Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Thrilled that my portrait of ‘Soli’ has been selected for the second round of judging at ‘BP Portrait 2020’. It’s the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world, held for the 41st year at the National Portrait Gallery.

Getting it framed,and delivered to London by months end a logistical nightmare. Particularly with the Brexit mess. Still, a nice one to have!
Ladies in the Waves’, from Terry‘s photo, taking shape on the easel, between hectic waves of holidaymakers. Grateful for all the support.
Puncture cutting our cycle through the Forest short. Fortuitous that amongst us we managed to negotiate poor short vision. Sweat. Shaking hands. Tyre repair bits. Managed to get back safely, with that touch of extra bougainvillea blood drama.
Cooking with IRON! Cast Iron. Not the refined Le-Cruset, or beautifully finished      Stuab, but the, ‘muscle car’ of cooking. My Xmas present. Ultra-heavy casserole pot for the Kamado Jan. Seasoned with olive oil over searing heat, before being entrusted with a meal. Duck Confit. Bacon strips lining the bottom of the pot, and a touch of extra Chenin moisture. Deliciousness. Cleaning up after duck. Not trivial. Not something to be left till the morning!
HbA1c, my blood glucose over the last 3 months, confirming the results of my blood sugar monitor, at 5,6%. The combination of careful diet and exercise keeping them controlled to the point that I can try cutting my insulin dose in half. Hopefully, this will also reduce the periods in the day when I go ’hypo’, which should make having me around a bit easier.
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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Small Cape-sugarbird painting and two new scarf designs based on the Irises and Foxgloves and the abstract seascape from Pringle Bay. Hours grappling with the enforced software changes as Apple eliminate third party software.

Buffel’s dune walk, beach and graffiti. Calf muscles a tad unhappy with the soft sand and steps. Not nearly as unhappy as my bum muscles after their first ride back on my mountain bike! Clavicle complaining at the abuse of the short Red-bridge, White-bridge loop through old Belvedere. 
Studio worked well for an intimate dinner at the long-table. Great weather helped.
Howling winds, and patches of rain. Perfect weather for a Boeuf bourguignon. That Julia Child favourite, but using the recipe from Plate that has the beef marinaded overnight and cooked on the bone. Not the prettiest of dishes, it was delicious. Served with a rich sweet-potato gratin and green beans, not forgetting the compulsory crusty bread for the sauce. 221 Cuve from Alvis Drift worked fabulously.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Studio busy with tourists and a new banner up against the black of the building site next door giving some visibility for the studio. 

A small painting of Cape Sugarbird, and two canvases prepared for the Greyton Art Walk next month. I will be painting there for a couple of days and need the canvases dry enough to travel. 

Resupply of paint a tad extreme. Cyan, an unknown ‘primary’ colour. Both in acrylic and oil paint. 

Axe Hill Machado, the Portuguese word for ‘axe’. 35% Souzão, 30% Touriga Nacional plus dashes of Shiraz and Tinta Barocca from Carlitzdorp is big, generous and chewy. Not quite the wine I would have chosen for a hot summer afternoon. However, it pushed the sun into the shadows and with a rich gorgonzola couldn’t be faulted.
Mountain bike back from its service With new cycling shorts to add that extra layer of bum-protection, I’m hoping that my collar-bone won’t protest too much.
Great to see the paddle steamer back at its mooring, after almost submerging earlier in the year. Summer sunsets wouldn’t be the same without the paddle steamer crossing in front of the apartment.
Blood sugars settling back to less scary levels. 
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

If bending trees weren’t enough of a warning, kite-surfers screaming across the Estuary were. Only hardened cyclists braved the roaring winds for the Oyster Festival races. The Ultimate Fitness Festival?.

Sling keeping my shoulder from moving, too crazily. The blessing of a Mungo, superb woven towel, easing the chaffing. Blood sugars back into their normal range after the trauma, and a couple of coffee walks easing bruised muscles.

Cable ties my new friend holding the canvas against the easel, as ‘wingless’ I can’t catch the canvas as it does it’s bit to escape the abuse of my fingers smearing paint about. The large number of straight lines a tad challenging for my painting of the Norval Foundation exhibition.

While we we had to eliminate the beans from the Pork and Cannellini Bean casserole recipe, the sauce of the dish was sensational. The pork a tad on the dry side, which was disappointing. However, the Eastern flavours worked fabulously with the seared Bok-Choy.

Harbour Town full of athletes as it’s Forest Marathon time. Studio busy with the registration traffic generating its own energy.

