A Day For Freedom

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa so we get a 3 day weekend. Freedom Day celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. The elections were the first national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group was allowed to vote. Even women 😉.

It was no surprise to anyone that Nelson Mandela became our president as a result of that election. I was living in SA at the time and was able to be a part of the transition that the country went through as apartheid ended. 

 

I do not think that Nelson would be pleased with the lack of progress that his political party has made in raising the standards of living for most of its constituents- the unemployment rate is still approximately 1 in 4, officially its at 24% but experts say in reality is is more like 40%.

 

 

Half of the country live below the poverty line. What exactly does that mean in actuality? That means that 27 million people live on approximately R775 per month.

That is the equivalent of about $65 USD. 

Many people still live in shacks within an informal settlement. This usually means they have no infrastructure in place for basic human needs such as toilets, running water or electricity. 

 

The crime rates, and that is including violent crime such as murder and rape  are one of the world’s worst- this includes rape of children and even infants. GHB (date rape drug) is used in bars and clubs on both men and women. 

The rates of addiction seem to be ever on the increase with the scourge of crystal meth contributing to the crime rates. Here in SA it is called ‘tik’ due to the noise the glass pipes make when cooling off. 

  

Meanwhile our presidential Nero fiddles in Nkandla while our beloved country deteriorates around us. 

The president has been accused of rape, of various other unsavory and unethical crimes. He has been caught red handed embezzling money to renovate his home. 

I am sure Mandela is crying for the people he devoted his life to freeing from the shackles of apartheid but the word ‘freedom’ rings false in my ears. How free are you when you are starving, when you have only a bit of tin to protect you from the elements. When you have very little education? When your future consists only of hope that your children can achieve what you never managed to achieve? So many children go to school with no breakfast or lunch and possibly even no dinner the night before. How can you learn when your stomach is empty? 

The government party that we all celebrated 21 years ago as representing hope for SA is now representing nothing but corruption. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am still grateful for a day off. I still woke at 6.30 as there is no chance of a lie in with 5 animals staring hungrily at you. 

It is a stunning day, sunny and warm. I was going to go out but I think I will just relax in the shade by the pool. 

Last night Cait and I were on our own so we cooked. We had a meat free, carb free meal. We made gorgeous home made fish cakes but with cauliflower mash instead of potato. To go with it we made some pea purée and roasted peppers and beet root. All organic as well. We felt very proud of ourselves. 

It’s been a lovely relaxing weekend. On Saturday Norm and I went to our fave Indian restaurant The Indian Oven. We had the vegetarian starter platter. 

   

The platter contained Samoosas, aloo paratha, onion bhajee and aubergine bhajee with sauces and cost R65. It would easily feed 3-4 people as a starter, it was huge! I do love the onion bhajees. 

For my main I had prawn curry (R125) and onion fried rice, Norm had lamb korma (at R90.00 and for the non-indian food fans consists of cubed lamb cooked in a creamy cashew nut gravy with a delicious blend of traditional Indian spices) and egg fried rice.  We also shared saag aloo (R60) which is spinach and potato in a curry sauce. It was all so divine. The prawns tasted fresh and it had just the right amount of spices. Hot but not face melting hot. The rice dishes are approx R20 each. 

   

They also do amazing naan bread, thin and crisp and dripping with butter. All in all a brilliant dinner.  

But put against the comparison of what most people in SA have as a monthly amount to spend, we spent more in one night than many people have budgeted for a month. 

I’m always aware of this divergence, but with the current government I can’t see how this will change anytime soon. 

Despite all of this, I do love SA and I hope that somehow things will come right and true freedom will be the right of every person here. Freedom from hunger, from poverty, from crime, from hate, from persecution. 

   

South Africa – my heart home. 

 

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Keeping Watch

Tonight is date night. I’m not sure where we are going yet but we have plenty of options in Hout Bay.

