Inline skating: Finding feet on eight wheels

I'm usually happy if my outfit is nicely put together. And so there I was, with my turquoise-trim protection pads matching the turquoise-and-grey design on my new roller blades, feeling quite pleased with myself. Or I would have been, if I hadn't been sprawled across a tarmac path with a stinging pain at the top of my left thigh. It had all started so well. Roller skates (as I like to call them; a throwback to childhood perhaps) would give us the chance to explore our picturesque surroundings in a different way and get fit for the ski season at the same time. We diligently followed online tutorials about braking and turning corners, strapped ourselves into an array of protection pads, and then set out one grey Sunday morning.

I'll be able to do this, I told myself. How difficult can it be? After all, I used to rollerskate as a child. Turns out I'm not quite so nifty any more, though. First hazard: standing up when you have strapped on your skates - have you ever tried to stand up and experienced your feet rolling away from you? Second hazard: adults, children, dogs - you name it, they see you on skates and think you must be able to do it. Bring on groups of people stretched across paths and not trying to move out of the way. Oh yes, we are of course so expert we can navigate around you! And finding a quiet spot in which to practise isn't as easy as you'd think.

But the greatest hazard of all, even with braking mastered: hills. "It's not too steep," Tim said, having proposed a circular route we could try once we felt a little steadier on our rolling feet. It started off flat, and then went uphill (uphill is nice - no chance of your feet rolling away with you), and then flattened out. But the final stretch, well ... We approached a corner, Tim steaming out ahead, and as I rounded it I saw the ground slope steeply away from me around a tight left-hand bend. I started to chuckle nervously: there was no way I'd be able to handle that. Tim, confident - too confident - set off down, pirouetted with flailing limbs, and landed on his backside in the verge. I've always been one for Schadenfreude, and literally shaking with laughter at the sight, and unable to keep my balance, I toppled over too. Hence why I was lying with a painful stinging graze at the top of my left thigh. You know how they say don't run before you can walk - I think Tim and I could take a lot from that saying before our next outing on eight wheels.
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