Turf Blog 11-08-23

First more very good news from the Turf Crew. Work on overhauling some of the Turf medals continues.  Some minor design updates on two medals (not sure which) has been completed and five existing medal series will see some extensions later this week. Further new medals will be released into the wild in the Autumn, following voting by Supporters to decide upon alternatives. Needless to say, there is much excitement here on Planet Gary.

Wednesday 9th saw me out on the Swifty Zero kick scooter taking zones in Eskbank and Dalkeith, even WeirHere, the out-of-the-way zone down in Ironmills Park, a zone that gets little attention. And it having been some months since I was on the kick scooter, it did not take long before I re-discovered muscles in my legs that don’t get the same use while cycling. By the end of the session, I was fair puggled!

Thursday 10th. Dalhousie was my next turf session, a pre-dawn night walk taking in the nine zones in that area. Set out around 3.00 am, or to use the term my next-door neighbour uses, silly o’clock. The aim was to enjoy a walk in the countryside, see what wildlife was abroad and time my return for dawn and the dawn chorus. It was a good night for owls calling. First a barn owl screeching at zone KirkCockpen with another screeching at Dalhousie Castle hotel. I certainly would not want the bedroom below the parapet where the owl was making that racket.

My walk usually passed the waste recycling collection/transfer yard at Dalhousie business park and no matter what the hour, there’s always noises coming from the site, mostly the tinkling of glass. So, what’s making these noises at night? The yard is closed, so not staff then. I know there’s always gulls hanging about feeding on domestic waste. Could it be them, or perhaps rats running about? Possibly even simply natural settlement. A mystery I would like to solve. I don’t like unsolved mysteries!

Lots of tawny owls as well. Must have been a meeting going as there was no less than four different tawny owls calling as I stood at zone WitchesHouse. A few roe deer about the place as well, and rabbits by the dozen. Scanning with the torch across one field revealed about 20 different pairs of glowing eyes all looking at me. Quite spooky actually. Caught the dawn chorus at KirkCockpen. Here, four different wrens calling around me. Lots of other birds as well but a bit quieter than in the breeding season.

Last night saw me out of the Swifty Air kick scooter, leaving the house around 10.00 pm, a more reasonable time of the night. First across to the Melville area, taking the zones at Melville Castle hotel and King’s Acres, then into Dalkeith and back via Newbattle and Kirk Bank Wood. Weather was very mild, with temperatures around 20 degrees and the sweat for fair dripping off me. Was caught in a heavy shower at Newbattle golf club but spotted a wee shelter with handy bench and stayed dry. It didn’t last long.

Yesterday I decided to shorten the over-long rear brake cable on the Swifty Air kick scooter and this also requires removing the rear wheel. First undo the rear brake, fair enough. Next remove the rear wheel, okay. But that also requires deflating the tyre as well, annoying. Noticed that the wheel bearings were running dry and very rough, so needed replacing. Was able to remove all but one nut and bearing from the axles. My vice isn’t up to the job but help was at hand in the form of turfer and bicycle repairman, Scott, aka MuttsCycles. He was able to remove the offending items and even had suitable bearings in stock, all for a very reasonable price. Much check my other scooter as well.

The scooter is running much smoother than before. It’s interesting how you don’t tend to notice the gradual wearing out of items like wheel bearings and it’s only when you replace them that the difference is apparent. Not only is it running smoother and faster but quieter as well. I guess the noise would transfer up through the frame. Now I have a stealth scooter, only the faint swish of the tyres to give the game away. Cheers, Scott. Now, must get myself a better vice! Amazon, here we come.

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