Ice Rinks

Ok, who’s been on the ice rink at the Old Royal Naval College yet, then? I went for a nose yesterday – I wasn’t wearing the right clobber to get on the ice but I wanted to check out the facilities.

I have to say it does look a hell of a lot better without that wretched marquee between the rink and the river – and the tree in the middle certainly gives it a festive feel. I really love the melding of ancient and modern with the tops of the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf framed by the two flanks of the ORNC (I know many hate that view but I think it’s great) and the skaters in front just enhance the picture. I can’t help wishing that they’d tarted up the generator box – maybe they could have disguised it as a giant present or something, but to be honest it doesn’t show too much.
It’s easy to get in as a spectator, just wander round – as I did – and sit, freezing, among the colonnades clasping a cup of cocoa from the surprisingly well-stocked coffee bar. The ice doesn’t look too spongey and when I looked there were no tell-tale puddles – maybe it had just had a re-freeze. It seemed moderately full but not stupidly crowded.

So – it’s looking good. I don’t know how booked up it is at the moment -presumably it will go berserk next week. Grab those mince pounds (I have saved up several by now – all I have to do is remember to actually bring them with me) and get skating…

I had a look at the O2 ‘ice disco’ too. An altogether more po-faced affair. It looks as though you need to be reasonably competent to even get on that one (which rules me out) and the music is bloomin’ deafening (though maybe I’m just getting old…) It’s ok if it’s raining, I guess, but at eleven quid it’s more expensive than the town centre one – and just – well – not as pretty. I preferred the beach. The food and drink don’t look as good either (though there is plenty of choice if you care to move a few feet away from the rink.) On the other hand, they have to fill up that vast space with something and an ice rink is as good as anything. I’m always staggered by the amount of space they haven’t filled up in there yet. No wonder the Corporate Fun of the Millennium Exhibition was so rubbish.

Has anyone actually tried either of these yet? Am I right in thinking the town centre one is nicer?

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