The Little Engine

Inevitably every time Norm travels there is a drama at home. I almost anticipate it happening and I wonder am I actually generating some of this energy with my thought processes? And each time there is a drama I begin my mantra of ‘I can’t cope’. Saying this over and over in my head almost embeds my feelings of dependency on Norm.

Even though I always cope. After all, what is the alternative? To just give up and rock in a corner while twirling my hair and crying? I am just not that sort of girl. I think a challenge actually galvanises me into action. I may have an immediate breakdown but I then rally.

And then afterwards I generally cry.

I am going to try and be more confident of my abilities. I have survived things that would break most people, but I am still here, still surviving.

I need a new mantra, something like from the Little Engine That Could.

I think I can, therefore I can!

It has been so lovely having Norm back home with us. The weather was dreadful over the weekend and we stayed in and snuggled with the animals in front of the fire. Panda did not leave his Daddy’s side.

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Daddy’s home ❤️

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Pixie seemed fine after her drama on Friday. Maybe she was high on pain meds but she was bouncy and full of fun. However she wanted to sit in my lap and cuddle all weekend.

Navajo has regressed while Norm was away and we had to get the doggy physio back in to work on his back as he was struggling to even haul himself up off of the floor. Bless his heart, I am so worried about him. Norm is going to take him to the doggy chiro as well as his back seems to be his main ailment now.

It was so nice to have Norm home and looking after us all. I collected him at the airport on Saturday morning and we came back home and built a big fire and settled in.

We saw on social media that the roads in the village were flooded and it was recommended that everyone stay off the roads to avoid any issues.

We just got take away chicken burgers on Saturday night and enjoyed catching up with Norm’s travel activities and the latest UK family news.

We had a long lie in bed on Sunday and then when we got up Norm made us a delicious HFLC brunch of cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon and avocado.

Norm had to go out to pay Charles the dog walker on Sunday afternoon so despite the torrential rains he popped to the shop and got a gammon to cook for Sunday dinner. He glazed it in honey and wrapped it in foil and baked it. It was so tender and juicy. He also made corn on the cob, baked beans and cole slaw.

Monday afternoon after work Vanessa popped in to give me a pedicure. We built a big fire as it was still pouring with rain and freezing cold. Norm had a meeting about the SRA he is involved in trying to implement and then he popped down to get us a Chinese take away from the Blue Lotus in Hout Bay, I had crispy spicy pork and it was yummy. I also had sushi which got thrown about while en-route so I did not take any pics of it.

On Tuesday night Norm baked some fish in lemon and butter and made loads of veggies to go with it. We had fried zucchini and red cabbage, roasted butternut, cauliflower mash and cole slaw.

The dogs and cats were hoping I dropped my plate. Or at least dropped the fish.

We have had more crazy chaos in SA over the last few weeks.

Trump pissed off loads of people by poking his beak into an area about which he knows nothing, his education as always comes from his right wing sources. In this particular instance his tweet was triggered by a segment from the racist moron Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

Following the backlash received in the aftermath of the broadcast, Tucker Carlson has once again gone on another fear-mongering rant as he called his detractors out for supporting “whatever the corrupt and incompetent” SA government is doing.

SA Professor Steven Friedman has said that “Trump and the right-wing commentators close to him are responding to the South African non-governmental organisation AfriForum. Two of its leaders went to the US to campaign on the land issue earlier this year, where they met Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton.

AfriForum calls itself a “civil rights organisation” but is in reality a lobby group for white Afrikaans speakers who feel threatened by majority rule.”

US State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert had a press conference where she tried to clean up the mess made by Trump. Her statement was that “We encourage (?) an expropriation of land without compensation would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path. We encourage a peaceful and transparent public debate about this important issues that seems to be happening in South Africa.” (Sic)

“If policies are poorly implemented, there are potentially detrimental political, socio and economic issues.”

What I find ridiculous is her statement that after Zimbabwe had implemented land expropriation without compensation, Mugabe had a media shut down to stop the international press having any insight to the atrocities going on there. How can she mention this as a risk flag when Trump has done his best to discredit the legitimate press and to promote fake news sources such as the racist website Brietbart or Fox News. She seems to not see the irony or the hypocrisy. There is also no ambassador to South Africa since Trump took over so they hardly have their finger on the pulse, more likely they have it up their arse.

Carlson also had a second rant where he discussed Julius Malema. Local South Africans all know that Julius is radical and that he is anti-white. Luckily his party, the EFF, is not the ruling party but you never know what will happen in the next election. I think the DA is in big trouble, personally I do not see any other party which threatens the ANC dominance. If the EFF won the National government it would be a bad place for land or home owning people, Julius wants all property and land to be state owned. How he expects that to work logistically I have no idea. I never said he was rational. Clever, yes. But certainly not rational.

This week we had the dozy cow Theresa May here to chat to President Ramaphosa and do the robot dance with various South African groups.

Good Lord white people, just keep still and try not to look like an eejit.

May has stated that the UK supports Land Expropriation as long as it is “legal, that is transparent, that is generated through a democratic process,” May told reporters.

The other issue which was mentioned in Trump’s tweet was the white genocide or murder of white farmers which many say are being deliberately targeted for attack, whether motivated politically or from the point of retaliation. The reported statistics are inconsistent from the multiple sources about the numbers of murders, but you can see some of the stats here. I also found an article about fact checking the facts on this situation which points out why the data is unreliable. As a data consultant I want proper solid data and this appears to be lacking.

The roots of this dispute go deep. Someone very astute in South Africa once said: “The roots of apartheid are not to be found in the white cities, nor even in the endless tunnels of the gold mines of the Rand. They are buried deep in the red soil of the white-owned farms, where for some 200 years, before even South Africa became an urban industrial economy and the word apartheid was thought of, relationships were being forged between white master and black serf.” Unfortunately I cannot find a reference to who the quote is from but I think it was from Rosalynde Ainslie and has been excerpted from her book ‘Masters and Serfs: Farm Labour in South Africa’.

