Letting Go

What is it about us that makes us self-sabotage? Even though we know how great we feel when we give up our vices or lose weight or eat healthy, why do we not adhere to these best laid plans? Is it lack of will power? Lack of self worth? Or is it just chemistry? When you eat sugar, you crave sugar. If you smoke a cigarette it makes you crave another one. These actions set up a cycle of dependency within our bodies.

I feel permanently exhausted lately. I do not sleep very much but I know that part of this is due to diet, based on how wonderful I felt when we were on 100% Banting. However getting back on track once we have drifted is proving to be a challenge for us both. Even Norm is slipping and he was always so stalwart that it helped keep me focused on healthy goals.

A poor diet also creates horrendous mood swings for me. (As if menopause didn’t throw in enough of those hurdles for me to surmount.) As a result I was a cow all weekend. The problem is, even when I know I am being a cow, there is nothing I seem to be able to do to snap me out of my cow-ness.

Then I go into a mental state of such anxiety thinking about why my behaviour is so horrid, maybe I am depressed? If not, then why do I feel so low all of the time, when I have so many amazing things to be happy about?

And then I go into a spin of anxiety about my mental health. I wonder if once a person has been diagnosed with mental health issues whether this then triggers it’s own issues? My mental health has been relatively stable since I moved back to South Africa, bar a few blips triggered by events such as our home invasion.

And then I wonder am I just thinking too much? The curse of the Virgo, we over analyse every event, every word and every action.

Anyway. Virgos.

On Friday, Norm had managed to sell our old couch and an exercise bike we had been wanting to get rid of for ages. We were rather short on cash due to paying to ship over the few items my mother had given me as well as buying the ‘new’ 2nd hand sofa, so I was happy we had cash to get us through until month end.

We had a quiet weekend. On Friday night Josh was home with us and we ordered take aways from Posticino and just had a quiet evening at home.

Josh was racing on Saturday so he was up and out of the house at dawn. Norm and I lay in bed until 8 when the dogs insisted on their breakfast. I had a hair appointment in the city and Norm and I decided to go for brunch before I left so we popped into La Cuccina.

As it was a last minute plan, Norm did not have time to shave. I love him with facial hair but he says it itches so it never lasts long.

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❤️

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Phwaor.

I ordered my usual Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered scrambled eggs and bacon. They make their own bread and he was unable to resist those carbs. I ordered my bacon well done and poor Norm also got his well done even though he likes his still oinking.

Afterwards I headed into the city to the hairdresser. I love the vibe at the new salon Pause, and I thought about how many different salons in how many different places that I faithfully trekked to just to continue with Leandra and how happy for her I am that she now has her own salon and shops. She is such a lovely hard working girl and I wish her every success with both.

After my appointment I headed home and relaxed outside by the pool for a while, tossing Pixie’s ball to keep her amused.

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Pixie and the Pool Pipe #WeirdBandNames

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That evening we decided to go out for dinner and we went to the local pub, however it was rammed as there were several sports games on (she says vaguely) so we did an about face and headed back out again as soon as we saw how noisy and crowded it was.

We decided to head up to Constantia for a change and went to Primi. It was a very dark night, despite there being an almost full moon, it was difficult to see when traveling through the poorly lit wooded areas.

We eventually made it there and settled in and ordered a drink and some food. We got some of their delicious zucchini fries.

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Zucchini fries

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I chose the Recco Classico pasta which was described as “A curry-infused Napoletana with garlic and fresh chilli, rounded off with cream and garnished with fresh coriander.” They serve it in 2 sizes. I chose the smaller option. The price for plain pasta was either 65 / 80, or With Chicken it was 80/ 95 or With Prawns it was 115 / 155. I chose to add prawns.

When my dish arrived it looked very yummy and I took a big bite of prawn and pasta but quickly had to spit it out as the prawns were still in their shells. I had to fish each prawn out of the sauce and de-shell it resulting in a right mess and burnt fingers. It also meant the first bite of prawn was pretty much lost in spitting it out. There were only 4 prawns in the dish which meant I paid an extra R50 for very little prawniness.

But the sauce was delicious.

Shortly after eating I had some sort of allergic attack and could not stop sneezing and my throat felt swollen. The only things I know I am allergic to is dust or iodine so it could have been the prawns but I suspect it was dust. My eyes were watering like mad so we did not hang about and we headed back to Hout Bay after we ate. Once home I took an antihistamine which seemed to calm things down but my throat still felt very swollen.

