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.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas in England, family fun and lots of walking....

Our flight up from Capetown to London was much more comfortable than it normally would have been thanks to our son in law and daughter giving us "Premium economy" class tickets, that's me permanently spoiled for future travel! We boarded in 30 Celsius weather and arrived to about zero Celsius overnight, quite a shock but exhilarating nonetheless.
Getting together with the family was wonderful and the reason we wanted to come in the first place, to spend Christmas with them all, it was a lovely day right from the start when our boys opened their presents, through too much good food at lunch to a lazy evening.
We have so far visited a couple of pubs for lunch, which I love, and we have done some sight seeing but yesterday we were to travel into London to see the Christmas lights, I was dubious because I just knew this was going to involve a lot of walking which is not my favourite pass time.
The train trip of about an hour to Victoria station was comfortable, as was the "tube" to High Street Kensington but it was from there that things went bad!
We entered a long wide tunnel, crowded with people moving in both directions, and walked for what felt like fourteen miles but it was probably only seven right under London and probably the Thames too. Eventually we spilled out into Chelsea and Kensington where the streets were dotted with Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis and Range Rovers.  We walked past the Royal Albert Hall where the trees were decorated with lights, "Those lights are nice," I said, "can we go home now?" but they laughed and kept walking for another seven miles,
My son in law Andy found a pub and we went into the cozy warmth where I was able to sit happily once again with a cold lager but it was not to last,
They wanted to walk some more, it was cold and getting dark and we walked, and walked uphill through darkened deserted streets between old buildings, I expected to be accosted by an old man with fingerless woolen gloves and a battered bowler hat; " 'ullo Guv'nor", but it didn't happen and we plunged into the bustling bright lights of Regent Street, we had arrived!
 It was crowded! Hundreds and hundreds of people all there to stroll along the street and see the lights, which I must admit were very impressive, "Can we go home now?", luckily everyone by then seemed ready and though I was dreading retracing our steps we boarded a bus and it was interesting to see the hoards of people out for the evening as we headed back to the station. In a previous life I was a bus driver in Durban for a year and I could appreciate how difficult it was for these drivers to negotiate those crowded narrow streets.
We had coffee at the station while we waited for our train and then another comfortable trip back to Dorking, I made my daughter promise that we would not do that again as I relaxed at home with a cold beer. It's great here in England but I just have to get them out of the habit of all that walking!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I'm leaving on a jet plane......

I fear that there will not be much added to this blog for at least the next three months, we are leaving for the UK this evening and will only be back in South Africa on 17th March next year. I might be able to write touristy stuff but due to the weather over there my missives will most likely be devoid of both braais and bikes, although beers will still be a feature you can be sure of that!
My buddy Craig is going to be looking after my bike for the time that we are away so I'll take it for a ride shortly just to say goodbye and to leave it at his house, man I'm going to miss my bike!
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and all of the very best for 2018, thanks for supporting me and reading my blog and please stay with me, I will be back!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Biker family party at our place

There was no breakfast run scheduled for the first Sunday in December so we put out an invite for our club members to come to a cheese and wine brunch at our house, our last function for a couple of months to wish everyone all the best for the festive season.
We were not really sure how many would pitch up as we had had the year end function on the Thursday and some went to Monica's birthday party on the Saturday but bikers are a hardy lot and when there's a party involved they're in! 
Twenty two arrived and a really good impromptu party ensued that lasted well into the afternoon.

Our entertainment area was pretty crowded but that's what we like and luckily it was a nice day so the outside area could also be used.

Having been in the aquaculture industry in Saldanha for so long I have contacts and am able to get fresh produce whenever I want, so it was that I had decided to serve up fresh oysters and mussels for everyone;

These oysters come from my friend Kevin's farm and they were delicious, if you're up this way and want to buy some let me know and I'll give you his number.

Young Elsje wasn't sure that she was going to eat oysters, not having had them before but to her credit she gave it a try and actually came back for more.

The mob made short work of the oysters after which I brought out steamed fresh mussels which I had collected from Blue Ocean Mussels, my old work place. They also went down incredibly well.

People relaxed and chatted and finished off with a selection of cheeses, olives, pate' and biscuits washed down with the libation of their choice, it was a lovely day and good to be with my people, I'm going to miss them all for the three months that we are away.
Next Saturday we are going to a different function, a lamb spit braai in Capetown held by my old regiment, the BSAPolice and I will certainly write about that one.
Don't forget to click on the pictures to see them full size and also to vote for this blog by clicking on the "vote" button on the top right of the page if you feel so inclined. Cheers for now.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Year end function, 20th anniversary and a patching party all in one

Thursday 30th November, usually the day of our monthly meeting became the evening to celebrate our year end function at which we carry out any awarding of colours that are due, but this year saw also the celebration of twenty years since the Meeulanders Motorcycle club was established.
After some discussion as to when and where to hold the event, some were not available or could not afford another full weekend sleepover the committee decided that an evening event would be ideal and so it was that we acquired a very suitable space at the picturesque Alegria Restaurant right on the water's edge in Saint Helena Bay. The owners George and Ronelle are also bikers and have ridden with us so they knew exactly what was required.
So it was that most of the club members gathered (some were still not available) for what was to become a very enjoyable evening.

