20 May 2022
No, not a typo or even us gatecrashing a holiday venue for which we long ago failed to qualify. It’s the change in temperature in the last five miles down out the seemingly endless Namibian desert into sunny Swakupmond-By-The-Sea. Well, it would be sunny if the sea fog hadn’t rolled in, hence the decidedly bracing fifteen degrees.
Over the last six months we, and our bank manager, think we’ve done a pretty good job of kick starting the tourist industry here in Africa. However, one thing we haven’t really done justice to is the wildlife. And so, if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know the latest wheeze is a grand tour around South Africa, Botswana and Namibia to see as much as we can that’s got four legs and ideally a bit scary.
We cheated a bit, shipping the bike to Pretoria and following by aeroplane, just to really destroy any green credentials we might have. Now, after what seems about two months on the road we have covered something like three thousand kilometres. That’s about one thousand, nine hundred miles in old money. Our route took us north to and through Botswana to the border at Zimbabwe where we left the bikes parked in the lodge, (that’s hotel for any riff-raff reading this).
The paperwork to get motorbikes into Zim - as us worldly adventurers call it - is just too daunting so firstly, we were hauled out of bed at the crack of dawn to go and see the wildlife wake up. You know, head down to the water hole etc…. Later on, we joined the queue at the border to get across into Zimbabwe to have a look at the wonder of the world that is Victoria Falls. Walking around the edge of the Falls we passed a great big statue in the park - Dr Livingstone I presume.
From there, we pressed on stopping at Chobe and Etosha game parks where we realised our goal of seeing more wildlife. We clicked our cameras, shot our movies and generally gawped at a crash of hippo, a pumba of warthogs, a stand or alternatively and more appropriately a totter of giraffe, a herd, or as I prefer, a memory of elephants, a glut of tourists, a congestion of Land Cruisers and a Paparazzi of photographers.
As per the opening paragraph, we’re now on the coast where the ocean is crashing on the Skeleton Coast and looking out through the chilly fog banks at the South Atlantic, thinking “maybe we need more fleece”.
(You’ll be delighted to read that yet another stunning video will be appearing on YouTube SV Time Bandit channel once we get back to Cape Town).
Flat Earth Might Be True
16 May 2022
In our quest to see “a bit more of Africa” we’ve driven a few K since our last post. Quite a few in fact and finally, we’ve found flat Africa; the endless plains stretching from horizon to horizon. Endless pain from shoulder to shoulder.
Top tip. Do it in an air conditioned Range Rover or such like
Nah. Not them.
06 May 2022 | Pretoria, South Africa
Back when we were working class, in the child rearing years when it wasn't really practical to own a sailboat, we got into sea kayaking.
As eager new enthusiasts, we joined the Scottish Canoe Association and signed up for our first, "paddle in company' down Loch Craignish
Escaping from work early on the Friday we loaded the boats onto the roof, the camping gear into the back and set off for Ardfern.
Two hours later, the tent was up and we were, or at least I was, choking down my first beer of the weekend. As we sat in the pub, newcomers to the sea kayaking scene, we scanned the lounge looking for our fellow kayakers.
"Nah. None of this lot are kayakers, they must all be back at the campsite. These folk are all too old".
Next morning, guess what. These old biddies were the kayakers, many quite accomplished with serious sea miles and exposed passages, if you'll excuse the expression, under their slim hulls, and I'm sure they had a good giggle at us in our, "all the gear and no idea' mode.
So, as we sit in our hotel in Pretoria where we are starting our 22 day Victoria Falls tour on Sunday I'm thinking that tomorrow when the other bikers arrive, they will no doubt also be scanning the room and dismissing us old farts in the corner of the bar, sat in our slippers, sipping our cups of tea. No way are we their biker mates for the next three weeks, "especially that old guy over there with the man bag".
How time flies.
30 April 2022
When we first bought Beige Bandit back in 2008, as some readers might recall, our new pride and joy was in a yard in Boston, USA. There's a whole story around that and indeed, if I ever get round to it, maybe a book.
Back then, the sole purpose of what is now our Blog was to let immediate family know how things were going, what the weather was like, how the boat was performing but primarily, let them know we hadn't sunk.
Since then, really just to amuse myself over Covid, I ventured into the YouTube world.
If you've ever made a home movie whether destined for YouTube or not, you'll know it's not that easy. In fact, it's time consuming and really a bit like having to go to work again; hours spent staring into space looking for inspiration, endless breaks for coffee and making time for chats. Nonetheless, I've soldiered on and maybe out there some people like what we're doing. All sixty four of them.
