The Sounds of Silence

It is often the tasks that we think will go smoothly which end up being the most trying and those situations where we anticipate drama that end up being the easiest to achieve.

Today Norm and I had a few errands to run which we had expected to be very quick. We both nipped out in our ‘house clothes’ (which they call leisure wear in the US and pajamas in some countries). After all, who might we see at the police station or at the Computicket ticket kiosk? I showered but did not bother with makeup as we expected to be back home in no time.

First we stopped at the Police station as we both needed affidavits signed. I have lost my drivers license and I need the affidavit to collect a new one and Norm needed one signed for business reasons. We had printed all the paperwork we needed, had our passports for ID, a proof of residence and even a pen so we were very prepared.

We arrived and there was one lone guy working the front desk. He spent ages filling in forms of some sort for a previous ‘client’ and after about 20 minutes he drifted over to help us. Eventually after more than half an hour we finished and we were off to Checkers to collect our tickets for Sam Smith whom we are seeing perform this week.

We queued for ages at the Computicket kiosk even though we were very well prepared for this adventure as well, we had a print out of the transaction email, my ID and my debit card and when we got to the desk I handed all of this over. The woman entered my card number and nothing came up. I then realized that I have had my cards renewed since I had bought the concert tickets over 6 months ago so that is why it would not come up on her screen. She tried the booking reference but that did not work either. Eventually she called over a manager who repeated all of the same steps with no success so they ended up having to phone Computicket but the phone rang foreverrr before someone eventually answered. The manager kept asking me to ‘show her the email on my phone’ despite the email being printed out and lying on the counter in front of her. It was rather exasperating but eventually they managed to find my tickets on the system and print them.

We spent well over an hour on these tasks which we thought would be quick sticks.

By this time we were starving as we had not had breakfast so we decided to pop into Allegria Cafe for brunch. Enroute we ran into several people we know, we couldn’t get away with looking a mess and seeing no one of course!

We both ordered a coffee and Eggs Benedict with bacon.

The eggs were soft and the bacon crispy. It was perfection. 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After brunch we came home and Norm had a nap.

We had been kept awake until almost 2am last night by our hard partying, Beatles loving, jacuzzi shagging, profanity belting neighbours. They had a Beatles album on loop for 10 hours or more as they were partying when we got home from lunch. It takes a lot of effort to make the Beatles obnoxious but the volume was so loud we could barely hear our own telly over the noise from their music even after we closed all of our doors.

We eventually ended up calling the police, once at 12.30 and again after 1am. The police just hung up on me three times but I kept phoning back. FFS that volume of music is so thoughtless.

One of the people we ran into at the shops was our other neighbour whose house is even closer to Miss Beatles and she said she was kept awake until 3am. We had eventually went to bed and drowned the bulk of the noise out with our fan.

It might be time to start using some special powers to get Miss Beatles to move on.

Other than the noise drama this weekend things were pretty uneventful this week.

Last Monday Norm picked up dinner for us from Posticino in Hout Bay.

The chicken schnitzel was nice but the pasta was light on sauce and a bit dry, I’ll give it 4 Kitten Stars overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

On Tuesday Norm had a meeting after I got in from work so I cooked dinner. He had shopped so I didn’t have to plan.

I made chicken breasts wrapped in Richard Bosman prosciutto and served it with Woolworths sweet potatoes stuffed with a creamy leek sauce and steamed asparagus.

The chicken was delicious but I wasn’t overly keen on the sweet potatoes dish as I’m not a huge fan of leeks. But if you like leeks it is a quick and easy side dish, you just chuck the tray into the oven and bake for half an hour.

Speaking of Woolworths, this week they announced a new make up collaboration with Sir John who is known for being the man behind the faces of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra and Kim Kardashian West.

These are one of the few 100% vegan and Beauty Without Cruelty-endorsed products in South Africa. I am keen to check them out but my makeup routine is pretty basic, I don’t wear eyeshadow and use high street products.

As it is almost election time in South Africa the current party governing SA are busy bribing voters and making promises they won’t deliver on (and I use governing in the loosest sense possible). They trotted out some shiny new trains to gawk at, promising they will be up and running soon. PRASA later clarified that the trains will not be fully operational until late 2020 at the earliest.

However the launch did not go as smoothly as Ramaphosa probably hoped.

The entire country has had multiple protests over various things this week. Some groups have been protesting crime, some protesting drugs and education challenges and some protesting service delivery.

A report by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice found that three South African cities are among the top 50 most violent places on earth based on murder rates per 100,000 people. Cape Town’s murder rate has steadily increased since 2009/10, up by almost 70% between 2009/10 and 2017/18, despite plateauing over three years.

“The increase in the murder rate in Cape Town is presumably driven by gang violence, which has been exacerbated by the supply of thousands of illegal firearms to criminal gangs in Cape Town,” the report I found said.

The ANC have made a mess of governing this country.

I had a few days of intense sushi-ness this week. On Thursday for lunch I had a takeaway from Nuri.

I ordered salmon roses and double prawn rolls. They were both very tasty but very awkward to eat from the takeaway box without mutilating them. The box is great for transporting them however as it stops them rolling about!

One of the young lads on our team, Mawande has just got a new job working for Oracle which is such a brilliant opportunity for him. He will gain so much experience. I am sad to see him go as he is a very nice lad and is always so helpful to me.

The team went for a coffee to say cheerio and to wish him well. He was flying to Johannesburg today, they have their head office there. He is starting work tomorrow. He had never flown or stayed in a hotel and I gave him a bit of advice about everything from avoiding the costly mini bar in his room, to being early for his flight and being on his best behavior while on training as this is the time when they will be assessing him. He was a bag of nerves but I think he will do just fine.

For lunch on Friday I went for sushi again. I had a major craving all week.

After work I went to my chiropractor Kevin for my regular 5 week adjustment.

I had sushi from K1 for dinner that night. I had salmon roses, prawn and cucumber roses, prawn nigiri and crab salad. It was all delicious.

Norm and I finally finished his favorite series, Ray Donovan and we started watching The OA this weekend.

We finished the first series and I really loved it! I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was bizarre but it was right up my alley!

We were up early on Saturday as Norm had to take Pixie to the Chiro in Noordhoek. I stayed in bed until he got back home as it was a bit drizzly and dreary weather out.

We had plans to collect my friend Jenny for lunch. As she is visiting from the UK I had planned to take her to a Constantia wine farm with a lovely view but the weather was not very cooperative and we ended up going to Peddlar’s instead. We had not been there in a while as the last time we went it wasn’t very nice. But they seem to have upped their game.

We got a nice bright table inside rather than risk the on and off drizzle outside on the patio.

We all opted for one of their Burgers. Norm and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar burger which came with fries and gorgeous onion rings.

Norm ordered the Cheesecake for dessert. It looked very appealing.

Proof that looks cannot be relied on when it comes to food, Norm said it wasn’t great and only rated it 2.5 Kitten Stars.

I also ordered dessert and in a similar vein, my creme brûlée looked lovely.

However when I cracked open the perfectly formed crisp topping, underneath it was a very soupy consistency. It did not even have a very tasty filling.

I was very disappointed in my dessert and give it 2 Kitten Stars but my burger was delicious and gets a full 5 Stars. The meat was good quality, the patty nice and thick, it was juicy and perfectly cooked.

Jenny was very virtuous and avoided the bun, the chips and dessert.

It was lovely to see Jenny, we first met in George well over 25 years ago as our ex-husbands were work colleagues. We lost touch for ages but reconnected when I moved back to SA. Ironically she moved to the UK after I came back here! Jen is a very kind, no nonsense sort of woman, it is always lovely to catch up with her.

We left late afternoon and took her back to her daughter Vicky’s house and we headed home. Norm walked the dogs and we settled in for a quiet evening at home, however our eejit neighbour put paid to that plan!

Later last night we got a bit hungry so Norm popped out to Massimo’s and I had the chicken milanese which is chicken breaded in Parmesan and fried, it came with mash and roast veg. It was delicious.

Tonight we had a takeaway from Cassarechio, Norm had ravioli and I had half of a Mexicana pizza.

