Fair Enough

When I left the U.K. I was just about to lose my driving license due to too many speeding fines. The U.K. system is points based and I was a ticket away from running out of points. This week I paid almost 2 thousand rand in traffic fines. Some behavior never changes. I’m a road raging speed demon. Hooting and swearing my entire journey. I need to chill out.

With this in mind I am so torn between the need to be aware of the travesty of the effects of The Furher’s decisions and my need for peace in my heart and the preservation of my sanity.


From tomorrow I am going to try and not share or read anything about Trump or to watch the hours of CNN and the BBC World News I currently consume.

Instead I’m going to try and reduce my stress levels. I’ll watch beautiful images and listen to soothing sounds to amuse me.

My heart needs a break.

This week work was all meetings and workshops as I’m working with a team on a set of deliverables. Saying that the week flew by!

We again tried to stay relatively low carb most of the time. The weather was hot so we cooked on the gas grill a few nights.  We did a mix of veggies or salad. One night I made a salad of mango, avo and feta, it was a great combo! Sweet, salty and tasty. Another night I steamed cauliflower and fried mushrooms in garlic butter. I chopped up brussel sprouts and cooked them in chicken stock then fried them in butter to brown. These are so tasty and divine when cooked like that.

Maybe it is because I am an only child and never learned to share nicely but I have a bit of an obsession with fairness.

This week I signed up to attend a dinner function at Pure Restaurant which is in Hout Bay Manor. It was a wine and dine event publicized at R425 per person with the food produced by Pure and wine chosen to compliment each course from   Eikendal Winery.


I booked via the Manor email address which had sent out the above image advertising the event and I received an invoice to settle in order to book our seats and noticed I had been charged two additional line items on top of the advertised R425 per person so I was surprised and rather annoyed. There were surcharges for  gratuity and vat.


I was annoyed that the staff would not be incentivized to provide good service and that I could not use my own judgement to decide what their service merited in regards to a gratuity. I was also pretty sure it is illegal to charge VAT over and above the advertised price. I emailed back in response giving my opinion on their invoice and asking them to remove me from their distribution list. It felt so shady! I hadn’t gone to their events for a long time as I felt the energy of the place was dulled and I wasn’t a fan of the menu last time we did. I also find it incredibly bad practice to not publish the menu for a dinner event. What is it a lucky packet? The wine may be the cherry on top of a wine pairing but the food is what gets our attention and gets us salivating. I had to write to ask for the menu every event. this time I got it from the winery! I gave up asking them and therefore have not been in a while.

We are desperate for rain and when I woke on Friday morning it was spitting with rain as I drove in so I put on my rain coat to traipse into the city. It did not rain even a tiny drop on my journey across to work from the hotel where I park.

I left the office to go and get my coffee at the cafe and I didn’t bother with my raincoat and while there the heavens opened and it poured down rain, sheets of it.

There is a secret passage from the cafe to my office so I thought I would be clever & go through there. However I got lost in all of the dimly lit passageways which look exactly the same.

Cue panic attack.

I was hyperventilating when I finally saw a security guard in the distance, I ran to her and hugged her like I had been lost in the jungle for a month. She thought I was insane but let me travel in the freight elevator with her. All this happened before 730am. I worked and headed home early to get ready for the event at HB manor.

We arrived at the Manor promptly at 645pm and it was still quite bright outside. As I opened my door their staff was on hand to block me getting out of the car. Usually when you arrive at the hotel a parking attendant is swiftly there to open the ladies’ doors. He said hastily ‘Sorry ma’am but we are closed.’ I asked him whether he meant the event was not on? I told him we are booked and paid to attend the Eikendal Wime and Dine. He said ‘sorry I was told not to let anyone in.’ I finally convinced him we were booked and he let us in. Do I look unworthy for your establishment? It felt very unwelcoming.

We were welcomed at the bar with a giant smile however and we were quickly given a chilled glass of rose.

A few minutes after we arrived we were served an Amuse Bouche and it went perfectly with the beautiful light rose. It was Asparagus shavings and fig. There was a creamy base too but not sure what it was. I thought it was fresh and lovely. I adore figs.

Norm thought it tasted like grass clippings.


We had our glass of wine in the manor lounge and then went through to the restaurant and had a seat.


