The holidays have officially begun!
The two week winter trial of stamina, perseverance, patience and cognitive functioning kicked off this afternoon in fine style.
As promised after school kicked out the girl and I headed off to the outdoor skating rink amid a mild gale and spitting rain. Thankfully for me the rink is set up among the sheds and potted plants of a large local garden centre and is pretty small and just for fun, or so they say.
The last time I laced a set of ice skates I was still in my teens, still had all the bone a person should have and had no metal plates and screws holding me together. The girl asked for one of those push along seal skating aids, I took a look at the £4 fee and grandly told her that she didn’t need a seal, she had me. I then did an impression of a seal. The girl was not impressed but the young man in the ticket booth said it was a fantastic seal impression.
As soon as my skate hit the ice I knew I was in a bit of trouble I had completely overlooked the fact that ice is slippery, ice with a few millimeters of water on top because, hey, this is southern England in December what do you really expect, is I find even more slippy. I am often unable to keep my balance while standing in shoes on a flat carpeted floor. This was not going to end well I realised.
The girl and I started to do laps while clinging for dear life onto the fencing. The girl, having learnt her passive aggression from the master made comments about how good the seals where, look that Dad is pushing two seals at once and I could have held onto it too it I had wanted. I still refused to pay £4 for the use of one. I would shortly regret that decision.
After a few laps I started to get a little less terrified and risked letting go of the fence, I even encouraged the girl to let go. I even tried to give the girl tips on skating and that, that was my big mistake. A combination of misplaced hubris and inattention caused me to suddenly find myself flat on my back in the corner of the rink where the standing water had formed a rather large puddle. I then couldn’t get up. I had to scoot over to the fence, through a puddle, on my backside and then try to haul myself up to standing while still wearing ice skates, still being on ice and still being me.
Apart from being wet through things actually went great and the girl and I had a wonderful and fun time, we even did three whole laps without holding on, for one of those we even let go of each other. We came off the ice and went for hot chocolate (girl) and soup (me) and then spent a little time window shopping before heading over to the farm shop to stock up on some amazing pork pies (scrumpy, black pudding, cranberry and stuffing. I couldn’t pick so will be eating pork pie until 2015 without complaint) for our Christmas morning breakfast. I tried not to think about the fact that once I was off the ice the reason for my wet backside would not be as clear cut to the casual observer and tried to simply be thankful for dark jeans, the loss of any sense of shame that occurred with my first birth and the fact that apart from the gale it was quite warm.
So I have started the holidays with a bang (splash?) and had a lovely time with my girl. The children are off to play with a friend tomorrow while I unfortunately attend another funeral. We then have a normal (as normal as it gets round here) weekend before we hit the home straight before christmas. It is the riding school Christmas party on Tuesday so that is likely to provide a wealth of material. At least this year everybody knows not to applaud the end of the musical ride lest all the horses bolt again. They did bolt in unison though and many thought it was part of the show, well until somebody fell off and the real stampede started…