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 “Nero”

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. 

Commemorating 200 years since the USA declared war on us

11.30am Didsbury Village. With proofing to prove, edits to edit and organidling to organise I escaped to Caffe Nero. The shrill of competitive parenting was overwhelming. Assorted too young or too sniffly for school juniors piped hopefully, but the sound of bragging about offspring and moaning about partners was reaching a crescendo. It clashed hideously with Boden’s summer rainwear collection in such a disorienting manner that then men who stare at goats were taking notes.

I escaped to the relative tranquility and surly Balkan service of Didsbury Deli; a turquoise balance to the United and City of Costa and Nero.

I like it here. Young men talk business and older people discuss the time when Sivoris, Hurst’s Chemists, GT Blagg and Applethwaites dominated the village. It’s too narrow for a buggy, too reverby for shrilled instructions to carry without distortion and they serve Illy.

Today Didsbury Son went on a hospital visit with school dressed patriotically in red, white and blue. This unlikely combination, like Gourmet Burger King and a queue is likely to unsettle people or recreate hallucinations. If your first sight on regaining consciousness was 30 Pre-teens in union jack outfits you may feel you had come round too late to enjoy the pleasure of a coffee in Didsbury Village.

With SATS over and time to fill before the big holiday every schoolday has a theme, visit or rehearsal. I got so confused last week I began scanning the papers for National Days that could be celebrated .

June 1st celebrates St. Candida and is 200 years to the day since US President James Madison declared war on The United Kingdom. My suggestion that Didsbury Son goes dressed as a redcoat and then, taking a atoon of Year 4s, stands guard outside Subway distributing leaflets about Candida fell on dead ears.

Aah well. Back to my coffee and blank piece of paper and onwards to Friday. It’s half-term and Didsbury Son can dress as he likes, watch TV drinking Fanta and spend 15 minutes describing the plot of The Cleveland Show to me as I scan the Internet for new football kits over which I can obsess.

The picture below is nothing to do with the blog.

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The Flashing Blade and Olive Shapley

Didsbury is lively at the moment. Across East and West – from School Lane to Burton Road; Parrswood, Wilmslow and Barlow Moor Roads to Lapwing and Fog Lanes there seems to be an independent spirit rising.

It could be the Metro, MediaCityUK or the double dip recession but there is somewhere interesting to look at and something new to try on and taste each week.

The banks and Estate Agents are retreating as their markets shrink. We have so many charities represented in the village that it resembles the London Marathon at times and Didsbury is now regenerating again; it’s Tardis holding treats for every taste.

I am old skool and love the river and Fletcher Moss. We now have Dimitri’s on hand and The OldCock is back from its fishy failure.

But the less showy roads are making a big leap for attention and the Metro does seem to be at its heart. The building work has done more than take away the best mooching route in South Manchester and dislodge some rats’ nests.

School Lane is now a cultural delight. The superb Blade at the Kingsway end deals out sublime and polite £6 wet shaves and haircuts to a backdrop of genuine Didsbury Diversity. It is a haven.

At the village end the old Reporter offices are now a swanky cake shop opposite a private gym and proper chippy. To get between them there is a musical, fancy dress and boutique heaven journey taking in Peking House’s best Hot and Sour Soup in Manchester (their number is on speed dial).

Old faithful the scout hut hosts generations of confused Beavers, eager Cubs and spotty scouts and Olive Shapley Court; soon to have a ticket office in it’s lobby.

This leads us past the Milton, Milson, Millets – the Wetherspoons to Jem & I – never understood the name and the optician that used to be Namaste Village, which backs on to the Warburton Street Notting Hillesque gateway to the village.

As Didsbury Son and I pound these not mean streets we notice a little West Didsbury bohemia creeping thankfully Eastwards to mingle with our corporate Nero,Costa and M&S consistency.

Oh and The Peking House is 445 01…

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