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.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Christmas!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy Christmas, I hope that you are all going to have a wonderful time with your families. Our family is all overseas but we are going to be having Christmas lunch in Capetown with Linda and then Boxing day lunch with Rory and Penny. We will be going down on the bike so I am looking forward to that.
You can tell it's Christmas here because all you hear in the shopping malls is bloody Boney M Christmas music and the town is full of cars with up-country registration numbers, they are cruising around at 37,6kmh and pointing at everything! It makes me want to bite 6inch nails in half.
By the way those white stumpnose that I braaied on Sunday were bloody good; I cut the head and tail off each one and gutted them, then I cut slits into the flesh through the skin, leaving the scales on. I then marinated them for about an hour in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice with a little garlic flakes and mixed herbs.The beauty of braaiing them like this is that you can blacken the skin which then peels off easily when the fish is ready, all you do then is eat the succulent flesh from around and between the bones. I know that some people must have fish without any bones but I don't care about bones, I am quite happy to eat around them because I love fish so much. Janet made a lovely garlic pasta which went very well and she made a simple salad of olives, tomatoes and feta cheese - absolutely fantastic!
Rene' and I drank a lot of beer, I owed him two cases of Castle lager because I bet against the team that was playing against the Sharks twice! You'd think I would bloody learn hey? But once or twice "my team" has won.
Yesterday and today was bloody crazy on the mussel farm so I am looking forward to a long weekend and a good ride, have a great weekend and we'll talk again next week.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Celebrate well

Isn't this such a cool photo?!
Here you see Frank, Janet, me and Natalie with mine host; Don of Beira Mar restaurant, which as I have already mentioned is the best eaterie on the west coast.
This was taken after the Toy Run and the night before Natalie's return to England and what a wonderful evening we had. Janet and I managed to leave at a reasonable hour because we both had to go to work the next morning, but sometimes Frank gets stuck in a place like that, he's been kicked out of some very good places I can tell you!
Here you see the big red machine standing looking gorgeous in the garage, that's where she's been for quite a while even though the weather has been pretty good. I just haven't had the time to get out on the road, things have been hectic on the mussel farm - I did manage to get her out and give her a good wash the other afternoon.
I don't know about you other bikers but I really enjoy washing my motorbike, it gives me a chance to check that everything is alright; I check the oil level, have a look at the tires and get the bike really good and shiny before the next ride.
Of course the first insect that splats into the wind shield really pisses me off!
I did manage to get out for a brief ride yesterday, I took the road out to the R27 and then down to the Langebaan turn off, there was quite a wind but it was good to get the bike out and I just wanted to blow the cobwebs out of the exhaust. I turned back to ride past Club Mykonos and around the bay to Saldanha and then pulled into the "Drop Anchor" bar which is a biker pub at the "Dial Rock" block of flats, there I sunk a couple of cold ones and chatted with the guys before taking the bike back home.
We are having some friends around for a braai this weekend, I have planned a leg of lamb for tomorrow for eight people, I will do some of that recently acquired boerewors for starters. On Sunday I am going to braai some fresh white stumpnose for four of us, Janet has agreed to eat fish! I have already detailed the braaiing of a leg of lamb in an earlier post but I will let you know how the fish goes.
Can you believe that next weekend is Christmas and that 2008 is nearly gone?!
Celebrate well and live for the moment; "Carpe' diem" - sieze the day.
Take care because we care.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

No riding this weekend

We had an enjoyable weekend even though the big red machine had to stay in the garage, we went down to Capetown on Saturday morning to attend Linda's house warming party and Janet made a big three bean salad and I was supplying mussels so we had to go down in the bakkie. (For foreign readers that is the Ute or the pick-up) The wind was blowing bloody strong so it probably wouldn't have been so pleasant on the bike, that's what I told myself anyway.
Let me tell you what happened to me the other day! This is true; Janet came to me and stood in front of me and said "I know this is something I'm not supposed to ask you, but does this make my bum look big?"
There are only three possible answers to that question and a guy must be very careful about which one he uses;
It's a minefield!
Anyway I digress, there were 29 people at Linda's that afternoon and the meal started with the mussels at about 2pm after which I braaied some lovely boerewors as a starter for the non mussel eaters. I got the location of the butcher so that I can go and buy there, it was that good and Linda gave us a whole lot to bring home, we're going to have some with toast tonight.
Earlier in the day I had made up a marinade for some chicken breasts; about half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of somebody else's dry white wine, roll the portions around in a big container to cover them and then sprinkle liberally with Aromat, garlic flakes, mixed herbs and cayenne pepper. Return to the kitchen every now and then to stir the portions around.
After about an hour I started braaiing the chicken and when they were ready they went into a warm dish and I built up the fire to do some whole beef fillets, I liberally coated the fillets with Aromat and Hot English mustard and then rolled them around over really hot coals and a bit of flame until the outside was quite well cooked, almost burnt after which I removed them and sliced them into roughly inch thick steaks. These then went back on the grill just to seal both sides very quickly, what you end up with is a juicy rare steak with a crispy edge. I'm not really a fan of beef fillet but this is probably the best way to cook it, if anyone doesn't like it rare they can put it back on the fire for a little longer.
A great time was had by all, I think I was a bit naughty but nobody was cross with me this morning so I couldn't have been too bad! The whisky and chocolate was going down very well at midnight but I must admit to feeling a little fragile this morning, probably an early night tonight. It's a tough life!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

