When I was asked last week if I wanted to go curling, I mentally geared up for my sliding lunge and thought through my snow gear for the ice.
A quick Google later, I sussed out that ‘Sliders‘ in Roof East, Stratford was more of a casual affair, but never one to take competition lightly, this didn’t stop me donning my thermal leggings and trainers for the occasion.
Heading into Stratford you’ll detour off the usual route into Westfield and head to the old Roof East block. On the 8th floor you’ll find an open roof top filled with flame heaters, games, a bar and the “ice lanes”. The lanes are actually synthetic ice lanes but to the amateur curler, like me, they definitely looked the part.
We split into teams and then it was game time! Sadly I was ordering a beer (from superbly attentive waiting staff who offered ‘lane service’) when they ran through the rules so wasn’t really sure what the deal was with scoring. This may have worked in my favour, though, as despite an impeccable reliability to nail my first stone into the centre spot, my aggressive rival team just kept smashing it straight off the end. Infuriating, but I could take solace in my great shot, and not feel too peeved at being beaten as I never had any idea who was winning anyway.
To add to the image of curling, there were of course some ‘curling brooms’ (foam floor mops) to hand, but these were, it transpired, more for show (as well as to help with the cleaning, perhaps) than to actually improve our curling or change the direction of the stone. The solid plastic ‘stones’ had metal bearings beneath to run along the plastic so scrubbing appeared to make little, if any, difference to direction or pace. Just useful for bashing competitor stones a little when they got too close.
If you’re going to be near Stratford then this pop up is open throughout December and definitely worth a trip – the drinks flow, the idea is fun and it’s something a little different – plus, there’s always fun in some healthy competition. However I probably wouldn’t make the hour-long trip over again. Ultimately, it was a bit like poor man’s bowling as after each round you have to go and collect your stones to go again.
Before the end of our time slot we found ourselves resorting to variations of the game – left hand curling, between the legs curling, one-fingered curling, ‘shotput spin’ curling. I suppose this sums up how much longevity it has as an evening out – not something I’ll sign up for weekly, but ideal for a one-off outing where you can have a little fun and games, with a warm tipple on the side!