Welcome!

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.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oxtail potjie and sadza lunch

Still no opportunities for riding, the weather has been terrible and when there has been good weather I have had to work! I started the bike's engine the other evening just to keep the battery up and there was a slight hesitation, I need to ride. Now our family is with us for three weeks so there's still not much time to ride, oh well summer's just around the corner.
The first rally that I know about is the Beaver in Montagu in early November, Frank and I are going to attend that one and I am going to help organise the next Polar Bear run with Des for the end of August, so there are some bike jols coming up.
In keeping with (part of) the theme of this blog I did an oxtail potjie today for lunch and we drank lots of beers, it was raining this morning when I started but that's why I bought the gas braai, so that even when the weather is bad I can still cook outside. This is in reference to the way that I got crapped out by my buddies when I bought it!
 I started at about 07h30 this morning by browning the meat in a very hot pot for about half an hour and then removing it from the pot and setting it aside. At this stage I flavoured the meat with a good amount of Aromat, braai spice and mixed herbs.
To the beef flavoured sauce left in the pot I added some cooking oil and then chucked in five small onions and two green bell peppers which I had rough chopped along with a good tablespoon of crushed garlic and cooked them until they were soft and translucent.
The meat then went back in along with a large cup of red wine into which I mixed a packet of "Rich Oxtail soup" powder and a beef stock cube,
the contents of a bottle of the best beer on the market went in next and then it was time to simmer for at least four hours over a gentle heat.
Time to add the hard vegetables, in this case potatoes and butternut, salt and pepper to taste and then simmer some more.
Test the potatoes and the meat with a sharp knife after about an hour to make sure that they are close to ready and then add chopped mushrooms and cabbage, close the lid and bring the heat up a little more, in the meantime I went into the kitchen to make the "sadza".
 Once everything is ready get the family to have a feed, my son in law helps himself from the pot and above my daughter and my son tucking in.
 I personally cannot resist the old "Rhodesian" way of rolling the sadza and dipping it into the gravy, if the sadza is made properly you can roll it without it sticking to your hands and we would stand around the pot for quite a while eating like that.
 There's the plate of skoff, oxtail, vegetables, sadza, gravy and avocado, a meal fit for a king washed down with some good red wine. Tomorrow morning I will be making "Stuffed sadza balls" with the leftovers for breakfast, I show you those a bit later.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Friday pool at the Rooikrans pub

So Friday afternoon Frank and I met as usual at the Rooikrans pub in Vredenburg for our weekly pool tournament, sometimes it's just the two of us, but more and more often now we are joined by others wanting to play some games. This time Don and Anton came along and as usual it turned into a boisterous session interspersed with expletives typical to a group of bikers. I love it!
In this video clip Frank managed to beat Anton, which doesn't happen all that often, Anton is an ex league player who plays a cautious, tactical game whereas Frank and I tend to hit and hope and you will actually hear Frank playing a "Danny" shot which refers to the way our dear departed brother Danny used to play.
There's Frank, standing like a champ.!
Anton going for his shot.
Any of you fancy yourself as pool players come on over to the Rooikraans on a Friday afternoon, it's where the bikers hang out and talk shit!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Winter blues

Man this weather sucks! Alright I acknowledge that our winter down here in the southern hemisphere is not as bad as our biker brothers and sisters get up there in the north, we still get lovely mild riding days in the middle of winter, but the past week or two has been lousy. If I remember correctly Monday and Tuesday last week were beautiful mild days but I had to work, what the hell good is that? Man this working for a living sucks!
The Meeulanders mcc, which Janet and I have recently joined, has their monthly breakfast run scheduled for Sunday so here's hoping it's a good day so that we can get some saddle time.
For the past many years I have resisted joining any clubs but have ridden with the Meeulanders on many rallies and breakfast runs and they have always accepted me as if I was a member, even as far as loading my gear onto the group's vehicle which carries extra kit to the rally site, hell man at the last Buffalo rally they even erected my tent for me before I arrived!
So it was that after some discussion Janet and I decided to apply for membership and we were happily accepted, we have since been to two of the regular monthly meetings and I must say that right away I emjoyed the spirit of cameraderie there. We have not been "patched" yet but I expect that won't take long, from now on we are club riders.

