To celebrate the fact that global warming has removed all possibility of there ever being real snow at Christmas again, I went ice skating on the temporary rink in Gloucester today. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’ve retained a passable ability to stay on my feet and move in the direction of my choice – in fact, not one of our party fell over, and it was all very seasonal and jolly.
However, there’s a major problem with ice skating, especially during the Christmas holidays, and that problem is Other People. They mess up the ice, they get in your way, and they frequently put your life at risk. Some are just dangerously bad at remaining upright/steering/concentrating on their surroundings, while others have the greater misfortune of being children, a condition which renders the sufferer terminally inconsiderate of those around them.
I suppose when you’re small enough to bounce unscathed off a rock-hard surface of ice, it’s easy to forget that the adult whose knees you’ve just dive-bombed may not be so resilient. Call me a grinch, but the number of ways in which children can endanger themselves and others on an ice rink provides a pretty compelling argument in favour of an age restriction. After all, we don’t let five-year-olds drink or drive; why should they be allowed to hurtle around at high speed with knives strapped to their feet? Fun? Festive spirit? Bah, humbug.