The next day I had planned on attending a sweat lodge but as I had felt so rubbish the night before I was worried it might be the beginnings of a cold and as I was so exhausted I decided I needed a pajama day and I settled in to have a day of rest.

I was a bit sad as I was looking forward to lodge. The weekend before last we had our drumming practice on Sunday at Gerri’s and afterwards many of us stayed to help build a new sweat lodge. Gerri had gotten lots of wattle from Greyton and had been soaking it in the pool to keep it moist.

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Soaking the wattle

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The wattle all got classified by size and straightness.

Next we dug 8 holes and 2 poles for each of the 4 directions were placed on opposite sides of the circle and these became the lodge entrances. These would form the ‘doors’ to the lodge.

Then the wattle were bent inwards towards the centre of the circle.

This is quite physical and takes hours to finish. I was unable to stay til the end but Gerri sent a pic of it once it was complete.

When they want to hold the lodge they just cover the structure with thick blankets and this keeps the heat in.

So I was a bit sad I could not christen the lodge, but I have to remember to allow rest time and I feel as if I have been non-stop for months. The weekend before last was busy end to end.

Last weekend on Friday after work we had a team lunch at Col’Cacchio near our offices.

Note my colleague trying to garrot me with his dinner knife.

Charming.

The next morning Norm and I were up and out early as we took Navajo to see the doggy chiro that treats Pixie. As we could not leave little Panda home alone we took all three of them.

Navajo was a bit of a nightmare. He is not good with new situations and he was like a large, slavering bull in a china shop. David the chiro did not seem too sure of him and Norm had to hold Nav tight to stop him nipping David. Eventually David managed to treat Nav and we quickly scarpered out of there. We have put Nav on another dose of strong anti-inflammatory meds and will see if his ankle calms down. It is worrying as it has been months and he is still limping. David is worried his muscles will atrophy.

That night Norm and I had gone to Papino’s for dinner and as mentioned I was busy at the lodge until late on Sunday so I felt pretty knackered when Monday rolled around.

This Saturday I had woken to news that my cousin Mona’s husband of 25 years had passed away. It was their 25th wedding anniversary on the previous Wednesday and he died on his actual birthday.

Mona and I were raised like sisters as we both spent a lot of time at our grandmother’s house. I lived next door to my Gran and Mona lived with her father and siblings a few miles away. Mona’s mother Avene was my mother’s sister and she had died when her 3 children were tiny.

Mona was raised in a Christian church-going family, however my family never attended church, in fact my father was agnostic.

I was the naughty cousin once we got to be teens, I was partying, exploring tarot cards, Ouija boards and all sorts of things and I remember once involving Mona in my Ouija board antics and she freaked out and crossed herself and ran. Mona has maintained her life long bond with the church.

I never felt close to Christianity, however this did not stop Mona and I from being ‘sisters’. We may have drifted apart many times but we never stopped loving each other, so my heart is breaking for her and her daughter Stephanie. Stephanie was from Mona’s first marriage but was quite young when Mona remarried and so she saw Steve as a second father. As I have lived outside of the US for almost 30 years I had only met Steve once or twice but according to everyone who did know him he was a lovely man.

I pray that Mona and Steve’s loved ones all find the strength they need to get through this.

I am going to focus on changing my perspective, and yes I know I’ve said that before. I read in this post that “Happiness is accepting what we don’t control — which is everything outside of ourselves — and investing in what we do control, which is everything inside us.” Control is a huge issue for me, so I am still having challenges with that it seems. Maybe this is a ongoing life lesson…….letting go of trying to control everything so that I can find my own peace and be happy?

Thank you for reading and if you can spare a prayer for Mona and Stephanie I would be most appreciative.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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Exploding Kittens & Birthday Celebrations

My life has still been so busy that I have not had time to blog. Writing for me is a stress release, a sort of download of the clutter banging about in my head, so when I do not take the time to write it can make me feel quite off balance.

We have still made the time to enjoy life despite being so busy.

The Saturday after Rosie left, my youngest Lily and I went shopping to get presents for both Josh and Caitlin’s upcoming birthdays. Afterwards we went for lunch at Jakura which does divine sushi and crispy chill beef.

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Crispy chili beef and noodles

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The following day was Josh’s birthday and I bought him some clothes and Lily got him a cake and a few other bits and pieces. The next morning Lily took Josh a chocolate croissant and coffee in bed and then we had a gift opening session. I had to shoot off at 10 as I had drumming circle. It was great fun as always.

