After a few days of very careful non-turfing R&R, Mr Dodgy Back has left the building and normal turfing service can now be resumed, at least mostly, and with some care not to overdo things again and get a return visit from Mr Dodgy Back. So, mindful of avoiding any undue stress to my lower back, I felt able to take the Ogre for a gentle spin around Eskbank and Dalkeith, picking off a few zones for the pot.
The weather was decidedly scorchio, with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s, beautiful azure blue skies and barely a cloud in sight, but at least there was a cool breeze in the more open areas of town. Out of the breeze it was scorchio plus, just too hot for my liking. To be honest, I’m not a fan of this type of weather, much preferring the cooler cloudy days when you don’t get frazzled to a crisp if you stand still too long in the sun. In fact, and I say this most sincerely folks, I prefer the nights. Say a temperature mid-teens, clear starry skies, hooting owls, foxy foxes, the odd UFO passing by and a full moon to finish things off. Just about perfect.
Anyway, the cycleway to Eskbank was an easy downhill start to my turfing session, taking zones WayOfBaird and Wishart for a couple of revisits, then Hardengreen for my first take of the morning. WitchTakeoff was next, followed with MelvilleGolf. Good to see the spiky hedge at the zone has been trimmed and no longer a hazard to the bare arms of innocent turfing cyclists. No sign yet of Mr Dodgy Back, so onwards.
WishartPlace was next in line and I stopped to chat with a couple of dog walkers who had moved aside to let me past. When I waited to allow the zone to take, they asked if I wanted past. My reply that I was playing a game called Turf and had to stop for twenty seconds, resulted in much bewilderment and my ensuing explanation of the game, virtual medals, points and so on, produced lots of nodding of heads and nice smiles, which clearly seemed to suggest I was being humoured. I think the glassy eyes and blank looks confirmed this.
Along to EskPath next, today a hot spot for people out walking dogs for some reason, but the shade under the trees along the old railway line was most welcome. The short stretch of Eskbank Road was heaving with traffic but a determined turfing cyclist does not wait for long queues of traffic and I was soon at the entrance to Kings Park for zone WhichKing. And the answer to that is not a king in the royal sense but a Mr King the farmer who managed the land before it became a park.
Next, more traffic congestion heading towards Dalkeith town centre had me ducking and diving for space as I headed for a couple of holy zones. First HolyDalkeith, at the dead-centre of Dalkeith, then more hectic snarling traffic, pesky traffic lights on red and people staring at me again. Probably the multi-coloured surfing shorts I wear for cycling. However, HolyBuccleuch was finally reached and taken. Still no sign of Mr Dodgy Back, thank the Lord.
The next three zones were easy and largely traffic free, SayAhhh, TheGuitar and JamesTheLean all falling to the all-seeing eye of the turf app, then a short climb up to Dalkeith Miners Club for MinersZone. The bright sunlight highlighted lots of glass scattered about the area, yet again. I’m so glad my tyres have built-in puncture resistance and Kevlar-based sealant inside the tubes.
I now picked off all the zones in the north end of Dalkeith including Lauder, Kippielaw, WhitehillDr, ClarindaZone, Langside, Medway, ExitDalkeith, DalkeithHigh, ThriftShop, CowdenPark and Peppermint. After that, down through Newbattle abbey for SouthEsk and BattleForest, then Beatles, BikeSlooowly, Strawberries, CollegeZone, Eskbank, A7View, Slytherin, Wishart, WayOfBaird, PeacocksBeard and finally, last but not least, Pittendriech.
I really wanted to keep going and take zones in Gorebridge, Newtongrange and Mayfield but after almost two hours on the bike Mr Dodgy Back might just have been getting ready to make a visit, so I called it a day at that. They will still be there tomorrow. In addition, I quite fancy heading out tonight for the eight zones in the woods around Newbattle abbey but we shall see. Catch you next time.
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