This week I was added to a Facebook group page for planning our 40th high school reunion. Things like reunions and lunches with old friends make you realise just how quickly your life has hurtled past. I would love to attend but we just don’t have the funds to go to the US just 9 months after our recent visit.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Sam Smith in concert this week. I hope you all have a lovely week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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Protected by Women

The last week or so the vibe in our village has been a bit tense after the recent protests that resulted in the roads in and out of our village being closed and 5 men being murdered.

Community Crime Prevention (aka CCP) posted an update the day after the 4 taxi drivers were shot to reassure us that our concerns over our safety were being addressed:

“6 Vehicle Control Points held in the course of the day and 8 taxis impounded. 14 traffic warrants served and 3 arrests made on outstanding warrants during vehicle stops. Strong Police presence along with Traffic/Metro/Law Enforcement continues.”

There has been a heavy police presence all week.

I have had a few of my international readers asking me about the background to the taxi violence and I have found an article to explain it which you can read HERE but in summary it is that there are 2 different taxi associations who are fighting over the right to use the lucrative Hout Bay to Wynberg routes. There are many people in Hout Bay who use the african taxis and the difference in cost between the government run MyCiti buses and the african taxis is supposed to be about R14 each direction per day according to the people I have spoken to. This is a lot of money to those who are paid so little.

Last Friday there was a meeting in Hangberg (a suburb in Hout Bay) which was meant to be a forum for all of the political parties to speak to the voters and it started peacefully enough but it erupted into a brawl and was eventually called off.

Today the police minister Bheki Cele was due to arrive in Hout Bay to address various issues. The police were out in force.

However I saw on social media that this visit triggered another protest. I later read that the protest was local students, specifically organised by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and I cannot find anything online regarding this protest in Hout Bay specifically, but the march was held across many areas in South Africa. The students have stated that they ‘want the Education Department to improve the school’s infrastructure and implement a safety programme to rid places of learning and South African streets of drugs.’  I also read that Cosas is raising concerns over the violence, the sexual assault of learners by teachers and the need for the provision of sanitary towels in schools.

Below is an update on the outcome of the meeting with the Police Minister.

Throughout all of the chaos and nonsense, the rest of us have to keep on with the requirements of living life.

I had a phone call from my gastroenterologist to tell me that the results of my biopsy were back and that it was all clear! Such a relief. The medication he has given me for the heartburn is working well and my reflux is minimal. If I avoid overeating then I am  mostly okay. If the meds do their job then hopefully I will be able to avoid having another op. I had a bit of dizziness on Wednesday when I went back to work but that has  gone away. I think it was from too much caffeine. I do not cope well with excessive caffeine.

Norm has been looking after me as always. He made a delicious dinner on my first night back at work last week. He made chicken sausage fried with mushrooms which he served with sweet potato mash and baby spinach. It was so yummy. Sausage and mash is such a warm cozy homely meal.

I cooked on Thursday night and made tacos, one of my favourite foods. They are so quick to make when late home from work.

We got sushi from K1 on Friday and I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried some different items.  I had salmon roses, prawn nigiri, crab salad and tempura prawns. It was all so delicious. This might become my new normal.

We had takeaways from Spiro’s one night last week, I had crispy squids and chips and Norm had chicken souvlaki. We love Spiro’s and it is one of our fave take away spots, the portions are big and the prices are reasonable and the food is consistently good.

We also had takeaways from Massimo’s one night, I had the creamy prawn and crab granchio pasta and Norm had the fritto misto that was on special and both were delicious.

On Saturday I had to buy a birthday gift for Bronwyn so Norm and I popped into Culture Box at Oakhurst Farm Park in upper Hout Bay to look for a gift as I wanted to support our local shops and designers. They had some lovely things and I finally settled on a gorgeous thick, soft black scarf which will be perfect for winter. They wrapped it in tissue paper and put it in a bag for me so I did not have to wrap it.

Norm and I then went off down to Hout Bay village to find some lunch. We decided to try the new Famous Bean Cafe which I had not yet been to.

It was overcast but still warm enough to sit outside and we found a nice shady table on their patio.

I had heard good things about their burgers and the menu said they are hand made patties so Norm and I both ordered the ‘Famous Burger’.

It arrived on a wooden serving board with a little bowl of fries.

The burger was OK, but only just OK. I far prefer the burgers from Dario’s personally. I also ordered a chocolate milk shake but it was not nice at all. It was more milk than shake and the ice cream used was not nice, it tasted quite artificial. Maybe I am spoiled by the amazing hand made Italian ice cream at Ice Dream? Hout Bay has some brilliant restaurants so the owners of Famous Bean Cafe will need to up their game if they want to survive. All in all I give my experience at Famous Bean 3 Kitten Stars and that is mainly due to the attentive and chatty waitress who served us and the free WiFi. I will give them another chance however, I will go for breakfast and see how their eggs benedict stand against the other venues in the bay.

Norm and I popped into Woolworths and did a shop of bits and pieces we could heat for an easy dinner as we had such a big lunch. We bought chicken samoosas, mozzarella arancini, sesame chicken, asian slaw, potato salad and beetroot.

We spent the evening relaxing surrounded by the animals. Navajo chilled at my feet with his head on the footstool. He is such a beautiful boy.

On Sunday I met up with Bronwyn and a few of her other friends to celebrate her birthday. We met at Kirstenbosch Gardens which is such a beautiful special place. It was a hot day and the gardens were very busy.

Norm dropped me off as I intended to have a wee vodka or two and I met up with the other ladies at the gate. We went into the gardens and managed to find this little secluded area under cover of the trees and we set up our little camp and put out all of the goodies Bronwyn had bought for us to feast on. She had brought loads of gorgeous freshly baked breads, salami, pepper ham, parma ham, brie and several types of cheese, lots of dips and spreads and pate as well as crisps and cupcakes. She really spoiled us!

I had brought a jug of vodka, apple juice, soda and passionfruit cordial and Bronwyn had brought wine and champagne.

We posed for some funny photos which had us all giggling like school girls. We did a cheesy album cover shot draping ourselves all over the giant trees that were sheltering us from the sun.

Then we straddled a different tree and did a sort of human centipede shot.

Several of us tried to master a group selfy but only Bronwyn had any measure of success.

We spent all day there and finally wandered home around 5:30pm, I for one was a little tipsy from my vodka concoction. We had such a wonderful day chatting and munching and I so enjoyed spending Bronwyn’s special day with her and such fabulous women and our one token fella (he was the photographer and is not in the pics I posted).

Our little spot was like a magical fairy garden, it was such a divine special area. I love the energy you get by being surrounded by ancient trees and I also gained energy by interacting with the less than ancient humans sharing the fairy garden with me.

We talked about all manner of things ranging from who would make up the perfect dinner party if you could invite dead people, to the ideal table of living hot men. We touched on the foolishness of the young, dissected the traditional gender based roles of men and women in society and how we ignore these stereotypes and apply our own rules in our own relationships, and we discussed the physical and emotional abuse suffered by so many women all in the name of what masquerades as love.

Angie raised a very salient point about how so many of the abusers are protected by society, by other women or even by the victims themselves. Society tells women they should be grateful that they have a man, any man, regardless of how he treats ‘his’ woman. So many african families will tell the wife that she must do as she is told and bow to the needs of the man. If the man wants a houseful of children, even though he is unwilling to work to feed or clothe them, the wife must accommodate his wishes. This pattern of subservience is also still prevalent in many Afrikaans families so it is not restricted to race. It is prevalent in most countries within many races and religions.

Silence may be the only protection offered but sometimes that is all that is required. Whether the silence is there out of fear of reprisal, or just due to the gaslighting that occurs to the victims, the end result is still men literally getting away with murder or with ongoing repeated abuse. Does this silence make the victim complicit in their own abuse or is it just a symptom of the victim hood?

Last week the mother and step father of a child who was systematically tortured and abused until he died were both sentenced. The courts have called the child ‘Baby Daniel’ for the sake of anonymity of the mother’s other children.  The step father has been sentenced to life in prison, while the child’s mother was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The judge said that the mother was guilty in that she did nothing to remove the child from the reach of the step father. The report from a social worker states that the mother was a victim of sexual abuse and physical abuse as a child which resulted in her making poor relationship choices and violence was normalised for her.

