Monday, January 28, 2008

Making the best of January

It's cold and dark, I know. But there are lots of things to love about this month.

First of all: Robbie Burns Night!

I went to the Duke of York again this year. Tim, Jamie and Hilary came with me, as well as Nick, our token Scot, who, ironically, was also our token vegetarian, and had the veggie burger while the rest of us had the haggis dinner. We enjoyed the Address to the Haggis:

The Address to the Haggis

Nick pronounced it perfectly authentic, and was a bit disappointed: "I was hoping the Canadians would get it comically wrong and dress a man up as a haggis, or something." He did point out that a truly authentic recreation of a contemporary Scottish national holiday would involve a lot more public drunkenness, brawling in the streets, etc.

After the delicious haggis, the buttery tatties and neeps, and the sticky toffee pudding with lashings of ice cream and whipped cream, we really needed some exercise. Which brought us to another lovable aspect of January: Skating!

Jamie, Hilary and I headed down to the rink at Harbourfront. I hadn't been skating in about ten years; Jamie had never been on skates before. In the locker room, Hilary and I laced up our trusty old white figure skates, and Jamie rented a snappy black-and-red pair:


A few people had warned me that skating isn't like riding a bike: even if it was second nature to you in the past, there's no guarantee that you'll be able to get right back into it. I stepped out onto the ice, and my ankles wobbled. The ice was slippery! How was I even supposed to stand up? Hundreds of people glided effortlessly past: teenaged couples and groups of girls all holding hands, herds of boys chasing each other and laughing, a serene woman with her hands clasped behind her back. It looked so easy. I clung to a post, wanting to shake my fist and yell, "I skated the entire length of the Rideau Canal once!"

I remembered a beginner's trick, from years ago: keep one skate on the ice, and push with the other foot. I shoved off from the post, and began nudging my way along. And pretty soon I was able to push with both skates. It was all coming back to me! I joined the crowd and skated around the rink once, then again. I was pretty wobbly and slow, but I could still skate! Jamie was intrepidly making his first cautious attempts, aided by Hilary. Jude and Lynn were there too. Sean skated up and said hello: it was only his second time on skates, but he was doing at least as well as I was. He fell down, got up, dusted himself off, and said proudly: "That was my first time falling down!"

Skating at Harbourfront

The Harbourfront rink is open late, and some Fridays they have DJ nights, with dance music and free hot chocolate. Go on, it's worth a try!

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Blogger Jamie said...

Those were snazzy skates, weren't they?

12:00 p.m., January 29, 2008  

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