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 “Mud Crab Cafe”

Home is not just a cinema or the church cafe

.¬†When Felicini’s became the Mudflap cafe I nearly cried. It’s glossy black sign and euphemistic name was a part of my history and stood proudly in the same giggling pointlessness of changing The Cheese Hamlet to Helmet. Now, with the stripped back wood still settling in to Gregg’s and an eviscerated Inman’s being re-imagined as Thai favourite The Chilli Banana I am almost out of my depth.
felicinsmud-crabfutureistic-pic evolution
At least it’s only 8 months until Didsbury Festival returns in its usual format – unchanged since Bonnie Prince Charlie led the procession, which featured the 88th Scouts.
This is Didsbury. A wheel turning and creating new identities – including cash converting, laser surgery, fifteen diet clubs and an ever growing coterie of Pet Grooming services. Only 86% of trading premises in Didsbury serve coffee, 71% cut hair (human or canine). Didsbury Library is a portal to 1973. I go there when I only have tuppence ha’penny and need a cup of tea (coffee not being invented until The Premier League started in 1992).
The other big news is that Didsbury Dad Towers is no longer in Didsbury. We are now a castle, a Didsbury Diaspora outpost.
In a year that has seen us cough up more in Stamp Duty than the national debt we have moved twice. First out of the village to near the river and now, out of town.
We have moved so far away that we are the cultural diversity. It’s a city, it’s semi-rural and it’s not Didsbury.
So I am part-time Didsbury Dad. I am still working in my capacity as Meeja Luvvie doing something non-specific in MediaCity – but only weekdays.
It is strange. All Didsbury Son has known is Didsbury. My life with Didsbury Wife has been played out to the backdrop of Piccolino and Barlowmoor Road. The Mighty Headed Boy and the Pearly Princess are Harriet & Dee. But. We have begun to sever the link for a period of time.
It’s only been a few weeks and it’s still a bit like being on holiday. It does make you realise how easy it can be living somewhere that is the edge of the metropolis, has travel options to envy and it’s all in walking distance.
It’s early days yet. I have had to develop a whole new rhythm to each day. I am a little lost without my morning fix of Pete, Tom and Claire at Fusion Deli after a cheery wave from Darren at Delia’s Florist. There is no Piccolino, Bisous Bisous, St. James & Emmanuel and I don’t know everyone.
This has great advantages. When I get my Fusion fix the coffee tastes great and I have stories to share. I now know just how good New Peking House is and sometimes the anonymity is liberating.
I think I will always be a Didsbury Dad wherever we live. My Gamma Male, liberal approach to life on the Focaccia line is settled. We may be away for a short time or for good, not decided yet. But Didsbury Wife, Son and I are M20 raised and made and know the difference between a good idea and some of the money pit no chances that we’ve seen trying to cash in on the perceived wealth in Didsbury.
The boddlers are still confused. On Saturday, as we perused the rolling hills and unfamiliar accents that surround us, they clamoured for the sweet shop on Dene Road. As we walked through the Metrolinkless roads they wondered where all the Magic Buses were.
Starting from scratch after a life in the subsidised suburban bliss of M20 is exciting. But I think we’ll be coming regularly. It’s not just home, a river runs through it.
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Plain speaking wins the day

Frank Sinatra “I did it my way”
Stevie Wonder “I just called to say I love you”

Rumours of Wonder looking to open a shop in Didsbury have been dismissed. Picture www.biography.com)

Rumours of Wonder looking to open a shop in Didsbury have been dismissed. Picture http://www.biography.com)

Ronseal 5 year varnish “It does what it says on the tin”
All clear, successful and obvious. There is a lesson to be learned here. Many lives ago, pre Didsbury Dad, I promoted live bands. I shied away from trumpeting them as a cross between The Doors and Elvis invade people thought it was a band with food and intimacy issues that should not be left alone in the bath.
Does this crystal clear lesson get through to the not so mean streets of M20? Is this plain speaking Muswell Hill with less Moolah and Alderley with edge paying attention? No.
The Didsbury Village Farm Shop (RIP – the thought of your club sandwich fills me with… Well filled me with bread and meat) is a perfect example. It’s butchers may have been inspired by Smithfields, it’s sandwiches influenced by The Mighty Gregg’s and its cheese based on a book about cheese in the 80s but it was neither Axons (a butchers), The Cheese Hamlet (God’s Cheese Shop) or Fresh Save (a green grocers) . Now it is empty. The sign on the weighing machine saying “We will serve you shortly” a cruel reminder that this shop has been empty, or worse, was once the least well-run Carphone Warehouse ever.