The next course was billed as Pork belly with apple gratin and apple salsa. It also had a crunchy little bed under the salsa. To me it was more of a sorbet, not a salsa. It was ice cold and to me the contrast of cold with the other items was odd. The flavours were gorgeous, I thought but I could not get past the cold sweetness combined with the pork belly. I adored the apple crisp. It was delicious pork belly, some of the best I have eaten. They served it with both an unwooded Chardonnay as well as a wooded Chardonnay. I’m not usually too keen on wooded so I concentrated on the unwooded and it was divine!

Oddly enough the next course was the one I was least looking forward to but turned out to be one of my favourites. It was Ostrich with red cabbage salad and smoked truffle aioli. The ostrich was so tender and it was not at all gamey which is what puts me off most ostrich fillets. This was served with a rich gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m not a huge red fan but I enjoyed it.

That truffle aioli was to die for!


Beef short rib was the next course, served with duchess potatoes and gremolata. There was a beautiful cluster of sweet baby tomatoes on the vine which had been roasted to perfection. The wine served was Charisma. This was my absolute favourite of the reds. It was delicious.


Dessert was a white chocolate semifreddo layered with strawberry jelly and topped with two little bits of delicious chewy almond nougat. There was a little quenelle of strawberry sorbet and crunchy ground almonds. This was delicious! I’m not a huge fan of jelly so wasn’t enamored of the texture of the jelly combined with the creamy semifreddo but overall it was lovely. The wine was a Pinotage.


We ended up tipping the waiters almost twice what they would have made had I given them the 12% requested on the invoice. The staff were attentive, polite, smiling and pretty fabulous. The singer was light and played some nice relaxing dinner tunes. All in all, despite the rough start, I give the evening 4 Kitten Stars.

The next morning I was off to the hairdresser in the city. I had my hair coloured but didn’t cut as it is falling nicely still.


Norm worked on the kitchen tiling all weekend. He finished a lot of the trim and the bit on each side of the extractor hood.


Once he stopped working he walked the dogs and we decided to go out for dinner. We spotted a table outside at Indian Oven and so we stopped there.

We ordered a few Starters. We had prawn pakora at R65 which had large whole prawns in a crispy batter and was so delicious! We also ordered our usual fave, spinach bahjees at R45.


We had our usual Mains. Norm had chicken korma, I had prawn curry and we shared the saag aloo.

On our way home I was so glad Norm was driving as he is so much more patient than I am, so when a big pick up truck almost pulled out of a stop street in front of us Norm stopped and waved him on.  I would have hooted, glared and sped past. Norm had to wait ages for the guy to pull off but when he did the dude rammed his petrol pedal and shot off down main road, I felt uneasy and said to Norm that I thought the guy was drunk. Next he veered left and headed for the cars which were parked in front of Cheyne’s and just before he hit them he jerked hard to the right, careening head on towards a Mercedes driving on the other side of the road. The Mercedes driver stopped and the truck jerked left just in time to avoid a high speed head on collision. The truck carried on so fast we could barely catch him, I wanted to get his car registration to phone into Neighbourhood Watch. The driver then turned right at the new roundabout up into Baviianskloof, narrowly missing a third collision with a car which was already in the roundabout, I cannot imagine how much this guy had to drink as his driving was off the hook. However I hope he made it home to his bed with no incidents as the roads up there are narrow and winding.

Today I have been so lazy. A total day of relaxation. I did make lunch for us. There is no food in the house but out of some wilted lettuce, a red pepper, pickles, tuna, egg and an avocado I managed a rather lovely meal.


Tonight we had take aways from the chippy and I’m about to watch the remake of Point Break. I hope you have enjoyed your weekend, mine has been rather lovely.

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Impervious to Pain

I recently watched a film called ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ where the actors were discussing the fearlessness that comes from having survived something of such trauma and heartbreak that you can then endure anything else life may throw at you. Tempered in steel.


Deep trauma changes a person. I know that I am one of those changed by my past. I also know that women are able to endure a lot of pain, both internal and external, mental and physical. Much more than most men can in my opinion. 

The strength of a collective group of women was never more evident than the Women’s Marches which occurred world wide on the 21st January to protest the election of a misogynistic racist pussy grabber to the office of US President and to show solidarity of support of women’s rights. 


