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, November 30, 2015

Saturday braai and Sunday Toy Run

It was a scorcher of a weekend! Saturday we decided to just stay at home and have a quiet braai in our favourite space, our back veranda and patio where it's nice and cool.
I cracked a bottle of Swartland's "Braai Red" given to me by friends Rene and Bronx, it's a very palatable Pinotage type, smooth on the tongue, a perfect braai wine I'll get more of this.
I started the braai quite early with "Lamb octopus" a very creative starter, a  piece of the lamb flank meat cut into strips and seasoned then cooked crispy. We were introduced to this by my Sister and Boet Loretta and Mike who get this from a butcher in the Eastern Cape, why can't we get this here guys, it's delicious and so easy! After that we were feeling better so I built the coals up again and refreshed our goblets, no need to rush for the main course.
This picture was taken just before 15h00, sweet corn miellies in tin foil, potatoes, Sirloin steak and Komga style boerewors also from the Eastern Cape and it was just after 16h00 that we were eating a pretty normal South African braai meal; steak and boerewors and potatoes with a miellie.
There are other variations, if you come to South Africa for a visit I will introduce you to them, we even include vegetables and salads at a push although the normal vegetable at a South African braai is chicken!
We were up nice and early on Sunday for the toy run and this time we had arranged to meet up at "Die Stal" in Yzerfontein to join the Yzerfontein Bike Club for the ride down to the Toy run.
18,5 degrees on the R27 from home at 08h30! It was going to be good and hot, the guys had free coffee organised when we arrived,
In this photo by my bro Gerrie Pieterse I had just shouted at him ~ "Hey, if you're going to do that at least warn me so that I can pull my stomach in!" ~ much to the amusement of Eduardo and Josie. I've given up trying to hold my stomach in!
We left at 09h00, I think it was fifteen bikes and for some strange reason we were able to ride together right through Capetown, it was almost as if someone had organised that the traffic lights would open for us and let us all through. Normally we get split up on the outskirts by the lights and have to make our own way through but this time we all arrived together at the Ottery off ramp to the end venue.
This photo was taken at 10h10 and already there were hundreds of bikes there, we have done this toy run for sixteen consecutive years and have done many variations from riding in the mass ride most of the time to finding a spot along the route to take photos, to heading straight for the end venue.
I must say this was the best although you do miss out on the spirit of the run by avoiding the mass ride but it is an hour of overheating engines, lots of clutch work, foot down wobbling, watching out for youngsters on scramblers and scooters in the searing heat!
By the time the boys and girls were battling with the mass ride we were seated with our friends who had grabbed a table and were enjoying bitterly cold (rather expensive) beer.
 It was a very festive scene and well organised, by the time we deposited our toys there was still plenty of space but it wouldn't take long before those trucks were to start overflowing with biker generosity.
It didn't take long before the mass ride pulled in and the people headed for the beer tent to quench the massive thirst,
 By 11h15 we were ready to leave, headed for a braai at our friend Linda's house before going home, we threaded our way through the ever increasing crowd, the end venue seemed to have been successful, well organised with shade tents for people to sit under, a check in for helmets and jackets with a donation for charity and plenty of food stalls.
We rode the twenty minutes in tee shirts, unwilling to pull on the heavy jackets and had a lovely braai at our friends house.
We left for home just after 15h00 and Janet slept most of the way, the heat was debilitating with the readout showing 37,5 degrees on the R27 and I had to keep my speed down because of the camera gantries. I enjoyed the ride, I enjoyed the day out but I was feeling it by the time I parked the bike.
I love it! Another feel-good day with people who love giving. Bikers rule!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Waverley Hills wine estate

