Welcome!

Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT. Join us, read about what we do and please leave us your comments.



Friday, January 19, 2018

A visit to south Wales for a week

As I write this we are in south Wales with my ex BSAP buddy Dave Hillman and his wife Nicky, they left South Africa some two years ago and it has been wonderful to spend time with them again. It is cold here! We had snow on Tuesday and it has been wet most of the time but we have had time to get out and do some sight seeing in this beautiful area.
The drive here from Dorking in Surrey was interesting to say the least, we left at about 10h00 on Sunday and only arrived in Builth Wells at around 18h00, it took so long because the GPS kept trying to keep me away from the motorway and we drove for hours on narrow roads through admittedly picturesque little villages before I found me way onto the M4 West.
By the time the GPS was telling me we only had 50 miles to go it was also telling me that the rest of the trip would take two hours, I couldn't accept that because we had been traveling at a steady 50mph for ages, by my reckoning that should take only one hour! It was starting to get dark when the lady's voice suddenly said "In 300 metres, turn right." I sped past what looked like a farm track and the GPS re calculated; "In 300 metres, turn right." this time I was ready and turned onto a single lane track, tarred but very narrow that took us into the darkly forested hills!
Janet was by this time quite agitated, I won't go into too much detail but at one stage we passed through a tiny village alongside a babbling brook and took the route instructed only to find ourselves up against a farm gate, I reversed in the dark along that narrow track and took the other fork only to come up to a farm house, I banged on the door but nobody answered. We retraced our tracks back to the village where a kindly local directed us onto the correct route and eventually reached our destination.  Had it been daylight I might have enjoyed that journey more, luckily there was no other traffic!
Yesterday we visited the Elan Valley area, a truly picturesque valley with a series of dams, the one we were at was "Craig Goch", with a huge spillway roaring with overflowing water - if only we could have some of that back home!
A pretty church with an unpronounceable name.
A lovely home in the Elan Valley
The roads that are typical of the area, single lane and bordered by moss covered rocks and trees, if you meet an oncoming vehicle one must reverse!
The Main Street scene in Builth Wells, the village nearest to my friend's home. Tomorrow we will be heading back to Surrey but this time I'm taking the slightly longer route to avoid the narrow roads.
Because I am missing my motorbike I took my friend's scooter for some high speed, knee down action just before we left, a bit of fun.

Monday, January 8, 2018

January breakfast run - without us

So as you know we are in the UK with our family at the moment and having a good time but I am following the activities of my other family back home; the members of the Meeulanders MCC and I see that fourteen of them went out to "DuVlei" restaurant in the Riebeek valley for the January breakfast run last Sunday - I'm jealous and my motorbike is standing in Craig's garage.
When I saw earlier postings on our "Whatsapp" group that they were planning to go there I was thinking; "Oh man you're going to be sorry!" because usually January in the western cape is very hot, last year we went to Darling which is only about 25kms from the coast and the heat and humidity was stifling, the Riebeek valley is more than 100kms but from the photos it looks like they lucked out, it was overcast and apparently quite pleasant although those that went through to Capetown afterwards got quite wet!
They gathered at our usual starting place; Juffroshoogte for coffee and as several were traveling by car Johlene collected everybody's "Uncle Frank" so that he could also go for breakfast, he no longer rides a bike so it was lovely of her to include him, but she's like that; a lovely caring lady.
Here he is in the car park chatting with "Cactus Jack" who often misses breakfast runs because of shift work, however work unfortunately takes precedence - unless you're retired!









 It was also good to see that Louis was back on his bike having recovered, rather quickly from a broken wrist, but you can't keep a biker down and Louis is a tough guy. In the other picture is Murray and Laureen arriving at DuVlei on their recently acquired GS.
 They got tables out on the verandah, we've all been there for breakfast before, in fact it is a popular place for bikers from all over the western cape and sometimes pretty crowded at breakfast time.









Monika and Gerrie were there, as well as Bev and Daan accompanied by his sister, they all traveled by car as well.
Kathy and Sampie (centre) were also there proudly sporting their recently acquired colours, I'm very proud of this club, jealous that we weren't there too. Last year I managed to attend every breakfast run, this year I will only start from the April one, I hope they missed me?
Ride safe everyone.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas in England, family fun and lots of walking....