As a survivor myself I feel some level of sympathy for her. I know that I also made many poor life choices due to the damage of my childhood and I also made poor relationship choices which led to more abuse, first being engaged to a man whose emotional abuse convinced me that I was so ugly and stupid that I was lucky to have him as no one else would be interested in me, all while trying to lead me down a path of drug addiction, a road he was very familiar with. I managed to get out of that relationship but then ended up marrying an angry, violent man. However I could never have stood by while anyone harmed my children. My children’s father did not abuse them, he only directed his violence towards me. Once my son was old enough to witness the abuse something clicked in my head. I still remember it very clearly, we were living in LA and one night while I lay on the floor having been thrown across the room, I looked up to see my son standing in the doorway. He was less than 2 years old and I was pregnant with my second child. I then realised that if I did not do something to change my circumstances that my children would grow up with this violence as the template for their own relationships. I stood up and picked up my son and put him back into his bed. I then calmly walked up to my ex-husband and I told him that if he ever laid another hand on me and did not kill me, that I would wait until he went to sleep and I would bash his head in with a brick. He later told me that he could see in my eyes that something had changed. He never hit me again after that. He still abused me emotionally and played power games with me but he never laid a hand on me until many years later after our divorce. I am proud to say that I stood up to him that time as well. Part of the issue with abuse is the loss of power, the helplessness associated to being a victim. Not everyone has the strength of character or the confidence to break these chains.

Obviously Baby Daniel’s mother did not. I feel so much sadness for Baby Daniel, for his mother and for the other children from that family. I hope that the other children are able to get counselling to help them heal from the horrors that they have seen or experienced themselves and can break that cycle in their own lives.

As for his step father, I hope that karma deals with him in the manner he deserves.

Hold your own loved ones close and tell them that you love them.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Toxicity and Acidity

This has been a rather eventful week in Hout Bay, but before I catch you up let’s go back to where I left off on my last blog because us Virgo’s are nothing if not methodical in our approach.

Last Sunday Norm and I went out for a pub meal at our local, Woodcutters Arms. As it was a bit late for a Sunday night in our little village, the place was almost empty so we took a nice big booth at the back.

I asked if they had any of their Sunday Roast left and the waitress checked with the kitchen and said there was one portion of the beef roast remaining so I happily ordered it. I love their roasts, they have delicious horseradish and crispy roasties.

However this time as I was last in the queue I got the end of the roast and it was full of fat. The vegetables were completely raw, not even blanched. The roasties were perfect as was the yorkshire pudding and sauces.

Norm ordered his fave scotch eggs: Smoked Paprika Sea Salt, Pea Puree and Pea Shoots for R45.00. He said that the coating was very thick and hard. Maybe there was too much breading but as the egg is so under-cooked I suspect maybe the oil was just too hot? He was a bit disappointed and he usually loves this dish.

For his main he ordered the Pork Sausages: Served on Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Peas, Brown Sauce Onions and Gravy for R78.00. He enjoyed this dish and it was such a massive portion he took some home for lunch the following day.

When the manager came to inquire about our food I said mine was ‘OK’ but she sensed the hesitation in my voice and she asked was I sure so I mentioned that the beef was very fatty. I did not make a fuss, and she offered to replace it with something else but I was pretty full from the bits I could eat so I declined her offer. But then when the waitress brought the bill she told us that the manager had taken my dinner off of the bill! That is a rare occurrence in South Africa, in the US it is commonplace but certainly not here.

I realised that I had forgotten to mention in my last blog that when my friends and I had our excessively long breakfast at Hout Bay Manor that the manager had taken off the  main courses from the bill due to the eggs debacle. Amazing customer service in both regards.

We love the Woodcutter’s Arms and will not be deterred by a once off bad meal, it is our local and we enjoy sitting in their beer garden on a warm sunny afternoon and their food is usually always good, I think it is a very high standard for ‘pub grub’.

On Monday I was back at work and had to rush home to meet Vanessa who came to give me a pedicure. She is such a lovely girl and we have such a laugh while she is working on my calloused tootsies. We sat chatting and watching the Brexit chaos on sky news while she worked.

While Vanessa was finishing up Norm started cooking our dinner. He chopped chicken breasts and fried them in mushrooms and onions and to go with it he puréed some butternut with lots of butter and stir fried some baby spinach. I helped him with the sauce for the chicken and added thick cream, a bit of bisto and a big spoonful of Richard Bosman bacon jam to add a bit of depth to the flavour. It was a quick and easy meal and was very tasty as well as low carb and high fat with the added cream and butter.

Another night Norm cooked a big pot of bolognaise sauce and we had that with sweet potato mash and steamed baby broccoli and the next night he topped the sauce with mashed cauliflower and cheese and baked it making it last two nights. It was all very yummy. I am a very lucky Kitten!

On Tuesday afternoon I had to leave work early as I had an appointment to see a gastroenterologist about my abdominal pain and constant acid reflux. He sent me for an ultrasound which checked my organs and aorta and when I told the sonographer that I was trained as a radiographer she happily announced all of the findings in my scan, ‘there is your liver and it is fine, there is your gallbladder and it is nice and clear, and there is your aorta and you do not have an aneurysm’. Bloody hell an aneurysm was the one thing I was NOT worried about but thanks for clearing that up!

My gastroenterologist is a very amusing guy. He told me about the difference in men and women in regards to their bowels. He said that women tend to be constipated and I asked him was that a control issue? He said it is a thesis on it’s own (he is a professor) and yes, part of it is about control. He said that women often have issues with using  public toilets whereas if a man needs to go he is happy to pull over to the side of the road, drop a squat and use grass to clean himself. I even have issues going in a posh venue and could never go in anywhere unsanitary. I would only go on the side of the road if I was in danger of death or explosion. As a Virgo I cringe at even discussing these things. But discuss them I will do as Prof B booked me in for a ‘top and tail’ as he so charmingly called it, aka a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy.

On Wednesday morning I got up at my usual early hour and headed off to work. As I got to the entrance by the first taxi rank which goes up into the township I had a taxi almost back into me when he came flying backwards, reversing quickly into main road with his lights off and no brake lights in the dim light. He was setting up a blockade on the road but I did not realise that, I just thought he was being an idiot so I drove around him.

I carried on towards the roundabout at the police station and I drove straight into a protest / roadblock.  The taxis had all formed a line end to end around the traffic circle by the cop shop and were in the process of closing off the roads. I have had this happen before and I did the same thing as I did then, I just drove on the wrong side of the road and put my foot down and shot off towards the coast road to the city. Until you have been in that sort of situation you have no idea how terrifying and intimidating it is. You never know if the protesters will throw rocks at your car or even shoot at you, whether they will allow you to drive through or whether they will hold you hostage. I did see one police van but he just drove around the blockade and down towards the village ignoring the blockade.

I rang Norm once I had gotten past it and he told me that he had just started to ring me as he saw on social media that there had been 40 shots fired in a shoot out between rival taxi gangs resulting in a death to one of the drivers. This is in a residential area with a school nearby but these idiots do not care who is endangered in their fights over financial gain. They fight over which taxis get to drive which routes. This week I had a taxi overtake a long queue of traffic by driving on the wrong side of the narrow curvy coast road, not only endangering themselves and their passengers but all of the other drivers who could be involved if there was an accident.

The taxi drivers ended up closing down the entire village, blocking all of the points of exit or entry into the village. I must have been one of the last cars to get out via that route. Eventually law enforcement and the security teams managed to clear the roads and get the taxi drivers to leave. Why they did not arrest them all for their actions I have no idea. You sometimes wonder who is in charge, the cops or the bad guys.

Norm and I had started watching the new Netflix series about The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Norm and I used to live in the village next to where the McCann family lived in the UK and we had followed it all when it was going on so many years ago. However due to the lies and publicity put out by the Portuguese police I had incorrectly come to the conclusion that the parents were somehow involved, whether this was a cover up because they overdosed her on a sedative when leaving her alone in the room or some other skulduggery. However now that I have watched this documentary and reviewed all of the facts I believe that Madeleine was most likely the victim of child trafficking. There were so many leads that hinted at this but none of them were properly investigated as the Portuguese police were too busy trying to implicate the parents rather than launch a proper investigation. They did not even set up a roadblock until several days after the child went missing. Goncalo Amaral was the head of the incompetent policemen from the Polícia Judiciária‎ in Portugal and he has been proven to be corrupt and was fired from his post. He has also been proven to be money grabbing by writing a book full of lies, ironically called ‘The Truth of the Lie’ which was banned and then reinstated in a court of appeal. He has recently been linked to a mafia crime ring. He diverted this investigation and I feel he is ultimately responsible for the poor performance of the Portuguese police. Based on the latest charges against him it makes me wonder if he was actually implicated in her disappearance and that is why he derailed it. We may never know the truth.

