Skating and other idiotic pursuits

They recently opened a skating rink at Zlote Tarasy shopping centre. It is located in the basement level hole between the shopping centre itself and the bus/rail station. You can’t miss it.

In true Polish ‘golden hand’ style, a few guys turned up with some bits of wood, a lot of plastic pipe and several rolls of gaffer tape and before you knew it an Olympic quality skating rink had been erected! It opened a day or two after I took these pictures and seems to be a popular attraction.

They have managed to nicely incorporate the tree as a ‘feature’ inside the rink. As far as I can remember from my few earlier attempts at this ridiculous pastime, the inclusion of a tree is a rather unusual design enhancement. Unavoidable in this case as the tree was there first. No doubt it adds greatly to the excitement and boosts scores for technical merit for all skaters who leave the rink with noses of the same shape as when they entered.

You’ll see from the above photo that they’ve decided to apply padding only to the lower section of the trunk, from knee level down. This helps because at least anyone unfortunate enough to hit the thing will, assuming they are still conscious, be able to walk their bleeding face off the ice so as not to disturb the other punters.

I can’t help feeling that British Health & Safety regs would make this sort of impromptu assembly an impossibility by requiring as a minimum;

  1. Removal of the tree
  2. Load tests on the rink substructure
  3. Crash tests on the perimeter fencing
  4. Adequate space for watching crowds
  5. Fire certificates for all the wood used in the construction
  6. Toxic fume certificates for all the plastic pipe used in the construction
  7. Proof that the materials used were hewn from sustainable forests and plastic farms
  8. Proof that the managers had passed all required examinations in “advanced skating rink management – part 5c”
  9. At least five “lifeguards” to make sure nobody gets hurt
  10. …and so on

On those conditions, the thing would never be built. Thankfully, this is not the UK and so lots of people will have some fun on a botched job of a skating rink and if anyone does hurt themselves they won’t go whining for compensation from the nanny state.

Sadly, it is highly unlikely that the rink will be graced with my wobbly backside given that I am about as good at ice-skating as I am at open-heart surgery. I am, truth be told, utterly useless at anything that involves removing my feet from the ground – ice-skating, horse-riding, roller-skating, skiing…… name it, I’ve damaged myself trying it! Give me a placid horse, sit me on its back and watch it turn into Red Rum and hurdle the nearest six-bar gate throwing me off in the process. Give me skis and watch me rip knee ligaments and a fracture ankles. No doubt about it, I am UTTERLY useless without feet on the ground. This would be depressing were in not for the fact that I make up for it with a fair degree of natural talent for more sensible sports like – golf, squash, badminton, tennis, cricket, football, darts, bowling………

I’ll leave you with a video of me skating (I’m just slightly less cute and don’t speak Spanish)


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