There have been decades of farmers abusing the farm workers and a history of very little being done about farm worker’s rights or conditions of employment. Much like my Native American ancestors, alcoholism was encouraged among the coloured farm workers as they were paid in wine by the vineyards. The living conditions of many of the workers is shocking.

This link is to an old article written in 1991 but the past is the past so it is as reliable as any, so you can read more on this history here.

However, regardless of the past, members of the white farming community are still being killed in armed attacks at an extraordinarily high rate. The prevalence of this type of murder in farm areas is clearly abnormal, the age profile of the murder victims is usually elderly and that is also abnormal. The horrific level of brutality is abnormal. That these high levels of farm attacks and murders have been sustained for decades is also abnormal. Why is nothing done to prevent them despite there being a strategy announced for the police to investigate it?

The age of the victims could signify that they still held the views of the past instigators of apartheid and believed that people of colour are inferior beings. If their attitude from apartheid had not shifted then their treatment of their staff may have reflected that past.

The judicial system is now starting to prosecute the farmers who do heinous atrocities to their employees. Recently a farmer was convicted of bashing in an employee’s head with a spade and burying the body on the farm. After Visser murdered Adam Pieterse, his body had been dragged behind a vehicle and then his genitals were mutilated after his death. There are many such stories.

The stories we hear of what has happened to the murdered farmers are also horrific and barbaric. One behaviour should not justify the other however and moving on from this situation seems to be a struggle for both ‘sides’ in the equation.

The difference is that the farmers who murder or torment their workers often get reported and arrested, however the people who kill the farmers often escape prosecution.

Most of us do not know the depths of the horrors visited on either of these groups, the police only report some of the crimes. All we can hope for is peace and reconciliation. It’s a tragic situation that the farmers are targeted. Food is the lifeblood for a country.

Some people are calling for white South Africans to be given special refugee status in the USA or Canada and this is supported by the right wing AfriForum group and their cohorts. But what about the black and coloured communities who suffer far more violence and crime than whites? Should this refugee status and policy exclude their emigration from SA? Basically, this would be a plan that would result in even more racism to be visited upon the indigenous population.

This morning we heard that there was another raid in Hangberg in the local coloured townships. They were looking for drugs and weapons and apparently were quite successful.

People are again up in arms about the police being successful yet there are just as many people moaning about crime. You can’t only allow the crime that suits you. The Broken Window Theory is the only sensible thing associated to old Rudy.

This weekend we have some fun things planned as it is my birthday on Monday. Trevor cannot come down for the weekend but Lily and Josh are due to come, however the kid’s father has had some health issues and has been in hospital so there was a chance they were going to need to stay to be with him.

Their father was supposed to be coming down to Cape Town for the weekend but then he ended up in hospital. Today was supposed to be his Uncle Bam’s 95th birthday so they have family here from all over the world to celebrate with him but last week he fell and broke his hip and then passed away the same evening. The family will all be attending his funeral instead of his birthday. They are having dinner later which will be the first time some have seen each other in ages.

Sometimes life has a cruel and tragic sense of humour.

If you can spare some healing thoughts for my ex-husband and comfort towards that side of my children’s family I would appreciate that.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten. x0x0x0x0x0

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The Route is the Root

I recently blogged about how happy I am to see the back of Shaun Abrahams and this week President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Silas Ramaite as the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ramaite is the NPA deputy national director responsible for administration and the office for witness protection. He has served as deputy director of the NPA for 15 years. I have to confess I have never heard of him, but often in politics that can be a good thing! We often only hear of the scandals and dodgy deals. Here is some more info on him and his background.

I hope that Mr Ramaite will serve us well. Crime in SA is astronomical and the conviction rates are terribly low.

Saying that, on occasion you hear of a successful apprehension. Last week on the tail of the fishermen protests we heard there was a shooting in Hout Bay. You can view the video here.  It was allegedly also related to the anti-poaching campaigns which resulted in the missing poacher recently.

I have noticed this week that there are cops pulling over taxis which are illegally using the coast road. This route is supposed to be off limits for taxis as this is the MyCiti Bus route. This dispute over routes is what is allegedly at the root of the taxi violence. This visible policing should hopefully resolve some of the issues. However some say that these incidents of violence are being deliberately instigated to make the western cape ungovernable and that the ongoing issues with arson on the trains is part of the same skulduggery. Another train was torched on Tuesday. This makes 8 incidents.

This infographic HERE is not current but it is interesting none the less.

The other theory is that the taxi drivers are behind the train arson. The train is the cheapest means of travel and is direct competition for the taxi drivers. When the trains do not run the taxis increase their revenue greatly.

For those who are outside of SA I should describe the taxis in SA, they are not yellow cabs like in New York or black cabs like in London. They are minivans which the drivers stack the passengers into like sardines. This link will show you images of the types of automobiles that are used as taxis in SA, just to give you some perspective.

Now we hear the response from our useless Minister of Police Bheki Cele after MPs complained in Parliament that the police had “failed miserably” in protecting the trains in Cape Town.

He said that “PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of SA) spends millions annually on private security firms to secure its trains and rail network. We have heard that R770 million was spent on such security services in one year, but yet the trains are still being set alight.”

According to Cele, PRASA and the Department of Transport must ensure that their trains aren’t targeted by arsonists, cable thieves and vandals. “It’s not the police’s responsibility,” said Cele.

However rumours are that we have no chance of PRASA sorting out any issues, they cannot even manage their own internal affairs properly. “The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has not yet delivered its 2016/2017 annual report to Parliament – which has been outstanding for almost a year. However, on Tuesday, DA shadow minister for transport Manny de Freitas announced he would be taking legal action after documents leaked to him related to the outstanding report show financial mismanagement at the entity.” A leaked document from the Auditor-General’s office shows irregular expenditure totaling R4.4-billion. A copy of the leaked document can be viewed HERE.

The damage to the trains has been estimated at 64 Million Rand. Money better spent on helping the poor or educating the many children who want to study but cannot.

