Turf Blog 08-12-23

Turf Zone – KirkCockpen

Turf Scotland Advent Calendar 2023. The date is December the 8th, Day 8, the task, Game of Fives. The Easy Option – first take any 5 zones without attributes, then take 5 zones with any attribute. The Challenging Option adds complete 5 revisits and 5 assists. There’s also a few notes as well. Zones should be taken in order noted above. You may substitute 5 assists with taking 5 Neutral zones if assists are not possible. Afterwards, and for extra entries in both the Easy and Challenge prize draws, take 5 Round Unique zones. How hard can it be?

Actually, the hard part is often creating the tasks in the first place. You need to get the right balance between being easy/challenging and actually being possible. You also need to create them in such a manner that the greatest number of turfers are able to take part. That tends to rule out any reference to specific locations, zones, etc. Another aspect that can be quite difficult is making the task something more than simply taking a few zones. I feel they need to be more than that.

I like to try and create tasks that are at least interesting, or educational in that you might learn something new or do something different you’ve not done before. And once you’ve completed the challenge, I want participants to have enjoyed themselves, achieved something and above all, have some fun. Perhaps, even looking forwards to the next challenge. But as I say, it not easy coming up with the tasks.

There are what I call parameters that can be used to make all the difference to the tasks, changing them from mundane to wow, how am I going to achieve that? You can add various elements to the tasks that make them more, or less, of a challenge. For example, adding fixed time limits such as 30 minutes, requiring the tasks to be completed in a single turf session, adding the requirement for some thinking or planning beforehand, and the most dreaded of all, not allowing any other zones to be taken during the task. You can also use distance to make things more challenging, which works well with time limits.

It took me about two weeks to draft the initial 24 tasks, then they sat there for most of the year. Then, about a month ago, I started looking over them again. Tweaking them here and there, adding parameters, removing parameters, even deleting some tasks entirely and starting from scratch. You need to ask yourself questions like, is that actually achievable? Or it this just plain stupid? You need to think like the turfers who will be, hopefully, taking part in the advent. How does it look from their point of view?

Anyway, back the days task. First, take five zones without attributes. Easy enough as there are plenty available thanks to other local turfers. However, I’m careful only to take five zones and no more. Also make my way towards the first zone of the next batch, 5 zones with attributes, zone HopeBridge. Then back across Bonnyrigg and down to Eskbank station for the last of the five with attributes.

Next revisits, again easy enough to pick a few between Eskbank and Dalkeith/Woodburn area, also where I’m heading for the required five Neutral zones (not easy to arrange assists when there are so few local turfers). ClarindaZone sees me finished with the Challenging tasks. That only leave the bonus part, take five Round Unique zones and that is also easy enough as I’ve not been to this area during this Round. Tasks complete.

On the way home I’m sitting at traffic lights, waiting behind a very enormous SUV (it is very enormous when you are behind it on a bicycle), a BMW X5 M60i. It got me thinking about climate change, or global warming, whatever you prefer. And I’m thinking we are not going to make it of we keep buying and driving tanks like this. I follow the lady driver though Dalkeith and she turns off into Morrisons supermarket. What is the point of a vehicle like this, for shopping! It has a 4.4 litre V8 engine putting out 530 bhp, 17 to 22 mpg and weighs in at 2.40 metric ton. It also costs from £92,000. So, pointless. But wait, it’s also a mild hybrid, so what’s the problem? Yea, right.

Copyright ©2023 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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