Kitten In a Box

It is now Day 11 of self isolation in the Walker-Brook house. My anxiety levels are at an all time high. I am struggling to get to sleep and on some nights I have resorted to tablets to knock me out but that means I struggle to wake up the next day. The logical part of my brain knows that stress reduces my immunity and that it helps not at all with the situation but the illogical part of my brain keeps spinning that hamster wheel.

I worry about whether I would survive if I caught this virus, I worry about the health and safety of my children, their partners and families, about my mother, and about my friends all around the world. I worry about my daughter and her husband’s business and I even worry about the fact that I am worried. If I am not worrying then I am thinking about the constrictions of movement and living conditions of the people who live in tiny little shacks in the townships, the economy and the many people who will be out of work and all of the businesses that may not survive this period of isolation and lock down.

Many people in the townships do not have running water or toilets or facilities to do their ablutions in their shacks and have to share these with others, thereby increasing their risk of exposure. Most do not have fridges or freezers to store food and usually go out daily to do their shopping. Many are daily or hourly paid and if they are not working they may not be earning, so how will they provide for their families? Some children only get fed at school, if they do not go to school how often will they get fed? This is an international dilemma not isolated to poor countries such as South Africa but for SA especially this virus will be almost impossible to manage.

What effect will being in such cramped quarters have on those who suffer from domestic violence? The increased proximity of their family and the stress of being confined can lead to an increase in these types of incidents. Perpetrators may attempt to deal with extra stress and anxiety by imposing stricter and more unrealistic regimes on their families’ activities and behaviours. The perpetrator may become even more controlling of his victims if he feels out of control of the situation. If anyone you know is a victim of domestic abuse please make sure that you check in on them often.

They say that bad things always come in threes and we experienced house drama number 3 last Sunday night. Norm noticed a lake of water in front of the house when he let the dogs outside before bed and he discovered that we have a burst pipe so he had to turn off our water. Most of Monday was without water until the plumber could arrive, I hate to imagine having to cope with that as a regular state of affairs.

Dealing with isolation without water left Norm so discombobulated that he forgot to feed the dogs on Monday morning. Panda kept slamming into me and barking as he tried to tell me but as I was not aware they missed their breakfast I was unclear on what he was saying. Eventually when Norm had to go into the garage at lunch time he realised that the dogs had been forgotten. Poor pups, they are also victims of this chaos.

Then on Monday afternoon in the middle of a Skype call with my team we lost electricity. We are not sure what caused it to go off but Norm managed to get it back working again but by then the meeting was over.

This pretty much sums up my life at the moment.

As well as my Skype meeting being cut off I had also been downloading Microsoft Windows 10 and the download failed. As I was 3 hours into the process I was not very happy. I spent most of Tuesday faffing around with it until I finally gave up and Norm dropped it with a colleague who is also a friend who lives nearby to resolve. He managed to sort it out and on Wednesday morning Norm popped down to collect it. I missed an important client teleconference but there was not much I could do about that. I had been doing skype meetings on my phone but this meeting was held via Microsoft Teams and I did not have that app on my phone.

President Ramaphosa gave another address to the nation on Monday evening. He announced a national lock down which began on Thursday night at midnight. No one is allowed to leave their home other than for essentials such as food or medication. Essential workers such as medical staff and people who run the banking services and other required functions will still be going to work. The full transcript is HERE.

The key points were:

  • All South Africans will have to stay at home.
  • Exempted: health workers in public and private health sectors; emergency personnel; security services such as police and soldiers; those involved in the production and supply of food and basic goods; those working in essential services.
  • People will only be able to leave their homes to buy food, visit the pharmacy, to seek medical care, or to collect a social grant.
  • All bars, coffee shops and restaurants will close and alcohol will not be sold nor can it be transported from one location to another.
  • Guesthouses, game reserves, resorts, and many hotels will be closed.
  • The South African National Defense Force has been deployed to assist police in enforcing the lock down.
  • Shelters for homeless people will be identified, as well as quarantine areas for those who cannot self-isolate at home.
  • All businesses will close – only medical facilities, pharmacies, laboratories, petrol stations and food stores will remain open.
  • Essential transport services will also continue.
  • All borders will be closed to human activity except for essential services such as food. This includes the closure of all airports, the Gautrain system, all land borders, and all ports. All international and domestic flights after 23:59 Thursday will be canceled.

Here is the full speech:

From midnight on Thursday night we were officially on lock down, however so many people do not care about the law and are just treating this as a holiday from work.

The South African statistics published today are that of the 28,537 people who have been tested, we have 1170 positive cases. 31 of the cases have recovered.

We have had one death from the virus. The woman who died was 48 years of age and had a pulmonary embolism and was being treated for this when she caught the virus.

The impacts of the lock down on small and medium enterprises could be devastating. Many of these businesses run on a month to month basis with little cash reserves and this could result in the permanent closure of many restaurants, bars and businesses. The potential saving of lives has to take precedence. There is a financial rescue plan being put in place for some of the businesses so let’s hope this lessens the blow.

I am glad that my daughter Caitlin flew home on Tuesday afternoon and is now safe in her flat. I was so worried that the lock down would happen sooner and she would not get home or that she would get exposed to the virus while travelling. We have 14 days until we can be sure that she is OK but so far she is feeling fine. Our friends Trish and John managed to get home to Scotland but it was a bit hit or miss. When they arrived in Schiphol airport the majority of flights were cancelled so we were all worried they might not make it home.

After reading up a bit and making up the rest I am now wondering whether Norm, my mom and I had a mild strain of Coronavirus when we were ill in January. (Not Covid-19 but a less deadly strain. People keep saying this pandemic is due to ‘Coronavirus’ but it is actually the Covid-19 strain. Some arsehats keep calling it the ‘Chinese Virus’ and this right wing agenda has led to many Asians getting battered and abused but that is another story in itself). The symptoms we had in January were the same as some of the Covid symptoms except I also had a runny nose and nasal blockage and I think Covid19 is all lung based? (Caveat #IAmNotADoctor) If that is the case I hope that this previous virus may have given us all a wee bit of immunity. At least that is what I am telling myself.

My GP recommended that anyone who has any risk issues or is over 65 should get a flu shot. Norm and I are on a waiting list to get that as I am trying to cover as many variables as I can.

Here is a video of a guy who lives in Cape Town who tested positive and is self isolating. He fell ill in LA but the doctors said he was fine as he had not been in China. As a result he flew back to SA and then attended a festival, thereby potentially spreading the virus among the other travelers and the festival attendees.

There are so many people who do not report for testing for various reasons. The reported statistics are vastly under-estimated globally. I personally know of 4 people who had the virus and tried to report it but were deterred. They were told they could not be tested unless they were hospitalised or unless they wanted to wait in a 3 hour queue with other people who are showing symptoms. In case you do not have it why would you risk getting exposed to it? Insanity. Many other people say that when they phoned their GP they are asked whether they had traveled to China and if the answer was no they were told they ‘could not have Covid-19’. You would think that doctors were a bit less ignorant.

Some people are buying into the Trump propaganda that this virus is a hoax or that it will just blow over with minimal impact and sometimes this is resulting in their death or to them becoming carriers and spreading to those who are more vulnerable.

U.S. Pastor Landon Spradlin who claimed the virus was a hoax and it was all just ‘Mass Hysteria’ has died from the virus. He said “the media is pumping out fear and doing more harm than good. It will come and it will go.” Denial can get you dead.

Life goes on for the lucky and like all good survivalists I am trying to use leftovers and avoid any food wastage so Sunday night I made what I decided to call ‘Deconstructed Cottage Pie’. I sliced the other half of the cabbage from Saturday night‘s dinner and fried a couple of carrots, the cabbage and an onion in a pan. I fried a packet of minced beef in another pan. Once the meat was browned I added it to the vegetables, then added 2 big tablespoons of tomato paste, some Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, spices and some beef stock and stirred it all through. I left it to simmer while I reheated the potatoes au gratin left over from the previous night.

It tasted really nice together. I love it when I create things which taste nice. I am rubbish at following recipes which is probably why I am so bad at baking.

