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, January 31, 2011

The Venom Rally, Kleinmond - part one

Six of us gathered at the Phoenix bar at around 12h00 on Friday for a beer before the ride through Capetown to the first annual Venom Rally in Kleinmond. It was a lovely sunny day with a light wind and we were all in good spirits, looking forward to a good ride and a weekend of good cameraderie. The plan was to ride to Capetown to meet up with another couple of guys and ride through from there, as Frank and I were the only two non-members of the Gypsy Jokers we decided to head on to the rally and let the club members meet up in town.
It was a good fast ride down the R27, we managed to stay together most of the way and then Frank and I split from the bunch at Melkbos just outside of town, I led Frank through to a bar restaurant nearby because I knew that he needed a smoke break!
As usual as we headed towards Somerset West on the N2 the wind started blowing and by the time we got onto the beautifully picturesque Clarence Drive it was bloody pumping! That wind comes down off the mountain, gusting through gaps and suddenly hits you as you dip into a corner, throwing you off your line and ruining your enjoyment, not only that but the road is full of cages cruising along and as there is virtually nowhere to overtake you find yourself tootling along behind a line of cars - frustrating!We stopped at a pub in Rooiels, under the "Hangklip mountain" for a smoke break (I don't smoke but I make sure the breaks take place where I can buy a beverage) and met up with some of our buddies from the Gypsy Jokers. From there it was a short 30kms to Kleinmond and the Palmiet Caravan Park on the outskirts of the town. We all went into the campsite (for a smoke break!) and Frank and I were going to set up our tents but our friends invited us to stay with them at a house that they had rented for the weekend. We normally camp but the idea of not having to set up, and take down a tent, was very inviting so we went along and got a very comfortable bed.
After getting ourselves settled we all returned to the rally site for the evening's festivities and let me tell you it was a jol! Here Frank and I stop to chat with Adriaan Pieterse who had won the competition to be the Western Province Rugby Team's number one supporter, apparently quite an achievement which involved a lot of prizes and trips but required a good knowledge of rugby, kinda lets me out! Friday evening is usually pretty slow in the main tent because a lot of the people arrive on Saturday morning, they are the poor buggers who can't get off work early on Friday!
There were the usual drinking competitions; for the girls and the guys and then they had the competition to select a "Miss Venom" for the weekend, but that was hardly worth photographing, South African girls are notoriously beautiful but are very selfish about showing off their assets and in spite of loud shouts of encouragement from the crowd it was a boring competiton. Oh well at the bigger rallies it's sometimes better, maybe next time? Sometime during the evening Frank needed to go and sit outside and in the background you can see someone who needed to lie outside!
Davrin came to check that he was alright and then I managed to get a lady nearby to try and revive him! This seemed to do the trick and we went back into the tent to find our friends from the Gypsy Jokers. "Don't worry buddy I've got your back!" Later on, in the early hours of the morning we headed back to the house where the party continued and these two nice people joined us. She (I'm sorry I didn't get their names) was a lovely lady who had had a personal battle with cancer and he looks a bit worried but I was being gentle! At about 04h00 one of the guys decided to go to bed and of course if you are the first one to go to bed you obviously get all the furniture piled on top of you. Here comes the sun! It wasn't long after this that I decided to fade, my whisky was finished and so was I. Davrin slept in Frank's bed so he found a comfortable place in the lounge.I surfaced at about 12h30 and headed into the town for a lunch that would set me up for day two, I found a restaurant that served a nice fillet of Kob with rice and garlic butter sauce that seemed to do the trick - bring it on! As I rode back to the house I was ready for whatever the day would bring, or so I thought!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Almost time to ride!

