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 “Wilmslow Road”

The Didsbury Dozen

It’s that lovely M20 time of year. Those preparing to queue fromq

6am on Christmas Eve morning to collect their turkeys from Evans are planning their wardrobe. The white elephant formerly known as Chalk and Nido harks back to being a small and popular Turkish  restaurant with a belting takeaway and the price of a pint of milk in the Shell garage (now a Londis? In Didsbury?) finally gets more expensive than a barrel of oil. Didsbury Park is packed with Freyas and Archies chasing French Bulldogs and residents of Cavendish Road, Elm Grove and Beaver Road count down to schools closing and being allowed to use their own parking spaces without abuse – its Christmas.

turkeyA turkey this morning in training for the Evans challenge

By any popular account 2016 has been momentous. Never mind politics, celebrity death, refugee crises and hacking becoming more fashionable than Vogue. 2016 will always be the year when, after a quarter of a century as a flyposting board – Sweaty Betty’s reopened as Nueve.

stop-inn The Ghost of Christmas Past

It’s also been the year I became a part-time Didsbury resident for the first time… this century. So here is my 2016 Didsbury Dozen. Not the pub crawl but the 12 places I think fly the flag for us.

There are loads of great places missed out here and some dodgy ones that we won’t namecheck. But for family reasons Croma, Solita and Folk are always good. for cheeky drinks I love Wine & Wallop, The Charlie George or whatever its called on the edge of Burton Road and The Fletcher Moss is still ace. The Third Eye is always a winner, Sangam 2 always better than you’d ever imagine and Copson Street has a great Japanese Restaurant and a Halal Butcher that sells the best hot wraps in Manchester. Bourbon & Black is still open and Cau never seem to have a table when I want to go.

This is not based on anything over than personal taste. But in the year when Stop Inn and The Mud Crab Cafe went, Jade Garden and Laughing Buddha look as though they are near wheezing their last and I’ve barely made it to Dot’s Cafe in the park – these are all worth checking out.

 

  1. Casa Italia: A Finnish owned, Italian cafe with a nice line in wooden boards to eat from; brilliant. Has been busy since day one and hits the mark in quality over quantity sending you out sated not pogged (it’s a technical term).

 

  1. Pizza Express on Lapwing Lane: It had a refit (I think) to cope with the pincered challenge of Chilli Banana at  Inman’s (heard great things but you can’ buy a Chanucah card there any more) and the latest pointless pub refit at the Greenfinch in Hand. You can’t beat the Tuna Nicoise, everyone’s always friendly. A visit is also a chance to catch up with at least five old friends as you all now get the same discount vouchers.

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  1. Volta: Burton Road chic and design at its finest with the added bonus of good service from people who know how to treat customers.

volta Don’t waste a visit on children

  1. Art of Tea:  Indifferent service, uncomfy chairs, expensive coffee. The best toast and peanut butter, something I can’t define and one of the best places to contemplate life or write a masterpiece or two.

 

  1. Costa on Wilmslow Road: This is down to the manager. She’s lovely. Always slightly hassled but stretched like a good pizza base rather than a spring. When Costa opened in the old Boots home it was revolutionary. Now there are 38 coffee outlets and 2 Costa vending machines within coughing distance. It holds its own.

the-ghost-of-christmas-past If only they’d sold coffee

  1. G’s Gourmet Kitchen on Fog Lane: Curried Goat. Horse Carriage. Morecambe Wise. This is a great addition. Friendly, tasty, spicy.

 

  1. Khandoker: From its table settings to its car park it does not look Didsbury. The view from the window of 4 traffic lights, a walking bridge and the less glamorous view of Parrswood’s entertainment centre do not bode well; but it’s superb. Affordable, well-cooked and friendly. Each visit I learn a staff member’s life story.

 

  1. La Cantina: The Green Cafe Rouge. My only report says it’s muy bien but it’s like looking at an old friend made up as something you know they could never be.

images And Lo, a star appeared in the sky where Cafe Rouge had been

  1. Refresh: it’s tiny and tucked away behind the Co-Op but it’s worth turning off at Carmello’s for China cups, gorgeous bread, a range of sandwiches worth the carbs and a decent chat. No sausage sandwich should ever be taken for granted; they don’t.

