stereotyping in changing and feeding

A baby gives her reaction to the notion of gender stereotyping in changing and feeding

 But men,  understand this. There are dozens of free channels to be watched, hours of tweets to be shared and LOL’d and the cats must be fed – it’s duty. * NB: if you use the term LOL (are you listening David Cameron?) over the age of 20 it is as unacceptable as leather trousers and as inappropriate as a middle-aged ponytail. 
There has been much debate about the evolving role of men. When Didsbury Wife was Didsbury Girlfriend I flooded her kitchen whilst attempting to fix a tap. This was a time so long ago there were barely gambling apps. I realised my role and her expectations had changed. As I wrung out, well everything, she reminded me of an old adage
“Either marry  someone who can fix a shelf or can pay someone else to fix a shelf for you.” Then it hit me, a Eureka moment; I finally understood what Tony Blair had meant when he talked about a third way. 
I couldn’t fix a shelf – it’s culturally genetic. When Moses gave the 10 commandments to the Jewish people he never told them how to fix them to a wall, he just told them what to eat whilst they were discussing the contents. Paying for it is the intermittent joy of the media freelance something or other so there had to be a third way; I wrote her a story about a set of shelves and a new tap and Didsbury Wife fixed everything herself.
There are other roles around childcare that never concerned my  own Didsbury Dad. He worked hard, my own Didsbury Mum did 99% of the childcare and he would do science homework and be patient whilst we jumped all over him and jabbered away inanely, punctuated by his nodding.
I am a modern dad. One night each week I do the night shift; emerging triumphantly like the Lion King to theatrically deliver my huge headed baby boy and delicate baby girl for their 6.45 feed. As I stalk the savannah back to the nursery, mane shaking and all but roaring my new masculinity before bagging a freshly changed nappy, I know I am king of all I survey (less than you would imagine without glasses). I am assured of my masculinity, male-modernness and massive contribution to the next generation.
A baby boy, keen to retain his anonymity camoflauges his ead with a strawberry lace in sympathy with the loss of freedom to watch endless football highlights.

A baby boy, keen to retain his anonymity camoflages his head with a strawberry lace in sympathy with the loss of freedom to watch endless football highlights.

There is only the tiniest voice in my head reminding me that the other 6 nights a week and 18 hours of most days Didsbury Wife sees to the happiness of the babies, coos and cleans them and more importantly… Teaches Didsbury Son DIY skills so I can write stories and make tea whilst they work. 

Nobvember 2011 and Didsbury Village Farm Shop opened with high hopes, high prices and excellent high fat content pies. Farewell, January 2012

November 2011 and Didsbury Village Farm Shop opened with high hopes, high prices and excellent high fat content pies. Farewell, January 2013

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