Sunny, warm and calm; three of my favourite adjectives when preparing for a ride and that's the kind of day we started with as we geared up for a nice cruise. No doubt the wind would come up later, this is after all the western cape!
I had suggested to Janet that we needed to re-stock our wine racks which were looking decidedly bare and that the best way to do that would be to take a ride out to Waverley Hills wine estate, do some wine tasting and then have lunch in their excellent restaurant. Janet thought that was great idea so by 09h00 on Sunday morning we were ready to go, the plan was to take it nice and easy and arrive there by 11h00.
As we roared out of our little fishing town the temperature was a cool eighteen degrees, not quite so warm but it would definitely warm up later. So there we were heading inland, four "Stop/go" roadworks to negotiate on the R45 but we had plenty of time, the big red machine was running smooth, I settled into it, shoulders relaxed and enjoying the freedom of the open road.
There was quite a queue at the first "Stop/go" but I cruised up to the front of the line. Janet asked me "What are you doing? They'll get pissed off at you." As the sign was turned to "Go." I blasted out of there before the cager behind me had even selected first gear and I never saw him again. Oh the sheer pleasure of being on two wheels, it's difficult to explain.
The next two roadblocks were open as we arrived and the fourth one was only a brief stop, by then it had warmed up, the R45 is going to be a great road when it is finished, that's for sure. Through Malmesbury and the winelands we stopped at the top of the pass overlooking the Riebeek Valley where my old BSAPolice buddy Paul Weinel's ashes are scattered;
lovely fast sweeps down into the valley, a popular area for bikers on Sunday breakfast runs and there were plenty about. From Riebeek, Hermon, the Nuwekloof Pass, past Tulbagh is a wonderful ride, the road has been widened and repaired and is now fast. Even though we weren't in a hurry I couldn't help but wind it up a bit. Soon we were riding slowly up the narrow tar road to the wine estate nestled in  the slopes of the "Witsenberge" mountains.
We were quite early so the car park was empty, if you can park it and walk away without looking back then you bought the wrong one!
We went into the wine tasting room and were the first ones there so we had the young lady's undivided attention, we tasted a variety of their red wines and I bought eighteen bottles of assorted delicious wines, that is all that I can carry in the bike's luggage. Then it was time for lunch.
Table d├ęcor a beautiful huge Protea and a bottle of Waverley Hills Sauvignon Blanc, so far so good!
We both had the starter of spicy chicken livers on a bed of coleslaw and mash with homemade bread which I had had before, Janet enthused over it, it was delicious. We asked the waitress to delay our mains for a while and just sat enjoying the view and the wine.
Sliced Sirloin beef, chicken pie, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin fritters and gravy for R75! We really enjoyed it, I managed to finish mine but we had a doggy/Andrew bag of Janet's leftovers for my Monday work sandwich.
Time to hit the road, loaded up and ready to go and this little beauty was parked next to my bike;
As I expected Janet was falling asleep within ten minutes, I could feel her helmet pushing against the back of mine. I was in my element though, thoroughly enjoying the ride and the totally responsive feel of the big red machine. As we pulled into Riebeek I was a bit low on petrol, my range was reading 25kms and I knew that Moorreesburg was 35kms away.
In the forecourt I blew my hooter but there was no response and then I saw the sign, the next time the garage would be open was 16h00 and it was only 14h00! Press on slowly. we sat for 35kms at 80kmh and rode into the town with my range reading zero, I would have hated to have to walk for petrol. (Done that before!)
The rest of the ride home was good but we still had to negotiate the "Stop/go" sections and as I expected the wind was an issue, as soon as we turned onto the R45 it hammered us from the side, we arrived just before 15h00 after a very enjoyable day and now my wine rack looks a lot better, still some spaces there and in the pub which we will have to attend to but that's for later.
If you are looking for a nice ride and a good lunch then give the Waverley Hills restaurant a try, we'll definitely go back, their wines are great and the food is delicious but you should book if you want to eat there, we have been disappointed before when just arriving without a booking. 023 2310002.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

West Coast Motorcycle Association Teddy bear run 2015

Another very successful event organised by the relatively new W.M.A, this was a feel-good event and an extremely enjoyable day; a toy run for under privileged children and an auction to raise funds for Eiland Huis which takes care of children with special needs.
This took place on Sunday 15th November and we started off with a breakfast of champions because we knew that it might be a while before we ate anything;
Egg and bacon "butty" washed down with our favourite beverage and we were ready to go!
We saddled up under a pale blue sky, it was a bit fresh but with the promise of a lovely day and I had been looking forward to this for a while. We took a gentle cruise through to Vredenburg and met up with an already large crowd of our favourite kind of people.
Gerrie got going early to take photos from various vantage points and he took some great photos, many of which I will use here. I'm pretty much going to let the photos speak for themselves and if you want to see any of them full size, just click on them.
At 09h00 it was kick stands up and we had an escort of traffic police who blocked all of the intersections so that we didn't have to break up the mass ride.
Out of Vredenburg and down towards Saldanha, the road all to ourselves.
In this great picture by Gerhard Pieterse you see Anton and Ginette on his lovely custom Kawasaki, me and Janet on our lovely big red machine and Alex and Mercia on their cruiser heading into Saldanha. We did a loop through the town, attracting a lot of attention and then headed back to Vredenburg.
The Traffic cops, who did a great job definitely seemed to be enjoying them selves;
they blocked intersection and then rushed past us with lights flashing and sirens blaring to block the intersections ahead of us, it was great we didn't have to stop at all.
This great photo by Gerhard Pieterse shows a traffic cop on a motorbike that I didn't even know we had in this area, leading the mob into Vredenburg.
 If you see a photo of yourself amongst these great shots by Gerhard Pieterse just click on them to see them full size.
The ride ended up at the Phoenix bar which must have made Anna and Eduardo happy, by the middle of the day we counted somewhere around sixty bikes!
It turned out to be a great party, good dancing music by Enrico, cheap drinks and lots of happy people. By the time everyone had thrown their toys into the bakkie it made quite a pile, there would be lots of happy children this Christmas.
We stayed for a couple of hours and even Frank arrived to get much love from the bikers and their ladies, particularly the ladies!
Here's Monika, Gerrie, Johlene, Louis and Frank enjoying the party. The afternoon ended with an auction and a collection which raised over R3,000 for Eiland Huis. This is going to be an annual event and the West Coast Motorcycle Association were very pleased with the way this inaugural event turned out. We had a great time and we will definitely be taking part next year, well done to those who sponsored prizes and to those generous bikers who dug into their pockets to make sure this was a successful day.
Bikers are good people!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Strandkombuis beach restaurant, Yzerfontein