I had felt so heartsore over the election of that beast that the images of women united together in spirit from all over the world made me feel a bit of hope. It lightened my despair.

This week has passed in a blur. I just know I seemed to drink a lot of coffee, that is always the case when I have a lot of workshops. They require a lot of energy especially if I am facilitating. We had a battle of the coffee supplier this week with 3 different coffee brands sending in baristas to do tastings for free then allowing us to vote for our favorite. In my opinion the best by a mile was illy coffee which was so divine I had 3 cups. So 5 in all that morning if I add in the others which I sampled.

We had a week of unique and traumatic  wildlife interactions. We had yet another giant leopard toad appear in our kitchen. 


That makes 9 of them already this year. As we take them far down the hill to release on the green this cannot possibly be the same toad reappearing. As Caitlin and I are both phobic this makes for a lot of screaming and hyperventilating when we stumble upon one.

On Thursday night Caitlin had a fright when driving home when an owl flew into her car. Luckily it just scooted across her bonnet and she thinks it was only dazed. How upsetting!

Friday I gave Daren a lift and we drove up Suikerbossie Hill watching carefully for the owl. Next thing we know a minicab taxi is hurtling towards us on our side of the road, luckily Darren shouted and I moved lanes to avoid colliding head on with the van. We neither died, nor spotted the owl. Win. Win.

We tried to keep to Low Carb eating where we could and the hot weather led to us cooking outside several nights this week. Norm cooked fillet steaks and chicken sausage for us on Friday, it felt like a nice way to kick off the weekend.

Saturday morning I was up early to head to Noordhoek to go to the chiropractor with Pixie. She has improved ever so much! She can jump up and is much stronger. She is so sweet. 


She loves that frisbee.

Norm has been working on my kitchen all weekend. He rented a tile cutter and is finishing up the tiling. He dropped me at Retha Saturday afternoon for drinks. We chatted in the sun by the pool until everyone arrived to braai. That’s a BBQ or grill to non-SA people. We had lots of us there but we had a huge salad and cole slaw and plenty of bread to go with the mounds of chops, chicken and sausage so there was plenty to eat. We even had a yummy chocolate cake from Oakhurst Spar. It was a relaxed evening with lovely people.

I had a slow morning today and then just after noon Retha and I set off on a road trip east up the coast. Retha is thinking about buying a small property to rent and we wanted to explore the Gordon’s Bay Area. We stopped at the harbour and parked and walked around hoping to find a table for lunch. 



We tried The Thirsty Oyster which had a waiting list and a host with a rude attitude. We walked to the other side of the harbour and got a table straight away. We ordered a cheeky cocktail.




The view was stunning. 


The food however was far from stunning. 

We ordered 3 starters, we shared the smoked salmon mille feuille and I had the shrimp cocktail while Retha had the deep fried Camembert.



The cheese was nice but Retha wanted bread, the shrimp cocktail was served in a glass which made it impossible to eat. It was bland. The salmon was nice, I think if they added a layer of creme frais to the stack, it would enhance it as it was a bit dry.

For my main I had the Queen Combo, prawns and calamari, and Retha had the Chef’s Combo which is hake and prawns.



The prawns were tiny but nice, however we had to ask for sauce. Retha’s fish looked moist and plump but I noticed she encountered a lot of bones. My calamari tasted frozen. It was very average. 2.5 Kitten Stars.

After lunch we went to a show house and then drove back. It was unbearably hot.

The heat hasn’t helped the high number of fires in the Cape. Suspicion is that there is arson behind much of these. I suspect they are politically motivated. This arsehole from the BLF (Black First Land First) posted about burning white owned farms.


This sort of thing sickens me, destroying things other people work for in order to pay for crimes perpetrated long ago by others. We can only hope they catch them. Our droughts continue and we are desperate for rain! 

Tonight we had a pizza from Massimo. I had the St Hilary. It was divine with figs, marscapone and honey with Parma ham.


Tomorrow I have a busy day but we must get back onto low carb! Sometimes you gotta have a pizza. 

Enjoy your week all! 

You Give Me Fever

Despite being back at work for a full week now, my life still does not feel fully back to normal.

The flu Norm and I contracted en route to Scotland is still creeping around in our bodies so that could account for my feelings of disorientation, maybe it is feverish delirium. My first day back at work last Monday resulted in my being in the office for about 2 hours until our Project Manager showed up, took a look at my red, drippy nose and watery eyes and heard me hack like a seal and promptly sent me home.

