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 “The Metrolink”

Return of the Mooch

One of my greatest joys in life over the years has been my Saturday morning mooch with Didsbury Son. This meander down the old railway line in search of a Tesco sausage with my little blondini squeaking life’s joy next to me was a little slice of heaven.

Metrolink Mania, which is still sweeping Didsbury with rash tales of Breakfast in Rochdale has unwittingly returned this to me.

Didsbury Son has caught a large dose of Metro Fever – tempted by names such as Pomona and Exchange Quay. It is shiny, new and it offers the opportunity to eat a Subway in a bewildering range of locations. The carrot is that we will walk the twins until they are asleep, then get the Metro back to Didsbury. It is simple, not expensive and we all get some fresh air and exercise.

One half term morning we assembled – a buggy with two domes, one pearl, one massive. They now sit forward in the trolley scanning Didsbury like the google street car. My bold-headed boy a meerkat whilst his pearl-bonced sister smiles regally as the world rolls by slowly.

As we left Camp Didsbury Village a lovely change occurred. Although now without squeaky voice and that lovely lack of self-awareness that makes pre nine year olds so open – he was back.

Didsbury Son jabbered endlessly and actually took in my dad jokes and dull tales as we pushed our wide-eyed cargo through Manchester’s Olive Oil district. By Fog Lane, Didsbury Son had hold of my hand and as we pulled into Fusion Deli on Lapwing Lane for a bagel I had one hand-holding and two chirruping children and felt 10 feet tall.

The babies sang, so we walked to Burton Road and I told him all about The Metropolitan being The Midland and the legendary MVITA nights. I felt the joint aches diminish as we strolled.

We ventured even further west. When my boy asked what about the prison-like development at Didsbury Point (possibly the only part of M20 Estate Agents will not own up to) our bond was re-sealed and our mooching time back. It used to be Withington Hospital now its an eyesore.

I can’t wait to start doing this with both hands held.

This Much I know:
1. Money, fame, smaller clothes sizes – none of them are as big a motivation as a snooze when you have twins.

2. The last few months have increased my understanding of body issues exponentially, every joint hurts.

3. You can try. You can plan. But an eight-month old baby in a walker has a reach like a JCB digger.

4. When you have babies, for no real reason you sing everything. My full repertoire of football songs has been re-assembled without swear words for every act during the day.

5. At 7am in Didsbury Village, Cappucino in Didsbury Deli with froth to share is a little haven.

6. I love and hate Boots with a passion.

7. The Metrolink is best chain to open in Didsbury

Next week: Didsbury Festival is back…

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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

Didsbury Upgrades for The Metro

Back to the future with a chair

The Metro is coming (sing or shout this for full effect). Didsbury, gird your loins. The big metal horse is on its way from the exotic west (Pomona) and the icy north (Bury).
Pretty soon anyone wanting a haircut or a cupcake can be in Didsbury (or West Didsbury) without even having to block a driveway with their car or ignore the “residents only parking” signs as they dump their kids they got into school by pretending they lived nearby or attended the school’s church – heady days.

It’s little wonder that there are clusters of upgrades around the stations at Burton Road, Lapwing Lane and School Lane. There are rumours of a John Lewis stall in the Save the Children Fund shop on School Lane (just started by me) and talk of an Airy Fairy Cup Cake expansion. I’m a convert – wooed at a dinner party to get over my natural aversion to any shop named in irony ( I can’t set foot in the Edward Scissorhands barbers), I am now an Airyfairyan and am considering going out door to door spreading the gospel of cupcakes and warning against the evils of muffins. Muffins who like GIs, Halloween and the Grey Squirrel came over here from America with their flash ways and tried to take over from our Tommy’s, Bonfire Night and old Red. We shall not cower. We shall bake our cakes thoroughly and decorate with Britishness whilst favouring treacle toffee and fireworks over plastic sweet buckets and pumpkins. We know deep in our hearts that one day those Red Squirrels at Formby Point near Southport will fight them on the beaches for the chance to get the Metrolink from Parrs Wood to Piccadilly, with the option of a hazelnut cupcake and free wi-fi on the way.

Lapwing Lane specifically has taken on the upgrade idea in all its glory. Across the arcade they are primping and getting ready to beckon the Metrolink commuters who accidentally get off at the wrong stop for Burton Road, The Village or Parrs Wood.

Pizza Express started it. Their al fresco dining is essentially extra seating for the bus stop with a panoramic view of Blockbusters’ bins. The chair theme was then added to by making every new shop on the parade be called “Didsbury —–“. This seems similar to people getting prominent tattoos of their children’s names on their arms just in case they forget. So the Didsbury (sic) tearoom opens with fixtures and fittings straight outta a Cheshire village and the domino rolls. I can now enjoy Didsbury’s most welcoming coffee on a metal chair in Pete’s Fusion Deli or… Eat in at the chippy next door, now called something like the Didsbury Noodle Emporium. Genius. I can now sit at a table whilst waiting for the Metro and read a 2009 Hello Magazine eating out of polystyrene … at a table. Inmans should open a crèche, Sterling Pharmacy insert lumbar support chairs and I want outside massage tables at the health spa. It may be over top but Didsbury, it’s necessary.

Once the Metro opens next year it will be full by Didsbury Village and you’ll have no chance of a seat from Lapwing Lane.

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