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.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mob mentality

This week has seen a strike by municipal workers throughout the country, they have been striking for better wages and working conditions and we all know that they deserve a better wage, they have been working for a pittance really and they have the right to strike.
The only trouble is they lose all public support and sympathy when they trash the town, in Capetown they emptied garbage on the streets, intimidated non-strikers and damaged property. In Saldanha this was the scene that greeted us after their protest outside the municipal office;This is the main door of the office and now on the second day it is still closed and the mess has not been cleaned up, by the time the wage negotiations have finished the wind will have blown this mess all over the town. Mob mentality! It will be interesting to see what developes.
Actually in general it is an interesting place to live, I mean South Africa not just Saldanha, things are changing all the time and in spite of the corruption and greed that is tainting Government Ministers at the moment I still believe we have the chance to make life better for all South Africans. I certainly hope I am right, I don't want to go anywhere else.

On a lighter note check out this really cool lawnmower, I can see myself working for a golf club or a country club just so that I could ride it all day!I couldn't help posting this picture, I just love it! It came through in an email which claims that it comes from Australia - if it is Australian, "Good on yer mate!" we could do with Todd around here!
Warning; the consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Braai at RCYC

We still have not had a chance to do any riding lately and the weather has been glorious, it's just that other things have kept getting in the way, stupid things like work! I missed out on a round of the FA cup on Friday because of work, surely work is not supposed to interfere with fun?
We went down to Capetown on Saturday morning and went out to lunch with Joe and Annie, later in the afternoon he and I went to play a couple of games of pool and what a disaster! Joe beat me seven games to two!! I barely managed to win those two games, maybe I deserved it after bragging about how I beat him the last time.
On Sunday we were invited to a braai function at the Royal Cape Yacht Club and what a lovely day that turned out to be, that has got to be one of the most picturesque locations for a braai that you could ever want; on the one side there is the iconic Table Mountain, which has made it into the top 23 finalists for one of the seven wonders of nature, that makes it sound like it took part in an Idols competition!?And on the other side the yacht basin with hundreds of yachts, some of them in the really big money bracket, bobbing and tugging gently at their moorings. It was a pleasant day, the food was good and I met some interesting people - there were also quite a few pretty girls which is a good thing, keeps the guys interested - I am allowed to look.
We seem to have a free weekend coming up so hopefully the weather will be good and we can get out on the road, I'll keep you posted.

Warning; the consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that you can step over a chain link fence without making a fool of yourself.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dick's poem

Dick, one of my good biker buddies, produced this poem at my birthday celebration and it went down so well I thought I would share it with you. It contains some colloquialisms which non South Africans might not immediately understand, but I'm sure you'll get the gist of it;
An ode to Andrew the Wood
He's turned the page
And come of the age
So it was in 2007 - on new year's day
that I start this story - if I may
We were off to Riebeek Kasteel
A lovely little town - I feel
We were going to see a few friends of mine
To have a few dops - and to dine.
We first went to Riebeek West
Just for a change and a rest
And then - there in Kasteel in front of my eyes - a rare feast
A magnificent - beautiful - BMW 1200 RT - red beast!!!
I strode into Paul and Mandy's house
and yelled - How are all of youse???
And then burst out and said - who is it - and what's it like
Who owns that magnificent bike??
And then we spoke lots of bikers chat
about this - and this - and lots of that
and then it all came together - and it was good
cause why - we had met Janet and Andy Wood.
After lots - and lots and lots of beer
it was if we had known each other for many a year
and then they said - we pray
Why don't you all come to visit us in Saldanha Bay.
So it was - another month or so
When the cobwebs from my bike - we did blow
We were entertained fit for a King
Mussels, Oysters, fish soup - what a fling.
And then the rallies - they came
Where I met Frank - who is always game
First Stillbay, and then Slangkop
where we had many a beery dop.
We sang with the karaoke locals
Even though we had kak vocals
and just at the end of the Slangkop trip
I went into the freezing Atlantic - for a kaalgat dip.
And then last November we played like little boys
On the motorbike run - for the children's toys
We had some dops at the yacht club
and watched the rugby in the leka pub.
Then in Feb Andrew phoned to say hi
Don't we feel like coming up for a braai
We ended up in Paternoster looking for cray tail
Evading the boere - and the bail.
Another great feast in the west coast sun
Good music, cold beer, and plenty of fun
So - this is actually to a regular oke
Who is in fact a jolly good bloke.
A farmer of mussels in his boat
and also a cook of some note
who embibes and enjoys his "Castle" beer
and loves his wifie dear.
He rides his bike - a BMW steed
with great urgency and much need - or -
He rides his bike - a BMW of class
by the skin of his pants on his hairy arse.
Who a mean blog does expansively write
and often does braai well past midnite
and jislaaik man for a blerrie Rhodie kop
he can nogal hold his dop!!!
So it is with very much glee
even though - Andrew
I've only known you for a year or three
congrats on your 60th.
On which life is sometimes measured
thanks for the friendship
it is really treasured
May you have many many more
Keep up the blog - and all the yore
And well done to wifie Jan
For looking after your special man
You are the most wonderful wife
that Andrew could wish for - in his life
Ride safe buddies
with much love
Dick and Jan