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Our drumming circle ❤️

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The pic is from Aurelie from Voice The Change.

I always leave these drumming sessions on such a spiritual high.

It was my daughter Caitlin’s 30th birthday the following weekend on the 12th of May and she had decided that she wanted to celebrate it by going away for a weekend with the people she loves and so she had booked out a large house for 10 of us to go and spend the weekend together.

She had researched what town was half way between her siblings that live in the garden route and those of us who would be driving from Cape Town. She found a place in Robertson on Airbnb and booked, however 5 days before our booking the owner of the Airbnb property cancelled! She used the excuse that her neighbour had hired a lawyer to protest her using her property commercially and she could not book guests until it was resolved in court. That caused Caitlin a lot of stress as she had everything planned out for the weekend and had also booked a venue for Mother’s Day lunch on the Sunday and now had to start her planning all over again.

Luckily there were still properties available and as Amber and Josh both had to work that weekend and could no longer join us, we booked a cheaper house that sleeps 8 instead of 10 and chose a lovely smaller property in Greyton.

I got off of work at 1pm on the Friday and headed home to pack, the traffic was abysmal and I encountered 2 stop and go traffic queues. Once I got home Norm still had to walk the dogs, shower and pack my car so it was 3.30pm when we finally left home. Hout Bay was completely grid locked from the traffic and it took ages to get to the village. Norm and I were in charge of bringing booze and snacks and I wanted to pick up wrapping paper and a birthday cake for Caitlin. We finished all of the shopping and the village traffic was still chaos, Lily had left just before us and was sending us voice message traffic updates and we knew that even once we got out of the village we would have bumper to bumper traffic to negotiate on the motorway. We decided that as we were at the far end of the village we would just cross over Chapman’s Peak and drive around the coast roads to Somerset West and then hop on the motorway somewhere around that area. It might be a further distance in kilometers than taking the main motorway but it was at least moving steadily and as it was along the coast the views were stunning. We decided to relax and just get there when we got there. After the sun went down we were on a long road with very little street lighting and visibility was very challenging. Then when we were 20kms away from the little side road that took us cross country to Greyton the petrol light started flashing so we ended up having to divert to the next town on the motorway.  For those readers who live in the US or Europe, I have to add that the ‘motorway’ is 2 narrow lanes driving through miles and miles of countryside. It is pitch black outside and it is a challenge to drive at night. A horse, goat or chicken could randomly wander into the road near the townships. It’s sometimes a bit hair raising.

After we topped up with petrol we headed back 3 km in the same direction we had come from until we got to the correct road and we then drove through yet more farmland where it seemed to be even darker. We were so relieved when we arrived at the property we had rented.

Luckily Caitlin, her boyfriend Wesley and Lily were there already and had lit a big fire in the lounge and made a potato bake and salad and were ready to start cooking the meat, so not long after we unloaded the car Trevor arrived and then we were tucking into a gorgeous plate of food. Greyton has plenty of restaurants and pubs, but we just wanted to spend time together as a family and had decided to do our own simple non-fussy cooking.

After dinner we all played Pictionary. Our family loves to play games, and Caitlin and Trevor had both brought along loads of different games to amuse us. The kids and I stayed up until 2 a.m. playing games and laughing so much our bellies hurt. We had such fun. For the turns which were ‘all play’ and the 2 teams were racing to get someone to answer correctly, the more you rushed the more ridiculous the drawings turned out. For example, the top drawing is a squirrel and the bottom drawing was the beginning of an elephant. Could you have figured that out?

The next morning was Caitlin’s actual birthday and we had planned to walk over to the local market for breakfast. I woke first and tiptoed outside to explore the property as it was so dark when we arrived the previous night. The garden was quite large with a big pond in the centre where birds were busy diving after the gnats flying around the pond. The mist was rolling in over the mountains and it was so peaceful.

I made a cup of coffee and bundled up in a blanket and sat outside to enjoy the view and watch the birds. About 9am I went into the house to find my phone and noticed that I had several missed calls and messages. The messages were from a vet who had Caitlin’s kitten Scout. Someone had taken him in after finding him roaming around Caitlin’s apartment complex. As I was listed as the secondary contact they rang me when Caitlin did not answer. Luckily Scout has been micro-chipped and they could contact us. I ran to Caitlin’s bedroom to find Cait and Wes awake and Cait on the phone to the vet. She then tried to ring the couple who were looking after the cats but there was no response and we were all in a hysterical panic. How did Scout get out? Was her flat broken into? Where was Mittens, the other kitten? Was Scout injured? The only open window was a 2 story drop to the pavement, could a small kitten survive that without breaking a limb or worse? We phoned the vet back and asked her to check Scout’s legs which she said were perfectly fine.