The crime continues on many levels as we also read about a 65 year old woman stabbed on Chapman’s Peak last week. She was out on her own, running on the mountain, when she was approached by a man who robbed her and stabbed her. From what I understand she handed over her goods, there was no reason for them to stab her, it was done purely out of evil motives. People were using the ‘blame the victim’ defense, asking what was she doing on the mountain on her own? However as some of you may remember, a group was attacked last year so numbers do not always protect you from the attackers. And why shouldn’t we be allowed to enjoy the nature and beauty around us without fear of attacks?

Another woman was mugged and stabbed this week by 3 men in a suburb near where we live, a 5 minute drive away. They managed to apprehend one of the men but 2 are still on the run.

I have written before about the high rates of murder and rape of women and children in South Africa. This week the trial of the murderer of Courtney Pieters has continued. She was raped and murdered by a man who was a family friend who actually lived with her family. I also read about the conviction of a man who raped and killed his own young son, so this issue is not restricted only to female victims, it is anyone who is vulnerable.

Alcoholism is rife in many of the marginalised communities in SA. According to the Inanda police station commander Brigadier Zwelihle Mnganga, alcohol consumption played a significant role in the perpetration of rape and sexual assault in Inanda, an area north of Durban. Police crime statistics for 2016/17 indicated that this police station had the highest number of reported rape cases in South Africa. It had 348 reported sexual offences cases, of which 309 were rape cases. The station commander also reiterated the common issue of under-staffing. The number of police assigned to each area is under control of the National Government, the ANC, but the figures are based on an outdated census which means that almost all stations are understaffed.

We also had another child murder conviction this week where a 52-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for attempted rape and the murder of 13-year-old Rene Roman in Lavender Hill, an area just outside of Cape Town. Judge Robert Henney said he was concerned that over the past few years he had handled several cases where young girls had been subjected to a sexual offence before they were murdered by people known to them or who lived near them.

Henney mentioned the murder and rape of 11-year-old Stacha Arendse by neighbour Randy Tango in Mitchells Plain just outside of Cape Town. Henney sentenced Tango to three life terms in December.

The judge also named the case of Jerome Amerika, who raped and killed 10-year-old girl Shamonique Claasen in Paarl – a day before her 11th birthday in December 2016. He also raped his former girlfriend twice. Henney gave Amerika five life sentences.

“It is either a neighbour, or an uncle, or a family friend,” said Henney. “And that makes it so difficult to curb these types of offences. Because we always tell children to be careful of strangers. But I see that the perpetrators of these crimes are no strangers.” Henney said that in “99% of the cases” the child’s body was found buried in a shallow grave.

It is so important for parents to notice their child’s reactions to family members and not force the child to ‘give uncle a hug’ or other demands – if a child does not want to kiss someone, do not force them or you are telling them to deny their instincts or that their own feelings are to be subjugated to those of an elder.

The poor have so many challenges in South Africa, this week I saw this tweet by the Equal Education Movement. However when I researched to find the video as a stand alone link I see that wherever the news sites have written about this the video has been pulled from the news reports. Can anyone say suppression of news and promotion of propaganda? Welcome to ANC land.

Many of the rural schools still have latrines (long drops or pit toilets) rather than proper plumbing and there have been multiple deaths from children falling into these pits and drowning either at school or at home. In terms of the basic education department’s minimum uniform norms and standards that Minister Angie Motshekga passed in November 2013, a certain type of pit latrine was deemed acceptable sanitation for schools. She also promised that by 2016 all schools would have basic services as set out in the minimum uniform norms and standards regulations. Ominously, she warned that while schools without any sanitation would be prioritised, those using pit latrines may not be upgraded to flush toilets. However the pit toilets are still prevalent and the government are not meeting the basic needs of the learners.

The ANC are also responsible for the management of social grants and this has been so poorly handled and has resulted in many people not getting the money they are supposed to get each month due to ineptitude and what I suspect is underhandedness. I suspect that the Minister in charge is filling her pockets with back handers to encourage her to delay this process to allow the previous system integrators to receive maximum benefit.

The world seems to be governed by the inept and self serving as these issues pervade the UK, USA and SA, across all of the countries where I have lived. Now Trump is poking his beak into SA political issues which he knows nothing about. He is such an imbecile, he thinks we will be distracted with his bullshit. We aren’t.

Meanwhile, we stress and we carry on with our lives.

Last week on Thursday night my friend Retha came round for dinner as I have not seen her much lately. We also made a plan to meet up again on the weekend and we went for lunch on Sunday to Allegria Cafe and Life at Mainstream shopping centre in Hout Bay village.

We kept it simple and just had a toasted panini with salad. Retha had one with bacon jam and I had one with swiss cheese, ham and pickle.

I like the laid back vibe at this little cafe, Norm and I often pop in when we are out for a shop. The owner is always very charming and welcoming.

I popped into Pic N Pay clothing as I needed new slippers as the entire sole fell off of mine.

Cordelia took the old ones home to repair and I bought a new pair of grey ones. I also bought some black skinnies as mine are getting rather faded. I did a small shop for food as well and then headed home to the pups. I had been supposed to go drumming on Sunday morning but Panda was not feeling well that morning. He did not eat his breakfast and he followed me around looking very pitiful all morning but then he perked up a bit in the afternoon.

Saturday I had spent all day at home with them, it was a lovely day and we sat outside enjoying the sunshine.

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My pack ❤️

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Excuse Miss Lolakitty licking her bum in the photobomb in the background.

On Saturday I had very little food in the house so I had to make do with what I had if I did not fancy getting presentable and going to the shops. I made bacon and french toast topped with cinnamon apples.

Sunday evening I put a small pot roast into the slow cooker and added some spices as I intended to make shredded beef tacos. It cooked overnight and then I had it for dinner on Monday night. I had included a few spoons of chipotle and adobe sauce my friend had given me as a gift.

Wow it nearly melted my face! PS, how do you like my new slippers?

On Wednesday we saw on social media that there was yet another fire in Hout Bay.

