Turf Blog 13-06-23

Here’s an interesting question. How many turfers go out turfing at 1.00am and are also looking for hedgehogs, or rats, but not rabbits, dogs, bats, hare, horses, roe deer, fox sheep, cattle. badgers or cats? You don’t know! Daft question, I suppose, though one or two regular enlightened visitors to Planet Gary will probably guess correctly, turfer PlanetGary. Yes, that’s me, out hunting elusive hedgehogs for that distant Nature Watch 25 medal.

Actually, I was off to a great start as far as watching wildlife was concerned, just not the correct species of wildlife, and not at zones. Zone Pittendreich gave me another fine close up of a badger. Started with some heavy duty rustling in the trees, same sounds as a few days ago at zone Brixwold, not far up stream. I stand still and wait. After a few minutes, out pops an adult badger this time, wanders about for a while, then stops to sniff the air. It must have caught my scent, looked straight at me and slipped back into the thick vegetation. Not what I was looking for but still a thrilling experience.

My route plan was to scoot around Newbattle Abbey, and of course, what did I encounter only meters from the zone Pittendreich? Yes, a bloody hedgehog! Unfortunately, not visible from the zone. Was very tempted to grab it and take it to the zone but that would be cheating. My scoot around the woodland trails did not produce any other sightings other than rabbit though plenty of rustlings in the darkness, many of them very close by. However, nothing I could get sight off even with the scooter lights. I’d forgotten to bring my torch with me, again! Duh!

At zone SouthEsk, approaching from zone BattleAbbey, I switched off my lights as I emerged from the wooded trail. I usually do this here as there are often badger or roe deer feeding around Newbattle golf course. As I did so, I hear some voices to my right. Something like, a female voice, “Did you see some lights?”, “What lights?” was the reply, from a male voice. From the voices, sounds like a couple hanging about on the bridge. Now, just what are they doing at 2.00am in the morning? I left them to it and scooted up towards zone BattleForest.

Now, this got me thinking. Spotting different species of wildlife is very difficult, so why not create another Planet Gary medal for all these other sighting I come across, better to make use of the time spent turfing at night. For example, that young couple on the bridge. A few zones later, and I have a name for the new medal, the Night Watch medal, named after the characters in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

So, all you need to do for the Night Watch medal, and there are medals for 5, 10, 25 and 50 sightings, is to spot, from within a turf zone, anything that a night watchman, or night watch lady, might encounter while on patrol at night. Note the key word at night, or any time between sunset and sunrise. What those encounters might be, I’ve kept very loose and it’s really up to you. But here’s a few examples. Courting couples hanging about in quiet places, drunks wandering unsteadily home after closing time, any police, fire or ambulance activities, dodgy characters and so on. All fairly flexible, just keep in mind what the night watch might deal with.

This morning, I’m out on Harley Quinn grabbing a few zones before the day gets too hot for comfortable cycling, or rather, single speeding. Forecast is for 23 Degrees this afternoon. Bonnyrigg provided about 30 zones and I’m still enjoying riding single speed. Also getting used to comments about the bike, which is not all that surprising really. Good to get out earlyish and enjoy the cool air. At zone Wee, on the very steep Wee Brae, didn’t manage to cycle back up the hill. It’s hard enough with gears, never mind on a single speed. Not that I mind.

Another parts delivery this morning. Plain riser handlebars for the Surly Ogre single speed build and DMR V12 Magnesium pedals for the Harley Quinn. Lovely jubbly!

…bingley, bingley, beep…

Aha, incoming message from the Big Giant Head. Or rather BG Cycles of Portobello. Looks like my wheels for the Surly Ogre are ready for collection. Back soon.

…screech of rubber, zoom, zoom, zoom, screech of rubber…

Grand! Two bicycle wheels now ready to begin painting. But not today, it’s 32 degrees in the shed and far too bloody hot to start rubbing them down for priming. That can wait until tomorrow morning when it’s cooler and before it gets too hot. However, did manage to get them de-greased and ready for rubbing down. More soon.

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