Sometimes I make sweeping statements or loose promises that, when it comes down to it, I wish I’d never mentioned (“I’ll come shopping for kitchen utensils with you!”/”I’ll drive you to your audition. Where is it? Two hours away? Cool.” etc), but sometimes it’s quite important to suck it up and just do what you say you will. That’s why this week I followed through on this little announcement I made this time last year, and went ice-skating.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am terrified of ice-skating. Well, I have been in the past. If ever you happen to be in our house in England around the Christmas season, you can be sure there’ll be an announcement one morning while you’re trying to enjoy your third coffee and a rerun of Lee Evans: Different Planet Tour, that the whole family will head to the ice rink in Canary Wharf for an hour of intense gliding, weaving and spinning.
Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it? Family outings are fun. Trying new things is fun. That’s what I used to think, when I heard this announcement.
The first clue that indicates this perhaps isn’t going to be what I had imagined is that because my feet are so small, I have to rent children’s skates, which often sport pictures of Spongebob Squarepants and the likes along the sides, and are so heavy with protective plastic that you feel slightly akin to The Thing when clambering onto the ice.
Secondly, my stepdad Chris, who is the most enthusiastic person is the world, could actually be a professional skater. I don’t know where he gets it from, but as soon as he gets on the ice it’s like watching Blades of Glory. With an elegant little swivvel and a look of determination, he bounds off across the ice, pirouetting about on one foot while Mum and I cling to each other, blaspheming and grumbling, until one or both of us faceplants into the barrier and declares that we’ll go and get coffee and watch the rest of them whizz impressively around the ring.
Anyway. Because it was the last day of the Wiener Eistraum (Viennese Ice Dream) this week, Ashley, Ayesha and Jasmine convinced me that a night on the ice might actually top off our Viennese winter quite nicely. Especially since the ring – or rather rings and pathways – were in front of the beautiful Rathaus and were lit up with reams of fairlylights, with music blasting from speakers on every corner. The whole thing was incredibly picturesque.
Also – and this was most exciting for me – I got adult boots with laces, and no plastic casing in sight. It really made such a difference, not having the man in the skates cabin cringe when I asked for a 3.
The first journey around the starting rink was a bit hairy. I lost my friends and every time I saw somebody trip over I immediately followed suit. But after that I gained a bit of confidence and speed, and spent the next two hours or so whirling merrily in and out of other skaters without taking them out, and gliding theatrically along to Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York’.
What a productive and charming evening it was. Sometimes it’s definitely worth pushing aside your preconceptions and fears and just throwing yourself into something you’re nervous about (maybe don’t throw yourself into an ice rink, though, as such. You might get your fingers sliced off by someone’s ice skates). Maybe will consider doing a shark dive next, in the Danube.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Lots of icy kisses,