Let’s face it, turfing is a strange activity. We go outdoors in all weathers, either on foot, with velocipede or kick scooter, with mobile phone in hand, to hunt down invisible areas called zones, stand there for between 8 and 30 seconds looking like a right numpty while trying not to be embarrassed, look overly suspicious or panic when you realise, you’re standing next to a primary school and it’s break time. Actually, that 18 and 30 seconds may even be longer if your GPS is having a wobbly fit. Then off we go again to find another invisible zone. And repeat, repeat, repeat, often for hundreds of times.
This strangeness is sometimes reinforced when we encounter Mr and Mrs Joe Public. Oops, shock horror! I don’t think I’m allowed to say that these days. Please forgive me. Not very P.C., I recall. Let’s just say you encounter two apparent biological beings that look like homo sapiens. That should be fairly safe and not offend anyone, or anything, for that matter. They/them/it asks what you are doing. More often than not, asking if you are lost. This gives you the opportunity to “spread the word” about the Game of Turf.
Now, you need to pay attention to their eyes and facial expression, this will tell you if they are a), actually following what you are saying, b) think you are a total quack and are thinking of ways to beat a hasty retreat or c), immediately see that Turf of something of interest. Yes, that glazed look in the eyes is a dead giveaway that they/them/it think you are something strange indeed and best avoided. Mind you it probably does not help your cause when you have Shawn the Sheep peeking from the handlebar bag!
But it’s not just us/we turfers that are strange. I overheard a heated discussion the other day while out turfing. One young lady/woman/biological female/alien (that should cover all bases) was handing out vegan leaflets, well, leaflets about being vegan, though I suppose the leaflets might be vegan, you never can tell. The leaflet was about the usual murder of poor defenceless animals, the rape and pillage of Planet Earth and so on and wouldn’t the world be better place if we all stopped eating meat and ate green stuff like grass, or sprouts, or cabbage, instead.
This got me thinking, what if? What if the VEGAN Party* got into power and banned the consumption of meat. What would happen to the 32 million sheep, 9.4 million cattle, 4.7 million pigs and not forgetting the 178 million poultry, quite a lot of goats and countless domesticated haggis, that live here in the UK? What will happen to them? We cannot keep them as we need to land to grow more grass/sprouts/cabbage for us to eat. We cannot retire them to live happily ever after because who is going to pay the £billions required for that? Yes, Planet Earth might be a better place but not for all those animals. I didn’t sign their petition, by the way.
I should say I’m not against the idea of vegan in any way. I’ve even tried a few vegan products, some of which were very tasty, some of which were “never again” and some of which were totally, well, let’s say I put them out for the birds and even the magpies ignored them and they will eat almost anything. Anyway, back to turfing.
Yes, turfing and I want to talk about the dangers of turfing. The Game of Turf might not seem all that dangerous but like everything in life, danger is always present. An encounter the other day will illustrate that. I’m riding the Surly Ogre bicycle, negotiating the Hardengreen roundabout, that’s the one near zone StoneGate near Newbattle. Now, you probably know what I look like while cycling, white/orange cycling helmet, fluorescent yellow jacket and the Ogre is painted in every bright day-glow colour available. In fact, it would put Joseph’s Technicolor Dream Coat to shame.
I noticed a Range Rover approaching down the Eskbank road and I’m keeping an eye on him, making sure he is going to stop. I’ve already named him Mr Dickhead as he’s driving a pointless SUV. And does he stop? No, he does not. I’m about to exit the roundabout, taking the A7 for Newtongrange and I perform what it known as “the life saver”, checking over my shoulder that the space I’m moving into is actually clear. I learned this when I rode motorcycles and was a member of the IAM, the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists. It has saved me a more than one occasion.
And was it clear? No, Mr Dickhead in his shiny new Range Rover was right there. I had to stop as I could not cross into the junction. And Mr Dickhead had the audacity to say I was going too slow and was I trying to get killed. Afterwards, a lady jogger asked if I was all right, having seen the entire incident. We determined that it must have been a deliberate act to get in my way as there was no way he could not have seen me. I do recall that I had to make a determined effort not to give an almighty kick to the nice shiny door in his Range Rover. Soon after, as I entered Newtongrange, I saw him again and he immediately turned away and hurried off. Not quite so cocky when outside his Range Rover. Back with more soon.
*Vegetable Eating Group of Anarchist Numpties.
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