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Birthday lunch

A couple of posts ago I touched on my lunch time session with my friends, it was my birthday and we arranged to gather at a friend's home in Capetown where Janet and I would entertain twenty of them to a Sunday lunch. I love entertaining and cooking and so does Janet after she gets her mind around it, we had been talking about it for a couple of weeks before and so we had everything pretty well planned;The starters were fresh oysters, marinated mussels - we had steamed the mussels on the Friday and marinated them then so that they would be really good by Sunday - with cheese and herb bread, and then Janet roasted a pan of chicken drumsticks for the non seafood eaters, of which there were only a couple but previous experience has taught us to make plenty because after our friends have gorged on mussels and oysters they still want to tuck into the chicken!
While this was going on I carried on with the oxtail pot which I had started at 0700, first I browned 8kg of oxtail in a little cooking oil in three batches, until it was all just nicely browned and then I set it aside.
Next, and in the same oil I fried up a kilo of bacon and then a mix of chopped onions, green peppers, celery and fresh garlic until all the vegetables were nicely translucent. I also added two large potatoes which were chopped quite small, to help thicken the gravy.
Whilst the meat was out of the pot I sprinkled it with two packets of cream of onion soup powder, a large sprinkle of Aromat - my favourite meat spice, and some mixed herbs. This was then all put back into the pot and given a good stir around so that all of the onions and peppers covered the meat.
I then poured in a full Castle lager and a cup full of dry red wine and left the whole lot to simmer on a low heat for about two hours.
Janet and Linda were busying themselves with preparations and both were convinced that the pot would never be ready on time, "Oh ye of little faith!" I said as I stirred the meat again, by then a nice gravy was starting to appear and I added salt and pepper to taste and left it to simmer for another two hours.
While I was busy I caused 12 large potatoes and a large butternut to be peeled and chopped - I was far too involved with the pot to do it myself!
By this stage the meat was starting to feel soft and starting to separate a bit from the bone, I added the potatoes, butternut and fresh green beans and settled them into the gravy, about another hour to slowly simmer just to let the vegetables cook as my guests were starting to arrive.
Happily the timing was perfect, the pot got a good thumbs up from all of my guests, we served it on rice about a half an hour after the starters were finished, altogether six hours preparation and cooking time.
We ended off with cheese and biscuits, home made Belgian chocolates, mixed nuts and raisins and a good whisky liqueur and I must admit that I had the most wonderful day. My friend Dick read a very amusing poem that he had written in my honour and I will follow up with it in my next post. By 1830 all of my friends had left and all that remained was to clear up and relax for a bit, certainly the best birthday celebration that I can remember.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Viper lounge and the Buffalo bar

Just to open here is another picture out of Africa, again I'm not sure where. This is quite ingenious but it all seems to be tied together with wire so I'm not sure it's all that safe, not that he's going to be doing any high speed riding!
We managed to get a really good day out on the big red machine yesterday, it was another of those glorious mid winter balmy days and we took full advantage; we met up with Frank at the Engen One stop on the R27 and while we waited I had a cup of coffee and Janet had a hot chocolate, both of which the Wimpy does particularly well. I also took the opportunity to check my tire pressures, just as well - the front was 1,7 instead of 2,5. We have a problem with the service station tire pumps, they do not fit easily onto motorcycle valves so we have to use valve adaptors, mine stays in my jacket pocket now because I had a serious problem once before when the air pump let the air out of the front tire instead of pumping it up!
It was lovely and warm as we pulled out onto the R27 and pointed our bikes in the direction of Capetown, we had not had a fixed destination and after a brief discussion decided to go to the "Viper bar" to check out the lunch menu.
It was an enjoyable and uneventful cruise along the rather boring west coast road, the cars and trucks all obligingly moved aside for us as we swept up behind them and I always acknowledge that with a wave of my left hand. We passed several groups of bikers heading up our way and most acknowledged our brotherhood with a wave or a flash of the headlight, all that is except three guys on Harleys! Why they don't greet other bikers on the road is a mystery, now if I recognise that the approaching bike is a Harley I don't bother to wave.
After an hour's ride we pulled into the car park in front of the bar which already had quite a lot of bikes, mostly Harleys!
It was good to see that people gathered to admire the BMW in amongst all of the Harleys! In this bar the sport of choice is MotoGP and we watched some excellent racing with Rossi pulling off an exciting win.

