Turf Blog 08-05-24

Turf Zone – SayAhhh

The time is 12.30 am. The witching hour, the hour of the supernatural, when the boundary between the living and the dead becomes blurred. One day has passed and another is born. I’m lying in bed, warm, snug, cosy, sleepy, comfortable and do not want to get up. But I told myself I would go for a night-turf this fine evening. I get up. I wish I was back in bed but too late now, I’m up, might as well go turfing. Strange unearthly noises are emanating from the back garden.

Actually, I’m well prepared for this night’s mini turf adventure. All my kit is ready to hand, the Swifty Air kick scooter is prepped and loaded and ready for zones and all I need do before heading out into the forbidding cool darkness of the Bonnyrigg night, is find out the source of the mysterious noise issuing from the shrubbery. It’s certainly something alive, so not the wind blowing the ivy. Not that there’s wind anyway. It sounds like snoring but not quite. ChoccyMuffin is sleeping peacefully, so no blame there, more a snorting. Perhaps it’s a snarking whatever that might be, if that exists at all.

To be honest, I’m bumming this up a little, adding a little to this special occasion. It’s actually a snuffling, and is most certainly a hedgehog. We’ve been hoping for hedgehogs in the back garden for a few years now, even cutting “hedgehog highways” in the fence to allow access. So, a quick look about and there’s the culprit, a hedgehog. ChoccyMuffin will be delighted. I take a picture for the records and to show Choccy. But there’s more, not just one hedgehog, but two. Brilliant. I leave them in peace to continue whatever they are getting up to, if you know what I mean.

The plan tonight is to scoot off down to Dalkeith Country Park and grab a few zones, watch for wildlife and enjoy the peace and quiet. Weather is overcast and fairly mild, about 10 Degrees C, slight breeze, still too cool for just shorts and t-shirt, so on with long-sleeved t-shirt and windproof jacket. Hat, gloves and longs in the pannier for later. The access pass to the town gate of DCP is already on the scooter. Would not get very far without that as the gate is locked at night.

Pretty much quite all the way across town, just a few taxi cabs and hire cars buzzing about, some youths hanging about McDonalds making a noise. First wildlife of the evening are hunting vampire bats along the cycleway, followed by another happy hedgehog, some cute baby rabbits and a young fox, all within 100 m or so. I take a few zones along the way, all revisits as I hold most of the local area. I don’t like revisits; you need twice as many zones for the same points value. The town centre is fairly quiet, no drunks, no rowdy youths, just raucous seagulls feeding on a discarded pizza, with chips and brown sauce, it appears. The local Bobbies pass in a Ford Transit. The driver looks like Judge Dread. They don’t stop even as I’m scooting on the pavement.

Turf Zone – CollegeZone

First take is zone Restoration, another pesky revisit, then off out along the tarmac road towards Smeaton for zone DoNOTCrossEsk, still a Neutral. Massive dark shapes are thundering alongside me in the field. Just horses, so nought to worry about, probably. Next, I set off along the track for zones TheUnknown and YouAreTheAce but the track is a mess, churned up by horses, even the upper reaches are a mess and unrideable and lower down it will be even worse. I decided to leave for another time. It’s a full 1000m to the furthest zone and I don’t fancy hauling the Swifty all the way there and back again.

Next zone taken was BridgeOfFaith, the bridge still closed to access, so I won’t be taking zone ToEdinburgh this evening. The track is also closed off from the Montagu Bridge end as well. Signs claim there’s been a landslip. However, you can gain access from zone ParkOfSteel if you feel so inclined and won’t feel guilty about disobeying the signs. I’ve decided to wait until the summer months when that route is usually open.

Turf Zone – DoNOTCrossEsk

The time is around 2.00 am and I’m on my way back home. Roe deer are everywhere, I can hear them running away, dark shapes with white rumps, bounding off into the night. An adult badger runs along the road before me, visible in the light beam, claws clattering on the hard surface. It veers off into the wood and crashes away through the undergrowth. I takes zones HowlandsPark, LugtonCross and SneakyPlace, then I’m back in Dalkeith town centre, stopping for a revisit at HolyBuccleuch, where I get startled by a man sitting on the wall smoking a cigar. I said hello but he seemed reluctant to reply. I moved on.

Next stop the dead-centre of Dalkeith, the graveyard, and zone HolyDalkeith. Not sure I like all these cheap and cheerful LED fairy lights, glowing gnomes and the like, feels a little tatty and messy, but that’s just my opinion. If the bereaved get some comfort from a lost loved one, I’m fine with that. Just don’t put any on my plot or I’ll be back to haunt you. I must say my legs are getting tired now as I scoot along the cycleway, almost home. A few final revisits and I’m back in the garden. The hedgehogs are still at it, snuffling about in the same spot I left them. Time for a cuppa, then bed. All in all, a good night out, not many zones taken but good to see so much wildlife around. Dalhousie Castle next night, perhaps.

Copyright ©2024 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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