The powder-blue roller skating boots looped around Muriel's neck suggested a potential line of approach. Perhaps personal development would best be achieved by demonstration of skills other than hanging downward from branches of trees or riding no-hands.
A previous attempt to forge a relationship at the Ping-Pong table in the community centre had been less than successful. My bat had pimples on only one side; this was becoming detached, and flapped about with every shot. When I stood on her ball she went home, a flying ponytail expressing disdain. At the street VE party my rendition of 'If I were a blackbird' left Muriel apparently unmoved, although several older neighbours were seen to weep quietly in disbelief.
The nearest roller skating rink was in Longford, a ten minute walk through Hen Lane and Lady Lane; passing the gasworks, the bone factory (covered in glow worms at night), and crossing the railway line to Nuneaton. This line was the source of nightly sound effects as trucks were pushed individually by steam locomotive over the hump, to roll down and be diverted into selected colliery sidings.
Roller skating was obviously easy; Ringlets could do it - and four wheels on each foot promised a guarantee of balance. In mind's eye, I could see us, gliding round the rink, hand in hand, ponytail flying. Some ten minutes spent clutching the wooden barrier with tightly clenched fists showed actuality to be quite different. Ringlets floated past. On one foot. Clearly the rollers on my skates were below the accepted standard. Perhaps the boots were the wrong size.
The surface of the rink was formed by large squares of smooth concrete, and the continual clacking of skates across these joints was almost hypnotic, like railway wagons over points. Small girls performed twirls and jumps in the centre of the rink, whilst long lines of conga skaters weaved a path around the periphery, occasionally shedding its tail, which thudded into the wooden barrier.
Situation saved only by her non-appearance.