Thanks to the Natural History Museum in December, the daughter has caught the Ice Skating bug. Even though she’s properly terrible at it, something about it really caught her imagination, and she’s badgered ever since to go again.
Which we hadn’t done, because there simply isn’t an ice rink in Dorset – the nearest permanent rink to us is Swindon, almost 70 miles away.
But I hadn’t thought about the temporary rinks that pop up over the Christmas break – I presumed they disappear quickly, and was utterly thrilled last week to see that the one at the BIC is actually open until the end of February.
I am kicking myself for not looking sooner!
So yesterday I whizzed a carful of non-skaters down to the Cool Coast Ice Rink in Bournemouth to give it a whirl.
It was so unexpectedly pretty inside – and SO much fun!
We were booked for the 4p.m. session – you get a 90 minute window, which included the stakes on/skates off time, so you get around an hour actually on the ice. Which doesn’t sound much, but is actually more than enough, particularly for non-skaters who spend a lot of time clambering up off the ice.
To begin with the spent their time gripped to the wall, skittering around the edge while they tried to find some balance.
The two youngest were equipped with penguin supports – which helped, but still made for a lot of time sitting or kneeling on the ice (though I noticed that the falls were far less sudden and painful, which helped enormously!).
The boots were good quality, though the youngest did start to find them painful towards the end of our session – caused mostly by their inability to skate with the legs upright; they both developed a weird knack f moving along in an ungainly fashion whilst their ankles were bent inwards. Weird and painful, but they did stay upright, which was a start!
Even though we were there after school there were very few people on the ice with us, which made it easy to relax and for me to watch all four of my non-skaters and zip between them where necessary. The Ice Warden was brilliantly helpful; kind and patient and quick to swoop in on struggling children with a helping hand.
And right at the end, just as the 8yr old was starting to feel despondent and like she was never ever going to get the hang of this skating malarky, the lovely Ice Warden helped me take her twice round the rink holding our hands – and then pulled a stroke of genius and had them play Let It Go as the last song of the session.
Even though the others had called it quits and were already taking their boots off, she gave me a look, and we gave it one more turn around the rink together, with me holding her penguin to control her speedy feet. At the Ice warden’s encouragement she sang as loud as she could, and forgot about what her feet were trying to do… and as if by magic she ‘got it’. I stopped holding her penguin for her, and we actually skated side by side as she bellowed out the words. And I admit it – I got a lump in my throat as her little voice beat the speakers to shout
“…And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!”
It’s no wonder the Frozen song is the most requested at the rink. It’s not just small girls who love it.
The Cool Coast Ice Skating in Bournemouth runs until the 22nd february, and tickets to skate are £7.50 including the skate hire with Family Tickets (£25.00) and group (10+) concessions also available. Standard sessions are 90 minutes (including 15 minutes getting skates on and 15 minutes taking skates off) from 4pm daily during term times and 11am in the holidays with an additional late session on Saturday evenings.