 

  1. Fusion Deli aka Pete’s: Pete, Tom, Claire and the cast of privately educated teenagers who work have created a little world. It’s a community resource, a commuters’ drop in, has the best 24 hour matured reduced sandwiches in the city and I love it. A caffeine comfort blanket.

 

  1.  New Peking House: there are other Chinese food outlets and restaurants in the area but then again you can buy Norpak Butter at Aldi. I’ve watched the children grow up, serve and leave – but the Hot & Sour Soup and Salt ‘n’ Pepper Ribs have never dropped in quality.

hot-and-sour-soup This is in my diary next to a picture of the children

  1. Piccolino Didsbury: Francisco, Nico and the team get it right every time. It’s worth saving up for a visit and hard not to write this as a fan letter. They are even patient when the twins are losing it loudly and it’s busy. I always walk out feeling a little bit special. I never thought anything would be better than The Nose on this site. But The Nose didn’t do pasta like this or make foil animals to entertain my kids. piccolino-didsbury Clam Place Calm Place Calm Place Calm Place

With the pearly princess distracted by the attention she gets I can flirt with Didsbury Wife. We can pretend we shall sweep home full of joy, good wine and passion fruit sorbet and our first thought won’t be “Do you know where the pull-ups are?”

Goditi il pasto, ci vediamo presto.

 

  • No bribes were taken in compiling this list but I would like to thank Omeprazole for helping me through.
  • images-1My hero, putting the Aaah into acid reflux.

A re-edit, navel gazing and core strength

At the age of 39 years, more than 39 months and 39 days this much I know about being a Didsbury Dad and the worries it brings.   
1. The DVLA are planning to introduce a section in the driving test that includes parking to pick up an order from Urban Grille on Wilmslow Road. To pass, customers have to avoid parking across a junction, pedestrian crossing and cycle lane without dropping their mobile or missing an expletive within the conversation they are having on it whilst parking.

2. In a year when the headlines have fed us a daily dose of carnage, megadeath, celebrity death, general hatred, fear and pointless politicians braying like a vine of a broken record there is solace in the simple pleasures of M20. 

I try to steer clear of politics in this column BUT living in a genuine multicultural area and enjoying the benefits of the 100% Polish Dot and her re-invention of the Pavillion in the park, the Finnish owned, Casa Italia, the German Supermarket chain, the best French patisserie outside Paris, the Nepalese etc. etc. Enforces why Didsbury is such a lovely place to live.  

 My greatest current joy is thinking that who or whatever was responsible for the word “Brexit” is probably a rich combination of the words TWAddle and caT. 
3. Bringing up a teenager, albeit that Didsbury Son is still rather lovely, requires the diplomacy and stealth of Jonathan Pines in The Night Manager. I am more naturally Iggle Piggle In The Nightgarden.  

  My last promo shot pre the twins’ birth shows the true effect of sleep deprivation 

4. Children go through many developmental stages. The twin boddlers are currently at the walk on every wall, pavement crack and step on any road. The average time to walk 500 yards is 20 minutes, 2 tantrums and a slight graze. 

5. My latest attempts to reach Self Actualisation involve Pilates and strengthening my “core”. (Who knew in the 80s that slouching and smoking weren’t positive lifestyle choices?). I now finally know what a neutral spine is (although I’m still more C than S), but tipping my pelvis under still sounds like it should be a euphemism for something you wouldn’t ask for on a first or second date.  

 Recreating I Am Kurious Orange for nursery

6. Donald Trump is not an idiot. Laughable at times yes, but clever in all the most negative of ways. A shadow print of Tony Robbins. 
7. When transatlantic fear and racism crowd my mind. When the challenges of call centres, tax changes, not being 20 something and life balance seem too much, i try to be positive. I lie awake at night listening to the house, the cats and the family breathing. Knowing that for at least half the house there is very little that can’t be solved with a Kinder Egg.  