Eventually the couple looking after the kittens phoned Caitlin back and said they had not been over to the flat yet so they could not have let Scout out. They quickly rushed over to the flat to find Mittens there safe and sound and all alone. She purred like mad when they came in as she must have been so relieved to see another being in the flat with her after a night home alone.

Caitlin’s friends took her cat carrier from the flat and went to the vet to collect Scout and take him home. Mittens gave him a right telling off and actually growled at him when they arrived! Scout has a naughty habit of bolting for the door when you go in and out and hopefully this experience will have given him enough of a fright that he stops doing that. Once we heard the kitties were both home safe and sound we all relaxed.

By now it was well after 10am and the market was only on from 10-12. We decided to still get dressed and walk over there and try to restore the mood to birthday frivolities. The house was only a short stroll away from the main village and we wandered around the stalls and had a crepe from one of them and then walked back home.

We had all gotten Caitlin some small gifts to open on her birthday, even though the cost of the trip away was supposed to be our gift to her. She also had some gifts to open from Wesley’s Mom. She received a box of coloured pencils and a colouring book and a set of cute owls which are to go under hot pots to save damage to your counters.

We also got her a Cranium Dark game, some books, a dream catcher, a lovely lush beach towel, a bracelet, a few other bits and pieces as well as 2 gift certificates to go towards a Bluetooth speaker that she wants.

I also bought tickets for me, Caitlin and Norman to go and see the musical production of Mathilda at the Artscape theatre when the show comes to Cape Town in December. She was a very happy girl and felt nicely spoiled.

For lunch we made egg, bacon and avocado rolls. As we finished eating, Caitlin’s childhood friend Katherine arrived with her husband Lorien. I quickly made them some food too and then the kids all settled in to have a catch up and chat. They have known each other for most of their lives but Katherine now lives in Johannesburg so they do not see each other very often. The kids then decided to play Settlers of Catan. Neither Norm or I are bothered about that game so we sat it out and instead we poured a drink and snuggled up on the patio.

A bit later I started cooking dinner for the hordes. We put a big pot of potatoes and some eggs on to boil for potato salad and I started frying chopped onions and bacon to go into it. After a few minutes the gas ring blew out under both pots and we then realised that the electric eyes on the stove were not working at all! We had a small gas grill outside and we tried swapping the gas bottles in case the inside bottle was empty and maybe that was the issue, however the gas just blew out each time we put a pot on the flame. We ended up cooking our potatoes on the gas grill outside and Lorien unearthed an electric frying pan to use for the bacon and onions. All of the pots and pans in the cupboards were quite dirty and had to be washed before use. The added issue of the stove was almost enough to crack me, but I persevered and eventually Norm and I managed to produce a rather yummy simple dinner of potato salad, green salad, corn on the cob, garlic bread and lots of grilled meat to feed the 8 of us.

We had brought a birthday cake and candles as well and we celebrated.

I cannot believe I now have 2 ‘children’ who are in their thirties! I am officially old. I am also officially very blessed so I have no justification for complaints.

After dinner we moved inside to gather by the fire and play Caitlin’s new Dark Cranium game I had bought her for her birthday. It is like a combination of 60 seconds, Pictionary, Cranium, Charades & various other games all combined into a bundle of hilarity.

To play you first pick an Action Card and show it to the group. This could be anything from ‘while someone sits on your lap’, ‘speaking like Darth Vader’ or ‘while tap dancing’ to ‘walking a large dog’, or it could be ‘draw with your eyes shut’ or ‘model with clay’. Some of these cards also indicate you cannot speak at all.

You then draw a Cranium Card. Without saying any of the words on the Cranium card, you must get the other players to guess what’s on that Cranium card by expressing it in the style of the Action card. For example, can you get your friends to guess “milk a cow” while acting like you are walking a large dog? How about guessing the words “fried chicken” while drawing with your eyes closed? You only have 60 seconds for each turn. We laughed so much!

