After a drink in the bar for courage we prepared to go out again and we were excited about this because some of us were going ice skating. Christine can’t go on the ice of course because she is too accident prone even under perfect walking conditions and neither Sue of Mike S felt confident about taking to the ice but the rest of us were all keen to give it a try so we paid our entrance fee and strapped on the excruciatingly painful bright orange boots and carefully took to the ice.
The strange thing about ice skating is that it is a lot more difficult than it looks and instead of gliding elegantly around the outdoor arena we were stumbling gracelessly across the frozen surface just being thankful to remain vertical. Kim quickly abandoned any attempt at proper skating and went around clutching on to a sort of ice rink zimmer frame, Mike W quickly got cold feet and abandoned the ice almost as soon as he had started but after a shaky start Helene was lapping faster and faster and Margaret was a complete natural with lashings of grace and poise.
I managed to stay upright through a dozen or so circuits but although I was beginning to feel like Christopher Dean and was humming Bolero to myself as inspiration I am fairly sure it wasn’t pretty to look at for those spectating. For a start I found it impossible to skate with both feet so quickly established an awkward style of keeping my left foot in constant contact with the ice and pushing myself along with nervous little stabs of the right foot and then sliding for as long as possible before starting over again. I found that stopping was especially difficult and the only really confident way of coming to a standstill was to plot a course for the side of the rink and then crash into the wooden fences surrounding the ice and it is difficult to make that look in any way stylish!
The entrance fee and boot hire was for a full hour but after twenty minutes without anyone injuring themselves we decided that this was probably quite long enough and to stay longer might increase the risk of broken bones and lacerations so we returned the boots and left in search of a restaurant and an application for ‘dancing on ice’ will almost certainly have to wait until after quite a bit more practice.