The next night Norm and I both had leftovers. I made some pasta and chucked the leftover mince into it and it was yummy. Norm finished off leftovers from another night’s dinner.

On Tuesday night I cooked dinner for us. I baked pork chops which I covered in a teriyaki sauce. I chopped onions and peppers to pop on top of them. I fried mushrooms in garlic butter, steamed some baby broccoli and roasted some sweet potato rounds in olive oil.

On Wednesday evening we decided to get our fave take aways as we would not be able to do so for 3 weeks (at a minimum). Norm opted for Eggplant Parmigiana from Cassarecchio and I opted for sushi from K1 in Hout Bay. I felt like a prisoner receiving his last meal from his jailer.

Thursday night I cooked pork sausages, the last of the meat we had from our previous shop. I decided I could not be bothered to stand over a frying pan in the heat and I had some peppers that were going soft so I wanted to use those up. I decided to cook the sausages in the oven and I sliced the peppers and covered the sausages with them and added mushrooms to the same pan. I baked them for 45 minutes, turning them halfway through and adding sliced onions on top (the onions burned when I did this with the pork chops so I decided to add later than the peppers and it worked perfectly). I made mash and gravy and fried red cabbage in balsamic vinegar and loads of butter.

As we are both working from home I decided to make us a healthy lunch and put together some tuna mayo with pickles and red onion and served it on a bed of green salad.

We normally always have take aways on Friday but as that was out of the question we cooked together. Norm had done another small shop the day lockdown started and bought meat and booze. We cooked fillet steaks. We sliced and fried mushrooms then added cream to them. We sautéed a bag of baby spinach and then puréed it and added cream and grated sharp cheddar. I had a tiny baked potato with mine but Norm stayed low carb. As I was putting the oven on for the potato I roasted the cauliflower in olive oil. It gives it a yummy nutty flavor. It was all divine.

I have been chatting a lot to my friends who are also in lockdown or self-isolating and I was having a laugh with one of them as she was wearing her Pilates gear but had not done any Pilates and I was wearing a swimsuit cover up and had not been swimming. If no one is going to see you then why make an effort? Comfort is top of my list with being cool in this heat second.

On Wednesday I showered and tidied up my hair and put on a presentable dress for the virtual meeting that did not happen. I was not sure if it was a video meeting or just a teleconference. I did not put on makeup as I could not be bothered. I sat outside to have my morning coffee.

While sitting on the porch I heard a little voice from the gate and looked up to see my lovely neighbour Kate. Kate was dropping off some chilies from her garden. How sweet was that?

We did a long distance exchange, Kate dropped them and backed up and once she left I grabbed them. It felt a bit like an illicit drug deal.

It was a cool and overcast day. I could not see my mountains at all.

It makes it much more comfortable to work from home in a non-air conditioned house if it is not so hot. I remarked on how lovely it was and Norm said ‘but it is better if it is hot to reduce the spread of the virus as it does not like the heat’. Everything we do these days is reflected through the lens of Covid-19.

We got a bit of rain that night which is welcome in our drought ridden country. We are always grateful for any rain.

For me I know that much of my stress is based in lack of control. I felt a bit better on Wednesday when I got my laptop back and got it operational and my sleep meds were delivered. I take CBD oils to sleep and I can take extra if needed when feeling a lot of anxiety. Norm went to the chemist and got an extra month of all of my chronic meds too so I do not have to worry about that for another month.

I was able to dial into the second meeting we had on Wednesday except Pixie decided that I needed a pedicure and tickled my toes the entire meeting.

Lola decided she was chilly and needed a cuddle so she wanted in my lap. I put a cushion in my lap for her and she settled in. It was cosy but made it a bit awkward to try and reach my keyboard. Lola did not care.

Navajo is far less needy and settled in on the stairs halfway between Norman and I with his eyes on the door. He is so protective of us.

He is a beautiful dog with such a loving heart.

My colleague brought home the desktop from our client’s office late on Wednesday afternoon. We had been working through a VPN to a virtual machine (this desktop in my case) but it was too slow to be practical. My colleague spent most of the day at the client sorting it out but it was chaos there as everyone is prepping their laptops for the lock down. I got it all set up and thought that was me good to go and be productive.

However I could not connect to their network or database. After trying a million things we discovered that the desktop is also Windows 7 and I cannot connect unless it is Windows 10. Whyyyyy?? After much too-ing and fro-ing, phone calls, WhatsApps and emails with me refusing to leave the house my colleague agreed to go back to the client offices and get a Windows 10 machine for me. Again it took him all day and he dropped it off for me late afternoon. I have now been trying to upgrade my MS Office and have had endless issues with that too. Today I see that the internet issues are due to the breakage of an undersea internet cable which is critical to SA’s global connections. It is sooo slow just when the majority of the country are working from home. Bloody typical.

Since we are unable to go out at night (not that we ever do anyway but still) we have been watching a lot of telly.

I am loving the show Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime.

It stars Bryan Cranston and Giovanni Ribisi. The basic premise is that conman Marius (played by Giovanni) is in debt to a gangster (played by Bryan) and when he is released from prison he changes his identity to try and hide out. He impersonates his cell mate who is the real Pete and embeds himself into Pete’s family who had not seen him in twenty years.

There are so many plots and subplots going on that in order to keep it all straight I felt like I needed one of those pin boards detectives set up to try and solve crimes.

I have always been a fan of Giovanni since he played Phoebe’s brother, Frank Jr. in Friends.

I wish there were more seasons of this show but I am enjoying what there is!

When I am feeling stressed I have been watching a series called ‘When Calls The Heart‘ which is a Canadian based series produced by the Hallmark Channel. It reminds me a bit of Little House on the Prairie, wholesome and non-traumatic so it is perfect for my current levels of stress. It does not make my heart jump in fact it soothes me with it’s gentle nature. Norm thinks it is nonsense and fluff and he is probably right, but right now fluff is what I need.

In getting the info for my blog I spotted that Michael Landon Jr is the Director, so that may be why I get the Little House on the Prairie feel! He got it from his Daddy 🙂

Today the sun is shining.

I am so much more fortunate than many. I have a cosy comfortable home with a garden and amazing view, I have running water, a shower, an inside toilet, Netflix and enough food to last for a few days. We have social media to distract us and allow us to communicate with the outside world and I know my loved ones are all safe.

Do not take your blessings for granted and think of those who do not have these advantages. Keep a positive thought for Mother Earth and her inhabitants and be grateful. Stay home if you can and please be careful if you have to still work.

Much love to you all.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Going Viral

The Apocalypse is in full flow now. *Cue menacing music*. You cannot escape the barrage of information if you read the news or go onto social media. This ‘end of the earth’ feeling was enhanced by the insane weather we had on Monday.

The howling wind was bashing the trees and making the doors and windows rattle so loud I thought they might blow in. When we went to bed it was hard to sleep as the banging and thumping was very loud. Any noises make me jumpy in case it is a break in, often the criminals use bad weather as a cover for their activities. My anxiety was already at a high from the virus news, add in crazy weather conditions and I was convinced it was the end of times. I have a very vivid imagination and watch too many weird things on telly.

Last Sunday South African President Ramaphosa addressed the nation regarding the government’s plan to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He declared a national state of disaster.

The transcript of the full speech can be found HERE.

The key points are:

  • All schools were closed on Wednesday. The Universities also closed and the students were instructed to clear their accommodation if they reside on campus. This will be a huge challenge to some students, they may have no where else local to go and may not have the funds to get back to their families.
  • There are 72 points of entry into SA which are via land, sea and airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 were shut down with effect from Monday 16 March. 2 of the 8 sea ports will be closed for passengers and crew changes. A travel ban was implemented on foreigners from high risk countries and all visas have been cancelled. However this did not stop the Dutch tourist who was positive and visited up to 30 wine farms on a tour of the wine lands. They are calling him Patient Zero for the wine lands. His visits resulted in several wine farms having to close their doors as staff were exposed to his group.
  • SA residents were asked to avoid local travel by plane and to not travel to high risk countries and if they did so they would be forced to self quarantine. My daughter in law Amber just returned from international travel as she works off shore. Her and my son Trevor are now both self isolating. 
  • Gatherings of more than 100 people will be prohibited. Many events have been cancelled to avoid contamination. No applications for special or events liquor licenses will be considered during the period of the national disaster.

