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.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A short local cruise, biker heaven

South Africa has been going through a heat wave lately, there is serious drought throughout the country, crops and livestock are in serious danger and water is being freighted up from the Cape in convoys to the stricken areas up north. Concerned western cape residents have been donating bottled water by the thousands of 5 litre containers apart from the tankers that are hauling the life saving liquid to the dry and dusty areas, an iniative that shows the care and compassion of those in the south for their brothers and sisters in need.
What this means in the cape areas is that we have been experiencing temperatures in the mid to high thirties celsius and it just becomes way too hot to pull on the gear and go out for a ride. The bike has been standing under its cover, we have looked out the door and said things like; "We should be going for a ride now, look at this beautiful evening." but it has been incredibly warm, we were wiping the sweat from our brows as we said it and the thought of pulling the gear on was just too much, rather we filled our glasses and sat out back in the shade.
So it was that Wednesday after work, and normally the evening for the local sunset cruise, which did not seem to be happening, at least our President had not heard of a ride, that Janet and I decided to get out on a ride of our own. It was warm, though for a change not stiflingly hot, there was a slight, cooling breeze as I backed the big red machine out onto the road, the engine was idling happily as Janet stepped up onto the peg and swung her leg expertly over.
You all know the feeling; slight movements of the wrists and hands get the machine moving, lift the feet from the road onto the pegs and up through the gears and you're in biker heaven. We accelerated out of town onto the circular road around the bay heading away from the setting sun which occasionally flashed in my mirrors, sixth gear cruising I wasn't in any particular hurry.
Nirvana, I settled into 100kmh cruising but soon saw a cager coming up behind me so with a very slight twist of my right wrist I left him far behind, rather stay ahead of the ordinary people. 
We came upon a "Stop/go" section of roadworks but I cruised past the queue of waiting cars to the front, maybe ten or twelve in the line and jumped away into the passing traffic, by then I had a huge grin on my face, Janet is concerned when I jump queues; "What are they going to think?" - Do I give a shit?
Our first stop was at "Juffoushoogte" guest farm where the beer quarts were icy cold, one drink only after a chat with my friend Johan and then back out onto the R27 towards Velddrif. Fog turned the temperature down considerably until we turned and headed back towards Vredenburg and it was warm again as we parked the bike outside the Phoenix bar,
 Johan had taken the ten kilometre direct route while we did thirty and was there to meet us and we drank together again, such is the biker life on the west coast.
Two more beers, bitterly cold and we headed home. It had been great to get out on the road, to feel the road beneath me, my lady behind me even though we travelled a mere 90kms.
I am looking forward to the "Freedom Road rally" on the 19th of February, I have already started getting my stuff together and have organised the day off from work so that I can ride with the club, rest assured that I will tell you all about it.
In the meantime brothers and sisters, stay safe!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Farewell to our friends

This weekend was a good one, albeit a bit sad as well because we bade farewell to two friends who are leaving to live in England. Six ex Rhodesians, three ex members of one of the finest Police forces in the world; the BSAPolice gathered at our home for some serious eating, drinking and reminiscing.
Here they are, from left front; Nicky Hillman, Annie Surkont, my lady Janet, myself, Joe Surkont and Dave Hillman, it is the Hillmans who are leaving us and we are really going to miss them. Joe and Dave were in the same training squad in depot in 1965, I only met them some twenty six years ago when we moved to the cape but we have been good friends ever since.
We invited the four of them to spend the weekend at our house to give them a bit of a spoil to remember us by.
Fresh oysters, we were all so excited to eat them that we only remembered to take a photo after we had finished eating them!
I did remember to photograph the ones that I baked; a sprinkle of Pernod, a dash of fresh cream, a sliver of creamy blue cheese, covered with grated aged cheddar and ground black pepper. About twenty minutes in the hot oven to melt the cheese - delicious!
When Janet was ready with her side dishes; savoury rice and crunchy spinach and beetroot salad I started my mains; fish cakes which I had made up the previous day and left in the fridge to set, were made up of three different types of fish; smoked angel, local mullet and snoek which I had saved from previous seafood braai and mixed with an equal amount of mashed potato. 
I rolled them in flour, dipped in egg and covered with breadcrumbs, these were then deep fried.
At the same time I smoked two angel fish and we served up;
Here's the spread; from the seafood sauce at the bottom, the fish cakes, crunchy spinach and beetroot salad, savoury rice and smoked angel fish.
Deep fried fish cakes, I love making these things and make sure to save all my left over fish.
The plate, everyone seemed to enjoy their meal and for dessert Janet made a lovely millionaire's shortbread.
The three ex cops sat up until midnight reminiscing about the old days in the BSAP, it was great having our friends around and giving them a spoil, good luck for the future and bon voyage to Dave and Nicky and we will certainly keep intouch.
(All photos by Nicky Hillman with the exception of the top one taken by a waitress at Pearlies restaurant where we had breakfast Sunday morning.)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ceres Rail, a nostalgic train trip