So of "Braais, beers and bikes" there has only been beers of late, hopefully on the bike soon, not the weather for braais. Talking about food; the other organisation of which I am a member is the local Sheep's head guild and my friend and I went for dinner last Tuesday;
this was my meal, delicious crispy roasted sheep's head. Not to everyone's taste I accept, but I love it.
 Accompanied by a good red wine, I can think of no other meal which gives so many different tastes and textures on one plate from the skin and cheeks, the eyes, the tongue and the brains - it's all good. I look forward to each occasion.
I'm meeting Frank for our weekly pool game this afternoon, sometimes we are joined by other players and it gets quite noisy, I'll take my camera along and show you some pictures, stay safe out there.
Happy fourth of July to my American friends.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A lazy winter's day seafood lunch with friends

Whilst on the subject of braais......I was in the mood to do some seafood this last Sunday and as luck would have it our friends Joe and Annie were coming up from Capetown, both serious seafood lovers so I was in my element. Janet is not a seafood lover but will eat anything that "doesn't taste fishy" such as hake, sole or my famous smoked angel fish. As you can see I need to have seafood lovers around every now and then.
It is winter here on the west coast, in fact this was the day after the winter solstice, so although the sun was shining it was still rather cold. The three of us started off with some delicious oysters from the Saldanha Bay Oyster Company,
followed by fresh mussels steamed in wine, garlic and herbs. As with the oysters, the mussels are at their best this time of the year, this is when you should be eating them people!
My next course was the angel fish, I have a small stainless steel smoker which can take up to six medium sized fillets at a time, a bit difficult for feeding large groups but ideal for a bunch of friends. A light sprinkle of aromat and mixed herbs and a very short time in the hot smoker, served with brown bread, Joe's favourite.
Next one of my favourites and a very underrated fish, mullet or to use their colloquial name; harders. They are rather bony so fussy eaters tend to be put off them, I however, am a seafood lover and will happily eat around bones, picking them out of my mouth in between mouthfulls, they are also great eaten with fresh brown bread,
 They are easily split open to remove the skeleton, so really there aren't that many bones, a succulent snack, after that we had a bit of a break for digestion and to make space for the rest, I had a couple of fresh hake fillets and a kingklip fillet. I am not a big fan of the latter fish, finding it much like fillet steak; bland and tasteless and only influenced by the sauce you pour over it, but "Charlie's Fish Shop" which is literally just around the corner from my house had it fresh so I decided to give it a try.
Dusted in "Maizena", cornflower and fried in butter it was really rather nice!
We made a light batter out of egg whites whipped up with ice cold water and deep fried the hake fillets for a short while,
and there was my plate, with Janet's delicious garlic potatoes, before I added the olives and feta cheese. A very relaxed and drawn out Sunday lunch which I rather think I'm going to do on a more regular basis, us South Africans prefer a meat braai most of the time but fish is good.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