We had such a fun night and my kids stayed up quite late again but Norm and I as well as Katherine and Lorien went to bed around midnight. After we went to bed the stalwarts played a game called Exploding Kittens which they seemed to really enjoy based on the noise they were making and the laughter.

The next day was Mother’s Day in South Africa and the USA. I woke up early as I always do and had a coffee outside on the veranda. I got showered and sorted my bags as I knew there were a lot of people to get ready and the house had only 2 bathrooms.

Norm and I were the first ones up and ready to face the day.

The kids got up and Katherine and Lorien were packed and away early to go and see their twin boys for Mother’s Day and to hang out with their own family who were also down holidaying in the Cape for a few days.

The rest showered and the children then gave me some garden ornaments for Mother’s Day which I adore.

Our family are trying to only give useful gifts and not just ‘things’ to sit around the house and look pretty and gather dust. I love these birds and am always keen to receive any garden art as a gift as I love sitting in my garden.

However my real gift was waking to all of my children under one roof.

We tried multiple times to do a cute video for my Mom for Mother’s Day and it proved a challenge.

That also led to a lot of hilarity.

We had to check out by 10.30 a.m. so once the cars were packed we all walked around to the far end of the village to a place called Fiore Garden Centre where Caitlin had booked for us to go for Mother’s Day brunch. It was a charming little place with tables in a courtyard which was surrounded by plants.

I ordered the french toast and bacon. It was tasty but it was cold when it arrived. I had asked for well done bacon and some of it was barely cooked but it was edible and I was starving.

We hung out and chatted a bit and had a wander around the garden centre.

It was quite cool and overcast which is perfect travelling weather. We all headed out once we finished our coffees as we all had a few hours drive ahead of us.

It was such a wonderful weekend full of laughter and love and it made me even more aware of just how blessed I am. I am so privileged and proud that this fabulous trio of humans are part of my life.

I am such a Happy Kitten.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

A Scotsman, an Irishwoman & an American walk out of a bar….

It has been three weeks since I have had the time to blog. I was signed off of work due to stress for two days just after Norm arrived back home from his trip to the states. We are under such time pressure on this project that I could not afford to have any down time so despite being signed off I worked from home both days. I made great progress at home with no distractions. When we are in the office we spend up to four or five hours of the day in meetings rather than designing our solution and documenting it.

I went back to work the following Monday and have focused on applying various tools to help me deal with the personalities around me. The work does not stress me, I am one of the few people who enjoy creating documentation, but I love writing so to me it is paying me to do what I love to do, as long as I have the proper level of understanding of the design I am trying to document. The stress comes from the people around me who cannot cope with their own stress and therefore displace it towards the team.

My friend Rosie has been over to visit us for the last 2 weeks. We have been friends for over 20 years.  I first met Rosie when I moved to the UK to live with Norm in November 1996. Norm and I still lived in Belfast when we got married in Scotland in July 1997 but I cannot remember when we left there to move to England, but we were probably living there about 18 months to 2 years. Rosie was part of the group I hung out with in Belfast, we went to the same pubs, went on weekends away and attended various other events as a group together. Rosie was also one of our friends who made the effort to come and spend time with us when we visited the UK in January 2017 on our whirlwind tour.

Unfortunately I was knee deep in my very tightly dead-lined intense project for the majority of her visit and Norm was left to be the tour guide. He took Rosie to the Cape Point Nature Reserve and they were lucky enough to see a pair of Eland, DassiesPenguins, Baboons and all manner of lovely things. He took her to the V&A Waterfront where she got to see the new Zeitz MOCAA museum and wander around the shops. She went to the Slave Museum and saw the Bo kaap and District Six.

We took her to dinner and lunch at some of the area’s nicest spots for either their vistas, their food or both. I will not do my usual blow by blow or it will bore you to tears so I will touch on the highlights of her visit.

Lily and Josh came down for Rosie’s first weekend,

and Caitlin and Wes also joined us all for dinner at my fave venue, Cheyne’s.

We had a lovely evening and a lot of laughs.

How funny is the photo bomb dude in the background?

I do not have a copy of the menu that night but I will try and remember the basic description of what I had. The beauty of Cheyne’s food however is the alchemy of the combinations he puts together and I will not be able to express that level of granularity. We all went for the Yum Cha experience which is any four dishes from his menu. His menu is divided into 4 themed sections: one with seafood dishes, one with carnivorous choices, one with ‘side’ dishes and one with sweet dishes.

