1. Acquire a sense of humour. If you don’t own one, borrow with interest, you’ll only need it for an hour at a time.
2. Find 800 bob, plus transport. Skates are provided at the rink in all sizes. And you’ll need a sweater, it’s ccccccold in there!
3. Get a watch or clock … or phone. The rink opens at 11 and closes every other hour for cleaning, so you have to be there at the right hour. 7 to 8 is most fun for beginners 😉
4. Confiscate all camera phones.
5. Find the walking stick. It’s a metal slidy thing that helps you balance. There’s a smaller one for kids, and some pingu-type skated statues for little people. Move anticlockwise to avoid collision. And concentrate. It is immensely difficult to skate and talk at the same time. Or maybe that’s just me…
6. Do not look at other skaters. Especially avoid looking at toddlers. When a five-inch person is in the rink, they are there for a reason, and you will feel stupid if you watch. Also, in my case, refer to point 5 and replace ‘talk’ with ‘think/smile/look-at-anything-except-the-ground’ as appropriate.
7. Learn to fall. Because you will. Many times. So learn not to hurt yourself. A good strategy is to always fall on your … er … rear padding. Unless of course you don’t have any.
8. Learn to laugh when you fall. Especially if you plan to fall, classically, several times in succession, before you ever get your skate on.
9. Keep your skates straight and your feet in a v-shape formation. Walk before you start to glide, and stop a slide by lifting your foot. Try to keep your feet behind your body – if they get ahead of you, you will fall.
10. Do not look at people doing super tricks on ice. You will fall.
11. Do not look at the determined little girl with drive painted on her face who learned to stop falling in 6 seconds or less. You will fall.
12. Do not look at the instructor who makes it look so easy. You will fall.
13. Do not let go of the geriatric walking stick, even if you are the only person in the rink using one, and you look like a lost dreadlocked person in an icicle-filled retirement home. You will fall.
14. Find it funny when you fall, again, and two six year old girls in frilly dresses [and without walking sticks] help you back onto your feet.
15. When – fifteen minutes after leaving the rink – your feet are still gliding in vee shapes and feel all wobbly like jelly strings speeding ahead of you, smile, you’re almost normal **grin**