Soul Mates

When you are twenty, twenty years seems like a life time. I guess that is because it is. Even when you are old AF twenty years seems like a life time. Hence my surprise every time mine and Norman’s anniversary rolls around and I add up the duration of our years together. (Much like my age, I have to add it up every time, but at least I remember the YEAR I was born, unlike the year we got married which tends to be elusive to my memory.)

Twenty one years! We have certainly had a lot of fun (and a lot of fancy dress parties).

I have had past life regression and know that we have been married in past lives as well, and know that Norm is my soul partner. I have been very lucky to have even found him considering that I grew up in Georgia and he grew up in Scotland, but it was meant to be that we met. We met in Johannesburg South Africa after my first marriage ended. We were introduced by a common friend and when we met we recognised each other. Call it crazy but we were meant to be.

Saying that, we are both rubbish at remembering dates and the only reason I realised that the 5th of July was our anniversary was that the posts from our 20th anniversary safari trip last year came up as a memory on Facebook.

This year will be a bit less dramatic than our wonderful safari trip, we just booked to go for dinner at Foxcroft in Constantia this year. I love this restaurant, the food and service is always outstanding.

We booked for 7pm and arrived a bit early for a change.

We ordered a bottle of Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc from a nearby vineyard and settled in to peruse the menu.

Norm had promised to keep his beard until after our anniversary because I love it but it drives him mad as it is itchy.

The server brought some gorgeous olive ciabatta and some sort of fancy butter. It was so nice and was very charmingly presented.

We were given menus which offered a choice of 2 tapas, 1 main and 1 dessert course for R495 per person.

I chose the Tuna Tataki as one of my tapas dishes. It was described as ‘Seared Tuna Tataki: Chipotle, avocado, cucumber and rice puffs’. It comes with a wee vial of sauce / oil which you drizzle over. This was a gorgeous taste combination.

Tuna tataki

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Norm started with the Sunchoke Mille Feuille which did not photograph well as it was flat, covered in a thick dusting of cocoa powder and was served on a black plate. However he really loved this dish and raved about it all night. It was described as ‘pickled mushroom, naartjie, hazelnut, burnt onion’. A naartjie is a local nectarine type fruit. The funny thing is there is no mention of artichoke in the description, yet apparently that was the main ingredient and we discovered that a sunchoke is a Jerusalem artichoke. Nevermind. Now we are educated on our artichoke varieties.

I have to confess to not being very adventurous overall in my choices as I had 2 pork dishes. I love their pork. Norm and I both had the ‘Free-range pork collar: Gochujang, white cabbage, sweet potato, kimchi’ for our second tapas choice. The lighting was a bit dark so apologies for the quality of the pic but you get the gist. This was a very tasty dish.

For my main I chose the Pork again, this time it was billed as ‘Oak Valley Pork: Butternut, sage, spiced apple and pecans’. The pork belly was very tender and the flavours were divine.

Norm had the linefish as he wanted to experience as many varieties of tastes as possible. The fish of the day was Angelfish. It was described as ‘Yakiniku Linefish: Aubergine, sweetcorn, chicory, puffed rice, nori’. He said this was a very nice dish, tasty and well cooked.

For dessert I chose the ‘Toasted Carrot Cake: Pecan ice cream, carrot ganache, cream cheese espuma’. It was very tasty and yummy. Of course I bit that crispy pastry tube without noticing it was chock full of the foamy espuma mixture which of course ejected out of the end of the pastry shell but luckily landed on my plate as opposed to my boobs where most things usually land.

Norm chose the ‘Mango, Chocolate, Madras: mango jelly, 55% itakuja, passionfruit and madras curry’. This did not appeal to me at all but Norm loved this dish.

After dessert they bring little treats of sweets to the table to have with your coffee but we avoided coffee as it was late. They specialise in macarons. The other little blocky was a coconutty yummy thing. Dunno. It was almond flavoured. Other than that I have no clue what it was but it was delicious.

We had a lovely night out together and counted the many blessings we have had and reminisced about the wonderful things we have experienced in our lives together. It has been an exciting adventure.

Josh has come back to stay with us for a few more weeks as his project in Simonstown has picked up pace again.

Norm has been great about cooking for us. On Monday he cooked a gorgeous pork fillet roast, spinach and roasted root vegetables. I ate it in front of the fire with Pixie drooling at my feet.

On Tuesday night he made chicken sausages, mashed sweet potatoes with chicken gravy and home made coleslaw. (He burns my sausages because I like them like that.)

Then on Wednesday night he made a rich, beefy, tomatoey sauce and served it with roast butternut and a delicious cheesy potato bake.

It is so lovely to have yummy leftovers for lunch at work each day, or else my options are to go out in the winter chill and rain to forage for food or settle for a crappy toasted cheese.

I mentioned the ongoing taxi wars in South Africa in my last blog. We keep receiving mixed messages in the media, that the battle has been resolved and then we hear of yet more shootings, injuries or deaths. Five more people were shot in Pretoria on Thursday.

We had another fire in Hout Bay on Monday. After the fire they discovered the body  of a 6 month old baby in one of the 15 shacks that burned. The news is not clear about whether the baby was at home alone or whether the mother & father were home during the fire or why the baby did not get rescued. It is such a tragedy, RIP to this beautiful baby girl. My only hope is that she died while sleeping and did not wake. Heartbreaking.

