Turf Blog 10-06-24

Turf Zone – TheGoldenTurd

The secret life of zones, that’s the theme for today’s blog. Out hunting down a trio of turfer uniques zones in Edinburgh. We begin on the Lothian Buses No. 31 for East Craigs, departing Bonnyrigg at 09:17 from stop Cockpen, Brixwold Bank. At 10:08 we alight at stop Shandwick Place (Stop SF), cross the road and take a zone called StookieGreek. It’s not a turfer unique and I’ve taken this one before, so it’s just a normal zone. If this zone was listed in the Observers Book of Zones it would be a common or garden variety of zone, albeit with a cool name and a Monument attribute. And also, one I shall be keeping in mind when the new Monumentalist medal get released into the wild.

From there I walk to my first turfer unique. It’s called StMarysZone, has the Holy attribute, which, of course it should, being located beside St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral and is held by turfer rubyroo. This is where our first little story in the secret life of zones begins. And there’s nothing holy about the tale that follows. As I’m taking the zone a young couple appear. They look in their late 30’s perhaps, though I’m only guessing, smartly dressed in office clothes.

To say they are having a wee argument would be a lie, they were going at it hammer and tongs, cursing, swearing, screaming and much waving about of mobile phones for some reason. No idea what they were arguing about but I did catch the words, football, bloody f****** car and handbags. While all this was going on a rather attractive lady was sitting in the lotus position on the grass, either doing yoga or meditating. She never moved an inch for the duration. What technique! Totally Zen. Perhaps she trained with mystic monks in Tibet?

For our next episode in the secret life of zones, we take a short walk to Drumsheugh Garden for zone Drumsheugh, held by turfer MaggieT. Interestingly, when I left school at age 17, I started work as an apprentice quantity surveying technician at James Gentles & Son, Chartered Quantity Surveyors in Galashiels. Their head office was at 37 Drumsheugh Gardens, here in Edinburgh and just across from the zone. I recall being sent there on the bus from Galashiels, a very nerve-racking experience for a shy and sheltered lad from the Scottish Borders.

Our tale here involves watching a grey squirrel shifting through the spillage from a black bin bag that was scattered across the pavement. It ignored the rotten fruit, black bananas and some very ripe tomatoes. It sniffed and ignored the stale bread. But when it encountered what looked like leftover pizza, it stuffed it’s cheeks and scampered into the trees. Very interesting to watch from only a few meters away.

For the final episode in the secret life of zones, we head down to the bottom of Leith, hopping on the Lothian Buses No 16 for Silverknowes at stop Princes Street (Stop PE). Only later did I realise there was bus stop closer by on Lothian Road and could have saved a walk. Our target zone was just off Carpet Lane, and was called, yes, CarpetLane, but without the space between the words. It was held by turfer Jackdaw85. Jumped from the bus at Great Junction St and started walking to the zone. Then I see the No 16 passing me and going the same way. I could have got off later, but never mind.

Now, what occurred at zone CarpetLane? Well, at first nothing. I took the zone and decided to wait a while and see what happens, lurking a few meters away mostly out of sight. And something did happen. A herring gull landed, scooped something edible up and few away, chased by another screaming herring gull. For the next few minutes nothing occurred, then a youth on an e-scooter zoomed into the zone, hopped off the scooter and started to piss against the wall, wholly ignored by some passersby. Some people just don’t bother!

And that was that. I hopped back on the No 16 for Princess Street; there I’d catch the No 31 for Bonnyrigg. I was upstairs and a bunch of the local natives where talking loudly at the rear. Not quite sure what the conversation was about but did catch a few choice phrases. One was “Ya ken what a’ mean?” And later, same fellow, “ya know what a ‘ken?” I kid you not. Clearly a lad with a Masters in linguistics. And another, “A’m goanna git plaistered the night.” I’m sure there was more but difficult to hear clearly and I’d reached my stop, so had to depart. Aye, there’s mare tae turf than taking zones, ken what a’ mean?

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