Diary of an Adventure

Calitzdorp Cycle Adventure

First time I have spent so long on a bicycle, with three days of cycling into the red mountains. Groenfontein. Kruisrivier and Seweweekspoort.

Beautifully restored houses from the days of the Ostrich Barron’s. Blue skies. Green valleys. Dust. Gut wrenching climbs. Legs turned to mush. Bruised bum. Exhilarating decents. Demanding terrain that challenged yet left you excited for the next day.

Soeterus guest farm. Roaring fire under the stars. Space for Prince to run. Warm showers. Comfortable beds. Breakfasts to fuel the starving and close enough to the wine cellars of Boplaas and De Kraans, an incentive at days end.

A new technique for cooking fillet from Coreta. 80 degrees for 4 min per 100 grams of the largest fillet. Stand for an hour. Then cooked over a hot fire for ten minutes, turning continuously. Delicious.

Terry, Coreta and Clair, with careful menu planning, ensured that my blood sugars over the demanding days didn’t spiral out of control. A touch of hyperglycemia as I waited too long before refueling with blueberries. Particularly on the afternoon rides when my sugar levels seem to fall quicker. Carrot cake very tempting!

Blood sugars

Day 1

Before ride 6,7 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 47,9 km 3,8 (2h 11m)

2 hour after ride 5,3

Daily carbs 31 grams

Day 2

Before ride 4,8 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 32 km 4,1

After 64 km 4,3 (3h 18m)

1 hour after ride 6,4

2 hour after ride 4,4

Daily carbs 30grams

Day 3

Before ride 4,9 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 22 km 4,1

After 42 km 5,4 (2h 17m)

1 hour after ride 5,2

Daily carbs 30grams

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

First ‘Wearable Art’ 100% silk scarves with my paintings sold and heading to new homes. Orders for the next batch received with a few adjustments made to the art work. ‘Irises’ design painting finished, adding an additional option to the range. Working on an elephant painting that is also designed to be used as a scarf painting. The link to the website sorted and the international purchase pricing adjusted to include free shipping.

https://janraats.com/wearable-art/

Running with my shadow in the early morning before the storm made being in front of the fire the more sensible option. Getting Prince out that much more challenging, as he didn’t see the need to move from his warm bed before the birds were awake.

The painting of ‘Irises’, a simple, abstract approach. Colours clean and vibrant. The long rectangular format, challenging. Working in acrylics allowing for a fast application of paint. The course canvas trashing a couple of layers of skin on my fingers.

Bicycle cleaned, ready for the 3 day Karoo Tour in Calitzdorp. First, birthday weekend lies ahead. One of those life milestones.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The sample silk scarves of my ‘Wearable Art’ have arrived. Quality much better than expected and the colour saturation extraordinary. Perhaps a tad too much.

Not sure where the ‘edge’ is between a cycle that allows one to enjoy the waves, sunshine and incredible privilege of being in this part of paradise, and the blood-pumping, muscle straining, ambition to go that slight bit faster that has sweat streaming into eyes. An oblivious focus on numbers. A bit of both??

Sautéed foie-gras. Generally, I find foie gras too rich, however this slightly seared way of serving slices was delicious. As was our dinner at Le Marquis. The calamari tube starter was stunning. I might even get to like the stuff! The house speciality, duck confit lived up to its reputation, even if the cranberry sauce was too much for my diabetic constraints. Remy brought the table a duck breast in Lagrange that I hope finds its way into the menu, as it was outstanding.

Nothing Impressionistic about the top 40 Sanlam Portrait Award exhibition. I actually preferred the other portraits in the gallery to those of the competition. The quality, particularly of the draughtsmanship in the charcoal works was outstanding, and in general the exhibition wasn’t morbid or soul stealing, but rather well executed portraits. I didn’t come away inspired or with new techniques, or radical insights into composition. Grateful that the exhibition has been in Knysna, uplifting portrait painting.

Long narrow canvas (200cmx70cm) for a painting of irises based in a couple of the iris paintings I have done and the wild irises that are flowering along the route we walk Prince. Acrylics, for a minimalist, sketch style that I’m also hoping will work well as a silk scarf painting.

Hot off the easel

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Sautéed Foie Gras Recipie

Sautéeing duck foie gras is not hard to do, but be careful; otherwise, you’ll end up with a puddle of very expensive melted fat.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 lb piece raw Grade A duck foie gras at room temperature, cleaned and deveined

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 2 tsp canola oil

• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

. Special Equipment

• a 10-inch heavy skillet

PREPARATION

. After deveining, cut the foie gras crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, then season with salt and pepper.

. Heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

. Sauté half the foie gras until golden, 45 to 60 seconds on each side (it will be pink inside). Quickly transfer to a paper towel to drain and discard fat in skillet.

. Sauté the rest of the foie gras the same way, then discard all all but 1 tablespoon of remaining fat in skillet. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Serve foie gras with sauce.

. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/v

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

August, 10km running challenge sorted. While not quite as quick as my head thinks I should be running, it’s certainly quicker than I have run in 20 years.  Of course, perfect conditions, alongside the estuary, itself a dream.
Fortunate enough to attended the opening of an exhibition of hyper-realistic charcoal work that highlighted how much talent there is around Knysna. Brilliantly executed draughtsmanship at prices were a tad scary. Even for me. Exciting to see that the market for such staggering prices exists in our small town.
Prince has a cut in his front paw, which is a bother. Keeping him quite enough for it to heal assisted by the two days in the car heading down for dinner with Dad in Montagu.
Amongst the mountains, the air still with that winter crispness, even if the sun carries the promise of summer.
Sun on the crazy rock formations. A reminder of why I find them so amazing to paint. Colours and texture in a never ending series of folds and mystery that not only captivated me, but also Francois Krige in the decades he wondered, and painted, these mountains.
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Blossoms on the fruit trees, a touch of delicacy.
Bergsig, Mimosa and Prevoir Wines (Chardonnay and Shiraz) the gems from our stop at Platform 62 in Ashton. Johannes, the car guard whose portrait I painted still greeting us cheerfully. Although he isn’t sporting his red hat.
Stopped messing about with my painting of the girl on her bicycle, ‘Grl Pwr’. The vibrancy of youth. The freedom of the small Karoo town, Nieu-Bethesda.
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Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

We are adding a range of 100% silk scarves to the items available in the studio. Taking some of my favourite paintings onto silk. ‘Wearable Art’.

A bit of a learning curve. Habotai, Silk Twill, CDC, Satin Silk, 8, 12 or 14mm weight. Square or rectangular. Social responsibility standards, under ISO9001 and ISO14001. Image size and borders. Hope to get the first samples in a month or so.

That I’m also reading ‘Mulberry Bush’, about the ‘silk-worm’ farmers in the Knysna Forest serendipitous.

Didn’t think I would ever be chasing around the place looking for salad greens! A bunch of pretty looking organic type things that were pretty good tasting. For green stuff anyway. Or maybe, it was the Slovenian pumpkin oil CC brought back for us to try? Nutty flavors that worked well with the courget soup.

Phantom ride with the sunset and a jog with the last of the moonlight. Summer already on its way as the mornings are full of bird song and it’s getting light earlier.

On the easel, ‘Girl Power’, the young girl hurtling around Nieu-Bethesda, is taking shape. My head at odds with where the painting seems to be going. A life of its own.