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 “mince pies”

The Twelve Days of Didsbury Dad Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 hours sleep,
11. Peppa Pig toys
10. Zantac calming
9. Mince Pies mincing
8. Pets a puking
7. Sky Sports Channels
6. Hours driving in a car with screaming toddlers and bored teen
5 nappies honking
4. French patisseries
3. Minutes’ peace and quiet
2. Twins a bouncing
And a life based in Didsbury…..

Your Didsbury Top 12 (almost) free to do tips:
1. Walk along the side of the metro line boring your children senseless with “all this used to be fields.” Chat.

2. Bring a picnic and take the Metro tour of Manchester to Bury Market where you remember you’ve left your wallet at home and have to come back.

3. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas/Chanucah/Solstice/(insert own) and take them to one of our great churches, synagogues, mosques, cult bases. There is usually singing, getting up and down and catering afterwards.

4. Fletcher Moss – brilliant. (Especially with an Alpine Cafe stop)

5. The little park next to Fletcher Moss, great for the under 5’s and handy for The Didsbury, Ye Olde Cocke and Dimitri’s.

6. Play hide and seek on the old Manchester Poly site – hours of endless fun.

7. Take the Saturday morning samples trail from The Cheese Hamlet down to West Didsbury and back up to Parrs Wood.

8. Didsbury Library has a fantastic children’s section, a toilet AND you aren’t meant to eat in there; genius.

9. Gym offers. Lavid Ddoyd are currently offering 12 days for 12 pounds so long as you understand it’s also £12 for a coffee and £12 for a kid’s snack as well.

10. Visit friends and relatives. It is important to rotate.

11. Didsbury, Cavendish, Fog Lane – play, remember which one has swings, which one has a BMX track and ducks and which one has a bespoke Chocolatier next door.

12. Play the old Didsbury Gsme. “Uh Oh, Where’s Nido? What was Cibo?”

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The Snowman, slowly replacing Frozen as the thrice a day treat.

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Mighty head, busy hands

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Love, Hate and The Festive Season

The Festive Season is nearly upon us. Nearly as in the nauseating adverts have been launched and there is a slight sense of panic surrounding everyone I know. I don’t even have to worry about accessorising my little black dress; but from the taint of the wrong toy to a misunderstanding about the origins, ethos and expectations it can be stressful. There are certain aspects of Daddom that make even the most benign aspects of the season something to dread.
Here are my top ten…

1. Jools Holland’s Hootenanny: In my murky media lifetime I spent many New Years’ Eves throwing the party. There are late September, early October teens and early twenty somethings whose existence is down to these parties. They leave a legacy of slightly crumpled thirty plus ten somethings. However eclectic and enthralling the musicians are – watching a bunch of Z listers pretend it’s New Years’ Eve just doesn’t cut it.

2. The 5am pain of Christmas Day: Didsbury Son was a beautiful bouncing Blondini bed banger at 5am on 25th December. Finally, the Christmas before the twins were born he ambled in at 8 ish and then made a cup of tea. We lolled and had the most laid back and groovy day. I now have another decade of door slamming and early early footsteps to manage. My head, back and knees have lodged a formal complaint.

3. Mince Pies: these sweet and juicy, sticky, crumbly heralds of baby Jesus and a Christmas Market. These hand-sized waist tormentors and palate coverers. I love you, but in the cause of waistline not wasteland I must ignore you and treat you like someone who not only thrived on Movember, but decided to keep it because it “suits me”.

4. False Bonhomie: Hey, how are you. We’ve had no contact but you’re Jewish, I’m an Atheist let’s have a Christmas drink? The human equivalent of a casual Facebook like.

5. The 7am Xmas Eve queue at Evans and Axons. It looks as though civil war has broken out, middle-aged, middle class men from across the southern suburbs have been forced to get from their beds to queue for supplies and hand over wads of cash for a Copper Bronze Turkey. It’s when men know their place and the taste can be worth it.

6. 28th December – knockdown.
You spend £15.99 on some plastic tat. You cut two fingers on the unwrapping, spend £8 for a battery that lasts 6 minutes at the only shop open Christmas Day afternoon and three days later – having stubbed your toe tripping over its unused, unloved cadaver on the stairs, it’s 2.99 in Tesco.
This venting is working, I already feel more festive.

7. The Queen’s Speech
I am sure she’s a lovely woman. Bringing up four kids in the spotlight must be difficult, although Victoria and David are doing okay so far. BUT. If I want to hear old people talk about their lives, whilst talking on behalf of the nation I can listen to a phone in on BBC Local Radio.

8. The Stove Room.
Lovely shop. Great to have it in West Didsbury. The cost of a bag of wood. It’s enough to make you go Aga.

9. Wine at £6.50 a glass
My time on the other side of the bar learning the rudiments of wet sales and profit margins on them has ruined me as a date. Didsbury Wife has to put up with a cost breakdown to ruin each round. Only out hated by paying for sparkling water. No need, no point.

10. Christmas Specials
I love watching TV. Couch slouching whilst watching aimlessly with Didsbury Son, hands on snacks is one of life’s pleasures. But (with the exception of Porridge, Dad’s Army and On The Buses) I am struggling to find a Christmas Special less sour than a lime. It’s the screen equivalent of bonhomie.

With that out of the way there is much to enjoy – The Snowman is slowly edging out Frozen, Atuls is always open and time off work means a quick stroll to Bisou Bisou and The AiryFairyCupCake Boutique. There’s the Xmas Light Switch on (and talk of it being plural this year), there are Blagg’s Christmas Trees and the chance of a day without email. Yet more, even more than this is wide berth people offer a family with more than one toddler. I’m looking forward to it already.

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The queues for Axons and Evans Warm up.

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The Mighty Headed Boy awaits a Mince Pie

Don’t Drink and Drive a Sleigh

I refer to last year’s Christmas Eve for a comment on Didsbury.

Anyway. I think Didsbury Wife and I may have blown Santa’s cover in a drink related incident that proves to me that a big tummy and a red coat do not a Santa make and… Don’t Drive a Sleigh and drink.

Our living room has two stunned cats, shards of crockery and will require another, yet another trip to John Lewis to replace the broken pieces of what once held homemade mince pies, organic Didsbury Village Farm Shop Carrots and some lovely Tesco Napoleon Brandy.

Tesco Nepoleon Brandy, on a par with Aldi’s Norpak Butter and about as close to Napoleon as Elba is to Paris.

I digress. It’s the Mince Pies’ fault. Didsbury Son and I started the afternoon happily making them before Christingle and I decided to spice up the mincemeat with various fruits and Brandy, which needed sampling. This led to Vodka and Didsbury Son enjoying gags a father shouldn’t tell a 10 year old .

The neighbours came round. Then we went around the neighbours. There was Cava, mini Kievs, Prosecco and then the Santa incident.

Once I had stopped laughing as we moved through the house with the stealth of Laurel & Hardy moving a piano; I thought that I can’t wait for Didsbury Son to be old enough to tell him about this – it’s a dad thing.

Christmas Preparations 1: Keeping the faith

A picture of restaurant fish and chips with no bearing on the content of the blog

Watching Didsbury Son grow up makes Christmas different every year. His sudden sense of self and what is cool, a.k.a “sick”, a.k.a. “bum”, a.k.a. “top” (c.1985) means we are on the cusp of a change.

The major part of him wants to indulge the love of reindeer, snow, endless sugar and plastic toys.  This general month-long spoiling is the  magic of Christmas. Being little at this time of year is a great gig, who wouldn’t want to keep it going for as long as is possible?

But a growing part of him wants to be adult, to be surrounded by screens, hang his jeans below his waist and to begin the process of disbelief.

We have been here before. In 2009 Didsbury Son announced that he knew the Tooth Fairy did not exist and it was me (usually a day late and scraping change), or more efficiently Didsbury Wife (on time and with shiny coins). Breath was taken in sharply and with all seriousness we told him the truth.

The tooth fairy is very touchy, always getting hassle from the elves and the Easter Bunny, like all bullying it makes her insecure. If you say out loud she doesn’t exist… She stops coming until you apologise and admit she does. This direct approach works. We had previous experience when he announced, aged 6, that he thought he might support the red team. His suitcase came down from the wardrobe and we sadly explained that he would have to go and live elsewhere; but Santa is a whole different story.

Being Jewish has been useful in this conundrum. I am neutral in the battle of logic over love. I am also a staunch believer in magic and was brought up to believe that fairies, elves and goblins live happily among us and love Chicken Soup and kosher meat.

So this year the question of whether Santa exists has not been asked. The letter was dutifully written and contained a good balance of the unlikely, the un-buyable and the un-missable. We have an unmentioned truce. Although there have been knowing looks and nods, it’s all quiet on the existence front.

The elves stay hiden making Christmas Presents for good boys and girls

Our pastry for mince pies is in the fridge ready to roll and we have discussed what Santa likes to drink. Questions about why Santa left a receipt for Decathlon lying around last year have been swept under the carpet until Didsbury Son develops a greater handle on rationalism or I give up on trying to interest him in football.

Christmas Eve Part 2

Christmas Eve –
From 4pm the streets are lined with parents holding children, cards and Christingle oranges.
From 5pm the last of the male shoppers troop beaten out of the off-licence or clutch their soon to be ignored last minute gifts.
At 6pm it is quiet, but
By 7pm the younger teenagers in short sleeves and bravado are tripping from mates’ houses to unsuccessful attempts at getting served. This sharpens the barstaff for the influx of the lads and the laydeez from 8pm onwards.
9pm and the chains by the clocktower are full of testosterone, Top Man and Gio Goi. There is flirting and smoking going on in equal measure outside each one. The smaller pubs are full of the drinkers, divorcees, the unenthusiastic and those resolving to blank out whatever the true meaning is to them.
11pm Midnight Mass at St. James’ and hope is resurrected to a motley crew of the faithful, the once a year and the searching…
I am at hope frantically trying to tidy the house and slip gifts over which I have agonised under a tipsy and tiny tree that has failed to meet any expectations.

Like all good Didsbury Dads I have several concerns. Is medium the new 12? Is a 10 going to be perceived as inviting or inhibiting? Why doesn’t John Lewis sell Jo Malone? If I got a job at John Lewis next year then the money I save on staff discount throughout the year would be better than wages. When will John Lewis take over the Pizza Hut vacated space in the village to stop that terminal trip up the A34 that always means you miss the 4pm Sunday kick off?

Didsbury son is easy. If it has a half eaten fruit on the side, is a DVD or something to cuddle it wins.

The cats eye me suspiciously as I bite through two carrots, the mince pie and shlurp the milk they had planned for the second I left the room. Didsbury fatcat brings in one last baby rat dislodged from the Metro building work as an offering (or a swap for the turkey I danced around the room with earlier). Skinny cat eyes me warily and gets back to her 18 hours a day winter sleeping regime. When FC and Rudolf come down they may be disappointed that the food has gone and the cats aren’t really bothered.

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