It’s been a bit overcast and chilly today. The weather has suddenly shifted in Cape Town, one week it is so hot we are still sitting by the pool and wearing flip flops and then the next so chilly we were in boots and sweaters.

We only have 2 routes into the CBD from Hout Bay so I was really dreading the road works starting this week as it closed one of them. Camps Bay Drive is a busy road which has not been renovated in about 30 years and due to the new tourist bus route coming from Table Mountain to Hout Bay and Camps Bay as well as the new MyCity bus system, this road gets far more traffic than it was designed to support. It’s a rather gorgeous view to travel to work though isn’t it? 

 

Funny enough the traffic has been better! The usual stream of drivers who take this direct route have now been trickle fed via many other well marked diversion signage routes. 

Lily took Amber the birthday gifts I got for her and she liked them! I gave her the turquoise owl pot, the cupcake and the tray with pinup and cat.

   

 

Tuesday after work I went to David King the Body Reactivation  practitioner I’ve been seeing. He has done great things for me both physically and energetically. He’s helped my posture and back pain as well as my digestive issues. Energy wise he works like kinesiology does. I find him very effective. 

We had load shedding when I arrived home Tuesday so I lit candles and played games on my iPad. Norm went to get a pizza for us as you can manage to eat that even in the dark. At least when there is no electricity I have an amazing excuse for not cooking. Not that I ever cook, but at least I have an excuse without electricity. 

Wednesday lunch we went to Me ‘n u pub restaurant by our office. Vera had the roast vegetable salad.

 

I had a steak and mustard sauce wrap with chips. The steak was tender it was sliced thinly and in bite size pieces.

 

It was good. Certainly a new option for when friends meet me for lunch.  

Wednesday night Norm and I drove up into Imizamo Yethu to drop Cordelia. It is now getting dark so early. Cordelia arrives late and moves at a leisurely pace as she can’t leave unless someone is home from work to let her out. 

I am always apprehensive to drive up into the rabbit warren of streets that is IY. 

  

We headed to La Cuccina for the Hout Bay Neighborhood Watch awards dinner. We saw some friends and had yummy finger foods. I had a few vodkas but poor Norm was driving. It was a good night and we enjoyed ourselves. Norm was even nominated for an award! His friend JJ deservedly won it. He devotes so much time to HBNW. 

 

Thursday we again had load shedding from 6pm-830pm. Norm collected grilled fish from Spiro’s so at least that was covered! It was quite lovely in the candlelight don’t you think?

  

Friday night Caitlin had some friends round for board games. They made a lot of noise but I love hearing laughter so it’s all good. They played board games out on the back patio and Norm and I just chilled out inside. We had delicious black bean noodles and light, crispy fried wontons from Thai cafe

I’m now off for a shower, it’s a 3 day weekend and I’ve been so lazy! I’ll make sure and take pics of whatever we get up to and update you tomorrow. Have a great weekend! 

Blessings

Today i had a moment of such deep gratitude. When it is our life we just accept it but today I had a moment where I just felt so blessed. I was sitting by the pool while the animals all chased each other and Norm repotted some plants. I just felt like I could not think of anything I need in life. I may not be rich but I certainly have all that I could need or want. 

We loved having Lily here all week as she was down for a job interview. We sent Norm out hunting for fish and chips on Monday and he ended up bringing home grilled kingklip and chips, oh wow it was amazing! I did not snap a pic but trust me if you fancy fish, Spiro is the man to fulfill that need! 

We cooked a bit this week and we really enjoyed eating organic fresh food. I’m getting quick at making these delicious eggplant / Aubergine babies. 

  

This plate doesn’t allow you any reason to miss meat, we did breaded aubergines and we mixed Parmesan in with the breadcrumbs, we did sweet potato mash, spinach, and fried green peppers and shallots. We added a bit of roast onion marmalade and it all meshed gorgeously. 

We woke on Thirsday to load shedding, this is where the electricity company turns off areas of the grid. That meant I went to work with wet hair. And dressed in the dark. Lovely.

