Dateline 1/10/11… Didsbury son and I were up early today. The battle for pinch and punch on the first of the month; slip slap can’t hit back has become competitive. There is finally an advantage to being past 37 and needing to get up early through force of nature. 1-0 to Didsbury Dad and a good start to the weekend. We decided to do the great dad/son sitting on the dorstep not saying much and doing less – sun coming up slowly over the new Metrolink, bottles clinking into bins in the village’s pubs and cats, squirrels and early risers mooching about with a hint of a smile. A rare and lovely Manchester morning.
Anyway 30 seconds of bliss before Didsbury Son began talking to me about cartoons and asking questions, generally interrupting my stupor. I decided it was time for some proactive, interactive, inventive and patient parenting. I got him the iPad, a glass of juice and brought myself 15 minutes of silence. Aah back to the bliss.
The South Manchester Reporter was delivreminiscent was my turn to bother Didsbury Son by reminiscing about a time when Didsbury Dad thought he was a media darling. The Withington Reporter had it’s office on School Lane and held the pulse of M20. From The Midland (now The Metropolitan), to the dole office (Withington Community Hospital). From The Old Grey Horse (now Zizzi’s) to The Dog and Partridge (still The Dog) we would wait for Trelawney’s Sound of the Suburbs – where wannabe Indie moppers, Madchesterians and DJs would wait for their first publicity and we would find out which band was hot and whether we went to school with them.
I even had a brief reign as Trelawney and begin to waffle at the poor boy, sharing my 20s with an increasingly bored Didsbury Son. My “Do you know what we used to do where Cafe Rouge and O’Neill’s are now?” was a final straw. Didsbury Son decided it was time for my pacifier, the sports section of the paper and a cup of coffee. We went back to comfortable silence.
But this day had more in store for us. The scourge of modern man, the true love of modern family woman, Boden and this time it was in town. Didsbury Wife had a flyer through the door for one of the most excruciating yet car crashingly entertaining mornings fo the year – The Boden surplus sale. For one morning every year or so Boden take over the George Carnell Leisure Centre in Urmston; one of the finest culture clashes of the season. 4X4’s, Freyas and Archies and lots of middle aged women in matching umbrellas descend on an unsuspecting gym near The Trafford Centre to fight over remnants of the Boden Catalogue. At any one time there are 4 Henrys and 3 Jemimas being squeezed into colour coordinated two pieces. Didsbury Son and I make a half hearted attempt to join the melee, find something and then retreat into a corner to watch the tears, tantrums and purple satin lining. This is a precision operation for both shoppers and sales staff. Do not be fooled by a sea of stripes and deep pastels, this is like running with bulls in Pamplona, hesitate and you are lost.
As the temperature and the pitch rises I am transported back to my front step and morning sun that welcomed October. It may only have lasted the first few days but when this week’s South Manchester comes through the door with rain and cold accompaniments, I will be recreating the Sound of the Suburbs and boring Didsbury Son with why a Guy Called Gerald beats Olly Murs, hands down.