It was a heart wrenching story and I cannot imagine what the McCanns have gone through over the years. To lose a child is traumatic enough but to then have people blaming you must be horrific. However it is a very well done documentary and I give it 5 Kitten Stars.

We have also started watching Outlander. It is a show that people have recommended to me for years but when they mentioned the time travel aspect I thought, nah, not for me. But I recently joined a new Fashion House in my covet fashion game and they are all fans of the show so I decided to give it a try when we found it on Netflix and I love it!! Many of the women who are fans are all agog over the lead character played by the handsome Sam Heughan but he does not do anything for me, don’t get me wrong he is cute but then, so are puppy dogs. But I do love the sight of a man in a kilt, especially my own man. I give Outlander 5 Kitten Stars.

On Friday afternoon when I left work I popped into Woodheads to buy waxed string to finish decorating my drumstick. I had plans to work on it over the weekend but my days got away from me and I have not yet finished it. But at least I am prepared!

I could not decide on the blue or the red so I got a roll of both. I hope they will go nicely with the design I recently painted on my drum.

On Friday evening Norm and I had a takeaway from the Blue Lotus Chinese restaurant in Hout Bay and finished the last episodes of the Madeleine documentary series. We were both up and out on Saturday morning as Norm had to take Navajo to Noordhoek to the doggy chiro and I had a hair appointment in the city at Pause.

I love my hairdresser and her assistant, they make me feel so spoiled.

When I got home Norm was out so I sat on the patio while the pups had a run around, it was a cloudy misty day.

I took a selfy of my newly coloured hair while I waited, how does it look?

When he got home Norm and I went down to the village for a late lunch as it was after 2pm and I was starving. We went to Zur Holzbucht the local German restaurant and chose a table in the beer garden as it was not too hot for my delicate wee Scotsman who cannot tolerate the heat or sun (neither can this Cherokee for that matter).

Norm had a light lunch earlier that day while I was busy in town so he had the only dessert on the menu, the apple strudel. He asked for it with ice cream but it came with cream instead, he said it was just average, nothing special.

I was ravenous so I had the kassler roast with sauerkraut and pan fried potatoes. It was really yummy, I love their food and I am a sauerkraut fiend and they make their own. They have very rich yummy gravy and the potatoes were crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside. I give it 4.5 Kitten Stars.

Sunday we were invited out for lunch with some friends but I had to start my prep for the colonoscopy I was having on Monday so sadly we were unable to attend. I was allowed to eat up until 1pm and Norm kindly made us crispy bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs which he served on a fresh croissant he had picked up that morning from Oakhurst Spar. Their pastries and baked goods are top notch and always fresh. It was very yummy. We kept referring to it as ‘my last meal’ like I was a Dead Woman Walking and due for execution rather than just the indignity of a scope.

And then the fun started. I had to drink 3 sachets of the prep diluted in a glass of water, followed by another glass of water, with a glass of water every hour between them. I was allowed no solid food after 1pm and so that evening I only had a cup of strained chicken (noodle-less) soup and some jelly, but to be fair I was not hungry due to the overabundance of water slogging around in my system. The prep itself was not as bad as I had heard as I had imagined it to be horrendous. It was rather unmentionable but at least it was efficient in it’s function, albeit being a bit uncomfortable. Enough said about that!

I took Monday off of work for the procedures and when I logged onto Facebook I saw that the village was again on lock down. There was another shoot out between the taxi drivers, this time resulting in the death of 4 men and the injury of several more. The large white vans in the video below are what we refer to here as taxis, they shove in dozens of passengers and drive like lunatics resulting in a many road traffic accidents and deaths, but they are the only affordable transport option that many of the poorer residents have access to.

By the time we had to leave to go to the clinic the roads were cleared and we sailed through with no issues.

Today I read on the Community Crime Prevention Facebook page that “All calm in the area with large presence of SAPS/POPS, traffic and Law enforcement. Multiple road blocks and impoundments (sic) of taxis reported this morning with 1 licensed firearm confiscated for ballistic testing already.”

I just hope that they continue to monitor this ongoing issue and punish the lawless who are driving the routes without a permit and putting all of our lives at risk.  It is such a toxic situation. I wish they would just close down the taxi ranks in the village and put on more of the buses and sort out proper safe affordable public transportation. The buses are usually safe but they do not cover the entire city and some say they are too expensive. I do not know the comparative price between the African taxis and the MyCiti buses. Uber and Taxify are expensive and are not always safe and the trains are also a risk to your safety and are very unreliable. This country has so many issues. The elections are coming up so it will be interesting to see if anything changes and which party wins, but somehow regardless of which party takes power I just think it will be more of the same old bullshit.

Speaking of bullshit, back to my more personal dramas……we made it to the clinic in plenty of time for my procedures. I had told the doc I wanted to be knocked completely out and I was taken in to the exam room and asked to undress and the nurse attempted to put in an IV, however I have very poor veins and my arm is black and blue today. She eventually got the IV in and gave me something ‘to relax me’ and that is the last thing I remember until I was being shaken awake and my basket of clothes shoved at me. I stumbled around and managed to get myself dressed and wandered off to the loo. They then moved me over to the tea room and went to fetch Norm. He made me a cup of tea and gave me a biscuit but I was nodding off and did not manage to really eat or drink. I was in such pain that I was not coping so they gave me another injection for nausea and then due to the excessive cramps they gave me an injection of buscopan to try and stop the cramping but it had no effect. Prof B took me in to view the images and he confirmed that my hernia repair had reversed and my hernia was back. He also found a polyp which he removed and sent for biopsy. He also said I have a lot of diverticulum and a very tortuous colon and he struggled to navigate it. Luckily there is no inflammation and I should have no issues with it. I know that is probably TMI but my blogs serve as a diary and even as memory aids for me when I cannot remember things, at least I can look it up!

I came home and slept the entire afternoon, the anesthetic knocked me out. I told Norm that must be what it is like to be in a relationship with a heroin addict as I could not keep my eyes open.

Prof B has put me onto a new medication which is a PPI or a proton pump inhibitor. When compared to taking an antacid, I like to think of it as the PPI actually wets the forest down to prevent the flare up of fires in the first place and an antacid just attempts to douse the already raging flames with a bit of water. I took one of them last night and one this morning and I am not having any reflux pain at all. I did take another day off of work as my throat feels like someone drove a truck down it and my stomach has not settled from all of the invasive things which occurred *ahem* so I did not feel up to being in the office all day with a dodgy tum. I will go back tomorrow.

Hopefully there will be no further taxi dramas and life will continue as it should, toxicity and acidity free.

In the meantime, I wish you all a great week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

Covens and Crises

We have been blessed with a bit of cool refreshing weather and even quite a bit of rain.

After the intense heat of the previous week I was walking into my office one morning and I was feeling jaunty as the cool air felt wonderful and I was so pleased about the rain. I encountered several street people as I always do. There are several homeless shelters near where I park my car. The sight of these men dragging along their sodden bedding and looking so cold made me feel so sad for them. Some of them have mental illness issues, some are addicts and some are just unlucky from circumstance.

I thought about the times when I was basically homeless myself but the difference is that as a middle class white woman, there were always friends I could rely on for support. I could couch surf or even sleep in my car if I did not have an alternative place to stay. But for the majority of destitute Africans, this is not an option. The majority of Africans live in small shacks which may have several people living in them with no couch to surf. Most people who live in shacks or on the streets may not even have a car as a back up place to provide a safe dry place to sleep.

I cannot imagine how hard the lives of the homeless must be. Having nowhere warm or dry to sleep, nowhere to store your meager belongings. I walk across the city every day and I see entire families sleeping on the streets. It makes my heart so sore.

