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 Nelson”

A Brief History of Time (With Snacks)

Is it autumn already. Everyone went back to school and brought home brand new infections. Last week we had summer, winter and storms so vicious Facebook asked me to confirm I was safe. Safe? This is The North. I sent the children out to chase the lightning and see if there were reductions on any rain-damaged produce around the city. Staff at Fletcher Moss dress up for “Bring Your Kids to Work” day. 

The nights have drawn in. I don’t know what “drawn in” means. Certainly not coloured in. The boddlers are back to waking up in the dark. Didsbury Son’s teenage retreat to his room now has the cover of darkness and Didsbury Wife is eyeing up the central heating and (breathes out) Match of the Day is back. 

Didsbury continues to evolve quickly and sometimes surprisingly. Those old enough to remember 2014 (we were part of Europe, Scotland was part of the UK and BBC owned Great British Bake-Off) will recall the shock as Co-Op rebranded, toyed with the idea of being called Copo and even had tables outside for a couple of weeks. These primarily provided easy dog lead tying and Big Issue displaying opportunities. 

Now Greggs are following suit. On Saturday 8 October it bursts out from the shadow of 3 Little Pigs and Toni & Guy as a new “Artisan” Greggs. With Bisou Bisou’s bespoke Gallic beauty and Casa Italia’s specialist nosh this could be a disaster waiting to happen (Or a “Nido” as we call it). Is the Gregg’s Sausage Roll about to become a herb-infused Wild Boar Empanadas? Are the staff getting polo necks? Time will tell. 

Picture courtesy of @craftwords

There’s more. The MMU site has developed from desolate to building site via a short stint as a Caravan Park. This is going to bring an awful lot of middle-class professionals and relocating aspirational suburbanites to Didsbury. How will they ever fit in? 
Elders foretell of the great Manchester Storm of 2016.

The roads into the centre of the village become ever more blocked. Nero and Costa’s Red and Blue bookending of the village now makes them seem like old, established family businesses. 

The beard epidemic which spread (it’s an apparently chin-borne virus) has now infected the majority of Didsbury’s under 30 males. This is how they look to me. 

but I still think a mullet looks good. 

But this is M20. Autumn is arguably our most beautiful time of year. Fletcher Moss and the leafy streets lend themselves to the change in light. The shops may change, the make of car parked across your road at school time may change but… there will always be Axons, Evans and The Cheese Hamlet and someone smoking a ciggie outside The Nelson. 

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Twenty First Century Pub Crawl, with children

Every place has its pub crawl and M20 is no exception. Back in the ’80s when hair and collars reached for the skies and there was no such as thing as too much make-up, it was a full night out that started with The Olde Cock and The Didsbury ( Now both gastros with differing successes)  and via Crown, Dog, Albert, Nelson, The Old Grey (now Zizzi’s) and The Railway – it would be chips at Sweaty Betty’s now a poster site but rumoured to be Didsbury Lounge 2) before the Three Lions. The Golden, The Red and The White. The White Lion had bands downstairs, could be a bit lairy and a cab home afterwards from Tripps cost £2.

 

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com  I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think "One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here".

Courtesy of pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com I used to stare at this after a long night drinking and think “One Day I could swipe a Nectar card here”.

It was pints (although not for me, always the shorts and being really honest – I was really more interested in the snacks than the drinking. The advent of Scampi Fries in 1986 opened up a whole new world), Malibu if you felt lucky, Silk Cut and the latent threat of violence – heady times. A really good night could stretch to Mulberry’s or Severe/ Murder in Fallowfield. You could make a complete show of yourself without a single text, picture, Vine, Facebook, Pinterest, What’s App or truth getting out – marvellous days with less comeback. 

You never knew who you would meet on a night out

You never knew who you would meet on a night out


Last week, to celebrate Easter and Didsbury Son being out for the day, Didsbury Wife and I decided to recreate it for the twins. The Golden Lion is now a car park, The White Lion a Sainsbury’s and The Olde Cock is now crap – but we were not daunted. 

However, the thought of pushing the pram and downing drinks between nappy changes no longer enthralls; Didsbury Wife and I created the 40 something, small children Didsbury crawl.

1. Late breakfast at Caffe Nero with Pain au Raisins to share.

2. Then in the car for an adventure which took us to Alderley Edge for a toddler sized walk and lunch at The Wizard. Lunch out with toddlers and no high chairs does mean you need to be able to down in one. – bit it’s the parfait not the Pernod and Black.

3. Back via John Lewis where the Mighty Headed Boy lay down and staged a protest in the toy department. We coaxed him back with afternoon tea in the cafe; where at 18 months old they are SO last year. The number of floppy necked baldie babes not only made me pine for the days when they were toothless and inert but they looked huge; it was brilliant. With the sugar rush from a JL Battenberg calming down we left, satiated.