I started with this dish in the pic below. It is baby shrimp tempura with a delicious sauce. I adore this dish.

For my selection from the Land section of the menu I had the Mumbai Chill Beef. It is always divine and nothing else tempted me away from choosing it again this visit. It was so yum, I love the combination of the raw coconut and the slices of chili.

I was delighted that the sweet potato fritters were back on the menu. I adore these fried dumplings in the rich peanut buttery coconut sauce. Rosie asked to swap one of her duck fat fries for one of my fritters and I threatened to impale her in the eye with my chopsticks. I think she got the message I do not share my food.

These are little balls of heaven.

For my fourth choice I had the peanut butter shake. There was a bit of drama when the waitress forgot our fourth course. She came around to our table after having disappeared for ages after our third round of dishes and asked us if we wanted anything else or should she bring the bill and we said ‘ummm yes, we would like the rest of our dinner’. Josh had just been about to give up and leave as he had a race the following day and was up really early so in order to get him to come out with us we had promised him he would be home by 9pm. But he had also ordered dessert as had the rest of the table except Wes and Cait who both had 4 savoury courses. Josh got home late but luckily it did not impair him as he still kicked ass and took home first prize.

He also loved his milkshake luckily!

We had a great evening and it was lovely having my girls and Rosie all together. They were so tiny when Rosie and I were friends years ago I wanted her to get to meet them, I only wish Trevor had been here too.

Saturday morning Rosie and I got up and headed out to the Hout Bay Harbour Market. We had a wander around the stalls and a tour of the food section and Rosie bought a hat and had a healthy salmon poke  bowl.

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Salmon Poke Bowl @bayharbourmarket ❤️

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It was too early for that for me as I was feeling a wee bit hung over from the previous night as my Cherokee liver cannot metabolise the fire water and I ended up being tempted by a plate of bite sized, fresh, hot, iced donuts.

Oh my gawd they were amazing.

I regret nothing.

We left the market and drove over to the actual harbour and had a wander around the stalls selling African artifacts. Rosie bought a little musical instrument at one of the stalls and then found some sunglasses to go with her new hat.

It was a stunning warm sunny day. We bought a gorgeous soft serve ice cream at Muriel’s and walked to the end of the pier, watching the variety of people strolling around us.

We are so blessed to live in such a stunning village.

The local man who feeds the seals and drags them out of the water to beg for tourist donations was around but we avoided him and I took a pic of the seal as he headed back out to sea.

That evening we headed back to the Harbour for dinner at the Lookout Deck as we went for their Saturday night kilo of prawns special.

We had our prawns and sat by the window looking out to sea, it was a lovely setting and the food was nice, the prawns were quite difficult to peel this time for some reason but once you managed to wrest it out of the shell it was lovely. A huge catch of tuna were being processed just nearby and we watched all of the activity with interest.

On Sunday we went to the stunning Constantia Glen vineyard.

It was a gorgeous sunny day outside with just a bit of wind to keep it pleasant.

Both Norm and Rosie had the flammkuchen. (That is just German for pizza.)

Norm had the Caprese Flammkuchen.

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Caprese Flammkuchen @constantiaglen

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I had the charcuterie and cheese platter.

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Cheese and Charcuterie platter

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I really enjoyed the Constantia Glen Two wine, it was a blend but was really easy on the palate and not too acidic.

I was back at work on Monday but Rosie had been struggling with anxiety since her Mom’s recent death and so I arranged some healing treatments of various modalities for her and Norm took her to them during the week. Luckily I knew who to make the first booking with and that person helped with the connections for the other treatments which Rosie managed to have. She went for Reiki, hypnotherapy and family constellations therapy which deals with how our past can affect our present. She also happened to time it so that she was here when my spirit workers group held an all women sweat lodge and she got a lot of benefit from that too.

I booked midweek for us all to go and see a singer we knew nothing at all about on Wednesday night at our fave music venue, Cafe Roux in town. Usually I watch a video to gauge whether the artists will be my type of music before booking but this time I was so busy I just looked for someone appearing that week and chose Lucy Kruger and the Lost Boys.

They were very talented, Lucy had a haunting voice and she called up various other artists she knew to perform with her. There was a guy next to her who she called Andre who was half genius and half irritating twat. He needed to be noticed and sometimes he just made a lot of noise, occasionally adding a positive element to the sound. Another woman sang with her and their voices were the perfect complement to each other.

