Turf Blog 17-03-23

Turf Zone – SeaArt

I’m out turfing and I’m sometimes amazed at what Joe and Jane Public think is important. Today is recycling day and along comes Mr Wheelie Bin Cleaner with his wee blue van and matching trailer. He then power washes the inside of the plastic wheelie bin, inserts a giant blue polythene condom inside the wheelie bin and then the householder gives him some money. Now, fast forward to next week and all this repeats again. But wait. Think about it. Why does he need to power wash the inside of the wheelie bin again? Does not the giant blue polythene condom keep it nice and clean? I take my hat off to the entrepreneur who came up with this little wheeze. Getting paid for something that is totally unnecessary. Amazing. Back to turfing.

Three turf targets today, two unique zones and another zone on a big pile of mining waste known as a bing. Of course, all three are not exactly on the doorstep, being found in the wild no-man’s land between Prestonpans and Tranent. The two uniques zones are MillTrail and TranentCem and the zone located on the bing is Battlepoint. Yes, a fair cycle just for three zones but there are other zones a plenty for the taking along the way and also on the way back, so no time wasted.

Turf Zone – EskIsland

My route took me first to Musselburgh, though no zones available for taking until the railway path approaching Whitecraig – I took them all yesterday – but they should be ready for revisits on the way home. Then it was along the coast to the far side of Prestonpans for the three zones mentioned above. After that, up through Tranent to join the Pencaitland railway path back to Dalkeith and then home to Bonnyrigg. Overall, a good 25 miles or so on the bike.

A turfing session for unique zones does not need any explanation but hunting down zones located on bings perhaps does. Back on Turf Blog 22-02-23, I mentioned a new Planet Gary unofficial medal, Bing Bagging, a series of medals where you take turf zones located on oil shale or coal mining waste bings. I started to progress this medal a few days ago taking zone ArnistonBing in Gorebridge and this would be my second zone towards the medal.

Turf Zone – Battlepoint

Not much to comment on until Levenhall Links in Musselburgh. Good to see the new tarmac shore path has been opened, though not all the way through to Prestongrange. Zone JohnMuirWay still appears inaccessible though some intrepid turfers have found a way through the fence. The final stretch of new path will probably stay closed until the current remedial works are completed on the ash lagoons. Also good that the existing zones along the seawall can be taken from the new path which is slightly inland.

The two uniques zones, MillTrail and TranentCem, were easy enough to find and take without issue. Zone Battlepoint requires a little bit more effort. I swithered about trying to cycle up the bing but opted for walking and pushing the bike. I wonder if situations like this are where the term “push bike” might have originated from?

Turf Zone – RailWaggons

Grabbed a few zones in Tranent as I worked my way upwards. Cannot say I find the housing estates very attractive, though I guess being surrounded by millions of rowdy school children tends to affect one’s attitude as does the hectic traffic in the town centre. I was aiming for the B6371 Ormiston Road. This would take me to the railway path. Boy, am I glad there’s a shared pavement alongside the main road. Nobody seems to drive less than 100 miles per hour along this road. Even on the pavement, it still feels quite hairy, especially when a fully loaded HGV passes inches away from you and you get buffeted by the draft.

However, I was soon onto the railway path and heading for home. Though either flat or with a gentle downhill incline, a steady wind from the west meant much pedalling. And I must admit to be distracted by a few trees along the way with good potential goblin faces for the collection. Very pleased with the above goblin. Eyes, nose, snout, dumpy arms, legs and yes, unmentionable goblin parts. Back in Dalkeith, it was bad timing to arrive a school chucking out time. Not only were the paths heaving with packs of young idiots, but the roads were also heaving with traffic. I escaped into the relative quiet of a housing estate as soon as I could.

By the end of the session, I’d got 70 zones in the bag and a couple of uniques to add to the tally for that still distant Unique 2500 medal. And with two zones located on bings I only needed another three for the Bing Bagging 5 medal. My endeavour’s today have now placed me in 4th position in League 4, Group 1. I’m about 10k points away from the two above me but a good 70k away from first place. Not that I’m really aiming for promotion this round. I’ll be happy to stay withing the group. Mind you, having said that, if the gap does come within reach, I may go for it. Time will tell.

Now, before we part, weirdness in the bathroom. Note, the following two paragraphs concern toilets, so if you find reading about toilets and what occurs there uncomfortable, please close your eyes. Returning back from the turf session above, I was somewhat in dire need of a JR, that’s Jimmy Riddle, if you didn’t know, a Number One. I raised the toilet lid and spotted what I took to be a floater, perhaps even a semi-Klingon, but certainly an Unmentionable. It was lurking, quiet and still, at the corner of the bowl. Summoning as much bravery as I could, I then sat down. Note there was also the possibility that something more than just a simple JR might be required. Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, little splash.

Standing up, I noticed that the above-mentioned object was missing. Now, where did it go? Had my tinkle disturbed the surface tension and the object has been swept round the bend? Was it my imagination working overtime and nothing was actually there at all? More importantly what was it? Was it a common or garden variety of floater, semi-Klingon or an Unmentionable? Or was it something far more interesting? Perhaps something out of the X-Files and I’ve had a lucky escape?

Personally, I have a theory and I reckon it was a frog. Yes, a common frog doing a bit of sewer diving. Not all that uncommon apparently. I’ll bet it was a member of the SFS*. I’m going to setup a camera trap to see if it returns and then email Chris Packham at Spring Watch to see if they will send a film crew. Wish me luck. Wish I’d taken a closer look now. Bet you take a look next time you visit the bathroom. Bye for now.

*Special Frog Squadron, a section of the Royal Marines.

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