I have had a few high anxiety days the last few weeks and I have tried to note the conditions which may be triggering these feelings. One is sugar, on the days when I had oatmeal with a banana in it for breakfast I had high anxiety levels mid-morning. The second trigger appears to be caffeine. If I drink the free coffee the client provides then I am twitchy and anxious. It is from a machine which grinds the beans so it must be a stronger bean than the single shot lattes I have from the cafe next door.

Often we can manage our issues by observing our triggers. Internal observation is not something that comes easy to most of us however, whenever I suggest to friends and family that they keep a food diary to try and identify what triggers various responses or pains in their body they seem to look at me like I am tripping. However that process requires ownership of our problems and most people seem to prefer to just take a pill rather than change their behaviour.  I hate the dozy feeling I get when I take anti-anxiety meds so I would rather try and understand the root cause of the issue. Maybe that is my Virgo analytical nature coming through?

The other issue I have been having is with my stomach. I had a hiatal hernia repair in 2007 and am now having symptoms which tell me it is back. I have chronic heartburn and reflux that wakes me up several times a night. On occasion I have a pain in my upper abdomen. I know I need to go to a gastroenterologist but I am hoping to wait until this current project ends as I suspect I will need some time off work and cannot bail on my client.

I have been feeling quite low all week as I had another instance of someone I thought was a friend very clearly sending me the message that we are not friends. Again, some people only consider you useful when you can do something for them. If they need something they contact you without hesitation, but then drop you when it is convenient. I suspect I am quite naive, to me if we act like friends, then we are. But to others they have no problem with being superficial if it suits their needs. I do not have it in my nature to be superficial, my feelings are worn on my sleeve. (Not very Virgo like is it?) If I do not like someone I am unable to hide that and if I do like someone then I want to hang out with them. Seems quite straight forward to me.

My client and I are still getting along great, he comes and asks me for advice on decisions that have nothing to do with me as a consultant, it is quite flattering that he respects my opinion. We had a funny conversation this week when he came to tell me that he has been accepted to do his PhD at a University in Arkansas. He was pronouncing it ‘Ark-kan-sus’. I told him that ‘Kansas’ is pronounced ‘Kan-sus’ but when you add the Ark it is ‘Ark-an-saw’. Now imagine this convo with a french speaking African who only learned English in his teens. It was quite funny.

It was my client’s birthday last week and when I discovered he is a Pisces I was very surprised as that is the opposing sign to Virgo and they are usually too sensitive for my abrupt and uncensored points of view but he and I get on great and we actually seem to balance each other out quite nicely. I told him that is because he is my client and I am on my best behavior. He gave me a look that said ‘if this is your best I don’t want to see your worst’.

Lily and Josh came down last Friday afternoon and Caitlin came over to join us that evening for dinner and a visit. We ordered take away pizzas from Posticino in Hout Bay and really enjoyed them. I hung out with the girls downstairs while Josh played video games upstairs and Norm faffed around being Norm. Lily was sad that she had to leave Toothless with a cat sitter as he was too small to bring all the way to Cape Town. She is so in love with that kitten. He is adorable.

It was so nice to see my girls, I wish Trevor could come visit but Josh and Lily were down for a wedding so that would not have worked even if Trevor could get away as the road closures for the Cape Town Cycle tour made life rather complicated.

On Saturday afternoon Lily and Josh went to Kalk Bay to the wedding that they were attending. They chose to use AirBnB for the night as it was cheaper than using an Uber to get there and back from Hout Bay and they knew they would have a drink or two and couldn’t drive back. The bride looked stunning, she is a gorgeous girl.

That night Norm collected dinner from The Blue Lotus. I had a portion of salmon roses.

I also had the crispy chili chicken with fried rice.

I really enjoyed it all but I always order the same thing and need to broaden my horizons in regards to their menu. I am a creature of habit.

Norm cooked for us a few nights this past week and last Wednesday he made a delicious chicken and mushroom dish. He fried the chicken and mushrooms then added double thick cream and some stock to made the sauce. We served it over creamy cauliflower mash and to go with it he stir fried green beans and mushrooms in garlic and butter. It was so tasty.

Another night he baked pork chops and served them with roasted butternut and the rest of the packet of green beans.

As always we had take aways a few nights, we had food from Spiro’s and Casareccio too. They are two of our usual take away faves.

We had a few random visitors this week. One evening as we were heading off to bed I looked up and noticed a rather large spider on the bathroom ceiling. We never kill spiders and so Norm caught him and took him out into the garden and released him.

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Then a few days later a wee birdy flew into the house and settled on the curtain rail. I cannot tell what type he is but he has a hummingbird type of beak? Is he a sunbird? I am not sure and the pic is not the best (Norm’s work not my own usually dreadful pics). Here is a link, have a look and let me know what you think?

On Sunday my friend Carol came around to help me decorate my drumstick. It is still not finished as I want to re-lace the padded end with red waxed string and I need to also add waxed string to the top and bottom of the section with the beads, but I love the effect so far.

The colours represent the colours of the Native American medicine wheel. The Four Sacred Directions are represented by the colours yellow, red, black and white. Blue represents Father Sky in the upper realm, Green represents Mother Earth below, and purple represents the self, that spirit that journeys in this physical world.

It was a nice relaxing afternoon. I had invited Carol for lunch but the whole village was rammed due to the cycle race and the road was closed so Norm had to go to Constantia as the shops in Hout Bay were empty so we ate quite late. He brought back a roast chicken and some salads and we all had a yummy and easy lunch.

That night we were lazy again and Norm got take aways from Massimo’s. I had the Granchio pasta which was on special: real flaked white crab meat, prawns,
mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. It was absolutely divine. The cream sauce is so light and not too heavy (I detest a thick slodgey sauce) and the prawns were delicate. I really enjoyed it.

We chose Massimo’s as it meant we did not have to drive into Hout Bay itself as it was rammed with visitors for the race. But I wasn’t considering that I was at Massimo’s the following night too. But it is one of my fave restaurants in Hout Bay so I did not mind.

Monday night I was invited to join an all women quiz team representing Community Cohesion who do amazing work in Hout Bay and the surrounding areas.

We met at Massimo’s at 6.30. There were 8 women in total and we called ourselves the Community Cohesion Curvaceous Covenettes. That is a lot of C’s at one table (pun intended).

We had such a laugh and to make it all the more exciting we won!! We all got a bag of goodies from the Richard Bosman range. We received a packet of Prosciutto, some unsmoked bacon, a piece of chorizo, a jar of bacon jam and one of bacon salt. I was happy just to have the laughs but to get to go home with these treasures made it an amazing night.

Our table also won 2 of the raffle prizes, a bottle of wine and an overnight stay for 2 people. Our clever little coven of beauties did well!

The next morning I was feeling a tiny bit hungover from the vodkas consumed the previous night. I slipped out of the bedroom in the dark as usual but when I got to the gate to go downstairs it would not open, the key wouldn’t go into the lock. I had to wake Norm to help and after much fiddling he managed to unlock it. The dogs and cats all had to get involved though and poor Naked Norm had to dodge Navajo’s attempts to shove his cold nose up his bum, avoid a dancing Pixie who was needing a wee and tripping over little Lola kitty winding around our legs while Panda yipped excitedly to cheer us all on. I was so glad it happened when Norm was here to deal with it as I would have panicked about not being able to get out.

Then when I finally managed to get downstairs and went dashing through the garage in the dark, the cord from our hoover grabbed me by the leg and I stumbled and careened around the garage and almost broke my neck. All this while slightly hung over from our quiz event (well it was actually from the vodka not the actual quiz).

Then when I got home last night I was sitting watching telly when it suddenly went off. I went out and checked the fuse box and the plugs had tripped. Water seems to be getting in somewhere and it is tripping the earth leakage thingy (she says vaguely). However once I switched the fuses back on, the internet would not start up. Our main router is based upstairs and we have a repeater downstairs to boost the signal to allow us to watch Netflix on the telly downstairs. It would not connect, I could not get on the internet to play games either. After running up and down the stairs flipping and resetting everything a million times I finally managed to isolate the issue. The power tripping had blown the downstairs modem. Norm had spent several hours trying to get hold of our service provider Sonic Wireless but first the phone just rang out and then they would answer, put him on hold and then disconnect the call. Every time we have an issue they are useless. They usually dismiss any queries by telling you everything is fine on their end (their first line of support ‘it’s not me, it’s you’). You have to send screenshots of the download speed tests to prove we are not getting the bandwidth or speed that we pay so dearly for. As soon as fiber rolls out to our street we are changing over to someone else (anyone else would have to be an improvement!).

