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 “O’Neill’s”

Urban Legend, Political Campaigns and an Apology

Didsbury Son is on a scout camp in the middle of nowhere. There will be lots of gung-Ho camping, climbing and sharing small spaces with other people. Thank The Lord for CRB checks and the lovely Scout Leaders who pass them and give their free time to teach him skills for living and learning. The Remembrance Day parade is always moving and their scouting means I don’t have to expose myself to any camping experiences or weekend slumming it in the name of bonding. If I can wriggle out of going fishing, the summer is looking good.

Urban Legend 1: Didsbury is full of focaccia-eating, self-obsessed yummy mummies and daddies. That’s Alderley Edge, we’re only half full.

There are some serious issues that need addressing:
The Stokers Arms’ free lunch offer booked up before I could get my date confirmed. It’s gone from being O’Neills which you wouldn’t want to go near to The Stokers which you can’t get near.

Urban Legend 2: Gourmet Burger Kitchen once had a queue of almost 6 people that stretched to the door before the financial crash of 2008.

2. I owe a big apology to the owners of The MudFlap Cafe in the centre of Didsbury. Their quick Felicini’s demolition and ludicrous early publicity put me off. On the recommendation of several people we braved it… And were a bit bowled over. Didsbury Wife is a water sign, I am Vegan Intolerant and The Mighty Headed Boy gets upset by food beginning with W. No bother. The food was good, the coffee spot on the staff treated us with a welcome throughout that normally evaporates when the first missile leaves a high chair bound toddler or the fiifteenth chorus of Incy Wincy Spider shakes the window. Thank you, we are coming back.

Urban Legend 3: in 2008 a man looked the wrong way on Wilmslow Road and didn’t see a 42 bus for over 8 minutes.

Finally, before festival fever takes over ( It’s only 2 weeks to Didsbury Festival – I love Didsbury Festival, I’ve directed dozens of festivals in many different genres and cities but nothing beats Didsbury Festival on a warm day in June). I want to start a campaign for Pram Lanes in Didsbury. I walked to Withington today (always good to go to the edges of M20 to see what gives and hang out with my brothers from a different mother and school). On the way our double buggy met 3 other double buggies, 16 single buggies, two wheelchairs and a tourist from Chorlton. This entailed much wiggling and stopping to share the pavement whilst the cars hogged the road selfishly.
With prams being such an essential accessory it must make sense for the inside lane to be pram only between 8 and 6 on weekends. All right thinking people must join the fight. Let’s be honest, people were stupid enough to vote UKIP so this might have a chance.

This week we are listening to 6Music, watching Episodes and The Little Princess and getting excited about Wine & Wallop on Lapwing Lane.

Didsbury – a historical lesson

I have a friend who went to Nido the week it opened. His rationale being to try it before it closed. This front for something, 60-Minute makeover of a restaurant was a slow car crash of a failure, whilst we watched the manager occasionally pace around outside.

As the letters symbolically fell off the Laughing Buddha signage next door the lights went out on the restaurant customers forgot. If only Didsbury Magazine had done a feature, if only Wadden v Brimelow’s aubergine v purple Estate Agent war had taken place over lunch there… But if onlys are scattered across Didsbury Village’s failures. Remember the fake gangster Japanese place where now lies Zizzi and what was always The Old Grey Horse? No. Neither does anyone else.

Time for a little indulgence. Starting at the library end where Didsbury station was a get-on for London we finally say good riddance to O’Neill’s. I loathe Irish-themed bars. I’m not Irish but The Railway across the road seems a great pub with strong Irish connections and when I see an “Oirish” bar I think of people making Cream of Chicken Soup and passing it off as the real thing. We are getting The Strokers Arms. ( not a euphemism).

After many years Ashley Brown’s iconic locks are finally swapping with the sublime Wendy J Levy who leaves the cobbles of Warburton Street to trade online. We are promised a deli, we expect Costa Express. Ashley Brown took over Jim’ s a green grocers. In the. 70s the Evans-Axons-Hamlet axis of power was a square. Jim was their D”Artagnan.

Jaanum ( which translates as Nido without seats) is still boarded up and Urban Grille’s baffling menu still pulls those who shirk the call of the burgeoning Domino’s.

So back to Padmore Parade. Jo Padmore took over Thresher, which was begat by a serve your own Victoria Wine. Nido followed an average Turkish Restaurants with name changes to cover every City in Turkey, before that a wonderful small restaurant and take -away. To those of us of a certain age it is always Sykes, one of Didsbury’s best record shops where we rushed home from school to buy Lipps Inc. in the 90s it spent time as Namaste Village (before the definition of Namaste had filtered down from Chorlton). This meant that in the mid 90s every Didsbury Child ( then named Ella or George) had their own dream catcher and Peruvian Worry dolls.
Next door was Ho Wah. In the 70s this had been a KFC. My own Didsbury Mum took a moral stance and refused to take us there – the bags of chips were too small.

* No facts were researched during the writing of this blog. Other facts are available.

Domino’s Dancing and Step Back in Time

I had to go to Wilmslow on Monday. I am not showing off or trying to gain sympathy but Didsbury Son and I had an appointment in the cheekbone-friendly, WAG filled Cheshirery of the Wilm. As with most visits to areas of Manchester where the Trafford Centre and the A34 have killed the local shops, it made be even more aware of the diversity and independence we have nestling between M&S, the approaching Domino’s and our blue and red coffee chains.

