Turf Blog 31-01-24

To quote a line from the famous Goon known as Spike Milligan. “What are we going to do now?” This, resulting from not being able to face yet another turf round clearing the zones from my local patch and waking each morning to the sight of a paltry 1z on my turf app, having lost them to the Wicked Wizard of Whitecraig. So, what next? Well, to quote another well-known phrase, this time from Monty Python. “And now for something completely different!”

Well, sort of different, at least. Yes, you’ve guessed TvT or turfer hunting. For those who are not aware of this less-well known aspect of the G.O.T., it involves taking zones held by others turfers whom you have not taken a zone from in the past, each one being a form of unique. You can see details of this relating to your own turf name under the heading TvT on Warded, though you will need to login to do so. No turf medals for this, it’s just for fun and for the challenge.

To date, I’m sitting at 288 different turfers and I want more, more, more. And luckily enough there’s a flurry of them in the centre of Edinburgh, along with a few singles lingering further out. A tempting cycle or kick scoot from Bonnyrigg but the forecast is torrential heavy driving rain so time to make use of my good old bus pass.

The No 31 East Craigs had me alighting at South Bridge after a pleasant 48 minutes. Shame the bus has to keep stopping all the time to pick up passengers. The journey would be much faster if it didn’t. Now, my first target was zone HunterSquare, held by turfer GMturf. Having taken this zone before, no hassle finding it. Next, a short walk out east to zone OldSurgeon. This one taken from turfer barbsie. Again, no hassle finding the zone when you’ve been there before.

These two takes were easy enough as there were no other turfers in the area. However, my next targets were in and around Princess Street and I was not alone turf-wise. You never are in Edinburgh. The obvious thing to do would be to head straight there but I was in desperate need of a Jimmy Riddle and to be honest, I’m not missing the opportunity for a coffee and fruit scone at John Lewis. Just have to take a chance the zones will still be there under those unique-to-me turfers afterwards. Some things, like scones, can even trump the Game of Turf.

Refreshed with scone and a coffee, and relived after you-know-what, I decided to head up to Calton Hill to take a zone from turfer Skylark. With three to choose from I opted for the first, zone DugaldStewart, surprisingly taken from the steep path leading up the hill. As it was cold, wet and windy, I decided to share my misery by posting a selfie on the Turf Scotland WhatsApp group. Apparently, Skylark’s response was unrepeatable. Thanks, Joyce, made be feel guilty, though only a teeny-weenie bit!

My original plan was to then take a zone from turfer DianaVilliers, as there were no less than seven zones held my her in the city centre. However, I spotted a solitary zone held by turfer mx5man down at Meadowbank, zone MorayPark. So, I started walking, came upon a bus stop and stopped to check the timetable. Then, suddenly, as if my magic a No 26 Tranent appeared behind me, so I hoped on. I should say that turfer mx5man is the partner of family friend and turfer HappyHibby. Just had to take that one! Sorry John, just trying to encourage you to get out turfing more. It’s great fun!

Then one of those moments you dread. A certain someone gets on the bus. Okay, nothing unusual about that. However, this passenger was one of those people who, shall we say, are less fortunate then we are. On the old days I was have called him a tramp, these days, I’m not sure what the politically correct term is, unhoused, I think. In any case, he was carrying an assortment of very dirty bags, three rucksacks and a bottle of cider. You could smell him from the entrance. Please don’t sit next to me. Please don’t sit next to me. Please don’t sit next to me. Please don’t.

Now, there’s a character in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels called Foul Old Ron, a tramp and member of the Canting Crew who’s body odours have developed a personality of their own which would linger long after Foul Old Ron has departed. He also has Gaspode, the world’s only Thinking Brain Dog. This chap could have been Foul old Ron, but without the dog. And yes, he sat next to me. “Bugrit, millennium hand an’ shrimp.” I alighted at the next stop and walked. Zone taken.

Next, back to Princess Street. The good thing about using buses in the city centre is they come along every few minutes. I only had to wait two minutes for the No 4 Fairmilehead and was in Princess Street a few minutes later. Then the fun began! My target was any zone taken and held by DianaVilliers and with seven of them to choose from I thought I’d be fine, no worries. I only needed the one.

However, on Turf World things are not always as they appear. On the TvT map it was showing seven zones held by DianaVilliers. On the Turf App most had been taken and blocked by turfer spads. Some were okay out west but spads was heading in that direction. Only one remained that gave me a chance, zone TheNewsSteps. Got it okay, so another one in the bag.

By now it was lunchtime and it was also pissing down. Having bought a Meal Deal at Tesco Express – chicken and bacon sandwich, Innocent banana and strawberry smoothie and a raisin & biscuit Yorkie bar – I needed somewhere dry to sit. Found a nice spot out of the wind and driving rain in the covered walkway at the Supreme Court. Got a few dirty looks from some knobs wearing strange clothing and I thought a passing security guard would move me on but no, I was fine. By-the-way, I always carry a foam mat in my rucksack to sit on, keeps your bum warm and dry.

Only two turfer uniques zones left, zone StGiles, owned by turfer MagicShrew and zone Sienna, held by Mathsboy. Both taken easily enough. There was a few other turfer uniques zones out towards the Corstorphine area which I might have been tempted to go for but with the shitty weather, a session for another day. The area is easy to reach on the No 31 East Craigs bus from home. My total for turfer uniques zones now sits at 295. Wish there was a medal for TvT. As Arnie once said, “I’ll be back!”

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