Then today when our dog walker arrived he could not get into the house as his remote did not work. He also said that the alarm was not on. That meant that Navajo could not get out for a wee if he needed to. It also meant the house was not secure. I assumed that the electricity had tripped again and I was worried about our freezer full of meat melting and arriving home to puddles of dog wee so I left work early and came home to sort things out. That sounds nice but it just means I have to work late to make up for the lost hours as I cannot work from home.

It has been a stressful week so far other than the laughs and giggles we had on Monday. Thank goodness for the coven!

At least my week can only improve, right? Let’s hope so as my whinging is annoying even me!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Deserving

I was told recently to ‘lighten up’ and I realized that I have become a very serious person and wondered when that shift occurred from the ‘up for anything’ mad version of myself. I have never been frivolous or silly, I think it is not in my nature. I’ve always been self deprecating, that comes easy for me. But the lighthearted nature of being joyful seems to have drifted away from me.

I think the responsibility that comes with my life has overwhelmed me. Politics in the US, SA and Europe weigh on my mind. I worry about the environment and the world we are leaving for our grandchildren and future generations. Financial responsibility also sits heavily upon me.

I worry and I fret about things that may never happen and even if they do I cannot avoid them or change the outcome.

I’m trying to be conscious of those thoughts. When I get stuck in that loop of fretting needlessly and pointlessly, then I try and focus on bringing my mind back to the present. Being mindful. It is an ongoing challenge.

I’ve been following a Facebook group of different people posting videos performing Ho’oponopono prayers and I’ve also been trying to practice it in my every day life. I saw a dead kitten on my way to work and said Ho’oponopono for that kitten every morning this week. I read an article about a young girl named Alesha MacPhail who was murdered in Scotland and I looked at the beautiful, innocent wee face in her photo and said Ho’oponopono for her. A pigeon flew into the bottom of my car when driving home and died and I said Ho’oponopono prayers for the pigeon. A friend is struggling with issues with her son’s health and I’ve said the prayers for them both.

The prayers bring me peace and calm my scattered mind. But the energy from these situations hangs heavy on my heart. I sometimes wish I was one of those people who can compartmentalise my thoughts. I’ve had some high anxiety level days recently.

This week hurtled past, Friday was upon me before I realized it. I presented my progress to my client on Friday and he is very happy with my work so far. That takes a bit of stress off.

Norm and I had a quiet weekend after last weekend’s chaos as we both needed it!

Norm cooked most of this week and looked after me well. It has been very hot this week so we kept our meals simple.

He made sweet chili chicken kebabs, fried halloumi, coleslaw and salad one evening.

Another night he just baked pork chops and I made a salad.

We use a lot of avocado despite the ridiculously high cost of them as they are high in fat. Our bodies need healthy fat.

He made a big pot of rich tomatoey bolognaise sauce and served it over low carb noodles with steamed broccoli the first night. The next night he layered the sauce with sliced zucchini and mozzarella and baked it.

It was delicious. Mince (or ‘hamburger meat’ to Americans) is so cost effective as it always stretches to at least 2 meals.

On Friday we were happy to settle in for a cosy night at home and we started watching a new Netflix series called Dirty John.

We haven’t finished it so please no spoilers!

This series is gripping but it may trigger survivors of domestic violence. It certainly had me feeling a bit anxious. There were many scenes I could relate to: having someone tap into and record your phone calls, keeping track of where you take the car, watching them flip quickly from being loving to being full of rage and then to gaslighting you that you are to blame for their behavior.

Guns against your head, hands around your throat…..hatred in their eyes. Terror.

Now I can recognize those types of men from a mile away, I see those who have that in their nature. I keep shouting ‘what are you doing’ at the female character in Dirty John when in fact I did the same behaviors myself. That cycle of hate and dependency. When you are stuck in that dynamic it is like quicksand, dragging you down to places you never imagined and feeling like there is no way out of it. Especially when he has hoodwinked society into believing he is a really charming nice guy. Often nothing is as it appears. How many serial killer’s neighbors say ‘he seemed like such a nice guy’?

So many women are trapped in this type of scenario, often where the roles are reversed from the ones in Dirty John, when the woman is the one who is financially dependent and sees no way to survive outside of her marriage. In fact many of the women in domestic violence situations are lucky to live through it. “About 87,000 women or girls were killed worldwide in 2017, 58 percent of them victims of domestic or family violence.”

I have been in this situation more than once. I was engaged at 18 years of age to an addict and I see so many similarities with his behaviors in this series. My fiancé Jeff lied easily and created so many scenarios to enable his addiction. He went into hospital for multiple surgeries for nonexistent ailments just to get access to drugs. He tried to drag me down into that world but I woke up and managed to get away from him. We totaled my dad’s truck but luckily no more long term damage occurred. I googled Jeff a few years back and saw he has died. I wonder if it was his addiction that killed him.

I’m one of the lucky ones who survived. I’m even luckier to have married a kind, loving and incredibly gentle man the second time around. I changed my perspective and expectations of what I deserved. I deserve respect, I deserve kindness and I deserve to be loved. Until a woman realises that she deserves those things she may not even recognize them and most likely she will not be attracted by them, or even attract them TO her. Some women repeat these patterns over and over, choosing men who exhibit variations of the same behaviors and never get out of that destructive loop.

I’m so grateful for my marriage and the love of my husband.

I was woken early on Saturday by Navajo shoving his nose into my sleeping face. Nav is the only abuse I get these days! He seems to panic that I have overslept on weekends and wakes me at 7. During the week he barely opens an eye as I sneak out well before 7am and the pets and Norm then lie in until after 8. I assume Navajo thinks he is being helpful. He so isn’t.

I had a hair appointment in the CBD Saturday morning and left just after 10 but there was no parking that I felt competent enough to wiggle into and drove around for ages until I found a spot.

My hairdresser Leandra asked if I felt like a change and I thought ‘why not?’ and let her have free rein. She cut lots off the bottom and now it is just past shoulder length. The ends were not in great shape and it was rather frizzy so it looks so much healthier now.

What do you think?

While washing my hair Thembi asked me had I been experiencing the Hout Bay headaches and neck aches and I was shocked to learn it is an epidemic! Apparently lots of people have had it. I’ve been struggling with headaches for weeks and I thought it was my neck and had been to the chiro for 3 sessions with minimal success. Interestingly today mine is gone! Maybe extending my neck over the basin unlocked it, maybe Thembi’s amazing neck and head massage did or maybe it was a virus. Whatever it was I’m relieved it is not with me today and hope it stays away.

When I got home Norm and I went out for a late lunch. We popped into Hout Bay and went to Dario’s as I fancied a burger and theirs are divine.

We grabbed a table outside.

There was a lycra wearing arsehat nearby who was having a very loud facechat conversation with someone. Who does that in a restaurant!? I wanted to go and ask him to STFU but Norm discouraged me and agreed that if it went on too long he would have a quiet word with Mr arsehat. After his call finally ended he grabbed his bike and moved off, on the way out he said something about Norm being Scottish so obviously has met him before? It’s such a small town but I have no fears of burning bridges. Oops. Just as well I have Norm to rein me in.

I saw that Dario’s had prawns on special for R99 and so I diverted from my burger desire.

They came with garlic butter and were very nice. Norm stuck with the burger plan.

Both meals were yummy.

When I had driven to town that morning the sea mist was so thick you could barely see over Llandudno and we noticed the same while down near the beach in Hout Bay, you couldn’t see the mountains at all!

After we ate we went to Mainstream as I needed to go to Clicks as I was out of everything from face wash to foundation. I always get a shock at the till when a half basket of shopping costs almost 2 grand! And I even changed some of my usual products for cheaper brands. The cost of living in SA is getting out of control. Maybe I’m at the age where I should just say ‘feck it’ and give up on make up and giving a damn how I look? Or maybe this is the age when I need it most 😂. Women in our 50’s are pretty much invisible so no one may notice either way.

