Turf Blog 07-07-23

Turf Zone – Fisherrow

This turf blog will be my 532nd and I’m totally astonished that I’ve managed to keep this going since December 2020. I recall that day, see Turf Blog 21-12-20, sitting at the computer, scratching my head and wondering how on earth do I write something about turfing, about going to an imaginary zone with a phone and virtually taking the zone. Yet, somehow, I’ve managed to write over 500 pages of turf-stuff, some factual, some nonsense, and some of it quite possibly the same thing more than once. And people even read this stuff! I don’t often check the visitor logs but noted an amazing 2500 visitors one day. Almost unbelievable.

When I think about it, there are many topics related to turf that I feel happy to blog about and bicycles and cycling is one of them. Some might disagree, and that’s fine. If you don’t want to read about bicycles, fine, no worries. But to me cycling and turfing go hand in hand, so I share stuff with the hope that it’s found interesting to other bicycle-turfers out there in Turf World. So, today I’ve been shopping for bicycle-turfing related products.

Discovered a company called Cycology, who manufacture cycling clothing and accessories, many with unique in-house designed patterns. Nice to find stuff out of the ordinary and not the standard any colour you want as long as it’s black. It very much annoys me that so many brands only have black for men, yet you look at the same range of clothing for women and they get the full spectrum of colours to choose from. Wake up manufacturers, some of us want more than just black!

What colours do you have? Well, sir, we have black. And we also have this other shade of black, if you are interested. A blacker black. We also do a range of tactical cycling wear, sir, should you desire a night on the town. Fully bullet and stab proof, water and windproof, chain oil and beer-stain resistant and totally resistant to gravel rash for up to 12m. Only available in black unfortunately. And by special order, we can also supply your cycling mitts in, yes, black. Grrr!

So, with the credit card red-hot, I went ever so slightly crazy and bought one or two things including cycling mitts, cycling cap, neck tube and long-sleeve MTB jersey, all from the 8 Days range. Note that the long-sleeve MTB Jersey was reduced from £45 to £20 in the sale, so that makes it all right! Doesn’t it? Will post photos’ when they arrive.

Ornithologist 50 – identify 50 different species of bird from no more than 10 zones.

Anyway, onto some turfing and back to Musselburgh this morning for some birdwatching, and, of course, chasing that elusive unofficial Planet Gary medal, the Ornithologist, which requires me to identify 50 different species of bird from no more than 10 zones.

So far, my count sits at 47 birds, so only three required. And we were off to a good start at my very first zone, EskmutheBeaks, adding swift, a juvenile ringed plover and an enormous great black-backed gull that was carrying an entire wire-haired haggis in its beak! And with that, the Ornithologist medal is complete. Also spotted reed bunting, little grebe and tufted duck. Along with a few others that I bet turfer Hodge hasn’t got on his life list, such as the passenger pigeon, great auk and the Orkney weaver bird. Sorted!

And the good luck did not stop there. With the new tarmac path now open all the way through Levenhalls Links to Prestongrange, I popped along to take zone JohnMuirWay and noticed some seals resting out on some rocks called Big Ox. And as they were seen from the zone, seal can now be added to my list towards my Nature Watch 25, another unofficial Planet Gary medal. My present count stands at 11. Closer inspection with the binoculars revealed that both common or harbour seal, and the very much larger grey seal, were present, so another two species on the list bringing me to 13 leaving only another 12 to go. Which will not be easy unless there are lots of zones in a zoo or wildlife park?

Had an interesting experience regarding momentum when riding the single speed Harley Quinn through Dalkeith Country Park on the way to Musselburgh. There’s a short but steep wee hill that takes you over the new A68 Dalkeith Bypass, on the way towards Smeaton. I gave it some welly as I approached and seemed to hit just the right cadence to seemingly sail over the hill with minimal effort. It was a strange, almost magical moment, getting everything absolutely perfect. It was such an odd moment to be quite marvelous but difficult to explain and share.

And finally, some doggy drama at Levenhall LInks. I was riding past a lady with a pack of dogs when one of them, a Weimaraner, I think, decided to jump onto the meter high concrete sea wall and straight over the other side. The lady was totally distraught but thankfully, the tide was out and the dog had landed on a small concrete platform. There’s more of a drop on the seaward side. The lady was too small to manage the 1.50m drop, so, PlanetGary to the rescue. Jumped over and managed to get the (bloody heavy, soaking wet, slimy slobbery and pungently smelly) dog back across. Doggy drama over. The lady was very grateful and the dog was called Ben. He got a telling off but I don’t think he was paying much attention as he was sniffing the back end of a poodle at the time. Back again soon.

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