I am glad that the President acted quickly to try and reduce the influx of people to SA who are sick. As mentioned in my most recent blog, if it takes hold in the townships there could be a massive death toll due to the over crowded living conditions and the fact that so many people who live there have HIV and TB and will be vulnerable. It is most likely inevitable that it will affect some people in these areas but we can only hope it is not too widespread.

Last Monday morning Norm went to do a shop in case we ended up restricted to our home. As there are just two of us we never have more than a day or two’s food in the house. He found that several of the shops were out of everything and almost all of the shops were out of toilet paper. This is our local Spar.

The panic buying continued and on Wednesday Norm made another venture into the shops where not only was there an absence of loo roll but there was very little food in the entire shop.

Norm has had to pop into the village for milk or other items and he said that the shops are now fully stocked and people are maintaining distance between themselves so hopefully he will be safe on his excursions. Due to my various health issues he will not let me out. (Not in a ‘gimp box under the bed’ sorta way, just in a ‘I will look after you’ sorta way.)

On Wednesday our President took an extra step to control the spread of the virus.  All establishments (including bars, clubs, shebeens and restaurants) that sell liquor must close at 18:00 on weekdays and Saturdays and at 13:00 on Sundays and public holidays. If they also serve food it seems they can stay open and just not serve booze. I suspect that the anticipated benefits of this decision are that it should reduce social interactions and it should reduce the amount of drunk drivers on the roads as the police have stopped conducting random breath tests. However some people are ignoring this and asking the restaurant owners to still serve them drinks. They do not seem to realise (or care) that the owner would lose his license if caught. Some people are so self serving. 

Actually if they were self serving there would be no issue….self centered is probably a better term under these conditions.

Our friends Trish and John were supposed to come down this week to spend a few weeks with us but as the virus has now taken hold in SA they decided rather to try and get back home to Scotland. John has some health issues which would mean he is highly at risk.

My middle daughter Caitlin (the stubborn Taurean one) was invited to a wedding in Durban and despite the whole family trying to dissuade her from going, she decided she would be fine and on Thursday night she flew. The family she is visiting were like a second family to her when she was a child and she is godmother to the groom’s sister’s boys so she was very keen on seeing them all. The flight was worrying enough, but the bride and groom flew in from the UK. I have to just trust that our ancestors keep her safe.

As mentioned in my last blog, my colleagues and I had applied for VPN access so that we could work remotely but the red tape of approval delayed it. On Wednesday I spent hours in the client’s IT division getting a remote desk top log in set up via VPN. Unfortunately the entire company was doing the same so it was slow going. I’m now officially working from home and Norm and I are self isolating as much as possible. Hopefully we won’t kill each other, starve or run out of toilet paper 🤭

Norm popped out to the shop on Friday afternoon to buy a bottle of wine and when he returned home he shouted upstairs to me ‘I bought you a present’ and I was so excited! What could it be? Chocolate? Jewelry? Flowers?

No.

I rush downstairs to find a 9 pack of toilet paper and a beaming Scotsman.

The romance is officially dead.

We have had a few issues with things breaking in the house and had to have suppliers in to resolve them. On the morning that we were leaving to go to Lily’s wedding the garage door would not open and this week we ended up having to replace the motor as it was so old they could not find replacement parts for the broken doohickey.

Then the pool pump / filter / other thingymajig started shooting water out of the top of it.

Luckily Michael from Pool Guru had the replacement parts and on Friday afternoon he came around and sorted it quick sticks (from a safe distance).

The animals are loving having us both at home but seem a bit baffled. Pixie, Panda and Navajo keep close by in fact Pixie wants to be in mine or Norm’s lap half the time.

The rest of the time she is on guard.

Navajo lies between me and the door to protect me from any virus laden marauders.

Blue and Lola are taking turns making nuisances of themselves.

Norm went out and bought a trestle table and office chair for me and set up my own little workstation.

The view from my new little office is pretty amazing though so I cannot complain about that!

I love having my morning coffee on the patio while gazing at my mountains. we are so blessed with this view.

To comply with data security regulations I usually work from the client’s computers so my personal laptop needed to be upgraded and some communication apps set up so Friday was spent doing back ups and trying to remember passwords. I set up a team WhatsApp group called ‘All Stars’ for my 2 developers and myself to communicate. We like to think of ourselves as the best consultants in the company but then the other consultants probably think that about themselves too. We know the truth. 

Norm and I are trying to eat healthy to keep our immunity boosted. On Monday Norm roasted a pork fillet. He steamed cauliflower, fried mushrooms in butter and made roasted sweet potatoes to go with it.

We made our fave, the low carb high fat pizza. I made a home made sauce. I fried  chopped red and yellow peppers and a chopped carrot (carrots are not low carb but they add a bit of sweetness and nutrition). Once they were half cooked I added a chopped onion and a large spoon of garlic. I cooked it down then liquidized it, added in tomato passata, tomato paste, seasonings and a bit of beef stock to stop the acidity and then simmered it until we finished preparing the crust.

We layered on the sauce, chopped green olives, sliced artichoke hearts, mozzarella and salami. It was delicious.

Norm cooked a very tasty dish with chopped up chicken breasts and broccoli in a cream sauce and served it with sweet potato mash. It was simple and delicious. 

Yesterday it was quite warm out but I decided I wanted a yummy Mommy comfort meal and so Norm popped down to Woolies for a roast. They had a pork shoulder and so I baked that, made potatoes au gratin, fried cabbage and onion and garlic mushrooms.

I had not had potatoes since December and potatoes au gratin is one of my favorite things ever. I did not have a recipe, I basically just peeled and par-boiled my potatoes then sliced and layered into a buttered glass dish. I only had double thick cream which was too thick for pouring so I diluted it with a bit of milk. I poured a drizzle of cream and a layer of cheddar on top of each layer of potatoes and then used the mozzarella left over from our pizza night to top it.

It was all so yummy and it went really well together.

We had takeaways a few nights, with me drifting away from low carb. We had Italian one night and sushi on Friday night. Probably why I am not losing any weight but with my current stress levels I am surprised I am not eating a few kilos of chocolate every night.

The SA virus count has topped 200 and is going up quickly. So far we have had no deaths and luckily 2 people have recovered. However we now have cases of people who did not travel internationally coming down with it. At the point of writing, there are 240 people infected in SA.

This LINK is the best for tracking the statistics internationally in my opinion. It provides the breakdown per country as well. Italy has now surpassed China in death counts. Italy has a high number of elderly residents, however we watched a report from Italy on Sky News and they said that they are seeing people as young as 30 badly affected.

I do not want to scaremonger but I feel that many people are not taking this virus seriously.

Especially when we see reports of eejits like this on Spring Break in Florida.

Such a strong sense of social responsibility and care for others. NOT. I bet their parents are Trump supporters and these kids are following his lead on believing that the virus is not a risk. Trump started out by saying it was a hoax by the Democrats, that it was not an issue worse than the flu as so few were affected, that it was under control, etc etc.

He is also spreading false information.

Of all of the countries who have high levels of infection, the UK and the USA seem to have handled it the worst in my opinion. For once I am actually proud of our SA President and his actions.

I really feel for those who are alone and self-isolating. It is bearable for those of us who have nice, safe homes and have someone with us to talk to, play board games or watch telly with but if I was here alone I know I would be working myself into a state. I cannot imagine this situation is good for anyone’s mental health but for those who are already suffering from issues this isolation could be very dangerous. Check up on your friends from time to time and make sure they are coping and are not ill.

It is a stressful time for us all. I wish you and your loved ones good health and as much toilet paper as you need.

