Turf Blog 21-03-21

After a long day in the saddle yesterday and just a shadow under 100 zones on the board, it’s always disappointing to see them mostly vanish over the next day and by the evening I was down to a pitiful 8 zones to my name. However, while it would have been nice to get out there taking zones again, life often interferes with our desire/obsession/addiction (delete as appropriate) for turfing and this morning some DIY work I’d been putting off for some time was needing done.

My wife Cathryn grows plants for the Midlothian Community Hospital garden, a project run by a charity called the Cyrenians. They offer outreach sessions in the garden for people experiencing mental or physical health problems, disadvantage, isolation or poverty. Cathryn is a volunteer at the garden and also grows plants from seed to help raise funds, so a worthy cause. My job today was to re-engineer some wooden plant racks she uses for her young plants. My back was also complaining somewhat after 8 hours on the bike yesterday and was saying, in no uncertain terms, stay off the bike pal or you’ll be in trouble!

Most of the morning, and also into the afternoon, was spent in the garden and man cave, tools in hand, measuring, measuring again, marking, squaring, sawing, drilling, cursing, screwing, removing splinters and taking things apart again because I wasn’t paying attention and had put the legs on the wrong way. The remainder of the afternoon was spent catching up on all those other little tasks that need done, such as the dreaded housework, and by the evening I was able to head out on the Ogre and take a few zones.

With all but one of the zones in Bonnyrigg lost to other turfers, that was my target for this session and I spent the next 90 minutes or so doing just that, whizzing around the 30 zones on my local patch. The early evening was dry, bright and pleasant but cooling rapidly as the sun set over the distant Pentland hills, and there seemed to be more than the normal number of locals out strolling after tea, along with the usual wayward dogs and even more wayward children, and not a few idiots who think shared footpaths are solely for their personal use and their use alone, and refuse to move aside and let you pass. After completing Bonnyrigg, I was very, very tempted, nay even desperate, to head through Eskbank and Dalkeith to take more zones but my back again said don’t even think about it, so that would have to wait until another day.

Back home and with tea and toast in hand, my thoughts turned to the next medal to go for and I have few in mind. One at the top of the list is the Darkest Ninja medal, taking at least 30 zones between the hours of 2.00 am and 3.00 am. However, I’ve yet to find an area with 30 zones suitable for that task, and within the bounds of my own abilities. Initial thoughs are a run from Portobello to Levenhall Links in Musselburgh, but a reconnaissance visit and further planning is required before I commit to that one.

Another is the Trainer medal, taking a train station zone daily for 30 days. This one seems easy enough. There’s a train station zone only a few kick scooter minutes from the house at Eskbank, and another a few easy bike-miles away at Newtongrange. I wasn’t sure about the timing of these visits but a quick post on the Turf Forum provided the answer. Essentially, each visit can take place between midnight one day and midnight the next. You just need to be careful with the clocks changing for British Summer Time. There’s a useful page on Warded that helps you keep track, if you’ll excuse the pun, how your takes are progressing. And also on the plus side, revisits count towards this medal. Notes on this medal can be found on the Trainer medal page of the Turf Wiki.

The next medal that caught my eye was Restless, taking a zone every hour over a 12-hour period. But there’s also the Insomnia medal, same idea as Restless but over a 24-hour period. It seemed to me a sensible idea, that if you are going to go for Restless, it would be a shame not to benefit from your initial 12 hours of effort and keep on going for the Insomnia medal. In addition, if you’re going to be up and about turfing for 24 hours, why not go for El Staminatore, taking at least 200 zones over a 24-hour period? All three medals in one session.

This last idea looks interesting and also very challenging, and probably best kept for a weekend, holiday period or after I retire in May this year. Initial thinking would be to start early in the morning, say 3.00 am, then spend the time from then onwards first clocking up zones further afield, say Musselburgh and Prestonpans, this would give me around 100 zones, half the required total of 200. The final 100 would be local, in Bonnyrigg, Dalkeith, Newtongrange and Rosewell.

One useful idea I’ve had for the Insomnia medal, to help ease the challenge of zone taking every hour. Assuming your already taken the bulk of your zones, time your zone taking around the hour. For example, at 3.00 am, take your zones between 2.55 am and 3.05 am, that covers two periods, 2.00 am to 3.00 am and also 3.00 am to 4.00 am, and gives you some rest time, almost 2 hours. Your next zone taking session would be between 3.55 am and 4.05 am. Keeping zones close to home for this would also be a good idea as you are probably going to be quite knackered by now.

My efforts around Bonnyrigg this evening took my overall points total above 480,000 and upped my rank to Rank 33 – Advanced Zoner. Always nice to keep progressing. Until next time, keep on turfing.

P.S. Been still having issues with Ogre’s gears skipping. I’ve lubed the gear mechanism internally, replaced and lubricated the inner gear cable, cleaned and re-installed the cassette assembly and early this morning replaced the outer cable and cable ends. I’ve also replaced the cable end caps with a different type, ones with a slightly larger hole for the cable to run through. So we shall see how that goes. Other than replacing the entire gear mechanism, I’m out of options. Fingers crossed.

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