Today feels a bit cooler, if only the cold front causing the heavy mist would bring some rain. We badly need it!

Our firefighters have been battling a fire in Franschhoek just outside of Cape Town for several days now. It has done a lot of damage.

Please pray for the firefighters, residents, animals, vegetation and trees and for rain to dampen the flames.

Today we are having a lazy pajama day. Norm made brunch for us.

Later I may trade my PJs for my swimsuit and have a bob about in the pool. That is as strenuous a day as I can manage!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Camp Culture

Last week was a bit of a life challenge as we had load-shedding almost every day. To those who do not know, that means the city turns off the electricity to the grid in ring fenced areas at certain periods of the day. So you have to plan ahead, if it’s in the morning make sure to boil a full kettle of our precious water and charge your phone. I wasn’t sure whether our office had a generator so on Monday I went off to Now Now Cafe and got a large coffee, some oatmeal for breakfast and a bottle of water and got up to the 4th floor in the elevator before the 8am load shedding kick off time. I couldn’t face a 4 flight hike laden with my bags and I also couldn’t face not having a coffee. I park .4km away from my office at the moment so I cannot stair climb after the walk, I would literally have a heart attack.

All of these electricity issues are related to the collapse of 6 generating units, allegedly their collapse is related to the ANC’s lack of maintenance of the infrastructure that the previous government had built. Other people have insinuated darker forces are at play as the collapse of so many units at once the day after Ramaphosa announced the uncoupling of the 3 main Eskom business units smacks of sabotage. Here is a good article by the BBC summarizing the entire fiasco.

Whatever the root cause, the resolution must not be underestimated. It will require external input and re-governance.

Land expropriation without compensation is also an issue. The constant flip flopping of the ANC direction on this issue is head spinning.

SARS (SA Revenue Service) is also in a shambles. The ANC has made such a mess of South Africa. Tom Moyane even had the nerve to try and stop his suspension. The ANC criminals and the Guptas have ripped the heart out of our assets and pocketed millions in exchange. It destroys my confidence in the future of this country.

There have been two recent house break ins in my immediate area and a few more nearby in Hout Bay. The crime has peaked again. Post Christmas shopping? At this point we would consider leaving SA but only if my children would too. In the meantime I’m here to be near my children and we just do our best to live our best lives.

The new project has been good, I’ve been told I have to work on their desktop computer due to data security risks but it’s so less powerful than my laptop and keeps bombing out when I’m trying to chow through large tables of Data Warehouse data. I’ve lost hours of work a few times now as everything just crashes.

One day after much frustration I decided I needed a walk and I strolled around the city for a bit. I crossed paths with the SAPS police on horseback. I just love seeing them cruising through the city looking so powerful.

Another day last week when I needed to get out of the office I treated myself to lunch nearby at Nuri Sushi Factory. I love it there. I had the Dr Cara’s low carb salad with steamed prawns, carrot and cucumber ribbons, avocado chunks, sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with Chinese mayonnaise.

It was delicious but was awkward to eat with chopsticks so I give it a 4 Kitten Star rating. If it was all in chunks rather than the curled noodles it would have been easier to manage.

Norm has been good about cooking this week but only from Wednesday as we had Xmas leftovers for most of our dinners at the start of the week.

Norm really spoiled me on Valentines Day. He made a lovely salad / side dish of boiled sliced pink beetroot, topped with goats cheese, on a bed of steamed spinach served with a pink fillet steak.

He made a white Lindt chocolate brûlée for dessert.

It was all so gorgeous.

He also gave me a lovely card and lilies, my favorite flowers.

I’m a lucky girl.

We exchanged the booking we had made to go to Beefcakes for NYE and couldn’t attend as we were in the States. Instead we booked to go to a burger and drag act night on Friday.

We arrived just after 7 and parked right outside the door. We were welcomed in by a bevy of good looking muscular bare chested men. Maybe they were wearing tank tops. My mind may be playing tricks on me.

Anyway.

We were taken to a table with tall stools. There was no way my back could cope with that so I asked to get moved and they put us in a charming little 50’s style booth with velvet seats. I was very happy.

We were surrounded by flamingos, gold lame and beautiful young men. I think we were the only people there who were neither gay nor out for a hen night!

I love drag artists. My IG feed is probably 1/3 hot bearded men with tattoos, 1/3 dogs, and 1/3 drag artists.

I’m a woman with varied interests.

Anyway. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri from our very sweet young waiter.

We ordered some nachos to share for starters. They were basically Doritos with thick cheese on top, very awkward to eat. The guacamole was not bad. I’ll give them 2 Kitten Stars.

Next time I will rather have chili poppers.

I had quite a few cocktails but Norm had one glass of wine then went onto water as he was driving. The way that the food works on this event is that you choose whether you want a beef, chicken or vegetarian burger and they bring a tray of toppings for you to add as you wish. There were 2 types of cheese, mushroom sauce, guacamole and chopped chilis to choose from.

The burgers were delicious. I used every one of the toppings. The patties had a lovely flavor and the meat was excellent quality. I think it was a kitke roll, but it was yummy whatever type of bread it was. I really enjoyed mine and I give it 5 Kitten Stars.

After we finished eating the acts came on. There were 2 artists. Vida Fan Tabisher and Samantha Knight were appearing and they were both absolutely brilliant.

Vida opened by teasing us with a leg and arm appearing cheekily from behind the curtain. She came out and serenaded us, but she was very in your face with her sense of humor, more of a bawdy style.

The second artist was Samantha Knight who was tall and muscular and lithe as the lithest thing you can think of. I googled her and found a video for you. Enjoy!

She came out in bright fur and stockings. She was dynamic. She had quite a few costume changes and looked amazing in whatever she was wearing.

Vida then did a funny routine where she criticized her ex and his small penis and I think her video starred her male self in it but I’m not positive. It was very funny.

Samantha did a sort of tribute to Freddy Mercury and she was so good, she is such a talented dancer with thighs to die for.

Samantha didn’t leave all the humor to Vida however, this skit was quite funny.

The finale was the waiters stripping off for our titillation.

I give the overall evening 5 Kitten Stars and recommend you book Beefcakes soon!

We headed home after I finished my drink and we got back to Hout Bay just before 11.

I had a lazy morning on Saturday recovering from all those cocktails. Norm was working and the animals snoozing so it was peaceful and luckily a bit cooler. Some of the days during the week it had gotten up to 40deg C! That’s feckin hot in Fahrenheit trust me. Ok it’s 104 F to be specific. We have no air conditioning at home so it makes it hard to sleep.

The rest of my weekend was somewhat more cultured than camp. If you can classify a musical as not camp and a wine sozzled day as cultured?

On Saturday we went to see Steven Sondheim’s Into The Woods at the allegedly newly renovated Theatre on The Bay.

We were running late and enroute we looked out and spotted whales in the bay! We only spotted them because they were blowing, the sprays from the blowholes are all you see sometimes. It was very exciting.

As is our preference we booked for the dinner and theatre package as it means you have a relaxing dinner timed around the production and you get parking as you are early. It can be a nightmare to park nearby as it’s all street parking and I have seen cars broken into that were parked too far from the theatre. Being by the beach there is nothing for miles when it’s hot. There is also housing tightly squashed in to the close.

Traffic was rammed so we parked down the road and walked around to the theatre. We went upstairs to the restaurant and were seated by the door so we could catch a bit of breeze and see a glimpse of the sea.

The restaurant has been redecorated and looks nice.

We ordered our food and settled in with a drink.

For my starter I had the tian of prawn and salmon.

Norm had the caprese salad.

I chose the beef short rib for my main.

It was quite nice but it was a wee bit dry.

Norm had the linefish, I think it was skipperjack.

He said it was excellent.

For dessert I had the chocolate fridge cake which was like a chocolate torte. It was very rich. I gave Norm half and took a bit of his ice cream.

I give the dinner 4 and the show 5 Kitten Stars.

I give the upstairs ladies loo only 1 star however. There are 3 cubicles, one was out of order and the second did not have a latch on the door and did not flush. The tap was broken on one of the sinks and the hand dryer had no oomph. It was not a pleasant experience at all. The queue was out the door for the downstairs ladies and maybe that one was renovated? I can’t say.