Until next time, check on your friends and family, keep away from large groups of people, wash your hands, do not buy more than you need and try not to panic.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Plagued with Problems

The entire planet seems to be in a panic about the risk of contracting Covid-19. At the time of writing this, South Africa was reporting 51 cases, and all of those infected people had traveled overseas. This was an increase of 13 additional cases from a report I had read the previous day and an increase from the day before that. We seem to be averaging about 14 new cases per day.

One of these affected people is an employee at the same office where I am currently based. He also contracted it while traveling overseas and luckily he did not come into the office when he returned from his trip.

WHO has now officially declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

Our family has been directly affected as Norm was due to fly to Nairobi Kenya today and he received notification that his flight was cancelled as the Ministry of Health for the home country of the company he was doing the work for had declared a ban on overseas travel. Norm has had endless issues with Expedia and trying to cancel his flight. He has spent over 3 hours on the phone with their call centre and each time, after an hour the service drops the call. The hotel he booked his accommodation with was 100% the opposite, they dealt with his attempts to contact them in a prompt manner and gave him a 100% credit. Expedia is unprepared and ineffective.

My consulting house has requested we work from home assuming that the client will approve this decision. In preparation we have applied for VPN access. In case you aren’t familiar, VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. As the name implies, it provides users with a virtual network that is private so that they can connect to the internet in a way that is safe and secure. Essentially, the ultimate goal of a VPN is to keep your private information private. This means we log into a virtual network as if we are actually working via our computer that is based in the office. As long as I can access the client’s database then I can work remotely with minimal impact. The biggest challenge will be whether we have electricity!

To add to the stress in our daily lives, electricity load shedding started back on Tuesday when Eskom announced yet another drama. Some days we have had 6 hours a day with no electricity. Our phone service also goes down as the constant lack of electricity affects the cell tower’s ability to recharge the batteries. It impacts everything from cooking, to sleeping to our security. It often happens at night when we need to prepare dinner, or later when we have finished dinner and want to relax in front of the telly. The alarm cannot be put on without electricity. It impacts Norm’s ability to work from home. As I will soon be working from home too this is a worry.

The drought has raised its head again in the Western Cape, residents have been overusing their allotted amounts again. Dams supplying the Cape Town metro have declined by 1.5% bringing the level down to 65.9%. 

Water consumption for the same period has increased to 755 million litres a day. Consumption the previous week was at 743 million liters a day.

How quickly we forget. What impact will constant hand washing have on consumption?

Another crisis in South Africa is the ongoing abuse and murder of our women and children. Despite the promises from President Ramaphosa that no men who were jailed for crimes against women or children will be given parole, the murders continue. It is not only women and girls who are victims, it is young boys too.

In our own village we had a 12 year old boy go missing. The last person he was seen with was his basketball coach, Marvin Minaar. When Minaar was questioned, he confessed to the murder of 12 year old Sibusiso Dakuse.

Our entire village was traumatized and devastated about Sibu who was a clever, talented and lovely child from all reports. He attended our local music academy.

Another young boy was also murdered by a man on parole.

The body of Reagan Gertse, 8, was found after he had gone missing earlier that same day. A 53-year-old man was arrested for the murder of Reagan. The man was a family member who had recently been released from prison.

It is so heartbreaking that these boys who had their whole lives ahead of them had those lives cut short unnecessarily by men who should have remained in prison.

If I am stressed about all of these concurrent cluster fecks of chaos, I can’t imagine how people in the informal settlements are going to cope. They don’t have running water in their shacks, they have to share a common stand pipe. They cannot self isolate as they not only live in very close proximity to the surrounding shacks but there are often many people sharing one dwelling.

Many people are daily workers, meaning if they don’t work they don’t have an income. So many others are self employed and do not have sick pay. Many businesses are not of the sort that CAN work from home. They involve manual labor and some mean interaction with clients who may cancel these services until the virus is under control. The impacts are not just to the lives of those who get ill but to the overall economy.

We had such a lovely weekend last weekend but it took me days to recover. I had such leg pain and swelling on Monday and Tuesday. My feet and ankles were like elephant feet. I usually only experience that after traveling so I’m not sure if it was the hours sitting in the car for the road trip or the excess of alcohol and sugar, neither of which I had been consuming the weeks prior to the wedding.

Lily’s videographer posted a little drone clip from the beach as a teaser. I can’t wait to see the whole video of the entire day.

We have been very busy at work implementing and testing changes. I’m enjoying the work we are doing and the team I am working with so that makes it easier.

The client had a team building day on Friday and insisted we attend. It was held in Bishopscourt, one of the wealthiest areas in the city. The property is 2 hectares and the gardens are absolutely stunning with views of the mountains.

The morning was misty so the view was compromised but you can see all of the vineyards over their fruit trees and vegetable garden.

I settled in under a big sun umbrella by the pool, kicked off my shoes and grabbed a coffee and pastry when I arrived.

Some people couldn’t handle the heat and settled into the cosy garden room.

The pool was very large and in the afternoon several people sat with their feet in the cool water while sipping a beer.

I was worried we were going to have workshops, role play, lectures and other nonsense but we just chilled out, chatted, drank and ate. As we are so busy on the project I wasn’t that keen on taking the day off but in the end it turned out to be a very relaxing day in a stunning venue so I was glad I went. Sometimes you increase productivity by taking a bit of a break.

At home we have mostly stuck to low carb with a few exceptions.

Norm made chicken wrapped in bacon, steamed broccoli and a salad with home made blue cheese dressing on Monday.

He roasted a pork fillet with sweet potato and pumpkin the next night but I forgot to snap a pic.

We had take aways a few nights when we had no electricity.

On Friday we cooked together and made our low carb pizza crust. We topped it with home made napoletana sauce, tons of mozzarella cheese, garlic mushrooms, artichoke hearts, green olives and pancetta. I like the pancetta on top so it goes crispy.

Our party animal neighbor had a few women around on Friday night and those hoes were playing trance music at obscene volumes, screaming uncontrollably, cursing loudly and had some colorful laser lights flashing around in the trees by our pool. The music and screaming was so loud we could not hear our own television. We finally resorted to closing all the doors despite the heat and we still could not hear each other or the telly. The neighbor is probably in her 50s but it sounded as if there were a hundred drunk and vulgar teenagers next door. I wanted to scream at her over the fence but Norm wouldn’t allow it. Silly rude cow. (The neighbor, not Norm)

I’m not sure what was happening cosmically on Thursday but I had a bit of a nightmare of a morning. When I got into the car I managed to drop my lunch upside down. Traffic was light so I got to work really early and I was the first person to arrive in the office only to discover that I had no access card, I had left it on my desk. I had to wait outside for about 15 minutes before someone arrived to let me in. Load shedding was in effect so all of the coffee shops were closed except for one. Therefore the queue was right out to reception. Just as I got near the front 2 women appeared and joined the girl in front of me and they ordered all sorts of nonsense and then fought about paying. I wanted to stab those silly queue jumpers with a wooden coffee stirrer.

Rude little mares. (There is a barnyard theme in my interactions this week).

Anyway……I’m more than a little bit on edge.

I have started watching a few new series this week.

First of all, series 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race has started on Netflix and I am so excited! I love Mama Ru and I love this show!

There has already been drama concerning one of the queens but I won’t give anything away in case you don’t know. As always Ru and his girls get 5 Kitten stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

The other ‘watch on my own’ new series I started is ‘I am Not OK With This’.

It is very interesting and not your average teen angst nonsense, it is apparently based on a comic book. I give it a solid 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

The new series Norm and I are watching together is Goliath. We are watching it on Amazon Prime.

It is quite a good story line. Norm and I love Billy Bob Thornton. I don’t love his dodgy toupee in this show though. William Hurt does a brilliant job playing a creepy psycho in the series. I give it 4 Kitten Stars (the toupee is worth a demerit of a star) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Saturday was a bright and beautiful day and not too overbearingly hot.

Norm took Pixie and Navajo to the vet when we woke up as Navajo has another ear infection and they both needed an inoculation. Panda was not happy he was left behind so I sat on the patio with him to have my coffee.

Lola also wanted her share of attention.

I made toast with peanut butter and honey for breakfast and gave the empty jar to the dogs. First Navajo had a go, then Panda.

