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 “Pixie”

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

Welcome Giddy Goat, goodbye Summer Holiday

The more things change, the more they come back as Barbers, Charity Shops and Coffee Shops (Shskespeare).

As the Pixie fled Albert Hill Street to re-open with (thankfully) the same staff and 90% of the same stock as Linen, so it is Rumpus we shed a tear for as Louise bids farewell to staring at the front of the Post Office counting the illegally parked 4x4s. Bye bye Rumpus, hello Giddy Goat Toys. Same idea, different people and with twins on the way I have a feeling I’ll be there plenty. I liked Rumpus. With that at one end of the village and the brief but intense Razma Reads at the other we had the independent balance that Costa, Croatia and Caffe Nero’s Red Green Blue coffee colour chart has. brought to Wilmslow Road. Bear with me, by now even I have no idea where my mind has wandered to but there is reason.

This week is one that all parents anticipate and count down to with the enthusiasm of a teenage New Years’ Eve party; back to school day. Didsbury’s 107 Barbers from Chalky White on Fog Lane to Bohemian Rhapsody (made up name*) on Burton Road were full of sulky Didsburylings getting their short smart school haircuts. The cupcake emporiums were then full of mothers looking to appease their shorn offspring and MCS stores on Didsbury’s Eastern border was a picture of parental hell and soon-to-be-pupil unrest.

Anyone who sees buying school uniform as a pleasure is either stupid or role-playing. It is school shoe tiring, tie-teaching, grey sock searching misery that drains hearts and wallets with equal vigour. Didsbury Son is actually pretty easy; but by Tuesday we had still failed to track down gym shorts and our will to live was ebbing away.

I had been to John Lewis, M&S, Asda, Tesco and Decathlon chasing the elusive grail of stain-free suitable shorts. This depressing chainstore crawl had me praying to breakdown. At 4.59, leaving Didsbury Son head down in Pokemonland I stepped in to MCS School Outfitters. The queue stretched around the shop, the sunken cheeked queue ees mouthed hopeless pleas to me and the smell of sweat and fear engulfed me. It was as though Didsbury had been invaded and the refugees were making sure they had the right PE kit before they fled.

I turned around, mentally wrote a note for Didsbury Son’s teacher and counted down the hours to my first fantastically solo coffee since July.

Sometimes parenting means looking without your glasses on.

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A village cries and a pixie leaves

So another Pixie leaves the magic garden as Albert Hill Street’s chic boutique for mini Freya’s and Archie’s shuts it’s doors next week.

Sad news for those of us who gulped at the price of clothing designed primarily to be thrown up on and in, grown out of in seconds and rolled around in mud until it was too dirty even for eBay.

Didsbury Son was one of Pixie’s first customers and probably one of its least frequent; but I will miss the lovely staff, the minimal decor and the challenge of steering Didsbury Wife to the Post Office without catching sight of it on the way in or out.
I will miss the cheery key in the door with the cry of how great the Sale was at Pixies , how beautiful Didsbury Son will look in whatever lurks expensively in the bag and how much we have saved.

Sales at expensive boutiques to me are like bankers turning down bonuses. It only brings them near enough to the average focus so you can clearly see the finger being extended in your direction.

So we have a Didsbury Village dilemma. The allegedly underhand doings at Coco Rio have seen the premises handed back. Pizza Hut’s blackened doors are no nearer being a John Lewis Express and there is a soon to be gap next Rumpus.

Can we squeeze another supermarket or coffee chain in (The Didsbury now proudly boasts Costa Coffee which means Whitbreads are slowly surrounding Nero), a new charity shop, an Estate Agents, a bank or is this time for the new independents to regrace the village ?

As a footnote, I will miss Pixie, although I must admit that when I spend a night out’s money on children’s clothing it needs to be drip dry, static and have the club badge over his heart.

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