  If there isn’t a My Little Pony in here I’m in trouble. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3HMhWB95ldQ


This Much I Know… Didsbury Confessions

This much I know. 39 years and 11 months is now so far behind me, there have been so many moons that they have their own fable. I went to confession (obviously not Catholic, but bear with me). I began. Forgive me father for I have sinned. It is over three years since my last full night’s sleep and I have been having dark thoughts about the presenters on CBeeBies being eaten by Milkshake’s chirpier, brighter, less educationally motivated, primary-coloured team. I know longer remember which of Didsbury’s Estate Agents is more purple and last time I blinked, Didsbury Son had become a broken-voiced brunette, not my squeaky little blondini. 

  Parenthood. Despite the occasional case splashed over the tabloids, you can’t stop them growing and changing. Sadly, the more independent and indifferent they become – the more you are probably doing your job well.

As Global News’ “refit” stretches into a fourth month and we pass a unique milestone of 6 months since a new hairdresser opened in M20, this much I know.

1. After the huge success of Bisou Bisou, the promising start by Bosu Body Bar has left me hoping that the new Italian Deli on Wilmslow Road is called “Bologna Bad Boys” in this year of the alliterative B.

1a). Private Hire Cabs must get paid extra for doing u-turns in Didsbury village. The only other explanation I thought of was unprintable. 

2. Hipster Beards show no sign of being shaved or trimmed and the American Hick look is now soooo fashionable that is not just my lack of caring about reality television, understanding of Periscope or my Mullet that give my age away.

3. When potty training be careful what you wish for. Using Chocolate buttons as an early reward is a habit harder to undo in a toddler, than smoking in an adult. 

4. We may not be able to solve religious disharmony on a global scale, but surely if we all send positive thoughts then Waitrose will open in Didsbury. ( I have identified several locations East, West and Centre should they bite.)

5. The difference between defining Didsbury varies greatly between Estate Agents (20 square miles) and School Authorities (200 yards).

6. With morning mist, clear nighttime skies and a choice of Bookies – this is still a great place to live.

7. When you start mixing up the names of My Little Pony and Paw Patrol in a discussion about horse racing you know you have changed, not your friends. 

8. I met someone with triplets last week. They looked at me with the same look I save for when I see someone with one boddler moaning about being tired. 

 
9. I may complain about teenagers, but in two weeks it’s Winter Camp. Didsbury Son and I will wave goodbye with an equal sense of imminent freedom. A day later I will be slightly twitchy and looking forward to his smile coming back – whichever mood and scent accompanies it. 

Charles Darwin, Giddy Goats and The Bisou Conspiracy

The fashion for hipster beards and the move towards e-cigarettes has given the Metrolink station a specific retro look. The gauche style of inhaling the e-cig as though it were a pipe has given the ramp to the ticket machine the look of a WG Grace / Charles Darwin look-a-like competition.   
Victorian favourites the peacocks plan to ride in on the wave of the summer retro look. 

I don’t understand e-cigs. I used to smoke many years ago, pre-Didsbury Dad days when a) I could afford it and b) you didn’t have to stand outside like a plane spotter at the airport. There seems no pleasure to e-cigs. With nicotine patches you could forget you were wearing them and “accidentally” have a smoke to get a genuinely scary hit. Nicotine gum gives you something to do with your teeth other than bite your nails and going cold turkey makes you look dangerous, which can be useful in a crowd.

I never take being an “ex” for granted; but know that there is more chance of Cibo and Nido returning to Didsbury and becoming successful chains than there is of me buying flavoured vapours to inhale.

Anyway, whilst I’ve been off there have been many changes in Didsbury’s retail look that need attention.

1. Zizzi, gone? This faux Pizza Express and its signage have disappeared from the building that sits in a prime location on the corner of Wilmslow and Barlow Moor Road, but has floundered since it was the Old Grey Horse in the 80s/90s and shows no sign of gaining popularity. Would make a great 3-floor Bisou Bisou Bisou. Sneaking around Didsbury with a turquoise box full of French patisserie has become our naughty little habit. 

2. Didsbury’s first day spa has ground to a halt. On the site of the legendary (to the 40 and overs) Sweaty Betty’s Chippy, the insulation sits in the window like lost bales of hay and the window display has changed from advertising for staff to offering time shares. 