 At 09h30 on Boxing Day Janet and I were at Demeter Station in the little mountain town of Ceres as the beautiful steam engine hauled its four carriages in. There was a large crowd of eager enthusiasts waiting and the train was pretty full by the time we steamed out.
 I found us a comfortable seat in one of the lovingly restored old carriages and we settled down for the two and a half hour round trip down to Wolseley.
 There is a bar on the train so we were able to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine from the Waverley Hills wine estate which on the train's route. Passengers who wish to can get off  at the estate for a picnic and re-board the train on its way back, we decided to stay on board for the whole trip and have lunch later. 
 Those of you who know the area will appreciate that the views from the train are spectacular.
 This is a relatively new venture, apparently since August last year but it was very enjoyable and definitely something that we will do again sometime. The return half of the trip was fantastic because the engine was working harder pulling the coaches back up the mountain so one could hear the old familiar "Chuff-chuff-chuff" and the shrill steam whistle at the road crossings, evocative stuff. I can remember the steam trains in Rhodesia when I was young, my Father worked for the Rhodesia Railways as a Guard and he took me on occasional weekend trips with him, very fond memories.
I can thoroughly recommend this to anyone in the area looking for a memorable day out, we paid R280 each for the trip and the wine is R30 a glass. Next time we will drive through to Ceres in the morning, take the afternoon trip and stay over one night in a self catering unit and go back home Sunday morning.
Bookings essential via email, check out their website at www.ceresrail.co.za they are also on facebook.

Friday, January 1, 2016

First lunch in 2016

Janet and I went on a wonderful, nostalgic steam train trip on Boxing day and I'm going to post details and photos in my next post, in the meantime here are some photos showing how me and my buddy Frank welcomed the new year in, he came round for lunch;
 Jasus Lalandi our West Coast Rock Lobster, steamed for a couple of minutes and you can see how big these were, they hardly fit in the steamer!
 Doused with garlic butter and smothered with grated cheddar cheese and under the grill.
 Cheers buddy, happy new year, enjoy your meal.
My plate with Janet's delicious savoury rice and avocado, our first lunch for 2016 and may it continue in the same vein, happy new year my friends!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cuddly bears for the aged

Here's a short story about bikers spreading Christmas cheer, I know they do it all over the world but this one involved bikers bringing "cuddly" cheer to an old age home.
On Wednesday morning a small bunch of bikers (those that didn't have to work!) got together to take some teddy bears to the local old age home to cheer up the residents. They had to be careful not to make too much noise as they rode into the parking area or they would scare the poor old folks living there.
 What a wonderful thing for these hardass, leather clad riders to do. Just another example of what bikers are prepared to do for people in need, Happy Christmas guys and gals, you brought happiness to some lovely old people there, may your Christmas be just as blessed and happy.
You've heard me say it before and you'll hear me say it again; Bikers are good folk. (Photos, except for the last one, by Gerrie Pieterse.)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Saturday lunch, biker party and Sunday braai - how cool is that?

This past Saturday we were invited to the Gypsy Jokers Christmas Party at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg, fairly recently opened the Phoenix is already making a name for itself as the local biker bar and we will be visiting a lot more often in the future, that's for sure.
Janet and I decided that Saturday was the ideal opportunity to have one of our favourite lunchtime meals at the nearby "Vlakvarkgat resort"; the offal potjie. For those of you who do not yet know what that is, offal is the stomach, intestines and yucky bits that normal people either throw away or feed to their pets. Some people eat tripe but tripe is too clean for us, I remember when my late Mum used to make tripe for the family and it involved washing the stomach lining something like three times, throwing the water away and then using a scrubbing brush on it until it had absolutely no flavour at all. The way we eat it is an acquired taste but we love it.
 After that wonderful lunch with a bottle of local wine we went back home for forty winks before heading off to the Phoenix bar. Old folks gotta get their afternoon nap you know!
We arrived at the Phoenix bar at about 17h45, there was a slight breeze but otherwise the weather was perfect and about half a dozen tents had been erected on the grass patch in front of the bar already.

Not many people there but lots of freinds already and we moved around meeting and greeting and making our way to the bar.

Inside the bar was pretty busy and Anna and the bar ladies were being run off their feet keeping the thirsty bikers satisfied.
We found Frank cosying up to (or molesting?) Miss Christmas!
We enjoyed the music, Enrico the DJ was playing proper biker rock that had the joint bouncing and the booze was cheap, it looked like it was going to develope into another good biker party.

By the time we decided to leave it was just after 19h00 and we said goodbye to our friends, Janet cuddled up to Alex on the way out and he said to me "Hey you're behaving yourself tonight, Oh the wife's here!" Yeah, yeah - I'm not that bad? I love these events but I've learned when it is time to leave, not like on a rally!
Sunday I put a different hat on;
we had some non-biker friends coming over for lunch, good friends who are leaving this week to go and live in the UK, we're going to miss them. Time to make a nice lunch for them so that they can see what they are going to be missing.
First, crunchy pork tasties and here you can see the pork rashers are balanced with the rinds. which I painted with cooking oil and then sprinkled with salt, directly over the coals to get them crispy.
Chopped into bite sized peices and sprinkled with salt my friends love these and they crunch on them while we get the main course ready.
 I de-bone a leg of lamb myself to save a few pennies and then liberally coat with olive oil and a good mixture of herbs and spices and let it marinate in the fridge for a while.
Hot coals, crunchy on the outside but medium rare on the inside and then I slice it into an enamel dish to carry on cooking and the resultant juices are incorporated into a gravy.
And here's the (first) plate with Janet's creamy potato and butternut bake, a bit of fetta and pickled peppadews and a ciabatta bread, rather good actually.
I forgot to mention that the weekend started on Friday afternoon with my usual pool competition with my buddy Frank so all in all another great weekend.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Sunset Cruuze 9th December

The President of the Clique Motorcycle Club in Velddrif had a great idea to get bikers together in the middle of the week during the good weather months and started holding the "Sunset Cruuze" on Wednesday evenings, they became very popular, bikers would gather at the service station in Velddrif for a short ride leaving at 19h00 and stopping at a different location each time for a sundowner and a chat before riding home. On occasion a braai was organised and as winter closed in the sunset cruuze was placed on the back burner.
Luckily for us bikers down here in South Africa, winter is a very short affair and so last week the Sunset Cruuze was taken down from the shelf, dusted off and put back on the events calendar. We were unable to attend last week but this week we were determined to join in.
So it was that just after 18h00 on a glorious warm summer's evening we saddled up and headed for Velddrif some 55kms to the North. The slight breeze was behind us and I settled into a comfortable albeit slightly illegal 140kmh just to keep ahead of the traffic. The sun was still relatively high above the horizon and would not be setting for almost another two hours as we pulled into the parking area of the Engen garage.
Already there were about twelve people gathered, most of whom were known to us. It was good to see a group of youngsters (mid-twenties?) were joining in, usually these things are mostly us older bikers.
Just on 19h00 we were side-stands up and heading out of Velddrif back down towards Saint Helena Bay but now we were heading directly towards the setting sun which made things a bit uncomfortable, 21 kms to the turn off and another 17kms into Saint Helena Bay and we rode down to a house right on the shore;
What a beautiful, tranquil location and the braai fire was already on the go,

The guys and girls settled down to their favourite beverages and the usual biker conversation, it was such a pleasant way to spend a Wednesday evening away from the pressure of work, girding the loins for the rest of the week.
Time to get some food on the go, I was braaing the last of our Eastern Cape boerwors (sausage) from my Sister and Boet, we brought bread rolls and that was our rather delicious dinner. Everyone had brought their own food.
We relaxed over a final drink and then bade our friends a fond farewell, it had been a very enjoyable evening and as we headed out of Saint Helena Bay the stars were shining brightly over a calm sea. My headlight opened the darkness ahead of us but I took it easy, wary of the wildlife in the area having nearly run into a fully grown and fully extended porcupine one night!
It was just after 21h00 when we arrived home, I had thoroughly enjoyed the night ride, as had Janet, we don't do much night riding but hopefully we will do some more Sunset Cruuzes, we'll have to change Frank's dinner evening though because he normally comes over on a Wednesday, let's see how it goes.
Thanks guys, bikers rock!

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!