It has no added salt or sugar and they love it. It had the added benefit of keeping them amused for a bit too.

We had takeaways for dinner and I had sushi from K1. I had my usual order of prawn roses, salmon roses and cucumber roses topped with prawns.

It was delicious and perfect for a warm summer evening.

Today I went to my drum circle. I had a coffee outside staring at my mountain before I left.

We have been rehearsing for a Dance To Heal The Earth which is scheduled at the end of April but like so many other events it may be postponed. Already several large events in SA such as the International Jazz Festival, AfrikaBurn and the Two Oceans Marathon have been either postponed or cancelled entirely.

Our city relies on the income from these events which are all attended by many international visitors so these decisions to cancel or delay were not taken lightly I am sure. So many businesses will suffer greatly from this pandemic but the precautions are necessary to prevent it wiping out even more people.

It is a period of great uncertainty and I wish you and your loved ones the best of luck in enduring it.

Until next time, hold your loved ones close, keep away from large groups of people, wash your hands and don’t panic.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Meet The Davidsons

I had a very stressful week at work last week and was happy that I had a long weekend away planned. I was also very excited about the weekend of planned festivities. I finished work at 11am on Thursday and went home to pack. We were on the road by 1pm and had a slow and easy drive down the southern coast of Africa. Lily and Josh live very near Diaz Beach in Mossel Bay and it takes a good five hours to get there.

Caitlin and Wes were already at Lily and Josh’s house when we arrived. There was a lot of activity going on. Lily was still prepping the gifts for the bridesmaids and groomsmen and Josh was darting about so it seemed a bit chaotic.

Caitlin and Wes left to go to her Dad’s and Lily, Josh, Norm and I ordered food from Cattle Baron. Either the restaurant misunderstood my order or I misunderstood the description of the dish because my food was odd and not what I expected. Never mind. I ate enough to tide me over. We had a relaxed evening as Lily and Josh were tired from running around and we were tired from the long drive.

Caitlin collected Lily and I early on Friday morning as we had a 10am appointment to get a mani pedi. We met Juan-Leigh there. We had a gel manicure and a normal pedicure.

After we had our hands and feet done Juan met up with her family and went off on an adventure. Lily, Caitlin and I picked up a roast chicken, sliced meat, cheese, fresh ciabatta and a few other bits and pieces for lunch. After a quick bite Lily and I headed to George to pick up the macarons she ordered for party favors and to drop her kitty Toothless with the cat sitter. Caitlin had to find a tailor to do a bit of an adjustment to her bridesmaid dress. Josh had to collect the trousers for the groomsmen and other odds and ends.

After everyone finished their errands we all packed up and drove to Seeplaas, the venue for the wedding. We had rented the entire guesthouse for the wedding party and the rooms were exquisite.

The bathrooms were very modern.

As soon as we arrived at the guesthouse I received a phone call to say that I had a visitor. I went to reception and was shocked to see my friend Patricia and her partner John standing there! They are over from Scotland and knew where the wedding was to be held so they popped by to surprise us.

Lily promised Patricia and John that if anyone cancelled then they could attend in their place, but the venue was completely full. Trish and John headed off and we got ready for the wedding rehearsal. Once we were dressed we relaxed on our little patio by our room.

At 6pm we all met up in the area where the wedding was to be held the next day. We walked through the itinerary and then we noticed that there was a huge pod of dolphins out frolicking in the surf. Almost as if all of the sea creatures were bestowing their blessings on the union. It was so magical!

We all went out for dinner to Transkaroo Restaurant in Great Brak. We had booked for 16 people for dinner. Luckily it was only about 5 minutes drive from the hotel.

The style of the venue seemed pretty rustic and I had no idea what sort of food to expect but once we were seated we checked out the menu and it sounded interesting. I chose the fillet steak topped with camembert cheese and caramelised onions. It was exquisite and I really enjoyed it.

A few of us had dessert and when I saw that there was a milk tart creme brûlée on the menu I could not resist. My two favorite things mushed into one?

Bring.

It.

On.

They had made an intricate nest of spun sugar and put it on the top. It was obscenely rich and delicious.

We had such a fun evening full of loud conversations, laughter and divine food. We then went back to the hotel and all chilled out together.

All of the rooms were near each other and mine and Lily’s were next door and opened onto a large shared sun deck.

It was wonderful to hear the waves crashing right next to us. I slept so well each night and enjoyed sitting on my little patio staring into the dark and listening to the sea.

On Saturday morning we all awoke so excited for the wedding. Norm and I had a wander through the gift shop and I bought a little notebook and some coasters.

We found a table in the shade overlooking the sea.

We ordered cappuccinos and had breakfast then went to see what was going on. Josh had joined the groomsmen in one of their rooms. The make up artist and the hairstylist had arrived and were set up in Lily’s room and were both busy working on the bridesmaids while they sipped champagne.

We took turns getting pampered and spoiled and once myself and the bridesmaids were finished they worked on making the already beautiful bride even more beautiful!

The bridesmaids were given robes and slips to wear while getting ready. Once they all had their hair and makeup done they did a photo shoot.

They all look so gorgeous. These girls have been such good friends for so many years.

There was a lovely swinging chair outside my room which made a perfect setting for more pictures.

Then Lily and I went into my room to put on her dress while the girls stayed in Lily and Josh’s room to put on theirs. I’m blind as a bat and the dress had a gazillion and one buttons so I had to call Caitlin in to assist. Luckily Cait was dressed and she was looking so beautiful herself! I have such beautiful babies.

The next stage was to have the ‘reveal’ of Lily in her dress. The bridesmaids stood with their eyes covered while Lily came out then we did the big ‘surprise’ maneuver.

They went through the same process with Hugh, Lily’s father.

Norm was all dressed in his kilt and I was in my Mother of the Bride frock I bought in the states at Christmas.

I went through to the outside area and found Trish and John. I then found my handsome son Trevor. He is such a lovely young man.

We waited a while for everything and everyone involved to get sorted and the emcee asked us to take our seats. First the girls all walked out, then Lily came out on Norm’s arm. They looked so perfect, like a film set!

Norm walked Lily halfway and then handed her over to Hugh who walked her to the altar and handed her over to her new husband.

Josh is Jewish and they held the ceremony under a chuppah. The chuppah was held by four of the groomsmen. ‘The chuppah symbolizes the new home to which the bridegroom will take his bride. The appearance of the bride and groom together under a chuppah before an assembly who have come to witness the event is in itself a public proclamation by them that they are now bonded together as man and wife.’

We were thrilled to see the dolphins had returned once again just in time to bless the wedding, it was very special.

At the end of the wedding they asked us to all grab a handful of white rose petals from the bowls distributed around the garden and then stand in a circle with the newly wedded couple in the centre. Then we threw the petals.

It made a gorgeous photo!

We spent ages making photos of various combinations of family, step families, friends, groomsmen and bridesmaids and possibly even random passerbys. It certainly seemed like we photographed everyone within miles. The bridal party then hiked down to the beach where they spent about an hour leaping about and taking photos and videos.

There were lawn games and a bar to amuse the guests so everyone seemed relatively happy. Eventually they all made their way back to the guesthouse and we all found our seats in the hall. Lily and Josh were seated at the front of the venue.

The hall was very pretty. Fairy lights were strung up and the tables were decorated so stunningly with white flowers and all natural rustic charm.

The little macarons we had collected the previous day looked sweet and tasted even sweeter. The place settings were alternated with vanilla and caramel and both had ‘L’ and ‘J’ painted in gold.

The cake was donut themed, we love donuts!

By this time we were all very merry.

Bordering on silly.

The dinner was served and was very nice. I had the beef.

They kept speeches to a minimum. Josh’s head groomsman Dylan gave a moving speech. Lily had asked Juan-Leigh to speak and she was so nervous and sweet. She got emotional a few times which set me off too but she was also very funny.

Next was Talya who has known both Josh and Lily for many years. She was the only bridesmaid who knew Josh before she knew Lily. Like Juan, Talya now lives in the States and flew over specially to be bridesmaids. That is true friendship and it touched me so. Talya is so talented in so many ways and has a beautiful voice. She sang for the new couple.

