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.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oysters, braais and bikes

This is where we were last weekend, in Spain on holiday - we flew out on Friday and had lunch at a private hacienda and then flew back on Sunday, what a lovely weekend!
You could almost believe that from that photograph couldn't you? Actually we were just across the lagoon at Langebaan with Rene' and Bronx, they had been given a weekend at a friend's holiday home and we went over for a braai lunch, I took the oysters and what a good lunch that was! It's a fabulous old place right on the beach and worth a bloody fortune just because of it's location and the fact that it's on a double plot, I wouldn't be able to afford to buy the place but hopefully we may be able to go there once in a while.
Here's a braai that I did the other day, sausages and miellies and to prepare the sausages I braai them over the coals, rolling them around until they are almost done, then I remove them and slice them open through the middle lengthwise. I then sprinkle the rare meat with Aromat and black pepper and place them back on the grid flesh side down and brown them well.
They are then delicious with Coleman's Hot English Mustard and the miellies which were done in tinfoil over the coals as I have mentioned in an earlier post.
When I first worked out this sausage recipe I was happy to do them at a braai at Joe's house and he and Annie really enjoyed them, maybe two months later Rene and Bronx came to my house and I decided to do the same sausages for them and as I was preparing them Rene' said; "Oh I see you have got Joe's recipe for the sausages, he did them for us last week." !!! Nice friends I've got!
Talking about motorbikes! I saw this lovely XS1100 on a recent breakfast run, we bought one brand new in 1982 - our first ever brand new motorbike - for R3000 and I fitted the same "Windjammer" fairing, although mine was a black one, what a lovely motorbike that was! We did our month long 8760km tour around South Africa on that bike in 1984, I'll have to tell you about that trip, but it was really good to see that old bike in such good condition.
I sold the Yamaha for R3500 in 1985 and bought a 1983 Honda Goldwing, I wish I could have kept it because it was a fantastic bike.
And again on a totally different note; our hero has just clinched his seventh world title! Just look at this picture, you cannot get a motorbike much lower than that! He has to keep his knee and elbow tucked in to keep them off the tar.
We all know what a brilliant racer he is, a genius on two wheels on the track but I would love to know if he rides for fun on his own; if he does, what does he ride? Where does he ride? Does he do breakfast runs, charity runs or rallies? So Valentino, if you are reading this (Yeah right!)..........

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sturgis plans

Things are starting to happen - exciting things! Even though it's about 22 months until Sturgis 2011 we are getting things organised, and 22 months will flash past like time always seems to do. My good friend "BigH", Harry who lives in New Zealand now has indicated that he is working on meeting us in the USA to take part and my pool and riding buddy Frank is also keen to go. I was also contacted by "Karel" from Namibia, who reads this blog, about going along so it could be quite a group.
As I have a sister and two neices living in Portland in Oregon, that seems like a good place to start and having consulted an Atlas - the old fashioned way of checking distance - it doesn't seem to be all that much more that 1,500kms to Sturgis, a cool three day ride - or four days if we want to check out the scenery.
I have located and contacted an HD dealer; Paradise HD in Portland just to get an idea of what is required, so as I said - things are starting to happen. It won't be long before we are wobbling off on an unfamiliar motorcycle for a three day trip on the wrong side of the road!
If any of you friends out there have any advice please don't hesitate to give it, I will still have to investigate accommodation closer to the time but I am already getting that incredible feeling building up, the excitement leading up to a long motorbike ride. I sit poring over maps and pamphlets - drinking beer - and organising the trip, wonderful!
Frank and I resumed the FA Cup on Friday afternoon and I'm afraid he wasn't too happy with me as I managed to beat him 6 - 2. He'll still come on the ride though, I just hope that we don't end up like the guys in "Wild Hogs"! If we are riding through some open country and we come up to a pub in the middle of nowhere with 20 Harleys parked outside, do we go in?
It's going to be the adventure of a lifetime and I'm really looking forward to meeting my American blogger friends - we'll speak soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A couple of braais