The lunch was good, my 500g pork spareribs with chips and salad was R68 (about USD8.50 and about GBP5.60 - good value, even by our standards.) Janet and Frank both had bangers (Pork sausages) and mash and gravy at R40 each which they both declared was delicious, so like Arnold "We'll be back!"
I was approached by a guy after lunch who asked "Whose is the BMW outside?" and when I acknowledged it was mine he asked if he could sit on it because it looked so comfortable and he was thinking about changing his, I went out with him and he had a huge Road King parked next to the BMW. He swung his leg over the bike and sat down and I could see he really liked it, a woman on the veranda immediately said "Oh no you don't, you're not getting another bike!" Poor guy, women just don't understand.
After a very pleasant couple of hours we saddled up and took a short ride through to Dave's house for a cup of coffee and a chat, he is still suffering from the motorcycle accident last September and now has to have some teeth removed which were pushed up into his sinouses, he is walking better with a crutch but will ultimately have to have a knee replacement. He's a tough biker though and still talks about biking.
Back on the road and we hauled it towards the setting sun, I hope the traffic cops had all gone home by then! At Vredenburg we pulled off outside the Buffalo bar, another biker friendly place that I mentioned in an earlier post for a last beer before going home.

They had done a big seafood pot for lunch and were charging R10 a plate and it must have been good because one of the patrons was on his fourth plate when we arrived! One beer became a couple and we got out of there before things got out of hand, it had been a really good day and we were both tired and happy as we put the big red machine into the garage. Only 255kms riding but really good to get out on the bike.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Floral profusion

The rain persists! At least it should be a good flower season this year, the western cape is renowned - even world famous - for the wild flower displays from the end of July to the end of September every year which brings tourists from all over South Africa and many international visitors to see the multi coloured profusion of what is basically just the sex organs of vegetables.Having said that, it is the start of the good weather and we can go riding again and a lot of the tourists do come to view on motorcycles so it is a pretty good time of the year.Spot the Namaqualand daisy! At first I wasn't too happy about this but it sort of represents beauty and the beast.Talking about "Beauty and the Beast" - how's this one, taken outside a restaurant in Capetown when we were at Rene' and Bronx's wedding - cool hey?
Very soon now the first of the wild flowers will start showing and it is usually the plain white ones that start to appear at the end of July, during early August we start getting the bright orange ones and then towards the end of August all of the other colours appear. There is then a brief brilliant show lasting through most of September and then by the end of the month it is all gone, but it is a fantastically colourful period after which summer starts and the countryside becomes very dry and dusty again, waiting for the next winter rainfall.
Winter here in the western cape is a very interesting time, beautiful with occasional violent storms and lots of natural colour and best of all; it's a short winter!
Warning: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wet weekend

We have had a pretty quiet weekend, the weather has been bloody miserable and as I sit typing this it is raining and cold outside, definitely not conducive to riding so the big red machine has stayed warm and snug in her garage. We are coming up to the worst part of winter from now on so for the next two months or so there is going to be very little riding time.
Frank and I played another round in the FA cup on Friday afternoon and I managed a 6 - 1 win, he took the first game but couldn't come right after that. We had Joe and Annie here for the weekend and he and I went to play a couple of games yesterday and I beat him 4 - 3 in some very tight and enjoyable games, then to further demoralise him I beat him two games straight in cribbage, something he normally has no problem winning. My weekend has been good so far!I made this board some 25 years ago, my Father taught me to play the game which I think originated in England. We don't find many people around here who know how to play it but it is a very interesting game and Joe and I have been playing for many years, usually he beats me so it is all the more enjoyable when I manage to beat him.