Domino’s in Didsbury. Its slot between Earle & Ginger and Carrington’s sums up the village nicely – a thorn between two roses. It has a great view through to the back wall of Gourmet Burger King unhindered by there being anyone in there. I like GBK, there are so few open spaces left in Manchester.

I like to slowdown Didsbury Son’s enthusiastic stories and dull his senses a little by talking him through what shops used to be when I was his age. Realising that this is even less interesting than when my dad did the same to me as at least he was running around in the Blitz when shops closed down more dramatically, I carry on.

The Aldi was a bus garage. It had a bit of mystique to it as I could not see over the wall and had to guess what went on inside. When it was announced that a German cut-price supermarket was landing on the site there was NIMBY led outrage, but nothing like a credit crunch to give 29p courgettes an extra bite.

The new houses behind the village were Healds Dairy and all the houses have milk deposits in the foundations. The Fletcher Moss was the pub for the Dairy. It was The Albert then and the nearest I ever got to feeling rural. I used to find it sad that the Fletcher Moss had a sign up saying no work clothes as it seems to be unnecessarily wiping the past. But they do have a good selection of snacks so are forgiven. O’Neill’s spent years as a Save The Children Fund shop; Didsbury’s only charity shop for decades (honestly) and next to it, Caffe Rouge and whatever the pub between the closed shop and the GBK is called, was a lovely cobblestone parking and mooching bay that had been the entrance to the station where you got the train to London.

I am on the Train to London now. Two hours only and there’s a Caffe Rouge, Subway and M&S Simply Food at Euston in case I get homesick. If Evans, Folk, Fusion Deli and Blade opened up here this place could do well. Next year I can pop on the metro and be at the new media capital of Britain in 10 minutes. Next they’ll be inventing Xbox Kinect.

Now fetch me Pomfret Cake and back to the reminiscing. When I give Didsbury Son this meander through the not mean streets that we tread, he looks at me like a gentle carer with a slightly confused patient. He puts his arm around me, smiles up with big grey eyes and ignoring it all, goes straight back into some technical breakdown of Legend of Zelda that takes the same time as your average shop re-fit.

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The Boden Supremacy and The South Manchester Reporter

Dateline 1/10/11… Didsbury son and I were up early today. The battle for pinch and punch on the first of the month; slip slap can’t hit back has become competitive. There is finally an advantage to being past 37 and needing to get up early through force of nature. 1-0 to Didsbury Dad and a good start to the weekend. We decided to do the great dad/son sitting on the dorstep not saying much and doing less – sun coming up slowly over the new Metrolink, bottles clinking into bins in the village’s pubs and cats, squirrels and early risers mooching about with a hint of a smile. A rare and lovely Manchester morning.

Anyway 30 seconds of bliss before Didsbury Son began talking to me about cartoons and asking questions, generally interrupting my stupor. I decided it was time for some proactive, interactive, inventive and patient parenting. I got him the iPad, a glass of juice and brought myself 15 minutes of silence. Aah back to the bliss.

The South Manchester Reporter was delivreminiscent was my turn to bother Didsbury Son by reminiscing about a time when Didsbury Dad thought he was a media darling. The Withington Reporter had it’s office on School Lane and held the pulse of M20. From The Midland (now The Metropolitan), to the dole office (Withington Community Hospital). From The Old Grey Horse (now Zizzi’s) to The Dog and Partridge (still The Dog) we would wait for Trelawney’s Sound of the Suburbs – where wannabe Indie moppers, Madchesterians and DJs would wait for their first publicity and we would find out which band was hot and whether we went to school with them.

I even had a brief reign as Trelawney and begin to waffle at the poor boy, sharing my 20s with an increasingly bored Didsbury Son. My “Do you know what we used to do where Cafe Rouge and O’Neill’s are now?” was a final straw. Didsbury Son decided it was time for my pacifier, the sports section of the paper and a cup of coffee. We went back to comfortable silence.

But this day had more in store for us. The scourge of modern man, the true love of modern family woman, Boden and this time it was in town. Didsbury Wife had a flyer through the door for one of the most excruciating yet car crashingly entertaining mornings fo the year – The Boden surplus sale. For one morning every year or so Boden take over the George Carnell Leisure Centre in Urmston; one of the finest culture clashes of the season. 4X4’s, Freyas and Archies and lots of middle aged women in matching umbrellas descend on an unsuspecting gym near The Trafford Centre to fight over remnants of the Boden Catalogue. At any one time there are 4 Henrys and 3 Jemimas being squeezed into colour coordinated two pieces. Didsbury Son and I make a half hearted attempt to join the melee, find something and then retreat into a corner to watch the tears, tantrums and purple satin lining. This is a precision operation for both shoppers and sales staff. Do not be fooled by a sea of stripes and deep pastels, this is like running with bulls in Pamplona, hesitate and you are lost.

 

As the temperature and the pitch rises I am transported back to my front step and morning sun that welcomed October. It may only have lasted the first few days but when this week’s South Manchester comes through the door with rain and cold accompaniments, I will be recreating the Sound of the Suburbs and boring Didsbury Son with why a Guy Called Gerald beats Olly Murs, hands down.

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