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 “Razma Reads”

Part Two – A Time of Darkness

I have only been a part-time Didsbury boy for the last year. My knowledge of the emergence of such misspellings as B.lend are gained from occasional forays, texts from Craftwords and missives from my own Didsbury Mum.

A Hipster

We briefly had a Tapas Mile thing going on but the demise (let’s be honest, it wasn’t very good) of Cantina set me thinking about the fallen. Not the brave soldiers but the crap ideas and donkeys that have failed to launch on our sceptred streets.

the original MOod board for Cau’s development.

There are urbane myths about Didsbury. But look closely at what has survived. The two places that have seen off all the others (since The Happy Garden realised that 6 months without a customer meant it was probably time to close) are Kansas Fried Chicken and Saints & Scholars. They have seen off Japanese Fusion, noncy Med-Fed and everyone else. Saints & Scholars reminds me of Bez. I have no idea why or how, but still good value.

Controversial plans for the new development on the site of Didsbury Police Station.

What of those who have tried and failed since The Didsbury Village Wine Bar closed its walled garden to become Felicini’s,The Mudflap Cafe and finally a symbol representing Daoist Philosophy and Buttermilk soaked Fried Chicken?

A shot southwards down Wilmslow Road from the 70s

Cau sits on an ancient Burial Ground. Here was briefly parked Zinc, some gangster-inspired Japanese disaster with bling that died a death, The Clocktower and a growing Orange Tree.

I couldn’t go in the Orange Tree. It’s townie focused glitz replaced The Old Grey Horse, a legendary hangout full of edge, promise and most of my friends. Legend has it that it’s predecessor, The Cavalcade (whose signage I can still picture) was more avant than an Edemame Milshake.

Trees don’t do that well here, as The Pear Tree folk will tell you. Bourbon & Black was no Didsbury Tapas. In fact it was no Kansas Fried Chicken. But who else remembers when Didsbury had its own KFC? Before that became the Ho Wah and now The Laughing Buddha.

On the block with KFC was Sykes’ Records, where Terry introduced a generation of Didsbury kids to Top of the Pops, Namaste Village and round the corner, Razma Reads.

Razma was a lovely concept. Think of Dot’s cafe in the park with a bookshop. The rise of Amazon killed it.

And no troll through the dead diners of Didsbury Village could forget Pizza Hut, so hip when it opened in the mid 80s, Chalk – whose staff were kitten hipped but whose speciality was… was… no idea and finally.

The greatest tax right-off/failure of them all, Nido – where each customer had their own waiter.

** no actual books, websites, people or anything else was researched during the writing of this blog.

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Didsbury’s Pickled Egg Revolution

Hola Didsbury – the newbies are coming. 

Last night, whilst perched between The Mighty Headed Boy, the furry cast of Frozen, blankie and pillow (this week’s must haves) I began thinking about Didsbury Village. What do we need? A really good children’s clothes shop to add to Bond and replace Hippins? A Waitrose (yes)? A hardware shop or suchlike. No no no. What we need is either Emmanuel Church to install a Costa Coffee Machine to finish Feng Shui-ing the village’s coffee offering or a hairdresser.
It has been weeks since Squires evolved from the chrysalis of Gentry Grooming. Weeks without a new hairdresser, barber, coffee shop or Estate Agent. Thank you Lord for answering our prayers as Sweaty Betty’s – 70s chip shop, 90s fly posting frontage and around a year a building site is Didsbury’s first day spa and 136th hairdresser.
I carried out a scientific study (I.e asked Didsbury Wife and Didsbury Mother), they told me to get back to work. Are we particularly hairy in M20? Does our testosterone fuelled manliness push the hair out quicker? Are our woman more coiffed? 
Or is it that these barbers and hairdressers are a front for a secret supernatural sect or a Stone Roses tribute band? After all, we have Blade and John (runs) Squire(s). 
I am pointlessly delighted that Wilkinsons is still painted blue and looks like it could fill the gap left by the loss several years ago of The Village Saver. A quick peek means it could be a mini Woolworths replacement for the boddlers and a decent diversion to relieve teenage moodiness. 
I’m looking forward to seeing if the new day spa honours its chip shop heritage. The day we can book in for a hot pickled egg massage, an intense curry sauce wrap and chips (not fries) with salt and sarsons not balsamic, is a day to be lauded. 



Tools of the trade for the New Sweaty Betty Spa

Broadbents – is there room for a Costa Coffee machine in there?

Zombies in the heart of Didsbury

The Returned. Spooky French series where the town’s dead return (hence the title), unaware they are dead . Lots of moody French people standing around smoking shruggily. Not like the beautiful people sitting outside Shed D’Albert, but gallically challenged.

Yesterday lunchtime, I was driving distractedly through The Village, when, as though it were a scene straight from Dawn of the Didsbury – I saw a small woman in a t-shirt and jeans. She looked human and real down to the last detail, but for one tiny flaw.
I saw her outside the open doors of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which was open. How? Was it Didsbury Open Gardens? Was this a chance for a final stroll of the last great empty indoor space in the region? Would Zombie Burger Kitchen be taking over and eating our many barbers and Estate Agents?
GBK died in the great pandemic that also took Nido. A virus that infected restauranters into thinking they could make a buck in Didsbury with any old crap.
What next? Razma Reads re-appearing with living dead and political biographies only. Domino’s serving food so processed it has a half-life? Aldi doubling as a bus garage?
These are strange times. The addition of Wine & Whallop from the team that brought you Folk and South Park series 8 looks promising. The French Patisserie that has taken over Ashley Brown can have its own blog and Giddy Goat Toys will soon see off Toys R Us. But…

Casa Tapas has either turned into a closed film set or followed Spain out of the World Cup and news reaches DD HQ that Cafe Rouge is going. This is a public disaster. Rouge is more influential in Didsbury Child Rearing than Gina Ford and Aptimil. It has hosted more dates than an Algerian port and deserves listed status, not the chop. Over 20 years the staff have been unfailingly helpful and the food great. I will be signing the petition and march for them before popping down to the Shaun of the Dead Burger Kitchen.

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A Zombie’s brain pattern

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Extra security has been drafted in , so have dormitories

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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