I can’t ice skate. At all. I can drag myself round, sweating profusely, whilst gripping onto the side and clawing myself round the ring, with a look of sheer panic on my face. And that’s about the best I can hope for. If I encounter a more terrified looking ice skater holding onto the side, I might sometimes try to expertly skate past them. But most of the time, I lose my balance, shit myself and slow-mo skate back to the safety of the perimeter.
Laurie, on the other hand, can skate backwards. And forwards, And fast. And he does all of these things while I use my fingertips to heave my hefty weight around the rink. I also have a deep fear that, should I fall, my fingers would be immediately sliced off by a fellow skater. Probably Laurie, skating backwards. A childhood friend with very protective parents managed to pass on a whole host of incomprehensible fears to me, and this is one of them. That the dull blades on a pair of rented roller skate might be able to cut off part of my body.
I do like ice skating though, who doesn’t?! And have wanted to take Ebony for ages, so we decided to go during the summer. She has a book (one of many) about a little rabbit who ice skates, and whenever we read it she talks about how much she wants to go skating. I found out that the ice rink in Altrincham offers toddler and parent sessions. They have them during the week, but the thought of taking Ebony ice skating alone is terrifying. I couldn’t possibly hold onto her hand and skate, how would I pull myself round? I also don’t want to pass my skating techniques down a generation. She doesn’t need that in her life.
So, to celebrate the fact that I now have weekends (hooray, nursery and the weekday working hours it provides), we decided to go to a Saturday morning session. The only problem with this plan was that we don’t live in Altrincham and traffic was terrible. The toddler sessions feature a short lesson, followed by an hour and 1 minutes of playing on the ice in a cordoned off bit. FYI, it is cordoned off with cones, so if you skate like me, you cannot get round the ice rink. You must freestyle across the middle. Or, do as I did, push out a baby, wait a few years and then use that child to be your Get Into The Cordoned Off Area Free card. No need to let go of the side at all, you just need to smile to your child as you crawl through the restricted zone.
Thanks to the traffic, we completely missed the ice skating lesson (which is a shame, because maybe I would have learnt how to skate), but got there in time to play. They have penguin aides for the kids to hold onto, and you can totally pretend to you’re helping them and actually just use the penguin aides yourself. They also had sledges, and a few random walker style toys. Ebony channeled her inner bambi, legs flailing all over the ice, but seemed to really enjoy herself. The toddler session was supposed to finish at 11:45am but the cones and toys were still out when we left after noon. It wasn’t too busy, though there were some amazing toddlers ice skating likes pros around the ring. I know this because they kept flying past me as I slowly pushed one foot in front of the other in an attempt to ice skate round some teenagers [warning: if you’re crap at ice skating, it is not a good idea to try and skate round teenagers. Teenagers laugh at you when you make weird noises/sweat/accidentally moon them/all of the above].