I had occasion to do a couple of braais during the weekend, and as usual I will jump at the chance to do a braai. Janet and I had agreed to cater for my Masonic function for twenty people on Saturday evening and this necessitated quite a lot of work on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
My friend at the Saldanha Vleismark (Butchery) sponsored more than half the price of some 8kg of prime de-boned leg of lamb, three lovely big legs which I had decided to braai. First I rubbed them with olive oil and then liberally sprinkled with Aromat, a bit of garlic flakes and some mixed herbs and then I left them to marinate whilst I got the fire going. While this was happening I opened two bitterly cold Castles for us.
By the time my coals were good and hot it was also time for the second beer, I placed the legs on the grid and contentedly surveyed my work. Braaiing is after all, very thirsty work! Note to self: Next time remove the hosepipe before taking the bloody photo!
I kept the coals good and hot and kept turning the meat over and after about an hour they were all perfectly medium to rare. I savoured the wonderful aroma (and a few crispy edge pieces) as I removed them from the grid and placed them in an aluminium dish. To celebrate my success I cracked another cold Castle.Janet had in the meantime made three lovely milk tarts and as there are no children around I was allowed to lick the bowl! During the course of the evening and the next morning we prepared creamy Aromat potatoes (one of my favourites) and roasted butternut squash. It was a very successful meal by all accounts, I certainly enjoyed it.
My second braai was for lunch on Saturday before the meeting and we had my buddy Alan staying over with us, I marinated some chicken portions in olive oil, white wine, black pepper and mixed herbs and braaiied them along with some boerewors and potatoes in tinfoil.

There you have it, quite a typical South African braai meal except for the fact that there were no chops this time, but this was after all just supposed to be a quick and light meal; the boerewors is the protein, the potato for the carbs and remember that I told you earlier that at South African braais chicken is considered a vegetable!

It does look rather good though, doesn't it? It was.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday ride to the Riebeek valley

Sunday dawned clear and calm and although a "moderate" wind was forcast we headed out after our traditional spa bath, I was feeling relaxed and calm (and clean) and eager for the ride - I had been looking forward to it ever since Fungis suggested it at the rally the previous weekend. Frank was already at the meeting point and it wasn't long before Fungis and Graham rolled in.Fungis' dashboard clock wasn't set so he asked Graham to help him, they both ride the same bikes so Graham took out his book and they got busy, we chided them to get a move on, we didn't have all day! "There, spot on." said Fungis, "Now all I have to do when I want to tell the time is add on thirty minutes." Eventually we set off - thirty minutes early?! At least Fungis won't be late for anything!
It was a good brisk pace set up by Fungis and Graham with us third and Frank bringing up the rear and a thoroughly enjoyable ride. I tried to imagine if I didn't have the motorbike, if I had a car, would I be doing a trip like this? I don't think so, car drivers don't do things like this because it's no fun.
We followed Fungis through Riebeek Kasteel into Riebeek West where he pulled off onto the side of the road, "Where are we meeting the guys?" I asked. "I'm not sure, it's something to do with a pumpkin." answered Fungis, I had my doubts, I knew the town quite well and the only "Pumpkin" I knew about was in Barrydale some 200kms further.

Fungis decided to phone a friend, yes they were already at the venue "The Pleasant Pheasant" which we had passed a short while ago. Never a dull moment with Fungis around, we soon pulled into the familiar venue where he reckoned we were going for our "Holy Commotion!" The Riebeek Valley is an incredibly picturesque area and a very popular area for bikers on Sunday breakfast runs, there are always plenty of bikes parked outside the myriad little restaurants and taverns in the town. We met up with the Winelands Ulysses group and were soon joined by Dick and Janet who had ridden through from Capetown.
It was a very pleasant couple of hours, we had a couple of beers and a good laugh with a great bunch of people which more than made up for the very average breakfast and soon it was time for the ride home. We went back through Malmesbury and then hit the rather boring 80km long stretch of the R45 with a vengeance, barelling along at a comfortable 150 to 160kmh. At that speed it didn't take long before we were pulling up outside the "Buffalo Bar" again for the A.B.F.
Here's Frank and Fungis misbehaving again!
Two beers at the pub and we were on our way home, Frank had a plate of the rather great looking chicken potjie even though he had just recently had a breakfast, we would eat later. All in all a very good day and a nice end to a good weekend, I still have to tell you about the braai we had on Saturday - that will be my next post. We'll speak again soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The weekend completed

It was a busy weekend!

That last post only took us up to Saturday lunch but I did go joling in the afternoon; there was a bike rally taking place at the nearby "Vlakvarkgat" resort, which I duly attended after taking Janet home for her afternoon nap. I'm not even sure how to explain "Vlakvarkgat" to you, I believe that a "Vlakvark" is a bushpig or warthog, and a gat is a hole so if you put all of that together you get a rather unpleasant mental image!

As far as the bike rally went it was a bit of a disappointment, it seemed that very few people attended this year, I spent a couple of hours there chatting to friends and drinking a couple of beers, the music was good and this guy did a very good burn-out but by the late afternoon even I had had enough.

We hadn't seen Don and Connie for a while so we decided to go to "Beira Mar" for lunch on Sunday, I know - I know we are doing too much joling and it is going to have to stop if we are going to accumulate South African Rands for our trip to Sturgis, but we thought "Just this once more, ok?" It is such a pleasant place, I mean just look at that venue! What a place to spend a couple of hours over some fine food and a bottle of good South African wine.

I had the Portuguese steak, a lovely tender 350g portion of rump steak on a hot plate done to perfection and accompanied by some excellent potato wedges (again!) It did go down rather well.

Janet had the "Espetada" which she has had before, a wonderful skewer of various meats done to absolute medium-rare perfection and dripping garlic sauce onto a mound of rice and wedges, and whenever she has this I just know that the left overs are going to make a couple of delicious sandwiches for me for the next day or two. After a very pleasant and quite long lunch we made our way home, happily replete and with an invitation to be at the restaurant on Wednesday week when they are auditioning a music duet for the customers, free snacks! We'll be there.

If I don't blog again before the weekend we have a breakfast run on Sunday, we are joining "Fungis" on a run to Riebeek to meet up with the Cape Ulysses group so we have that to look forward to.

If you're in the Cape and looking for a really good restaurant, try our favourite "Beira Mar", give Don a call on 0832560847 and tell him Andrew sent you, you won't be disappointed I can promise you that.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day four and the weekend

Thursday night I stopped at the Spur restaurant in Vredenburg and bought take away spare ribs and chips, couldn't be bothered to cook anything and actually it wasn't too bad. Climbed into the unmade bed after a couple of glasses of wine and slept like a baby.
Janet got back home late Friday afternoon and we went out to Pearly's in Langebaan for a meal, the conference had been alright, they had had a team building exercise on the first day involving a GPS, some co-ordinates up the mountain and some tasks to complete and Janet's team came first. Janet says that she felt muscles she didn't know she had and could picture herself slipping from the mountain path and rolling down the slope in an unladylike manner.
I pictured her standing up angrily at the bottom of the slope with three broken fingernails! That would have cost the company dearly, they would have had to have flown our friend Bronx to Durban to do the repair work immediately! I have to admit that it's good to have the wife back, I'm not designed to be on my own.
Saturday we decided to take advantage of a meal voucher that my buddy Frank gave us for "The Seafood Shack" in Velddrif, it was for one meal but what the heck, I was feeling generous and thought I would pay for Janet's meal. The name of the restaurant sounded good for me but I just hoped they would have something for her. As it turned out Janet really enjoyed her meal and even said that we can go back there! Lucky for her!
This the view from our table, past "Klaas" who is apparently a regular and you can see Leon and Christine in the kitchen preparing the meals. At the most they would be able to feed thirty
people so one would have to book.
I ordered sardines and wedges as a starter, and what a fantastic starter that was! Next time I am going to have it as a main course, the sardines had the skeleton taken out and they had been opened up and fried to perfection so that the skin and the remaining bones were completely edible, I was in my element!

This was all accompanied by a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and our mains were just as good, Janet had flaked smoked Angel fish on rice which she declared to be delicious and I had a hake and calamari combo done in a beer batter, and I can confirm that he used Castle for the batter!

What is great is that Leon comes to your table and tells you what he is cooking that day, you can choose from those items but there is no "A la Carte menu", wonderful stuff!
Doesn't that look good? All of you Cape readers go and try it out, give Leon and Christine a call on 022 7832405 - you won't be sorry, we're definitely going back and maybe we'll see you there.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Batchelor diaries - part three

This was my dinner last night; meat and two veg! Oh and with two slices of dark toast, just the way I like it, actually a very tasty meal even if I do say so myself. I didn't feel like going out for dinner, it's not so nice to sit at a restaurant on your own. I may have to do that tonight though because there aren't any left-overs in the fridge.
I have stacked the dishwasher so the kitchen is relatively tidy, I have not made the bed - I think I'll do that on Friday morning, what's the point? I slept pretty well last night and I'm sure it will be fine for tonight as well.
Janet phoned me yesterday from the "Cathedral Peak" resort which is in the Drakensburg mountains in Kwazulu Natal, this is a luxury resort so I don't think that she's going to be "toughing it out" like I am. Ok maybe a business conference is not exactly a fun occasion, but come on!
It rained last night so I didn't have to water the garden, actually when you come to think of it things are going pretty well but I wouldn't like to be on my own for too long. Oh well, it's off to work I go - we're going down to Capetown to visit Janet's sister this weekend so hopefully we will be able to go on the bike.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Batchelor diaries - part two

Ok day one is just about behind me, I managed alright with the microwave and the left over Chinese food which actually went down rather well and so far there are only a few plates and things in the sink, I won't have to use the dishwasher just yet. Pumi, our maid will be here on Thursday so she'll take care of some of those things.
I also cooked a chicken so that I have pieces to take to work and maybe tomorrow's dinner as well if I don't go out and get take-aways, or get the bike out and go to the pub for some ribs and chips.
I enjoy doing chickens in the earthenware dishes, they come out so tender and full of flavour, maybe it is because you cook them dry and they simmer in the natural juices. All I did with this one was rub it with a little Olive oil and then seriously sprinkled with Aromat, (and if you can't get Aromat where you are then it sucks to be you!) garlic flakes and mixed herbs. It was in the convection oven for an hour and fifteen minutes and I ate some of it as well, I couldn't resist it! I didn't bother with vegetables because here in South Africa, especially at braais, chicken is considered a vegetable but I have got a miellie in the fridge so maybe I'll cook that tomorrow night. Also I have plenty of beer and wine in the fridge so I am feeling pretty confidant that I will survive this trial.
Will I hear the alarm tomorrow morning? Janet normally wakes me up when the alarm goes off and I get up and make the coffee - this is nothing compared to when she was away in New Zealand for three weeks, how the hell did I cope then?
I suspect that I am not going to get much sympathy from the women who read this, they will be thinking that it will be good for me and that I will appreciate how much Janet does for me and this is true but I also do my share, I sure hope the guys are on my side though.
Now I'm off to bed............................................................alone!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Batchelor diaries

I have, after more than a year and a half, got quite a few regular readers on this blog - 1274 from 62 countries actually and I am very proud of that, you have been following my motorbike stories for which I thank you, but now things take a more drastic turn, my comfortable and secure lifestyle takes a turn for the worse and I wonder if you will still be with me when you find out what is about to happen, what I am about to go through; Janet is going to Durban on a conference for four days!
WTF! How am I supposed to cope with this? Can you imagine me at home here for four days on my own? Ok she has made four sandwiches and put them in the fridge for the next four days for me to take to work but how am I meant to survive in the evening?
There are things for me to warm up, like chickens and left overs from Chinese restaurants and I think there is also an Eisbein that wasn't very nice, maybe I'll go to Duncan's pub for a few meals but what I think I will do is publish a few blog entries on what to do if you are left alone, what do you do if you are feeling insecure and left all alone.
It's definitely different if I go away for a weekend on a bike rally and leave Janet alone at home, I'm not so sad then.
So follow the "Batchelor Diaries" from now, I will keep you informed and guide you through this very difficult time and maybe you guys will be able to get some guidance and confidence should you be found in such a difficult and disturbing circumstance.
Tomorrow evening I am on my own at home!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Breakfast in Tulbagh

For some there's therapy, for us there's motorcycles.
When I looked outside this morning the sky was ominously heavy and grey, low clouds bulging with water threatened to ruin my day but I decided I was going anyway - To hell with it, I packed my rain suit in the pannier, said "Goodbye" to the ladies, Janet and Linda were going to have lunch somewhere together, and roared off to meet the day.
I was quite early at the meeting place, time to have a cup of coffee and as Janet was not with me I stood around and talked crap with my mates and examined the other motorbikes. KSU (Kick-stands up) at 0920, Frank hadn't arrived yet but Div said that he'd been involved in a serious session at the "Buffalo Bar" last night and might not make it! Maybe he would meet us later.
Seven of us on six iron steeds thundered happily out of the garage forecourt and soon we were speeding along the familiar R45 in a nice, tight staggered formation. Div took point and set the pace at an easy 140kmh, we took the bumpy, narrow R311 to Mooreesburg where we had a brief stop, by then the sky was clearing and the day was warming up, my thermometer had registered 18 degrees up until then which wasn't bad and there was no wind.After a brief stop we were on our way again, through the town, across the N7 and back onto the R311 to Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel. A popular area for bikers on breakfast runs and we stopped at one of the restaurants for a drink, my first beer of the day and whilst we were enjoying our refreshments Frank pulled in looking non too worse for wear, he hadn't been far behind us.
Willie and Div welcomed Frank into the group and offered him a dop but he opted for a cup of coffee! Soon it was time to move on again for the short ride to Tulbach, about 35kms through some really picturesque, lush valleys nestled in between mountain ranges with tongue-twisting names like; "Elandskloofberge", "Skurweberge" and "Witsenberge". All familiar and well loved riding country and it wasn't long before we were lining the bikes up outside the restaurant "Die Kuierbossie" in Tulbagh's main road.

It was a good value place, I had a big breakfast (brunch) and another couple of beers and the eight of us; Mike and Barbara, Willie, Div, Frank, Johan and Floors sat around in the shade of the verandah and enjoyed a leisurely meal and a good chat. What better way to spend the day than with bikers?It was a good, fast ride back to Saldanha, we split up in Malmesbury and I hauled ass along the 80km stretch to the R27. I sat at a steady 160kmh, thoroughly enjoying myself and after a really good day ended up at "Drunken Duncan's Buffalo bar" for an ABF (Absolute Bloody Final) where I was again joined by Frank, Div and Floors who all had the same idea!A good end to a good day's ride.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Random musings

It's been a very difficult couple of weeks! I have been seriously busy at work and the weather has been bloody lousy, this may be a thing of the past now, I mean the weather because we are coming into summer so work is going to get worse as more and more people start to eat mussels and oysters at the restaurants, but at least I may be able to do more riding. Today was like a summer day and as the big red machine was seriously dirty after the last ride I decided to give her a good wash, it's amazing how much of a mess the insects make on the bike when you ride during the spring - takes bloody ages to get it clean!I was alone at home so I was able to put some heavy metal on good and loud and I had a beer while I did my work, I was pleased to see that my new tire does not have a "Chicken strip" on it, we did some good cornering on the Sutherland run and there's wear on both sides.By the time I put her back in the garage she was looking fantastic again, there's a breakfast run tomorrow to Tulbach in the winelands so at least we start off looking good! I'm looking forward to that and I'll tell you all about it.
Linda came up for the weekend and we went to our favourite restaurant, "Beira Mar" in Saint Helena Bay for lunch and what a wonderful lunch it was;
I had a fresh Yellowtail cutlet with chips, salad and a lovely garlic/butter sauce and if the guys have trouble with my breath tomorrow that's their problem, not mine. We had a very enjoyable lunch and a chat with the owners, our friends Don and Connie and then it was time to go. I suggested to Janet that maybe we should stop at the biker bar in Saldanha to show Linda and what did they do? They didn't protest, they just sorted out their make-up!
It has been a good weekend so far, and there's more to come. Keep the shiny side up and to quote from something I heard on the radio the other day; "You'll never see a motorbike parked outside a psychiatrist's office."