Thursday night my manicurist did a home visit. It is such a pleasure having Vanessa come to my house. We had mexican food after my pedicure,  with mushroom burritos for Cait and mince tacos and burritos for the rest of us, it was really yummy. Norm did his usual and put his mince in a burger bun. Odd man. 

Friday was Lily’s graduation from CPUT with her receiving her honour degree in Event Management. We arrived and ran round sorting out tickets, gowns, seating and photos so had no time for lunch. I saved a seat for her Dad so we could watch her together. She looked so gorgeous as always.

 

We only finished after 5pm and then we had to drop me to collect my car at work and she had to drop her Dad to meet his wife. 

But we had a wee moment of celebration for Lily.

 

 

We went home and Lily rang the recruiter about her job she had interviewed for and they made her a good offer so she finally has a definite job and start date. And to happen on the same day as she graduates was very cool. 

Lily and I got into comfy clothes and with Norm we all went off to Papino’s as Lily fancied a steak. We sat down and the waItress said that load shedding was scheduled in 30 minutes! We had thought it was due at 10 not 8! We ordered our steaks and a drink and settled in. 

Our drinks arrived and we poured in the mixer and took a sip and gagged. Instead of vodka, passion fruit and lemonade we had been given vodka, soda and lime, yech! Too acidic and bitter so we sent them back. We had replacement drinks quickly so no damage done. 

Lily ordered a plain fillet steak at R150 with extra pepper sauce at about R15, and Norm and I had the Hollandse Biefstuk. This is a Pan-fried beef fillet with mushrooms flambéed with brandy and it was R165. They both come with veggies and we all ordered chips. 

 


They managed to get us all fed and we only had about 15 minutes of relying solely on candle light. It was quite nice in the dark! 

We headed home just after 9 and we couldn’t remember if we had latched the door and therefore would be unable to get in with no electricity as the garage was electric. We decided if we couldn’t get in we would go to the pub. 

When we went outside we were told that a Mercedes had backed into our car, the driver got out and looked at the front of my car then drove off! How slimey, to know you do wrong and to run. 

It put a dampener on what had been a fabulous day. 

Yesterday Lily drove back to George and Cait was off with her Dad. Norm and I had a lazy day then decided to pop out for dinner. We managed to get parking and a table at Ragafellows. We ordered a drink and a burger it was the usual standard of fabulousness. We had an early night and came home to watch a film. I was asleep in 10 minutes as usual. Oops. 

Today we wanted to replace the big pot plant which had gotten broken recently by the kids so we went to Earthworx Garden Centre and had a wander round. 

  

We finally chose a big creamy pot and a few petunias as well as a vine. I adore vines. We had a bit of lunch and a cappuccino. Not the best poached eggs as the bacon was a bit half cooked and the egg yolks were overcooked. But it was edible.

 

 

We placed the new pot with the replanted old plant next to the pool. It’s the big spiky one in the corner.

  

We put the vine by the patio at back and we hope it climbs up the rail or the drain. 

 


Pixie helped of course.

 

  

We have had a busy week but it has been lots of fun. I hope you had a good one? 

“Take Yours, I’ll Take Mine”

Considering that this was a 4 day week it has felt like the longest week all year! 

On Wednesday evening it was just me and Norm at home so we decided to go to Pescarne for dinner as we had seen on their Facebook page that there was a new owner.  

 

We thought the changes they made to the outside area were a real improvement when there on a summer’s hot evening, however I am not sure how good an idea it will be to have it open to the elements in the winter. The problem for us non-smokers is that all the best outside seating is allocated for smokers, despite this being in violation of the law. Laws seldom are adhered to in SA however so us non-smokers just have to bear it.

 

The doors were all open and the smoke permeated the inside of the venue as well. We chose a seat away from the door but it happened to be next to a large family. I suspect they do not get out much as they were incredibly loud and over-excited. (The parents, not the children, as the children sat so nicely and we did not hear a peep from them but the parents had maybe been nipping at the sherry and were incredibly shouty.)