  
Didsbury’s next charity shop?

3. The Dog Grooming shop, In The Dog House on Barlow Moor Road is still open, defying the “How Long will it last” sweepstake kit in the South Manchester Reporter. Not sure if it’s the drop-off proximity to Albert’s Shed or the sudden influx of Pugs and Daschunds to Didsbury’s parks but well done – it’s cool as fox merchandise and breezy demeanour are superb and I’ll be in for a wet shave on Blade’s day off. 

4. The laser clinics are here, Cafe Rouge still stands like a ghost ship and we still haven’t got a Waitrose. There’s a great new clothes shop on School Lane and the Fish Masala at Sangam 2 is worth the view into the Karma Sutra. 
I had the perfect Didsbury conversation in Giddy Goat Toys a couple of weeks ago. I was having a natter with Mrs Goat when Jed the Windowcleaner, complete with Manchester City sweatshirt breezed in. Our three-way conversation moved seamlessly from childcare, the weather and Bisou Bisou, to children and the angst and stress caused by them being led astray in their choice of football team. Mid myopic drone all three of us turned to the patient and brave mother at the till buying her 4 children presents with a hearty “Eid Mubarak” before settling back to judgemental football chat. Anyone who takes more than one non-sleeping child into a toy shop deserves respect. 

  Rumour has it that Zizzi shut after failing to win planning permission for this extension.

Next week – the perils of poverty discussed through the prism of the Bloke selling Sticky Toffee Pudding in too pushy a manner outside The Cheese Hamlet last Saturday. 

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, a desirable residency with room for an extension

Didsbury waves goodbye to the summer and welcomes indoor dining and drinking and hairdressing. There are changes but its back to the future across M20.

The Pound Bakery scam stickers on the site of the old Didsbury village Farm Shop (proof we are not yet ready for a £4 sandwich) is still my favourite trick. Apparently it is still set to be a Toni & Guy, they are just waiting to see if they can adapt the cold store for beauty treatments.

Dimitri’s has changed names but not  pricing strategy, Nido and Applebeys still defy the laws of economics to stay open. Each time I pass I feel a little pang of guilt at their emptiness and a little source of joy they are not mine. A bit like being at school when someone else is being told off.

WestFest was responsible for more weight gain that De Niro for Raging Bull and… It’s a sign of the times- we have TWO new Estate Agents ready to fight of our business.

This is back to the future. Before we were the charity shop Northern HQ. Before every shop sold coffee and flowers, we were a village of banks, off licenses and Estate Agents. The TSB is now Nero, Merrills, a shoe shop and 10 years ago this month Jo Padmore’s beautiful displays replaced Victoria Wine. Now we have a flange, or is it a whoop of Estate Agents coming to Didsbury – and there is previous.

Just as Didsbury Barbers fell out and became two barbers within yards of each other, so we welcome back Julian Wadden from his self-imposed Stockport Sojourn. In a nutshell ( a spacious shell with split level living options and planning permission for a utility room) and with no attempt at specific reality here goes an anecdotal Didsbury memory. Once there was Jordan & Fishwick. A flame-haired young agent joined and they were Jordan, Fishwick and Wadden – Mazeltov.

Local residents welcome a new Estate Agents in Didsbury

Local residents welcome a new Estate Agents in Didsbury

THEN he left. Jordan & Fishwick went back to being a duo and Julian moved to the upwardly mobile end of Stockport where he raised an army of Estate Agents using a simple purple on white board that conquered The Heatons and Reddish and now… He’s Back.
The window display promises evolved estate agentry, no spells, no curses and the window looks just like JP& Brimelow who are already successful, so it’s a winner. I like Estate Agent wars. It’s similar to watching the coalition government debate – you don’t really want either to win but you might get to see sharp suited people getting uppity.

But the Wadden Army has competition in the West. Callaghans Estate Agents are opening on Burton Road at the heart of our BoHo left of centre. Both promise a new kind of estate agent ing – which unless it means they are cutting hair, selling coffee and not selling houses is hard to understand.