On a completely different note Janet decided that she needed a new mixer/mincer/shredder liquidiser because of all the catering we do so we went out and bought her a fancy new Kenwood machine which cost us just over R1,000. Not to be outdone I decided that I should buy myself something useful as well;
Check out my appliance! This is a very cool remote controlled Jeep and it cost pretty much the same as Janet's toy, I have wanted one of these ever since I was a kid so I was pretty excited to get it home, man this thing goes pretty much anywhere and is a whole lotta fun, fat cat is scared of it and I have to resist the temptation to chase him with it! Who says you have to act your age?
Anyway now a whole new week starts, we'll see if there is going to be any saddle time.
Warning; the consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a retard.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yellowtail for dinner

Today I bought a lovely fresh fillet of Yellowtail (Seriola lalandi) and I phoned Janet at work and told her that I was doing dinner, as I anticipated she was underwhelmed but I didn't take that as a "No!", I persisted telling her that I was doing it for her health and eventually she gave in and said "Oh very well, I suppose it will be alright." I, on the otherhand, was excited and really looking forward to the meal.
First take a pair of sterilised pliers, not just any old pair out of the garage, and pull all of the bones out of the fillet; (Joe doesn't bother to do this when he cooks fish but I think it's essential.)Then heat up a pan with a splash of olive oil and a good pat of butter and when the oil is hot place the fish in flesh side down and brown it, turn it over and brown the skin side and in the meantime have the oven heating up at 190 degrees.
When the oven is hot enough place the fish into a baking tray in the oven and turn it down to 180, now is the time to make the sauce - pour off the excess oil, turn the stove plate down to about number 4 and pour in about half a cup of good whisky and remember if it's not good enough to drink then it's not good enough to cook with, don't use cheap whisky........life's too short for cheap whisky.
Now de-glaze the pan with the whisky, stir it around scraping all of the bits from the pan and let the whisky reduce as it simmers for a couple of minutes and then pour in about 125mls of fresh cream, let this bubble and thicken, add salt to taste and a sprinkle of mixed herbs. The sauce will reduce to about half and should be nice and thick by the time you pour it over the fish, Janet did some lovely garlic potatoes and some peas and we had a really good meal, better than some restaurants that we have been to, that's for sure;
Does that look good or what? What I didn't mention here is that you should always have a beer or a glass of a nice Sauvignon Blanc close to hand while you are doing all of this, keep sipping while you are busy because it's thirsty work - enjoy, and soon I'll talk about biking again.
Warning: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Eendekuil lunch ride

I managed to get Janet up and ready in time to meet everyone at the starting point by 0915, we had been told that we were going to leave at 0930 sharp so there was just time for a cup of coffee from the Wimpy. They never leave at the organised time and the guys all stand around looking at the other bikes and kicking tyres, something that Janet hates.
It was a fresh morning, there was no wind and the sun was shining low on the eastern horizon in a pale wintry sky but we could tell it was going to be a great day. We stood around shuffling our feet and hugging our cups of hot coffee, our breath visible in the early morning air, I've got heated handgrips I'm ok!
Div got on his Honda Blackbird and fired it up at 0950, we followed suit, my engine a quiet burble next to his. Eight bikes and fourteen people surged out of the garage forecourt and onto the R27 then swung a right onto the R45 and Div immediately set up a fast pace, at 150kmh we all thundered along in a fairly tight staggered formation heading towards the rising sun. I love this! I was singing Bob Dylan into my helmet and thoroughly enjoying the cold air and the powerful, surging motorbike - nowhere else I'd rather be.
We swung a left onto the narrow, bumpy R311 for the 22km run to Mooreesburg where we stopped so that those who needed to smoke could do so, also Craig and Monica were on a Yamaha VMax which only has a small tank so they topped up. By then it was warming up and it was very comfortable as we moved out onto the N7, 32kms to Piketburg and we blasted along at between 150 and 160kmh surging past the cages in a tight group.
Des joined us as we rode through the town at the foot of the Piketberge mountain range, perfect timing and by now I was feeling the first hunger pangs, lunch was going to be good. From Piketberg to Eendekuil (say Ian-duh-kale fast) is about 28kms along a very good road at the base of the mountain range and we blasted along as if everyone was in a hurry to get to the hotel.

The hotel owners are also bikers and they have made a lovely hospitable atmosphere to encourage bikers, a good bar which was well supported and good food which went down singing hymns. We spent a very enjoyable couple of hours there and I was pleased to see that there were a good few other bikers already there when we arrived. The lunch was a buffet, nothing fancy but very good value and we found out that the rooms are good and the prices reasonable so we will be back for a stayover.

