Warming up to icy wonderland

By Madeleine Byron

Past experiences and the fear of another broken wrist kept my fiance from accompanying me to the Winter Fun Zone ice-skating rink this week.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, I convinced my work colleagues to accompany me on a weekday lunch break.

Our first hurdle was picking a time we could all attend together as we all live busy lifestyles with trips to visit family in Melbourne, Ballarat and Benalla or luxury trips away to Craig’s Hut resulting in annual leave days.

Thursday was agreed on and planned trips to the chemist were put on hold.

Tickets were paid ahead of time and an internal stopwatch was set to ensure our hour lunch break was used wisely.

Meeting in Fryers St, we made our way to the pop-up ice-skating rink right in the heart of the Maude St Mall.

Looking through the tent window we could see that the particular time slot we had chosen was full and we would have to join in with the school holiday fog of children.

While giggles could be heard as I asked for a pair of boots to fit my ironically child-sized feet, all five of us found a comfy fit and entered the ice.

Showing no fear, one colleague entered the middle of the rink.

I, however, opted for the safer option and joined the conga line of children pulling themselves along the side rail. Trying to balance my wobbling feet, my free arm started to over-compensate from sudden movements as I continued to pull my way around the rink.

This continued for a few rotations until I worked up the courage to let go of the rail.

Witnessing two colleagues now out of the conga line, I took a deep breath and slowly entered the middle of the rink.

So much focus went into staying upright for fear of being the one person to fall flat on her face.

Also, I now had two over-compensating arms flapping around.

I also had children with no fear whatsoever flying past me in every direction.

The fear was in me — my fiance had broken his wrist doing this exact activity.

Again, I thought to myself ‘‘please don’t fall over’’.

The best way to describe the feeling on the ice was a falling catwalk model with oversized heels on.

Any sudden movement was dramatically balanced, causing another wobble, so on and so on.

Still I continued to stay upright.

The smiles on our faces began to grow bigger and we all managed to conquer our fears and let go of the side rail.

Taking in my surroundings, I noticed everyone on the ice rink was actually a fish bowl of entertainment for passers-by in the mall.

Some people even stopped to take a better look at the chaos unfolding in the winter wonderland.

While in my own little world, I felt a hand on my back.

One of the more confident colleagues was pushing me to go faster.

Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, I feared for my life.

I yelled as my feet started to fall from underneath me and I grabbed hold of my colleague’s jumper — I was not falling on my own.

Another colleague yelled from behind as they watched on in horror.

Luckily the colleague I had held on was able to steady the two of us and our bones were spared.

Calling it a day when our feet started to hurt and our cheeks were red with laughter, we made our way back to the reality of our daily work life.

Madeleine Caccianiga is a journalist at The News.