We got home feeling as we had done 25 years ago – not sure how we had spent so much, a little ashamed of our indulgence, with a stomach ache. We also had stories to tell and lots of laughs and the only time anyone had tried to hit me they used Iggle Piggle and shouted “Mummyo”; result.

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars in Didsbury

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. This was a great idea and worked well on radio until the second series when the B list celebs got wise and we were treated to a feigned angst over “I’ve never had a full body massage from a £300 per hour West End masseur followed by dinner at The Ivy and advice from a Tax Lawyer”. The reveal didn’t work.

I was thinking about this because a) there is only so much Iggle Piggle or Minecraft a dad’s brain can hold. B) oooh, a nappy. C) I’ve never watched Doctor Who (intentionally or for more than 5 minutes.) it was a global phenomenon last weekend. I met the writer at an event. He seemed lovely. Whilst all the talk was of Gallifrey ( or Gallipoli or something), all I could think of was how much I despised big scarves at school. I’ve only seen 1 Harry Potter and managed to find friends and family to take Didsbury Son to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dungeons and Dragons, zzzzzzzzzz

But. – what is the Didsbury equivalent? I’ve never parked on a double yellow in Didsbury Village? I’ve never had a haircut on School Lane? I never worked out what the smell is at Cineworld? Here are mine…

1. I’ve never stood outside The Nelson dancing for the traffic. It’s always my favourite set of lights to stop at. Last week Didsbury Son and I were treated to a beer inspired Soft Shoe Shuffle that was worthy of Strictly…

2. I’ve never seen anyone coming in or out of Didsbury Conservative Club. Once Fred Silvester disappeared they melted like (insert melting Doctor Who character) Nigella’s chocolate pudding and bankability.

3. I’ve never ordered something at Folk without having to repeat 5 minutes later. Give the waiters pens.

4. I’ve never worked out which tree covers the graves of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s soldiers by the river.

5. I’ve never got over the loss of Hippins, then Linen.

6. Altogether now… I’ve never been to Nido and it looks like the lights are off for good on the restaurant that cast no shadow.

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More lights than Nido and looking for a pen for a Folk waiter

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars in Didsbury

I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. This was a great idea and worked well on radio until the second series when the B list celebs got wise and we were treated to a feigned angst over “I’ve never had a full body massage from a £300 per hour West End masseur followed by dinner at The Ivy and advice from a Tax Lawyer”. The reveal didn’t work.

I was thinking about this because a) there is only so much Iggle Piggle or Minecraft a dad’s brain can hold. B) oooh, a nappy. C) I’ve never watched Doctor Who (intentionally or for more than 5 minutes.) it was a global phenomenon last weekend. I met the writer at an event. He seemed lovely. Whilst all the talk was of Gallifrey ( or Gallipoli or something), all I could think of was how much I despised big scarves at school. I’ve only seen 1 Harry Potter and managed to find friends and family to take Didsbury Son to Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dungeons and Dragons, zzzzzzzzzz

But. – what is the Didsbury equivalent? I’ve never parked on a double yellow in Didsbury Village? I’ve never had a haircut on School Lane? I never worked out what the smell is at Cineworld? Here are mine…

1. I’ve never stood outside The Nelson dancing for the traffic. It’s always my favourite set of lights to stop at. Last week Didsbury Son and I were treated to a beer inspired Soft Shoe Shuffle that was worthy of Strictly…

2. I’ve never seen anyone coming in or out of Didsbury Conservative Club. Once Fred Silvester disappeared they melted like (insert melting Doctor Who character) Nigella’s chocolate pudding and bankability.

3. I’ve never ordered something at Folk without having to repeat 5 minutes later. Give the waiters pens.

4. I’ve never worked out which tree covers the graves of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s soldiers by the river.

5. I’ve never got over the loss of Hippins, then Linen.

6. Altogether now… I’ve never been to Nido and it looks like the lights are off for good on the restaurant that cast no shadow.

20131128-231731.jpg

20131128-231821.jpg

More lights than Nido and looking for a pen for a Folk waiter

More Metrolink Musings,more hairdressers

If you build it they will come. They being Toni & Guy.

Just when you thought that the saturation levels of hairdressers in Didsbury had reached a level where only a convention for the Hirsuite could service this scissor-wielding infestation, it becomes a possibility.

Manchester has a Northern Quarter, a Gay Village, Chinatown, The Linen Quarter (it’s real) and The Curry Mile. Manchester City have disappeared so far up their own fundament that they call their football ground Metrolink stop “The Etihad Campus” (they offer a range of courses including entry level practical courses such as finding the meat in the hotdog, to advanced choreography with your back to the pitch). We have a re-invention of Ancoats as New Islington so why can’t Didsbury be The Snipping Quarter. We missed out on the large Hadron Collider (see last year’s blogs) but we have everything you need culturally (including Subway) to be a hairdressing tourist destination local.