It's a glorious day, just a slight breeze to keep things cool and the weather reports are predicting that the rest of the week will be the same.
I am busy packing my camping and rally gear into the bike eagerly anticipating a good ride with friends and a nice weekend rally. I have not been to the "Venom" rally before but it is in a lovely part of the Cape; Kleinmond so it should be interesting.
I am meeting Danny and Frank at the Phoenix at 12h00 then we are riding to Capetown to meet up with another couple of guys and from there it's out on the N2 to Somerset West, Strand and along Clarence Drive through Rooiels, Betty's Bay and then Kleinmond.
This is one of the smaller rallies on the Cape calendar so there should not be too many people there, but I anticipate that there will be many familiar faces from the other local rallies.
It's the journey, not the destination and I'm eager to get going - I will write it up later, stay safe!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food, glorious food!

We were feeling a bit lazy on Saturday so we popped down to the Captain's Cabin, one of our favourite casual eating places in Saldanha. It is basically a pub with about ten tables inside and some outside on the front deck overlooking the bay, a very pleasant place with lots of TV screens for days when there are major sporting events, we watched the Bafana-bafana soccer games there during the World Cup and the vibe was incredible!I often have very good seafood there, such as Yellowtail and Kob but as they didn't have anything fresh that day I opted for another favourite; the Captain's Combo;
Chips, calamari strips, chicken "goujons" (chicken breast fillets in bread crumbs) and a portion of pork spare ribs all of which I thoroughly enjoy and as I say it's a favourite, I've had it often and have never been disappointed.I love this sign which is outside the door warning everyone that the "Play park are being used at own risk!"
The Captain's Cabin is in Saldanha overlooking the bay and is popular with locals and visitors alike, good value for money pub food give them a call and have a lunch 022 7141716.
After lunch Janet stayed home and I went to the Phoenix for a couple of games of pool, I have to say that I haven't been doing too well lately and Danny "white-washed" me in one of our games! (for the un-intiated that means that he cleared all seven of his balls and the black off the table before I could sink even one of mine!)
I have not had this happen to me too many times and I crapped him out, "How can you do that to a customer?!" he was unrepentant, still I enjoyed the afternoon.
Our friend Penny was with us for the rest of the weekend so I decided to do a special lunch for Sunday, something that we hadn't tried before - I'm not afraid of experimenting on my friends. I de-boned a lovely big leg of Karoo lamb, then I took a pack of Komga boerewors which Loretta and Mike brought for us from the Eastern Cape when they visited a while back, this is one of our favourite boerewors and we used to eat a lot of it when we lived there. I removed all of the meat from the skin and mixed in some onion flakes.
After that I seasoned the lamb with Aromat, garlic flakes and rosemary and then packed the boerewors meat onto the lamb.
This I then rolled up as tightly as possible without pressing the meat out and tied it firmly with string, after rubbing it with olive oil I let it stand while I got the coals going in the Weber braai. It did look rather good! Once the coals were ready it went into the Weber and sizzled for an hour.
Depending on your personal preference, lamb can be eaten medium rare so I cut into it to check it after the hour was up, if you like it a bit more well done add some more coals and leave it for a bit longer. Summon a wench to assist with removing the meat from the grid because you don't want to drop it in front of guests!
Looking and smelling damn good! By then we were ready for food, Janet had made some creamy Aromat potatoes - a particularly good accompaniment to lamb - and a nice salad.
An experiment that turned out very well and a meal that I shall definitely be doing for some other guests at some later stage.

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's just so much better on a motorbike!

