dancing on ice

Firstly, thank you to all you savvy fashionistas for your advice on my 2010 Summer attire - I shall indeed be seen wearing a duvet cover, in warmer temperatures naturally, and you will be the first to hear should I be the envy of South East London or the butt of many jokes. Also, you will be even more pleased to know, the beloved gloves were found - truffled out in my utter desperation from a very messy and muddy floor in the school cloakroom and now in need of a thorough wash.

When I was a child, between the ages of six and seven, my family and I lived in America. My father taught Art and being young and wanting to experience life a bit more, applied for a year's teaching exchange. Dreaming of spending 12 idyllic months based in Vermont or even California, he was a little "dischuffed" when he found out we were to be sent out to Detroit, Michigan. Nevertheless, we packed our bags and off we went.

Leaving behind a small sleepy Yorkshire town, we swapped everything with a teacher from a large High School in Detroit. My father took on her job, we lived in her family home, we were taken in by their friends and we embraced an American lifestyle. Completely. My brother and I went to a local school, wearing our "dog tags" with surname and address on for fear we should be lost! I've still got mine even now, a round red metal disc with silver writing engraved on it.

Since I was so young, my memories are sadly very few and what memories I do have, could well be the remembrance of stories that have been told so frequently with photos as evidence instead. For example, I was in the school band and my big (!) part was playing the triangle - a single note right at the end of the score. I don't actually remember playing that one note but have a vision of doing so because I know the story so very well.

Another so called memory is skating on a pond. Of course, American Winters are colder than ours, even more so than this coldest Winter in thirty years, and lakes freeze over thickly enough to allow a spot of skating. I'm suddenly thinking Angelina Ballerina on Miller's Pond here and distinctly remember my parents regaling me with tales of how we used to skate on such a pond (Lake St Claire). Of course, that's all I do remember and so I have this marvellous vision of little ol' me skating to perfection ('Dancing on Ice' eat your heart out), playing ice hockey even. But we all know that's not what really happened and having taken the children skating just yesterday, I've just realised it too!!

We went to the final day at Somerset House with a group of our boy's friends and family from school. What a hoot that was, watching several nine and ten year olds on the ice rink, all that testosterone and bravado was certainly the best way to overcome any initial nerves. And for the under eights, there was a mini rink with these penguins; cute little zimmer frame-type things that worked a treat until the bigger rink beckoned. Of course, not much skating to be had for grown ups, but a great deal of back strain from all the bending down and picking up! I later thanked my lucky stars that I didn't take my camera onto the ice as, yes indeed, I did take a tumble. Or two! Thankfully, though, there was someone on hand to take some snaps of the children in action.

So with my 20 Minute pledge in mind and wanting to encapsulate some lovely skating memories, I reached into the trusty stash for some Michael Miller fabric bought earlier this year and made up a skirt for my very own little Jane Torvill, looking for all the world like a penguin!

Enjoy the week x


  1. Just popped by tos ay and welcome to the 20 minuters group, keep inspired and have plenty of fun

  2. I'm sure your little Jane Torvill looks a sweetie in little skirt. Lovely post.

  3. glad you found your gloves!! Lovely story and pics, and - I am so impressed - fabric for every occasion!

  4. So glad the gloves turned up and loved the story and photos too. What a shame they don't offer those zimmer frame things for adults too! Although I used to skate a lot when I was younger and even ended up in hospital after one tumble it didn't stop me then but it's different now and falling down once past 60 is no fun at all!


  5. How lovely! Ben and Son 2 skated in Edinburgh last year, but I haven't done it for ages.

    Like you, I learned in America as a girl! Like you, I was there in small childhood, (aged 4 - 7) and like you, it was because my dad was teaching! There the similarity ends, because he was a naval officer teaching navigation at the Naval Academy, Annapolis. But that's a link with Della, of Della Grace's Life, because her grandfather taught there around the same time! You discover some incredible links while blogging...

    That skirt is so cute, and I'm glad you found your gloves!

  6. Such a lovely post Kate. It was so nice to read about your formative years in America, the memories passing down to you by osmosis!
    I love the pictures of you all skating at Somerset House, this seems to be catching on as we even had an ice rink in our local town this year!

    So glad you found your gloves!!

    Jeanne x

  7. Just a quick peek at your blog right now am out the door for a sandwich out.
    Found you via MarmaladeRose
    I joined your Followers

  8. Oh the skating sounds like fun but I know I'd fall and break my arm or something. Too old for that sort of hijinks now.
    Your daughter's skirt looks great and cute material too.
    PS. Glad those gloves made an appearance

  9. Glad you found those gloves!
    Love the little skirt - such cute fabric!
    I too would be in danger of broken bones on ice skates. I last went when i was 14 and couldn't do it then!

  10. Kate, I posted a response to your carbon monoxide alarm question - couldn't find an email addy for you.
    Kate, a carbon monoxide alarm detects the deadly gases that may be caused from faulty gas heater/furnace vents or automobile exhaust.
    Not an alarm to be lightly dismissed as death can be the consequence. The firemen were here with their carbon monoxide meter checking several areas of the house and especially in the utility room where the gas furnace and water heater are located,"

  11. Hi Kate, my name is Amanda and i am your magazine swap partner, my email is mandlwarren@gmail.com if you want to get in touch with me, talk soon (i hope), Amanda

  12. kate the email address is wrong in above comment, sorry it should be mandylwarren@gmail.com

  13. That fabric is fabulous!! I rememeber the little pond in our village always froze over and people used to wear real skates on it back in the 60's. Where abouts in Yorkshire were you from?


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