The ride home was just as good, in all it was just over 300km round trip, nothing much at all for a Sunday ride and I look forward to doing it again. We ended off the day in the spa bath this time looking back over the day and looking forward to the next ride, what a good life it is on two wheels!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A great day

We had a great day today! Janet and I have both had a pretty bad week at work for various reasons so we have both been looking forward to the weekend. My weekend started yesterday afternoon when Frank and I resumed the FA cup, we hadn't played at all during June so it was good to get together for a couple of beers and a couple of games of pool at the "Rooikraans" pub.
Unfortunately Frank couldn't find his form and I beat him five games straight, but still we had a good time talking crap and drinking a few beers - it's what guys do well.
This morning Janet and I started off with a bottle of JC Le Roux sparkling Sauvignon Blanc in our spa bath, such a relaxing place to start the day and such a good way to start the day. Afterwards I left Janet to do whatever it is they do to get themselves ready and I took the big red machine out of the garage and gave her a good wash, it had been a while I'm sorry to say, and she needed it.
We headed off at about 1130 and it was a lovely warm and calm winter's day, one of those magical days that we get here in winter and apparently tomorrow is going to be the same. We rode through to Saint Helena Bay and had a lovely lunch at the "Sunfish Restaurant", I started off with the soup of the day which was Snoek, Thyrsites atun and which is at it's best in the cold winter water around the Cape and let me tell you it was absolutely delicious! Janet doesn't usually have much to do with fish but she tasted it and said it was ok.
On our way back home we stopped off at a new biker pub in Vredenburg and had a beer;
We saw Joos and Jenny's bike outside so we knew it had to be a good place, good to see that there is another biker joint in the area.
After that I had to take Janet home for her afternoon nap, but I wasn't ready to stop riding so I did some cruising and thought that I would take some photos in and around Saldanha just to let you all see what a picturesque place it is;
This picture was taken from the viewpoint above the town, it shows the bay with some of the De Beers dredging vessels which have been here for several months now, after that I went to the Drop Anchor for a beer and to check on how the Boks were doing against the Lions, unfortunately we lost that one but we had already won the series!
My last picture was taken on the beachfront road, I couldn't resist composing what I think is a very good picture overlooking the hotel and the bay, it could be a Mediterranean scene and I have taken a leaf out of my friend Chessie's blog, ok my pictures are never going to be as good as hers but she has her bike standing in front of the places of interest and I love it, check out her wonderful blog www.chessiestales.blogspot.com

By this time I knew that it was time to take the bike home, it had started feeling like it was cornering better and wanting to go faster and that's a sure sign that I have to put it away. Tomorrow we are going on a breakfast run with the local club, the "Meeulanders" and I have talked Janet into going as well, she normally doesn't enjoy the breakfast runs but we shall see how it goes - I'll tell you all about it.

Warning: the consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing with you!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Action in and around Saldanha

I wasn't going to talk about the heavy storms that we have recently had here on the west coast but I thought that you would find this very interesting; this a huge barge carrying eight smaller barges which were apparently en route for Rotterdam when they broke their towing lines and were washed ashore!
These pictures were taken just down the road from where I live, in the little residential village of Jacob's Bay which is about twelve kilometres from Saldanha, it is going to be a huge job to salvage this lot and in the meantime the restaurant "Weskus Plek", which I mentioned in an earlier post, is benefitting from the tourists who come down to gawk.

Today I had a rather interesting experience, driving through the centre of Saldanha I came across this scene;

It seems that the driver had just parked and got out of his car when it caught fire! Lucky for him it was after he had parked it. Someone called the firebrigade but it was too late by the time they arrived.When they did arrive on the scene it was like a comedy of errors, like something out of the "Keystone Cops", first a small van arrived with a water tank and petrol driven pump and when the fireman started the pump it sprayed water all over him, then he couldn't unravel the hose. Soon a traditional fire engine arrived, but when the driver started the pump the hose wet the two fireman who were unrolling it! By the time they got the fire extinguished the car was completely burnt out and there were three soaking wet firemen.

My next post will be about the party that we had in Capetown, I'm just waiting for some photographs to be sent to me but in the meantime here's one of the pot, which I had to raise up a bit on some bricks while I was busy browning the oxtail;
It all turned out very well and the pot was delicious, I'll tell you all about it soon