It began as a tiny vision

It began as a tiny vision

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untilour village centre was full of Hi-Vis jacckets - bring it on

until our village centre was full of Hi-Vis jackets – bring it on

Didsbury has its own cultural season starting with Didsbury Festival and ending in West Fest. We have the al fresco cafe experience coming to Didsbury Park and nightly on the pavement next to The Nelson. Chains and indies welcome you to eat and drink away and we have our own university, twins club, sporting facilities and massage parlour. This is before the opportunity of a casino night out, the echo of the empty Gourmet Burger King or the chance to park your Gondola outside Cibo and enjoy a Venetian experience.  e also have Wilkinson’s – the original mode forMr Benn’s shop and Pete’s Pockets. If you break it they will fix.
We need this. There is an empty shop on School Lane where Nest moved to the village. Sweaty Betty’s chippy shop (RIP) on Barlow Moor Road will one day be refurbed which means at least two more hairdressers in Didsbury. If Toni & Guy or John and Yates ever fall out there could be more hairdressers. By 2016 we could have a hairdresser on every street corner from Parrs Wood to Burton Road.

We will need metros full of hairy tourists to fill their faux leather chairs and keep the small talk going.
10 years ago banks and estate agents ruled the roost, then came the charity shops but now we are the snipping quarter – this is no place for the bald.

He is only 7 months old and already has hairdressers stopping him in the streets

He is only 7 months old and already has hairdressers stopping him in the streets

Top 10 Didsbury Tips for 2013

A busy week in our house. The British love affair with non-specific winter viruses always interests me. Whether its Noro Virus, Winter Colds, Avian vs Swine (surely the follow up to Alien v Predator) it’s all headlines. It seems each year that the fact we live in a damp region of an Island in the North Sea is forgotten by the time a disappointing summer has given way to a beautiful October and then overcast until a week in May.

Living in Manchester we don’t have the glamour of highland whiteouts or Coastal flash floods to brag about BUT if it’s a chest infection, bad stomach or general cold we are without peer. I believe in the power of multi-vitamins, flu jabs and positive thinking, so a weekend of spectacular emissions from both ends of all the Didsbury Dad trio has been an unwelcome intrusion into reality. Didsbury Wife and I also succumbed to … The virus and I was left to count new blessings this morning. Thank you grandparents for a few free hours to sleep, sleep and consider what I have encountered in prampushing around the haircut capital of the North…

1. The Didsbury Lounge: opening soon and a welcome addition to BarlowMoor Road. I checked records and it will be the first non hairdressers to open on the road since records began and the fit out looks promising. I look forward to leaving the twins at home and sneaking out for a crafty word or two with friends.

2. Elm Interiors Closing Down Sale: this is a Didsbury tradition, as established as an over-enthusiastic smoker flagging you down to talk City if you stop at the lights by The Nelson between 7pm and Midnight. One day it will shut and we will lose the slight whiff of bath bombes in the village but chances are it will be back with some name combination. Of Elm, House and Interiors.

3. The rise of Community Index. It’s a great read. A combination of local people, local adverts and useful info. It was nearly squashed by the gloss of Didsbury Magazine, a pointlessly Hale and Altrincham focused advert that takes less time to read than a takeaway menu. I read it and wonder if there is another Didsbury I’ve never heard of that still thinks its 1998 and chrome is the new black. Also disappointingly unabsorbant when Didsbury Son uses it to dry his Lacrosse boots.

4. Fletcher Moss: so much beauty on our doorstep. I had a brief recce to check the possibility of getting around with a double buggy. I can’t wait to introduce the mighty head and his smiley sister to the joy of the boardwalk, the river, the gardens and the Alpine Tea Rooms. It already has me wistful at the thought.

5. Festival season: As the Baftas herald the Oscars so Didsbury Arts Festival beckons Didsbury Festival, Cavfest, WestFest and Didsbury Barberfest when every one of Didsbury’s 6000 hairdressers marches hand in hand through the village singing “Who Will Buy This Wonderful Morning”.

6. The rise of The Reporter. I love The Reporter. Many years ago in baggier times I wrote a pop column for it which only promoted friends. The Reporter is still a heady mix of the good and bad, the campaigning and the minutiae. Personally, I like the minutiae and its classifieds are still a colourful crawl through the city’s underbelly.

7. U-turns and HS2 hassle. The antidote to the arrival of The Metrolink would seem to be the potential loss of Palatine Road to a train tunnel. Not got my head around it yet.

8. I’ve never actually seen anyone going up the stairs to either Karma Sutra Massage or Didsbury Conservative Club but somebody must do; I will keep my eyes peeled and let you know.

9. The Metrolink: the station in Didsbury was chosen especially to be next to AiryFairy CupCake Boutique. On Lapwing Lane they chose Fusion Deli and at Parrs Wood they just needed somewhere Tarantino could make the follow-up to Django Unchained.

10. Siemens building will turn out to be a conduit for alien contact similar to Men in Black 2. A long shot, but you never know.

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The proposed imaginary badger cull in The Archers has forced many of them north. We found this one inside our TV.

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Didsbury Wife spots a snowdrop

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