More years ago than I care to remember I was seized by the impulse to buy a pair of roller boots.  Inline skates were just emerging as the new big thing, but I wasn’t impressed – I wanted something more retro, a bit more rock and roll. I took a friend who knew about these things and headed to a skate shop in Camden.  I came out clutching a huge box housing a pair of Bauer quads – not unlike those in the pic, except mine were completely black with purple wheels.

They were gorgeous.

They were bloody expensive.

I have no idea what I was thinking.

Not long after that I had reason to make a speedy exit from my little bedsit in Wood Green. Not content with making me live in some sort of menagerie, the owners had obviously taken exception to me setting fire to my kitchen(ette) and tried to demand rent that I didn’t owe.  They even threatened to phone my mother, prompting me to use the kind of language that they had been hitherto unaware I was capable of emitting – fires aside, I had been a model tenant.

My sudden evacuation turned out to be a good thing.  For one thing it precipitated a move to the other side of the North Circular to the almost leafy area of Palmers Green. House sharing with my social animal of a friend meant that I basically lived alone throughout the week, meeting him at the weekends and tagging along to whatever activities he had planned – life was easy.  Then he went travelling, and I didn’t.  I really should have gone with him, although he’d have spent the whole time persuading me to stand up and move, rather than sit down and do nothing.  Instead I spent a brief sojourn living 180 degrees around the capital.  Just off the south circ, in what is generously called Clapham South, but is more honestly Balham North, I decided to get my (practically untouched) skates out.

Did I mention that I was living off the South Circular?


As I rocketed down the path, I noted that a) the bearing on my skates were fabulous – the wheels spinned faster than I remembered my childhood roller skates moving and b) I had no idea how to stop…..

My dreams of skating carelessly around the common stopped abruptly at the point that I made a grab for the lamppost.

Bugger rock hard thigh muscles, I choose life….

Not long after that, I exited Balham and followed my much more adventurous friend on his travels.  As predicted, my tendency to sit still for long periods of time meant that we crossed over rather than tandemed, which worked pretty well – apart from the time that he tried to call international rescue after I didn’t turn up in Lake Toba.  In my defence I was loving the Perhentian Islands, and suffering from Giardia – long journeys were not to be attempted.

I never did learn to skate, not in those skates anyway.  I in-lined around Centennial Park, Sydney many times and quite took to the whole in-line thing, but my poor old Bauers remained untouched.

I still have them, and whenever they get unearthed I refuse to throw them away.  There must be some deep seated reason there somewhere…..I’m obviously still hankering after those elongated thigh muscles.

I never did learn to….
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25 thoughts on “I never did learn to….

  • August 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I love it when we get to learn a bit more of our favourite bloggers’ back stories. I can picture you waltzing your way around London, the globe and the skate park in Sydney but the South Circular?? Death wish woman. No wonder they never got another outing. Where I grew up Bauer Ice Skates were THE thing as we had a new (er, this was about 1983) ice rink in our town where all the cool kids chose to hang out until they were old enough to move onto the nightclub across the road. I never had a pair and just the sight of that lettering has unleashed my unrequited love.
    MD xx

  • August 16, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Maybe you should get them out again? I too had a brief aquaintance with a pair of in-line skates. Mainly along Brighton sea front, when we first moved here, you know, just to keep up with the kids! And as much as I tried I could never, ever turn left! But I did learn to stop, sort of, well that is what lamp posts, benches and children are for…right?

  • August 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    My new coach! Yay!

    Knew you had a calling after all. Get your skates on lassie, I need you to prod me in the backside when I am flailing.

    Will catch you if you fall, promise.

    I just may be a tad *ahem* sweaty.

    LCM x

  • August 16, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    There must be one of those cupboards in every house. The one full of stuff bought with good intentions but only makes it out of the box twice.

    Soda Streams, Bread makers, Steamers in the Kitchen cupboard and a cross trainer and a gazebo in the shed just to name a couple in our house.