Failure in business has a high price

Failure in business has a high price

The excitement never stops. Now if I want to buy flowers and coffee and sell a house my choice is bewildering. I may go and have a massage to ponder. Didsbury Wife reckons The brilliant Village Physio is the most suitable – if not the one most searched for online when people look for a massage in Didsbury.

The Euro Crisis reaches Didsbury

I’ve been working in the Northern Quarter today. It’s been like walking through my past with rose-tinted organic glasses. Manchester’s Northern Quarter is like West Didsbury without a hospital, with more people looking nervously at passing police cars and no cupcakeries

The 142 to and from town is a good indicator of the city’s temperature. At this time of year it is full of braying Home Counties émigrés trying to sound unfeasibly hip, only to give themselves away with comments such as
“New Business School, it’s proper sick (sic)”
Aah the 142, trolling up and down Wilmslow Road and depositing me home to the iPoddingly hopeful embrace of Didsbury Son and the virtually popping with pregnancy Didsbury Wife. Home – to a Didsbury Village wracked with uncertainty, insecurity and change as Euro’s crisis sees us lose Spain and Italy in one week.

La Tasca GONE. La Tasca, as Spanish as a Co-op baguette is French, whose Iberian cuisine is sourced from the olive groves off the M60, gone. La Tasca, home to some memorable celebrations and unfeasibly priced Albondingas. No longer can we marvel at Spanish spoken with flattened Northern vowels pronouncing Rioja with a K. If La Tasca can just shut without warning then what hope the stainless tables and unscraped chairs of Gourmet Burger King; where the staff to diner ratio matches that of the canteen at a High Security prison.

The new menu at La Tasca

Enough? No. Felicini’s is no more. Its having a paint and makeover and a new menu, a new name and a new identity. Just tell us the truth. Felicini’s is an ex Didsbury resident. it didn’t try to expand sideways into Delia’s? It didn’t aim to go upwards to incorporate the only health and beauty salon never to advertise, it is more radical. This morning I wondered if Felicini’s was going to launch a new Italian menu that shuns Pizza, pasta and Parmesan to return coccoon like to The Didsbury Village Wine Bar? I wasn’t too far off. It’s a coffee emporium with baked extras. Lucky, as we are down to our last 10 coffee choices in the village.

Holland and Barratt still hasn’t opened, the proposed hairdresser stil hasn’t snipped, Didsbury Village Farm shop is already having a re-fit and apparently the RSPCA shop doesn’t sell animals.

It is nearly October. The nights are drawing in and if I had any idea who might care… I could swear it was a conspiracy to cut out the middle man and move Didsbury to MediaCityUK.

“Enough, there is no more. ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.”

20120927-202715.jpg

Didsbury Wife surveys the venue formerly known as Felicini’s

 

The Costa Identity / Supremacy / and the other one

It’s 3pm and I am in Costa Coffee on Wilmlsow Road in Didsbury, ostensibly to work on my laptop. Thinking it may be a creatively difficult afternoon I have a cup of coffee that is so American Fat it has 2 handles and I am slightly ashamed by its obvious greed.

I love it in here. Costa’s clientage always give inspiration. (Although as a liberal media Didsbury Dad I obviously support the independents and am an Art of Tea regular.) The staff here are corporate friendly and professional. The camp over decorated indifferent moaners so beloved of small coffee houses don’t last long.

The Costa day pulls in the village, strata by strata. In term-time harassed dads delight kids with overpriced smoothies and cakes to tempt them to school. Then at 9am come the mums, mums to be and pre-college kids swamping the occasional early business meeting. It is loud, competitive and marks out the territory of the surrounding playgrounds.

A long shot of Didsbury Son that will be relevant to the next blog, not this one

I am usually here about 10. It’s Freelance central. Strong coffees and laptops push the ambient temperature up as individual men grunt cautiously from behind screens that hold draft versions of scripts. Potentially impressive phonecalls are handled loudly. We all leave for a meeting, nodding supportively about the failure of commissioners/producers/editors/audiences etc.

By late morning it is the retired and comfortable (they also take the lunch/post lunch period) who remember Blaggs, the old Boots, Percevals and Tesco in the village.