I have been delaying another closet clean out since my Mom sent me some new clothes so the timing is right to make a decent contribution to Thula Thula, our local Disaster Relief group ran by the lovely Joanne Chemaly. Joanne does so much for our community and Thula Thula has done amazing work in assisting those who have been impacted by the many township fires. If you would like to make a contribution, however small then please do, the details are:

Thula Thula NPC
FNB Hout Bay
Account no: 62589383836
Branch code: 204009
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ

The SWIFT Code is only needed if you are overseas. Foreign currency goes a long way in South Africa so even if you pop in a tenner it will help someone to get back on their feet.

Norm has been away in Europe for the last 2 weeks. I have had my helpers all in place to support me, Charlie to walk the dogs, Vanessa to pop home and check on them on the days they were alone, Cordelia there 2 days a week to keep the house in order and Josh came down to stay with me the last week so I was not on my own at least. I was happy for the company.

I have kept myself amused watching all sorts of arbitrary shows on Netflix. Last night I watched a show where a psychologist called Michelle Ward interviews people convicted of murder. It is called ‘The Mind of a Murderer’. I always find these types of shows fascinating.

One of the episodes was about a woman named Janene Patton who had been found guilty of the murder of her 3rd husband. Michelle Ward used the term ‘Monkey Bar Relationships’ to describe Janene’s patterns of relationship behaviour. With each of her marriages she had already began a relationship with the man who was due to be her next husband while still married to the previous one, or she was unwilling to let go of one until she had another in her grasp. Michelle said that this is a pathological fear of being alone and feeling unworthy, so therefore these people exhibit an almost desperate fear of being without a partner. It was quite sad. I have read about women who do this out of a fear of being unable to support themselves, or out of a desire to not have to work. Particularly among both ends of the financial scale: the wealthy women need to remain wealthy, the poor and uneducated who have no marketable skills need to know someone is there to put food on the table.

It left me feeling quite sad but I thought it was an interesting series, out of the eps I have watched I will give it 4 Kitten Stars.

The other random show I watched was called Insatiable. It was insane but I found it quite funny. It was a bit of a predictable twist at the end but it was definitely worth a watch. I will give that one 4.5 Kitten Stars.

Today after work I dropped Cordelia and 2 of her pals who work nearby in the township. She walks to work but we drop her home. I messaged Charles the dog walker before I left to say I would be back in ten minutes.

When I got back I let the dogs out the front door and Navajo bolted out and he and Pixie had a tussle over who goes first, with him biting her then knocking little Pixie down the front steps. She tumbled over and over hitting each tiled step hard and eventually landed sitting down on her bum with her front leg stuck up straight in the air at an unnatural angle. I think her shoulder may have been dislocated but I think I popped her shoulder back in but she couldn’t stand properly on that leg.

Our dog walker arrived as I was flapping around hysterically and he drove us to the vet. Pix has a lot of swelling but they don’t think it’s fractured. She’s had anti-inflammatory and pain meds injected to help her. If she is not back to normal by Monday she must go for an X-ray. Typical, as always we had a drama while Norm was away.

I’m chilling tonight surrounded by all 5 animals. I stopped on my way home and bought some bits to make a pizza to make for my dinner, a crust from Posticino, mozzarella and pancetta from Richard Bosman.

Tonight is my last night without Norman, I collect him first thing tomorrow at the airport. I will be very happy to have him back home.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

The Other Foot

Women often say that they hear the voice of their Mother emerging when they become parents. The other night I heard the voice of my previous abuser emerging when I got annoyed with Norman. Norm did something that annoyed me and I shouted ‘but you know it annoys me so why are we discussing it, just don’t bloody do it’. My anger erupted in a microsecond and the words were out before I could even absorb what I was saying. Blaming HIM for MY lack of anger management.

It is a known psychological phenomenon that the abused can become the abuser. This is in the instances of both mental and physical abuse (whether sexual or domestic violence). The previously abused have a feeling of lack of control or self worth left over from the instances when we were the victim. I know that my natural reaction is defense, I can attack at the least provocation. Hopefully being aware of the behaviour is the first step towards healing. Luckily Norm knows that most of my reactions are based on my past experiences, not his actions. He is a very evolved man. I am trying. (Not to be a man obviously, just to be more conscious and less reactive.)

Maybe my newly found awareness is all part of the interactions I have had recently  with other women who have suffered abuse. Maybe this is all related to my own healing as well as the support of other women and their own issues with abuse.

Maybe it is bigger than me…….or the other women.

There has been a bit of good news this week as the Constitutional Court has confirmed that Advocate Shaun Abrahams’ appointment as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is constitutionally invalid and has ordered him to step down.

Judge Mbuyiseli Madlanga found that the manner in which former prosecutions boss Mxolisi Nxasana vacated office was invalid and therefore it had a knock-on effect on Abrahams’ appointment. Madlanga found that former President Jacob Zuma was bent on removing Nxasana at all costs and effectively bought him out with a R17 million settlement.

The judge found that this compromised the independence of the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions, which rendered his vacation of office invalid. The Constitutional Court has ordered President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new National Director of Public Prosecutions within 90 days. The court further ordered Nxasana to repay the R10 million he has already received as part of his settlement.

Sean Abrahams was the lapdog of the corrupt disgraced ex-president Zuma and I am so happy to see the back of him. I only hope that the R10 million is returned to the people and the deep levels of government corruption will be dealt with once and for all.

There was a meeting held last week at the Hout Bay Public Library where Zak Mbhele, the DA spokesperson on policing gave us some rather frightening news. I use the term ‘news’ but it was just confirmation of what most of us already suspected. ‘Mr Mbhele said there were good police officers in the force, but they were “islands of excellence in a sea of dysfunction”.

“The police are not well managed, and they are severely under-resourced and understaffed,” Mr Mbhele said. “The ugly part of it is that things won’t get better for a while, and the truth is that our communities are very much on their own.
“The Metro police are doing great work, but they have limited policing powers. For one, they don’t have investigating powers. The is a huge mountain of crime, but the channelling of crimes through the criminal justice system is not happening.”

Hout Bay, he said, faced four major crimes: taxi violence, crime stemming from protests, house robbery and burglary, and muggings and common assault.

