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 “Parrs Wood”

The Twelve Days of Didsbury Dad Christmas

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 hours sleep,
11. Peppa Pig toys
10. Zantac calming
9. Mince Pies mincing
8. Pets a puking
7. Sky Sports Channels
6. Hours driving in a car with screaming toddlers and bored teen
5 nappies honking
4. French patisseries
3. Minutes’ peace and quiet
2. Twins a bouncing
And a life based in Didsbury…..

Your Didsbury Top 12 (almost) free to do tips:
1. Walk along the side of the metro line boring your children senseless with “all this used to be fields.” Chat.

2. Bring a picnic and take the Metro tour of Manchester to Bury Market where you remember you’ve left your wallet at home and have to come back.

3. Talk about the true meaning of Christmas/Chanucah/Solstice/(insert own) and take them to one of our great churches, synagogues, mosques, cult bases. There is usually singing, getting up and down and catering afterwards.

4. Fletcher Moss – brilliant. (Especially with an Alpine Cafe stop)

5. The little park next to Fletcher Moss, great for the under 5’s and handy for The Didsbury, Ye Olde Cocke and Dimitri’s.

6. Play hide and seek on the old Manchester Poly site – hours of endless fun.

7. Take the Saturday morning samples trail from The Cheese Hamlet down to West Didsbury and back up to Parrs Wood.

8. Didsbury Library has a fantastic children’s section, a toilet AND you aren’t meant to eat in there; genius.

9. Gym offers. Lavid Ddoyd are currently offering 12 days for 12 pounds so long as you understand it’s also £12 for a coffee and £12 for a kid’s snack as well.

10. Visit friends and relatives. It is important to rotate.

11. Didsbury, Cavendish, Fog Lane – play, remember which one has swings, which one has a BMX track and ducks and which one has a bespoke Chocolatier next door.

12. Play the old Didsbury Gsme. “Uh Oh, Where’s Nido? What was Cibo?”

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The Snowman, slowly replacing Frozen as the thrice a day treat.

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Mighty head, busy hands

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Dear Didsbury Dad

As an amalgamation of dads across the world (mainly those in Didsbury with a non specific past, a mistrust of strong opinions outside of sport and a love of coffee), I get a lot of post from other mums and dads asking advice. Here are a few which I felt represent the majority of issues raised by parents from, not just Didsbury, but across the world.

Dear Didsbury Dad.
My teenage child is keen to ditch school sports. I am concerned that this may lead to isolation, over-eating and lack of self-esteem. Can you advise me?

Dear J:
don’t be harsh on your child, if they can’t stand school showers let them go. Your self-esteem does not rest on the indifferent loping around of chapped-legged year 9 and 10s as they get hammered by other schools. Your exit from touchline conversation needn’t leave you stranded. My top tip is to embrace this hormone-induced lack of drive in your child. Enjoy the reduction in washing and the lie-in. Join a gym, say hello to people in the sauna and only have a flapjack every other visit. If this doesn’t work stay in bed.

Dear Didsbury Dad
I am coming to Didsbury next week for Small Business Saturday on 6 December. My non-Didsbury wife likes Starbucks and is worried that non-mass produced food and drink won’t taste right and may not contain enough salt. Can you recommend a top ten for coffee, snacks and lunches? I hear Didsbury has a KFC.

Mr X. Wow, what a question. Top 10 independent outlets in Didsbury without mentioning Nando’s in Parrs Wood or the ever-consistent and bizarrely male customer follicly challenges Costa Tesco Burnage. Hmmm….
In no order.
1 Wine & Wallop on Lapwing Lane with a Fusion Coffee and Panini to sober up on the way to
2. Burton Road – Pinchjo’s for tapas, Folk for experience, Mary and Archie’s for booze.
3. Nip around to the Thyme Out deli opposite the hospital or stop for cake at And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.
After you’ve togged up at the Independent Steranko and notched a handmade chocolate by the metro, waddle towards Barlow Moor Road for…
4. The glitz, the people watching but not the service at Albert’s Shed.
5. Cleanse at Healthy Spirit opposite the church. Go upstairs for meditation and downstairs for meditation and Ancoats roasted coffee, delicious.
6. Indulge whilst strolling at Bisou Bisou and walk to the pop up art and gorgeous, free Wi-Fi and wall paintings at Central Perk on School Lane.
7. Back via a baking class or two and an AiryFairy CupCake Boutique special to the village where…
8. You must try the bar at Bourbon & Black, a cocktail at Solita and a shimmy with the staff at Chalk Bar & Grill.
9. Via Zantac at Boots don’t miss a Fosters chip barm (gluten free available). You must visit Giddy Goat Toys. I had a toddler incident there last week when he mistook the Olaf in the window for the one he has at home and went ballistic. This just leaves a trip back West for
10. Dinner at Piccolino’s ( in my view still independent), Greens or The Lime Tree – all superb.
You can always take a box of our very own Kansas Fried Chixken home if she’s not happy.