Bartinney wine dinner at the Turbine. The lamb bredie, paired with their Cabernet Sauvignon, scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Unicorn 2’

Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,5m

A few tweaks, and a couple of significant changes to the composition of the Rhino.

I decided to leave the tempestuous background, with its rough texture alone, as a contrast the smoother dust in the foreground.

Grateful for the collector who commissioned the painting. Loved the opportunity to work at that scale.

I. Remarkably, no blood! Hugh walked my bike out to where Clare could collect me home before Terry could get me casualty and the operation to fix my ‘properly broken’ clavicle. Fortunately, no complications, and while my blood sugars have gone crazy, they have sent me home after overnight observation. Six weeks, or so, my penance.

Hospital is not without its humorous side. The care I received was of the highest standard and professionalism.

A shared ward with a Dutch tourist who tore a knee ligament, and not only was a heavy smoker but had an absolute phobia about needles. Getting him prepped was a lesson in physiological counseling and slight of hand that was the envy of many magicians.

A nonagenarian woman, cranky in the extreme wanted go for walk outside, throwing he walking frame across the corridor as she doesn’t need assistance. Despite her recent knee surgery. She also decided on her midnight stroll, after insisting on coming into the wrong ward that I was occupying her bed and should be removed immediately.

An early morning tussle with e grumpy man who tried to leave the hospital to go home despite not being able to move unassisted and nobody at home to take care of him. Apparently he couldn’t get the USPGA on his TV screen.

I slept a bunch.

Norval Foundation

Brief shafts of sunshine through low clouds, natural spotlights highlighting the colours of ‘Wind Scuplture lll’ in the sculpture garden. Definitely best viewed from the warm comfort of the Skotnes restaurant.

Enjoyed the Collector’s Focus exhibition and wondering through the David Goldblatt exhibition, was transported back to my brief, terrifying, stint working at Grootvlei gold mine. While intrigued by the Yinka Shonibare CBE exhibition, Tradewinds’, I struggled to be engaged.

Scrumptious lunch. Beef bone marrow and sumac salsa, followed by beef flat iron with tomato Brodie and green beans. A glass of Skotnes red blend.

Rowing boats in a clients house

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Rose stopped past the studio to see the painting of the Oyster Collectors that I painted from her photograph

Erica’s in purple and pinks between banks of grey salt-bush alongside the paths through the Forest. Enough rain to turn trails into rivers that extra element of fun.

Colours swirling on the canvas for my painting of the Heads. Getting a tad lost in the water of the estuary.

Easter treat damage limitation with a run to the bottom of Phantom Pass. Ile de Pain, hot-cross bun with its apricot jam glaze and icing sugar crust (52grams of carbs) probably wasn’t sensible.

Bunch of people visiting which gave us the opportunity to try a couple of different places in our part of paradise. The late afternoon ferry out to the rebuilt Featherbed restaurant for their forest dinner. The building spectacular, and while the food might not be memorable there was plenty of variety, even for a diabetic.

Parmesan crusted kingklip, with a chilly/butter stuffing at Fatfish, looked amazing and was delicious. No less so than the tempura-prawn salad, with a great selection of wines by-the-glass.

Sold

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

Our part of paradise being transformed with building next to us undergoing a massive rebuild. A modern update to what has, to-date, been constrained architecture along strict low-impact guidelines. As with the rebuild of Ile de Pain, the building itself is set to become a destination. A year of chaos and noise ahead!

Not the best, for a sensitive Border Collie.

Stopped playing with the portrait of ‘Ben’, the racehorse. The muscles of the horse a guide for the direction of my finger strokes to add power and breath life into the painting. Constrained by the small 50cmx60cm canvas.

Ben is beautiful mixture of dark brown, gold and red. Indigo (Ferrario No.57) for the iris of the eyes with Mineral Violet Light (Ferrario No.46) highlights. Raw Umber (Ferrario No.76) for the dark brown. Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Orange for that touch of sparkle.

A gap before a world turned crazy. Storms ripping across the estuary. Insides turned to mush on Homtini Pass cycle. Not much time to enjoy the stunning indigenous Forest, as keeping going forward was all consuming.

Small elephant painting sold, and the new silk scarf samples of the dolphins and King Protea have been shipped. While most are already pre-sold, it will be fascinating to see how they have turned out

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A preliminary painting of a rhino (30cmx30cm) for the larger commission piece I’m hoping to do. Permanent Magenta an odd colour to be using. The ‘extra-spectral’ (meaning it doesn’t exist in the visible spectrum) nature of the colour perhaps making it special in relation to the rhino on the edge of extinction?

