Turf Blog 31-12-21

Thursday 30th December
It was going to be a day of, what I sometimes refer to as, fuzzy turfing, in other terms, turfing new zones I’ve not taken before. The fuzzy part refers to all the wasted time finding those hidden paths, little shortcuts and taking the wrong/long way round. I also think of this type of turfing as laugh-a-minute turfing, at least for those turfers who know the area well and are watching my hilarious antics online. “Ha ha, you cannot get there that way!”, “That gate is locked, you need to all the way round.”, and “That zone is closed because of Covid.”, and so on. I do the same myself.

The plan today was to jump on the No 31 bus into Edinburgh – using our new over-60’s bus passes – alight at St Patrick Square, where Cathryn will head off to Scayles Music to choose her Christmas present, a new ukulele and I’ll head off turfing, taking some of the uniques I still have in the area. We would later meet at Princess Street Gardens for a picnic lunch. The weather forecast was for sunny blue skies, which would be good for photography, but as it turned out was mostly grey and overcast. Not so good for photography.

First zone of the day was easy enough and close to the bus stop, MiniGarden, in fact, so close you practically fall off the bus into it. A nice easy take to get started. I don’t mind turf-walking, makes a nice change from cycling or kick scooting. However, it’s not so practical for managing your equipment, namely mobile phone and camera. On the bike or kick scooter, the phone is mounted on the handlebars and needs little attention. Likewise, the camera is either in the bike’s handlebar bag or in a pouch attached to the kick scooter handlebars, both easy to access. Not so easy when walking.

I like both to be easy to access and not stashed away inside the rucksack. It’s a pain in the butt to have to reach into the rucksack at each zone for the camera. Pockets are an obvious answer but a bulky camera and equally large mobile phone are awkward to carry. At the moment I carry the phone by hand and have the camera in the rucksack side pocket, which is not ideal and it can easily fall out or be swiped by a passing low-life bastard. My thoughts are for a Crumpler bag but some research required first. The Dinky Di Companion looks ideal but some of the photography bags also look interesting. Will keep you posted.

The next few hours were spent wandering around Edinburgh city centre, taking zones here and there. Most were easy enough though at zone CampHolyrood the gates were padlocked, probably due to the holiday period, and at zone RobertBurns I had to hold the mobile at arm’s length through the fence to get into the zone. In total, 28 were added, many of them uniques. Only another 1303 uniques required for the next medal. That’s going to take some time! At lunchtime we grabbed a £3.00 Meal Deal at Tesco Express and stuffed ourselves down in Princess Street Gardens. Not bad, £3.00 for a chicken, bacon and lettuce sandwich, Innocent Smoothie drink and a chocolate biscuit. Yes, a Kit-Kat Chunky Duo, if you haven’t guessed.

Friday 31st December
It being New Year’s Eve, and with my partner having joined the ranks of turfers as PlanetCathryn, I thought something special was in order. What turfing activity could be do at the turn of the year? Of course, there could only be the one, the Ghost Minute. At 11.30 pm we walked up to Cockpen and Carrington Parish Church, a.k.a. zone KirkCockpen, a holy zone. With time to spare we poured a cup of tea, scoffed some chocolate and waited anxiously for the time. Then, with much excitement, at 12.00 pm precisely, Cathryn dashed into the zone. A few seconds later zone was taken. Then that interminable wait that seems forever, then much relief as the Ghost Minute pops up on the phone. Happy New Year!

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