Dear Didsbury Dad
I am the parent of a child at one of Didsbury’s lovely primary schools and live within the catchment area. However, most mornings I drive my 4 x 4 badly through the village reacting aggressively to pedestrians and feel that as I have children I have the right to block driveways, park on double yellows, nick residents parking places and be rude to these residents as my over-pampered, soon-to-be obese offspring trail behind me, heads in screens. Am I bad person? Will karma get me?

3. Yes and yes.

More next time.

Didsbury Life: This Much I Know

As the sails of 39 years, 364 days recede ever further back into the noughties and the creaking of the trees in the late autumn breeze matches the creaking my knees; this is what I have learned.

Male patterned grumpiness is not a right, it has to be earned. We lack the manipulative front to be supportive AND judgemental, so grunting like a 15 year old and sighing like a winter wind fill the gaps.

Mancunian slang rarely works. I recall the Didsbury Boys in Tesco, Parrs Wood describing their Shredded Duck in Hoisin Sauce Wrap as “bum man, f- ing bum” and thinking that the Bronx would be shaking. Last week I was exiting the gents at Piccadilly Station. (how many stories have started thus?) when a 40 year old, Gallagher clone but without the hair saw the 30p charge to use the facilities and danced his outrage. Talking loudly to no one and everyone he declared, “Are you having a giraffe?” Before scuttling off more crab on the sand, than ungulate mammal on the velt.

The closure of Cafe Rouge in Didsbury Village is a blow to the community. I miss people
-watching from its patio and peering inside when walking past with the pram. I miss my free Guardian Sports Section and I miss the feeling that by sitting in sight of the library I was upping my culture.

Didsbury Son is now a teenager and the first month (83 to go) has been fine. The build-up was threatening, but since the clock turned he has resumed being the lovely boy and easy-going accomplice of his blondini, squeaky voiced days. He has started cracking gags in a style that I know is based on me and makes me truly understand the issue Didsbury Wife takes over my mistimed, poor taste speciality.

With their second birthday looming the battle amongst the Didsbury Dad extended males has begun to claim The Mighty-Headed boy and Pearly-Girl for our respective football teams. There is no subtlety, no fraternal loyalty, just craven boddler baiting with song, shirt and toy. I realise that against all my best intentions, this is probably going to use up more thought than which school they should go to and possibly more money on uniform.

The staff at Chalk all look as though they have stepped out of rehearsals for Glee to be with you (courtesy of. @Craftwords). Whilst their unfeasibly kittened-hipness is shaming, the hope that they will break into Flashdance on one of the sofas keeps me coming back. ( and the chipolatas.

Twins’ weight: painful knee and cortisone’d elbow.

Nursery Rhymes sung badly as I Only know the rude version: 8

Frozen watched: 3 times a day

Sleep Depravation constant with a good chance of caffeine and chocolate about 10 to get through the day.

Next time: Why I love Burton Road, It’s autumn soon so the bad-parking 4×4 Season is upon is and a review of The Global News refit.

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This is starting to seem a long time ago.

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News of Cafe Rouge closing caused a walkout

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Pre- service team meeting at Chalk.

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.

Www.didsburyfreeschool.org
Facebook. DidsburyCEFreeschool

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

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This mighty head needs a local school

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

Didsbury puckers up for the spring

Bright crispy mornings with frost on the car and blue in the sky. Long beautiful nights. The week’s full moon has had a yellow/orange lamppost tinge, a smattering of cloud cover and has hovered hopefully over Didsbury village as if it could re-open the lamented closed shops or put a barber’s chair and scissors in every premises from Withington Baths to Parrs Wood.