However we had a brilliant night despite Andre and toddled home quite late for a school night. I was sluggish the next day at work, however I had promised Rosie a night out on the legendary Cape Town gay scene the following night. I asked a gay friend to recommend some options and she suggested we go onto the group Cape Town Lesbians on Facebook and look for suggestions. I went on to the page and saw an event posted for a singer called Janelle Botha who was performing at what appeared to be a small venue in Cape Town called the Cheeky Bean Cafe. It was a really cheap entry of R30 and there were only a few people saying they were attending so I thought it sounded like a nice cosy environment in which to gently dip our toe into the Cape Town scene. We thought we might meet some friendly women who could direct us onto our next venue.

Norm had to take Caitlin to the airport that day and had a busy day chasing around trying to sort his visa (that is a blog all on it’s own) so he decided to have a chilled night at home. Rosie and I booked an Uber and set off into town in high spirits. We did not know exactly where we were going but once we got to Somerset Square the driver got out of the car and spoke to the guards and found the venue and dropped us right outside. There were less than 10 people there all of whom were sitting outside smoking, however all of the inside tables had signs saying ‘Reserved’ on them. We walked up to the bar and were approached by a very pretty and friendly member of staff who asked if we knew about the cover charge. I said we did but it looked like the tables were all taken. She said they would ‘sort something out’ for us. She told us to pay at the bar when Rosie offered her a R200 note for our joint R60 cover charge. I placed an order for a round with the bartender and also handed over R100. The barmaid then gave us a sour look and asked did we not have anything smaller. We dug around and came up with exact change which she took. We got our drinks and we asked the first waitress again where could we sit? She said they would ‘sort something out’. In the meantime we went to sit on the couch in the corner of the room. As soon as we sat the grumpy little barmaid stomped over and started ranting again about us not booking. We told her the invite said nothing about booking being required, besides which they took our entrance fee! You cannot make someone pay entrance and then tell them there is not enough room for them. We got up and moved to a table which had become available outside but it was a cold evening and I was dressed for being inside in a bar, not sitting outside. Besides which the smell of cigarettes was overpowering. I was freezing cold and very hungry. We again asked about a table inside for the third time when Rosie went for a new round and the grumpy barmaid shouted ‘I don’t know you!’ which seemed a bizarre thing for a manager of a public venue to say. We clearly were not welcome and she seemed to be rather angry about us being there and asking for a seat apparently! Why did they not just ask a group at a bigger reserved table whether we could join them? The singer was average but we would have enjoyed the event except that the manager was so unwelcoming and unpleasant that I phoned Norm and begged him to rescue us. He was not happy as he had driven all the way to the airport and had just arrived back home and had to come back to the city. He kindly agreed to come through and collect us and we all drove down the main road until we spotted a Hudsons Burgers and parking available just across the road and we were lucky enough to get a table with a stunning and friendly waitress who was very efficient and had us all munching happily on a burger in no time at all.

I was feeling so traumatised by the horrid experience at The Cheeky Bean Cafe that I even had a milkshake to cool me down.

Our waitress asked us where we were from and when I said ‘Hout Bay’ she looked perplexed so we had a laugh and explained how a Scotsman, a Northern Irish woman and an American all ended up together in Africa. She really was lovely. She proved to me again just how the waiter or waitress is such a big part of your overall experience.

When we got home we enjoyed relaxing on our new sofa which I bought second hand from a friend. Our old one was lovely but Norm hated it and I knew that this one was really well made and comfy and as I am a red freak I bought it spur of the moment.

I love it so much! It was a bit of drama getting it home as it poured with rain and it was being temporarily stored on a patio but luckily it did not get damaged. The dogs are baffled by the change as the back is not cushy enough for dogs to be draping over it and there are no blankets covering it like we needed with the creamy sofa so there are no hidey places for them under the blankets. It has just confused them terribly.

I was off work on Thursday as it was Freedom Day in South Africa and Rosie had booked to go to Robben Island. Norm and I drove her to the waterfront and put her onto a boat then we had some shopping to do and a nice afternoon together planned. We did the things we needed to do and then we went to the Zeitz MOCAA and were pleasantly surprised it was free as it was a public holiday. We went to the 6th floor and grabbed a table with a gorgeous view all around us.

We ordered a simple lunch of chicken and chips. We were a bit naughty and both indulged in the gorgeous looking desserts we saw being served. I had a piece of the Red Velvet Cake of the day.

