Turf and Safety

Turf zone – MuralTrail

When writing the post, Turf and Weather, it brought to my mind the topic of safety while turfing. As keen turfers, we may find ourselves out turfing at any time of day or night, in all weathers and during all seasons of the year, and often in locations that are unfamiliar to us, locations that are isolated or remote, and even perhaps unknowingly risky at certain times, say after closing time on a Saturday night. I’ve always felt to wise to keep safety in mind and want to share a few thoughts on this page.

For myself, safety starts before I head out turfing. I always let my wife know where I will be heading, an approximate route and for how long. That way she can raise the alarm if I’m excessively overdue. And if I deviate far from my route, I’ll text her from the mobile. We also have a notice board in the spare room where each of us will write down where we are going if the other partner is not around.

It’s a good idea to show someone how to use the various turf sites to show where you have been turfing. The session logs will show the last zone you have taken and can be used by the emergency services to help locate you, should the unthinkable happen. Even if you have moved from the last taken zone, your likely route to the next zone could be estimated. You also have your mobile phone and that can also be used to locate you if required. Hopefully, these things will never be required.

While still on the subject of location, we should all be aware that your little Turfman icon tells everyone using the Turf app where you are. All good and proper as far as turfing goes but it can also tell people where you live if you keep the app on while at home. Not likely to be an issue, just something to be aware off.

Turf is one of the games that can soon grip hold of you. It’s easy to find yourself getting somewhat obsessed with gathering those points, zones or medals, rising up another rank or winning the league. We can find ourselves pushing that little bit harder, staying out for longer, travelling further afield and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But we do need to consider our physical, and indeed mental state, during these long turfing sessions. Bodies can get tired, minds can get fuzzy, particularly when turfing late into the night and early into the next day. Some turfers will do 18 hours or more straight, and tiredness can take a toll on mental processes, as can dehydration from too little fluid intake. Remember we are turfing, not on the SAS final selection course.

Location safety is the next topic I want to look at. There is often small talk about some areas of towns that have a tough reputation and turfers should avoid going to these places at night. I’m not going to name any such areas as that would be unfair. Most towns have areas like this, often deemed rough, tough and to be avoided. And that may very well be the case on occasion. I was raised in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, and lived in the Skarne estate. Kids here would avoid venturing into the adjacent Fairfield estate. Kids there would avoid the Skarne estate and so on with other areas of Selkirk such as Bannerfield. It was all pretty much just perception and the areas all had their mix of ordinary folk living there.

Yes, there will be places, at certain times, when being there might not be a good idea. And my best advice is to simply be aware of what is going on around you. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you spot a group of rowdy youths, avoid them. You might miss a zone or two but that does not matter, your safety is paramount. If cycling, the best tool you have with you is your bicycle. You can easily out run anyone.

Now a quick mention about the weather. First thing, always check the weather forecast, dress accordingly, carry waterproofs or another spare layer if required, and think about the best route to suit the coming weather conditions. Take plenty of fluids and some food as well, regardless of the weather, be it hot or cold, turfing is an energetic activity and it’s good to have supplies with you.

And finally, on a less serious note, some of the hazards of turfing to be aware of and keep you safe. Pot holes, mad stray dogs, dog walkers without dogs, horse riders, kelpies, showers of fish or frogs, joggers and runners listening to music, broken bottles and glass, fairy mounds and toadstool circles, deep puddles that may conceal pot holes, ghosts in graveyards, slippery tree roots, dog poo (all known types), witches on low-flying unlicensed broomsticks, crossing golf courses during play, zombies, bird watchers, fresh steaming horse poo, stinging nettles, brambles, serious chickens, overhanging branches, barbed wire fences, unidentified flying objects, fallen trees and branches, phantom cats, sudden sink holes, low gravity zones, old bridges with resident trolls, flash floods, escaped mutant cattle, suicidal purple rabbits, curious sheep, luminous magic mushrooms, tornadoes, thunder snow, ley lines, dowsers, devils and demons, people who have small dogs wearing dresses, black ice, evil goblins, inter-dimensional portals, turfers carrying alethiometers, people who collect sand, escaped sabre-toothed hamsters, drop bears, anyone wearing shorts in winter, vampire butterflies, banshees, nessie, brick spotters, men in black, will of the wisps, the kraken, alien invasions, going to work, the apocalypse, the end of days, armageddon, high road kerbs, selkies, vampires, tram tracks, werewolves, dead phone batteries, cheese (all types), muggles, anomalous phenomena, imminent lightning strikes, the chupacabra, big foot, the ghillie dhu, wild haggis (Scotland only), black dogs with glowing red eyes, Golem (a.k.a. Sméagol), highland midges (Culicoides impunctatus), horse flies, bees, wasps, velociraptors and hornets, global nuclear war, going to weddings, riotous assemblies, street parties, civil unrest following football matches, ceilidh’s and finally, last but not least, McDonalds. Oh, I almost forgot, never disturb a quantum weather butterfly!

I enjoyed writing that! Keep on turfing.

Copyright ©2021 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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