The moon can throw some interesting shadows. Carrington's and Domino's look different in this light.

The moon can throw some interesting shadows. Carrington’s and Domino’s look different in this light.

It’s Spring and getting warmer. The sun that had seemed as rare as a queue at Gourmet Burger King or a three-piece suit in Elvis’s Kitchen is squinting sheepishly at us at last. There are snowdrops, scaffolds and For Sale signs springing up everywhere as Didsbury gets dressed for the new season.

This is prime mooching time. Didsbury  buzzes with the sound of pram wheel on pavement. On Wednesday I was in Caffe Nero when South Manchester twins group finished and the convoy  of double buggies measured on the Richter scale.

At home, there are changes afoot. To my initial shock and continual sense of nagging disappointment Didsbury Son is slowly backing out of our mooching mornings. My little 4-year-old blondini who would squeeze hands, talk unaware loveliness and look in awe at the detritus we would spot as we walked on what is now the Metrolink is busy with team sports, distracted by Cartoon Network and generally losing impetus. He is still my lovely boy, but adolescence is creeping in and walking around aimlessly with a Tesco sausage at the end of it is no longer the pull it once was.

I have new partners. They are still in their pram and if I get it right they are primarily asleep, but, still strangely good company. Walking the not so mean streets of M20 with babies allows me time to see developments.

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It is nice to see everyone out and about without a coat on after a long winter.

The village is rife with change and this year’s Didsbury Festival will march down a very different high street. Elm Interiors really is shutting (room for a small Waitrose?), with rising rents blamed, but pointless stock not helping. La Tasca (my eagle-eyed spy tells me) is coming back as a Venetian Restaurant which opens up many possibilities. A moat, the scent of warm sewage, exorbitant pricing  and large Americans OR… Superb food, small coffees and a chance of drowning if you get too drunk. The Mud Flat Crabicinis is being pimped. The scaffolding is up, the building is being lowered and expect to see alloys.
We have an open air cafe coming to Didsbury Park, Giddy Goat Toys has some genuinely exciting stuff in it and one day Pixie / Linen will re-open, Sheilaless but hopefully a little slice of glamour on the road to the Fletch.
There is building behind Aldi (Guessing it’ s not a Waitrose) and the pace of 30s house renovation for profit on Spath Road and its surroundings is reaching a crescendo; with the village’s estate agents salivating at the easy commissions coming their way.

This is a longer blog than usual so I thought I would put in more pictures

On Barlow Moor Road and the Old Lansdowne gateway to the West the gentrification is almost complete and done “in keeping” with the original build (just different) and my new favourite, School Lane gets better as it warms up.

This is the new  Indie Didsbury. As you come out of the park and over the Metro to School Lane; past the bizarre white block of flats that should have been built in seafront San Fran and jar hopelessly with all of their surroundings there is a real community. The road to Airy Fairy Cupcake Nirvana is not just paved with barbers (although there are 28). Before Hazeldress’ cavern of costume and the musical instrument shop that must be a front for something. Before the munificence of Peking House and the barbers who all used to work together and now snip separately. Before the gym next to the chippy there is gold.
The School Lane Cafe does a Full English for a fiver and knows Latte is late spelled wrong AND next to Didsbury Perk’s art and Hot Chocolate is a pop up hands on gallery; brilliant.

We shall be mooching Parrs Wood way more this spring.

The School Lane Heritage Trail.A boy, a pencil and white flats in the background

The School Lane Heritage Trail.A boy, a pencil and white flats in the background

M20 Top 10

This much I know… Spring is starting to breakthrough with green and blue starting to edge out the grey. It set me thinking about My 10 favourite places in Didsbury.

1. The little “beach” by the Mersey between Simon’s Bridge and the Parrs Wood flood plain. It’s a little haven awash with scrabbling Jack Russells and careful parents watching small children who think they are in Abersoch or Blackpool. You can see herons, can’t hear traffic or golfers and can walk for miles or pop back through Fletcher Moss; just gorgeous.