Fabulous run along the mist covered beach, with Prince, from Brenton. Running on a silver mirror. My Achilles not happy with the run. Barefoot running?

Gurgling water running down gutters. Cars splashing along wet streets. Gentle rain, creating a magical world. For which. Good wine, friendships and laughter were created. Not forgetting, the vibrancy of a Border Collie!

The display book collection of my paintings from Vietnam finally sorted, and the draft of the Vietnamese diabetic sensitive recipe book compiled. Not sure the small format is the answer?

I seemed to ‘crash’ my way through the day. While coordination isn’t one of my skills, the effects of low blood sugars having an impact after a good cycle up Homtini Pass.

Exceptionally dusty with a bunch of motorcycles ensuring I rode in a cloud of the stuff. Fortunately Pete was having his bicycle washed so I did mine as well. I probably would have benefited from a similar hose down!

‘Johannes’ heading to his new home in Europe

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

New Year

Beach play before a day of bubbles and laughter. The ‘pizza’ base getting better. A humongous number of empty bottles, probably adding to the, somewhat, bizarre decision to hold an e-bike Challenge up Phantom Pass. With the proceeds to Animal Welfare, a more than expected bunch trundled up the pass. The Challenge, somewhat lost in the enjoyment of a fabulous day to be out riding in paradise.

Rain bringing holiday makers into the studio. Humbling, and thrilling to have paintings heading to new homes in Oslo, Rome and London. The silk scarves, a popular option.

Backup hard-drive crash. The gazillions of photos from our travels, which I use as reference sources for my paintings, the major loss. Perhaps a data-recovery company can retrieve them? Or perhaps. It’s one of those. Clean-slate. New-year. Start-afresh. Moments.

Friday market. A Cheloist that touch of amazing with the last of the daylight and the storm moving in.

Diabetic Sensitive ‘Pizza’ Recipe

Ingredients

170 grams grated mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp butter

½ cup fine almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 large egg

Instructions

• Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Lightly grease the liner.

• In a large saucepan, melt the cheese and butter together over low heat until they are melted and can be stirred together. Remove from heat and add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.

• Add the egg and stir everything together until a cohesive dough forms. Use a rubber spatula to really knead it up against the sides of the pan. It may still contain some streaks of cheese.

• Transfer to the prepared pan and knead a few more times until uniform. If your dough is very sticky, work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and roll out to a 12-inch (30 cm) circle.

• Spread olive oil, salt and herbs over the dough before putting in the oven to co

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

A dark, wet world with a power outage after a couple of days of water pouring from the skies. A tad bit more red wine than necessary, to accompany the Boeuf bourguignon. Prince, bouncing off the walls.

Beach walk. Sun doing its best to heat the snow wind from the mountains. Not enough to stop frozen feet and hands. The hot-water bottles at East Head welcome after our run and toe-testing dip into the sea. Much too cold for me.

‘Family Outing’ finally finished. Grateful for the extra paint supplies that eased the constraints of my acrylic paint options.

‘Côte de Boeuf’. A monster – first – experimental dish for the Kamado Jan. As advised, I let the steaks sit for two hours to reach room temperature before starting the ‘Reverse Searing’. Which is basically doing a slow cure (based on 4min per 100gram of the largest piece of meat) at 150 degrees.

I struggled to get the temperature down, having added too much charcoal initially. The heavy bone of the cut, rescuing me, as I did the initial cook, bone side down over the high rack position.

The meat then rested for an hour before winding the Kamado Jan up to its steak searing 400 degrees temperature. The rested steaks, seared for 4 minutes on each side, plus an additional 4 minutes, or so, to render the fat.

At the high temperatures care needs to be taken to prevent combustion and that ‘charcoal’ state. Having Coreta watching the meat, a necessity, as the high temperatures also evaporated the wine in our glasses.

The grilled hunks of steak were rested off the grill for the ten minutes it took to cook the green beans. The steaks were separated from the bone and cut into slices. Bones, then grilled for an additional ten minutes, adding that last ‘curtain call’.

Sweet potato gratin. 2011 Grace Land and Black Rock, special on their own. With the Côte, spectacular.

Dad on a surprise visit for his 85th birthday. Very special.

September, ‘10-mile’ challenge, with the sunrise. Something conjured from nowhere definitive, on a beautiful early summer morning. Long time since I have run that far. That easily. That quickly.