A little of what you fancy does you good.

Today McOther whisked McMini and I off to a wine fair. We met up with another couple and agreed that the boys would taste wine in the morning while we girls nipped off with the kids, we’d have lunch and then the boys would nip off with the kids while we did some tasting.

It was a beautiful sunny day, blue sky, bright sun and we headed to a local garden centre to meet Father Christmas… but to meet him we would have to trek back to another part of the site, buy Santa tickets, come back and queue.

On the other hand… outside… was an ice rink. It was all white (real ice) and the sky was all blue and it was calling…

Mmm, would 4 year old McMini take to skating? Probably not. Should I be skating with my comprehensively bollocksed knee? Absolutely not but what the heck? The timings didn’t quite fit, the next session didn’t start for 15 minutes so we would only have 15 minutes to skate but that was good right? Time to get the skates on and 15 minutes, half a session. Time enough to have fun but hopefully not to break any thing.

We decided to give it a go.

Now, me, I am the ultimate urban jungle bunny because I grew up in a school. We lived on site. Do you know how much smooth concrete and tarmac the average boarding school contains? A sod of a lot, I can tell you. If there is one thing I miss about having two functional knees it’s the ability to wear wheels instead of shoes. As a kid in the 1980s, I lived on wheels. Even when, aged 11 I was banned from all sport because of my dodgy knee, I was allowed to skate on the grounds that it was “low impact” and “the child has to be allowed to do something”. I liked taking exercise and since I wasn’t allowed to do anything else, I spent every Saturday and every evening after school with wheels attached to my feet, cruising the concrete cloisters and smooth bricked quads… and hiding when the bell went and the big, scary boys changed classes for lessons.

My Mum decided to turn a blind eye to my preference for wheels over shoes So, I was a pretty dab hand at it. Even after I reached the point where my knee was utterly shot, when I couldn’t physically run, I could rollerblade, and did, although the tricks were way beyond me by that time. First rule of aggressive skating; don’t do anything on skates on that you couldn’t try out with them off first. So that, for me, was everything…. except going forwards, and backwards, and jumping over the odd small obstacle… but nothing ritzy. Eventually that got too much and about 10 years ago, I had to hang up my skates. I really, really miss it but it is just not possible to do it with only one proper leg and until they invent some kind of skater’s zimmer frame (phnark) that’s the way it’ll stay.

Back to today… there it was… ice, white ice, blue sky. Mmm. Not as easy as wheels but oh so tempting. So we gave in, we hired the skates and stood on the rubber bit at the side with severe misgivings and butterflies wondering who would break which limb first. Finally, we got on and the four of us made one disastrous circuit with two petrified children; McMini almost in tears and me realising that my left leg was really, really not working, at all and that it probably wasn’t safe for me to do this unless I could find some way of skating with a walking stick.

The answer was a thing that looked like a banana with handles. Seats two, slides beautifully and gives just enough support for the dodgy kneed lady. We had a gas! We slalomed in and out of the other skaters at speed – controlled, of course – and on the corners I could safely throw the banana sideways, shouting,

“Feel the drift!” while the kids screamed with glee and shouted.

“We are going faster than anyone else!”

As the banana went sideways I went straight… leaning on the handle. Jeez, I could actually do crossovers! I was safe and in control. Indeed, leaning on the handle, I could skate pretty much normally, with the banana taking some of the weight, the knee held up. And the kids shouted,

“Faster! Faster!” and well… it was churlish not to oblige.

Eventually the pain hit the warning threshold and I knew the time had come to quit while I was ahead. We’d had our 15 minutes, anyway, and we didn’t want to be late for lunch. So we parked the banana and skipped off the ice, two cheerful rosy-cheeked women with two (equally rosy-cheeked) and utterly gleeful bug-eyed kids. Sure, I could be walking with a stick for the rest of the week but… bloody hell that felt good.

So the point of this story is this: every now and again we all need to throw caution to the wind do something a little bit out there. I confess I thought I did, but clearly, not enough. Many of us live lives which are hectic or busy and we can’t vary the mix that often. But I have always believed that if an opportunity crops up, everyone should. And I suppose, in my case, the exuberant glee I’ve been feeling all day bears it out! Because that ten minutes on the ice, doing something I’ll be paying for all week, something I really shouldn’t have been doing but that I miss, left me feeling absolutely fantastic. It was a tonic. So there we are. A little of what you fancy does you good. Especially if it’s naughty and you’re not meant to.

Even better, right now, I’m buzzing with ideas. And I know why K’Barthan 3 isn’t clicking. And I might even be able to fix it. Funny how sometimes, the the best way to find a solution to a problem is to stop thinking about it; and the best way of writing is not to. I suppose, if you’re endlessly dragging ideas out of your brain it’s only sensible to do something off piste now and again; to put things in.


Filed under Encouragement, General Wittering, Good Advice, Humorous Fantasy Author

5 responses to “A little of what you fancy does you good.

  1. Motto of Dame Ellen MacArthur: Go For It!!

  2. rjwestwell

    I loved your piece on ‘A little of what you fancy does you good’. It hits just the right tone and is certainly a very good read – more please! (I also love your occasional use of ‘unusual’ words – phnark – what a wonderful expression and I understand perfectly your reference to your book near the end…

  3. Will, mwah ha hahargh! She was clearly a woman after my own heart. I am SO paying for it this morning, though. At school run time, I had to get my stick out… on the upside, I had to get the Lotus out, too.

    Roe, I’m glad you ‘got’ Phnark… 😉 Hope the launch has gone well, will be liking your page and linking to it on facebook… if I can work out how.



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