Our flight up from Capetown to London was much more comfortable than it normally would have been thanks to our son in law and daughter giving us "Premium economy" class tickets, that's me permanently spoiled for future travel! We boarded in 30 Celsius weather and arrived to about zero Celsius overnight, quite a shock but exhilarating nonetheless.
Getting together with the family was wonderful and the reason we wanted to come in the first place, to spend Christmas with them all, it was a lovely day right from the start when our boys opened their presents, through too much good food at lunch to a lazy evening.
We have so far visited a couple of pubs for lunch, which I love, and we have done some sight seeing but yesterday we were to travel into London to see the Christmas lights, I was dubious because I just knew this was going to involve a lot of walking which is not my favourite pass time.
The train trip of about an hour to Victoria station was comfortable, as was the "tube" to High Street Kensington but it was from there that things went bad!
We entered a long wide tunnel, crowded with people moving in both directions, and walked for what felt like fourteen miles but it was probably only seven right under London and probably the Thames too. Eventually we spilled out into Chelsea and Kensington where the streets were dotted with Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Range Rovers.  We walked past the Royal Albert Hall where the trees were decorated with lights, "Those lights are nice," I said, "can we go home now?" but they laughed and kept walking for another seven miles,
My son in law Andy found a pub and we went into the cozy warmth where I was able to sit happily once again with a cold lager but it was not to last,
They wanted to walk some more, it was cold and getting dark and we walked, and walked uphill through darkened deserted streets between old buildings, I expected to be accosted by an old man with fingerless woolen gloves and a battered bowler hat; " 'ullo Guv'nor", but it didn't happen and we plunged into the bustling bright lights of Regent Street, we had arrived!
 It was crowded! Hundreds and hundreds of people all there to stroll along the street and see the lights, which I must admit were very impressive, "Can we go home now?", luckily everyone by then seemed ready and though I was dreading retracing our steps we boarded a bus and it was interesting to see the hoards of people out for the evening as we headed back to the station. In a previous life I was a bus driver in Durban for a year and I could appreciate how difficult it was for these drivers to negotiate those crowded narrow streets.
We had coffee at the station while we waited for our train and then another comfortable trip back to Dorking, I made my daughter promise that we would not do that again as I relaxed at home with a cold beer. It's great here in England but I just have to get them out of the habit of all that walking!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I'm leaving on a jet plane......

I fear that there will not be much added to this blog for at least the next three months, we are leaving for the UK this evening and will only be back in South Africa on 17th March next year. I might be able to write touristy stuff but due to the weather over there my missives will most likely be devoid of both braais and bikes, although beers will still be a feature you can be sure of that!
My buddy Craig is going to be looking after my bike for the time that we are away so I'll take it for a ride shortly just to say goodbye and to leave it at his house, man I'm going to miss my bike!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and all of the very best for 2018, thanks for supporting me and reading my blog and please stay with me, I will be back!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Biker family party at our place

There was no breakfast run scheduled for the first Sunday in December so we put out an invite for our club members to come to a cheese and wine brunch at our house, our last function for a couple of months to wish everyone all the best for the festive season.
We were not really sure how many would pitch up as we had had the year end function on the Thursday and some went to Monica's birthday party on the Saturday but bikers are a hardy lot and when there's a party involved they're in! 
Twenty two arrived and a really good impromptu party ensued that lasted well into the afternoon.


Our entertainment area was pretty crowded but that's what we like and luckily it was a nice day so the outside area could also be used.










Having been in the aquaculture industry in Saldanha for so long I have contacts and am able to get fresh produce whenever I want, so it was that I had decided to serve up fresh oysters and mussels for everyone;


These oysters come from my friend Kevin's farm and they were delicious, if you're up this way and want to buy some let me know and I'll give you his number.


Young Elsje wasn't sure that she was going to eat oysters, not having had them before but to her credit she gave it a try and actually came back for more.


The mob made short work of the oysters after which I brought out steamed fresh mussels which I had collected from Blue Ocean Mussels, my old work place. They also went down incredibly well.