To make viewing our videos less painful I've even gone back to school, looking at YouTube tutorials and a number of the really successful YouTube channels. From this exercise I've learnt two techniques that I need to adopt if I'm going to get the viewer numbers up.
The first is that as an older YouTuber I need to learn and use some yoof speak; for example, I need to open each video with....
"Yo! Wozz up dudes". Viewers will then be tempted to watch our "totally awesome vid"
After watching it, if you were "super excited" and liked it, and of course you will, coz "bro", it's totally awesome, then, dude.... I'll need to remind you to "Smash that Like button".
So, from my extensive and in-depth research, it is clear that firstly I need to update my YouTube lexicon.
Secondly, I need........ big boobs.
A Bit of AC/DC
22 April 2022
About thirty years ago, although it was probably longer - you know how these things work, I went on my first business trip to France.
After a couple of hours trying to parle Francais but all the while sounding like Rene in the TV series, Allo' Allo', I was asked if I'd like to go out to lunch. This of course really meant he fancied some foie gras, uncooked mince and crème brûlée, all washed down with a fancy wine, all at our expense.
As we got up to go, he lifted, what decades later would be referred to by Joey in "Friends" as a "Man Bag", a slight that has, at least in our family and most of Scotland, remained.
Stifling a giggle, I headed out to lunch with yer man.
However, as time has gone by and more and more parts of me seem to be failing, including my waist line and memory, it has become increasingly difficult to get my wallet, specs, phone, earbuds, lip wax, face mask, sun specs, inhaler etc... in my pockets. Equally, Anne has tired of playing Sherpa, lugging all this crap around, dispensing on-demand as needs dictate.
Consequently, and to the the glee and embarrassment of our kids, and indeed some of our friends, I'm now the proud owner of a genuine, faux leather "man bag".
In France and indeed many European countries this is not at all unusual. However, despite the failed attempts of a North American TV sitcom to popularise the fashion, in Scotland, especially after Brexit, such things are deemed, well, just no right.
Casting my eyes around Edinburgh airport where we await our return flight to Cape Town after a granny run home to renew our visas, it seems that I'm still leading the fashion drive singlehanded. There's a few of the "working class" getting away with it carrying laptop bags. A few have gone down the Indiana Jones route but most bag carriers are using rufty tufty backpacks.
Nonetheless, my man bag is practical and, as I've said, I no longer have the pocket capacity to offer a viable alternative and therefore, where I go, my man-bag goes.
Top tip. Best leave the man bag at home when you go to mix with the tattoo'd, wife beater and leather-vest wearing crowd that was the AC/DC cover band gig we went to last Sunday, Craig trying to distance himself from me at the bar and steadfastly refusing to join me on the dance floor to dance around my bag.
Oh no. Not more biking videos
16 April 2022 | There Goes The Neighbourhood
Yup. Sorry, here's another....
Another “wedding cake” Leopard exits the Cape Town yard…..and parks right next to us. As good a reason as any to go out on the bike.
Back In Trouble
06 April 2022
I don’t know if it was driving the five thousand plus miles we’ve covered in the last few months, tensed up, holding the bike handlebars in a death grip as we skittered and skidded our way across South Africa’s gravel roads or hanging over my guitar each night as I vainly try to master some basic tunes but, either way, my neck is killing me.
A month or so ago I went back to the osteopath I’d used previously when I pulled my gluteus maximus, that’s bum for any riff-raft that may be reading this. I got a bit of a rub down and then some six inch needles stuck in my shoulder. As usual with these treatments the only benefit was that my wallet was slightly lighter to carry. You’d think I’d have learned.
Consequently, scared of needles and even more scared of parting with money, I’ve been suffering in silence for the last few weeks. As only men can. However, after another nights lost sleep, I could take no more.
Nor could Anne. She said my version of “silence” was deafening. If not to say irritating.
So, here I am sat in the newly recommended osteopath’s waiting room feeling I should have brought the Vaseline……as I think I’m about to be screwed.
You see, the walls that don’t have bottles of own brand, cure-all magic potions for sale at silly prices have framed pictures of some long haired guru. I presume yer man’s mentor.
Just what a cynic with a sore neck needs. Should have stuck to gin.
02 April 2022
No sooner have the tents been cleared away from the site of the Cape Tour and its 22,000 cyclists than another group of world class athletes arrive for the Cape Epic, a six day test of endurance and nerve as five hundred and fifty teams of two furiously peddle their sweaty way through the mountains and vineyards of the Western Cape.
These guys covered in six days on push bikes what it takes us ten with 100hp under the hood!
This time, we're away oop north to see if we can peer into Namibia. See if you can get through to the end!