After the speeches dessert was served, the cake was cut and the dancing started. We partied til well into the night. I crashed at 2am but the lads were just lighting a bonfire! It was a wonderful evening.

And just like that, I have a Son In Law!

The wedding ring was designed by Lily and was made by their childhood friend. The stones came from my mother’s wedding rings. It is a very special ring.

Josh was so sweet when he said that now he has 3 dads and two Moms. I could not ask for any man to love my Lily any more than Josh does. I feel like he is my son and part of our family.

Lily and Josh could not have asked for a better weekend and wedding, it was stunning from start to finish.

Our family is just so blessed. I am one Happy Kitten.

Hold your loved ones close. Until Next Time, Kisses From The Kitten. xoxoxoxox

Blind Love

Last Sunday was a lazy day but I did do a bit of planting. I had some pots that were in a spot where the plants were getting too much sun and kept dying. I moved the pots onto the porch and snipped off some clippings from my existing succulents and planted them.

Hopefully they take root and grow, today marks one week and they are still plump and green. I love my succulents.

This week was the final week of our contract with the current client. On Monday I had an end of phase session to present our final deliverables to the stakeholders. It did not finish until 6pm so I got home very late. Norm had been busy too so he just popped down and bought food. He got roast chicken pieces and some bits to make a salad. He grilled some bacon and made a delicious salad topped with chicken and crispy bacon. As it was so hot outside it was perfect.

That evening I received a message from Juan-Leigh, one of Lily’s oldest friends. They went to play school together so have been friends since they were toddlers. She has been living in the US for ten years now but she and her beau Kip flew over for Lily’s wedding as she is one of the bridesmaids.

Juan invited Norman and I to join her and Kip for dinner. As they only had a few nights to spend in Cape Town before they headed down the coast to stay with her parents I was so touched that she wanted to hang out with us oldies! She told us to choose the restaurant and I asked if they wanted average food and a gorgeous view, or gorgeous food with no view and they chose the good food so I booked for us to go to Cheyne’s on Tuesday.

Kip and Juan-Leigh were already at Cheyne’s when we arrived and we all settled in and caught up with what has been going on in Juan’s life and got to know Kip. Juan was always a very pretty little girl but she has grown into an absolutely stunning young woman.

Kip is such a sweet and handsome guy and seems crazy about Juan. She is intelligent, sweet and hard working and is quite a catch so you can’t blame him really.

He looks a bit like a young Baldwin brother, doesn’t he?

We ordered drinks and discussed the menu and I explained the Yum Cha dining experience special which costs R300 each for any 4 dishes.

We chose our dishes and eagerly anticipated their arrival.

I started with the Baby Shrimp Tempura, with garlic truffle mayo and red pepper flakes.

My next dish to arrive was the Mumbai Chili Beef with cardamon teriyaki, green chili and coconut.

Shortly after that the Potato and Coconut dumplings with penang sauce arrived. They used to be a bit smaller and were served floating in a bowl of the sauce but now are served on a long narrow plate.

I chose dessert as my fourth item. I went with my usual, the double thick peanut butter shake. It is my favorite dessert and it was as delicious that evening as it always is.

We had such a lovely evening and the food was amazing. I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

As we finished late I was so tired the next day. Norm flew to Pretoria that afternoon and I had arranged for my friend Michelle to come stay. She arrived shortly after I got home from work and she walked and fed the dogs while I cooked dinner. Norm was very sweet and did a shop before he left so we had some options to choose from for dinner.

I spotted a pork fillet in the fridge and I washed it and put it in a glass oven dish. I washed some mushrooms and added those. I chopped an onion and a red pepper and covered the pork with them. I added some big spoons of butter and covered the pork in a mix of teriyaki, thick soy, Worcestershire and garlic. I popped it in the oven and after 15 minutes I turned the pork and rolled the mushrooms around in the sauce and then popped some sliced sweet potatoes in another pan. First I put them in a bowl and added some olive oil and rolled the slices around to coat them in oil.

I left the pork to rest a few minutes before slicing it, meanwhile I steamed some baby broccoli to go with it all.

Michelle and I both really enjoyed it and there was enough left over for my lunch on Thursday.

Traffic was a a nightmare on Thursday. It took an hour to get to work that morning and it took almost two hours to get home in the evening. Later I heard on the news that Eskom had shut off Metrorail’s electricity supply. According to Eskom, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), had not paid an outstanding R4-million, which was due 34 days ago. In the afternoon, four power supply substations were cut.

Metrorail estimates that about half a million commuters use rail transport in the greater Cape Town area daily so those numbers obviously impacted road volumes.

Bear in mind that Eskom (the power supply company) and Prasa (the Rail Service) are BOTH State Owned Enterprises. So it is a case of the government not paying the government. Robbing Peter to pay Paul? Again this chaos is all under the mantle of the African National Congress (ANC) our leading political party and both SOE organizations have been exposed for fraud and corruption.

I also saw that Eskom is in a battle of wills with the municipality of Soweto, a large township in Johannesburg.

On Tuesday the Electricity Crisis Movement in Soweto called on residents to block local roads and malls in a bid to force Eskom to revise its billing system. It was called the ‘Soweto Shutdown’.

Soweto currently owes the energy supplier R18.9 billion in unpaid bills. Protestors wanted Eskom to scrap this debt and to suspend load shedding in the township.

Don’t worry Soweto peeps, we all want that! Stop voting in the corrupt and inept ANC.

We have been lucky to have no load shedding this week in Hout Bay but it can be implemented at any time and there was mention of a unit at Koeberg being taken offline for two months starting in April so I see this risk continuing for the foreseeable future.

Michelle did not stay for dinner on Thursday and after 9 hours in the office and 3 hours in traffic I was not up for cooking. I had fish fingers and chips as it was all I could mentally and physically manage.

It was almost 11pm by the time Norm got home from his trip and almost midnight when we got into bed. I was giving a colleague a lift and had to leave at 6:30am so I was pretty tired on Friday. We had planning meetings to discuss the next phase as the client wants us to stay on to do data cleaning. There were six resources on site in the last phase but only three of us are staying for the next phase.

With Norm away and my work being so busy it was an exhausting and stressful week so I was happy to see the weekend. I had sushi on Friday evening and we finished watching the UK series ‘Marcella‘.

This was an absolutely brilliant series. It was intense and full of intrigue. We kept chopping and changing our theory of who was the killer in both series. The final of series 2 left us a bit off kilter but I give both series 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

With Norm working on the weekends recently and being away this week, I also watched the series ‘Love Is Blind‘. It is a reality series where people ‘meet’ in separate ‘pods’ (which is just a silly TV name for ‘rooms’) where they can chat one on one and get to know each other without being able to see each other, not even a photograph. The purpose of the experiment is to gauge whether people can fall in love without race, age, looks or any physical factors getting in the way and then maintain that feeling once they meet and get to know each other over a short time. Once they set their mind on who they want to propose to, they propose and if accepted are allowed to see each other and then are whisked away to a resort in Mexico. After Mexico they return to Atlanta and try living in a small flat for a few weeks. Next they plan the wedding and after about a month since their first ‘blind’ interaction, they walk down the aisle and only at the altar do you get to find out if they both say I do.

It is not at all something Norm would enjoy but I loved it! It started out a bit shaky but I was completely riveted once the couples met in person.

I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

On Saturday Norm wasn’t feeling well and went to bed. Caitlin came to Hout Bay to get her hair done and popped by afterwards. Lily arrived early afternoon as she was down for her last wedding dress fitting.

Norm had popped to the shop before he went off to bed so I made lunch for the girls and I. We had roast chicken and a yummy fresh and simple salad of Bibb lettuce, cucumber, baby Rosa tomatoes and feta cheese. I made a creamy home made salad dressing. Simple healthy food.

We had a relaxed evening. Today Lily stayed here until noon so I did not make it to drum rehearsal. I get so little time with her I stayed home.

