Hidden talents

A few weeks ago I told you about a new activity I tried – pottery! This week I went to collect the pieces that I made in the workshop, all ready after the tutor had fired and glazed them for us. As promised, here is a photo of the finished product.

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OK, I’m no sculptor, but they turned out better than I expected!

If at first you don’t succeed…

The weather here in Cardiff has been hit and miss over the weekend. Saturday morning looked bright and promising, so I walked down to the real food market to do my shopping. As I was deciding which veggies to eat this week, the heavens opened and it poured down. Drenched through, I finished my shopping as quickly as possible and ran home, only for the sun to come out as soon as I got through the front door!

My seven year-old godson had asked me to take him ice-skating, which was originally planned for Saturday afternoon, but after another couple of rain showers and a check of the weather forecast, I decided that activity would be best left until Sunday morning. According to the forecast, double checked by my godson on his games console, there was due to be a gap in the clouds from 11am Sunday that would do us fine.

Ice-skating is far from a new activity for me. Having grown up in Blackpool, where the only affordable place to hang out on the weekend was the ice-rink, I’m quite comfortable skating round in hired skates. My godson, however, has not skated so much. I first took him when he was three and he was still small enough to carry around the ice if needs be. On that first outing he’d loved it, laughing his socks off as he slipped and slid like Bambi. The following winter, unfortunately, was not so successful. Suddenly big enough to be aware of the danger involved, he only managed half a circuit before one of the marshalls had to carry him off. So I was more than a little surprised when he asked me to take him this year. And I have to say how incredibly proud I am of him for being determined to give it another go. He’s still no figure skater, but he completed a good few circuits on his own and was quite happy to pull himself back up after every fall. I did have to laugh at his choice of gloves, though. He’d picked up two left-hand, adult-sized gloves that flapped comically as he tried to stay upright:)

My godson's first time ice-skating

My hope is that some of you are inspired to try a new activity in the New Year. And if you find it a little difficult at first, then take my godson’s advice and keep trying.

Taking a ‘step’ into the unknown

Every year, I challenge myself to visit at least one new place and try at least one new activity. If you haven’t already guessed from my terrible pun in the title of this post, which I apologise profusely for, my latest attempt at a new activity is ‘Step Class’.

The step class at my local community centre is between my usual gym time and yoga class, so I quite often catch bits of it as I walk past to use the changing rooms. Since I first saw all those energetic steppers bouncing away, I’ve wanted to give step class a try, but I kept putting it off and making excuses. Why do we do that? I get really nervous before I go into any new group situation for the first time, and I know it’s ridiculous. I’ll either like it, or not. If it’s the latter, then I just won’t go again, as in the case of the Core Strength Workout that I tried at the local climbing wall (http://thetravelbug.blog.co.uk/2012/02/14/core-strength-12782430/ for anyone who hasn’t read my old blog). So, this week, I had a word with myself and promised myself I’d make it to step class. And I am so glad that I did, because not only was it a good workout but I had a blast doing it.

For anyone else who is old enough to remember, the step instructor reminds me of Victoria Wood in the sketch where she played the substitute aerobics instructor. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. She is brilliant. She has so much energy and enthusiasm, and she constantly looks out for us clueless beginners who watch in confusion as the experienced regulars throw themselves into the more difficult routines. Even with my dance background, I think it’s going to take me a few weeks until I can keep up with them.

The hour flew by so quickly because I was enjoying it so much and concentrating so hard on what I was doing. Personally, I really enjoy sports where I have to think, so step class is perfect for me. It took me back to my dancing days, having to remember routines and make sure you’re on the correct leg and using your arms at the same time.

My only worry is that after a few weeks the class could get a bit repetitive. I’m hoping that she mixes it up a bit now and then. For now, though, I’m loving step. Bring on the next class!