 

So off we moved to the other side of the restaurant.

 

I had been craving some nice seafood so I ordered the ‘baby’seafood platter at R165. 

 

 

 

It had 6 decent sized freshly grilled prawns, a huge meaty  piece of hake, grilled calamari tubes and heads, 4 of the worlds tiniest mussels and chips and rice.

I asked for some lemon or garlic butter for the prawns. The problem with an open kitchen and loud voices is I can hear someone shout ‘garlic butter??’ loudly in a ‘wtf do they want that for’ manner. It arrived solid so I asked the waitress for melted butter to dip my prawns in. Off it went to the kitchen again and eventually came back in a suitable dipping consistency. The food was really nice, all tasting fresh and perfectly cooked. There were no stray bones in my hake and it was a thick moist piece of fish and the coating crispy. As mentioned the mussels were not nice but that was all I could say was not excellent, they tasted fine they were just microscopic 

Norm ordered the fillet steak. 250grams at R149.

 

He enjoyed it. He is Scots, they say very little. He did say he prefers Papino’s as he likes the big side of steamed veggies that come with their steaks. 

The staff were pleasant and eager to please, the food was great and we will definitely go back.

Thursday my friend Retha and I had booked a girls cocktail evening at Kitima. (Note their own website is down at present) We had booked and asked specifically for the corner table and chairs as we detest those little backless stools. We always sit in the same corner. Anyway we arrived and there seemed to be a new hostess, Bronwyn, at least I didn’t recognize her. She could not find our booking at all and peered at the screen for ages. Finally she marched off but she didn’t seem to know where to put us, She said we were booked in the hallway when we questioned about someone being seated in the seats we reserved even though the rest of the bar was entirely empty. 

She sat us on the little backless stools we had booked early to avoid. So we sat for a second, got annoyed and went and found her and brought her back to say we were not happy. She then seemed as if we were being awkward about her disorganization. She had a lot of attitude. 

We finally got settled on a couch and got in a round of cocktails. Throughout the night we tried a variety of delicious concoctions.

  

Kitima knows how to make a cocktail.

We always order a few bits of dimsum or sushi and appetizers to share and this night we followed our usual path. We had salmon roses, chicken satay, duck spring rolls, and prawn and mozzarella balls.

  

    

 

Those prawns balls are amaze balls.  Crispy, moist, full of flavour and sitting in a wee puddle of a rich sweet sauce and a dollop of wasabi.

 Oh. 

My.

 We relaxed and chatted and laughed while quaffing the cocktails.

  

 

We decided to have dessert and I spotted a peanut butter cake dessert with peanut butter ice cream. I so adore peanut butter. I even mentioned to the waiter that I love peanut butter. Retha ordered amarula parfait I think it was, it’s a pain with the website being down I can’t give prices either. 😦

The waiter came out and asked me what ice cream I wanted and I confirmed again, peanut butter. Then the chef popped up out of nowhere and said to me that they were out of peanut butter ice cream but she could maybe scrape together some mango, I said I thought peanut butter cake and mango ice cream sounded revolting so just bring chocolate instead.

My dessert arrived and I said to the waiter that it was the chocolate fondant not the peanut butter cake.

 

He insisted it was the chocolate peanut butter cake so I ate some and then I knew for sure I had the wrong dessert.

Retha enjoyed hers.

 

Then what I ordered arrives with the supposedly non-existent peanut butter ice Cream! How confusing.

 

So after all that bother I learned that the peanut butter cake is not all that wonderful, the chocolate fondant is what I often order and it was much nicer. The peanut ice cream is amazing though. It was slightly Rocky road. I think it was a quick fix mix of peanut butter stirred  into some rocky road but it was delicious!

We were collected by Norm and toddled off home. I felt the pain of all those cocktails when I woke at 6am on Friday however. Ouch. I even had a friend meeting me for lunch. I felt like death.

We went to Tortilla Modern Mexican for lunch and I figured that would either kill or cure me. Lucky it perked me right up and I had a lovely chatty lunch with my friend.

Saturday Lily and I ran errands and did a bit of shopping n Constantia Village. We found some birthday presents for Amber in a cute funky gift shop and as the Constantia Click’s is so much better stocked we headed off there and after decided to pop into Melissa’s for some lunch. It was soooo hot and we sat outside.

 

We ordered the amazing lemonade which is so divine and refreshing.

Lily is wearing a linen dress I’ve had for over 20 years, she throws on a belt and looks stunning. I love seeing my daughters in things I loved. She is such a beauty isn’t she?

We shared a Caesar salad and a roast beef sandwich.

 

The beef sandwich came with a sweet chilli and coriander pesto which was amazing. I so loved it, but Lily was not a fan. The Caesar salad had a lot of shredded bacon, I think the heavily anchovies sauce was the perfect balance to the salty bacon. I loved both dishes.

We hit Pic and Pay and bought a few bits in the sale for Lily and a few things for me then heeded home as Lily and Cait had friends coming to stay and Norm and I were off to another Artists In Residence  events at 15 On Orange, one of the African Pride Hotel gems. We attended the Jimmy Nevis concert with the same theme and loved it so were highly excited about seeing Matthew Mole as I love his voice. We arrived and were seated at the top of the venue as last time we were below stage level.

We were served drinks and happily started in on the meze platter and snacks.

 

There were a variety of cheeses, some candied walnuts and honey covering a creamy Brie, some hard emmenthaler, salami, Parma ham, zucchini circling rounds of creamy goats cheese, bits of fig, capers a cup with humus and some crudités and a few different bits of crispy breads. Plenty to keep us occupied.

Matthew came onstage at about 7.45 but where he stood while performing meant all I could see was a speaker.

I tried leaning but it wasn’t great visibility. There was another table with no one there so about half way through we figured no one was coming that late and Norm went to ask if we could move. They quickly shifted things around and moved us and we then had an amazing view for the latter half of the 1st set.

He sang all of the songs we all know and even through in a cover of ‘Heartbreaker’ by Black Eyed Peas. He has a really lovely deep Rich voice and we were so enjoying ourselves.

 

 

The 2nd course of food arrived just as we moved seats which was way ahead of the itinerary.

 

 

There was a delicious creamy curry chicken and rice dish with crispy onions on top. It was so beautifully flavored. There was also a beef and cous cous dish with morrocan seasoning topped with crispy parsnip slivers and topped with a yogurt dip. However it was in a bowl and we had no knives, so it was impossible to eat the large slabs of meat with the fatty borders. So that went to waste. Norm shoved his in but a lady can’t get away with that.

The dessert came so quickly, we were still on our mains! It was so rushed I didn’t even get a photo. We then noticed that the roadies were breaking down the stage. We finished our food and watched people start to leave. Eventually Norm went over to ask the staff who told him there is no 2nd set that Matthew Mole refused to play further.

The itinerary clearly showed 2 sets.

 

But clearly the hotel did not deliver on what they told their clients to expect. We were left hanging in limbo, the whole situation poorly managed by the people planning the event. No one even came to announce it is over, and when Matthew Mole wandered vaguely off most people expected him to return.

What a disappointing evening. We had lovely food, lovely entertainment just not the amount of entertainment we were promised. I can’t understand why they didn’t bring in a struggling local artist as a warm up and let Matthew do the 2nd set?

The service was nowhere near as good as last time. Last time it was as if we had our own personal waitress and our glasses were never empty. Last night we had to literally wave one of the staff down to ask for a drink.

We so love the set up but this has left us angry, disappointed and feeling cheated and questioning whether we should even bother to attend the next event.  In all the evening cost us R1000 by the time I had 4 vodka lemonades. Norm was driving so only had 1 little glass of the sparkling wine that comes with the tickets. Parking was another R25. And it was over at 8.30 pm?