Next weekend is the wedding. We are all excited and a tiny bit nervous that everything goes smoothly. As Lily and Josh are marrying in the registry office Thursday morning they will be married the next time I see them. The big ceremony on Saturday will be done by a Jewish friend of the family.

Wish us luck!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Broken Promises

The past week was very busy so it flew by!

Lily and her friend Talya drove down from the garden route on Thursday as this weekend was Lily’s hen party. When Lily arrived no one was home and it was load shedding so she could not get in the house as the electric garage door wouldn’t open and she does not have a key to the front door. The Pomeranians were able to get out of the doggy door to go and visit with her but big boy Nav was trapped inside and was going crazy, bless him. They all love Lily so much.

Once I arrived home we hung out on the patio until the sun went down.

Caitlin came over after she finished work. She was so stressed out due to work pressures and organizing Lily’s hen weekend that she had been rushing and managed to break a bottle of red wine in the floor of her car and her car reeked. She was trading cars with Norm for the weekend as she had loads of things to take down for the party. She raided my house for boho style candle holders, blankets, pillows and other items.

Norm steam cleaned her car this weekend and the smell is not too noticeable now. He’s a nice step daddy.

We ordered take aways for dinner that night. The girls and Norm had melanzane parmigiana, Talya had a pizza and I had sushi.

We stayed up far too late chatting and catching up.

The next morning Lily had her final wedding dress fitting and Talya had errands to run so they were away separately and Norm came with me to my appointment with an ophthalmologist at the eye clinic.

I suffer from severe myopia, I cannot see to walk across a room without my eyeglasses. I also have Posterior Vitreous detachment. I have intense pain if I look at a strong light and I have a lot of floating spots. My eyes hurt so badly sometimes they just weep, especially if I have been staring too intently at a screen. As I am a data analyst I stare at a screen all day. My grandmother had macular degeneration and my mom has iritis so I wanted to check the overall health of my eyes.

Dr G did all of the tests for cataracts and glaucoma, he did a vision test and a general exam of the health of my eyes. He said that all of the symptoms I have are due to the severity of my myopia. He says I also have severe dry eye syndrome but that I have no structural issues. He prescribed some drops and gave me a script for reading glasses when I told him I can no longer read with comfort. I asked about whether I would be a candidate for Laser surgery and he said it would be the worst thing I could do as I would struggle to see my computer screen afterwards due to my issues with reading.

At least all of these symptoms are nothing serious, I was sure I had something dreadful going on and that is why I have put off going and why I dragged Norm along. What a relief.

The girls headed out around lunch time. There were 10 girls who attended Lily’s hen weekend. Caitlin had booked them into a beautiful villa in Gordon’s Bay called La Vue Parfaite.

The girls said they had a relaxing Friday night swimming and chatting and then on Saturday they had a boho style picnic. As the weather was dreadful they had it inside.

The girls looked stunning and sweet in their boho style outfits and the food all looked so pretty.

I’m so glad they had such fun.

Norm and I also had a lovely weekend.

On Friday there was load shedding from 6 to 8:30pm so rather than struggle to cook we joined our friends Dave, Darren and Julie for dinner and jazz at Hout Bay Manor hotel.

It was a warm lovely evening and we were seated on the patio in the shade.

Darren ordered a Thai curry but the rest of us are eating low carb and we ordered the crispy duck. It was served on a bed of stir fried vegetables and came with a divine sticky sauce on the side.

It really was perfectly cooked. The skin was crisp, the duck was not overcooked or dry and the vegetables were al dente. It was really delicious and gets 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The next morning we woke to an overcast sky and drizzling rain. I was off to the city to get my hair cut and colored. The dogs gave me a sad faced send off.

Cape Town was very busy and I struggled to find parking and ended up blocks away. Walking to the hairdresser was fine but when I left there my newly styled hair took a beating in the wind and rain.

On the way to the salon I was walking behind a person with lovely lush red hair who was wearing a sweet floral summer frock. They turned around and I was surprised to see that it was a dude with a full beard. I’m glad that usually Cape Town is accepting of people just being themselves, but I hope no one gives him attitude as not everyone in Cape Town is accepting of people stepping outside of gender norms.

After my appointment I collected Norm and we went down to the village to return the clothes I bought online that I did not want. As we were both hungry we stopped for brunch at Allegria Cafe. We sat outside as the tables are undercover and protected from the rain and it was a warm muggy day.

I ordered an omelette with emmental cheese, crispy bacon and caramelised onions. Norm ordered the chicken salad from the specials board.

After we finished eating, our friend Bronwyn walked past and we called her over for a chat. Hout Bay has such a cozy village feel, we almost always run into someone we know. The previous night we also ran into friends at the jazz. I love that about Hout Bay. Except when I have dirty hair and no makeup on, then it’s not a plus.

We went to the shops after brunch and took back my items. They had a sale on and I bought a cute summery dress, Norm found a nice shirt and I got something for Trevor’s birthday which is in June. We bought a few essential groceries and headed off.

After we got home Norm set up Amazon Prime on our telly. We spent the afternoon trawling through the listings and getting familiar with the interface.

Norm went to Massimo’s for takeaways for our dinner that night. I had a tapas portion of calamari and a Sofia Loren salad and it was very tasty.

We had such a chaotic week we ended up getting takeaways most of the week but we stuck to low carb as best we could.

We made our low carb pizza crust with a high fat topping on Tuesday. We used pancetta and it was so delicious.

It has been a sad and emotional week in South Africa.

Despite the promises of our president to ensure that men who perpetrate violent crimes against women and children will not be given bail or early parole, there were several instances of his broken promises resulting in the death of children.

Moehydien Pangaker (54) was arrested for the murder of eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk who had been missing for weeks. Tazne walked to the shop and was never seen again. She was murdered and shoved into a storm drain.

Pangaker’s prior convictions:

    Ladismith: 2015: possession of a stolen vehicle – guilty and sentenced
    Ladismith: 2015: driving a vehicle without authority – guilty
    Ladismith: 2003: assault – sentenced
    Elsies River: 2003: breaking correctional supervision – guilty
    Kuilsriver: 2001: murder – guilty and sentenced
    Ladismith: 2001: culpable homicide, abduction, child neglect – sentenced
    Laingsburg: 1998: housebreaking – guilty and sentenced
    Ravensmead: 1988: assault – sentenced
    Kimberley: 1991: theft – sentenced
    Elsies River: 1981: theft – sentenced
    Elsies River: 1981: housebreaking – sentenced

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, Pangaker was sentenced in 2008 at the Bellville Regional Court for kidnapping, child abuse and culpable homicide. The victim was his own son. Pangaker was sentenced to 10 years for culpable homicide, with the kidnapping and child abuse count running concurrently with the culpable homicide. He was released on parole but absconded in 2015. He was placed out on parole supervision at Ladismith Community Corrections between October 2016 and May 2019. He then also absconded supervision and a case was opened at Ladismith for absconding.

The members of the Elsies River community were so angry that another of their children was murdered by a man who should not have been on the streets in the first place.

Another example is a father accused of killing his 4 kids. He was out on parole for another child murder at the time he committed this horrific crime against his own family.

How can these monsters be allowed to freely roam the streets of our country? Do the lives and safety of women and children matter so little?

But there are so many women who are angry and unwilling to be the next victim. Women who are rising up and raising their voices to protest the lack of governmental change or support.

This heartfelt rendition of the song ‘I Heard’ represents what many are feeling. It was written by the beautiful Bianca Flanders.

A collective group of women is a powerful thing. We must keep writing, talking, singing and protesting about this issue until our justice system wakes up and comes to the table and stops giving reduced sentences, parole and freedom to men who should never be allowed near women and children.

Hold your loved ones close.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxoxo

Kept In The Dark

The issues with load shedding have carried on with us all having to plan around when we can cook and function in our every day lives. It’s such an inconvenience. Especially as it seems that the schedule changes on a whim.

On Valentine’s night, Norm and I went out and did not know there was going to be load shedding and did not take a front door key as we usually enter the house through the garage. Usually we take my car when we go out and I have all of the necessary keys if caught unaware, but my headlight is out so we took Norm’s new truck and he hasn’t put all of the relevant house keys on with his car keys.

