I’ve just taken four zones and I’m standing in Kirk Bank wood, Newbattle about to take my fifth, zone Newbattle. The time is 1.58 am and I’m chancing my luck at the fair-weather window forecast between 2.00 am and 4.00 am. Only a 10% chance of rain, so worth getting out of bed. Aye, silly o-clock again. It’s been raining since 11.00 am yesterday and set to continue for much of today as well. I’m accompanied by the sound of water dripping from the trees, cascading from leaf to leaf. Some splashing in the dark puddle at my feet, some landing in a discarded tin can with a faint metallic chink, others are finding their way down the back of my neck causing me to shiver.
This next zone is possibly an important one, a very important one, even the ultimate one. It might just give me my Daily-365 medal after a whole year’s effort taking at least five zones a day. I did start the very first day, on the 6th September 2021, but missed a day on the 9th, so had to start again. By my own calculations it should be tomorrow, but one online turf page suggested a day earlier. Only one way to find out.
Fingers crossed I take a few steps forward into the zone. Taking zone, says the nice lady inside the mobile phone. The take progress meter slowly ascends. I wait, holding my breath. I’m reminded of the time I did my Ghost Minute medal. That was exciting, as is this. The progress meter completes. Zone taken. I wait for what seems like forever but is only seconds. No, not tonight, looks like it will have to be tomorrow. I’m slightly disappointed but then the Daily-365 award flashes up on the screen. Yippee! I’ve got the Daily-365. Brilliant!
Once I’ve calmed down, I suddenly realise that I’m once again enthusiastic about turf. Until that moment I was about to give up turfing entirely, to concentrate on other things. Now, I’m back in the game and have recovered my turf mojo. Then onwards, following my usual after-dark route around the policies of Newbattle Abbey College. Down through the golf course, across the Maiden Bridge, along to the college itself for the zone there, then uphill towards Newtongrange and down Joan’s Dyke Path to the Sun Inn, accompanied by an almost full moon (96.8%) low in the sky to the south-west. Finally, I included the path past Grove Farm and along towards Dalhousie Castle and back home. I didn’t take any of the zones at Dalhousie as I already held them.
I was surprised that the footpaths weren’t as muddy as I had expected and even puddles were few and far between. I guess the ground, even after recent days of heavy rain, are still soaking up the water, only later in the year will the ground become saturated and the usual puddles will form. As you might expect the River South Esk was running high and fast, roaring its way down to the sea at Musselburgh. Tributaries such as the Mary Burn, were also in flood and the old weir at zone ByEskWeir was rumbling like thunder. In all I added another 18 takes for my two hours trudging through dripping forests, so not great but still an enjoyable session. And, of course, having carried my water proofs and a compact umbrella in my Willesden sling bag, they were never required. Back soon.
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