When I got home we had nothing at all to eat in the house. Norm offered to take me out for lunch and so we popped into Barney’s Artisan Deli for a spot of lunch.

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You can just see the sea if you crane your neck :).

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I had a delicious salad with chicken, cashews and mango and a rich peanuty sauce. The mango made it taste so fresh and light.

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Afterwards we went home and I took to my bed. I took it easy all week, we are still in end of year mode waiting on the clients to get back to ramp up our projects so we are at a bit of a loose end in regards to work.

We are also trying to get our diet back on track after my Mom’s visit and the holidays where I gave myself license to eat whatever I fancied and as a result I acquired back 4 of my previously departed kilos. But no biggy – it will come off.

Last weekend we were very busy despite our feelings of lethargy.

Lily and Josh came down for the weekend and I made a giant pot of chicken curry for her as I know she loves my curry. I did cauliflower rice for me Norm and Caitlin which was fine as Lily and Josh had made plans to go out with their pals in town. But we got a yummy curry so that was OK.

On Saturday Caitlin and I had booked to go to the matinee of the Peter Pan and Tinker Bell Ballet being shown at the Artscape.

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We were a bit slow on the go and as a result we had to find something quick for lunch and we popped into Osumo in Sea Point. Luckily we found parking right in the front and there were few other patrons.

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We both ordered the same filling, the 3-6-9, except Caitlin had it as a wrap and I had it as a salad.

osumosalad

osumosalad

It was delicious and light and I really enjoyed it. Afterwards we shot off to the theatre and grabbed our seats just as the last chime was sounding. We looked around and realised that about 40% of the audience appeared to be children. I mean yes it is Peter Pan, but it is a ballet! I.e., limited dialogue to amuse the wee buggers. There was a child of about 3 sitting next to me and she asked her mother questions at full voice the entire show. ‘What is he doing?’, ‘I am the one over there.’, ‘what is she doing?’, ‘what is she wearing’, ‘why are they over there?’. You name it, she asked it. And Mom had no idea how to use an inside voice either, she spoke to her child as if they were watching CBeebies privately in their bloody lounge. At intermission they trooped off and bought snacks and then they spent the second half alternating between rattling the packet and fighting over who got the next handful of nuts. The only thing which stopped me killing them was that I was wearing a new white top.

And it had to be hand-washed.

However it was a cute production of the story and I enjoyed it (other than the noisy  feral sprog and its birther).

After the ballet we headed home as we were all going out for dinner that night in Constantia. We went to Peddlars On the Bend which is a Cape Town icon, it has been around in some form or another for years. They have recently reformatted their restaurants and offer a variety of menus to choose from. We had wanted to sit outside but it had gotten a bit windy in the late afternoon and so we opted to sit inside at the tapas venue Graciales. I had never been to this restaurant but she said we could order off the pub menu or their tapas menu so we decided to give it a go.

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Caitlin’s friend Sam joined us for the evening, as always it was lovely to see her, she fits into our crazy family perfectly. Norm was feeling under the weather still and decided to rather stay at home.

I ordered the Gambas Pil Pil from the tapas menu, a saucy spicy small bowl of prawns for R60.

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The sauce was divine and Caitlin finished off the sauce with my bread which I had avoided for the most part. When the waitress tried to take the plate Caitlin snatched it back and kept it to dip her chips into. Yes – it was THAT good.

I had the starter sized pork tacos as my main. These were divine! The pork had the proper crispy taste and flavour of carnitas, the cilantro was plentiful and I can easily say these were some of the best tasting, authentic tacos I have had outside of Mexico.

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We didn’t stay out late as poor Norm was home, so we headed home to hang with him.

Sunday Lily and Josh had to head home to George and Cait had plans with friends. Norm and I were off to the lovely Kitima restaurant.

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We were going to hear a band play with some of our pals.

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We had fabulous seats right in front of the band.

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We ordered the sampler platter which was the only food available for the event. It was R275 per couple.

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The food was lovely quality but if we had been hungry it would not have sufficed us for dinner, lucky it was just snacks as we had a bowl of left over curry before we headed out. The event finished at a reasonable hour for a school night.

This weekend we had a lazy one. Friday night we stayed home and Norm collected take aways from The Indian Oven. Saturday we had plans to meet up with friends for drinks and we went to Woodcutters Arms in Hout Bay. We met our friends in the pub garden and had a few drinks and then they headed off and we moved inside. I ordered the Jalapeño Cheddar Cigars (V) at R43.00, described as ‘Pastry wrapped cheese and jalapeño, served with tomato & onion chutney’. I love these.

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Norm ordered the Scotch Eggs as he loves these things as much as I love poppers.

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I ordered the starter Popcorn Chicken at R49.00 for my main, described as ‘popcorn breaded chicken strips, lightly fried with peppadew jam’. They were nice.

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Norm had the fish and chips and seemed to enjoy it. After dinner we had a drink and enjoyed the pub vibe we had been missing since Belfast and then we went home to crash. Sunday we just spent the day chilling out. I cooked a lovely banting lasagna and we just had a quiet evening.

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That evening Caitlin and I rang my mom on her new video phone which was hilarious. It was like The Blair Witch does a House Tour. Mom alternated between burying the phone in her hair (aiming for her ear) and flashing the camera at the ceiling. Caitlin and I were laughing ourselves silly. Technology makes life so much easier in some regards.

I hope that you have a lovely week – I am just trying to keep up with life!

 

The Celtic Tour

My last two weeks have been rather hectic. We had a small quiet Christmas however. As Lily and Trevor could not make it to Cape Town it was only Norman and Caitlin and I at home. 

Christmas Eve Norm and I went to a braai at my friend Retha’s. It was a lovely relaxed evening. 


But the wind was insane and it got rather chilly for midsummer. 

We went to a lovely performance by Ard Matthews at Suikerbossie here in Hout Bay on Dec 22nd.


Retha and Nic joined Norm and I.


The crazy wind was chilly so we found a spot inside. 

The event was poorly organized in regards to food and drink. You had to stand in a single queue for food or drink. So even a pint meant you queued. It took about 20-30 minutes. They had 2-3 bar staff and a lot of annoyed people fighting to get served. Then they gave you a food receipt and you queued up in a different queue to get very basic unhealthy food. It was so poorly managed. The food was average. I’ve eaten at several events put on by the restaurant and it is always average. Food was 1 Kitten Star. Service also a 1 Star. I gave a waitress a rather good tip hoping she would look after us, but I never saw her again.

But the music was good. Ard gets a 5 Star rating.

ForChristmas I received some lovely gifts. Norm also gave me spending money for shopping in the U.K. and 3 gorgeous summer dresses. I was so lucky!


On Christmas Day I loved cooking in my new kitchen. I cooked a tiny turkey and a small gammon as Norm and I would be leaving the following day. 



We still put on quite a spread.


Caitlin’s young chap Wesley joined us.


When we took the obligatory pic of Norm and I and I posted it, I noticed that my Facebook memory that came up from the previous year showed how much weight we have lost during our year of Banting and low carb living.

Left is us in December 2015, the right is December 2016. We have lost almost 50 kgs collectively. 


We had a stuffed, sleepy evening watching The Grinch. We were flying the following day but had most of the day to pack. 

We boarded a flight on Boxing Day to fly to London. It was a great flight as we had 3 seats to share so could stretch out a bit. Norm slept the whole flight but I watched an endless supply of films. We then rented a car when we got to Heathrow and Norm drove us to Wales. We were attending the wedding of Beth and Chris at The Cawdor in Llandielo. We arrived and had a sandwich and a lie down then joined some of the wedding party for drinks. 


It’s a gorgeous hotel and to be recommended to anyone wanting a weekend away in Wales. Our room was charming.


The next day we had a wander around the village in the brisk air. There are so many Cathedrals.


We stopped for a coffee in a charming little deli. The Ginhaus Deli does pizzas, sandwiches and pastries in house and has a gorgeous selection of titbits to take away. In summer it would be perfect for picnic fare. 


We only had a coffee as we had an amazing breakfast at The Cawdor. 


That evening we had the wedding to attend. Beth looked stunning. 


Norm spoke and he looked so sexy in his kilt. Grrrrrr. 5 Kitten Stars for you Mr Kitten. 😍❤️ The flap of my wrap around dress makes it look like I have a bizarre knee deformity.


