I find it totally and utterly amazing that such a small, mostly invisible creature, technically referred to as a sub-microscopic infectious agent, but otherwise known as the dreaded flu virus, can lay a relatively fit man so low. This past week one such bloody virus, which henceforth shall be referred to as Miss Influenza, has been creaking havoc on my poor old body. Yes, and without costing me a single penny, Miss Influenza has decided I should get pretty much the entire works, with hot flushes, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, coughing, and fatigue. But thankfully, not the nasty optional aliment’s such as sudden runny bottom, the unexpected return of breakfast, and such like. So, perhaps, I’ve been fortunate. It could have been far worse.
I’ve found it most annoying not being able to get out on the bike, or kick scooter, and spend the day taking zones and adding my share to the currently running Turf Ultimate Region Fight 2021. So sorry everyone for letting the side down. At best I can manage about 10 or 12 zones on foot, and then only at a slow turf-walk slog with many a pause for a breather. I feel like an old man approaching retirement age. Bloody hellfire, come to think of it, I am an old man approaching personable bus-pass qualifying age, not that I really regard myself as such. My body might be approaching 60 years-old but my brain thinks I’m still in my late teens though my body keeps reminding me that I’m definitely not a teenage any more.
I suspect taking the bike or kick scooter out would be sheer folly at the moment, no doubt resulting in the final ailment noted above making an unpleasant and sudden appearance and yours truly getting into no small amount of trouble with my wife, Cathryn, who has made clear that cycling, fat biking and kick scooting are not acceptable, and there would be dire consequences if undertaken until further notice. Fair enough, cough, splutter, sneeze, groan. Better go and lie down again.
However, the one thing I am determined to continue with is my turfing, and specifically the Five-A-Day medals, taking at least five zones each and every day, which is just about perfect for my present under-the-weather predicament and about all I can manage anyway. Today, in need of urgent medical supplies, such as throat pastilles, cough mixture and paracetamol, along with even more essential essentials, nay life-saving wonder foods, such as large bars of Cadbury’s Whole Nut and Tesco Free-from range chocolate muffins to keep Cathryn happy, I planned a short turf-walk loop down to the Newbattle area and back via Eskbank Tesco.
With plenty of zones to choose from, thanks to two local turfers, TSPedro_delb and WAWAW, who had both been out yesterday and cleared my local area, my first zone of the morning was Pittendreich, not 100 meters from the house and an easy downhill walk from the front door. Not much you can say about this zone, it being just a small footbridge across the Pittendreich Burn. Rather boring really, unless you are into small wooden footbridges, but perhaps one day something exciting might happen here. Much more interesting was the turf name WAWAW, which, I have been informed by reliable and trustworthy sources, is actually a chant used by supporters of Sheffield Wednesday, and stands for ‘We’re All Wednesday Aren’t We’. Not something I would have guessed in 1000 years, myself being a total numpty regarding foot-the-ball.
A few minutes’ walk through the estate gave me my second zone, PeacocksBeard, located beside the increasingly busy, B6392. With traffic lights further up the hill, passing traffic is either almost non-existent or totally mental, depending on the direction of flow. The traffic lights are to allow the contractors to build the first of two access roads into the new housing estate opposite. I’m so glad I’ve retired and will not have to deal with the massive increase in early morning traffic heading into Edinburgh. Next, down the shared path to Hardengreen roundabout, another place where traffic is increasing with each passing month. Zone StoneGate then fell to the mighty Turf app.
A neutral zone was next. Zone AncientBattle, is one of those found between areas and also one that gets left out, forgotten. It’s slightly off-piste and not on the route between anywhere and somewhere. It can also be quite difficult to take, the GPS signal occasionally having issues – possibly as a result of both the dense tree cover and location, down in a river valley. However, no such problem today and the zone was taken without issue. My path was now back towards zone StoneGate, then up though Kirkbank Wood, picking off the three zones along that section, OldBattle, RecentBattle and Newbattle.
It was nice walking slowly along the path, the moist ground making for almost silent footfalls and there was plenty of time to look and listen, something we don’t always take the time to do. Normally I’d be riding the bike along here and with most of my attention concentrating on avoiding the slippery tree roots, dodging low hanging branches and ankle-ripping brambles, don’t have the time to look about as much, or indeed hear anything beyond the sound of the bike and passing wind noise. And no, not that type of passing wind. However, this morning, on foot, there was plenty to see and hear. There was a wren scolding me from a holly bush, a chiff-chaff was calling its own name from the oak above me and a whole bunch of nuthatches were running up and down the beech trees calling to each other as they searched for food. You could even hear the occasional leaf falling and landing softly on the woodland floor, a sure sign that Autumn is approaching fast.
Zone Beatles marked the turning point of my mornings turf-walk, with BikeSlooowly following soon after, then CollegeZone and Eskbank, at the railway station. Lots of young lads, and lassies, wandering about Edinburgh College’s Midlothian Campus, many wearing overalls, suggesting they are on one of the automotive engineering courses. I say this because most were under the bonnet of an elderly low-slung Golf GTI in the parking area. No doubt discussing the cause of the blue smoke billowing from the over-large drain-pipe exhaust.
A few minutes after zone Eskbank, I was inside Tesco and trying my best not to cough. Even with a face mask on people were staying clear when I did. In fact, I was very tempted to remove my face mask and see what effect a really good bout of energetic coughing might have on the shoppers. However, thought better of it and refrained from doing so. They might chuck me out before I bought my essential medical supplies, and even more essential chocolate supplies.
The walk back to Bonnyrigg gave me another three zones, A7View, Wishart and a final one,WayOfBaird. By then it was lunch time and feet up in the conservatory, chicken sandwich in hand, mug of tea on the table and time to start off another good Discworld paperback, Snuff by Terry Pratchett. It’s a cracker of a novel. It’s got goblins in it!
And finally, I do hope Miss Influenza finds another hapless victim to infect and leaves me alone. Actually, I predict this will occur sooner rather than later as I now realise Miss Influenza’s full name, and she can now be banished. Many thanks to Féarglas who reminded me last night. Her full name is Miss Influenza Lurgi. Begone foul demon sub-microscopic infectious agent! And finally finally, an unexpected popup on the Turf app was a pleasant surprise. I’ve now achieved Rank 43 – Turf Knight. I like that one. My turf man icon now requires a broadsword rather than a ninja sword. Back soon.
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