“Crime intelligence in SAPS has become a shambles. Crime intelligence, for example, used to run the witness protection programme, but it was later found that (former Crime Intelligence head) Richard Mdluli and his friends were using witness protection houses for parties and braais (aka BBQs). When you have a situation like this, no one will come forward to assist police in their investigations.” The situation was exacerbated by a shrinking SAPS, and budgets being slashed across all departments.’

The protests in Hout Bay continued on Monday and as I came into the bay from work I could see the smoke from the fires being set by the protesters.

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana has instructed the officials from his department to meet with the protesters urgently to try and quell the tensions.

There is still debate about whether the poacher Durick van Blerk was shot during the anti-poaching operation or whether he jumped into the water to evade arrest by Water Wing, the anti-poaching team.

The police spent days searching for the body of Durick van Blerk but did not find him.

One point was clarified about the search and the protest, the protesters were unhappy that the 2 poachers who were arrested were not released so that they could help search for the body as they knew where the incident occurred. Other rumours from various residents in the harbour are that van Blerk managed to evade the police and he is hiding out until the dust clears. I actually hope that rumour is true as he is about to become a father soon and it makes me sad to think that child could grow up without a dad.

The residents are not disputing that the men on the boat were poachers, they were caught with lobsters in their boat.

Fishing is a dying industry as we humans decimate the bounty of the seas, the community would be better served with the city redeveloping the harbour area and putting in shops, restaurants and other tourist draws similar to the V&A Waterfront. The construction would result in employment and once it is complete there would be jobs available in the new shops, restaurants and other new venues as well as jobs in security and the operational running of the premises.

This development would draw tourists and bring in revenue to the Bay while the protesting just results in loss of revenue and destruction.  One trader lost almost 500 pieces of stunning hand made silver jewelry.

These are the scenes of the devastation done by looters during the protest. Opportunists who jump on the bandwagon of destruction.

The long reaching results of this protest could impact the decision of future tourists when they are choosing what suburb to stay in and if they do decide on Hout Bay, it may then impact on their choice of accommodation, if they google Hout Bay they will see all of the bad press and run for the hills. Or to Camps Bay if they can afford it. They certainly may be hesitant to book anywhere near the harbour.

Compounding the issue of decimation of the fish by pollution and corporate over-fishing, the South African government has created fishing quotas which mean that the fishermen whose families have fished for generations cannot support themselves off of the profits they make. In some cases the quotas were halved. Once again, the government has cared more about filling their own pockets than about making the lives of their residents easier.

Norm as always has made my life easier this week. He cooked for us this week and he ventured out of his routines to try a stir fry. He also wilted some baby spinach, so I added a bed of spinach to my bowl and then topped it with the stir fry.

It was really yummy as well as being low carb and nutritious.

I did not get much sleep last night however as the owners of the guest house next door were playing horrendous music and shouting at each other until well after midnight. I wanted to go and have a chat but Norm talked me out of it.

I worked from home yesterday and for dinner we are having the chili con carne he made for us the day before.

Norm was a bit of a ninja superstar on Tuesday in fact. He had both Mzudumo and Cordelia there working so had to manage them, he had people knocking the door all day to drop off forms for the proposed SRA, he took all 3 pups to the groomer, the doggy physio came to see Navajo, he painted the garage door, cooked that night’s stir fry and the next night’s chili as well as all of the normal daily chores.

I do not know how I could cope without him or how single mothers do it every day.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Protest on a Half Shell

We had thought we might go for breakfast or brunch to the Hout Bay Harbour Market today to mark the end of my four day break, but when I woke up this morning my wrist and joints were sore from yesterday’s tent excursion and drumming and as it was gloomy outside we decided to stay in and hibernate.

I ordered some wood to be delivered next week and played games and chatted online from the comfort of my bed and snuggled with the animals.

Winter is the only time the cats are friends. Even then, we caught Blue attacking Lola like a vampire yesterday, biting her neck ferociously.

Norm and I eventually emerged from our warm beds about 11.30 and Norm made us gorgeous French toast with maple syrup.

It was crispy and perfect. I’m a lucky woman.

Then I was sitting outside on the patio drinking a large cup of tea and looking at the misty mountain while Navajo had a run round the garden, as one does on a Sunday.

Then the Neighbourhood Watch radio burst into life and we saw on social media and via WhatsApp that there was a protest happening at the Harbour.

The road to the Market was blocked off and filled with burning tires.

We heard that they set the buildings at the market on fire and I was so relieved that the Universe protected me from being there. I read that they also torched the Department of Public Works store, two harbour master offices, one fisheries inspector’s house and another government official’s house.

We listened on the radio and followed via social media and WhatsApp and heard that the march had then diverted out of the Harbour and towards the village, up Empire Road, through Beach Estate heading towards the police (SAPS) station. Then we heard many sirens coming down from the Nek and into town. The Public Order Police (POP) were dispatched as were the fire department.

The protestors fired off many rescue flares and also set a house in Beach Estate on fire. They vandalized property all along their path.

Eventually the protestors were met with force by POP and rubber bullets finally stopped the madness.

I’ve heard several stories which are being claimed as motivations for the protest. I read that there was a police raid on the poachers and this resulted in the death of one of the poachers. Then we heard that a single diver had gone missing late Friday while diving off the Chapmans Peak side of the bay. Yesterday there were rescue helicopters and NSRI boats out searching but they did not find the missing diver. Then they said the protest was against the police not allowing them to search for the body.

The stories vary on whether the poacher was shot or drowned. We saw this posted online.

Finally we saw that the press had reported a few articles on the protest. “Residents of the harbour community claim that the protests erupted following the death of a young fisherman who was allegedly shot dead by a policeman on Saturday. The incident stemmed from an alleged poaching incident.” Another article said the boat hadn’t returned and the police wouldn’t search, an another said that the police shot at the boat.

So possibly the police raided a group of poachers and one of them died in the process.