We went to Col’Cacchio in the foreshore for an early dinner. We chose this restaurant as it is just down the road from the theatre and they offer lots of low carb options. I wish more South African restaurants catered for low carb dining.

It was a very hot evening and we were seated right by the open door and we were glad for the occasional breeze.

I wasn’t in the mood for anything warm to eat so I chose the carpaccio to start. The beef carpaccio is topped with rocket, Italian parmesan, black pepper & home-made dressing.

The beef was tender and sliced beautifully thin and the flavors meshed perfectly. It was quite a lot of food for a starter though so I shared it with Norm.

For my main I had the Cobb salad: cos lettuce, chicken, bacon, cherry tomatoes, avo, egg, ranch-style dressing and crispy onion.

Norm chose the zucchetti meatballs with pomodoro sauce.

It was all very nice and we were finished in good time to get to the Artscape. Sometimes parking is chaos so we always make sure to be early but we got parked and inside with no issues. We even found a place to sit and have a coffee before the doors to the theatre opened.

We were attending La bohème by Puccini which is based on a collection of vignettes portraying young bohemians living in the Latin Quarter of Paris in the 1840s. This production was a modern interpretation and seemed to be set in the 1960s.

We were seated on the second row and could see the performers’ faces so well but the translations are shown on a screen way up at the top of the theatre so you end up quickly craning your neck and peeking up to read the translation and then quickly casting your eyes back down to watch the stage. It works out OK as the translation may say something brief and simple like “I love you Mimi” but they then sing for 10 minutes. Italian must be a very descriptive language or else English is succinct and to the point. I always find that funny. I loved that the words were translated on two screens, one in English and the other in Xhosa.

There were several American singers in the cast as well as white and African local artists. There was even a drag queen playing the role of Schaunard. We all know my drag queen obsession so I was mesmerized.

The basic premise of the Cape Town version of the opera was an artist reminiscing about his youth. So the old artist plays next to the young artist on stage. It is a bit like ‘A Christmas Carol’ without the obligatory Tiny Tim.

And I don’t mean this guy and his ukulele.

There was a kids choir occasionally milling about dressed in Batman suits but I am not clear what the hell they had to do with anything.

We really enjoyed it and headed off happily afterwards. We were both tired and ready to be home with our pups. We joked about going dancing and how when we met we would have eaten dinner after the show instead of at 5:30pm and would have still gone clubbing afterwards. When we got to Hout Bay the village was in darkness, there were no street lights on and only a few traffic lights were working. We headed off towards home just to make sure but the guard told us the power had been off since 10pm which meant it would not come back on until midnight at the earliest.

Norm confessed that he did not have a key and I wanted to garrot him with my handbag strap. I had been up since 6am and was exhausted. We decided to go into the village and see if anywhere was open. We saw people outside at Spiro’s Greek Street and could hear music playing so we pulled in there. We ordered drinks at the new bar and wandered off towards the music. It was pumping in the back of the restaurant and it looked like a function was on but we were not in the mood for a crowd and took our drinks to the front patio and sat in the cool night air and chatted until midnight then headed home. Ironic how our jokes about going out after the opera resulted in that becoming a reality. As we arrived at the house the power came back on and the entire house lit up.

Luckily we did not have anything scheduled yesterday and could sleep in. The dogs forced Norman up to feed them but I went back to sleep until 10 and then Norm brought me coffee in bed. Norm made us brunch and we spent the day listening to music and relaxing while the power was on.

We had been scheduled to have load shedding from 10pm to 12 again last night and rather than deal with the lights coming on while sleeping we decided to go up to bed at 10 having turned everything off and just use our iPads til we were ready to go to sleep. We rushed the dogs out to wee then got all of the animals upstairs, we both had a cold shower and got into bed. We were busy playing games on our iPads and realized it was 10:20 and we still had the fan going. We checked the electricity website and Schedule 3 had been cancelled and we were not to be turned off til early this morning. We were so annoyed and the dogs were so confused. We went back downstairs to watch telly a bit longer but it was all very disruptive.

It has been a busy week at work as we were finishing off the development for this phase. We have just been asked to quote for more work with this client and expect to be there until May. We just found out that we were awarded the bid for the big project at UCT and I really hope I can move seamlessly over to that project when it kicks off.

It has been hot all week and we are still keeping to low carb eating. The heat means I’m eating tons of salad, so low carb is easy in this weather.

Last Sunday neither of us felt like cooking and so Norm went to Cassarechio and ordered takeaways for us. We had the fillet trinchado and melanzane parmigiana and shared them. It was an usual combo but it was very tasty.

On Monday Norm made low carb chicken patties and I made sweet potatoes and broccoli roasted in coconut oil. It was all delicious.

Tuesday was the 30th anniversary since Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Vester prison.

In commemoration, the Nelson Mandela Foundation hosted three events, two of which were in the Cape Town CBD.

President Cyril Ramaphosa stood on the balcony of the Town Hall in the same spot where Madiba had addressed the nation and gave his infamous speech.

This was a wonderful tribute to an amazing man, but the event caused insanity with the traffic throughout the entire city and surrounds. It took me 1.5 hours to get home and I was not even traveling anywhere near the CBD.

Cyril was a chatty traffic causing fella this week as he also delivered the State of The Nation address on Thursday evening. I was relieved I wasn’t working in the CBD as you have to escape just after lunch if you want to get out without hours spent sitting in traffic.

I could have written it for him and saved us all a lot of time. My summary of the State of the Nation?

The economy is shit, unemployment is off the charts, crime is ridiculously high, the standards for school systems have been pushed so low that many graduates are illiterate, the government run parastatals are failing and women and children are traumatized, raped and murdered in ever increasing numbers and he makes empty promises to the victims and the nation but nothing changes.

Other than that the state of the nation is fabulous.

Ramaphosa is the head of the ANC, the political party who has embezzled, bled, drained and decimated this country since they came into power. How can he even dare to even speak Mandela’s name?

Is it symbolic of the State of South Africa that on Tuesday the 12th child died since the start of the school year? The boy was allegedly having a seizure and somehow fell from the third floor of the school. The other 11 deaths were the result of a variety of circumstances ranging from crime, suicide to drowning. All so tragic, how many could have been prevented?

Anyway. If I dwell on Trump, Cyril or Boris it makes me crazy so let’s move on.

Tuesday evening when I finally got home, Norm had made dinner. He grilled pork chops and made steamed broccoli, cauliflower cheese and fried mushrooms. It was yummy.

Wednesday night we cooked together. Norm chopped chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and I fried it with a chopped onion. Once it was browned I covered it with chicken stock, added garlic and spices and let it simmer. I roasted sweet potatoes in coconut oil and then added in broccoli for the last 15 minutes. Once the chicken was tender I added a container of double cream and a bag of washed baby spinach.

It was yummy and the chicken was so juicy and tender. For you carb eaters it would be brilliant over pasta.

On Thursday it was very hot again. I worked over and Norm had a late meeting so when he got home we just made our favorite bacon and halloumi salad. It is quick and always a winner.

Friday started out so nicely. When I went downstairs to go to work there were the most beautiful flowers awaiting me. I adore lilies and there were those as well as the obligatory red roses. They are perfection.

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I am a lucky Kitten.

This week our clothes dryer died. We tried to remember when we bought it and we think it was when we moved from Ireland to England so it would have been about 1998. It was a basic brand as we were pretty broke then, so the fact it survived for 22 years is impressive. But it’s death means forking out for a new dryer.

When shopping with the girls last week I spotted a few items I liked but I did not want to take up the limited time for wedding bits shopping for myself and so I decided to go online and order some things when we got home. I spent far more than I intended and when they arrived on Thursday I was a bit pleased not all of them were suitable so I get some money back in my account when I return them so that can go towards the dryer.

Things always somehow work out.

Today is cooler and there is a mist over the bay so it is lovely. I should go to the mall and return the clothes but I’m feeling too lazy. We will just watch a film and have a pajama day.

I hope you have all had a good week last week and I wish the same for next week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo