Turf Blog 15-09-22

Checking the turf app first thing in the morning, as you do, regardless that you’ve checked it every few hours throughout the night and slept not a wink, before the peanut-butter toast, before getting dressed, even before releasing that near-to-bursting bladder while hopping from foot to foot with knees together, I see a veritable sea, nay an entire ocean, of glowing reds dots before my sleep bleary eyes. My hard-fought zone total has been decimated, chopped down by a whopping 40 zones in the blink of an eye. Some evil turf-goblin-orcs have been out and stolen, yes indeed stolen from beneath my very feet, almost all my takes in Bonnyrigg, Eskbank and Dalkeith town centre. How dare they! These are my zones! One even dared pass by within yards of my humble abode under cover of darkness, taunting me with sheer cheek. Nasty things these evil turf-goblin-orcs.

But all is not lost. For I, the crazy but intrepid, possibly mildly eccentric, and slightly disheartened turfer PlanetGary, accompanied by my trusty bicycle companion the mighty Surly Ogre, will brave the biting chill breeze, fight the resident evil zombie hordes, fear not the deadly Yorkshire Terrier of Eldindean Road, run the gauntlet of noisy and very likely  sticky school children at the primary school and take them all back into the fold. Yes, I have spoken. It shall be done. Well, soon, probably. After a coffee and four-fingered Kit-Kat. And when it warms up a bit more.

Now, in the best tradition of the silent film, it is sometime later, after a second coffee (for the caffeine fix) and having showered, scoffed breakfast, shaved the three-day stubble away, released that bursting bladder and last but not least put some clothes on, we are out turfing the Red Zones of Bonnyrigg, and beyond. The evil turf-goblin-orcs have returned to their lairs, being unable to withstand the sunlight. But even as the evil turf-goblin-orcs are resting until the night comes again, other, more challenging encounters face this humble turfer.

Take, for instance, zone ChestersGlare, located not a stone’s throw from a residential care home, here I encounter members of the Most Senior Chapter of Hells Grannies (Bonnyrigg), hurtling along the pavement on their Stage 4 tuned Harley-Davison mobility scooters, the death’s head skull pattern on their “Colours” glinting in the sunlight. Similarly, at zone GeorgeWarMem, this time adjacent to the children’s playgroup, the warders have lost control of their charges and the Very Junior Hells Angels Chapter (Bonnyrigg) are terrorising the park visitors on the Razor kick scooters. I kid you not.

Even down by the Pittendriech Burn, usually a calm, peaceful and pleasant place to turf, a cloud of vampire butterflies has me pedalling furiously for my life. Mind you, thank goodness they weren’t quantum weather butterflies. Who knows what havoc they might instigate. A learned friend at the Fortean Times, a monthly magazine of news, reviews and research on strange phenomena and experiences, curiosities, prodigies and portents, confirmed the sighting of such a butterfly only a few days ago on Tuesday 6th September, the same day a tornado was recorded, and filmed, in the town.

Yes, it can be an interesting venture turfing in Bonnyrigg. Even the occasional encounter with the forces of law and disorder. Yet again, I had to instigate evasive manoeuvres to avoid the police. Not sure why they are after me. Might be that fail-to-stop I did the other night after kick scooting a red light in Dalkeith. Or was that an episode of Police Interceptors, or was it Traffic Cops? Oh dear, getting confused. Ah, I know. It’s those illegal flavoured Kits-Kats I’ve been smuggling in from Japan for a secret organisation of Kit-Kat enthusiasts known as the Kit-Kat Kollective.

By lunchtime, I’d taken back all the Bonnyrigg zones lost overnight to the evil turf-goblin-orcs. I plan to turf Eskbank after lunch. Then, just when you think you are doing well up pops an alert on the turf app. No, not the one from MuttsCycles offering me a loan of a single speed bike for a few days. Thanks, Scott. It was a “zones lost” alert. It was informing me that Supreme Turfinator Extraordinaire DaHunter had taken all my remining zones in Dalkeith, and was steadily working his way through Bonnyrigg. Ho hum, I can always take then back again tomorrow.

As usual I’m thinking about bicycles as I turf around Bonnyrigg. And what am I thinking about this time? You may well ask. As my Surly Ogre is running rather well, rather than purchase more bikes, I’m going to upgrade him where I can. First job will be to replace the cable disc brakes with hydraulic brakes. And perhaps a new set of mudguards to replace the current damaged ones. And maybe, just maybe, not one but two, 10,000 lumen LED front lights, seeing as he nights are drawing in and turfing does not stop when darkness falls. Well, you’ve got to be seen to be safe as they say.

After lunch I grabbed the Swifty Air kick scooter and set off for Eskbank and Dalkeith. Ogre was just too excitable after hearing he was going to get hydraulic brakes. At first I was wondering what was wrong with my legs. They just didn’t want to work, seemed to be aching. However, they were just cold after sitting too long at lunch, so once warmed up I was flying. I must say there’s one aspect of turfing I find frustrating. And that is watching your zone count decrease as you take zones. I take one zone and wait to see the total rise. Instead it goes down by two. Must be other turfers in my take areas. Guess that’s just turf for you.

By 3.00 pm I was back home having completed a circuit of Eskbank and Dalkeith, bringing my total over that magic figure of 100 zones. But as I write I see it falling already. I’m loosing zones in Peebles to turfer Furseal. Oh well, might as well console myself with some coffee and one of my mum’s home-made scones. Yes, mum they are the Scone of Scones.

And tomorrow, a bus trip on the No 31 to Edinburgh, not that long ago known as Auld Reekie from all the dirt and soot from coal fires, industry and steam trains, to collect our Turf Scotland t-shirts. I’m trying to think up something to do with the t-shirts, other than simply wearing them, of course. Perhaps, I could wear the t-shirt, do a selfie at a zone and then ask where am I?

Back on Turf Blog 02-09-22 I blethered about my new torch, a Ledlenser MT14, bought for night turfing sessions. However, it’s never a good idea to head out at night turfing with only a single source of illumination, particularly when in dark woodland. What would you do if the batteries run out, or the torch fails, or you drop it in the river, or some other mishap? The answer, one which is my normal operating procedure when cycling or kick scooting at night, is to carry two light sources.

As with the Ledlenser MT14, I did the usual Internal research and found another torch by the same manufacturer, the Ledlenser P4R Core Rechargeable. As it’s my backup light, no need to have another like the larger MT14. As it will likely never be used and will live at the bottom of the Willesden Sustainable Scooter Bag I favour for night turfing, compact and lightweight is key. There is another model, the Ledlenser P2R which is smaller and lighter but has correspondingly reduced light duration.

Its main requirement is as a get-you-home torch, so all it needs to do it just that. Get me home. The main aspect that drew me to this model is that it will provide 15 lumens of light for up to 25 hours, or 90 lumens for 3 hours. It will also do 200 lumens for around 2 hours, if required. More than adequate for my needs. It weighs a paltry 55 grams so is hardly noticed in the bag. So, next time you are out in the woods at night turfing, try switching off your light and thank how you are going to follow the trail. See what I mean? Back soon.

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