I think it's lucky I turned down the chance to appear on "Dancing on Ice" this year. For many, many reasons (a good one being that it would spare the nation from seeing me in Lyrca). But mainly because I really cannot skate at all.
Admittedly I hadn't tried for about 18 years. I would occasionally go to the rink in Bristol when I was a teenager and I don't think I really enjoyed it. I can't remember if I mastered the ability to skate back then - my memories are of walking around holding on to the edge and even moreso not being on the ice drinking coke and eating chips. Maybe I managed to stumble around a bit because I vaguely recall falling over and also my fear that I would have my fingers cut off by a more proficient skater as I sprawled on the ice. I was a fearful child and after a rather vivid dream was convinced I was going to be stabbed to death by a yob on the escalator that took you up to the rink. It hasn't happened yet. But if that's how and where I end up dying do let everyone know I was a soothsayer. Though I am not sure that the rink or the escalator are even there any more. And now I've written about it someone might decide to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy - but only if they are prepared to make a reconstruction of 1980s Bristol.
My girlfriend has always been keen to go skating, but I have resisted, as I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do it and that I would fall over and break a hip (I am old enough to start worrying about this stuff), but today we were at the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
and all the rides looked way too terrifying to be on, so I agreed to go skating instead. Which is probably stupid as that was probably the only place where there was a genuine danger of injury.
I think it's fair to say that my concerns were justified. I did not enjoy the experience at all. One of the boots was way too tight and was hurting my foot and I couldn't work out how to propel myself along at all. My girlfriend offered advice about where to put my body weight, but all I managed to do was to push myself along a bit, whilst mainly holding on to the side and still slipping around in a precarious fashion. If this was all I could manage then it would have made for a very poor "Dancing on Ice" experience.
I made one circuit and then headed inside to take off my boots, but they were very, very tight and whilst I got off the one that hurt the other one was lodged on my foot. I couldn't get it off and when my girlfriend came back from having been properly skating around she couldn't pull the boot off either. I had already become resigned to spending the rest of my life wearing one ice skate and one normal shoe, hobbling along, neither man nor skater, trapped in a netherworld.
Then a small girl came along and pointed out that we could loosen the straps more by pushing a button on the opposite side to the release catch. It was good that there was someone intelligent enough to assist there. As if I needed to be humiliated any further after my attempts on the rink.