2. The garden next to The Olde Cock. This walled floral palace is a Fletcher Moss warm-up. Didsbury Son likes to climb the trees. I like the flowers and the space whilst slurping coffee from The Didsbury (pre Costa franchise).

3. The Old Railway Line / New Metrolink. Gone now to make way for the metro but the Didsbury section hosted my favourite Saturday mornings, walking a tiny Didsbury Son up and down a magic avenue full of bright graffiti, shopping trolleys and remnants of nights gone by. A thoroughfare of dogs to stroke, runners to avoid and shortcuts to the scout hut, the park and Tescos for Saturday morning breakfast. Also a sled run when it gets icy.

4. Fusion Deli: a haven of great coffee and a proper welcome from Pete and Tom. Nowhere else could a £2 bag of crisps seem like a good deal.

5. The Slug & Lettuce. Has hosted some memorable moments. None more than my first meeting with Didsbury Wife. She thought I looked like a bouncer, I thought she looked tasty. Been guarding the door since.

6. Burton Road. It’s constant evolution, boho sensibility and Co-Op are a perfect blend.

7. Withington Baths: always unnervingly warm with changing options from a bygone era. In the 80s you could smoke in the gym room.

8. My mum’s kitchen. Or as it is widely know, The Jewish Homeland.

9. Inman’s. Any day you see Josie has to be a good day. Football banter without malice and an Archersesque feeling of continuity.

10. My back garden on a summer’s night sitting back with Didsbury Wife whilst Didsbury Son is asleep listening to the sounds of the village wafting across and making big big plans.

Joint 11th: The Manor House, Fog Lane park when it had a zoo, walking up Parkfield Road when the trees all block the sun, the building formerly known as The Barleycorn, Mr Marvel and Withington Town Hall.

Next week… My top ten dogs in Didsbury Park, my top ten Independent cake shops in West Didsbury and Wilmslow Road’s greatest charity shops

The World is your Oyster

Didsbury son was away with cousins and grandparents on a cultural, being spoiled weekend in Stratford. A play, 5 meals a day plus snacks and the cultural delights of the Stratford-upon-Avon poundstretcher big chocolate bar offer made it a hit. He had an unforgettable time that left him tired and over emotional for at least three days.

A weekend to ourselves, a full tank of petrol, a full head of hair, some cash to play with and fires to be lit heralding our independence; lock up your late licence Didsbury Dad is back on the town.

For three weeks we talked through options. Should we start the day with a bottle in bed before we get up and then sway through the day until we end up in some boozy, bluesy joint, jamming with the North’s glitterati? We could throw that fabulous dinner party and repay the invitations that have have accrued; I am even willing to have the heating on ALL day. I suggested a walking tour of Didsbury’s delis from Burton Road to Parrs Wood until I passed out. Or we could lie-in, yes lie-in, read the papers, make plans and head to our favourite tapas bar on Beech Road in Chorlton (I know, but I try to embrace foreign climes every now and then) before descending into a chorizo and Rioja induced stupor having righted everything in our and everyone else’s world.

I toyed with a trip North to watch football, a day in London, a trip to the cinema for something more enticing than a PG CGI Dancing Lion and wallowed in the possibilities of a 48 hour pass.

So there we were, me and Didsbury Wife. 7pm Saturday night, on the couch watching the average Horrible Bosses on an allegedly Sony HD video stream that seized up every 37 seconds (precise if nothing else). In front of us in the table we had laid waste to a pot coffee and a small bar of chocolate. There had been a trip to the hairdressers, a visit to a new nephew and we did make it for tapas; but after 2 drinks we came home.

Bliss. With a mouthful of coffee and chocolate and a film that could barely sustain interest we revelled in… Doing nothing. However I did get to watch Match of the Day and tidy a cupboard or two.

That was it. Really. That was it. The opportunity came and went and when Didsbury son returned, full of joie de vivre, sugar and lack of sleep we had nothing to interrupt the Burroughs esque narrative.

So, this weekend. There is a hint of sniffling and coughing that looks like it could develop into a lie-in verging on man-flu. Notions of Christmas shopping, decoration and preparation could take a back seat whilst the heating goes on, the chocolate comes out and the video stream fails regularly.

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