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 “Tiswas”

No More Mr Rock n Roll

A week is a long time in the life of a butterfly; but the last week away from Didsbury and the milky-stained bosom of my expanded family has seemed like an age.
On the face of it all I should have been in Didsbury Dad heaven. A week away from all night soother chasing, school holidays and sciatica in a gilded city with a hotel and expenses. (I have been away on a creative media promotional multi-platform content driven job. Or whatever it is I  do for a living.) It went well and bonds, collaborations and possibly a few grudges were formed. But  as the end of the last day drew near I could feel the impatience to be home becoming unbearable.

My hotel rider no longer asks for Jack Daniels and Vodka. I never actually drank Jack Daniels but I felt I should ask for it.

My hotel rider no longer asks for Jack Daniels and Vodka. I never actually drank Jack Daniels but I felt I should ask for it.

I was the mirrored reverse of Didsbury Son’s back-to-school blues. I could feel it in the back of my knees; that aching push that seems to make you want to run or buckle – 21st Century fight or flight. That desire to run home tempered by contractual obligations.
Seven days without Burton Road, counting new barber shops and chewing the fat at Fusion Deli is a long tack but then it hit me. I am a changed person. The opportunity to stay out late, eat out of cardboard and talk rubbish to strangers has diminished to an atom sized nothing.

I missed Didsbury Son’s endless re-telling of American cartoons and playground mis-information; the cusped enthusiasm / indifference of my pre-teen babe. I missed the dream-interrupting nudges from Didsbury Wife  indicating my turn to attempt night-time serenity in the nursery. The morning Skype calls with four smiley faces reminded me who I could be having breakfast with in a last question wrong on a quiz show type of cruelty.

Back home this morning after my stint of changing, bottle-feed and play with the largest 6 month old head and his smiley sister I realised what I missed most; breakfast. This all-you-can-wear  porridge and chopped banana fiesta is better than any custard pie fight I have witnessed. It’s combination of surreal, physical and whimsical comedy is the perfect start to any day.

It all became clear to me - a representation

It all became clear to me – a representation

I  am back off for another short stint soon; this time in a bigger city with better room service. Let’s see if this trip has anything to match the Tiswas-esque breakfast experience that hands-down beats a king size, room-service and a peaceful night.



Tiswas “The Bucket of Water Song” a blueprint for family living

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



Chris Tarrant v Jabba the Hut; a generational schism

When Didsbury Son goes into overdrive about some technical point on Zelda or begins to explain to me the difference between R2D2 and a Ford Zephyr I smile, zone out, remember to sound interested and silently thank my own Didsbury Dad. Didsbury Son is a bright and typical 10 year old. Whatever is his latest must have/see/do is endlessly fascinating and he is an expert. It also seems to have a directly negative correlation with whatever interests me.

In my mind I zoom back to the late 70s and realise how much more patient my own Didsbury Dad was compared to me. Actually he may have been able to sleep with his eyes open and put his “ooh” and “yes” on autopilot but at the time I thought he genuinely cared about 2nd Division football, what happened at break and Tiswas.

I think I give away my lack of interest too easily.

I have become expert at looking for a pause (anything from 2-20 minutes) and diving in to distract him with a cheap gag, shiny object or task to complete. Then that fantastic middle class guilt kicks in and I feel bad for not being able to feign interest, or better still join in and care about Clone Wars. In my mind the West Didsbury Dads of Freyas and Archies are on their hands and knees on their polished wooden floors re-enacting the battle between Manequin Moonwalker and Shabba the Hut or singing along to Glee, whilst I offer Didsbury Son 50p to go to the shop and buy some sweets or ask him to finish his homework.

However, this guilt, indifference and avoidance does have its upside. On the rare occasion our interests collide, the homework is done and 5Live is quietened there is magic. Magic in a slouching, hands on snacks, eyes on TV, snuggled up in one corner of the couch kind of magic.

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