The poachers in this area generally poach abalone or lobsters. There are quotas on the limits to fishermen but these limits are ignored by poachers. The poachers claim that the tight quotas mean they cannot survive if they adhere to them. Here is a good article about it. Far be it for me to sit in judgment from here in my big house sitting by my warm fire, resting up before I go back to my corporate job. I just don’t see the point of punishing people who are not responsible. What did the Market owners and traders do to deserve this?

We must not lose sight of the fact that a mother lost a son, people lost a friend. Whether what he was doing was right or wrong, a young man died.

We also saw on social media that a car had burned on the road out of Hout Bay late Friday night. The story on this is a bit vague too.

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Car burning in Hout Bay last night

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The reports are that the car was abandoned. Maybe it was torched. Maybe the driver crashed it and ran. Who knows.

There is never a dull moment in Hout Bay.

We heard again of another friend who is emigrating. The list grows. Meanwhile in my typically backwards manner we are fighting for the right to stay, with Norm jumping through hoops to get his residency permit.

I daydream of having my kids, my Mom, and all of our friends and family all living on a big compound together somewhere isolated from the rest of the world. As long as it has my family, WiFi, peanut butter and Netflix I’d be happy. 😂🤷🏻‍♀️

Tonight we are staying in rather than deal with any possible dramas. Why put our beak into something that has nought to do with us. We are wrapped up and trying to keep warm. The dogs are being annoying because it is too wet to walk them.

I am back to work tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have a non-eventful drive to work. Wish me luck.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

The Fear of Loneliness

The fear of loneliness can be a motivator behind many decisions made by some people. Irrational sometimes to outsiders, these decisions can result in constraints to the lives of some and heartbreak to others. People settle for people they do not love, or stay in relationships with people they do not love rather than risk being alone. Loneliness is one of humanity’s biggest issues, often leading to despair. Isolation is even used as the ultimate prison punishment, it can affect people in many different ways, leading some people to behave bizarrely. As an only child of working parents, one whose home was surrounded by countryside rather than playmates, I grew up being alone a lot and I am comfortable with my own company. However nothing makes me happier than time with my family. My family is everything to me. But I do not mind being alone.

This topic came up this weekend when watching ‘Like Father‘ with the fabulous Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer. Kelsey plays the Father and that was his term, ‘fear of loneliness’, he used it when discussing a poor decision made by Kirsten (in the role of the daughter) and proposing explanations for why the situation may have happened.

Lauren Miller Rogen was not only the screenwriter but also the director and producer of the film and hubby Seth Rogen appears in it.

It was a good enough movie to amuse me on a lazy cold winters day. I give it 3 and a bit Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Thursday was the start of a four day weekend for me as it was Women’s Day in South Africa.

August the 9th is a Public Holiday marking the day of the national march of women in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the ‘pass’.

The ‘pass’ was an identification document which restricted a black South African’s freedom of movement under apartheid and only by having the pass were they allowed to enter ‘white’ areas. The ‘pass’ had come into force under the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against proposed amendments to the act. They left petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom’s office door. They stood silently outside his door for 30 minutes.

The women then sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (This translates to “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”.).

As discussed in my last blog, women in South Africa do not have a lot to celebrate however.

Neither do many women worldwide. I loved reading this week about the increase of the number of women entering into politics in the US. The one thing we can congratulate Trump on is waking people up to the risk of letting racist, misogynistic bigots run the country and getting them to step up to vote or even to run for office.

This day also marks the anniversary of my first day at work in South Africa after I immigrated back here in 2007. We were given a fancy lunch at the Mount Nelson by my new company and I thought ‘wow’ I can get used to this. However I only lasted 6 months with that company and am now on my third contract house since moving back. If I am unhappy, I move on. Life is too short.

I had booked to go on a reconnection medicine walk on Thursday but I woke up so stiff and sore from the cold that I could barely make it downstairs and so I had to cancel. We have had a cold snap of icy weather in Cape Town and my arthritis is reacting badly to it.

Instead I wrapped up warm and stayed tucked in bed and Norm went to get us pastries and then brought me pastry and a frothy latte in bed, where I lay surrounded by cats and snoozing Pomeranian pups.

That morning a guy came to repair the cowl that blew off of our chimney and the animals and I stayed in bed while Norm dealt with that. As the guy said it blew off the chimney due to his fitting it incorrectly the first time he did not charge us! That was lucky.

I put together some lunch from the salads I had picked up on my way home on Friday. I bought them for the shared lunch after my walk but as I did not walk we had some yummy bits to choose from. We had Asian slaw, potato salad, pickled beetroot with chunks of creamy feta and roast chicken. It was divine, healthy and so easy.

On Thursday evening we decided to just stay in by our cozy fire. We got chicken burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and just relaxed.

The joint pain I was having could have been due to the Wednesday night when I had gotten chilled to the bones while sitting in an assembly room watching Norm present to 50 residents and several members of the City Of Cape Town Council about the proposal to start a Central Improvement District, aka a CID. This is a private-public partnership formed by the property owners in the area to provide complementary services over and above what the City of Cape Town provides.

Our CID will cover 3 areas, Oakwood, Hughenden and Meadows, it will be called by the acronym ‘OHMCID’. The website is live and the process is busy following the regulatory requirements. We just need 60% of the property owners to sign up to it and we can start to boost our security and be more in control of managing our area.

The presentation finished about 8pm and we were starving so we headed into the village and stopped at the Woodcutters Arms Pub in Hout Bay.

Norm was tired after presenting that night as well as several other meetings he had for work that day. It was a relief to get into somewhere warm.

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❤️

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We both ordered a few Tapas items which they served on platters.

I had jalapeño cheddar cigars, onion rings and popcorn chicken strips.

Norm had his beloved scotch egg with fries and hake goujons.

The food at that pub is reliably well cooked and tasty. We wanted something simple to share and nibble with our fingers. I give it four Kitten Stars for being exactly what you could hope for in a Gastropub. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It hit the spot and we came home and crashed after.

We have both had busy weeks. At least the days were busy with work but our evenings were spent in front of a fire as it’s been so cold and drizzly outside. The animals were happy snuggling up.

The cats love it when we have a fire.

