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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A really good weekend

It was a great weekend! It involved a fantastic BMW M3, wine at the beautiful Hout Bay wine estate, fresh oysters and chicken wing kebabs at the Hout Bay Yacht Club, a rugby game, a total jol at the Lookout Bar and another fight with the bottle of J&B, at least this time the bottle didn't win and there were no late night phone calls from the neighbours!My friend Dick now has an R1200RT and an M3, no wonder he's smiling!
Our team, the Stormers got beaten by the mighty Blue Bulls but we enjoyed the game and it was good that they made it to the finals, maybe next year?
I will go into more detail about the weekend, we had a lovely braai on Sunday with family before heading back to Saldanha but I would like to know what you think about my new look blog, do you like it? I think the darker colours bring out the photos better and it is easier to read because it is not so "white" - what do you think?
I picked the background up from my friend Nancy's blog, and I'm sure you won't mind Nancy that I have chosen the same background as your blog because the others were all totally unsuited to a biker story. Check out my friend Nancy's really enjoyable blog at www.retiredbikerhousewife.com
Tomorrow I am going to the "Master's of Rock" concert at the Grand West Casino in Capetown so I will let you know how that goes as well as more photos of the weekend. Stay with me!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oysters and Rock

I haven't posted anything for a couple of days, been a bit busy but that's no excuse! Anyway it's weekend and at the Phoenix bar this afternoon I started off with a serious win over Frank in the FA Cup pool competition, then Danny came over and challenged me, I managed to beat him in the first game and he gave me the second with a black ball foul! It seemed that I couldn't go wrong but then in walked Don, he was into it straight away and easily beat me in the first game and then he gave me the second game also with a black ball foul.
After an intense hour I managed to end off 3 - 2 down to an ebulient Don who then rushed off to welcome his first evening guests to his restaurant. What an enjoyable afternoon and a great way to start the weekend.
We are going down to the Hout Bay Yacht Club tomorrow where I am assisting with an oyster promotion, I am going to be opening 400 oysters at the club before the Super 14 rugby final where the Stormers (our team) will be facing up to the Blue Bulls at the Orlando stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg. This should be one hell of a game, GO STORMERS!!!!
I will post some photographs of the weekend and I will let you know the outcome of the rugby game.
On a different note I managed to get a ticket to the "Masters of Rock" concert which is taking place at the Grand West Arena at the Casino in Capetown on Tuesday evening! Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash will be performing live! I cannot wait, this is going to be fantastic. When I phoned to book I was told that all that was left was "Gold Circle standing area", this is right in front of the stage and I was quite happy because as soon as the music starts everyone stands up anyway, it's going to be an invigorating evening with music that gets into my soul, music that makes the goosebumps rise and the heart pound in time to the drum beat.
Steve Morse who is arguably the best guitarist in the world is gonna do his thing with Deep Purple and I just know they are going to raise the roof with "Smoke on the Water", have you any idea how good this is going to be?
Anyway there is not going to be any saddle time this weekend becaue I have to transport all of the oysters down to Hout Bay but it should be fun, they are a great bunch of people and I think Dick and I will be a little more circumspect with the whisky bottle tomorrow night!
I hope your weekend is going to be as good as mine.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Steak tasties and a braai

This series of photographs came to me recently, in any of the major centres in South Africa you will see these private exhaust repair setups on the side of the road and whilst we applaud and encourage entrepreneures one can easily appreciate why a visit to a well established, albeit slighty more expensive dealership may prove to be better in the long run;
It's time to panic and get more help, the flames are already licking out under the rear wheelarch although the guys at the back of the vehicle don't seem to be too concerned.
That's it, I hope the owner had good insurance! In retrospect he probably should have taken his car to Quickfit!
I was busy Saturday with a meeting in Saint Helena Bay but as the weather was good today we decided to have a braai, quite a while since we last had one I think. Linda came up for a visit and she loves a braai, she and Janet spent Saturday afternoon watching first the Blue Bulls and then the Stormers beat their New Zealand opponents and I was home in time to watch the end of the cricket ODI where we also beat the West Indies. All in all a good day for South African sport.
This is another South African sport, a lekker braai! (A good barby!)
I had some excellent matured Sirloin steaks which I first rubbed with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled Aromat, garlic flakes, mixed herbs and ground black pepper and left to marinate while I built my fire.
I then braaied them over very hot coals, with flame, turning regularly until they were nicely darkened on the outside. After about five minutes I took them off and allowed them to stand for a minute or two. We like our steak medium to rare, if it is too rare you can always put it back to cook for a bit longer but obviously if you have overcooked it you cannot undo it. Happily I had timed it perfectly and after a little sprinkle of salt the three of us made short work of the delicious steak tasties while I built the fire up again for the main course.
I had earlier wrapped some sweetcorn miellies in butter wrappers and then in tinfoil, and these I placed in amongst the coals when I first started the fire, during the course of the braai I just kept rotating them to spread the heat evenly.
Then it was time for the karoo lamb chops and the boerewors (farmer's sausage), boerewors is a South African delicacy and you will very rarely see a braai anywhere in the country without this staple food. We have travelled all over South Africa and have tasted some good, some bad, some indifferent and some excellent varieties.In my opinion we are in the right area for lamb, we get the Karoo lamb and apparently the animals feed on the sweet Karoo fynbos which gives the meat it's delicate flavour - outstanding!
Here's lunch! Karoo lamb, boerewors, sweetcorn miellies and Janet's Creamy Aromat potatoes - not a hell of a lot wrong with that.
Through it all Cat was underwhelmed, he is not much of a meat eater so he just crashed on my chair, I had to find somewhere else to sit.
I did manage to get the bike out and go for a bit of a cruise in the afternoon, I pulled in at the Phoenix bar in time for a couple of beers while I watched the end of the MotoGP, so all in all a very good weekend.
Now it's another week of work and then a weekend again, all being well we are going to Hout Bay to help with an oyster extravaganza at the yacht club if the red tide has cleared. I suppose Dick and I will get involved with that damn whisky bottle! I'll keep you informed, man it's a tough life!

