I’ve just got back from the opticians in Edinburgh. Needed them to check out my eyes after two short episodes of double vision the other day. Nothing found out of the ordinary, at least nothing unexpected for my age, so all is well. Of course, they still managed to wangle £415.00 out of me, as one eye has improved, the other is slightly worse and new lenses are required. No thanks, I don’t want new frames and certainly not from the designer end of the shelf. Just re-glaze the old frames please. There will be a £65 re-glazing charge for that, sir. Is that alright, sir?
On top of that they put these stinging drops in my eyes to stop the pupils contracting while they have a peek inside with the Voight-Kampff machine from Blade Runner. The “Voight-Kampff” Test is designed to distinguish turfers from humans. For example, you are approaching a zone and another turfer is about to take the same zone. Do you:
- contact them and suggest meeting for an assist?
- carry on regardless and take the zone anyway?
- ask, what the **** is a zone?
The drops should wear off in an hour or so, they said. Ha, it was 4.00 pm before it settled back to normal and that’s from 10.00 am this morning. My goodness it’s bright outside when your pupils have stopped contracting. I looked in the bathroom mirror and I look like that marsupial possum with big eyes, the tarsier. Thank goodness I didn’t take the car. I am actually typing with my eyes closed. Not easy, I can assure you.
Rant over. For the time being anyway. Back out turfing yesterday evening and lots of excuses to be out on the bike and not sitting on the settee watching Strictly Come Dancing. Thankfully. We have gathering points, takes and uniques for Team Scotland effort in TURF 2022 and my new Hope R2 Vision Epic bike lights to try out at night. There’s also a unique zone in Danderhall I want to tick off the list and finally but by no means least, I want to try and better my 9:01 time for my Eager Ferret on the Loanhead Ferret Run.
Started off the back of 6.00 pm, taking the Dalkeith to Penicuik cycle path towards Rosewell, an easy start to the session. Foot traffic was light on the cycle path and I hoped by the time I reached Loanhead the path there would also be quiet. With luck, the usual dog walkers, horse riders, drug addicts and the unlicensed, no-insurance, illegal petrolhead motorcycle riders and so on, will all be watching Strictly on the telly and give me an unobstructed run at the Eager Beaver. Which is exactly what transpired. Thanks, Strictly.
At zone HareWhere, it was off left to follow the trail past the site of Roslin Gunpowder Mill. Down the railway-sleeper steps, across the bridge and another four zones to the tally. Next a road section, one I really never feel comfortable with at night. Its steep but that isn’t the issue, it’s the blind bends and the thought of idiot car drivers screaming uphill behind me and hitting me on a corner. There are no footpaths, so little choice other than some furious pedalling. Thankfully, the road was quiet and I reached Roslyn alive, if somewhat out of breath after the climb.
The night was still young so a circuit of Roslyn was in order adding another dozen zones and also a good chance to get my wind back, get the legs in good order for the coming ordeal and tackle that elusive time. My target would be to get under 9:00 minutes but under 8:00 minutes would be great. Fingers crossed. Interesting to note the ever-increasing growth in housing developments in Roslyn, same as most of the towns and villages in Midlothian. I wonder when we will realise that building on productive farmland, good fertile land where our food had been grown for centuries, isn’t a good idea? Probably never, I suspect, unless we stop having sex, producing offspring and continuing to increase the population.
Now, onto the Roslyn to Shawfair cycle path. The start zone is RoslinCopse. This is the Loanhead Ferret Run for the Eager Ferret medal, which I already have, but want to improve on my 9:01 time.
I take the first zone and the challenge begins. Away we go. Pedal like the clappers, legs a blur. Up through the gears into 7th, into 8th. Pedal, pedal, pedal. Check the screen. Where am I? Nice lady inside the phone says taking zone. Brake to a crash stop, just before the other edge of the zone, leaving a thin trail of rubber on the tarmac. Perfect. Click down two gears, ready for the next off. Zone taken. Away we go again. Then repeat until SkippingZone, where I collapse on the ground out of breath and exhausted. Really should remember to breath. Only lost a few seconds once by overshooting a zone.
And my time? At that point in time, out there in the dark, I had no idea. Only back home do I learn if I’ve done better, or God forbid, actually taken longer. I enter my details into FRUT, carefully typing in PlanetGary. I scan down the page and find it at 2022-09-24 19:38:38. The time is 7:56. I am dead chuffed with that. Nowhere near the turfers at the top of the Beaver Top List but I’m pleased to have done it without the 45 second bonus from wearing the Region Lord crown. Places me 11th out of 290 in Scotland, next to my turfing hero Féarglas. I’m happy with that. Still room for improvement mind you and will need to look at ways of doing just that.
A leisurely chill-down cycle along the cycle path soon has me in Danderhall. There are only about 10 zones in Danderhall, so I might as well take them all. The one unique I wanted is WispInTweed, out by the Craigmillar Castle road. After that, home to Bonnyrigg, stopping for a chat with MuttsCycles at zone Hardengreen. Then home for supper and bed. Oh dear, I’ve missed Strictly. Oh, never mind. Overall 102 zones taken for Team Scotland.
The final part of tonight session was to see how my new lights fare, the Hope R2 Vision Epic. And I must say I’m very pleased. Found that Mode 2 – 400 lumens – was more than enough. Which means if I can get 3 hours run-time at 1000 lumens, should get around six hours or more at 400 lumens. Double that if using one light at a time. The image above does not show how much light is actually produced. My humble camera phone isn’t really good enough. Back soon.
Copyright ©2022 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.