We had plans to go on a road trip on Friday as I also had the day off. We were going to drive across Chapman’s Peak to Imhoff Farm but it was drizzly, overcast and rainy so we fancied something a bit cosy. We needed to do a few errands so we decided to go to Peddlars in Constantia then pop over to the mall.

We quickly settled in to a table by the window after trying 2 others which were reserved (it was very empty so that shuffling around was all a bit bizarre).

Even Scots Norm was feeling the cold.

We decided to just order the pub platter to share.

It had calamari, onion rings, chips, chicken strips, pulled pork spring rolls and a few sauces. It was really yummy and hit the spot. We didn’t linger, we had a drink each then headed off to the mall. We got a human wrist support for Navajo’s sore ankle.

The doggy Physio has recommended it, so far so good, we will see if he wears it. We had a few other things we needed so we ran our errands then bought a few groceries and we decided to go for a coffee.

We popped into Mugg & Bean and Norm had a cappuccino and a slice of caramel cheesecake.

Norm gives their cheesecake 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had an iced coffee and a chocolate chip muffin. They have divine muffins.

We headed home as Norm had to walk the dogs and take Cordelia home at 5. We popped into Hout Bay quickly first as I had inadvertently sat on my specs and they badly needed to be adjusted so we stopped by Tanya Seeber enroute.

We were still full from lunch so didn’t even eat dinner that night despite shopping for it. We just nibbled nuts, cheese and apples and such that night.

Despite our plans going awry we had a lovely day together. I feel very blessed that after 21 years of marriage Norm is still my best friend. We can make most things we do enjoyable.

On Saturday morning Norm cooked us a delicious breakfast to set us up for the day.

After breakfast Norm and Nav pottered about the garden.

I got ready while they were busy as I was signed up for a slot in a day of singing at a two day Sacred Song Circle Marathon event.

This is one of the songs in our repertoire and it is one of my favorite songs to sing. It’s such a happy lighthearted song with such a nice rhythm.

The lyrics are “waniskâ! pêtâpan ôma

âsay piyêsîsak kî-nikamowak

ê-miyonâkwan kitaskînaw”

This translates to:

“Wake up! The sun is coming.

The birds are already singing

How beautiful this land of ours is.”

Isn’t it a lovely song, suited for what turned out to be a lovely day. The event started on Friday evening and carried on all day Saturday. It was held in a house off the beaten track, in a remote area in the southern peninsula and it was about an hour from my house. I went to Gerri’s house, our drum circle leader, then she and I drove in convoy to the house.

Our drummers were supposed to wear red.

There were lots of people there, approximately 20 adults. There were also children of all ages and there were many places on the property to keep children occupied but the vibe was relaxed and they ran in and out of the tent too. The singing was held in a large round tent filled with rugs, blankets and pillows. There was a center altar with many items there for blessing. There were different rounds of songs, with the changing of song leaders every hour or so. When we arrived our friend Martyn was singing and then it was to be our turn. Martyn sang very lovely, soothing, soft songs and everyone was quite lethargic from the shared lunch they had eaten just before we arrived. Gerri brought our large communal drum and when it was our turn we stood up around it. We sang all dance songs so they were mostly quite energetic. Waniska is probably our slowest song and we really wail on the chorus even for that one. We woke the tent up and got the energy going.

After our round we stayed for one more round of South American native songs which were sung in Spanish or Aztec. Some of the terms were familiar from my North American song repertoire and some from my very limited Spanish. I left and drove Michelle back to Gerri’s house where she had left her car. I then headed home, cold and tired but happy.

Norm cooked us a delicious dinner when I got home. He grilled the fillet steak and we finished off the salads from the previous day. He also boiled some corn and sliced up an avocado.

He also made a roaring big fire to warm me up. It was a divine end to a lovely day.

We are having a lazy evening tonight and we do not yet have plans for tomorrow, we will have to see what the day may bring.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Kitten Whisperer

 

This has been another week of turmoil in South Africa. There have been protests over a few different things. Rumours are that there is another taxi strike planned for tomorrow. I will drive around the village rather than risk getting trapped like last time.

Last Wednesday there was a protest against Gender Based Violence held in various towns in SA. It was an Intersectional Women’s March and included in this protest were people protesting the violence done against all women, inclusive of all non-gender conforming people, the LGBTI community and disabled women.

Men were not welcome in the march. There are people of all genders who perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, however men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims. Despite the march clearly stating that men were not welcome, until men step up and support the initiative to prevent this violence, there is minimal chance of change or success. Men need to be role models to their children, showing them by their behaviour that violence or abuse of women and children will not be tolerated in our society.

Are you aware of these statistics provided by Safer Spaces?

  • More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner.
  • Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime.
  • Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime.
  • Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a woman.
  • South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape.
  • Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s.
  • There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex.
  • Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man.
  • Non-partner Structural Violence is particularly common, but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25 rapes had been reported to the police.

Structural violence is “where violence is built into structures, appearing as unequal power relations and, consequently, as unequal opportunities. Structural violence exists when certain groups, classes, genders or nationalities have privileged access to goods, resources and opportunities over others, and when this unequal advantage is built into the social, political and economic systems that govern their lives.” Sadly this is a leftover of apartheid and colonialism and is still prevalent in South Africa.

I think that the concept of a Blesser is reflecting these same patterns of patriarchal hierarchy and behaviours. A “blesser” in South Africa is kind of like a sugar daddy. He’s an older man who often has multiple girlfriends he lavishes with gifts, in exchange for sex and companionship. A woman allowing a man to look after her in exchange for sex. The behaviour of women culturally conditioned to not value their body and dignity due to many years of being devalued by a nation. It is heartbreaking.

The current ruling political party does little to change these statistics and despite the ANC being in power for decades, they have not done very much to improve the lives of the poor and uneducated masses in general. A few South Africans benefit greatly from their rule and most benefit not at all.

In fact some people say that not only have they not benefited the constituents in the areas where they govern on a provincial level, but they have also done their best to make the western cape ungovernable.