  • August 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    I so NEED a pair of roller skates!! I’d have to go skating at midnight thought because I wouldn’t want anyone to see me LOL

  • August 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    You should SO put them on! I had inline skates when I was about 10, but before those I had the roller boots. Those bad boys were neon suede! I still remember my arse SMARTING from all the falls…. 🙂

  • August 17, 2010 at 7:21 am

    My sister bought some rollerboots when i was a kid, and i was sooo jealous. I still dream about roller discos. There’s something so damn cool about it all.
    oh, and interestingly, i grew up in balham.


  • August 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I used to love my roller boots back in the days when roller discos were still cool (nothing as fancy as Bauer though – tenner at Argos I think!) . Still remember the best flippy move ever that caused my friend Alison to split her jeans when she attempted it.
    Funny the things you remember isn’t it!

    Oh, and yes – you definitely need to get them out again (sounds like a vlog to me?)

  • August 17, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I used to be a whizz on ice skates, and by extension roller skates. I took exams and had badges. I could waltz on ice and everything. After waxing lyrical to my husband about the joys of such things he bought me a pair of roller blades. Bloody terrifying. Couldn’t even make it from our house to the common without edging cautiously along garden walls and clinging to every lampost. Each time I had to cross the road I thought I was going to die. I’ve not used them much. He keeps asking whether I’m ever going to use them again. But I do have an idea for you. It involves a dog and a lead…

  • August 17, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I’ve been thinking about a bout of roller skating after noticing they have a rink in Welwyn… or maybe not if they’re actually likely to kill or maim me… hmmmmmmm

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I drove past an ice rink yesterday – I still have those yearnings too! xx

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I very nearly did today, but then I had a quick go on the 8yos skateboard and realised that ‘things on wheels’ don’t really suit me! xx

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    My calling is to be your PT? I can live with that….clear the M40, I’m on my way… x

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Your cupboard sounds fab!! Can I come and raid it sometime? Apart from the steamer that is – FFS, they’re a waste of time aren’t they?!

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    we could take them up to the Tesco carpark together….no one will EVER see us there 😉

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I remember those – I think I had similar – they were gorg… and yes, it’s the smarting arse that I’m worried about now 😉

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    There really is – and yet I don’t think I’ve ever actually been to a roller disco……must add it to the ‘things to do before I’m 40 list’

    I’m a big fan of Sarf London these days – it’s a shame I didn’t discover this before I moved out to what is technically nowhere’s ville. xx

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Blimey!! What on earth was your friend Alison attempting there!

    Oh my word, that would be a popular vlog I think – ‘parent blogger breaks every bone in her body’ – I might pass! x

  • August 18, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    It’s those hills – Clapham is renowned for its invisible hills, they’re a curse on the novice skater…

    P.S Your idea – no


  • August 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    You know what? I think you may have unwittingly hit upon the venue for the Vixens next get together – I’m in if you are…. xx

  • August 18, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    It would be downright hilarious – if not a little bone-crunching….hang on while I message LCM…

  • August 19, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Fantastic! Loving the mental image of you wrapped around a lamppost in your groovy boots. I have various objects which really ought to have been flung out years ago, but some part of me just won’t let me…

    It’s never too late for enlongated thighs…I say give it another go. In Norfolk maybe, and ideally with someone videoing 😉

  • August 19, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Are you volunteering to video my pain? No doubt in order to stick it in a jiffy bag addressed to Mr Harry Hill esq…….the cheek!


  • August 21, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I always consider myself a great success if I don’t fall down on the ice when taking my daughter ice skating!

    I bought some inline skates about 5 years ago with Great Intentions and I tried them a few times, felt so terrified of falling painfully or of looking like an idiot with arms flailing and legs akimbo all through the park–or both looking like an idiot AND falling that I let the terror control me and I have given the skates to my daughter. There are easier ways to get toned. I hate admitting I am a coward though…

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