The Count Down

I am stressed. I tend to not sleep when I am stressed which only compounds my stress. I am stressing over several things. I am struggling a bit financially and just do not seem to get on top of it. I am stressing over that as I hate being in debt. Norm is having issues with his very old car, we need to buy a new one but cannot at the moment. I hope repairing it will not cost too terribly much. It is what it is.

I am about to start a new project at work with a new client so I am stressing about that. We got approval on our proposal to UCT for assessing their Master Data Management maturity, we will start with a small pilot and then broaden our scope once we process prove our approach. It is not the best place to be based from a comfort point of view in regards to travel and parking and being near to places to get healthy food, but at least it is a project I can get my teeth into.

And finally on my list of stresses, this Saturday is our annual Halloween party and I always panic beforehand that no one shows up and that if they do the evening will fall flat. There is always a decent turn out, but this year there are many other events going on that weekend and so a lot of friends are not coming. We have the same DJ booked this year as we have had the last 2 years and he is brilliant at keeping us dancing so I should relax. But I can’t. I will only relax on the actual night of the event, once I have had a few drinks and I see that everyone is having fun. And then it is over for another year.

I have a busy week planned this week and that just compounds my stress levels.

As much as I was not looking forward to my Data Governance training last week it was actually very interesting! There were 4 of us getting trained, one was a client and the other 3 attendees were myself and my colleagues. We had some interesting discussions and we gave the client a lot of insight into what it is like to be a consultant. He was quite shocked when we told him some of the challenges we have with clients.

Norm had cooked most of last week since we are on a tight budget. He made a nice beef bolognaise type dish and he served it with sweet potato mash and stir fried red cabbage on Wednesday and on Thursday he served it over spinach noodles with steamed veggies. It was healthy and tasty. As it is so hot tonight he has cooked dinner on the gas grill, he made chicken and feta sausages and corn on the cob and then made a salad to go with it. It was perfect fare for the weather.

Last Friday night we had chicken burgers from the Kitchen Takeaway. These are usually so tasty but on Friday they were very average. One of the reasons they are so good is the roll, they are usually served on a kitke roll. A kitke roll by any other name is just challah bread. I love the texture and almost sweet taste and the sprinkling of sesame seeds is the perfect finish. However on Friday the burgers were served on a hard, stale, cheap burger bun. It was also missing the copious amount of pickle slices which are usually very prevalent (I love pickles). There was not the usual ‘sauce’ on the burger either. If this was the first time I had eaten their food I would most likely not go back. It was the quality equivalent of a KFC burger for twice the price. I am not sure what is going on at this restaurant but we have watched many venues in Hout Bay go under once they start cutting corners. I love their ribs too so I hope they sort their issues out and do not end up going under. That would result in unemployment for their staff and there is plenty of that in SAfrica already.

I have booked to go to the US Consulate this week as my Mom needs some papers notarised and posted over to her. She has just recently bought a new house in North Georgia and she had put the house she lived in with her husband just outside of Atlanta on the market months ago but has not managed to sell it yet. It is a big beautiful house in the countryside so I thought it would be snapped up instantly. It was originally listed with a family ‘friend’ who did absolutely nothing to help my mother prepare for the move. She did not help my mom pack up, sort the estate sale or even give her any discount on her commission. She did not even get her act together to take the brochure and website images when the house was beautifully decorated, she waited until my Mom had the estate sale and her draperies and decor were gone and then photographed an empty house. My Mom has now listed with a different agent and he has gotten things moving, however we just discovered that she had never had the house put into her name after my stepdad died. How the previous agent did not catch this I have no idea. Now the lawyer has decided that as the obituary had named me as Tom’s daughter rather than his stepdaughter, I have to send a notarised document saying that I will not try and lay any claim to the house when it does sell. As I am her daughter this seems so bizarre to me, but if that is what is required to help her get things sorted I will do so. In SA we get our documents certified at the police station which I did last week and sent to the lawyer, however the lawyer says this is not acceptable and I have to go to the US Consulate to get it properly notarised. The consulate charges $50 USD per document and there are 2 documents and I cannot afford to pay this as once you do the exchange to rands it is a lot of money in my currency. My Mom sent me the money via forex and I have made an appointment to go next week, it just means I have to take time off of work to do so. This process has been ongoing for weeks now, what a drama it has turned out to be!

It has been quite warm and windy the last few days with today being 38 degrees! The strong winds have continued and this has possibly been instrumental in several horrendous township fires this past week.

In the wee hours of Friday morning there was a fire in Hout Bay. This was in the township that is up high over the Hout Bay harbour and there were 2 deaths in the fire, a mother and her 14 year old son.

The firemen are so brave, I cannot imagine running into a scenario that most are running from.

The fire was finally under control by morning and from the pic made by The Aerial Perspective you can see the extent of the devastation.

Thula Thula were on site straight away sorting out donations of clothing and essentials to the victims of the fire. Hout Bay is so lucky to have them on their doorstep.

Then in the early hours of Saturday morning 342 informal structures were destroyed in Silver Town, Khayelitsha another settlement area a few miles from us. This has resulted in 1,355 people being displaced.

Later on Saturday night there was yet another fire in the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi‚ Cape Town which destroyed about 120 dwellings and it is estimated about 1‚400 people have been affected by the blaze.

I hope that the government will rise to support these families, it is so tragic. I read that the Gift of the Givers foundation are assisting the victims.

On Friday afternoon after work I went to pick up my new eyeglasses. My eyes have deteriorated quite a bit which explains my deep frown lines earned from squinting at everything. My astigmatism has also gotten worse. Add to this my Posterior Vitreous Detachment which causes a huge amount of ‘floaters‘ and I am lucky I can still get about without falling over anything. These challenges are why I hate to drive on the motorway and why I cannot drive at night.

Saturday I was up and out early as I had drumming practice at my friend Gerri’s. Gerri is our drum chief at the moment, it is usually her daughter Jesse who is working in the UK but Gerri did a great job. We all practiced on the communal drum which will be used in the upcoming dance.

After we finished our rehearsal we stayed to make Prayer Flags for tying around the four gates of the arbour.

Prayer flags or prayer ties are sacred bundles of tobacco which are used as offerings of prayer in sacred ceremonies. Our drum group are performing at a 4 day dance at the end of the month, however I am not going with them. One, I cannot afford it and two, I think it will be too much for me physically. One day solid drumming pretty much finishes me off, add to this the sleeping conditions of being in a camp and I cannot risk challenging my arthritis to this degree at a time when I am starting a new project and cannot take time off. But Gerri offered to take my prayer ties with her and then a little bit of me will be there too. The ties will be tied around the dance arbour.

We smudged all of the items used to make the flags: the tobacco, the material and the ties. I offered prayers for each of the items. Tobacco is sacred in the NA culture and as much a medicine as sage. It is used as a spiritual offering. We placed the tobacco into the material and followed the prescribed method of wrapping and tying it.

I found a video which shows the process much better than I can explain it.

After I got home from drumming I collected Norm and we headed out for something to eat as it was 3.30 and I was ravenous. We decided to go to the local German restaurant Zur Holzbucht.

The Chelsea game was on so Norm was happy watching that on their big screen.

The wind was so strong down at the beach that we could barely get in and out of the car as the wind whipped the doors of the car so hard. It was worth the battle though as their food is always so delicious and we were not disappointed. Norm ordered the Goulash which was on special.

I had the pork schnitzel and chose to have it with chips and then I wanted to kick myself as I love German potato salad and missed a trick there! But my food was very yummy.

Norm had dessert but I was full up. He had the cheesecake which was a proper baked cheesecake.

We headed over to the shops after we ate and bought some bits and pieces to tide us over for the weekend. We had a quiet night in that evening and started watching series two of ‘Making a Murderer‘. We have not finished it yet so no spoilers! This is a brilliant series if you have not seen series 1 then you must must must watch it! I wish I could remember the details of the first series better but we watched it a few years ago when it first came out. This is a 5 Kitten Star series.

On Sunday we had a lazy day. Norm was working on a bid and I stayed in bed playing games on my iPad surrounded by the animals for most of the morning. Norm made us a yummy breakfast when I finally got up.

I had a long session of dog grooming as the dogs were looking a mess. I got enough hair from all 3 beasties to make a whole new dog.

When it cooled down a bit Norm went out to clean the pool with much assistance by the dogs who barked madly and chased the end of the pool net every time it was raised out of the water. Due to the wind,  the pool cover was littered in debris so he spent most of the time actually cleaning the cover rather than the pool itself.

All manner of insanity is going on around the world. The 2 items which I have been following in the news are firstly, the murder which occurred in the Turkish embassy, a place which is supposed to symbolise a place of safety. The news of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been a shock to many, other than the Saudis who murdered him of course. Trump thinks the Saudis are very nice people of course. He is such an imbecile.

The second item I have been following is the murder of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara who was a witness in the trial of Indian Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a nun on multiple occasions over two years.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was released on bail on the condition that he return to Jalandhar, and when he returns he is given a hero’s welcome. Within a week, Father Kuriakose who testified against the Bishop is found dead in a church in Jalandhar. He had complained of threats to his life and it appears those complaints were justified.

Sometimes the world is a sad place. Even THAT stresses me out if I lie awake and think too much about it. As an empath if I let all of that pain and sadness in, it incapacitates me.

Until next time, hold your loved ones close and count your blessings.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

 

 

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Bats & Ninjas

We had the most amazing weather all of last weekend and it continued on throughout the week! It is as if it is suddenly summer. Of course with Cape Town the weather can flip quickly so we will see how long it lasts. Our office is freezing and I sit under a vent so I’m still wearing boots and a cardigan and only feel the heat if I have to nip out for food or when I leave to go home.

On Saturday I had to be up and out of the house early to drive Miss Pixie to Noordhoek to see the doggy chiropractor. As usual, we arrived a wee bit early and had a cuddle while waiting.

Currently Pixie is going every 5 weeks for a treatment but we are going to try and push it out to every 8 weeks as she has been coping well in between visits. We will just monitor to see how she copes. As I now have both her and Navajo seeing David it can get very expensive. We just ordered a new brace for Navajo’s leg and hopefully that makes a difference in his mobility which in turn helps his issues with back strain.

After Pixie and I finished at David I drove home and changed out of my doggy fur-covered clothing and collected Norm. We headed down to the village as we had a long list of errands to run.

First we needed some brunch so we popped into Allegria Cafe and Life. We sat outside as it was so warm.

I am starting to realise (after over 20 years of marriage) that the best way to get a decent pic of Norm is to sneak up on him and snap a furtive pic like a ninja (when he least expects it or when he is distracted by something else).

One of the things I like about Allegria is the lovely owner who is always on site to keep the orders moving along and to keep her customers happy. She was standing chatting to us when we ordered and when I asked for an omelette with bacon and emmanthaler cheese she suggested that I also add in carmelised onions for a bit of sweetness.

I loved the carmelised onions and was very pleased with my omelette, however there were a few too many onions for my taste. I will order this again and next time ask for my carmelised onions on the side and that will be perfection.

Norm had his favourite that he usually orders when he goes here: Scrambled eggs, bacon & mushrooms.

After we finished with our lunch we headed off to Tanya Seeber Optometrist to try on the eyeglass frames she had ordered in for me. I had previously posted a few different lenses for people to vote on.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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But the pair that almost everyone preferred was pair 1 above which are red and I cannot really cope with red frames every day. But I do love the cat eye shape. If I could afford it I would buy 2 pair and have the red ones for when they suit whatever I am wearing but I cannot afford 2 pair.

Instead I chose these in the pic below, they are black with a bronze coloured finish on the trim and the inside of the frame. They were about 2k rand for the frames alone, once they added on the cost of the anti-reflective coating and the cost to make the very thick lenses as thin as possible, the cost goes up to over 8k rands. Phew. I may have to sell off Norm or a kid to pay for them. Let me know of any offers for either parties. 🤭

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I ordered new specs today. What do you think?

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After we ordered my glasses we hit the chemist and grocery shop as we were out of everything from toothpaste to lipstick. Which reminds me, am I the only lipstick addict who finally finds the perfect colour, buys a few tubes and then when you run out you find they have discontinued that colour? Revlon, you do my flipping head in. Or is it the buyer at Clicks who is erratic in her purchases? When you ask the staff at Clicks for any colour not on the shelf the answer is always ‘that one has been discontinued’. Can anyone say ‘Annoying AF’?

Never mind. Here is me at work at 7am wearing the new lippy. I mention the time so you can give me some sort of bonus points for the earliness and I mention the venue so you can give me some slack for sitting under bright AF strip lighting.

Don’t look too closely at my roots either, I am at the hairdresser on the weekend to sort that out.

Anyway.

We decided to braai that night as the weather was perfect for it so we bought some fillet steaks and salad ingredients. I marinated the steaks in a bowl of whatever-we-had-in-the cupboard when we got home. I think it was Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy, garlic and a tiny bit of mustard. I poked some holes in the steaks so that they would absorb the flavours.

After he walked the dogs Norm fired up the gas grill and braaied the corn on the cob and steaks while I made a salad. I also made a salad dressing but it was dreadful so the less we mention that the better really! I need to find a delicious low carb dressing so any ideas will be gratefully received.

It was all perfect for the hot weather. My steak was bright pink inside but nicely charred outside, just the way I prefer it. I give Norman 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️😂😂

After dinner Norm and I watched a new series we have recently started watching called Somewhere Between. It is a very gripping show and we are quite enjoying it. It has that actor that no one can remember the name of but everyone thinks looks familiar? Apparently his name is Devon Sawa. We have not finished watching it all as yet but based on what we have seen so far I give it 4 Kitten Stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a very lazy Sunday. It was even hotter than the previous day and I sat staring at the pool, trying to decide whether I could be bothered to remove the cover and clean it as it has not yet been used this year so the cover is full of crud. Luckily our tube from the guttering down pipe has kept the pool topped up with rain water.

That reminds me, last week there was a very loud screeching sound outside the front of the house late one evening. I was convinced it was bats. Where I grew up in Georgia we had a lot of bats and they would swoop down and bomb your head. I was terrified of them as a child. I told Norm I was sure there were bats, but then I wandered off and did something upstairs and Norm ventured out to investigate. He discovered it was not bats at all but the pool sucky thing had gotten stuck and was having a bit of a squeaky tantrum.

However I did not know that and later I told everyone on Facebook we had a bat infestation.

We don’t.

It still makes me giggle that several people in the Hout Bay group were googling ‘bat sounds‘ and listening to the results thanks to my red herring.

Norm and I decided to tidy up the Halloween dress up box as we both needed to try and find some bits and pieces for our upcoming party. I found some things which I can use to create my outfit, Norm found the bits he needs and we also put aside some things Caitlin needed.

Lily needs a blond wig for her costume and so I tried on the 3 blond wigs we have and sent the pics to the girls. I made silly faces in each of the pics and Lily said I look like a rooster so Caitlin found a pic of my soul mate.

I have such a giggle every time I look at that pic.

Lily managed to find a crinoline for my dress for Halloween. I’m getting so excited, my outfit is coming together nicely!

Norm decided that as it was sunny he would paint another coat on the garage door he is refinishing. I settled in with the kitties and a cup of tea and watched The Good Place while Norm painted the garage door.

This is one I have chosen to watch on my own as I know it is not Norm’s type of show, but I really liked it. It is not earth shaking or amazing, it is just a cute little show with an intriguing concept. I did find the idea that we are constantly being measured by the ‘gods’ and that every thing we do accrues a score on our overall life tally quite interesting and frightening at the same time. Bad things drop our points and good things raise our scores. If my score drops every time I rant at someone who drives like an eejit while I am driving round in the privacy of my car then I must be way down in the negatives due to that alone. Actually, my Virgo tongue has probably dropped my points wayyyy down.

I give The Good Place 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was still really hot Sunday evening and I fancied sushi and Norm agreed to pop down to K1 in Hout Bay to order a take away.

K1 has a Two for the price of One on the same colour of plate so my order of 4 different types of sushi was only R123 as I only paid for two! A bargain in my books. I ordered Prawn roses, Salmon roses, Prawn tempura & Cucumber roses with prawn. I do not eat seaweed so I have to choose carefully. I did not snap a pic of the tempura but they were really big prawns with a yummy coating and I really enjoyed my entire meal. In fact I will give them 5 Kitten Stars and will definitely visit them again when my sushi craving hits. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

On Monday night Norm and I had to go down to the cop shop as I had some forms I needed to get notarised. We went into the station and there was a Rastafarian dude going mental at the counter, he was wearing a tattered tank top, with matted thick dreads hanging down to the middle of his back. He was there with a woman who looked like she hadn’t slept in months and they were both loudly giving off to the staff. After a few minutes of agitated ranting they were both taken into the back of the station. We were not sure if they were being arrested or what was going on but it made for an interesting show while we stood in the queue waiting our turn.

After we finished at the cop shop we popped by Woolies and got some meat to braai as it was 27 degrees Celsius when I got in my car to go home from work.

The weather app said it was 32C (90F)! Considering we were still wrapped up in front of a roaring fire just last week it is hard to keep up.

Norm fired up his gas grill and he cooked corn on the cob, aubergines and a lovely pork fillet and I made a raw spinach salad to go with it. I love spinach in any form, raw, cooked or creamed. I added lots of avocado to up the fat content.

Later that night there was a bizarre mist that came rolling in over the bay and you could not see outside of the perimeter of our garden. This is perfect cover for the house breakers and sure enough we heard on the radio that some drama was underway.

On Tuesday at lunch time when we went outside we spotted that there was another fire at the Cape Town train station which is across from our offices.

This is part of the ongoing attacks on our transport infrastructure that I have mentioned many times. According to the rescue service, “two trains with three carriages each on platform 17 and 18 respectively were alight”, with reports of the offices above the station deck also being affected.

These fires are causing so much devastation.

Norm cooked again on Tuesday night, he made a chicken and vegetable dish in a cream sauce and made low carb spinach noodles to serve it on.

On Wednesday I had an appointment with my dental hygienist for a cleaning. I am very dental phobic so I had to take a anti-anxiety pill. As I have had a hip replacement I have to guard against any bacterial infections so I also had to take a stack of antibiotics before hand. I arrived a bit early and they took me in early so I did not even have a chance to sort of calm down from the drive (that is why I arrive early to center myself). But I am sure it would be seen as efficiency by any normal patient! As I lay back in the chair I could feel the anxiety meds taking over and I was able to endure it with only 2 hand waves to say ‘Stop!’. The hygienist is brilliant as she chatters to me the whole time to distract me.

However she told me that one of their dentists had been stabbed the previous week while running on the mountain. He was not alone, he was running with other people, however this did not deter the culprits. I have searched for the news article and I think this is it HERE. The good thing is that they caught and arrested the culprits, we just have to hope that the case actually results in a conviction. So many of our arrests do not even make it to court, much less gain a conviction. Not only are our crime levels shocking but our justice system is a bit of a shambles. On the crime stats page they prompt you to take a survey about whether you or someone you know has been a victim of crime in the last 6 month. I took the survey and it tells me that 35% of the respondents have either been a victim or know someone who has been.

Shocking.

Still, life goes on.

Well, if you are lucky it does! Last night Pixie stole a chicken wing from Navajo and tried to swallow it whole. We only noticed when I looked over to see her convulsing on the floor. By the time I got to her she had managed to eject it from her airway. Cheeky lil monkey that she is, she terrified me! She was quite blasé about the whole affair. She even contemplated trying again but I snatched her away from it.

Wednesday night Norm and I cooked together and we made mexican food.

We just made tacos and refried beans and topped the tacos with home made guacamole, salsa, cheddar, lettuce and fromage frais. It was rather delicious as I love tacos. The best thing is how quick they are to prepare.

Today Norm had a meeting at the waterfront so he popped by my offices for a coffee. Work is a bit busy as I have new data to analyse but I took a wee break to chat to my darling.

Tonight he cooked chicken sausage, sweet potato mash with gravy, the last of our sweet corn and fried red cabbage. It was delicious. I love him looking after me.

I’m looking forward to the weekend, I hope yours is full of happiness.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Shutting Down

We have had a bit of on and off rain this week with more water to fill our dams. However after our weekend last week of sunny gorgeous weather it was a bit disorientating to have some days of cold weather interspersed with the warm sunny days. Do I wear boots? Do I wear flip flops? Those are predominately the only foot wear I wear and the weather in South Africa can change from one extreme to the other as it has done all week. We have not had a fire in the evenings all week so that tells you the temperature has been manageable by just wearing a warm sweater and wrapping up in furry blankets. Then again today was 27 degrees Celsius and it was a glorious day (that is about 78 in F for my American readers who can’t be arsed to google and covert).

We had one morning this week where it was pouring with rain and on my way in to work I spotted a huge bird of prey sitting on a road sign. The bird was as tall as the road sign and really fat with fluffy brown and white feathers. I wish I could have snapped a pic as he looked so majestic but trying to shoot a one handed photo while hurtling along a curvy road in the dark while it is pouring with rain is maybe not the safest so I chose to rather not risk it. I love it when we spot random animals just going about our daily lives, there are a few little bucks which have been spotted in our suburb lately as well, I would have thought it could be due to the drought except our streams are full again.

On Tuesday night Norm cooked dinner for us. He chopped up chicken breasts and mushrooms and fried them, then added baby broccoli and made a sauce out of cream, chicken stock, fromage frais, and a wee squizz of tomato paste.

It was low carb and very tasty and it was nice to try something different as it is easy to get into a menu rut, especially when trying to eat low carb. One can only create so many different types of salad or make cauliflower into so many different potato or rice substitutes.

Tuesday afternoon after work I had to stop for petrol. The South African petrol price had a monstrous hike of a Rand a liter on Wednesday. This puts our petrol up to almost R17 a liter. If my math and metric conversion skills are correct, this translates to $4.50 (USD) per gallon. As everyone was trying to fill up before the midnight price change I had to visit 2 different petrol stations to fill my tank up completely as the first station ran out of petrol in the middle of filling my car. The hike is being blamed on the poor rand value, however the poor rand value can be blamed on the cluster feck of our government and the fact that most of the government’s funds have been embezzled in the State Capture fiasco. So the root cause is the government’s lack of proper governing without the ability to avoid sticking their hands in the taxpayers pockets. I was curious about how our petrol prices rank against the rest of the world and I found this info which tells me we are not the most expensive globally. However this link is NOT considering the average salary in that country so there is very little perspective on the impact of the price to drivers. If the cost of petrol is high as are salaries then the effect is negligible, however South African salaries are not very high and this will really impact all of us. No road trips in my future for a while and this will probably mean my kids cannot pop down for the weekend as often.

Later on Tuesday night I had a dig through our family dress up box. We are having our annual Halloween party on the 27th of October. I am still not even 100% sure of what I am going as but I found a dress which I wore before I met Norman. I was unable to fit into it for decades, but as it is such a lovely funky dress I kept it, if only for Halloween options.

I was so pleased to see that it fit me again! I will possibly use this as the basis of my outfit and just tweak it. It is velvet and I love velvet. I am on the hunt for a crinoline and then I will be able to create the exact look I am after.

Meanwhile, we have had plenty of turmoil in South Africa with multiple different protests occurring across the country. (Much like the US where many women are protesting the potential Supreme Court appointment of the petulant man child Brett Kavanaugh.)

I received a demonstration alert from the US Embassy notifying us that there was a protest planned in the city on the 2nd October under the Western Cape Total Shutdown banner. However I later saw an article saying that this was fake news so I am not sure whether the Cape Town demo went ahead on the 2nd or not?!

The Western Cape Total Shutdown concept was implemented to protest gangster-ism, violence, unemployment and crime in the suburbs around Cape Town. But I am struggling to find any details other than this link.

A march had taken place on the 29th of August where scores of Kensington residents shut down a large part of Voortrekker Road as they peacefully demonstrated with placards and posters. A similar demonstration occurred in Bonteheuwel a few weeks later on the 25th of September when there was another protest held about the crime in the Cape Town suburbs. Residents in areas including Kensington, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Kraaifontein and Hanover Park took to the streets to highlight an increase in gang violence in their communities. A total of 13 protesters were arrested in Bonteheuwel and the police shot rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds.

On Thursday in the Bonteheuwel area a man was murdered by a known gangster. This issue with gangs is part of the basis for much of the protests. the gangs rule these areas. The victim was not associated to a gang so the reason for his murder is so far unknown or at least not yet publicised.

Today the Total Shutdown protests continued, this time in the north of SA near Johannesburg. The coloured communities are protesting over the killing of a woman during alleged gang violence.

They also highlighted their dissatisfaction with what they believe is the lack of prioritisation of people who identify as coloured. The term of ‘coloured’ is not a racial slur, this is a term used in SA to designate a particular distinct group of people. The term may have originated during the apartheid era, however now it is part of every day terminology here and is used by the coloured community themselves.

Another protest which occurred this week is regarding the ongoing issues with the Train Services in the Western Cape which I have blogged about previously. The rail service has been targeted for attack with many fires being set and many instances of robbery due to lack of proper security on the trains. This protest was under the banner of #UniteBehind. We have had at least one death from the arson attacks and at least one death from the robberies. In July alone 32 coaches were damaged as a result of arson. The damage caused to trains and infrastructure came to a total of more than R50m.

#UniteBehind launched #DelayRepay, a campaign to demand better rail service and compensation in cases of continued delays on Thursday. The coalition of civil society movements held a rally at the Cape Town Train Station.

The #DelayRepay campaign is a response to the “disastrous” deterioration of the Metrorail service. The rail service, the organisation said, “robs commuters and the public of money and human dignity”. People have lost their jobs due to this issue when they were late on a recurring basis. Some people spend up to 5 hours commuting every day due to delays and cancellations.

On Thursday there was a collision between 2 trains in the northern part of SA and 320 people were injured.

The first train was stationary due to technical problems when it was rear-ended by the second train. Metrorail’s spokesperson said they were investigating how the second train driver was allowed into a section where the existence of a stationary train had been reported to the depot. They were using the controversial manual authorisation system at the time. Metrorail has said previously it is forced to use this method because of severe cable theft and infrastructure damage that has crippled electronic communication to the signalling network.

Yet another issue due to lack of policing and non-adherence to safety processes in our rail system.

I am so grateful to have a car and to be independent of this drama (and to have a valid license albeit a temporary one.)

Another huge challenge in SA is unemployment where the unemployed rate is over 26% and is as high as 30% for the unemployed youth. This equates to over 6 million people without employment according to stats from the last quarter. The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7% in the first quarter from 36.3% in the previous quarter. The cycle of poverty can lead to an increase in drug abuse and crime. I am so blessed that my children are all employed.

Thursday night Norm and I cooked dinner together. We did a Mexican themed dinner of spicy mince and beans.

We just served the mince like a salad, on a bed of lettuce and topped with cheese, salsa, fromage frais and home made guacamole. It was really yummy and the best thing is it is so fast to prepare when there are two of you to chop and prep.

This weekend I have to take Pixie to the chiro for her 5 week adjustment. Navajo had a visit this week, Norm took him on Thursday. He is such a curious alert dog.

He is getting better about going to the chiro, he was a raging nightmare the first visit but he has gotten used to it now and still remains alert, but is more relaxed.

As for the rest of the weekend, it is open to possibilities. I hope you enjoy yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

Queue Convos & Transient Relationships

Last week I had to leave work midday on Wednesday to go to collect Norm at the airport. On the way home I was starving so we decided to hop off the motorway in Constantia and stop for a quick lunch at Mugg & Bean.

Norm was a bit jet-lagged and just ordered a blueberry muffin. I was ravenous as I had not had time for breakfast and so I ordered a couple of items off of their tapas menu.

The top pic is the Mini Hasselback Potatoes, described as deep-fried Hasselback baby potatoes topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon bits & chopped chives, served with a side of M&B salsa & guacamole. This dish was R38.90.

The lower picture is of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken: sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips served with a side of sweet chilli sauce. This dish was R49.90.

The hasselback potatoes did not even vaguely resemble a hassleback potato, other than the fact they were potatoes. A hassleback potato should be sliced across the top and fried or roasted in butter or oil so that the skin crisps up. Sort of like a potato wedge and a baked potato had a baby. HERE are some pics of what they should look like. The potatoes at Mugg & Bean were just boiled baby potatoes with some toppings thrown on. Granted they were tasty toppings, but they should just call them boiled potatoes with tasty toppings. The buttermilk chicken strips were crispy and nicely cooked and I enjoyed those. I also enjoyed the potatoes, but I would have enjoyed them more if they were crispy. I give my meal a solid 3 Kitten Stars.

I took Norm home to have a wee nap and I worked from the lounge with Lola kitty sitting in my lap. It was a rather lovely way to work. The dogs were insanely happy to see their Daddy and did not leave his side all day.

That night we had a quiet night in as Norm was pretty tired from his trip.

The following day Norm had a meeting at the City of Cape Town offices which are across the road from my offices and so he walked over to meet me for lunch after he finished. We went to The Lunch Depot nearby. I often pop in here for a quick bite if I am not getting a take away as it has a nice seating area. Norm ordered a breakfast wrap with egg and bacon and I ordered the salmon salad.

It was very nice, the salmon was fresh and the salad crisp and not overly doused in dressing. My egg was not over boiled. It was also nice to spend time with Norm after his trip. If I do not take a lunch in with me I do not often make the effort to eat something so fresh, I usually grab a toasted sandwich at the local cafe.

After work on Thursday Norm cooked us dinner and it was so nice to have home cooked food. He made chicken sausages, sweet potato mash and cole slaw. There was enough for my lunch the next day as well which stops me wandering off to eat unhealthy things.

On Friday I had to go to the traffic department to renew my drivers’ license that had expired back in April when I wasn’t looking. I was advised to arrive before they open at 8am and I was standing in the already long queue at 7:40 but there were probably 20 people ahead of me already when I arrived. Once they opened the doors we all moved to the appropriate window and formed another queue there. Out of boredom I started chatting to the people around me in the queue. I am not good with crowds or with people getting too close to me. I had already been annoyed by a woman smoking in the queue and had made a mental attempt to relax and let my tensions and stress go, just to avoid throttling someone in the queue. The cop shop was too close by for any nonsense of that nature.

There was an african man and a coloured woman behind me in the queue and the woman was chattering away to the man. He was pretty quiet. She was telling him that she works as a housekeeper in Gardens and that she only has a learners license and she had let that expire which meant she had no license at all. She said she had taken the morning off of work to sort it out. She tried to grill him on his personal info but he was very closed mouth and all she could get out of him was that he drove a ‘goods delivery truck’ which was pretty strange as he had no license. I know he did speak English as I had already asked him the time earlier. We started talking about expired licenses and how the police departments are so rubbish at managing their data. I told them the story about trying to renew my car license and the car license department sending me across town to pay off a fine which the traffic department did not even have down on their register. Of course I spent half a day queuing at various departments to discover that.

I joked about how I was so panicked once I realised my license had expired and how I had been driving extra carefully to avoid getting stopped and how I was worried that if I got stopped that I might get chucked into Pollsmoor Prison. Then I laughed and said ‘I am not even sure if they put women into Pollsmoor.’ My new friend then said ‘Yes they do, I was in Pollsmoor once’. She told us a story about once when she was younger and was protesting and was picked up and put into prison for 24 hours then released. She talked about the high number of mothers who are raising their children in prison. What a sad story that was. It is good that the babies get time with their mothers but sad they would spend their first months or years in a prison environment.

At the first window we gave over our documents and they were stamped and stapled together and we were given a new form and told to go to window 14. I thought she said window 16 and wandered vaguely around for ages looking for the non-existent window 16 until a member of staff realised my discombobulation and redirected me to 14.

I had gone to the effort of getting a letter from my optometrist as I had just been the previous week for an eye test. I had assumed this meant I could skip the eye test at the licensing center, however this form was not even looked at despite me waving at everyone who would listen. I had no choice, I had to press my eyes against the eye test machine. I have such germophobia and this was freaking me out.

There were 3 women working in this area testing your eyes and then taking your fingerprints. One woman was shouting abuse at the African man who had been behind me in the queue (he got ahead during my lost foray looking for the imaginary window 16). She kept shouting ‘do you speak English? do you understand what I am saying to you? can you not figure out which way the letter is pointing? what is your problem?’ in a constant stream. She had the poor guy so stressed out he did not know what was happening. She sent one guy off to see an optometrist. He obviously failed. The 2nd tester was coughing so much I thought her lung might land at my feet any minute. She was weeping continuously from hacking. She sounded like she was either very ill or about to die. Either way, she should not have been at work hacking her germs all over the testers. The 3rd woman was the one I ended up with and she seemed the lesser evil of the choices available. She was a miserable cow. She spoke to me like I was a simpleton. I passed and I managed to resist shoving that fingerprint scanner up her ample backside so it was a win win.

As they test both your actual sight as well as your peripheral vision I had to alternate between taking off my glasses to take the peripheral exam and putting them on to take the vision test. Eventually I managed to complete my test. The same woman who does the fingerprints asks you to move your chair back a bit and then snaps a pic when you are peering confusedly at her and looking your most unflattering. I had gone in with 4 decent ID pictures.

But they stapled the nice pic onto my temporary license and will use the horrid pic snapped by Miss Grumpy Pants where I look like I could move an 18 wheeler worth of storage in the bags under my eyes. Added to this virtual indignity is the fact that I ended up with itchy, swollen eyes the following day, most likely the start of an eye infection from the shared germs of all of humanity squinting into the exam thingy since 1943. I used a few hot compresses over the weekend and the pain has lessened but not gone away. My immunity is pretty rubbish it seems.

After we finished with the eye exam and fingerprints we were directed to ‘windows 4 to 8’ except there was only someone working in window 4 and so we all queued up again at this window. I then started chatting to a tiny Jewish woman, she said she was a researcher and I wondered if she was associated to UCT as I had done a project there for the research department. I thought what a small world we live in but I could not grill her for info as she was called up to the window and after that she left as she was finished. I can almost guarantee that I could have discovered a common acquaintance within few degrees of separation if we had continued our conversation.

I found the whole experience a bit stressful as I do with anything ‘official’. But after just under 2 hours I was finished and on my way to work. I have to go back to collect my license in 6-8 weeks which means queuing up again but hopefully that step in the process will be quicker than applying for the renewal of my license was.

On Friday night Norm popped out for fish and chips for us as we were both too tired to go out and I refuse to cook on a Friday. We built a big fire and started watching a new series called ‘The Good Cop‘ with the bizarre combo of Josh Groban and Tony Danza. They play a father and son combo and it is really corny but somehow it kind of works. It is very superficial and a bit funny so it is perfect background kind of TV, you don’t have to play too much close attention to keep up with it. I will give it about 3 and a bit Kitten Stars.

We had no appointments on Saturday morning and Norm had some work he needed to do so he went to the shop and got pastries and made us frothy coffees and I settled in bed with Lola on my lap and a still warm chocolate muffin to keep me amused while Norm worked. Later he finished up with what he needed to do and I showered and we headed off to Simon’s Town. I had been very keen on going to see the Tibetan Monks who were visiting South Africa.

They were going to be creating mandalas in the places where they were being hosted. “A Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation of a spiritual symbol representing a cosmic universe of celestial bodies made from coloured sand. Usually four monks work side by side to create this two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional ideal universe. This painstakingly time-consuming procedure is a very rare sight to see and the monks will construct the sand mandala design of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion to generate strong compassionate and peaceful energy. To symbolise the transitory nature of life, the sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed.”

I have no artistic skills at all but I would find it hard to eliminate something which I spent so much time creating.

However the Buddhists believe that in order to be at peace we must let go of our connections to earth bound objects and the concepts of ownership. The mandalas represent the transient nature of the objects, people and places in our lives.

Our lives change on a continual basis, I have had a year or so of adapting to the temporary nature of ‘friendships’ which is something I have never really had to deal with as I have seldom lived in one place long enough to out live a friendship. Instead I have friends in all of the places I have lived or worked and maintain these long distance friendships however I can.

My lifestyle has changed greatly over the last decade as befits the shift from the mid-forties to the mid-fifties. A decade ago I still felt like a young person, ready to party the night away, however tipping over past the age of 55 has made a shift to the amount of energy and zest for life I can summon up. I am not bothered to go out most nights. I am quite happy snuggled up with my hubby, any kids who may be around and our animals. There are always at least 5 beings, even up to 8 of us just hanging around. That is my little world and all that matters to me. I have drawn inward.

We are terrible about inviting people around. If we are invited to anyone else’s we always show up, and if people were to pop in unexpectedly to see us we would be very pleased, as long as they do not mind witnessing us in our fluffy jimjams at 7pm. Ok, me, it is only me. Norm sits around the house in shoes and trousers. Shoes, for god’s sake!

Bloody Brits.

So anyway.

It was a stunning, sunny day with only a breath of wind on Saturday. We drove the long way around the mountain to avoid paying the toll at Chapman’s Peak. It is still a beautiful drive so it was not really a hardship. We spotted the sign for the Simon’s Town Museum and we pulled into the parking lot. There was a stunning view from the front of the museum.

We went through to the room where the monks were busy with the mandala and saw the altar they had set up on the side of the room, the room was smelling strongly of sage burning to cleanse and purify the air.

In the center of the area marked off with a divider was the mandala with only 1 monk remaining at work.

The mandala itself was well underway by the time we arrived as they had begun the ceremony the previous day. We sat and watched the monk work on the design until he broke for his lunch. I was mesmerized by the intricacy of the design and the skill of the monks in placing the coloured sand with the small devices they used.

The monks all began their prayers in another room and so we drifted off back to the car and headed to the habour for lunch. We went to Bertha’s and we were given a table right by the sea with a stunning view of the harbour.

It was a stunning sunny day perfect for dining outside.

I started out with a strawberry daiquiri.

Norm ordered the calamari.

I had the half kilo of prawns with chips.

I had the peri peri sauce with them and they were very nice, perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned. I really enjoyed them.

After we ate we went for a walk along the little pier by the harbour.

We then walked up through the shops and back to our car and headed back home. I was really craving an ice cream and so we decided to stop at the Constantia shops and also do a little shop of items we needed. On our way to Pic and Pay we popped into Tasha’s Waffle House.

Their ice cream was delicious and we did our shopping then headed home.

We had a relaxing evening and later when we felt a bit nibbly we decided to have an easy dinner and we made cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon and avocado and served it on the croissants that Norm had bought that morning when he nipped out for milk.

Sunday I was up and out by 10 as I had drumming at Eagle Owl Lodge. It was a lovely 2 hours of singing spirit songs and drumming. I always feel so energized from those sessions, I really love them. I drove back home and collected Norm and we went out for lunch. It was a stunning, hot sunny day and Hout Bay was rammed with visitors. We had been going to go to the harbour and have lunch there but decided it was too busy and rather just went to Woodcutters Arms. We grabbed a seat in the beer garden.

Norm settled in with a chilled glass of wine.

I had the daily roast, there was a choice of lamb or beef. I chose the beef.

Norm had his beloved scotch egg starter and a chicken caesar salad.

Norm only rated his salad 3 stars as he said the chicken was overcooked and it was all a bit bland. My roast was 4 stars, the beef was very tender if a bit well done for my tastes. The main issue with eating at this venue is that they allow smoking in the areas where they serve food which is a bit off putting. I also want to enjoy the sunshine sitting outside, I just do not want to inhale copious amounts of smoke while trying to enjoy my food.

To carry on with my ice cream addiction I had the white chocolate and oreo sundae.

I finished every drop of it and really enjoyed it.

After lunch we came back home and I sat outside with the pups enjoying the sunshine, it was a beautiful day.

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Little munchkins all in a row #dogs

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It was a really lovely weekend and it was so nice to have Norm home with me again and our lives back to normal.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0

Our Own Internal Standards

On Thursday afternoon I took Norm to the airport as he was off on a business trip to Switzerland. That day while packing for his trip he made a pot of chili con carne to tide me over as he knows that in his absence I would probably just exist on popcorn and salticrax if he does not make it effortless for me.

