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, January 24, 2018

We visit Windsor for the day, lunch at the Palace? - No

Monday was an uncharacteristically warm and calm day, actually the temperature got up to 14 celsius for a very pleasant change and we decided to go for a drive. I had been wanting to visit Windsor since we accidentally drove through it on our way to Wales, I had briefly seen the Thames river and some houseboats that warranted further exploration.
I programmed the destination into the GPS with the instruction to avoid motorways, we had plenty of time and I enjoy driving country roads through picturesque villages, with just over an hour to travel we left home around 10h00 and parked the car after a very pleasant drive in the car park on the banks of the river just after 11h00.
 Houseboats moored alongside, I fancy cruising canals at a leisurely pace and tying up outside some small country pub for a meal and a beer before resuming the trip, another holiday sometime, preferably in the summer.
We strolled down the river bank towards the town and the Castle, just visible behind the trees.
 It was a very picturesque walk, and I don't really enjoy walking very much, there were literally hundreds of birds all over the area, huge ducks - so many that we had to walk carefully to avoid their poop, flocks of seagulls and then also hundreds of swans, all of the latter apparently belong to the Queen.
 The town appears to have grown around the Castle which is an incredibly imposing structure, a bit of history here; the original Castle was apparently built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror! Since the time of Henry 1 it has been used by the reigning Monarch and is the longest occupied palace in Europe.
As I had not informed the Royal family that we wold be in Windsor for the day we decided to have lunch at a nearby "Weatherspoons"pub,
The food wasn't bad, I'm not a huge fan of English pub food (I might get shot down for this) but the prices in this chain were quite reasonable and the lagers were good. We relaxed for a bit and then strolled back to the car, it had been a very pleasant outing and I find old castles and churches absolutely fascinating.
We drove back to Dorking via another route, still staying off the motorway. Lots more to see while we are here and in the middle of next month we are going over to Bruges in Belgium for three days, looking forward to that one.
Stay safe friends and we'll talk again soon.

Friday, January 19, 2018

A visit to south Wales for a week

As I write this we are in south Wales with my ex BSAP buddy Dave Hillman and his wife Nicky, they left South Africa some two years ago and it has been wonderful to spend time with them again. It is cold here! We had snow on Tuesday and it has been wet most of the time but we have had time to get out and do some sight seeing in this beautiful area.
The drive here from Dorking in Surrey was interesting to say the least, we left at about 10h00 on Sunday and only arrived in Builth Wells at around 18h00, it took so long because the GPS kept trying to keep me away from the motorway and we drove for hours on narrow roads through admittedly picturesque little villages before I found me way onto the M4 West.
By the time the GPS was telling me we only had 50 miles to go it was also telling me that the rest of the trip would take two hours, I couldn't accept that because we had been traveling at a steady 50mph for ages, by my reckoning that should take only one hour! It was starting to get dark when the lady's voice suddenly said "In 300 metres, turn right." I sped past what looked like a farm track and the GPS re calculated; "In 300 metres, turn right." this time I was ready and turned onto a single lane track, tarred but very narrow that took us into the darkly forested hills!
Janet was by this time quite agitated, I won't go into too much detail but at one stage we passed through a tiny village alongside a babbling brook and took the route instructed only to find ourselves up against a farm gate, I reversed in the dark along that narrow track and took the other fork only to come up to a farm house, I banged on the door but nobody answered. We retraced our tracks back to the village where a kindly local directed us onto the correct route and eventually reached our destination.  Had it been daylight I might have enjoyed that journey more, luckily there was no other traffic!
Yesterday we visited the Elan Valley area, a truly picturesque valley with a series of dams, the one we were at was "Craig Goch", with a huge spillway roaring with overflowing water - if only we could have some of that back home!
A pretty church with an unpronounceable name.
A lovely home in the Elan Valley
The roads that are typical of the area, single lane and bordered by moss covered rocks and trees, if you meet an oncoming vehicle one must reverse!
The Main Street scene in Builth Wells, the village nearest to my friend's home. Tomorrow we will be heading back to Surrey but this time I'm taking the slightly longer route to avoid the narrow roads.
Because I am missing my motorbike I took my friend's scooter for some high speed, knee down action just before we left, a bit of fun.

Monday, January 8, 2018

January breakfast run - without us

So as you know we are in the UK with our family at the moment and having a good time but I am following the activities of my other family back home; the members of the Meeulanders MCC and I see that fourteen of them went out to "DuVlei" restaurant in the Riebeek valley for the January breakfast run last Sunday - I'm jealous and my motorbike is standing in Craig's garage.
When I saw earlier postings on our "Whatsapp" group that they were planning to go there I was thinking; "Oh man you're going to be sorry!" because usually January in the western cape is very hot, last year we went to Darling which is only about 25kms from the coast and the heat and humidity was stifling, the Riebeek valley is more than 100kms but from the photos it looks like they lucked out, it was overcast and apparently quite pleasant although those that went through to Capetown afterwards got quite wet!
They gathered at our usual starting place; Juffroshoogte for coffee and as several were traveling by car Johlene collected everybody's "Uncle Frank" so that he could also go for breakfast, he no longer rides a bike so it was lovely of her to include him, but she's like that; a lovely caring lady.
Here he is in the car park chatting with "Cactus Jack" who often misses breakfast runs because of shift work, however work unfortunately takes precedence - unless you're retired!

 It was also good to see that Louis was back on his bike having recovered, rather quickly from a broken wrist, but you can't keep a biker down and Louis is a tough guy. In the other picture is Murray and Laureen arriving at DuVlei on their recently acquired GS.
 They got tables out on the verandah, we've all been there for breakfast before, in fact it is a popular place for bikers from all over the western cape and sometimes pretty crowded at breakfast time.

Monika and Gerrie were there, as well as Bev and Daan accompanied by his sister, they all traveled by car as well.
Kathy and Sampie (centre) were also there proudly sporting their recently acquired colours, I'm very proud of this club, jealous that we weren't there too. Last year I managed to attend every breakfast run, this year I will only start from the April one, I hope they missed me?
Ride safe everyone.