Category Archives: village life

Rugby Fun Day and camping at the club…

Just like honey….

Listen to the girl
As she takes on half the world
Moving up and so alive
in her honey dripping
Beehive

As I opened this post that started to play on my Zune Smart DJ playlist.

I thought it was pretty appropriate as a reflection of what happened this morning.

To begin, we have to begin at the beginning.

Yesterday was Fall Bay RFC’s annual family funday. A day where we give trophies to all of the kids for the hard work and effort throughout the season. It was also a day that Griffin had been looking forward to for ages because it heralded the first opportunity to sleep in a tent this year. Obvioulsy being 7 years old, this was purely because it was generally accepted that people camp at this event and had NOTHING to do with the weather conditions. Unlike many of my fellow fathers and coaches, I was unable to convince my son that camping in May in Wales is a terrible idea, so we went with it and arrived in the afternoon, admittedly nice and warm with the sun out, to set the tent up.

As this was at the RFC, there were bound to be a few beers smoothing their way down my gullet so I elected to choose a nice cool Guinness as a starter and the fun began.

Being a coach, I was expected to be involved in the award ceremony. Never having taken part in this type of thing, I had no idea what was expected of me and Matt instructed me to just “call out the kids names”. So I did. I said “Thanks for all the hard work and effort this year, Paul, Griffin, Yola, Riley, Ethan, Evan, Gethen…” Apparently that was not what Matt wanted. He wanted me to call them out individually to give them their trophies. Oops. If only I had known… At least they didn’t have to wait hours to receive their trophies!

After the awards, we got down to the hard work of milling about paying attention to how far we strayed from the bar. yes, like any sports club worth its salt we have a festive and fun bar that was, on this occasion, filled with revellers.

Griffin was off playing with his friends, chasing each other through the obstacle course that had been set up, throwing frisbee’s and peppering dad with requests for cash to buy more sweets every half hour when he came to let me know he was alive.

This went on until 8pm when Griffin decided he was tired and the great bedtime migration had to begin. He dragged me away from the festivities and we went and settled into the tent and got ready for our night of bliss in the sleeping bags. Sadly, the sun wasn’t properly down and there were still dozens of children running riot all over the place, so Griffin’s attempt to go to bed was foiled by light and screaming children. With too much going on outside, he begged to be allowed to go out and play again and so the swinging axe I had managed to avoid was raised in anticipation as I headed back to the bar…

Cut back to this morning.

At 6am Griffin woke up. When he woke up, he woke me up. I should have been allowed to sleep for at least another 8 hours. Somehow, between 9 and 10pm the night before, I had managed to drink some radioactive substance that was attempting to mutate my skull into that of a smaller minor primate and my body was fighting it tooth and claw. Sadly that meant that it was not just my head that was pounding, but every part of my body was in a terrible state.

That meant trouble. Big trouble. Here I am camping with my son and I am not able to move without waves of nausea crashing down over me, driving me to my knees. Cue the text that just had to go to my beautiful and very pregnant wife… “I am dying and need your help to get home :( please hurry”

Emma rocks.

She arrived with steaming coffee which I sadly couldn’t drink because my stomach was a no-man’s land of unhappiness and torture. She took one look at me, assessed the situation, took charge and started packing away stuff and collapsing the tent while I lay helplessly looking on. In my (limited) defence, I was able to move in short bursts and so did not do NOTHING during the striking of our camp.

You know how apologetic you get when you are helplessly hungover? Well I was that guy. “Sorry my love, aw shit jesus I’m sorry” My shining angel just laughed at me and my state and got everything under control, got me into the car and took me home (with only one little chunder stop) where I climbed straight into bed for another 2 hours as I tried to regain some semblance of humanity.

Understandably today was a bust, but I have again gotten further proof about Zune player Smart DJ being even more amazing than I originally thought. This train trip has been an exploration in avoiding the screaming toddler one row ahad of me, so immersion in music has been an essential part of today’s trip.

Having been using a Windows Phone for ages now, I have gotten very used to the interactivity of the metro interface and noticed today for the first time how awesome the “Quicklplay” interface of the Zune player is. I mean iTunes was never a pretty thing to look at, just a long Excel list (ok they have coverflow) of all your songs. I would be quite happy to have a dedicated screen for a player like this…

Interesting that the playlist I was listening to while thinking these thoughts had me listening to a song that was so aptly named…

I love this player view because it doesn’t only show me album covers I have, and it doesn’t prioritze things I listen to more often or the larger collections, it simply shows me stuff that I have interspersed with images it pulls from the web related to stuff that I have. And it is always changing. I was even toying with the idea of recording a video of it changing with a nice mellow Cowboy Junkies song as the tune. Maybe next time.

Anyway, signing off on today now because it has been far too long and I have loads to accomplish this week (not the least of which is finding some way to repay Emma :) ) and need my beauty rest…

YUMMO! Biltong!

When i moved to Wales almost 2 years ago, I knew I would miss billies. I just knew it.
I mean I remember how much I missed it when I did my short stint as a vegetarian and that was only 9 months!

Living in Wales means we are far away from the “Saffa” shops that sell the legendary goodness and so after our last trip back to rainy, wet and cold South Africa in April, I decided it was about high time I actually figured out what to do.

So in typical tech fashion I jumped onto bing (yes, I choose to use bing over google) and started my research.

What I found was not only interesting, but also surprisingly simple!

So what do you need to make biltong?

Simple.

A drying place (box, cupboard, open areas…)
Vinegar (preferably apple cider but any vinegar will do)
Coriander seeds
Black pepper
Meat
Rock salt

Yup. That really is it.

So I live in Wales and it is quiet wet round here so I figured that a drying box would be my best bet as it would be easier to control the airflow a little better in a confined purpose built space.

I built myself a lovely little box with 6 pieces of MDF, drilled a few holes in the side and cut a hole in the top into wich I inserted a small desk fan.

Many folk will tell you to use a lightbulb. This is simply used to create a convection current that will cause air to flow over your meat. I elected not to do this because I live in farmland and wanted higher speed air so that no flies bother my treasure…

Enter RadioShack.

I grabbed two high flow computer fans at $9.99 each and slapped them onto the top of the box. They are 12v DC so I dug through my man drawer and found an old cellphone charger that output to 12v DC and hey presto, working drier box.

Couple of aluminium rods across the top to hang stuff off and we’re good to go.

We looked into loads of recipes and methods and the first thing that became clear is that barring adding too much salt, it is actually quite difficult to stuff this process up.

We ended up rubbing salt in for an hour, adding WAY too much coriander and not crushing the pepper up enough on our first attempt.
The biltong was great, albeit a little thin and as such no pink wet meat in the middle, but hey, after all the work scraping off the coriander that was a small price to pay :)

The next batch we did saw us much more prepared.

We got thicker cuts of meat, we roasted and cracked the coriander and used less than half the amount, and ground up the black pepper much more… Totally deliscious…

Now I am on my way to London with a sample piece to share with some saffers in the office.

Alright stop! Gower time

Living in the country has many benefits, clean air, load a space to walk, great scenery and no noise (unless you consider bleating sheep and lowing cattle and the incessant tweeting of birds noise…).

It does however also have its downfalls.

Emma and I decided about three months ago that it was finally time for us to start rebuilding our home, doing the things that we wanted to spruce it up a little.

The bathrooms need ripping and replacing, the carpets need to be replaced, wooden flooring needs to be put in, a new front porch and some decking on the lawn… Did I say “spruce”?

Anyway, we have found out that it is not as easy as it looks.

If you want something done around here, the best way is to do it yourself.

We have had seven different people in to quote us on bits of work and thus far we have had a grand total of three give us full quotes on everything we asked.

And this in the middle of a recession?

We originally thought that we would have work complete BEFORE we left for South Africa – boy were we ever wrong.

As it stands the drive and desire to get all of this stuff done seems to be rapidly dwindling into Gower time… we’ll hurry up and do nothing…