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Office

Since my last post I haven't had any braais, I have had a few beers but I haven't been out on the bike so I thought I would just tell you a bit about the boring stuff; work.
Ok so this is the view from my office;
We leave the jetty at around about 06h30 and this vessel is anchored in the middle of the bay, it is a De Beer's diamond dredger which has been here for many months on refit and is apparently going to be in the bay for another two years! We pass this on our way out.
I couldn't help taking these pictures because it has been so lovely and calm for the past week, it makes going out to the farm a real pleasure. Here you can see our little maintenance vessel "Mytillus" accompanying us out.
I got this yacht passing just before sunrise, it was so calm that he was motoring along, not a breath of wind so he didn't bother to hoist any sails.
We have had a "red tide" in the bay for just over two weeks now, "diarrhetic shellfish poisoning" which as it's name suggests is not particularly dangerous but it could give you the sh... it could cause serious stomach problems.
Because of this we are not able to harvest so we have taken the opportunity to sort and grade our oysters, actually some work that had fallen behind and now I have approximately 40,000 market ready oysters. Check out these beauties! We don't let our oysters get this big normally, you would need a knife and fork to eat something like this! I have got about forty oysters that I have put aside just to see how big I can grow them.
They would be really good to use in soup (Janet makes a to-die-for oyster soup) or for smoking, I will see how big I can grow them and then maybe take one home each week!
I have to supply 10,000 oysters for the upcoming "Whacky Wine Festival" in Robertson which takes place over the first weekend in June, we first attended this wonderful festival in 2008 and were not able to get accommodation last year. Well this year we have managed to get a place to stay so we will be back enjoying all that the Robertson valley has to offer, and let me tell you it's plenty!
I will be going in the bakkie (pronounced bucky - which is our "Ute" or "Pickup" depending on where you live) because a) it's easier to balance a bakkie after a day's wine tasting and b) I'm going to be buying a couple of cases of Robertson Sauvignon Blanc to bring home, not easy for Janet to carry on the bike!
That's still two weeks away....I'm sure we'll ride before then.
Stay on two wheels and stay safe.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lunch at Eendekuil

