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 “Notting Hill”

The Co-Op, Spandau Ballet, Francis Lee and the M6

Co-Op, WaitroseThis much I have learned:

As I have journeyed so far past 39 that I can now see it in the wing mirror without glasses or squinting I have noticed some startling developments

1. My twin lovelies are suddenly somewhere between babies and toddlers. They are tabies or boddlers. They sway in a 10pm Friday night way; they fall, cry, get up. They get knocked down, but they get up again. You get the picture.

In the middle of the night your eyes can play visual tricks. Last night my beautiful pearl-headed girl went full throttle around 1am. Via a quick fumble with Ewan the Sheep, I began rocking and sushing in the dark. I looked down at her, snuggled in a bright pink sleeping bag made grey in the dark. All I could clearly make out was a fringe and a high-necked short bib. In my stupor I thought she looked like a mini New Romantic. Specifically, Steve Norman at the height of Spandau Ballet’s fame. This was pure gold. To cut a long story short, whilst she cranked up Chant Number 1, I moved seamlessly from 64 Zoo Lane Through the Barricades. Eventually she calmed and as I put her back in the cot I thought “I’d Fly For You”.

In the middle of the night she tranforms into...

In the middle of the night she tranforms into…


I also felt slightly guilty. My mighty headed boy has a smile so infectious it could cheer up a Goth. Yet I am convinced he is the spit of 70s Manchester City icon Franny Lee. This after his Uncle Sol and Phil Mitchell phases. Note to self, they will take revenge.

...the one on the left, Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet. (pic www.allposters.co.uk). The likeness is uncanny

…the one on the left, Steve Norman from Spandau Ballet. (pic http://www.allposters.co.uk). The likeness is uncanny

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The Co-Op refit.is fairly spectacular (www.all-truelondon.com)

2. I have been lucky enough over the years to have presented on radio and to have organised major live and broadcast events. Back timing to the second, doddle. Bringing a crew of 100 and an audience of 1000s to the same point of a show – easy. Getting 13 month old twins, pre- teen Didsbury Son and sleep-starved Didsbury Wife in a car to go to London for 9am, impossible. The Everly Brothers on tour had less friction, the group tasks in The Apprentice have a stronger shared vision and the Formula 1 teams travel more lightly when shipping cars across continents.
By the time we stopped for our first nappy and coffee stop, ( My theory is that pricing at Service Stations is decided by spinning a wheel which begins at “Selfridges” and goes through to “Organic Grocer in Notting Hill”) the list of items we had forgotten really needed their own car. If you ever want to feel humble, buy nappies and wipes on the M6. I will never again complain about the cost of Premier League football.

3. When I see Didsbury Wife juggle the needs of Year 8 joy and pain in the same breath as coaxing two 1 year olds I am slightly less smug about my pride at washing up, whilst listening to the radio and chatting on the phone.

4. The New Co-Op in our village centre has undergone a transformation so drastic that I half expect to see it on QVC promoting its extreme makeover. In a week where Co-Op has been ridiculed for its ministerial management’s misunderstanding of metropolitan manners we’ve had free muffins and fruit. But Co-Op, surely to be known as Co-po also chose mid-November to open al fresco dining and all the over 21s have disappeared. Where is the stern blokevwho likes to begin pontificating with “Anyone in their Right Mind… ” and ends with Capital Punishment. What happened to the lovely women? The new staff are fine, but just a little too perky for Copo, it’s not Waitrose ( yet).

The post fit out Co-Op (www,all-truelondon.co.uk)

The post fit out Co-Op (www,all-truelondon.co.uk)

5. Didsbury Son took me to a charmless Japanese day in a sports centre. It was too full of geeks in fancy dress and gamers whose idea of personal hygiene peaked with licking their fingers after chicken wings. He was in his element and his happiness was my joy. But I’m sticking to football


Notting Hill 0 West Didsbury 3

In an earlier pre-Didsbury Dad incarnation I spent a couple of months based around Notting Hill working with a director so tragically fashionable that if he put his pants on inside out he would quote “The Face” as his justification and compare it to a petting zoo in which he had filmed the world’s coolest llama. Even then this aching need to be hip struck me as being similar to the crowd scene in “Life of Brian”.

