|Betty ice-skating with granddad|
Although I was sick of the sight of dirty half-inflated Father Christmases, and mulled wine, I took Betty to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
I knew that she would love it, but I had no idea quite how much.
The first thing we did was go down an ice slide in the Magical Ice Kingdom, and we spent the rest of the afternoon with numb bottoms. Particularly me - I got stuck and so was sitting on ice (without a mat) for far longer than I should have been. (It brought back awful memories of the helter skelter incident in Cardiff a few years ago).
We also went on the penguin bumper cars, the big wheel, and the roller coaster. I hadn't been on a roller coaster of this description for at least twenty years, and Betty had never been on one. And having just terrified myself on the big wheel (where I made Betty and I practically hold our breath all the way round, so as not to rock the carriage), I had no intentions of going on it. But at Betty's insistence I gave in and bought us a ticket, thinking it might make me feel young again.
However, I had forgotten that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach as the carriage reaches the top of the vertical mile-long drop on the other side. I just wanted to cry. I closed my eyes, bravely asked Betty if she was ok, and off we hurtled downwards at breakneck speed. Once at the bottom I was terrified that, firstly, I was going to be sick, and secondly, that Betty would be inconsolable. But she was giggling heartily and saying: 'What is wrong with you Mummy? Can we go on again?'
'No, it's time to go back to granddad's house now' I told her hastily, and I marched her out of there, grabbing a £4.50 cup of mulled wine as we went - which I downed.
The following day we all went ice-skating on the South Bank. And thank goodness my dad was with us to take charge of Betty. She was like a very determined, high-speed, out-of-control octopus flailing around on that ice. But there was just no stopping her. She dragged my dad round and round and round, and credit to her (and him) she got really rather good by the end of the session.
Meanwhile I crawled around the edge, clinging onto the sides and trying to take photos of the heartwarming sight of my daughter with my dad. The one time I got adventurous and left the side to go it alone, I fell flat on my face. I sat on the ice, feeling I would look far too undignified if I tried to get myself up, and so waited for someone, anyone, to scoop me up.
So it turns out that my gentle and delicate daughter is a bit of a daredevil and likes all things dangerous and fast - I was most definitely the same at her age. And having been forced back into these activities, after 25 years, despite my fears and inabilities, I could quite get used to it, and have already organised another ice-skating trip...