Many people in the outlying areas rely on trains for getting into the city for work. There has been a rash of fires on the routes going into the city with multiple fires occurring at or near the station, fires people say were deliberately started in order to cause transport chaos as it coincides with the ongoing taxi strikes. More of an attempt to cause turmoil.

This week in a shock address to the nation, President Ramaphosa officially confirmed that the ANC-led government will change the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation. That is pretty horrendous, that the president used a public broadcast to air his views but that this is being treated as a done deal without going to court.

This means that your private property – your home, business or land – could be taken away from you without payment should the government decide that it is in the public’s best interest (whatever that means!).

Meanwhile life goes on, I get up in the dark and go to work hoping I get through to my destination with no dramas.

Norm has been looking after us and trying to keep us healthy. On Monday he cooked a yummy dinner of chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, corn on the cob, green beans and baby spinach.

On Tuesday for dinner he made fishcakes, coleslaw, mashed sweet potato and baby zucchini. That was a nice change! We tend to get into a rut and eat the same old things quite often.

Work has been busy. On Wednesday I had a workshop that lasted most of the day. It exhausted me but we were off that night to Caitlin for dinner so I perked myself up and off we went after work.

When we arrived at her flat we went in to look at her new bathroom cupboard which Norm was going to sort the handles for. While we were in there her boy cat Scout kept going into his litter box. Caitlin said ‘I think he is a bit constipated’ and without thinking I said ‘I think he has a bladder infection and we need to read about it as it can be dangerous for boy cats as they can get crystals in their urethra’. As I have never had any issues with a cat having a bladder infection or crystals I have no idea where this information came from. It kind of startled me that I said it! We then googled it and read that a bladder blockage can be fatal for a male cat and then I rang the 24 hour vet who said she must take him in that evening rather than wait overnight. Caitlin was so grateful that I was there that very night and that I directed her to the vet as she would never even have noticed his behaviour most likely.

Another of my healing whisperer moments. I am no longer questioning them. My hairdresser is Christian and she also gets The Voice and she said that she treats it as the voice of the holy spirit. I have decided to treat it as The Voice of the Great Spirit. I am still learning how to deal with this gift.

Caitlin had already made our dinner of delicious chicken curry and cauliflower rice so we quickly had dinner.

Cait then popped Scout into his carrier and shot off to the vet and Norm and I went home. Scout is still not completely well, his bladder is very inflamed. We would be happy for any prayers and healing you can send him if you are so inclined.

Driving into work on Thursday morning I had loads of police cars passing me, I think they are visibly policing to deter the taxi violence. There were rumours of a protest by the Khoisan over fishing rights being planned, but I did not hear of any evidence of it happening.

On Thursday there were lots of helicopters flying over Chapman’s Peak and we read later that they were searching for the body of the missing woman who was last seen there and had not returned home. They found her body so at least the family have some closure, I do hope it was not suicide but the rumours are that was exactly what transpired. So sad for her family regardless of how she died.

We had another long workshop on Thursday which I was facilitating and mid-workshop the fire alarm went off and we all evacuated. I took my laptop as it is my own, not my company’s. It was so hot and we were standing in the direct sun and I was wearing a giant woolly jumper and boiling with heat. After we were allowed in I ran up the 3 flights to our meeting room, wearing said jumper and carrying my laptop. I thought I might keel over by the time I got back and then had to quickly recover and start leading the meeting again.

Thursday night Norm had a meeting and had cooked chili con carne for us so I ate while he was out. He is getting to be as good at making chili as I am. I was very impressed.

Friday after work I had a hair appointment so I finished work at 3pm. I was home about 6pm and by then Lily and Josh had arrived at our place for the weekend. We let them choose the take away and as Josh was racing on Saturday they opted for Cassarechio so Josh could carbo load. We had a night relaxing and watching serial killer or murder TV shows as Lily loves that as much as I do.

Her and Josh were up and away early on Saturday and I was off to take Pixie to see David the doggy Chiropractor in Noordhoek. I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth, gulped a coffee and threw on some clothes without showering. I would just get full of dog hair anyway.

When I left there was a wee french bulldog who was waiting to be treated and he had such an awkward gait, I felt so sad for him. There was a dachshund being treated while we were waiting our turn and David said the dog was paralysed when he started treating her. He is a miracle worker. He has transformed Pixie’s life.

After I got home I showered and Norm and I headed off to meet our friend Annette for lunch.

She moved to Johannesburg a few years ago. I was so excited when she said she could see us.

I brought Norm along but we barely let him get a word in edgewise.

We met at The Lookout Deck which is at the harbour in my village.

It is so beautiful there even on an overcast gloomy day.

They had a special on for 1/2 a kilo of prawns with either chips or rice for R165. It sounded nice and both Annette and I ordered it.

The prawns peeled easily, were moist and full of flavour. We both got stuck in and covered in sauce and made the most of it. Yummy. Norm had the hake and chips and ate every bite.

We all fancied a sweet and ordered dessert. Annette had the creme brulee, Norm had the baked cheesecake and I had the chocolate nut sundae which was massive! I love soft serve ice cream and ate it all though!

We spent most of the afternoon there catching up and then Annette went home to spend her last evening in Cape Town with her son and daughter in law.

When we were chilling out that evening in front of a big fire, Norm heard of an issue on the radio, strapped on his bullet proof vest and headed out with the Neighbourhood Watch group as there were 6 men seen trying to enter a property. That has become a normal part of our lives as it happens several times a week. It is a strange way to live but it is necessary to help in the defense of our neighbours and boundaries.

Norm has just left now to go to another attempted break in.

Today we have been very lazy, Josh and Lily drove home and we built a big fire and have been snuggled up with me writing and Norm working until when he had to go out on the call.

I am delighted to read today that Patricia De Lille has finally resigned and the DA can start to move forward in a positive manner.

Navajo sees the doggy physiotherapist on Tuesday and hopefully she can help him with his gamey leg. Hopefully Scout improves as well and both of our babies feel some relief. I have a 4 day week at work and all manner of fun things planned which I will tell you about next time.

I wish you all a great week ahead. Until next time….

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0