The weather was extremely pleasant, warm and calm and obviously the company was the best, all family.

Once everyone was settled and content it was time to get the business part of the evening done so that the party could commence;

Our youngest member, Prospect Elsje was awarded half colours which was a rather emotional experience for her and then Sampie and Kathy were awarded very well deserved full colours,

These two are both extremely dedicated to the club and it was my honour and privilege to carry out the award ceremony. Craig, in the background happily administered the "strafdop" a wicked concoction of raisins soaked in Stoh Rum!

The award for "Ongeluksvoel" (Accident) went to Louis for dropping his bike outside our start up venue on a breakfast run and his wife Johlene was the recipient of the "MamaMeeu" trophy for being the kind and considerate person that she is.

Gerrie who is the usual provider of most of the photos used in this blog was the recipient of the trophy for the most points accumulated through the year, well done to all of you.
Then three of the original members were called to open the anniversary proceedings, Floors (left) and Steven (right) were members right from the beginning and Frank (centre) just a short time later. Frank gave a short introductory speech, actually Steven made sure it was short by stopping Frank with a mouthful of Craig's medicine!

A very nice meal was provided by the restaurant and shortly afterwards people started making their way home, thanks to all of the members and to George and Ronelle of the Alegria Restaurant in Saint Helena Bay (022 7361393) for making the evening a success. Feedback has been positive.
Those of you reading this please take time (if you feel inclined, or if you deem it worthy) to vote for this blog for the 2017 SA blog awards, the "vote" button is on the top right hand side, thank you.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Saturday braai for two

In between strong southerly winds on Friday when I was riding and strong southerlies forecast for Sunday when the Capetown toy run was being run, Saturday was a very pleasant day. We had nothing arranged so I suggested a braai just for the two of us, Janet jumped at it, she loves sitting at home relaxing in comfortable clothes.
I got my fire going at about 11h00 and while there was still flame I cooked some Skilpaadjies in my cast iron skillet.

These are a much loved South African delicacy, for my overseas readers Skilpaadjies (pr.skill-pie-keys) are made with lamb's liver wrapped in the caul or spleen fat. Some people like to braai them over the coals but I prefer to do them in a pan, less likely to dry them out this way.

They don't take long, I take them off when the liver is still pink and let them rest - delicious with my bottle of Merlot!
Whilst we were enjoying those I sorted out coals for my second part; succulent Karoo lamb ribs. We are lucky here in that although lamb is quite expensive the quality and the flavour influenced by the plants in the Karoo that they feed on makes for extremely good meat.

These were excellent! We took a break, a gap after the ribs and in the meantime I had two yellow sweetcorn mielies and a large "hassleback" potato, wrapped in tinfoil cooking on the coals.
We chatted, listened to music, drank wine and just relaxed. We have a busy period coming up; a bike club function, we're also entertaining my club brothers and sisters here at home and then mid December we fly over to the UK so we're busy, it was nice to just chill and discuss things.

Lamb shoulder chops marinated in olive oil, garlic and red wine, I make no apologies for a lamb braai, we love lamb.

The meal, simple basic but oh so good. We're going over to English winter so maybe we'll have another couple of braais here before we go!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

South African Police Service initiative and the art of riding really slowly

One of the joys of being retired is the ability to go riding any day of the week! My bro Gerrie posted on the W.M.A (West Coast Motorcycle Association) page a request from S.A.P.S for bikers to join a "Blow the whistle on crime" campaign to encourage children and young people to report crime in the coloured and black community in Vredenburg. This was to take place on Friday morning and they wanted bikers to make a noise, what better invitation could there be?
Eventually there were eight bikers on seven bikes that made it, we arrived at the school where the march was to start and parked. Straight away the little boys gathered to have a look at the bikes.

Little boys like motorbikes just as much as the big boys do and we had lots of requests for them to sit on the bikes while the parents took photographs, of course we were only too happy to comply, get some future bikers!

The Police were there in force handing out sweets and plastic whistles to the children and the noise of whistles was quite deafening! From there we were to follow behind a fire engine leading the procession to another school hall where there would be snacks and treats and a talk on reporting crime to the police. The problem for us was that this was to be at walking pace!

Those of you who ride motorcycles know how difficult this can be, especially for any extended period, we were wobbling and balancing our way at 4kmh for almost an hour, clutch, brake, foot down, clutch, brake, stop, go, no chance to wave at the crowds along the way but we were able to rev the engines and blow the hooters.

We eventually, after what seemed like an age, parked up at the second school and immediately were surrounded by eager children wanting to see the bikes. It was a happy occasion and we were all glad that we had taken part, the crowd all crammed into the hall for the speeches and snacks at which time there was a unanimous decision amongst the bikers to head off in search of a cold beverage.
from left; Sooi, me, Daan, Linicia and Gerrie
 Of the eight bikers that took part I am really proud to say that five were Meeulanders, these are my type of people, bikers are genuine down to earth people, what you see is what you get. They would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it but also don't get on their wrong side! I'm proud to be one of you.