The food was lovely. We both had the fishcakes and roast beef. Dessert was a divine trio of lemon meringue, chocolate tart and cheesecake. The wedding cake was stunning. 


We had a brilliant night dancing and having a laugh. We drank too much considering we had to be up so early to drive to Heathrow. We left at 6am and drove to London where we dropped the hire car, hopped on a bus and then boarded a plane to Belfast. We arrived there about 2pm and got a taxi to our hotel and we had a shower and freshened up and had a wander around town. 


We walked over to The Cloth Ear where we had told everyone we would be that evening should they wish to pop in. We managed to get a table and had loads of people stop to visit. It was a brilliant night. 


We had dinner there and the food was delicious. 

We got up late the next morning and went for breakfast at a local cafe. Then while Norm headed off to The Titanic Exhibit I met my friend Keith at City Hall and he and I hit the Town Centre for a bit of shopping. 


I very quickly found the items on my list, a new black trouser suit for work, a black leather biker jacket and piles of new knickers as mine no longer fit. Then we headed off to have a wee hair of the dog and a little nibble.  We went to The Apartment Bar which has a lovely view of City Hall.


We settled in with our drinks. We chatted away catching up as if we just saw each other last week.

My friend James had been away visiting family and he arrived in town at the same time that we got a table! Kismet. We 3 old friends spent all afternoon drinking, chatting and laughing. I lost count of how many drinks we had. We had some bread and dips and lettuce cups to share for nibbles.


Then Norm joined us and Keith had to head off but James came back to the hotel for us to change and we went to The Northern Whig where we again managed to find a group of seats right near the door so we got a bit of fresh air and we could spot our pals. Again there was a great turn out. It was so special that people made the effort to come and spend time with us.

We were starving when we left at 1am and I realized we had been on the booze for 12 hours. I love that you can walk a few doors down and find hot chips at 1am. We put James in a taxi and we headed to our hotel. The next day we had a flight to Edinburgh. We woke up, packed and went to the airport. We flew to Scotland and hired another car and drove to St Andrews where Norm’s sister lives. She has a charming guest house called Little Carron Cottage Guesthouse.


Norm’s brother, sister and their families were all there as well as our two gorgèous new grand-nieces. Is that the right term? our nieces baby? Anyway, Margot is six weeks old and Olivia is 11 months. They are too precious.


We were told that Linda and Jim are expecting a third grand baby from our nephew Jamie! It was lovely to see the family.


We had a dance or two and lots of laughs. 


The next day I felt a bit hungover but thought a walk in the fresh air would sort me. We set off through the park heading into St Andrews. 


We went for a coffee in the The West Port Pub in St Andrews.


Then we went for a drive round town and down to the beach. 


It was clear and bright but freezing cold with winds whipping in from the sea. We rushed into the car and back to the house. Norm and I both felt a bit under the weather and went for a lie down. We both fell asleep and awoke feeling dreadful. The family all went out and Norm and I stayed in and watched films, wrapped in warm blankets and feeling sorry for ourselves. The next day we still felt dreadful but my friends Trish and John had driven through from Glasgow. Luckily they are good enough friends that I could stay in my warm flannel pajamas. They hung out in the afternoon then went so we could nap a bit. We ordered in a curry takeaway and they picked it up en route. We all chatted and caught up and then Norm and I got off to bed as we flew home the following day.

We armed ourselves with sudafed to avoid bursting an ear drum and headed off to Edinburgh airport. We dropped off our hire car and got a plane to Heathrow where we then had to get a train to the terminal for our flight to Cape Town. The flight was chockablock. Not a single available seat. The seats felt extra small compared to our other flights. Thn Norm discovered his inflight entertainment did not work. It is an eleven hour flight so that is a nightmare. I don’t sleep and movies save my sanity.  Neither of our seats reclined properly but the one in front of me reclined so far that the boy in front almost had his head on my shoulder. The old geezer behind me kept digging his knees into my kidneys. Coupled with being full of flu it was the worst flight of my life.

We had such a wonderful holiday I just hate that we wasted even a day being ill. 

I now have only the weekend remaining before I return to work. I’m still ill but I have a lot of fun things organized.Sudafed and vitamins will have to get me through. I hope you had a lovely holiday.