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 “Scout camp”

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 Son leaves home a boy and comes back a…

He left a boy, he has come back a boy with a faux gruff voice and a sense of independence that I am openly applauding and inwardly grieving. Didsbury Son has been away on scout camp. Each week we walk to scouts and call it cubs. Not, I now realise , out of stupidity, infirmness or to be a smart Alec (sorry Alec). I now understand that I call it cubs to support my illusion that Didsbury Son is still the waist-high, hand gripping falsetto who laughed at my daftness and genuinely thought I knew everything.

The Welsh summer hits its stride. The beautiful mountains of Snowdonia rise into cloudless blue skies.

Like all parental realisations I feel myself gradually merging into my own Didsbury Dad. I know why he continued to call me pet names long after I saved pocket-money for 10 Embassy Regal (to look sophisticated in The Dog & Partridge) and began wearing more eyeliner than my own Didsbury Mum (It was the mid 80s).

To put this in context. Didsbury Son was to be away for 5 days on scout camp whilst Didsbury Wife and I swanked it up in rain-soaked Wales. There is nothing like spending endless days hearing rain dance ceaselessly on your roof to make you appreciate home.

By Day 3 I had gone beyond being bribed by chips. I was missing Didsbury Son’s bleep of pixellated demons dying in close proximity (Dad, I’m in a Battle – unleash hell for God and King Harry) and was even missing cleaning up the latest lacerated offering from Didsbury Fat Cat’ s summer collection.

I had half-packed when the news of Didsbury Son’s twisted ankle came crackling through the no reception, Wifiless airwaves.

Within 5 minutes we had the excuse needed to drive East quickly. Didsbury Mum fretted, mobilised troops of waiting relatives to receive our wounded soul as we discussed A&E options and sped through the gathering gloom towards Didsbury.

We smelled Didsbury Son on the breeze minutes from home. Not just us. Dogs howled in admiration as four washless days spent climbing and jumping honked their way home. Still in uniform and indignant at having to leave early, our little boy came home. The same, thankfully not too injured and unfathomably- a little grunty and detached.

It’s time to get the big guns out. If My ickle Wickle ex blondini boy can resist me pretending to walk downstairs infront of them with pants in my head telling a toilet joke I give in.

I will take him for a pint in the Fletch, discuss torque (whatever that is) and pretend I know what youngsters today like to do.

Didsbury Son and I relax infront of the TV in pre-Scout days

Didsbury Favours the Brave

Didsbury Son has his dream weekend coming up. Four days climbing and living in a converted cave in Derbyshire with a dozen other Didsbury Sons and daughters. Washing 0, food tinned and dried, hopeless songs plenty and the chance to form deep friendships, build self-esteem and team skills and reach a new sense of achievement. Sounds hellish to me.

It ticks all the boxes I have for why being an adult beats childhood hands down. I don’t have to share a room with strangers, eat communally off a tin plate, hide my mistrust of enclosed spaces, physical challenges and eat cheap baked beans.

My challenge is to persuade Didsbury Wife that this is not 96 hours of health and safety anxiety and general concern, but a chance for a lie-in, to talk openly about friends and family without having to censor ourselves and a chance to have breakfast without questions and a couch free of gadgets.

I thought back to my time as a junior Didsbury Son and can honestly say that at no point would the chance to camp in a cave and climb anything outweigh the lure of… Well Almost anything to be honest..

I once hiked across a historical desert land as a teenager; going through caves and rocky knolls (whatever they are). The deep anxiety and chronic claustrophobia this bred has left me happy to stay at home and get my kicks in other ways less scary.

My idea of an outdoors adventure as a Didsbury Junior was playing football until it got dark and raiding the snack cupboard on the way in. If I needed to commune with nature there was Go With Noakes. Chris Bonnington climbed mountains so I could watch Tiswas and fancy Sally James until we were old enough to go to Hollies’ school discos. We got plenty of danger negotiating the Stop Inn Kebab Shop after dark at weekends.

A good scout is always prepared and so is his dad. I am already looking at weekend breaks .

The pictures below are staged but feature a construction by Didsbury Son built to avoid watching live football on TV, whilst Fletcher Moss’ Rock Garden represents a desert trip I took that left me happy to retire my crampons before ending my teenage years. No scouts were involved in the arranging of these photographs

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