And now for something completely different - alright beers and a braai were involved, just no bikes. We have been associated with Strandkombuis restaurant in Yzerfontein for many years, I have been supplying their mussels right from the start but I also used to supply oysters and would go there to teach the staff how to open them, and even help to open oysters for the numerous weddings that they had then. It is still a very popular wedding venue.
I got a call from Natie, the owner last week inviting Janet and I to lunch on Sunday which I accepted with alacrity, we hadn't seen them for a while and the food was excellent the last time we visited, I am a seafood lover so I had been looking forward to the lunch since that phone call.
We arrived just before 13h00 which is when the first course, a delicious chunky fish soup with homemade bread is served and the place was bustling. I went up and bought a bottle of wine and we settled in.
The restaurant is perched on top of the sand dunes just to the north of the town and has easy access to the beach right below with a spectacular view. Unfortunately that day the wind was howling so the awnings were down but it was very comfortable inside, we noticed how clean and inviting the restaurant was for such a casual venue.
You have to queue for your food but they have it so well organised that you don't wait long;
 The bread table, here Natie slices up another hot fresh loaf of homemade brown bread.
 The soup is unbelievable, I could have gone back for more but I didn't because I knew what else was coming. They have a short break in between the soup and the main buffet and I took the opportunity to go out to the braai area;
 Everything is clean and well organised, Bastian the co-owner was busy preparing the fresh Yellowtail fillets for the ovens.
 Natie, in the meantime was busy with the smoked Snoek, a South African favourite and the aromas were killing me!
 The first batch of prawns was coming off the braai, just look at the size of those things!
 They were then doused liberally with a garlic butter sauce which really got the juices flowing.
In the meantime the staff were busy setting up the salad tables and soon Natie was calling the crowd to the food tables.
 Wonderful salads on offer, a Greek salad, next a Chickpea and then an Apple salad, I only took a bit of the Chickpea which was delicious, I didn't want to take up space on my plate which could better be used for seafood!
The crowds moved in, they dish up on two sides so the queue actually moves quite fast and there's no danger of the food running out, they keep replenishing empty platters.
 My plate; mussels, deep fried calamari, smoked Snoek, baked Yellowtail, three large prawns, rice, Chickpea salad, roast potatoes and a pumpkin fritter, there were also sauces on offer but I didn't need them.

Look at me a happy man, I'm in seafood heaven! Everything on my plate had it's own taste and texture, the prawns were crisp and fresh, the calamari was tender. both types of fish were delightful, the Snoek which they smoke themselves was delicately flavoured, not overpowered by the smoke but complimented by it. I managed to go back for another small helping of both types of fish but by then I was pretty full.
To end off a perfect meal, moerkoffee and koeksusters and I was replete and completely satisfied. This is a slick and professional operation, we arrived at 13h00 and without feeling at all hurried we were finished by 15h30. We sat for a bit longer contentedly finishing our (second bottle of) wine and then it was time to leave.
The cost per person is R240 which for a three course meal of this calibre is a bargain, especially when you consider what you would pay for a seafood platter anywhere else and the quality is, as I have said, absolutely outstanding. The wines that they sell are fairly pricy but they do not charge corkage on wines if you take your own, I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this restaurant to you but you have to book because it is a summertime place and they get busy.
Phone them on 022 4512360 and the manager, the lovely Chantelle will take your booking.