Like Bambi on ice.

My darling nieces had a joint birthday party in September. They had no idea what they wanted for their birthdays so I asked them if they’d like to go ice skating one weekend? They jumped for joy and were adamant they’d love it. So we went today… a few months after we’d decided to go, but it’s better late than never. Along the way, we stopped off at McDonald’s for ice creams and a hamburger. 

When we arrived, they immediately told me that they had been there before, with their dad. Great, we can hire skates and get right to it. We swapped their shoes for skates and I got them ready. When asked why I hadn’t got my skates yet, I said I wanted to be able to take pictures before I started skating, plus I wanted to make sure they would skate first. 

Darling niece 2, fearless as ever, stepped onto the ice without her penguin and almost lost her balance until she swung onto the door. I launched her penguin aide onto the ice and made sure she had a good hold of it. She was happily pushing it along, as she walked along the ice. She travelled at the pace of a crippled tortoise but she was a happy lamb plodding around the rink. 

Darling niece 1, refused to go on the ice. She didn’t want to fall over. She wasn’t sure if she remembered how to skate. We watched darling niece 2 for a little bit, walked around to other side of the rink where the ledge was at a more comfortable height for her to hold onto. When a quiet moment appeared in the entranceway to the rink, she tentatively stepped on. I pretended I wasn’t watching and let her try by herself without any fussing. She was a little bambi on ice. She wobbled, she leant backwards and forwards, trying to find her balance. I told her to lock her hips and bend her knees to push and glide. She went off and I followed her around the rink with the screen between us. Several thumbs up later and she had caught up with her sister. They swapped turns on the penguin as darling niece 2 took a break and visited the loo. 

They’d done it. I could put my handbag in a locker and swap my boots for skates now. I hit the ice and discovered, skating is just like riding a bike. A bike without any brakes. I could skate confidently. I couldn’t stop or slow down quite as confidently though. Catching up with niece 1, they swapped turns on the penguin again. Niece 1 glided off and went splat into the screen on the perimeter of the rink. She bounced off and wobbled but found her balance and set off again. 

Niece 2 kept asking me how to glide. So I showed her. She tried to copy me but fell over the penguin. I didn’t even think it was possible to fall over a weighted penguin that skidded across the ice. I helped her up and we tried again. She couldn’t quite get the hang of it, so she declared she would be going back to how she was skating before. No problem I said, downheartedly. I was looking forward to whizzing around the rink with her. She instructed me to go on without her so I did but stopped myself by splatting into the screen after short bursts of speed. I waited for her to catch up and watched the giggles of laughter at my braking antics. 

Towards the end of our time on the rink, she gained more confidence and decided to ditch the penguin on her final lap of honour. Then, when she realised she still needed it, she went to turn back and get it but another girl had pinched him. She fell to the floor and started crying, so darling niece 1 and I raced against the flow of other skaters to rescue her. We held each of her hands and guided her off the rink, or dragged her off the rink, depends on how you look at it. 

We traded our skates for our shoes and collected our belongings from the locker. After almost 90 minutes of gliding along the ice, walking seemed to be a bit of a challenge and felt rather strange. We drove round to KFC for some dinner. Hot wings were in high demand from both of them and a warm hot chocolate after the ice cold skating. 

Halfway home, they were both snoozing in the back seat of my little car. A true sign that they’d both had an enjoyable, if exhausting, day out. I want to go again… during spring half term holiday maybe? I’m sure there would be no objections from them! 

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