People relaxed and chatted and finished off with a selection of cheeses, olives, pate' and biscuits washed down with the libation of their choice, it was a lovely day and good to be with my people, I'm going to miss them all for the three months that we are away.
Next Saturday we are going to a different function, a lamb spit braai in Capetown held by my old regiment, the BSAPolice and I will certainly write about that one.
Don't forget to click on the pictures to see them full size and also to vote for this blog by clicking on the "vote" button on the top right of the page if you feel so inclined. Cheers for now.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Year end function, 20th anniversary and a patching party all in one

Thursday 30th November, usually the day of our monthly meeting became the evening to celebrate our year end function at which we carry out any awarding of colours that are due, but this year saw also the celebration of twenty years since the Meeulanders Motorcycle club was established.
After some discussion as to when and where to hold the event, some were not available or could not afford another full weekend sleepover the committee decided that an evening event would be ideal and so it was that we acquired a very suitable space at the picturesque Alegria Restaurant right on the water's edge in Saint Helena Bay. The owners George and Ronelle are also bikers and have ridden with us so they knew exactly what was required.
So it was that most of the club members gathered (some were still not available) for what was to become a very enjoyable evening.


The weather was extremely pleasant, warm and calm and obviously the company was the best, all family.



Once everyone was settled and content it was time to get the business part of the evening done so that the party could commence;


Our youngest member, Prospect Elsje was awarded half colours which was a rather emotional experience for her and then Sampie and Kathy were awarded very well deserved full colours,


These two are both extremely dedicated to the club and it was my honour and privilege to carry out the award ceremony. Craig, in the background happily administered the "strafdop" a wicked concoction of raisins soaked in Stoh Rum!














The award for "Ongeluksvoel" (Accident) went to Louis for dropping his bike outside our start up venue on a breakfast run and his wife Johlene was the recipient of the "MamaMeeu" trophy for being the kind and considerate person that she is.













Gerrie who is the usual provider of most of the photos used in this blog was the recipient of the trophy for the most points accumulated through the year, well done to all of you.
Then three of the original members were called to open the anniversary proceedings, Floors (left) and Steven (right) were members right from the beginning and Frank (centre) just a short time later. Frank gave a short introductory speech, actually Steven made sure it was short by stopping Frank with a mouthful of Craig's medicine!



A very nice meal was provided by the restaurant and shortly afterwards people started making their way home, thanks to all of the members and to George and Ronelle of the Alegria Restaurant in Saint Helena Bay (022 7361393) for making the evening a success. Feedback has been positive.
Those of you reading this please take time (if you feel inclined, or if you deem it worthy) to vote for this blog for the 2017 SA blog awards, the "vote" button is on the top right hand side, thank you.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Saturday braai for two

In between strong southerly winds on Friday when I was riding and strong southerlies forecast for Sunday when the Capetown toy run was being run, Saturday was a very pleasant day. We had nothing arranged so I suggested a braai just for the two of us, Janet jumped at it, she loves sitting at home relaxing in comfortable clothes.
I got my fire going at about 11h00 and while there was still flame I cooked some Skilpaadjies in my cast iron skillet.


These are a much loved South African delicacy, for my overseas readers Skilpaadjies (pr.skill-pie-keys) are made with lamb's liver wrapped in the caul or spleen fat. Some people like to braai them over the coals but I prefer to do them in a pan, less likely to dry them out this way.


They don't take long, I take them off when the liver is still pink and let them rest - delicious with my bottle of Merlot!
Whilst we were enjoying those I sorted out coals for my second part; succulent Karoo lamb ribs. We are lucky here in that although lamb is quite expensive the quality and the flavour influenced by the plants in the Karoo that they feed on makes for extremely good meat.
 


These were excellent! We took a break, a gap after the ribs and in the meantime I had two yellow sweetcorn mielies and a large "hassleback" potato, wrapped in tinfoil cooking on the coals.
We chatted, listened to music, drank wine and just relaxed. We have a busy period coming up; a bike club function, we're also entertaining my club brothers and sisters here at home and then mid December we fly over to the UK so we're busy, it was nice to just chill and discuss things.

Lamb shoulder chops marinated in olive oil, garlic and red wine, I make no apologies for a lamb braai, we love lamb.


The meal, simple basic but oh so good. We're going over to English winter so maybe we'll have another couple of braais here before we go!