We had a free day last Sunday and as it was a lovely warm day with only a light southerly wind we decided to go somewhere for lunch. I had to make a quick stop in Saint Helena Bay and as Don and Connie were off on a road trip somewhere getting a well deserved break from their Beira Mar restaurant, we decided to go through to Velddrif.
It's only about forty kms in total but as we set off I was immediately glad to be out on the big red machine again, I had just spent about an hour and a half cleaning and polishing and it was looking spectacular again.
I accelerated up through the gears on the road through to Vredenburg, watching out for speed traps I edged the bike up to only 20kmh above the limit, I would open it up more on the other side of the town.
I had forgotten that there was a "Stop/Go" roadworks area and as we approached there was a long queue of cars and trucks waiting for the "Go" sign, as is usual at those irritations I cruised slowly past the line of cars up to the front and when the sign changed we surged ahead leaving all of the cages way behind. It's just so much better on a motorbike!
My business over in Saint Helena Bay we rejoined the busy R399 for the short but fast blast through to the little town of Velldrif on the banks of the Berg River. Although the road was busy it was easy to maintain a fast pace as the cars all moved over as we approached, I acknowledged them either with a wave or with my hazard flashers because I really do appreciate it when they do that, very rarely does an idiot sit steadfastly in the lane without giving way - he gets another type of hand signal!
Soon we were in the town and I went through to Port Owen as I had heard of another restaurant there which I wanted to check out. It wasn't long before we were parking the big red machine infront of the rather unremarkable facade of "Die Vaatjie Taphuis" (roughly translates into "The little wine vat")
The first thing that caught our eye as we entered was a picture of our late friends Dudley and Carolyn, bikers who were tragically killed in a car crash just over a year ago, they had lived in the area.
It is quite a neat, inviting pub with the restaurant section next door and we were offered both the pub and the restaurant menu. I commented on the prominently featured old South African flag in the centre of the ceiling.
Janet said "So what? If it was your place in Zimbabwe you'd have the Rhodesian flag up, not the Zimbabwe one." Doesn't it just piss you off when they're right like that? My Rhodesian flag is prominent in my pub at home.
We ordered our drinks and consulted the menu, I opted for four crayfish tails (Western Cape rock lobster Jasus Lalandii), calamari and savoury rice with a garlic butter sauce at a very reasonable R108.It was a very nice meal, the calamari was tender, the tails were delicious and I really enjoyed the rice soaked in garlic butter!
Janet ordered the crispy roasted Eisbein and I though at first of warning her that it would be too much for her to eat because I knew that it would be huge.
Sure enough it was big enough to feed a small country for a week, Janet ate a little bit of it declaring it delicious and then asked for a doggy bag for the rest. We don't have a dog, it's actually an "Andrew bag."Lovely! This would make up my sarmies for work for the rest of the week, that's one of the things I love about taking Janet out for lunch; my lekker sarmies for work!
The ride home was just as good, I stayed on the R27 down to the Vredenburg turn off to avoid the road works, that is a good fast road and we blasted along in the warm afternoon sunshine heading for an A.B.F at the Phoenix and then home - it's just so much better on a motorbike!
There's not much happening now until next weekend, Friday 28th Frank and I will be going to the "Pure Venom Rally" in the coastal town of Kleinmond which is only about 200kms from here, I'm looking forward to that and will tell you all about it. Ride safe!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another good weekend

Usually we have a braai sometime during the weekend and quite often on a weekday evening if I'm home early enough to get it started, this weekend the weather was lovely, if a bit on the windy side but my back yard is quite sheltered so we decided to go for it.
First I prepared the vegetables; two gem squash and a potato (Janet is off starches), I cut the gems in half, dug the pips out and put a large dab of butter, a good sprinkle of aromat and black pepper inside and then put the two halves back together and wrapped them in tinfoil. My potato was spiced with butter, aromat and mixed herbs.
Whilst my wood was burning the vegetables start to cook, I just keep rotating them to get even cooking, they don't take long and by the time my coals were ready for the chicken they were already feeling soft.
I had earlier put the chicken portions in a dish, sprinkled them liberally with olive oil, onion flakes, garlic flakes, aromat (of course) and mixed herbs and I kept turning them to let them marinate.
Once the coals were ready I moved the vegetables to the side and placed the chicken on the grid, chicken needs good hot coals and the portions must be turned often, it takes quite a long time to ensure that it is cooked right through to the bone - not many people like their chicken medium rare! They soon started looking and smelling really good, gets the juices flowing! And there you have it, a simple but delicious weekend starter; braaied chicken and two veg.
By now you will all know that I am a Castle drinker but there was a Black Label promotion at our favourite pub, the Phoenix the other night and as there were pretty young girls handing out prizes I decided to drink Black Label - what is it with these young girls anyway?!
Sure enough my name was drawn twice and I won a Black Label tee shirt, a thing you wear around your neck to carry all sorts of things (I don't know if there is a name for them) and two cuddles.
Romeo (yes that is his name) gets a tee shirt and a cuddle from the two pretty young promo ladies, he does drink Black Label anyway. (Actually that's not his name, it's Johan but they call him "Casanova" - so I was close!)
Here I am with my key-thingy and my second cuddle, shortly after this photo was taken I went back to Castle though.
Not to be outdone Danny, the owner of the Phoenix got a cuddle too and then Allan (gums) of the Gypsy Jokers MCC also won a key-thingy. Where's his cuddle?
All in all a very pleasant evening and part of a good weekend, I'm hoping to go for a bit of a ride later today - the weather is good, the wind is not too strong so it looks promising, I'll tell you all about it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Part two, the evening and the ride home next day