Brian cries “You’re all different” and as one they respond “Yes – we’re all different” before the “I’m not” punch line”. This is all a tortuously long way of explaining that when I hear of some of some suburban outpost being feted as the ” New Notting Hill” I think of a street full of pointless, daddy’s boys and girls with more money than taste, more drugs than Boots and more reasons to bypass it.
Until Saturday Night in West Didsbury when the early autumn warmth bathed Burton Road in an atmosphere that Notting Hill would maim for (killing is SO last year). This felt to me to be the feeling Notting Hill hopes to convey; independent, fashionable, creative and louche with an urban edge.
Me, Didsbury Wife and a pram full of Baby Gap, George and Sudocrem decided to stroll down to West Didsbury for a change of scene and a little al fresco dining. What we found was  a lively, unpretentious and stylish stroll that stretches from beyond the Metrolink to the gates of Withington Community Hospital ( I recommend their coffee and artwork). Even the Burton Road pound shop has a good window display and to join in the vibe – The Canadian Charcoal Pit had chained two school chairs to the front door. I offered Didsbury Wife the opportunity of extra toppings on her Prairie Dog if we could decamp there but no …
Past the Morcilla toting Pinchjo’s, the magnificent chaos of Folk and magnificent ethos of Cachumba we looked longingly at the unchild-friendly Saturday night ambience of The Violet Hour and Mary & Archie’s. This was Notting Hill without the downside of Trustafarians and eye-popping prices for small portions.
Burton Road is in bloom and with all this beautiful choice we somehow ended up squeezed in a corner of a rush-hour Metro  packed Great Kathmandu where the hour and five minutes we waited for food allowed the babies to sleep through boredom and us to stare into each others’ eyes, whisper sweet nothings and moan about how tired we were.
Thank you West Didsbury.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQqq3e03EBQ  LIFE OF BRIAN, YOU’RE AL INDIVDUALS

Why I Support Didsbury Free School

Why I Support Didsbury Free School.

Sweating is an essential part of parenthood. From the nervous first 20 weeks of pregnancy when the slightest twinge implies disaster to the nervous last twenty weeks and the nerves around delivery. It is temple-tricklingly leaky.

Then it gets more sweaty. Primarily when lying between two little radiators on a hot night and wondering if its wrong to try and create space by gently rolling them. So many nervous and sweaty moments and then the worst, the sweatiest moment of them all – choosing a school.

This is terrible for men for many reasons. You have to research, feign interest and then genuinely care about something you never enjoyed (school in the 70s and 80s had more in common with Gladiator than today’s sharing and caring edufest), it is an utter minefield.

At Didsbury Son’s first parents evening in reception class Didsbury Wife urged me to ask pertinent questions. The searing pain in my knees from trying to sit on a 4 year-old’s seat pushed me into three pointless posers; Does he have friends? Does he wet himself? Is A Level Mandarin a possibility?

But it’s vital. Didsbury is short of primary school places. We are a burgeoning community and a vibrant set of micro-communities. From Broad Oak and Parrs Wood to Cavendish and WestFest via the sublime outputs of St Cath’s, Beaver Road and Didsbury C of E this is a good place to raise and educate children.

The over-subscription for places is laughable. The rise in Didsbury’s population has been fantastic in widening diversity of available snacks, coffee quality and opportunity. We are lucky to have the shops, services and links we have.
Didsbury people don’t actually take themselves too seriously and we are neither flattered not fooled by our reputation. I Think We’re in Didsbury? There is a heart that is evident in the notices outside the police station and the volunteers in the area.

We are not the Mancunian Chiswick or Notting Hill, we are M20 and our children deserve enough school places as much as any children in any ward in the city.

The rationale behind it all is sound, the partners are good people who know how to run a school. The lack of decent post service catering at St. James and Emmanuel is forgivable and if we need extra classroom space Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Nido have empty tables and chairs to spare. We should not be defensive; we need this.

It is not just because I have baby twins, it is not just because living here does not guarantee a school place 500 yards away. It is these points and the thought of four years sweating over the tactical bun fight to walk to school with our futures.

This is why I and you should support Didsbury Free School.

Facebook. DidsburyCEFreeschool

Now I’m off to imagine a soundproofed shed and a four-layered sandwich


This mighty head needs a local school

This tree near Parrs Wood threw itself on a spiked fence to highlight the lack of primary places in Didsbury.

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