COLUMN: Skating trip was just hell on ice!

Well, that's one reporter that won't ever be going back...
Well, that's one reporter that won't ever be going back...

I’m glad I took the kids ice skating.

No, really, I am because it has allowed me to know what the most rubbish thing in the world is to do with your time.

My wife and I thought we’d treat our two daughters (aged five and seven) to a go on the winter ice rink set up in St Andrew Square in Edinburgh as part of the seasonal festivities.

It’s something an inner city kid from Manchester like me had never tried before, with the only ice skating of any kind when I was young being the compacted snow and tyre tracks in the road during any winter snowfall.

Anyway, an early morning booking at only £5 per head seemed pretty reasonable and with my wife having skated before – I know this because I periodically move her ice skates whilst having to retrieve something from the loft – it offered a bit of family fun which all four of us could enjoy.

What could possibly go wrong?

After all, watching people of all ages, sizes and abilities glide along the ice made it look pretty straightforward.


It was hell on ice.

No, believe me, it was, I’m really not kidding you.

We arrived in plenty of time and were given our skates.

So far so good. Despite a thin blade and my preconceptions of it being difficult to balance on skies, there was little problem standing.

This is going to be a doddle I thought.

And it was...until I stepped onto the ice for the first time.

I went down like a granny on a frosty morning , despite my attempts to cling on to the side rail.

The assistants, obviously stifling a giggle, must have taken pity on me because they ushered myself and the kids towards the penguin balancing aid that was supposed to be for under fives.

It should have made it easier but instead only created a situation akin ‘Bambi on Ice’ as my legs went in opposite directions.

It was simply impossible to stay upright.

The kids had managed it and so had my wife and were off skating into the distance leaving me stranded.

I’m sure that had someone filmed me, they’d be set for life with the re-run royalties of the footage on You’ve Been Framed.

In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if footage does surface at some point.

Desperately clinging to the hand rail as my legs continued to go from under me only heightened the frustration and acute embarrassment.

The only thing in my life more traumatic to date has been an invasive examination by a doctor way back when I was 21 with a hernia to check the injury hadn’t been self inflicted.

My brush with ice skating had been just as traumatic and quite possibly just a little more embarrassing.

Exiting the ice on my hands and knees, pushing past the queue of waiting customers, was the crowning glory and the cherry on the cake as far as this nightmare was concerned.

It’s official, ice skating is the most rubbish pastime ever invented.

There’s only one thing ice is good for – your drinks and nothing else whatsoever!