They give way to excitable schoolies and students who share exorbitant drinks and talk whilst texting and tweeting with a speed and code that impresses and depresses simultaneously.

And then… At 6, the early evening brings first dates and Internet-arranged blind dates.  I have been lucky enough to be “working” next to three of these excruciating occasions which made me thankful for Didsbury Wife and Son and for the self-delusion of those in here.

Time for a refill. What is the point of a frapuccino in England? Is it meant to be ironic?

God, Toggles and Chocolate

Our house reads from differing sides of the Old Testament. My Passover is Didsbury Wife’s Last Supper – same God, different caterers. Her Easter Egg trumps my Matzo but the Charoset (pronounced by continuously clearing ones throat whilst shouting et) is gaining favour. Then comes the dilemma. Didsbury Son is an easy-going and friendly only-child; so he receives an Augustus Gloop of chocolate eggs and has no sibling rivals to steal them; just me after he is asleep and I am pretending that chocolate stimulates the creative juices, not the salivary glands. The mixing of religions can be invigorating and waist expanding and not mind if you are not careful. I am many things, but not that careful.

Cub Camp Catering Tent

May 15th is a bittersweet day. Pride at Didsbury son winning The Pip Hartley challenge on a cubs weekend, tinged with sadness at missing the last day of the football season and my lot ending on a slump that had begun pre-Christmas. As proud parents we travel out of Didsbury and even Greater Manchester. It could be Derbyshire, Lancashire or North Wales, it is all interchangeable to me. Narrow roads, grey buildings and no Flat Whites. 5Live fades too quickly and my 3G goes as we enter the gulag they stayed at with only 10 minutes gone in a pointless match to all but… dads in their early 40s with a fear of being asked to go camping.

Cub camp resembles some 70s TV imagining of post apocalyptic Britain; with toggles and orange headbands. To Didsbury Son it is a land of adventure and glory with friends, campfires and late night songs and stories. To Didsbury Wife it has Didsbury Son and is therefore the best place on earth.  We coo diligently about his team’s great navigation; breathe through our mouths to avoid the overwhelming smell of damp people sharing a small space but our pride is mixed with dread. I realise that it is muddy fields with toggles rather than football grounds and balls that I will probably be traipsing around for the next few years and the thought of a wet night in a tent is making my knees creak in fear.

There must be a football ground near here

Christmas Eve 2010: Part 1

Didsbury at Christmas time is a magical place. We are an area of three parts – East, West and Village. There are lovely Victorian mansions, 30s solid estates and some new builds that look like prisons or seafront buildings. Didsbury has several great parks, a river running through it, main roads and its own motorway junction. Depending on your take it is aspirational, bohemian, classless, posh or desirable. It is still a media enclave, still has an air of independence, but knows the value of a decent chain store.
From the delis, estate agents and primarily chain pubs in the Village Centre to the delis, estate agents and smaller chain pubs in West Didsbury. It encompasses the ugly practicality of Star City where the Christmas lights are on all year to the deli and estate agent free Fletcher Moss where the river is beautiful, the countryside breathtaking and a glass of wine in any of the three bars there costs the same as a decent bottle in the village.
Marks & Spencer, The Cheese Hamlet and Evans Fishmongers on Christmas Eve morning are fantastic microcosmos of our society. People travel from surrounding areas – men folk who think Spar is a hypermarket queuing quietly at 7am on Christmas Eve. Twice written underlined lists from harassed spouses in their hands knowing that an unbronzed turkey, a poor quality Stilton or the wrong organic sprouts could mean a shunned and apologetic Christmas. There is a palpable air of fear in the air, not covered by false bonhomie.
If we ever get invaded these are the scenes I expect as rows of middle management people carriers and improbable 4x4s line Wilmslow Road. Queues, initially friendly become less so as Extra Virgin gives way to merely Olive Oil before the dreaded “produce of more than one country” label threatens the residents.
Didsbury has been evacuated and the queues for supplies formed early as Marks had a £10 meal deal advertised in the window and the chickens on offer are all Oakham. One day I will go to Oakham.

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