26th Annual Toy Run

Sunday 30th November was the 26th anniversary of the founding of the Toy Run by the Italian Motorcycle Club when some 73 bikers got together to donate toys to needy children. Now it has become a national event and bikers from all over the country congregate in their respective towns and Cities to do a mass ride which culminates in thousands and thousands of toys being collected.
This was our eleventh consecutive Toy run and on Saturday we rode down to Hout Bay to spend the night with Dick and Janet where we had a very enjoyable braai. On previous years we had rode down from Saldanha to Capetown en masse on the Sunday morning.
On Sunday we teamed up with another couple on a Harley, Dick and Janet were on a very noisy Honda Shadow so we let the four of them get far enough ahead so we weren't deafened by the exhausts as we rode through to the gathering point at Ottery.
There was a massive crowd assembling there and we wandered around a bit looking at the bikes and watching the usual shennanigans as guys performed donuts and burnouts for the crowd. I'll never understand why they want to rub a couple of thousand kilometres off their tyres, I'd never do it myself but I enjoy watching.The atmosphere on the ride is unbelievable with thousands of people lining the road wanting to touch hands with the bikers, clapping and cheering our procession and lining the bridge overpasses waving to us. The traffic department controls the mass ride very well, ensuring that all of the intersections along the nearly ten kilometre route are kept open for us to sweep through.
It is a bit of a dangerous ride and a little tedious with all of the stop/start, hanging on the clutch and a lot of bikers have to pull over now and then to allow overheating motors to cool down, but soon we arrived at the end venue at Maynardville where the party takes place.
This year there were far more people, thousands and thousands and an incredible pile of toys was collected in the two huge trailers;This picture shows the smaller of the two trailers but both were soon overflowing.
A TV cameraman decided to climb up into the bigger of the two trailers and film the toys being thrown up but it became a bit difficult for him as everyone started using him as a target, he was actually getting a bit agitated but luckily for him they were mostly soft toys.
In spite of the crowds we managed to meet up with our friends and had a beer or two in the huge beer tent, there are always also a variety of trade and food stalls but we usually go off and have a decent lunch somewhere, I am not really into standing in hugely long queues for a mediocre take away meal.
After lunch we met up with Frank at the garage on the R27, he had his friend Natalie who was on a short visit from UK on his bike with him and she had been thrown into the deep end of one of the major South African bike scenes. Not really a biker she was exhausted and was lying asleep on the grass bank still in her crash helmet, Frank had to kick her a couple of times to wake her up!
From there we visited Dave and had a cup of coffee, it was good to see that he is slowly mending and was actually getting around slowly on a pair of crutches. He is already talking about getting back on a bike in a few more months, once a biker always a biker!
From there it was a fast ride home, Janet slept as usual and I enjoyed the west coast road with the wind behind us. It had been an enjoyable weekend and a good toy run and we will definitely be there again next year.
I've said it before and I'll say it again; "Bikers are good folk." Go out and hug one.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 12 - Robertson to Saldanha

I knew it was a good idea to stay over, we had stayed at the Grand Hotel on several occasions and it is a very comfortable old hotel, good clean rooms and good food. Actually most small towns have a Grand or a Royal Hotel and we enjoy staying in them whenever we travel, the pubs are always interesting and it's good to get into a conversation with the locals.
After a very good breakfast we were back out on the road just after 0800 and I was looking forward to the ride instead of suffering it had we continued the previous night. It was a glorious day and we could tell that it was going to be a hot one, not to worry though we would be home before midday.
Robertson to Worcester is a good fast road and I have mentioned that stretch in an earlier blog, a real pleasure to ride and not too busy at that time of the day, although we were looking forward to getting home I was already feeling sorry that the ride was nearly over.
After Worcester we took the R43 which winds it's way through Wolseley and past Tulbagh, roads we have travelled many, many times and which are thoroughly familiar. Unfortunately, as I have mentioned before that road is used extensively by heavy vehicles avoiding the toll road and sometimes they slow you down a bit. Soon we were cruising through Riebeek and then onto the R311 which heads to the N7 near Mooreesburg.
There we encountered the first of the stop/go road works but it was pleasant to park the bike and stroll in the sun, an elderly couple got out of their car behind us and came over to chat and admire the bike. He would love to get another bike; "Had an old 500cc in my younger days."
"So what are you waiting for? Go and buy one and get out there."
Through Mooreesburg too early for any pubs to be open, the R311 continues for twenty rough and bouncy kilometres until it joins the R45 heading through Hopefield to the R27. Here I accelerated up through the gears and we settled into 150kmh with the mid morning sun coming up behind us.
All too soon we were riding into Saldanha, looking forward to seeing old "Fat Cat".
It had been a really excellent though brief holiday, we had travelled some unfamiliar roads and visited unfamiliar towns and had had a bit of an adventure. Altogether we had travelled 3175kms which only equated to an average of roughly 400 per riding day, we had had four days where we did little or no riding.
Cheers! Good to be home, now - when's the next trip?