Turf Blog 22-12-22

I’ve been looking the number of active turfers again this morning and the trend is worrying. Globally, in round #150 we have around 5314 turfers out there collecting points, a fall of 1258 from the previous round. Here in Bonnie Scotland, we are down by 44 turfers, to around 295 turfers out there braving the weather in search of zones and points. I suppose this being December, with Christmas approaching and spells of inclement brass-monkey weather, this reduction might be understandable. However, the overall trend appears to be that numbers continue to fall. But on the plus side, we can hold onto zones for longer.

My plan today was to get out on the bike and grab a few zones locally, however, the builders, or brickwork engineers, as they kindly informed me they liked to be called these days, are back with vengeance and have erected scaffolding around the new porch to lay the blockwork external walls. Which basically means no way can I get the bike out of the back garden. However, they should be finished later this afternoon, so will have to wait until this evening to get out and complete the Skåne Kalender task for the 21st – taking 5 zones in less than 20 minutes.

With the present mild weather, it’s great to be able to cycle without fear of hitting a patch of ice and ending up in someone’s hedge, under the wheels of the No 31 or being savaged to death by an grumpy Yorkshire terrier wearing a tartan doggy coat*. To be honest, I don’t like it when the ground is frozen solid. Hard packed snow is fantastic as I can take the Pugsley fat bike for a spin, but otherwise, yuk! But wait a minute, surely there must be a plus side to freezing cold weather. Well, no pesky ticks to give you nasty diseases when turfing along the coast at Aberlady for one, and no bloody midges either come to think about it either.

And talking about midges. The midges we have here are not your usual midges, not even Marks & Spencer midges, these are pure blood 100% Highland midges, Culicoides impunctatus, to be correct. And yes, they are present even down here in the Central Belt and the so-called Lowlands, along with a good few of their equally nasty-biting-blodd-sucking cousins. There’s even a so-called posh or snob Midge, Culicoides duddingston, only found at Duddingston Loch, Edinburgh.

Their ferocity is unrivalled, so much nastiness packed into an itsy-bitsy wee fly with a wingspan less than 2 mm. Not only can they home in on their intended victim by detecting exhaled CO2 from 100 meters downwind but they have in-built heat-detection sensors to find that all important juicy patch of exposed flesh where the blood vessels are closest to the surface, perfect for that blood meal. And just out of scientific interest, and in no way in this intended to be sexist, but it’s only the female midge that suck the life blood from you. But don’t worry it would take around 500,000 midge bites to kill you.

I’ve also been giving more thought to next years first Turf Scotland Advent Calendar. Been trying to think a way of managing all the participants (and hopefully, there will actually be some). So, what I think I’ll do is create an online submission form here on Planet Gary where participants can request their name be added to the prize draw, either for the easy or challenging options. All I need do first is have someone, most likely my wife ChoccyMuffin, draw the winners names from the proverbial hat. Then I only need to check that the winner(s) have correctly complete all 24 tasks.

Also looking into prizes at the moment and I’m thinking cars might be a popular choice. Trying to locate good clean examples of the Aston Martin DB5, Land Rover Defender 90, Ford Mustang GT, original 1969 Mini Cooper and a few others but may have to go with alternative models. No cash prize equivalent and you may have to collect as I’ve not got enough wrapping paper. Back soon.

*I’d be grumpy if I had to wear a tartan dogy coat!

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