The weather forcasts for the weekend were promising clear and calm weather for both Saturday and Sunday, I was stuck with meetings on Saturday but we decided if it was indeed a nice day then we would ride Sunday. I had no destination in mind, we would go where the road, the mood and the big red machine took us - something to look forward to.
Sure enough Sunday dawned clear and calm, lovely after the seriously bad weather we had had to put up with for the whole week.
While sitting in the spa bath sipping our cold JC LeRoux sparkling wine we discussed our options; a longish round about ride to a restaurant close by or a longish ride to a retaurant far, far away. We both took another sip and decided on the second option although our destination was still not settled.
By the time the bottle was finished we had sort of agreed on the Eendekuil Hotel, (say - Ian-duh-kale fast) we have been there before and had a nice meal and it was a good 160-170km ride.
It really was good to get out on the bike, the air was cool and the sky was a pale wintry blue with flecks of high altitude cloud. There was no wind and virtually no traffic as we sped out through Vredenburg to Velddrif, there we took the R399 some 70km to Piketberg. Unfortunately that road is in very bad condition and even with the BMW's superior, adjustable suspension it is really only comfortable at around 100kmh.
Still it is sometimes nice to just cruise along and enjoy the scenery, not every trip has to be at high speed, does it? I sat comfortably relaxed with the song "Country roads" going through my head. After about forty five minutes we could see the hazy blue Piketberge (Piket mountains) ahead in the distance. By then I was tired of singing Country bloody roads!
We rode at a sedate pace through the little town of Piketberg and then took the R365 which winds along the base of the majestic and rugged mountain range, I couldn't help stopping for a photo opportunity and a bit of a leg stretch at this picturesque spot.
We turned off for the short ride into Eendekuil and I was struck by what looked like a duplicate of the Lion's head/Table Mountain/Devil's peak range ahead of us! We could almost have been heading towards Capetown.
I was surprised to see that there were no other bikes outside the hotel, it is quite popular with bikers, especially when the weather is that good. Soon we were sitting out back enjoying the warm sunshine and a cold beer.
Lunch was great; a lovely thick vegetable soup with homemade bread and then the main course was chicken pie, rice and potatoes with vegetables and gravy and icecream and chocolate sauce to finish it off. All this for the amazing sum of R60 per person, unbelievable and we could have had more if we wanted.
After a lovely relaxed lunch it was time to get back out on the road, I was feeling really good as we turned out of Eendekuil and accelerated up the hill heading back towards the imposing mountain range, what a day it had been so far and it was not yet over.
I took it easy back towards Piketberg, not only because I needed fuel but just because it was such a peaceful feeling, the bike was just gliding along with the engine purring silently beneath us. (Damn! I gotta make a plan to get that new exhaust fitted so that it's not so quiet.) It wasn't long before we crested a ridge and the town appeared laid out at the base of the mountain, we cruised through the outskirts and found a service station to refuel the big red machine.
From there it was back onto the bumpy R399 back towards Velddrif, again we took it slowly just cruising and after about half an hour I snapped this photo of Janet, I just knew that she would be sleeping! A full tummy and a couple of glasses of wine will do that to a girl.
We ended off a really nice day with two beers at our favourite local pub, we were just in time to see part of the second race at Kyalami - great stuff.
These are usually the days that turn out the best, no serious plans, no fixed destination just get out and go - it's all about the journey anyway, not the destination.
The Eendekuil Hotel is biker friendly, excellent for a breakfast run or a stayover it is only 150kms from Capetown and they can accommodate 24 people in their well appointed rooms. There is also a large camping area with an ablution block and braai facilities. Give then a call on 022 942 1030 - you won't be sorry and you'll definitely see us there again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The snake hunters

The day after we got back from the "Ride the beast" weekend winter set in with a vengeance and we haven't had the opportunity to ride again since.
In looking for something to write about I came across a nice "Out of Africa story" for my overseas readers, I'm sure you will find this interesting, this story concerns people who hunt for snakes, in this case the Python and the way they catch them is as follows;
I would imagine that lots are drawn to decide who is the "catcher" for the day, I can't believe that anyone would volunteer for the job!
The catcher binds a cover made from animal hide over his left arm (if he is right handed)
and they all head out to look for the snake's home which is usually some other hapless animal's deserted burrow, the designated catcher then enters the burrow - can you imagine what it must be like wriggling into a small space like that? "Sorry guys I can't go in there, I'm claustrophobic."
He takes a bunch of burning twigs so that he can see what is in the burrow - "Jackpot!" An adult female Python guarding a clutch of eggs.
He allows the snake to bite his "protected" left arm, remember these snakes are constrictors, non venemous and he is then able to take hold of the snake with his right hand. He then signals his friends to pull him out, in my case it would be with a lot of very loud shrieks!
His friends, who hopefully have not lost interest and left, then drag him out of the hole.
Someone quickly chops the snake's head off and they head back home to the village for a slap up meal.
I would not be adverse to joining in the meal, I have eaten snake meat before, but there is no way in hell that I could be persuaded to go into a burrow looking for one! Anyway they would have to widen the hole for me, there's no way I could fit in there!
I am happy to include this story in my blog because they would definitely braai their snake.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ride the beast - HBYC

