The first pair of roller skates I ever had a go on were a pair that were given to me, if I remember correctly, by my cousin. These were a pair like the small inset pair in the image accompanying this post, consisting of a couple of metal rails with wheels on that could be adjusted for size, and piece of leather to stick your toes in and a strap to tie up around the ankle end of your foot.
Forgive me, but they were rubbish. The wheels didn’t really run very smoothly so you didn’t so much skate as just push your feet forward and slide along a bit.
This would have been the late Seventies, so forward time a little bit and suddenly there is a craze for a new style of roller skate. These consisted of a pair of proper boots that looked like trainers that went above your ankles, which were attached to a plate with four smoothly rotating ball bearing mounted wheels (they looked very similar to the sort of wheels on a skateboard) and a big rubber stop under the toes which could be used to come to a halt.
These were far better and when my older cousin (the same one who gave me the other skates) got a pair I immediately wanted a pair for myself. I saved up my pocket money and finally got my own pair after a trip to a Sunday morning market (you know the ones, the big ones with all the clothes stalls and those blokes selling the weirdest variety of things at knockdown prices from the side of a lorry).
I loved those boots, which weren’t that dissimilar to those in the image (with the colours reversed if I remember rightly, I’m sure mine were mainly yellow with blue edging), and whilst I never really got that good at it, I enjoyed skating up and down the road and doing the odd slightly wobbly turn on the spot. I was never brave enough to stop myself with the big rubber stops though, instead I preferred to let friction do the work and bring me to a stop naturally.