Cafe Rouge is French (in a Whitbread way), Costa do coffee and Jo Padmore is an optician. She is not a lens-influenced, near nasal dresser who does shoe repairs if you are not keen on glasses. She also has a lovely window display. Effective and very obvious what it is there to sell.
So we come to Cibo. I really hope it works, that it is a great restaurant that is a huge success and brings people flocking to Didsbury. Well done to the Cioboans for taking the plunge. This space was previously a La Tasca which held a special place in the hearts of many of us. Before that it was Burns, a suburban fish restaurant way before there was a market for one outside of coastal resorts.
Cibo, in language that smacks of Mud Crab Cafe’s New York Australian food bakery coffee shop and hairdressers is going to be Venetian-influenced. This does not actually mean anything. As I pushed the double buggy past this morning my heart sank like an old Gondola.

Griffins, an Italian staple, are hard to farm.

Griffins, an Italian staple, are hard to farm.

Venetian -influenced? I am lucky enough to have spent time in Venice. The Mozarella Rice balls and espressos you get at the street stalls are delicious (they sell them at Piccolino’s on Lapwing Lane), but are they influential? Does Venetian influenced mean that the Ciboans are going to recreate St. Mark’s Square in the School Lame Car Park, pay homage to Paolo Lucio Anafesto, first Doge of the Venetian Republic or charge 10 euros for a coffee to the English? I once went to see Venezia play my team at football and our fans had coins and bricks thrown at us most of the game. If they are going to take their influence from Venezia’s Ultras then I think I won’t be the only one darting past anxiously straight to No. 4 on Warburton Street.
Venice, like Manchester has a canal, an airport and a strong sense of identity.
Cibo is an Italian noun meaning grub. Let us hope it is as vibrant as St. Marks, as beautiful as Florence, as tasty as the street food in Sicily and the staff don’t throw sharp objects at you if you are not local.

Paolo Luci Anafesto, tipped to be the maitre d' of Didsbury's new Venetian-infuenced restaurant.

Paolo Luci Anafesto, tipped to be the maitre d’ of Didsbury’s new Venetian-infuenced restaurant.

Lest We Forget – Those who came and those who left us in Didsbury 2012

Inevitably, indulgently, insignificantly, in anticipation the end of the year always adds a little maudlin touch to thoughts and you remember those who have departed before the year ends. This has been a big year for Didsbury. The hulk that was Pizza Hut transformed slowly. There were rumours of Waitrose, fears of another coffee chain and a bid for the village’s 500th hairdressers. We got Holland and Barratt.
A sweet shop has opened in Foster’s chippy, Gourmet Burger King proudly welcomed over 50 diners this year and Domino’s showed that to be successful the obvious can sometimes outweigh the clever and the village rolled on, not too posh to pizza.

Remember the Lillies - they cried when Felcini's closed

Remember the Lillies – they cried when Felcini’s closed

The Croatian Deli – green and central has expanded into a quasi resturant with London style and pricing and lovely staff and they stand like an island between the red Costa and the Blue Nero. The Art of Tea offers free wi-fi and the best toast in the village BUT… you can’t get a double buggy in there and I have had to find a new office. Didsbury Son left Didsbury Schooling which lowered my threshold for the baying, 4 x 4, badly parking, agressive and competitive mothers who think that schooling their progeny gives them a free pass in life and finally Didsbury Life gets quicker to read, less relevant and more like an Argos catalogue each month.

Bless The Reporter, The Airy Fairy Cake Company, Dids

More than just a snappy logo, The Didsbury Village Farm Shop knows the value of a good sausage roll

More than just a snappy logo, The Didsbury Village Farm Shop knows the value of a good sausage roll

bury Village Farm Shop and the cornerstones of civilisation – The Cheese Hamlet, Evans and our Co-Op. A Co-Op shadowed by M&S, Tesco and bespoke foodshops but still holding its own with queues reminiscent of a Greggs near an office block. Bless also our great parks, Fletcher Moss, The Didsbury and most of the staff in the Post Office.

2012 has been the year when School Lane has bred hairdressers and barbers. West Didsbury has opened niche and quirky shops and bars with one word titles and uncomfy seating to go with the innovative produce and no-one, not even at home, asked me to turn on the Christmas Lights. It has been a good year. Didsbury Festival, Didsbury Arts Festival and WestFest hit the spot and every shop in Lapwing Lane got chairs to welcome Metrolink commuters.

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But into every sunshine a little rain may fall. In 2012 we said goodbye to ome much loved Didsbury residents.

1. Linen – farewell to the Pixie like talents that dressed our children with aspiration and gave a credible last minute present not from a Newsagents

2. Rumpus is Dead. Long Live The Giddy Goat. It has been all change on Albert Hill Street but The Giddy Goat has gladdened our hearts and sadly brought Lego Star Wars to the centre of the village. One day it may replace Razma Reads.

3. La Tasca – the Spanish debt crisis reached Didsbury and the home of so many celebrations is now a Marie Celsteesque shell on the edge of the village.

and finally, with apologies to those not mentioned, farewell Felicini’s – much loved, much attended and much missed. If I want muddy crabs and battleship grey I will go to the seaside. I have tried to love the new Felicini’s Australian Inspired, New York Themed Didsbury based fusion but sadly not. Arrivederci old friend.

This used to be Felcini's

This used to be Felcini’s

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