West Coast Yamaha open day

My apologies for the lack of updates, but nothing's happened! We have had some seriously bad weather over the past two weeks with extreme cold, driving wind and heavy rain. Winter set in with a vengeance, I don't remember such cold weather in previous years, certainly not biking weather.
I borrowed this beautiful picture taken by Paul Darne' from facebook, these mountains are within 200kms from us, this is why it has been so cold!
Right now the weather has cleared but we had some heavy rain yesterday and this morning, I had contemplated going to the "Whale Rally" in Plettenberg Bay this weekend, it is about 650kms from home and I know that my friends Nancy and Peter went up from Capetown but when I looked at the weather forcast I decided against it, and besides I wanted to attend the West Coast Yamaha open day.
Seeing the amount of rain I was glad I didn't go. We all know that if you ride motorbikes you are going to get caught in rain, that's a given, but high on my list of "dislikes" is having to pack up a wet tent in the rain and set off for home. That's right up there with some of my other dislikes such as carrots, pizza, Elvis Presley impersonators and prostate exams, although with the latter according to a friend of mine, if you go often enough you start to enjoy it, I haven't got to that stage yet!
West Coast Yamaha, owned by Craig and Monica Welch, celebrated their tenth birthday this weekend, that is to say the bike shop is ten years old, not the Yamaha agency - they started as "Executive Bikes" selling mostly second hand machines and have grown into one of the top Yamaha dealerships. Good people, we wish them every success for the future and if you're looking to buy a new Yamaha you should give them a call 022 7191398.
We arrived just after 10h00, even on the 13km ride from home we were buffeted by strong winds and I could see that rain was on its way again, good to be out on the bike though and I was looking forward to taking the demo 2014 Yamaha Tenere' for a ride.
There were already quite a few bike enthusiasts present and there was a braai going with free boerewors rolls on offer. Craig had four demo rides available including the new R1 so before the weather got too bad Janet and I headed out for a cruise.
The Tenere is a lovely machine, unfortunately we had pretty much the same weather as when we took the new Yamaha FJR out but I suppose it's better to assess a bike in lousy weather than in perfect conditions. There is plenty of power available from the 1200cc mill and I started off in "Touring" mode. I went slowly at first, getting used to the position of the controls, I enjoyed the upright seating positon and the high and wide handlebars made for comfortable handling and encouraged a bit of hooliganism.
The dash readout is user friendly, especially the large gear-position indicator which you can read in any light condition, not like mine which is often difficult to read resulting in me "fishing for another gear". I found the standard windscreen, even on it's high setting, (on the new model the windscreen is adjustable) not quite adequate, although I must say that I have been spoilt by my bike's wind protection, and a larger screen is available as an after market part which I would certainly go for.
Sport mode on this bike is another animal altogether! An amazing difference, I had to be careful with Janet behind me as she is used to having a backrest and a couple of times she grabbed onto me. Unfortunately it started to rain while we were out and it was getting bloody cold so we headed back to the shop.
This machine goes for R180,000 and unfortunately luggage is extra which would put another R12,000 to R15.000 on top of that but what a lively and exciting machine it is and it's certainly good looking.
Back at the shop more guys had arrived and were standing around discussing the merits of the other machines, as guys are wont to do; Alex left, Craig the owner third from left and Joe.
We stayed around a bit longer, had one of their very nice boerewors rolls to fill the gap as we had not had breakfast, Monica had brought in a nice range of jackets, jeans, gloves and helmets making the shop a very interesting place. After a cup of coffee and with more rain imminent we took our leave.
As we were leaving Alex was taking the Tenere' out, he rides a ZX14 so it will be interesting to find out what he thought of it. We had rain on the way home, time to put the bike away and go out for lunch - that boerewors roll had just tickled my taste buds!
Lunch was at one of my favourite restaurants; the Slipway, a delicious Yellowtail fillet with chips and man did it rain while we were there! I was glad I wasn't out on the road.
Monday is a public holiday and I'm hoping to get out on the bike again, I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rest in peace Daniel and Vina

(Picture borrowed from facebook) I do not want this blog to become a notice board for fallen brothers and sisters, on Sunday we lost Daniel and Vina in an accident in Capetown - may their dear souls rest in peace.
I first met Danny several years ago when he was running the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg, I wrote often about how we used to end up there after a weekend run and what a pleasant biker bar it was.
Danny was a fun loving character who really enjoyed our pool games at the pub and in fact Frank and I named a particular pool shot the "Danny shot" long ago, that is the shot where you hit the ball like hell and hope it goes in one of the pockets, he used to get away with it often! From now on the "Danny shot" will be particularly poignant.
We met Vina with Danny later at the Rooikraans pub where we used to play pool after the Phoenix bar closed. The biking fraternity has lost a brother and sister and we are the poorer for the loss, we will miss them.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Meeu-nes" the Meeulanders' new braai at "Wingerd"

It has been a while since my last post but I'm afraid that nothing much has happened lately on two wheels and now as we head deeper into winter it's only going to get worse!
I mentioned a while ago that Janet and I have joined the Meeulanders mcc and last Thursday we attended the official opening of the indoor braai at the "Wingerd" pub and disco, the "Wingerd" is the adopted venue for the club's monthly meeting which takes place on the last Thursday of every month and it usually takes the form of a braai after the meeting, there are a couple of outside braais but as we are now moving into winter these will not be used or useable so Div., the club president initiated the building of an indoor braai in the bar which we would use and which could also be available to customers of the "Wingerd".
Div has recently been voted in as Pres for the second term, testament to his ability and he was certainly very proud and happy at the way the braai had turned out.
As soon as the braai was built it was taped off and closed to make sure that the Meeulanders would be the first people to use it, afterwards the "Wingerd" could use it for customers.
The club members started arriving from around 19h00 and the bar started doing a good trade, which for a Thursday evening must have been a bonus, in fact William, the owner gave each member of the club their first drink for free!
With much fanfare the braai was unveiled, "Meeu nes" - Seagull's nest, the Meeulander's emblem is a seagull in flight and as the club was sixteen years old Div decided that the person who drew the number sixteen from an ice bucket would be the one to light the first fire.
 It actually took ages before the number 16 came out, it seemed like Div was walking around for a long time  getting people to draw a number.
Here the newest member of the club has a go but it was eventually Linicia van den Berg who drew the lucky number,
and got to light the first braai fire in the Meeu nes, hopefully the first of many festive braais.
After that it was socialising, partying like only bikers know how to do, but I knew that it would be ages before they would start to braai and I work early so there was no way we were going to stay, also William was starting to pass shooters around!
 It became a very enjoyable social event and the heat from the fire was really heating up the room, this was definitely going to become a real benefit to the pub, if not as a braai but as a warm fire for the cold winter evenings.
Look at these two bikers; Daan and 'Cois (pronounced "Soy"), I am proud to call these two solid guys my friends and if you, reading this, are a biker you will have friends like these two guys and if you're not a biker and you don't know people like this, your loss I'm afraid - bikers are good people.
 The fire was built up and the bikers partied, it was just after 20h00 when I took this last picture and there was no way that we could stay for the braai, but luckily we had eaten before we arrived because I knew that it would be a late night. They were using "Rooikrans" firewood and from the size of that fire I think I could have gone back there and braaied steaks for lunch the next day! We bade our friends farewell and sensibly headed home, leaving them to their late evening braai. I hate being sensible but my alarm goes off very early in the morning and I have learnt from bitter experience.
Well done Div and the Meeulanders, our new club, for a very enjoyable social evening.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rest in Peace my brother Des Pistorius

My old friend Des Pistorius has passed away after an illness, he was a legend in biking circles and will be sorely missed, I first met him at a Ulysses Rally in Colesburg in 2002 but had occasionally seen him before then. At that time he was with his fourlegged friend "Widget" who used to ride everywhere on the bike's tank with Des, after Widget moved on Des trained Boswell to ride with him.
Des was an incredibly adventurous rider and in 2011 he passed through my area of the Western Cape while on a trip around South Africa on a Vespa towing a trailer! We were able to spend a bit of time together before he moved (slowly) off continuing his trip.
We spent many an evening chatting on skype and I always used to look out for him at the big rallies, I was keenly aware of the fact that he wasn't at the 2014 Buffalo Rally where I had seen him the previous year.
A little while ago I wrote a story on this blog about Des having done more than one million kilometres on this Goldwing and the last time we spoke he was telling me that he was thinking of getting a sidecar to fit to the bike, what a character we have all lost, an iconic figure whose passing is going to affect thousands of people.
(photo stolen from facebook) My condolences to his family, to the Ulysses Club in Durban and to all others affected by his passing, I hope Boswell is in good hands. Rest in Peace my old friend, I will miss you.