9.00 am Bonnyrigg and I’m joining the cycleway to Penicuik. It’s surprisingly quiet with very few people about. But always that one single dog walker who cannot control her pooch. It was actually called Waffles, which is a character in the late Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, so I didn’t mind at all. She must have been a Discworld fan, as I am. Or perhaps I misheard, and she said Snuffles, which is a bacterial infection in rabbits, no less. I’ll stick with Wuffles.
It was a cool start to the morning and I’m wearing two t-shirts and a windproof jacket. The weather system is pulling cold air down from the North and the sun has still to warm anything up yet. Or perhaps I’m sickening for something or the other? Anyway, I was feeling cold and was thinking perhaps I’d not brought enough clothing with me. Guess I’ll need to pedal harder and warm up. My turfing trip to Penicuik is for seven-of-nine. No, not that rather attractive character played by actor Jeri Ryan in the Star Trek franchise, but seven unique zones out of nine that I have on the to-be-turfed list. The other two are in Millerhill but I’m keeping those for a nocturnal kicking scooting mini adventure.
The cycleway gave me a good 20 or so zones even before I’d even reached Penicuik. Approaching zone TheBackdoor, I noticed the zones ahead of me were blocked. Someone was out turfing and that someone was SparseRunner. I spotted him ahead of me, at least I think it was him from the placement of our turf man icons on the app. However, when I said hello there was no reply. I thought perhaps I’d got the wrong person or was being ignored because I’d blocked the zones ahead of him, or whatever. However, he later messaged me on the app and we exchanged some turf chat.
I was intending to list the unique zones as I took them but to be honest I’ve kinda lost track which ones they were. I’ve only taken the Penicuik zones once and I’m not familiar with the names to keep track. Anyway, I did manage to take all seven of them with issue, giving me a round 20 in total for the town.
With Penicuik sorted I pedalled my way towards Rosslyn, there to join the cycleway towards Shawfair. Back in Penicuik it was sheltered from the wind and now I was back heading straight into the wind. Again I was getting chilled and wished I brought another layer. It felt rather strange to be all togged up and still feeling cold. People, including cyclists, approaching from the other direction were in shorts and t-shirts. But then again, they had their backs to the wind, which can make all the difference.
I stopped at zone RoslinBattle both to scoff some grub and get out of the wind and enjoy some warm sunshine. There’s some handy benches there for that purpose. A few cyclists passed by, many on electric bikes. I find it unsettling when you look behind and see a cyclist in the distance, then suddenly they are passing you at a rate of knots. I just wish they wouldn’t look so smug all the time. Perhaps I’ll get one someday?
I always like to stop in at Straiton Pond, mostly to see what bird life is about. Today, there was the usual swans, coot and mallard as well as an elderly couple looking for fossils in the shale excavated from a recent drainage ditch. They showed me the remains of a fossil fern leaf. They were both quite excited. I was more interested in the bricks that had been exposed but they were mostly only boring old Whitehill bricks. Millions of those about the area. Also a few calcium silicate bricks which are even more boring. They don’t even have brickmarks. Can you believe that?
And talking of millions. Did I mention the flies? N0, well, there’s millions of them about today, little clouds of them dancing all along the old railway line. No sooner have you cleared the little blighters from your face, your eyes and your mouth, when you hit another cloud of them. Found the best attack was to spot them first, get your head down and battle, on through. You could hear them hitting the jacket and helmet. Best keep your mouth shut!
From Shawfair, I headed for home with a fast run down the A7, with the day bringing a grand total of 67 zones in all. Last evening, I was in danger of dropping down the League but todays efforts should have put paid to that for a while. Overall a very pleasant cycle. Next, some chores to be done. Namely replacing a rotten board on Cathryn shed. What fun!
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