Turf Blog 22-08-21

Turf zone – Eskbank

With the Diversier medal finally in the bag, I could now afford to chill out a little and simply enjoy some turfing. And with the Turf Ultimate Region Fight 2021 (also here) starting on Sunday 5th September, I think some gentle turfing will also help me ready myself for the crazy hamster wheeling and hard-core turfing that is to come.

This morning, around 30 zones in Rosewell and Bonnyrigg, were my targets. And my steed for the moment, the Surly Krampug. Regular readers will be aware I’ve been working on a noisy gear problem with the Surly Ogre. That has now been sorted with a replacement inner mechanism for the Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub gear, so the gears are all running as sweet as new. It was located online for half price, about the same cost as all the smaller parts I needed, so a no-brainer really. I guess after 10 years; gears can get a bit tired. There’s still an issue with the rear sprocket which is also badly worn, the teeth looking like “shark fins”, a tell-tale sign of wear and tear. Just waiting for a replacement, and spare, to arrive by post.

The cycle path from Bonnyrigg to Rosewell is always busy on a Sunday morning and today was no different. Lots of dog walkers though all well behaved. I make a point of jingling my seriously jingly bell each and every time I approach people, even if they are approaching head-on. From previous experience, people are not always paying attention.

It’s interesting to know that from zone CockpenBypass to zone HopeBridge, the fields on either side are destined for housing and associated infrastructure. Some 375 houses are planned with another 375 potentially reserved for future expansion. I’ve come across so many people complaining about the increase in housing in the area, and elsewhere, but I wonder how many realise the real cause of all this, not profit, but population growth. It annoys me to see people moaning about more houses being built in the field next door when they have five children who will themselves grow up and need somewhere to live. Anyway, enough ranting for now. Turfing is meant to chill you out not heat you up for a rant.

Rosewell has 14 zones, some in the village with the remainder in and around the Whitehill estate. None of the zones are particularly challenging, either during the day, or at night. Though zone ExitWhitehill is now inside a graveyard. The area is popular with horse riders and zone NoHorseFires is located next to Thornton Farm livery stables. When cycling, my personal opinion is always stop when approaching horses. Even get off the bike and try to look like a human being. Horses can be flighty, unpredictable creatures and you don’t want a 1000 lb plus great big lump of bone and solid muscle having a bit-of-a-moment.

This next paragraph is about sand, so skip if not interested. As you turf the zones around Rosewell, you might be interested to know that under your feet, or bicycle wheels, there’s some 11 million tons of sand, up to 9 metres thick in places. The sand was deposited by fluvial glacial meltwater after the last Ice Age. I’ve collected a good few samples from the area for my sand collection. Sand is still worked at Dalhousie Sand Quarry, located between Bonnyrigg and Rosewell.

After Rosewell it was back down the cycle path to Bonnyrigg, where turfer Aibo had been busy taking zones, around 8 of them, so I just had to take them back again. Sorry, Aibo. Not much to report today. The rough path between DobbysSock and Wee is so much easier with the 3″ tyres of the Krampug rather than the skinny tyres on the Ogre.

At zone Bonnyrigg, in the town centre, I noticed a cyclist at the traffic light and checked the Turf app so see if it was another turfer but no-one else was showing. However, a few moments late, said cyclist, was next to me and saying hello. It was turfer ElsieSpanner, who I met back in March this year. I recall describing her as “a fearsome turf warrior” in my Turf Blog 27-03-21. Luckily, she didn’t mention this. We chatted for a while then went our separate ways, both looking forward to the coming global turf challenge.

I have left two zones untaken, Pittendreich and Brixwold. They’ve been taken by turfer M&M’s, otherwise known as Aurora, the young daughter of my next door neighbour, Daniela. I felt bad about taking them from her as she only took them the other day.

I must end this episode of Turf Blog with an incident that almost caused me to fall from my bicycle while I was quite innocently turfing the streets of Bonnyrigg. Now, the Highway Code advises you of the many hazards that might be encountered while out cycling but not, I must say, the hazard I came across this morning in the Polton area. And in the past I was a member of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists), both for car and motorcycle, at various times over the years, yet even that didn’t prepare me for this.

No, it was the sight of an slim and attractive middle-aged lady, dressed up to the nineties, I assume for a wedding. She was in the front garden of a house. Let us say that her dress must have cost a small fortune as there was so little of it. And, as she was a rather well-endowed lady, certain parts of her upper anatomy appeared to be making a spirited attempt at freedom.

Freedom was also the mind of a small snotty-nosed pug, that may have been called “Get back in here you little bastard!” As least that’s what the lady in question called out to it. Anyway, in her attempt to catch said mutt – whom I have decided to call Houdini – she bent over to pick up the wayward pooch and the previously mentioned parts of her anatomy completed their bid for freedom, bursting forth into the Great Outdoors with a minor shockwave that made my ears go pop.

Anyway, this is what caused me to almost fall from my bicycle when I failed to avoid a pothole, as I was looking in the other direction. Thankfully, I was riding the Surly Krampug this morning and it’s 3″ wide fat tyres saved the day. I must admit the sight of her sudden inadvertent exposure and subsequent re-capture of both the snotty-nosed pug and her eye-popping breasts, accompanied by copious amounts foul language that I’ve not heard in any of my almost-60 years, was quite something. It fair put me off my turfing. Back soon.

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