But we go for the shows not the decor. So, saying that, here is a little clip about the show.

I loved Zak Hendricks as both The Wolf / Cinderella’s Prince, and Kate Normington, the actress who played the witch but everyone in the cast was excellent. We had a great night. We got home after 11 and then Norm had a drink and we watched a bit of telly so headed off to sleep quite late.

On Sunday I went to lunch in Constantia with my friends Nicola

and Alison

We were seated outside under a brolly.

We went to one of my faves, Foxcroft.

Their current lunch offering is R495 pp and you get 2 tapas, 1 main course, 1 dessert.

Their online menu differs from the one we were offered so I cannot give details on some of the dishes.

I chose Yellowfin Tuna: 6-month kimchi, sesame, black vinegar for my 1st dish. It was so yummy. The tuna was so fresh.

For my second course I chose the mussels. I adored this dish. I liked that they used not only the mussel but the muscle that attached it to the shell.

For my main I had the Oak Valley Pork Belly: Pomme purée, apple mustard, walnut, cider jus. I’ve had it before and loved it and certainly wasn’t disappointed this time either.

For dessert I had the Strawberries: Compressed, semi-dried, verbena, bergamot. It was like a deconstructed strawberry shortcake and was delicious.

The food was amazing and I give it 5 Kitten Stars however the usually impeccable service was lacking yesterday. We had to wave down our waitress and had to top up our own water and wine. Our waitress was just nowhere to be seen for the majority of the day.

We had given Alison a lift to lunch and on our way home we stopped at her house for a drink and ended up staying for dinner and hanging out and chatting with the family. Unfortunately I wasn’t clever enough to stop drinking and I have been suffering all day today!

It was a very busy weekend but it was such fun and we had such a variety of events.

I’m a happy Kitten. A hungover Kitten, but a happy one.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

My Best Beloveds

This has been a week of highs and lows, excitements and stresses ending with a fun and busy weekend.

We tried to get back onto low carb eating from last Monday and we had a delicious high fat / low carb meal for dinner that night. Norm made pork chops, cauliflower mash, fried halloumi cheese, fried mushrooms and steamed baby broccoli.

Tuesday he cooked again and fried chicken breasts with onion and spinach, added in a container of cream, some spices and chicken stock and he served it over creamed sweet potatoes and with steamed asparagus to go with it. It was so delicious, similar to a cream pastry free pie.

Wednesday I met my friend Gillian for lunch at Nuri Sushi. I did not realise it when I made the decision where to meet but she does not eat sushi so luckily Nuri does prawn pops and ‘asian fries’ which are both divine so we had those. The prawn pops are like scampi in the UK.

The asian fries are sliced deep fried potatoes, like thick chips. They are really yummy.

That night Norm had a meeting so he stopped for take aways from Massimo’s on the way home and it was gorgeous as always but not banting as we both had schnitzel with mash and roast vegetables.

Thursday Norm made home made chili con carne and we topped it with cheese and sour cream. The beans are not low carb but the rest is and it was so delicious.

I started my new project with a new client a week ago on Friday but my first full day was this past Monday. I was panicking with insecurity at the beginning of the week as I always do, but by the end of the week I had my processes set up and was no longer worried. I am definitely challenged with the amount of work to be done but I think I can manage it. I was set up on SQL Developer but I have always used MS SQL so it took me a bit to get used to the different interface and language but I am going well now that I have my rhythm.

We also had crazy road diversions in the city all week because of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) so it made it just that little bit more stressful. Some of the roads I normally take were just randomly closed as I work right near Parliament. I panic when I get lost and there are a lot of one way streets so any changes from my routine get me off balance.

It has been really hot and windy this week and as it often does when we have that combo of chaos we had fires and this week we had several!

Regular readers may remember me telling you about the fire last year in the gorgeous Tintswalow Hotel, and on Tuesday there was yet another fire, this time in the main lodge.

Here is a link to some pics of the damage which the hotel posted on their Facebook page. It looks pretty bad.

On Thursday as well as the road congestion from SONA we had another fire on Camps Bay road near the Table Mountain cable car turn off. This was the second in one week in the same general area!

This fire meant all traffic was diverted around the mountain and my usual half hour drive turned into 2 hours of sitting in bumper to bumper non moving traffic.

I decided to amuse myself by taking photos and enjoying the beauty of the views.

I watched the choppers scooping up sea water to dump on the fires.

There was also a fire at Holy Cross school on Thursday. There was even a small fire in Hout Bay near the beach.

When I finally got home that night Norm and I had a swim. I was so grateful to have a pool.

I sat for ages with my feet in the water cooling off after my horrendous journey home.

On Friday it was hot already when I got into work and driving past the part of Table mountain where the fire had occurred the previous day, there were still fire engines in place and the area smelled like an ashtray, it was horrible.

Maybe that was why I was tempted by the peanut butter cronut from Now Now Cafe. It was worth every carbohydrate.

My playlist on Spotify that day was Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton, as I listened to it I thought about how much my Grandmother loved Hank Williams and still did not catch on to the fact it was her birthday, despite all of the obvious nudges she sent me. It was only later that evening when my cousin Warren messaged me to say it would have been Grandma’s 111th birthday that day if she was alive that I put two and two together and realised she had been contacting me to tell me hello.

Friday afternoon after work I went to the chiropractor and then was home before 5pm and Josh and Lily had already arrived at the house from Mossel Bay. We just had chinese take aways for dinner and Caitlin came over later and she had left over chili when she arrived.

We finally opened our Christmas presents. I got Lily and Josh some clothes from the US and they all fit perfectly. I got Lily a gift card for her birthday as that was what she wanted. I was not sure about Wes’s size and so I got him a shirt he could take back, it is just as well I did as it was too small.

Josh gave me a gorgeous wrap which will look lovely when drumming or even over a swimsuit. I wore it over my dress on Saturday for lunch. I wore it with turquoise jewelry. My hair is wet as it is so hot.

Wes game me a bottle of Vanilla spice amarula which was delicious.

On Friday evening the girls and I baked the chocolate cake and 2 pans of cornbread ready to prepare into the stuffing the following day.

On Saturday Lily and I got up and had a coffee then got busy cooking. I took puff pastry and filled it with chocolate chips and maltesers, snipped them shut, basted with melted butter to make them golden and popped them in the oven for our breakfast.

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Voila! #BelatedChristmas breakfast #breakfast

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That day we all pitched in and cooked with Lily and I first doing the icing for the cake, the cornbread stuffing and then later starting the veggies and the potatoes and putting the meats into the oven.

When Cait arrived she finished preparing what was left to be done and she and Wes cooked the veg and potatoes then Wes carved the hams.

We had so much food! We had 2 small hams cooked in pineapple, honey and coke. We baked a big chicken and surrounded it with mushrooms, basting it all with chicken stock as it cooked. Wes cooked some small pork chippolatas. We made cornbead stuffing, mashed potatoes as well as roast potatoes. I made a huge trough of gravy to go over it all. For veggies we had fried red cabbage, brussel sprouts, glazed carrots & broccoli casserole.

After lunch we went and lay by the pool to cool off and Lily braided my hair.

We lay around on cushions by the pool until we felt able to ingest more food and then we came inside and had chocolate cake and the vanilla Amarula on ice. As we had not been together for Lily’s birthday a few weeks ago we had a belated sing along.

We then all lay about on the settees like stuffed piggies and watched a bit of telly. It was so lovely to spend time with my girls, I wish Trevor and Amber had been able to come but hopefully we can pop down to visit them, I sent their gifts back with Lily. Hopefully they like them and they fit.

Today the sky has been a bit misty and it has cooled off a bit.

Josh and Lily were up and away about 11. Norm went to a triathlon for a bit but I have had a lazy day.

This week we finished binge watching Russian Doll which I really loved. It was very good.

Work has kept me on my toes and it will continue to do so for the next few months.

This week I have Valentines to look forward to, Norm is cooking and we are just staying in. On Friday we are going to Beefcakes to a drag show which should be a laugh. On Saturday we are going to Theatre on the Bay to see Into the Woods, a musical. We will have another very tiring weekend but you need to grab as much fun as you can out of life!

I hope you enjoy your week and wish a Happy Valentines Day to you.

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x