Today we are having a well deserved pajama day. I hope you all have a nice day doing whatever you chose to do on your day of rest.

 

Found In The Wilderness

This weekend Norm and I had 4 days off for the Easter weekend and Lily and Josh were in Cape Town to babysit the animals, so Norm and I decided to take off to The Garden Route to visit my son Trevor and his girlfriend Amber in their new home. They moved in at the end of January but with Norm being away and everything else going on we couldn’t seem to get away until now.

Caitlin and her friend Annie were also going down but we took 2 cars so we had independence. 

We left just after 10 on Friday and arrived in the afternoon in The Wilderness where they live. You see the stunning beach stretching out in front of you as you come down Kaaimans pass, it is breathtaking.

  

There is a small village with a few bars and restaurants and various shops, it is a popular tourist spot and has a reputation as being a bit of a hippy hang out.

Trevor and Amber’s new house is opposite a national park, the front of their house looks out at a marsh heavily populated with birds and a variety of mammals. We saw a female bushbuck and Trev said he saw a mongoose and another critter fighting. The other benefit is that no houses can ever be built across from them.

  

We arrived to grey drizzly weather. But we settled in and unpacked and that evening we all headed off to Joplin’s Steak House just 5 minutes up the road. Joplin’s is owned by Amber’s mom Rose and she makes the best steaks you can ever hope to eat. She serves them with garlic butter and a fried egg and chips.

  

Simple, hearty, perfectly prepared food. We had a few bottles of wine to wash it down and spent hours talking and laughing.

This is Amber on the left and my daughter Caitlin on the right.   

 

Saturday Amber had decided to cook a big lunch and had invited lots of their friends and family around. She spent all day cooking and made a big ham, several roast chickens, broccoli and cauliflower in a cheese sauce, gem squash stuffed with creamed spinach, homemade bread and proper southern stuffing using my Grandma’s recipe. There was such a feast! It really was delicious. 

Later in the evening when there was just 6 of us left we played Settlers of Catan. It’s a fun strategy board game. Amber kicked our asses. Beauty and brains? My son is a lucky boy.

Amber also has fabulous taste, she has so many little touches which make the house so homely.

   

   

But the house is designed to be a safe and secure playground for their 4 cats.

   

  

 We had such a brilliant family day. 

Sunday the sun peeked out a wee bit so Norm and I went for a walk on the beach.

   

   

Even though it wasn’t a terribly sunny day it was warm enough that afterwards I needed a cocktail so we headed to The Blue Olive for a strawberry daquiri of course.

   

We then had a drive around the village and then headed back to Trevor and Amber’s and had a little nap as we were out that night for dinner.  

  

We went to Flava Cafe for dinner and it was packed out. Easter is a big tourist weekend in the Garden Route so most places are fully booked. We had a lovely family evening, and the food was very good. 

  

Norm had a burger with Camembert, bacon and cranberries,  Trevor had lamb kofka, Amber had the Moroccan chicken, Caitlin had a Moroccan prawn salad, Annie had the hake and chips and I had Thai fish cakes.

  

The weekend flew by, even with 4 days there. We got up on Monday and had a slow morning getting ready and headed home about 10.30 and made good time until we got to Sir Lowry’s pass and there was a huge bottleneck of traffic which added an extra hour to our journey.

   

Not a huge pain as it was only an hour and the view was stunning. 

Our pups were so happy to see us once we finally got home.

The ultimate wish of all parents is that their children grow up to be happy, healthy and self sufficient. I know that is what I want for my 3 children. 

It makes me so happy to see my son happy, with a good job and such a wonderful girl to settle down with. Amber was one of Lily’s best friends since they were tiny, so she fits into our family seamlessly and she and Trevor seem to be the perfect compliment to each other.

You often hear tales of people being lost in the wilderness, for them it appears that instead of being lost they have found what most people spend decades searching for. It makes a mom’s heart happy.