We moved straight into the pub at Marius' West Coast Hacienda to cool down, there was an air conditioner struggling to cope with the extreme temperature but the beers were cold. Frank made a bee-line for the bar maid but she left shortly after this picture was taken, perhaps one can't blame her?
Danny decided to lend a hand cleaning up the water dripping from the airconditioner before we started playing pool.
It was still very hot in the evening but once we had settled down and had a bit of refreshment it was easier to look back on the day's ride with enjoyment, then it was time for the games to begin.
We played a lot of pool right through the evening, my friend Johan who lives in the area also joined us for a couple of drinks and a few games.
We had a temporary halt in the games for supper, Frank had a massive pizza - half of which he managed to take home in his tank-bag the next day while Danny, Kat and I had the most amazing rump steak, the best I have had in ages.
The games resumed after dinner as doubles; Danny and I against Frank and Kat and I must say that Kat plays a pretty useful game.
This picture was taken at 1am when Marius decided to call it a day, luckily the pub stayed open with his son in charge but we moved the party outside just after 2am; Frank got his last round for the evening, came and sat down and promptly spilled his drink all over the table, oh well - it was about 3am, time to turn in anyway.
This horrible bloody thing was on the plastic chair outside our room, I had turned off all of the inside lights earlier so as not to attract any creepy-crawlies and after getting rid of this one I also turned off the outside light.
We all settled down for the night, Frank went into his room and I heard him shout; "Hey, where's my bloody pillow, who's taken my pillow? Oh ok here it is on the other end." It was going to be a long night!
I had a very restless night, it was just too hot and I was convinced every time a bead of sweat ran across my body that it was some huge insect! Frank was talking in his sleep and I could hear Danny snoring and by 6am I was up drinking coffee. Sunrise and the start of another very hot day, gradually everyone surfaced, seemingly none the worse for wear and we headed over to the dining room for a very good breakfast which went down very well indeed.
It must have been somewhere around 11am that we left the Hacienda and headed back along the coastal route, forty kilometres into the ride we pulled into the hotel at Eland's Bay for a beer, the closer we got to the coast the cooler it became with my thermometer registering 24 degrees. That is still warm but compared to what we had put up with it was very pleasant. Danny, me and Frank in typical pose in the bar at the Eland's Bay hotel.
A very pleasant ride ended up at my house for an A.B.F, Kat had been on my bike for the day so they needed to change over - she's not very keen on the GSXR I'm afraid.
It's a lovely bike for the rider but a very uncomfortable perch for the pillion passenger with nothing to hold on to.
Frank heading home after our ride. The whole trip had only been 527kms but the heat had made it seem a great deal more, it was one of those rides that we can look back on and remember the good parts, have serious discussions about what "Real bikers" we are and forget about the debilitating heat.

We will go back to the West Coast Hacienda, the food is great and the people are friendly, and because Marius is a biker himself they have special deals for bikers - give him a call on 0725379991 and go and have an enjoyable stayover.