During the week I sent a text message to Dick; "Why don't we meet at the Viper lounge Sat or Sun for b'fast." and immediately got a phone call; "Shit Man, I don't know why I didn't phone you but we are having a bike day at the Hout Bay Yacht Club on Saturday, breakfast, a ride around the peninsula and then a spit braai..............why don't you and Janet come and stay over?"
We established that the breakfast was at 08h00 and the ride would be from 09h00, difficult for us because Janet was working late on Friday so we could only leave on Saturday morning, also I was playing pool on Friday afternoon so we would have to leave early Saturday; "No problem" says Dick, "Just get here as early as you can and I will tell them to keep breakfast for you!"
While on the subject of the pool; Des and John (Lobster) from the infamous "Kreefsmokkellars" pitched up at the Phoenix bar while we were playing and they made the serious mistake of challenging me and Frank to a game of doubles, well to keep a long story short we trashed them! It was a great afternoon of bullshit and banter, a thoroughly good time and some good pool.
My alarm sounded at 04h45 Saturday! This early rise meant that we had to skip the spa bath with the bottle of bubbly which is our normal weekend ritual.
By the time we had everything ready it was 06h15 when I wheeled the big red machine out of the garage, still dark and at least an hour before sunrise as we headed out of Saldanha but it was a clear and calm morning and the stars were bright in the dark sky.
I love riding at night, the headlights cut a bright swathe through the darkness...actually too bright because even on the low setting they cause motorists to flash their brights in my face all the time but at least they know we are there.
We took it easy for the first hour because of the very real danger of animals running across the road but even so it was a lovely ride, we rode under the clear dark starry sky through occasional patches of cold fog and just enjoyed the experience of being alone in the darkness, four wheels move the body but two wheels move the soul, I was looking forward to two days on the bike.After a very enjoyable ride we arrived at the Hout Bay Yacht Club, which actually seemed more like the Hout Bay Motorcycle Club at about 08h15, just in time for a really good breakfast and in time to meet up with old friends and make new ones.
It really is a spectacular setting and the weather was beautiful, perfect for a nice long tour of the area. Dick was to be the Road Captain for the day and he handed out the route map and listed the refreshment stops and shortly thereafter we mounted up for the ride. There were about fourteen or fifteen bikes in all, varying from the big tourers like ours to old Vesper scooters and scramblers, so we were told that it would be a slow cruise with regular stops to regroup.The two Pats on their BMW ready to leave, soon we were cruising through the beautiful Cape countryside towards our first rendezvous point in the picturesque Tokai forest. It really is the most wonderful area in which to ride and although Dick set a fairly sedate pace, I wondered how the scooters would be able to keep up.The first stop in a laybye in the forest took care of that, gradually everyone arrived and once we were sure that all of the riders were accounted for we set off again.We eagerly mounted up because the next gathering point was the "British Bulldog" pub in Kommetjie, a pub where I just knew there were cold Castles waiting!
We lined the bikes up outside the pub, the two BMW R1200RTs together and went into the courtyard to get a cold beer.It wasn't long before all of the riders were sitting together enjoying their beverage of choice, it had been a lovely ride over the "Ou Kaapse Weg" and down through Noordhoek to the little village of Kommetjie.
The next part of the ride was to a gathering point at the top of "Red Hill" where we would decide if we were going to go to Cape Point or back around to Hout Bay, depending on the wind on that side. Just the one beer and we were on our way again, past the "Slangkop" lighthouse where just two weeks ago I had attended the rally, through Misty Cliffs and Scarborough, beautiful riding country.
At the intersection left to "Red Hill/Simonstown" right to "Cape point" the club Commodore who was in front of me turned right, so did I not realising that all the others in front had turned left! We ended up at the gate to the Cape point Nature Reserve with nobody else in sight and had to go all the way back to the intersection and take the other turning, oh well it was a nice ride!By the time we arrived at the gathering point, to much applause, even the scooters had been there for some time! I had to explain that actually we went on a recce to see what the wind was like down there! The general concensus was that we should all start heading back to Hout Bay and go check on how the spit braai was coming on, the view down towards Simonstown was spectacular but we could see that the wind was very strong over False Bay and at Cape point it would be even worse.The ride back to Hout Bay over Chapman's Peak was just as enjoyable and by the time we got back to the yacht club the lamb was roasting nicely with the fat dripping down onto the potatoes, the delicious aroma certainly got the juices flowing again. Rather than hanging around drooling we decided to go for a stroll through the nearby craft market. The Hout Bay harbour is a colourful, interesting place with a lot of tourist attractions,
like this fellow who sits on the quay feeding this huge seal with fresh fish, apparently the authorities decided that this was not a good thing so they caught the seal and transported it all the way around to Gordon's Bay and released it there but within a week he had returned,
obviously he decided that it was better in Hout Bay where he gets free food all day without any effort!
By the time we got back the lamb was ready and we sat down to a delicious meal of spit braaied lamb with roast potatoes and salad.
At the prize giving later we won a box of Castle lager beer glasses for the longest ride, having come down from Saldanha specifically for the event! What a bargain and what a great day, we ended off at Dick's house listening to good music and much later before turning in for the night he had a message for the whisky bottle which had been causing us problems!
The ride home on Sunday was great, our plan originally was that Dick and Janet would ride through to the Viper lounge for breakfast with us but he was not feeling so good! We were back in Langebaan in time to have lunch on the veranda of the Driftwood's Restaurant, one that is high up on my list of favourites. I had a succulent yellowtail fillet which ended off a fantastic weekend on a good note.

What's next? Winter has set in, we were extrememly lucky with the weather, since the weekend it has been raining and blowing gale force, we'll ride again soon.