Norm had the lemon meringue with coconut sorbet.

Norm and I had over 4 hours to kill in total. We wandered through the Zeitz after our leisurely lunch even though we saw most of the displays recently, but we saw some new items and noticed things we missed the first visit. Afterwards we walked about outside the silo and spotted that the Chavonnes Battery Museum had a sign announcing a Mandela Photography exhibit was on. It was R100 entry each but profits go to youth development so we decided to bite the bullet even though we only had less than an hour before Rosie was due to arrive back.

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Mandela photo exhibition

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After that we sat by the water at the arrival point waiting for Rosie, it was a moody and dark and somewhat gloomy day inland but when she returned Rosie said the weather was gorgeous at sea.

On our way home we drove up to the top of Signal Hill so that Rosie could see the beautiful view of the city laid out below but as we drove up the mountain, the already dreary weather turned worse and a thick mist rolled over the city. Rosie hopped out and tried to snap some pics, I snapped this pic of her snapping a pic which I thought looked quite cool.

That evening we took Rosie to Papino’s for dinner, one of our fave venues which only locals have discovered. Norm and I both had our usual, the hollandse biefsteak but Rosie had lamb shank and raved about it. Ours was as divine as it always is.

On Saturday Rosie attended the sweat lodge I mentioned so Norm and I dropped her off and then popped out for lunch. We stopped in at Pastis in Constantia as it was a lovely sunny day and it feels like you are in a pub garden in Europe when sitting there outside under the vines.

We had two of the items on special and shared them. We ordered fishcakes and Portuguese calamari. The fishcakes were a bit gooey for my taste and the calamari was a bit chewy despite the coating being a bit insipid in colour. It was OK but nothing amazing.

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Calamari and fish cakes

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We were enjoying sitting in the sun however so we decided to linger and have dessert. I had the lemon meringue.

Norm had the cheesecake.

We woke to a sunny morning for Rosie’s last full day and Rosie and Norman headed off early to catch the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. After they returned home Norm dropped Rosie and I at Dune’s on the Beach for a late lunch.

The venue has a gorgeous setting of simple picnic tables under umbrellas with a sand floor. We got a seat under the shaded area at the back of the restaurant.

I ordered the chili poppers for us to nibble on as starters.

Rosie and I both ordered the mussels with fries to share.

They were delicious! We both really enjoyed every morsel of our food, the bread was fresh, the chips crispy and the sauce on the mussels was moreish.

We had a gorgeous afternoon chatting and munching and drinking. I had to be back at work on Monday so I took it easy and only had a few ciders and we did not have a late night.

On Monday I shot off early as always and arrived at the client site about 7.30am. I knew the client was not going to be in the office as they had all taken a day’s leave as Tuesday was another public holiday. I did expect my team to be in the office though and when I discovered they were all working from home I was so annoyed. What a waste of petrol just because no one seems able to communicate in a professional manner. I packed up and drove back home and started working from there. I was using our Bluetooth mouse and when working my screen suddenly flipped upside down and my spreadsheets started closing down. I lifted my hands up but the typing in front of me continued as if my laptop was possessed by a demon. I quickly pulled out the USB thingy (what the hell is that thing called?) and tapped furiously on my laptop mouse rather than the Bluetooth one. The crazy activity all stopped. I restarted my laptop and Norm googled to find out how to reset my screen and then I managed to retrieve all of my documents. I assumed it was a virus of some sort that caused it and then carried on working. A bit later my wrists started aching so I asked Norm for the keyboard which goes with the mouse. Norm went to rummage around to find it and when I came back into the room he confessed that while rummaging around in that same box earlier he had bashed around the keyboard which was linked to my laptop and that was what had resulted in my bizarre pseudo-possession. I think he only confessed in order to shut me up going on about bad juju and muttering about doing a spirit cleansing on the house.

That afternoon we drove Rosie to the airport and went in to have lunch with her and send her on her way. She has now messaged to say she has made it home safe and sound. I have had a lazy pajama day today and have a pot of chicken curry on the stove bubbling away. It will be a 3 day work week for the remainder of it, our project ends at week end and then I move offices back to the foreshore. It has been an exciting & busy few weeks for both work and our social lives, I could do with a bit of quiet now really! We have a few weeks until the family all go away for Caitlin’s 30th birthday. I hope I have some peace until then.

One thing that having a visitor highlights is just how beautiful my home and country is and just how blessed I am.

I am such a lucky woman. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo