Hummingbirds & Sand Dunes

We had a bit of a break from rain over this past weekend but it has started again on and off as we roll into the work week. As much as we need the rain to top up our thirsty drought ridden dams, it was nice to see a bit of blue sky when I was off of work and could enjoy it. It rained on and off through Friday but Saturday and Sunday were both stunners. The rain is coming down pretty hard today.

I had very little planned for last weekend and had anticipated a bit of relaxation but then my plans started to ramp up.

Friday Josh and his friend Shane arrived down from Mossel Bay to stay with us for the weekend as Josh was racing.

As Lily was at Comic Con in Johannesburg for the weekend Josh brought Shane with him for support. We ordered pizzas from Posticino as Josh likes to carbo load on the day before a race.

Saturday the boys were off to the race course very early and I had an appointment to get my eyes tested at Tanya Seeber optometrist in Hout Bay at 11. Norm and I decided to pop down for breakfast prior to my appointment and we chose The Hummingbird Eatery and Patisserie as it was right next door.

There were only a few people seated when we went in and we hoped this meant we would be served quickly.

I was not terribly hungry and their menu says that they offer a ‘Daily Muffin’ so I just ordered a chocolate chip muffin, luckily the flavour they had that day was my favourite. As the cafe calls itself a patisserie I had high hopes for this choice.

Norm ordered the full English breakfast with banting toast.

Our coffees came quite quickly but the food seemed to take a very long time. In fact, 10 minutes before my eye appointment was scheduled Norm went to find the waitress and met her coming through with our food. I quickly wolfed down the muffin but was very disappointed with the quality of it. The muffin had a hard lump in it which I think must have been a bit of the batter which was not fully mixed through properly. It was very dense and heavy. The muffin was very dry which makes me think it was not made daily as the menu suggested. Norm said his meal was fine but the banting toast did not taste like bread at all but then I have yet to meet a banting toast I enjoyed.

We have given this venue a few chances, you can read my most recent blog about our visits to this venue here. I see that on that older blog I had a whinge about the hollandaise, but I noticed on this recent visit that they actually have Bearnaise sauce on their Eggs Benedict, but the complaints still stand on the fact it was overcooked. Each time I am disappointed in the food and this was the 3rd strike of kitten discontent and we will not bother to go back. I give them 1 Kitten Star. ⭐️

I dashed over to the optometrist while Norm finished his food. I had my eyes examined and ordered some new daily use contacts. I have always had monthly use lenses but I wear them so seldom it is a waste. With the dailies I can just wear when I get dressed up and want to look nice and then chuck them away. I am allergic to many of the soaking solutions and this cuts out an irritant from the process. I am waiting on the salesman from the frames supplier to bring a pair of frames for me to try on so I did not order my spectacles yet.

After my eye appointment Norm and I headed over to Caitlin’s flat as she wanted to go  and purchase a dishwasher and we offered to help her collect it to save delivery costs. We went to Tafelberg Furnishers in Diep River as she had already been speaking to a salesman there who had put aside the dishwasher she wanted that was on special. We also bought a fold up clothes dryer as Cordelia had broken ours the day before. The salesman was a sweety and insisted on following us to Caitlin’s flat and helping Norman carry the dishwasher upstairs. We tried to tip him for his efforts but he refused. He was such a lovely young man. We managed to get it to fit under her new counters and it also fits perfectly in between her existing appliances. All of them are silver finished and it really looks lovely.

Caitlin also asked Norm to bring his tools to help her hang some of the items she wanted to put on the walls of the flat. The 1st items were to hang over her sofa, so we pulled out the sofa to avoid getting drilling dust all over the furniture. We found a wealth of cat toys lost by Scout and Mittens hiding back there. There were so many wine corks that it looked like a family of miniature alcoholics had been living under the settee.

Caitlin had 2 paintings which Susan, Wes’ mom, had painted for her, they are so stunning and the colours match her flat perfectly. The colour does not show that well but the wall is a soft minty-turquoisey-green and the sofas are a soft grey.

After all of the chores were done we were in need of some food and we walked over to Martins Bakery to get a quick bite to eat.

The kitchen at Martins had already closed but the waiter offered to have the kitchen do a sandwich croissant for us if we wished. We ordered a ham and cheese croissant and a coffee. The croissants at Martins are baked fresh daily and are hands down the best croissants I have ever eaten, including those which were eaten when we were on holiday in France. They are so light and buttery at Martins and so fresh.

We picked up some banting chicken pies to take home for dinner and we just served them with potato salad and coleslaw for a quick and easy meal that evening.

I also bought some sinful treats for later that night. I got a lemon meringue tart for myself.

I picked up a gorgeous, rich chocolate tart for Norm and a couple of pasteis de nata for us both as well.

We were definitely not disappointed in any of these sinful indulgences. In fact as you may notice I had to use pics from Martins as I wolfed mine down so fast I forgot to snap a pic. Oink.

Would one call Martins a Patisserie even though the owners are Portuguese rather than French. What does one call a Portuguese bakery? Whatever you call it, I give everything we had from there a full on 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We walked back over to Caitlin’s and Norm packed up his tools and other bits and pieces and we headed home. Norm and I had a quiet evening as we were a bit tired from all of our running around that day. I built a fire and we cuddled up with the pups and relaxed.

We have just finished watching the Netflix series Guilt which while watching we fluctuated between loving it and being annoyed with the silly bits. I can usually always identify the murderer in a show but this one had me flip flopping on who I thought was the killer. It had plenty of twists and turns.  The show was based predominately in London and had roles where the actors were supposed to be playing someone of English, Northern Irish and American origin. However it was oddly cast and I could hear the actor’s real accents coming through the fake accents the actors were portraying. The Northern Irish roles both sounded like the actors were from the south, not the north. My Belfast accent is far superior to either of the supposed NI actors. The part of the Prince was played by a Brit, but his accent is not naturally posh, I could hear his vowels slipping on occasion. The American actress who played the part of Grace did not sound American to me, I could hear British phrasing slipping in on occasion. The things that annoyed Norm were more factual points like the fact that the Special Prosecutor was interviewing people when they were arrested and various other things about the British justice system which wound him up as being blatantly ‘not British’ according to Mr Kitten. Also the portrayal of the Prince and the lack of support and counsel from the Royal family when he was deep in the poop was a bit of a stretch.

Saying that, we were really gripped by this show (in between being really annoyed) and so I will give it a solid 4 Kitten Stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday Josh and Shane were up early and heading off up the road towards home. I had drumming practice at 10.30 but my morning got away with me and by the time I got out of the shower I was already late! I made a piece of toast and Norm very kindly offered to drive me over to Constantia so I could eat it on the way and he could stop for petrol on his way back to save us time for our lunch appointment at 1. We raced over to Gerri’s and I arrived as they were busy doing their breathing exercises and they had to start over. Oops. I am normally the first to arrive and have never been late before so I did not stress too much. We had 2 solid hours of drumming and singing.

We learned that one of our songs is being sung wrong. The lyrics are:

CHU NO MUGEN NO CHIKARA GA KORE KOTTE ,
MAKOTO NO DAIWA NO MIYO GA NARI NATTA

It is in Japanese and as we sing phonetically we were garbling the message. However as when you have been singing misheard lyrics for a long time, it is hard to sing it the right way once the wrong way is stuck in your brain and we struggled a bit with the rhythm on that one.

Norm collected me around 1pm and we headed off to meet my friend Julie who is over from the UK. Julie is here with her Father and they are staying with Julie’s cousin Belinda and her hubby Wayne and their 2 adorable little babas. We arranged to meet at Dunes on the Beach as it has a playground for their son who is 2 and a half and a gorgeous view for the overseas visitors. We were seated in the children’s play area under a brolly. It was shady enough even for my wee Scotsman.

We were seated looking up towards the restaurant which is always good for people watching.

We had a view of the beach if we peered over the playground wall.

It was lovely to see my friend Julie. We worked together at British Gas when I was in the UK. I have not seen her in about 9 years since she last came over to SA.

I ordered the mussels and as I was starving by the time we finally ordered I scarfed up every little mussel.

It came with bread and the bread was so soft and fresh it must have been made that morning. Norm had the fish and chips and Wayne had a burger which he said was very good. Julie’s dad had the cajun chicken burger which he also enjoyed. Julie and Belinda shared some sushi and the salmon and were happy with their food too. The salmon come on crushed potatoes which they compared to warm potato salad. The pizza oven was off for some reason and several of them had planned on having pizza but quickly had to make a new choice when they heard the pizzas were off the menu.

We hung out for a while enjoying the nice weather and catching up with each other’s news. We were due to pop by Retha’s late afternoon but we had cancelled as we needed to nip home to check on the dogs and walk them. It had turned a bit chilly and so I built a fire while Norm was out with the pups.

On Monday Norm had a business meeting but was kind enough to cook for us before he left.

He had bought woolies hake fish cakes which were on special. He steamed some vegetables and made home made coleslaw. It was yummy and there was enough left for my lunch on Tuesday.

Norm had a bit of excitement on Tuesday when he received the required number of resident approvals to implement an SRA in our area. This is great news as it allows us a bit more control over the security issues we have in our suburb. A few individuals were strident in their disapproval, however the yes votes outweighed the no votes so it should proceed now despite the objections. Norm has put in so many hours of his personal time working on this for the benefit of many residents so I am very pleased to see that work pay off.

I realised yesterday that my drivers license has expired and am in a bit of a panic about getting pulled over. I will have to go as soon as possible to the filthy licensing department to queue with the millions of other people getting their licenses. Oh the joys. My car has gone in today for a service as the brakes have been pulling since my near miss accident when I was working on the UCT project. It is so difficult to achieve these tasks when you are working full time. Norm dropped me off at 8am and then drove me into work and collected me afterwards. It cost me almost R5k for the new brakes and the service. I still have to go to another service provider for the alignment but at least the brakes are sorted and that was the worrying issue.

Last night Norm cooked dinner for us and kept it simple but it was delicious. He baked chicken breasts and mushrooms in coconut oil and roasted some veggies to go with it.

This weekend is a long weekend as Monday is Heritage Day in South Africa. I am meeting Caitlin and our friend Carla for lunch on Sunday and I am looking forward to that. I am also going for lunch on Saturday with my friend Helen and it will be great to catch up with her.

The Cape Town Marathon is on this coming weekend which may impact our ability to get in and out of our village. I will have to check the routes to see what is happening. If I am housebound maybe that means I will do some of the chores around the house I have been putting off forever. Maybe. 😜

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x

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To the left, to the left

The crime stats for South Africa were just released by the South African police department (aka SAPS). If you are a fellow data geek you can download them here. The poor grammar and spelling on this website tells you a lot about the state of our police’s attention to detail (or lack thereof). There is so much misalignment and lack of master data management it makes me cringe. For example the official stats are collated by station, yet the filter refers to ‘province’. They refer to ‘residential crime’ yet the stats have ‘Property-related crimes’ as the category heading. This can lead to misinterpretation and misallocation of data which is a huge issue if collating stats and providing Business Intelligence.

If you prefer to have your information already interpreted you can get a summary here. I have also extracted some of the more relevant stats for the Western Cape, where I live, from that site.

The overall crime stats for the province are in this 1st graphic. It would appear the criminals have reduced their attempts on car jackings and ramped up to truck jackings. Maybe they bought a ladder?

The stats for residential crime in my province are in the next graphic below. Residential crime is defined on the crime stats as:

  • Burglary at non-residential premises
  • Burglary at residential premises
  • Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle
  • Theft out of or from motor vehicle
  • Stock-theft

 

My understanding of the difference between burglary and robbery is whether the items were taken directly from a person, or taken in their absence. For example, a mugging is a robbery and burglary is a house or car break in.

And finally, the stats for murder and attempted murder.

The stats for attempted murders went down overall, but is this because their skills improved and the murderers were just more successful at achieving their desired results?

Either way it can make one despair or it can make one take whatever protective action you can, be vigilant and hope for protection from our guardian angels. Since the cops are doing such a crap job at protecting us and resolving crime, some divine intervention is needed. This is one of our motivations in creating the SRA for our area, it gives us some control over our safety and environment as a collective entity.

However we must be careful not to buy into the scaremongering from the Alt-right who claim there is a white genocide underway and that the South African farmers are all being deliberately targeted and murdered. I have blogged about this recently and you can read that blog here.

This video was posted on Facebook recently which gives a view that aligns to mine, that we are being subjected to right wing propaganda. White South African residents are far less likely to be murdered than any other racial group.

This is not discounting the violence and horror of the farm attacks.

You can generally always find information online to support your views, here is a video from the alt-right. Note their constant use of the term ‘they’ – they do not see Africans or Coloured people as equal, this is evident in their terminology. This is also known as Otherism which can be defined as “the exclusion of a person based on their perceived diversions from an acceptable norm.”

Noting that the 2nd video is from Australia and Australia has a long history of racism which is similar to the American history. Australia’s mistreatment and repression of their indigenous people is as systemic and horrid as the US treatment of the Native Americans. The aboriginal people were displaced from their homelands and treated as inferior to the usurping white settlers.

The Australian press has recently been accused of racism due to their portrayal of Serena Williams and her tantrum in the US Open. My opinion is that her behaviour was shocking and unprofessional but no more so than many male players who have thrown wobblies in the past. The fact that the cartoonist then doubled down and refused to admit to racism says a lot about their lack of ownership of their narrow views and their unwillingness to change.

This week has flown by for me, I have been busy at work preparing for a workshop at UCT which was held today. It went well, we are putting in a proposal to bid for some work which could lead to a long term project. I really resisted going to University of Cape Town when I was assigned my previous project there as I always resist anything new but eventually I settled in there and was very happy and in fact was sad to leave. It will be good to go back there again. I popped in after my workshop to visit the team I worked with before. It was lovely to see them all.

Last night after work I went with my friend Retha to her new house to unpack her kitchen things so that she could bring back the boxes and bubble wrap to pack another load of things today as she is moving out of Hout Bay on the weekend. We have been living so close to each other since we met so it will be strange having her not in the same suburb, but things change and we adapt.

Norm has been cooking most of the week. He was adventurous last night and made the most delicious high fat, low carb dinner of chicken breasts smothered with cream cheese and cheddar cheese and topped with home made bacon bits. He served it with sweet corn and cole slaw. It was ready shortly after I got home and as I was starving by the time I got in I scarfed every bite.

I found the recipe on this Low Carb website which has some good ideas.

Norm had a meeting the previous night so we had take aways as he got home quite late. I made chili con carne on Tuesday night as I was craving a bit of spice.

Lily and Josh’s sister are at Comic Con this weekend. I am sure they will have such a laugh. Josh is so mad about comic books it is a shame he wasn’t able to go but he has a race this weekend and he and his friend are coming down to stay in Cape Town with us instead. At least the tickets were not wasted. It is the first official Comic Con event in Africa. There is an annual comic book convention held in Cape Town every year which is called Fan Con but it is nice to see the Comic Con brand come to Africa.

I set up the event for our own fancy dress event which we have every year for Halloween and we are all starting to get excited about planning for that. It is my fave time of year and I cannot wait!

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I hope you all have a good one too. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

Quenched

Everyone who knows me is aware of my love of Halloween and fancy dress in general. The fun lies in being someone else for a bit, acting the part of whatever your character is. Last Friday our office had a Casual Day fundraiser. This is an annual event across all of South Africa which raises money for people with disabilities.

This year’s theme was Be An Everyday Hero and we were asked to dress up as Superheros. I had forgotten about it until late on Thursday night as we were going to bed and Norm kindly went back down to the garage and hauled out the fancy dress boxes and trawled through them for suitable bits and pieces. I wore a  Marvel superhero comics T-shirt and a Captain America mask.

I had taken a pair of red underpants to wear over my jeans in a superman type manner but I felt too uncomfortable to be exposing my pants at work. Even if I was wearing them over my jeans!

When I got home Cordelia was busy mopping downstairs so I went upstairs to get out of her way, put on my warm PJs and sat on the bed to play Covet Fashion on my iPad. A rather soggy and damp Pixie came up onto the bed with me for a cuddle. I would have let her vote on my game but her taste is more of the diamante and feather boa variety than my own classic rock chick sorta style. (She is a wee bit flashy is our Pix).

Norm and I had a cozy night in, we ordered take aways from Kitchen Takeaway and started watching a new series that came up as a Netflix recommendation which is called First and Last and it was filmed in Gwinnett county in Georgia, the state where I spent my childhood (and ‘escaped’ as soon as I could – pun intended).

The basic premise is that they follow men and women who are either arriving or leaving the Gwinnett county jail, so mostly it is the new arrests and the people who have been released after serving their time. The thing which struck me as saddest was that the majority of the convictions were related to addiction, either alcohol or drugs. After being restricted from access to their drug of choice by being imprisoned, their heads cleared and the majority of the prisoners seemed to understand that their lives had derailed due to addiction and resolved to change their ways once out and to try and get clean and sober. The show then followed many of them after they were back in their home environment and you were introduced to their parents and or children. I found it so sad when they then gave an update at the end of the episode to say that the person had gone back to their old ways and patterns and back to a life of chaos. I wonder do they have 12 step recovery meetings and counseling while in prison to try and get the addicts to understand the value and importance of constantly working on recovery and advising them to change their circle of friends once out? If people hang out with people who are drinking or using then it is inevitable they will relapse. Willpower alone is usually insufficient to generate a change.

Addiction is a huge issue globally but particularly in the US where drugs (both legal and illegal) are so easily available.

On Saturday we woke to hear that Mac Miller had died, possibly of an overdose, whether accidental or deliberate. I have to confess I had never heard his music prior to his death. The social media backlash against his ex-girlfriend, Ariane Grande was horrid, blaming her for his death. Ariane may be young but she seems wise for her years as she had already been under fire once before as just after they had split Mac had crashed his car while drunk. Her response had been very astute “I am not a babysitter, or a mother and no woman should feel that they need to be. I have cared for him and tried to support his sobriety & prayed for his balance for years (and always will of course) but shaming/blaming women for a man’s inability to keep his sh** together is a very major problem. Let’s please stop doing that.”

No one is responsible for anyone else’s choices. Mac was a grown man who chose to feed his addiction rather than get help. That may be the reason Ariane left in the first place, we will not be privy to that insight.

Either way, it is another sad loss of life. Whether his death was deliberate or whether it was due to miscalculation of the quantity he consumed, it could potentially have been avoided if he had chosen to seek help for his demons.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will double and increase to one every 20 seconds.

The WHO also reported the following statistics:

  • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides.
  • Although suicide rates have traditionally been highest amongst elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.
  • Mental health disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide.
  • However, suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis (e.g. loss of a loved one, unemployment, sexual orientation, difficulties with developing one’s identity, disassociation from one’s community or other social/belief group, and honour).

Should you or anyone you know be in need of help, this link provides a list of crisis centres world-wide.

For my birthday I had been given 2 bunches of gorgeous flowers and I decided to put them in a single vase, they are so beautiful I wanted to share them with you all.

Saturday was a busy day for us as Norm was off early to take Pixie to the doggy chiro. We now have both her and Navajo getting treatment. It is expensive but I cannot bear the idea of them being in pain so we take them. Navajo is getting much better and hopefully will be able to stop treatment but Pixie needs it every 5-6 weeks or she gets immobile from stiffness and pain as she had a broken vertebrae a few years ago.

I usually take Pixie myself but I was off to the hairdresser in the city. As it was raining on and off I wanted to try and get parked close to the salon. I found a spot directly in front of the salon but I am not able to parallel park. There were 3 spots, there was a spot in front and a spot behind the one I tried to get into but the guard still had to guide me. In the process of trying to follow his hand gestures about which way to spin my steering wheel I ended up mounting the curb and almost taking out a passer by. Oops. Never mind I got there in the end!

On my way home from the salon I rang Norm who said he was having a coffee in Hout Bay and so I joined him for a late lunch at Allegria Cafe in the village.

I was starving and I chatted to the owner who recommended the chicken schnitzel that was just being prepared. She suggested I have it with spaghetti aglio e olio and I was convinced. I was so pleased I chose this dish, the chicken was tender and juicy and I loved the simplicity of the pasta. It was divine.

We came home and built a big fire as it was icy cold outside. There is snow in the eastern cape and on the mountains nearby so we are feeling the impact of that here in Cape Town with the weather alternating between cold and pouring rain.

We have had so much rain lately that it has resulted in a relaxation of the water restrictions which were implemented due to the drought. Cape Town’s dams are nearing 70% of storage capacity – a significant improvement from the 38% capacity recorded at the end of the previous winter. That is great news for us.

That evening we saw on social media that there had been a shooting in Camps Bay right by where I had driven that afternoon coming home. It was another taxi war related shooting.

The violence just carries on with more deaths from this senseless battle. As I have written before there are so many challenges to our transportation industries and risk to those who have to resort to public transport. There was another incident on the trains, this was a blatant attack on a group of construction workers who were travelling home by train and had just received their wage packets. Manual labour or day labourers are almost always paid in cash, some people do not have bank accounts and some people do not trust a payroll system and some employers pay cash in hand to avoid any traceability of their finances. This attack resulted in a death and 8 injuries. The victims were robbed, stabbed and thrown off of the moving train. Horrific.

The other big news item in the Western Cape is that there is an increase in the number of children being abducted. There have been at least 13 cases of child abductions and attempted kidnappings in communities across the Western Cape since 8 August. One child was found dead, while some have come home and report being drugged and  sexually abused.

These attacks are usually occurring in areas which often have many socioeconomic challenges and this is yet another area of risk and trauma for an already struggling demographic. I do hope they manage to stop this happening to these children and catch the perpetrators.

There has been a high profile court case about child grooming and abuse by a coach at a boys’ school up north. The coach has admitted to 144 charges of abuse and there are a further 183 charges the state is seeking evidence on. The charges range from rape, sexual assault, attempted murder, showing pornography to minors, and sexual grooming. What a horrendous person to abuse young children when you are supposed to be responsible for their care. This sickens me. One can only hope that ‘karma’ visits him and he then understands what he has done to those children. By ‘karma’ I mean a large brutish gangster who loves kids and shares his cell.

I left work early last Thursday as Norm and I had an appointment with the dermatologist. I have had an itchy rash on my leg for ages and an annoying little growth under my eye and Norm had what he thought might be a mozzie bite that would not heal. She ended up burning off the growth under my eye (ow) and diagnosing me with eczema on my leg. Lovely.

Poor Norm had it far worse and had 3 skin cancers which needed to be cut off and so he had to go back the next day to have them removed. They are malignant but they are slow growing malignancies and she said we should not stress, but they went off for biopsy just to be safe.

On Sunday we had a very lazy day. We snuggled in bed with the pups and our iPads until late morning when Norm got up and made us a delicious brunch.

He burnt the bacon but I would rather it be burnt than under-cooked. So there is that.

We had a respite from the rain and the weather perked up a bit. We had a pajama day which was much needed. I was happy to not have any commitments to be anywhere. Even kittens need to rest sometimes. 🙂

On the work front I have been asked to hold a workshop to scope a piece of work for a new project, so that could be interesting. I hope it pans out. I will keep you posted.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten.

 

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

The Route is the Root

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My pack ❤️

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

The Other Foot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo