A two step too far?…………….

Those of you who have been following my posts will be aware that on the 6th December this year I will be taking part in Strictly Come Dancing in aid of nightingale house.

The event has been organised by Nightingale House an organisation close to the hearts of the people of Wrexham and the surrounding areas.

I’ve been unlucky in that the head judge has allocated me the ‘foxtrot’, undoubtedly the hardest of all routines to master. Fortunately I have been allocated probably the best dancer competition, Kirsty. With Kirsty’s support I hope to survive the experience.

I haven’t broken Kirsty, she’s just taking a break 😂

Nightingale House provides specialist palliative care services, completely free-of-charge, to patients and their families across a wide area stretching from Wrexham, Flintshire and East Denbighshire to Barmouth and the border towns including Oswestry and Whitchurch.

Services include a 12 bed inpatient ward, a 15 patient daycare unit, an outpatient clinic, occupational therapy, complementary therapies, physiotherapy including a hydrotherapy pool and an ambulance service. A range of bereavement support services are offered including a specialist service for children and young adults.

Their Mission Statement is clear – To provide services for individuals and their families living within North East Wales and the border areas who are living with a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness, delivered when possible in the location of their choice and always within the resources available to Nightingale House Hospice.

I understand we all get inundated with charitable requests but would really appreciate your support for this cause.
Of all my challenges, this one has to be up there with the most difficult. With no dancing ability and absolutely no rhythm, it remains to be seen what will happen on the night!

I hope to catch up with you all soon but in the meantime I’ll ‘keep dancing’.

One lucky supporter will receive a gin advent calendar, drawn at random on 29th November. Like and share for the chance to win

Gin advent calendar for one luck supporter.

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Dancing Queen………

My phone rings and it’s the hospice, TV’s Chloe Hewitt has decided that I am to perform the Foxtrot. It’s a surprise as I have no idea what a foxtrot is! I quickly Google it and my screen fills with a plethora of YouTube videos. I press play and my heart sinks. It’s everything I have dreaded slow and quick, up and down, left and right, seriously? I have no coordination! Why couldn’t I have had the Charleston?

I speak to several of my friends who understand dancing and they think I’ve been stiffed! “It’s the hardest one” says a friend beaming from ear to ear. “Chloe Hewitt didn’t like you” said another gleefully. “She must have seen real potential” another says before bursting into laughter.

I’m to dance with a young lady from St Helens called Kirsty she hasn’t been to any of the events thus far and I suspect she has been thrown in at the deep end also. I had visions of all the dancers sitting in a room and Chloe asking who wants to dance with Richard (no hands) ok who’s not here? ah Kirsty. I discover that Kirsty is Jordan’s sister. Jordan is a fine young chap who I met at the selection evening, he looked sympathetically at me as CH, as I now refer to her, put us through our paces.

A few days later I get a call from Kirsty she sounds lovey, clearly not from St Helen’s as she sounds more like a young Julie Walters. She put me at ease straight away. We agree to meet at Waverton Village Hall in a couple of weeks.

First rehearsal day. I arrive at Waverton I’m sweating already and I haven’t even left the car. Deep breath “it’s a far greater thing……..” oh get a grip!

I needn’t have worried Kirsty is a delight, young, confident, encouraging, full of energy and above all very patient. I handed her a ‘1st Aid kit’ as an ice breaker. We laughed as she told me she had been dancing all her life and that she was used to being stood on and dropped. I wondered if she had ever danced with someone so uncoordinated.

The hour flew by, Kirsty was brilliant, kind, patient and forgiving of my clumsiness. I confidently agreed to practice my steps but the truth is I’d forgotten what we had done the moment I left the hall. We agreed to meet in a few weeks and I breathed a sigh of relief it was going to be ok.

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Let’s face the music and dance.

In the words of the Nat King Cole song ‘Let’s face the music and dance’ appears the immortal line ‘there may be trouble ahead’. Never has there been a more appropriate lyric.

Following the challenge thrown down last Christmas I found myself at a dance studio in Wrexham for a dancing assessment evening.

I was late, I’m never late! But then I’ve never had to find a dance studio before. As I waked in I could hear the sound of excited voices and my heart sank. I was about to dance.

To set the record straight I have danced before mostly in the 80’s and mostly in nightclubs and always badly. I remember the sweaty end of evening ‘floor fillers’ being played and being dragged to the dance floor to avoid handbags and spilled Midori.

The studio was filled with some familiar faces who thankfully looked as nervous as I was. We chatted briefly before the sound of clapping brought the room to order. I’ve since discovered that clapping is an important tool in the armoury of the dance instructor.

We were introduced to our assessor and instructor for the evening TV’s Chloe Hewitt. “She’s AJ’s partner” someone whispered, I was confused I immediately assumed AJ was Dec’s cohost but apparently that’s not the case. My excitement was getting to me 🙄

Chloe looked very much the professional dancer, small, graceful and stern. I don’t know why she was stern I guess the prospect of bringing a room of ‘amateurs’ to order and assessing their ability was weighing on her mind. She reminded me of the dance instructor from the Kids from Fame, she just lacked the stick. She explained the purpose of the evening and introduced the professional dancers.

Over the next hour she taught us the cha cha cha and some waltz steps. I was terrible! On lookers smiled and nodded but in a funereal way.

Surprisingly Chloe seemed pleased, I can only assume we exceeded her expectations. She encouraged us into a more complicated waltz step, a turn no less. My confidence was shattered I couldn’t turn, try as I might I couldn’t get it. Thankfully at that point my rotation placed me with one of the more ‘experienced’ professionals. ‘Don’t worry she said “I’m going to place my knee between your legs, fear and momentum will make you turn” guess what? it worked.

We exchanged dancers regularly and I wondered which of these poor professionals would be putting their careers at risk by landing me as their partner.

The night was nearly over and my head was spinning I’d learnt some valuable lessons. Not least that Chloe can lipread and apparently that’s not going to get me many votes on the night.

I left feeling a little more confident, I just had to pray for an easy dance.

What could go wrong?

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