That evening to serve it I added some tortilla chips and topped it all with cheese, sour cream and salsa. It was rather delicious.

I built a big fire and snuggled up on the couch with the animals. It was bitterly cold this week which was probably related to the fact that it snowed on Table Mountain!

That night the pups were so sweet when it came time for bed. They generally sleep on the sofas in the evenings and when it is bed time Norm carries Panda outside to wee and then carries both of the poms up to bed. It was almost like they understood that I cannot manage all that and when I was ready for bed I woke up Panda and said ‘ok baby it is time to go out to pee’ and he blinked and peered at me, hopped down and trotted outside to do his business. I locked everything up and put out the lights and then said to them all ‘ok up to bed!’ and they formed a queue with Navajo at the lead, Pixie in the middle and Panda at the rear and they all trotted off upstairs.

In our room Pixie sleeps on 2 of our pillows which we have set up as a warm comfy bed for her and Navajo has his own sheepskin bed opposite hers. Navajo raced in and plopped down on Pixie’s pillows and looked cheekily up at her with big naughty brown eyes. She glared at him and when he stayed put she grumpily yapped and told him off and he got up and slunk over to lie awkwardly on Panda’s tiny little bed. He thinks he is a tiny thing and cannot understand why he cannot curl up in my lap like the wee ones. He does this funny maneuver where he herds you to force you to sit down then shoves his head between your legs and down at your feet so that you can lie down across his body and put your arms right along his sides for a full contact hug. He then wraps his giant paw around your legs and hugs you back. He is such a sweet loving baby.

The latest with the doggy physio is that she suspects Navajo may have OCD or Hock arthritis in his leg. And no that does not mean he continuously washes his leg or sorts his toys alphabetically, it is a different OCD. You can read more about it here. I just hope we can get him some relief as he is still struggling.

On Friday morning Cordelia came in to work early but this still put me arriving into work much later than usual. As many people were not in the office on Friday due to it being a 3 day weekend no one seemed to notice. I had to work over a bit each afternoon that week to make up the time I had taken off to drop my car and to drop Norm at the airport as whatever happens, I have to put in a minimum of 40 hours billable time.

Friday after I finished at work I had to do all of the tasks that Norm usually takes care of.  I waited for Cordelia to finish then went into the township to drop her near her home, then back home to feed the dogs and make myself dinner. I had the left over chili again so at least there was little effort involved. After dinner I built a fire and got cosy with the pups. I was content to stay home and relax. I remember the days when I would not have dreamed of staying home on a Friday and if I did the FOMO would have driven me mad, funny how our priorities change. The only thing I was missing out on was Norm.

On Saturday I had made plans to meet up with my friend Helen for lunch. I had initially invited her to come with me to Simon’s Town to view the mandalas being made by the visiting Tibetan Buddhist monks. however I had gotten the weekend wrong and had to message her back to say I was being a numpty. As we had already agreed to spend time together we just re-planned our day and decided to meet up for lunch instead. Even this proved to be wrought with a challenge or two.

I have been lucky to have Charles our dog walker available to keep the dogs exercised in Norm’s absence and he messaged to ask could he come early that day as he had to be somewhere at 1. I told him that was fine as I had a lunch date for 1. I got ready and waited.

Eventually he arrived and walked them and I only left the house at 12.50 but still arrived for my lunch appointment almost on time. However there was a sign at the entrance to Deli Delish when we arrived announcing they were closed for a private function. We decided to leave our cars where they were and walk across to Zur Holzbucht instead.

As it was such a stunning sunny day we opted for the beer garden and got a table at the back which was nice and shady.

Helen was dappled in sunbeams.

I was seated completely in the shade but it was still very bright.

We both opted for the stuffed pork fillet which was filled with ham and cheese, rolled up like a kiev and breaded and fried.

The sauce was similar to the sauce on a Hollandse Biefstuk which is a rich brandy butter and mushroom sauce. The portions were huge and Helen and I both said ‘wow at least we can take half of it home for dinner’ before launching into it and devouring every single bite! Oops. It was perfectly cooked and so full of flavour. I was absolutely stuffed to the gills but it was too divine to leave on my plate.

The waiter had told us when we sat down that there was a function on from 2pm so we had an hour to eat and chat. It went by very quickly I must say and by the time we paid our bill and left the party was kicking off. If we had been dressed for the occasion we might have played out our own version of the Wedding Crashers.

But we didn’t.

We did chat a bit to a young muscle-bound lad who tried on multiple occasions to either put up an umbrella for shade, or to remove an umbrella for whatever reason. It wasn’t very clear what his objective was, just that he failed miserably. Of course I took the piss. He took it with good humour and left the brolly alone after that.

It was a gorgeous day and it was nice to have some one on one time with Helen to chat a bit. I think we are quite similar in nature.

After lunch I popped over to the optometrist to collect my new contact lenses but I was too late and the office was already shut. Instead I went to Woollies and did a small shop to tide me over for a few days. One can only exist on chili con carne for sooooo long!

That evening it got chilly after the sun disappeared behind the mountain and I built a big fire and started watching series 4 of Black Mirror. Norm was not a huge fan of the previous series’ of this show which we had watched together, so I knew he would not mind if I carried on without him. I love this sort of show. He prefers shows with guns and thugs with British accents. I like a bit of quirky dark humour.

Over the weekend I also discovered a brilliant new series called Maniac. Do yourselves a favour and watch this series!!! It just came up as a recommended series and so I gave it a try without even reading about the plot or reviewing the cast, then when I discovered it has some of my faves in it I was hooked!

However while researching the cast for this blog, I see that the character which I thought was played so brilliantly by Phil from Modern Family was actually played by Justin Theroux! I think they were separated at birth.

I devoured it over the long weekend. I give the Maniac series a full on 5 Kitten Stars despite their trickery over Phil clones.

I have the funniest convos with my kids about the series we each find and recommend to each other.

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Netflix conversations

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I am notoriously bad with names and I love that my daughter Caitlin knew exactly who I meant despite getting the names and movie references wrong. Hopefully if I get Alzheimer’s in my dotage she will be there to be the Mommy Whisperer.

The other screenshot of a convo was triggered by the Netflix recommendation of the show Nappily Ever After.

I really loved this movie.  It is about a woman named Violet and is played brilliantly by Sanaa Lathan. I thought it was the perfect example of a woman who has lived her whole life trying to be ‘perfect’ both physically and behaviorally. She had tried to live up to the societal and parental expectations which either she set herself or imagined that others set for her. I identified with this so strongly. As a Virgo I have ridiculously high expectations for not only those in my life, but for myself as well. It is only recently that I am starting to recognise these standards are internal. Most people will never even notice the things which we think are huge issues, we need to give ourselves a break. Our goal should be happiness, not point scoring (even against our own internal dialogues). I feel that these ridiculous standards are what lead to anxiety for many of us. That standard which means we will never be perfect. If we ever achieve those goals we simply move the goalposts higher.

I love the actress Lynn Whitfield and she did a brilliant portrayal as Pauletta, the mother of Violet and the impetus behind Violet’s need for perfection. I also loved Lynn in Greenleaf where she played a horrid woman who was simply a victim of her environment. I really enjoyed Greenleaf even though it was all sex and Jesus.

I also never realised just how much of a challenge black women have in regards to hair maintenance! Again, is the desire for long silky locks triggered by a woman’s own inner desires, or is it a look that they imagine men prefer? Who are these women making all of that effort for? If it is for their own confidence and they are happy to invest that much money and time into maintaining it then that is all good.  I spend a fortune to keep my grey away so I cannot point any fingers. I also keep the grey away to mostly please my husband, so I cannot really be hypocritical about that point either. However if I could not afford the upkeep any longer I would be happy to chop it short and let the grey grow in…..but that might be too much of a shock for my grey hating Scotsman.

It is not easy being a woman!

On Sunday Caitlin and I had plans to meet our friend Carla for lunch at Dunes in Hout Bay. Caitlin had agreed to collect me on her way through. We had not booked as we were waiting to see how the weather played out. The weather was stunning but there was a wee bit of wind, something which is not always conducive to a sand free meal when on a beach. But we decided to risk it and we were given a table at the back under cover and behind a clear plastic curtain thing to keep the wind (i.e. sand) out.

We still had a lovely view of the beach.

We waited until 1.30 and when we still had no response from our many calls and messages to Carla we went ahead and ordered as we were starving.

Caitlin chose the kingklip and ordered it with salad.

I ordered the Pulled Pork Knuckle Sandwich which came with chips.

Regular readers know I am a pulled pork aficionado. I have high porky standards and I was ever so impressed with their pulled pork! It is not dripping in sauce like so many local places serve it, it was not full of fat and it was a nice large portion. I think I have found a new favourite dish for Dunes! I give this sandwich a full on 5 stars, I can think of no way to improve on it.

Eventually we heard from Carla who had her days confused and was not going to be able to join us. Never mind, that just gives us an excuse to reschedule. Caitlin and I had planned on lunch anyway so it was no inconvenience. It was lovely to get to spend time with my daughter.

Monday was Heritage Day which is a public holiday in South Africa. I had a slow morning after I fed the dogs and tidied up the house. I made a big cup of tea and sat outside staring at my mountain while the dogs enjoyed the fresh air.

Eventually it started to get a bit warm sitting in the sun and I thought I needed to get motivated. I had a list of chores I have been putting off due to laziness and so I set myself some goals for the day.

I took down my little globe planters to clean the glass and realised one of them was split and at risk of falling apart and splintering everywhere so now I am down to only 2 of them left.

You would never guess by looking at my kitchen windows that I have a cleaner in two days and a gardener in one, yuck.

I then clipped off some of the succulents which were getting a bit crowded in their existing pots and replanted them outside in some of my other pots. I moved around some other plants, did a bit of weeding and then decided to tackle my cupboards. I cleaned out all except one cupboard (which of course is the one that REALLLY needs it) and I came up with tons of clothes to give to charity.

There are even some clothes which I have had since before I moved back to SA in 2007. I found my fave pair of old corduroy trousers and thought I would try them on just for a giggle and was ever so surprised when they fit me! Not only did they fit but they were a bit loose. I chucked out everything from pajamas to winter coats. I used the old rule of ‘if you have not worn it in a year you do not need it’ adage and I threw out all of the ‘I paid so much for this unfashionable thing’ items which end up banging around for decades due to guilt over their cost.

Bye.

For each item I asked myself ‘will I ever wear this again’ and if I hesitated then I threw it out. I am sure someone will get good use out of all of these items and it made me so happy to be able to find things on my now tidy shelves! Now I just have the last cupboard to do and that is me sorted until next year I hope.

Norm will pop over to Thula Thula to drop them all off once he is settled back home. I saw on social media that there was yet another fire in the township on the weekend and so there will be plenty of people who can benefit from these items.

While I was working I found an old iPod from when I moved to SA. It is like a time capsule. I remember that I had tried to copy far more music than the iPod could accommodate and so it only has artists beginning with A to C. There was some music I still love, such as Angie Stone, Beyoncé, the Black Crows and even some Counting Crows which I enjoyed but some of it, like AC/DC for example, was not conducive to the pace and boredom of cupboard cleansing. But it gave me a cool backing track of memories.

Sunday night I tried one of the ready meals I had picked up in my shop at Woolies. Norm and I never usually eat ready made meals but Lily had told me that the Woolies pulled pork was very good and I spotted this carb laden little gem: Pulled pork and macaroni and cheese. If you are not vegetarian and not counting carbs then I highly recommend this meal.

I tried a few of their other dishes over the weekend but they were not as nice and so I won’t recommend that you try them. I tried the Braised Beef Stew but it had very little meat and a few chunks of fat. I also tried the Bean and Lentil Bites which were actually really revolting in texture. I think if they had been covered in breadcrumbs and were crispy outside (like a cheese croquette) then they would be amazing. But the dishes fed me and stopped me living off of popcorn all weekend, so there is that.

Tonight is my last night without my Norm, he flies back home tomorrow and life will be back to normal, as much as it ever is.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Hardly Strong

I was watching a series this week where a mother and daughter were having a bit of a disagreement and the mother said to the daughter ‘You think you are so strong, but it only comes off as hard.’ I have heard this myself many times, I know that I am strong. I am also hard when the occasion warrants it. I wonder what is the tipping point from one to the other? I guess I ride that fence in between the two, falling into one direction or the other depending on my need for self protection.

I had 3 days off last weekend as it was my birthday and I try to always book off work for my birthday. I think it should be illegal to have to work on your special day. Norm and I had discussed what I fancied doing weeks ago but the discussion did not stick in his head and what I planned and what we did ended up being completely different, however I was happy with the way the weekend panned out. I had asked Norm to book for the whole family to go to Hogshead as I knew that their food is a generic people pleaser and we have a few fussy eaters in our family. I had asked Norm to book for just he and I to go for a fancy lunch at La Mouette on the Sunday or even on Monday which was my actual birthday. The Hogshead somehow fell off plan completely and we ended up taking the whole family to La Mouette on Saturday night. A lovely, however pricey expedition.

Friday after I got in from work Lily arrived down from Mossel Bay. It was lovely to see her and catch up with what all is going on in her life. Josh did not come with her this visit as he has been traveling back and forth for months and just needed a bit of a rest. Friday night we just chilled at home, ordered pizzas and cozied up in front of the fire as it was quite cold again and the rain was pouring down.

Saturday morning Norm was up early as he had to take Navajo to David, the doggy chiropractor. Navajo’s ankle seems better but he has so much strain to his lower back and hips from hopping on 3 legs and hauling his weight around on his front legs. Just touching the middle of his back makes him cry. It is breaking my heart watching him struggle. However after seeing David on Saturday and the doggy physio on Monday he actually managed to pee while standing on his bad leg today, something he has not done for months. Fingers crossed he is on the road to recovery.

After Nav and Norm got back home, Norm had to quickly shower and change and he headed off to a business meeting in town where he was presenting to 2 different groups.

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❤️

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Focus on how cute he is and not my messy kitchen in the background please.

Lily and I decided to head into the village as I need to buy new eyeglasses and I needed some advice on what style suits me. I tried on dozens. I narrowed my faves to these 4.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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I posted this pic on both Facebook and Instagram asking for votes and I got loads of responses. Most votes seemed to be for either 1 or 3. Some people really did NOT like the red glasses, but I love red and I love cat eye glasses so I am not sure if I can be persuaded to not take them. I go back in 2 weeks for an eye exam and will decide then which ones I want. If I can get number 1 in a black frame, I will definitely take those.

After we finished at the optometrist Lily and I drove down to the Hout Bay harbour as we wanted to have a nibble and go for a walk along the harbour and pier. As we got into the car at the optometrist we were hit by a wave of stench. We have a fish processing plant in our village and when it is in operation the entire village reeks of a horrid smell which makes you feel nauseous. We decided to drive down to the harbour and see what it was like but once there we opened our car and decided it was unbearable so we turned around and headed back into the village and settled on Deli Delish. We sat inside as the weather is so unpredictable and we hoped that meant we would not smell the stinky fish factory.

The stench had made us a bit nauseous and we were conscious that we were eating a big meal a few hours later so we decided to just have a scone and a bit of pineapple tart.

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

After we finished we headed home to get ready for our dinner at La Mouette. Caitlin and Wes came to our place first and I opened the birthday gifts from the children. They gave me 2 gorgeous warm long cardigans and a low carb cook book.

Wes gave me a bunch of lilies which are my fave flowers, they will last ages and look gorgeous as they bloom.

We had a photo shoot on the balcony outside our bedroom before we left. (Ummm what is going on with my one weird skew boob?!)

We then all drove together into the city in my car and were lucky enough to get parked right by the venue. We asked the doorman to take a pic of all of us outside on the patio on our way in.

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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We were seated in a cozy corner booth with lots of room to stretch out. We were treated to a gorgeous glass of champagne as we were handed our menus. The champers was compliments of our host Mari. Such a thoughtful gesture!

They served us with 2 different types of home made bread and a bowl of warm dipping sauce. The sauce was made up of garlic and various gorgeous flavours in a hot beef fat broth. Sounds odd but it was very tasty, smoky and meaty.

We all decided to go for the Winter Tasting Menu which is R295 for 5 courses.

To kick off, the table was served some ‘snacks’ which were described as:

  • Mushroom gyoza, fermented cabbage and apple slaw
  • Truffle and cheese croquettes, roasted garlic aioli
  • Crispy beef short rib bao, pickled cucumber, crispy onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

These were all fabulous! The cheese croquettes are always a favourite and a meal at La Mouette would be incomplete without them. We all moaned with happiness while devouring them. The bao was rich and meaty, really gorgeous flavours. The gyoza was divine as well and I am not really a fan of the texture of dumplings, but the gorgeous flavours made up for the texture.

Next came the leek and potato soup described as ‘Smoked mash, leek oil, ash and velouté’. This was served with a bit of theatre. First they brought out a bowl with a pile of fine mash with a glistening puddle of leek oil sitting in the centre.

Then they bring around a little container and pour on the creamy soup which you then stir all together.

The soup has such flavour and I loved the way that they presented it.

For the next course you had a choice of either spicy vegetable kofta:
Cauliflower crumble, green tea and parmesan oats cracker. Norm chose this and he said it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

The other choice was the West coast mussels: Curry, compressed apple, burnt chard and onion bhaji powder. All of us except Norm had this dish. I am usually a big mussel fan, I found the delicate mussels to be a bit overwhelmed by the intense flavours of the dish. I enjoyed it but it was not my fave dish of the night.

The next course was a choice of two offerings as well, the choice that most of us went with was the cured pork belly: BBQ carrot purée, red chicory and crackling.

This was so good! The pork belly was tender and had an amazing flavour. The crackling was thin as paper and ever so crunchy. It was beautifully cooked. I loved this dish. I wanted to lick my plate.

The other main option was Herb gnocchi: Parmesan crème fraîche, pickle butternut purée, mushrooms and sorrel. Caitlin had this and she seemed to enjoy it and ate it all up quick sticks.

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Herb gnocchi

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Dessert was lemon meringue:
Mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and wood sorrel. Ohhhhh yummy yum yum. Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts and this one did not disappoint. It had such flavour. I loved it.

After we finished and asked for the bill we were served some of their homemade macarons. I missed the description but I thought I could taste passionfruit, but the girls thought they were blueberry! Whatever the flavour they were oh so good.

They made our tongues blue but our already full tummies even happier!

We had a lovely evening and Lily drove us home as she was our designated sober driver.

In the middle of the night that night the house alarm went off and Norm looked all around the house to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary but assumed it was just the wind and we eventually went back to sleep.

Sunday we were all up early as always, it is impossible to lie in with a houseful of hungry beasties. Norm went down to the kitchen to feed them and discovered a bird with an injured wing. It was a tiny little bird and Lola had obviously been torturing it and had damaged his wing. Norm caught him and took him down to the green and released him, I am telling myself that he recovered and is now fine.

Then today when I was coming home from work I saw a guinea fowl running frantically along the side of the road and then noticed that there was a bird knocked over and dead in the road and the frantic one was trying to get to its partner. I found both of these experiences so upsetting as I love birds.

Sunday morning Lily and I sat in the sun on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the nice change in weather.

The dogs hung out with us as they are always happy to be outside.

Lily had a long drive ahead and so she showered and packed up and headed home late morning. It was so lovely having her here.

Norm and I decided to go out for lunch later that day and headed across Chapman’s Peak toward Jake’s. It is the most stunning drive.

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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We were given a fabulous table in a spot of sunshine right by the door so we also caught a bit of fresh air.

I wore one of my new cardigans and it was lovely and toasty warm.

They had a different guy singing than the previous time we were there but we really enjoyed him, he had a great voice. He sang some great tunes and had a wide variety, he did Under the Bridge by RHCP and even King of the Road by Roger Miller which always reminds me of my grandmother.

Norm chose the fish and chips. It was beautifully presented but the fish was undercooked and full of bones. Norm never complains at a restaurant but he actually called over the manager and showed him the raw gooey dough and the piles of bones. The manager said we were the 3rd to complain about the fish that day and I wondered why did he not pull it off the menu? However the manager was very nice and apologetic and took the fish off of the bill.

I chose the Tasting Platter as I fancied picky things. It had panko prawns, yunan ribs, chili poppers, chicken pot stickers and parma ham and cheese balls. I had expected cheese croquettes but these were cold, spicy cheese balls, filled with a soft cheese and were not cooked. They were tasty but just not what I expected. The rest of it was very nice.

Norm felt deprived after his unsatisfactory meal and so we both ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie for dessert described as ‘white, milk and dark chocolate, bar one chocolate sauce and ice cream.

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

As an American I have high standards when it comes to brownies. Don’t give me a dry ass piece of cake, shove a nut in it and call it a brownie. I think the sauce was not made from a bar one but other than that I have no complaints. The brownie was moist and full of yummy chocolate chunks and was really good. I will be having this every time I visit Jake’s.

We drove the long way home and it had started raining while we were at Jake’s and it became a torrent of rain and it is a very windy road so we made our way slowly. We stopped off and did a little shop of bits and pieces and then headed home and built a big fire to stave off the freezing cold.

The next morning Norm gave me his gift as he had saved it for Monday as he wanted me to have something to open on my actual birthday. I badly needed a new handbag as mine was literally falling apart. He chose this one as it has a separate removable section for containing my iPad. It is simple and elegant, I love it.

Norm had to go to a meeting for work early that morning so he dropped me off about 10 at Cait’s. First we popped into Martins Bakery which is right by Caitlin’s flat. It is owned by Wes’ aunt and uncle so I am always happy to support them. The fact that they make such nice food is a bonus! I bought some donuts and muffins and we headed to Caitlin’s. We had a coffee and a pastry and then we headed to Kalk Bay. I have always loved Kalk Bay, it is a special little place. We parked at one end of the village.

We walked along the main road, hitting all of the cute quirky shops. We trawled through the china shop and realised that it used to be a tattoo parlour and this is where Caitlin and Trevor  got their first tat, we all 3 had one done there together about 12 years ago. Here is a throwback pic of me getting mine.

Caitlin bought some little china figurines to go into her printer tray and some other items and I bought a cowboy hat as mine is falling apart.

We shopped until we were exhausted and hungry and we headed off to Live Bait to see if we could get a table and we were in luck! We were given a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pier.

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

We both ordered the prawns which came with chips, rice or salad. I chose chips and Caitlin chose salad.

The prawns were perfectly cooked and were ever so tasty. We both loved this dish and scarfed every bite. They were in a buttery, slightly spicy sauce. The chips were home made and delicious.

After we finished eating we went for a walk down the pier to help with our digestion. The wind was howling!

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

After our walk we stopped for an ice cream at the Ice Cafe as Kalk Bay is infamous for their ice cream. We walked along the road munching and staring at the sea and then when we finished we headed back to Hout Bay.

Caitlin dropped me off at Retha’s so that she and I could have a birthday drink together. Retha gave me Pierre’s steam punk hat for our dress up box which I put on so that I would not forget it. The kitties seemed perplexed by it all.

Norm came to collect me and when we got home I discovered that Trevor and Amber had sent me some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a stunning bouquet of flowers.

Norm had bought a chocolate brownie to stick a candle in so that he could sing to me and wish me happy birthday. I made a wish that my ex-husband has good results from his biopsy this week. As I made the wish and blew out the candle I smugly thought ‘how virtuous of me to use my wish for the good of my children’ and the candle relit!!! I looked at Norm and he said ‘that means you get an extra wish’ and so I wished another wish. I thought that was a rather spooky experience. But I won’t look my gift wish in the mouth.

I really feel self indulgent wishing for anything as I have all that I could ever hope for – a roof over my head, an interesting career, a lovely family, a loving, handsome husband and wonderful children. I wish there was more money and less crime and that my mother lived closer and then my life would be perfect, but then who ever expects perfection? Even a Virgo would never be that greedy.

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

 

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