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 “Movember”

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

Stoptober, The War on Drugs and Groupon

Stoptober; lovely idea. 260000 people still daring and rich enough to smoke have signed up. Good on them. Of all the habits I have started and stopped it was by far the most difficult to end (seconded closely by visits to the Kool Runnings Caribbean Food Van on Upper Chorlton Road). However, something in me feels we should be allowed the freedom to choose. The ALS Ice-bucket challenge, another wonderful money raising, cause-highlighting affair that also made me feel uncomfortable. (The peanuts have been removed from Revels, ruining my favourite joke about Revels being Russian Roulette for but allergists, one gag probably not worth the risk but it’s put me off Revels). It’s not the cold water in the ice-bucket challenge – just the feeling of generic naffness, the idea of being told what to do makes me feel like posting a cynical retort – which I know is probably wrong.
Stoptober has me thinking of 10 Silk Cut for £1, Movember has me up early to shave and I now get so many Just Giving requests that they proliferate my inbox like Groupon and their worthiness undoes my innate Northern outsiderness.
A friend once set-up a Justgiving page to announce that they were doing nothing. I donated immediately. I like my causes and donate, I am a FOLLA (a Friend of Lapwing Lane Arcade), I can be coerced during the later, more receptive stages of most telethons and of course am now an easy touch for anything with children, but…
It must be a generational thing. I am old enough to have met all my friends. I overshare sometimes on Social Media. This week is National Champagne Week ( c’mon Primary Schools – that’s a theme day parents would buy into), it’s National Hug Day and Tuesday marks 32 years since Ronald Reagan declared the first U.S. War on Drugs – how did that work out?

We have Silly Hat Day at home and that can lead to controversy if the twins go for the same beanie cap. I think as profile raising, marketing exercises these nannying call to arms are wonderful. As ways to coerce people into contributing to things in which they may not believe – even better; they remind me of Halloween. I am all Parkin and Bonfire night

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A double rainbow. Donate now for a third

Movember and the Golden Fleece(ing)

It’s been a month since my last post, Mea Culpas all around. Unless that involves buying a Mea culpa souvenir cup, wristband, t-shirt, fancy dress outfit or themed Mea culpa sweets with special gooey filling.

Please donate to keep these people off the TV

October/November is now weeks of a thousand tiny cuts to my Didsbury Dad wallet and of a stocking up on pre-Christmas tat for a delighted snd sugar overloaded Didsbury Son.

We have celebrated the rise of evil American influenced Halloween spirits against my better liberal morals. The  outfit, bucket of sweets etc. and my payback was to make up ghost stories for a roomful of 20 neighbours without being convincing enough to be ostracised or need a CRB check.

Hot off the back of Halloween we went to the Toc H rugby club firework display. I have always been slightly nervous of Rugby clubs since school. Too much forced bonhomie and unacknowledged homoeroticism. No worries or head dunking down a toilet on the night. The fireworks were good, the bratwurst was excellent and like all good 10 year olds Didsbury Son ran around aimlessly in a gang whose parameters stretched from the mean streets of Parkfield Road to the badlands off Victoria Avenue.
Via various charity boxes around school and Eid contributions we have Movember. Grow a moustache for men’s health. I’m partial to facial hair when allowed and have been through the goattee and the Adidas stripe phase. I didn’t get to start until the 11th and anything that researches an easing of prostate examination seems more appealing once you tip the scales past 38. BUT, even this requires a contribution. I barely have enough left to gorge myself on tidbits at our new Didsbury Village Farm Shop (more to follow in a couple of days).

Who doesn't look good with a 'tache?

Finally and with the full backing of the country, the piece de resistance, Children in Need. I love the idea and am happy to contribute to endless “Name the Olive Oil”, guess which side of the mountain the Focaccia flour was harvested from and a myriad of Didsbury inspired fundraising challenges but I hate the TV programme-a-thon.

I went to bed in disgrace with Didsbury Wife and Son for being bah humbug a month early. It’s not the crying celebs or the wonderful small charities; they are worthy and inspiring. It’s the newsreaders, actors and general BBC staff moonlighting as karaoke bores that makes it unwatchable. Elbow and Coldplay on Thursday night at the MEN, fantastic. Gok Wan doing Chicago, Eastenders committing regicide beyond awful. Want to double the takings? Get these abysmal show ponies back in their comfort zone and out of sight.

Too much sugar on halloween gets to Didsbury Son

Hey, only 5 weeks to Christmas.

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