I left work early today as I went back to the doctor. My cold symptoms have just not gone away and I am coughing constantly and my throat is so sore. He has given me a list of things to do, salt water up my nostrils to cleanse my sinuses, nose drops and something to dry me up to stop the coughing so that I can sleep. He says there is no infection just inflammation.

We had a quiet night in last night, we ordered pizza and just chilled out with a big fire.

We woke up this morning and headed out. Before I went to my drumming session Norm and I popped over to Constantia to Mugg & Bean.

I had the M&B Classic with poached eggs, bacon, tomato, a hash brown, chips and toast.

Norman had the All American breakfast with scrambled egg, bacon, tomato, beans, sausage, chips and toast. I find it funny they call it the All American. I never had beans for brekkie in the USA but it is a constant item for a British fry up.

I was supposed to drum and sing at a Spirit Dance today but it was cancelled as we did not have enough dancers booked. I would say it is because of the dubious weather we have been having but today was stunning! As the dance was cancelled we had a rehearsal at Owl Lodge in Constantia. There were lots of us attending as it was a good bye party for Jesse and Neo who are off to Europe indefinitely. I will miss them both, they have such great energy in our drumming sessions and Jesse is the drum master.

Here is a pic of all of us after the last Spirit Dance.

We have tentatively rescheduled the dance for September when the weather might be more reliable.

Tonight Caitlin is popping round for dinner which will be lovely. The rest of the weekend will be spent relaxing. I hope you enjoy the rest of yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxo

 

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Take Me To Church

This has been a very expensive last week of the month as we had to replace our WiFi router, our fridge water filter and a few other random items. We also ran out of electricity so had to top that up. All relatively small things which added up. As a result we have been on a very tight budget for the last few weeks.

I have to ask does everyone who has a fridge with a built in water dispenser in the door know that you have to change the filters? If not, prepare yourself as they are bloody expensive! But in the long run it is cheaper than buying bottled water and it is better for the environment to not be disposing of all of those bottles, so I guess that it is the best of the possible evils of water consumption.

To try and keep our expenditures down, Norm did a small shop last week and he cooked for us several nights.

He grilled fillet steak and halloumi cheese and served it with stir fried vegetables and mushrooms fried in butter on Monday.

I made a big pot of chilli con carne when I got home on Tuesday and we left it overnight to let the flavors develop. For that night’s dinner Norm made chicken sausage, mashed sweet potato and gravy with steamed veggies. It was really cold outside and it was a yummy homely meal which we ate in front of the fire.

On Tuesday night we had my chilli over nacho chips. We topped it with grated cheddar cheese and a big dollop of fromage frais.

The next night I boiled some rice and we had the last of the chilli with rice, cheese and fromage frais.

I love chilli con carne so I was happy!

On Friday we dusted off the credit card for burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway. I have my limits, I prefer to not cook on a Friday if I have been working that week.

On Saturday Norm was at a conference and Josh was out all day at the track. I had an early appointment to take Pixie to the doggy Chiro in Noordhoek.

It was raining on and off on the journey across the mountain and it was really dreary out. The wind was howling.

I came back home starving & freezing cold.

We had bare cupboards but we had some bread in the freezer so I took out two pieces to thaw while I made a big fire to warm up the house. Once the fire was on the go I went to sort something to eat.

I had a couple of eggs in the fridge so I beat them til smooth and dipped the thawed slices of bread into the eggs and then fried the eggy bread in butter.

I topped the French toast with a bit of honey and cinnamon and it was delicious.

I snuggled up in front of the fire and played games on my iPad while waiting for the house to warm up.

Eventually all 5 animals were clustered round me. Panda was not impressed that Pixie was in my lap as he thinks that is his exclusive territory.

Norm got home about 4.30 in the afternoon and he quickly took the dogs out for a walk as the intermittent downpours had stopped for a bit.

I put together a few bits from the fridge and freezer for mine and Norm’s dinner while he was out with the dogs. I chopped a large carrot, a baby red cabbage, a Birdseye chili, an onion and some spices and fried them in coconut oil. Once the veg was cooked I chucked in some left over rice and made a stir fried rice type of concoction. I baked some breaded prawns which I had in the freezer from Woolies. I made a sweet & sour sauce and drizzled it over the prawns. We had a bit of left over salad from our take away on Friday which we added to our bounty. Put all together it was very tasty even if it did not look so amazing.

I love the challenge of creating a meal when ‘we have no food’.

Sunday morning I had to be at drumming at 10am so I was up and out and off to Constantia. There was a massive roadblock going out of our village with many police stopping and searching cars and checking for paperwork. Luckily I did not get stopped as I was really late. I assumed they were stopping the taxis to check their documentation and road worthiness (road worthiness is not a concept they have in South Africa, you see cars on the road which appear to be held together with bubble gum and glue and about every 5th car does not have both headlights functioning, some have none.)

At drumming we had a great turn out in attendance and we sang our entire repertoire from our song list and my voice was a bit croaky afterwards. We are drumming for a dance in a few weeks and needed the practice. It was lovely seeing everyone. I always feel so in touch with the universe after singing our prayer songs, I feel it is my church, my place of worship.

After I came home I collected Norm and we went off to Hout Bay village for something to eat and to do a shop. We popped into the German restaurant Zur Holzbucht. The England game was on but it was quiet, but they had all of the doors open and it was freezing!

To cope with the cold we both ordered the Pork Goulash which was on special.

The waiter brought a huge bowl of steaming goulash to me and said, “Enjoy”.

Norm and I looked at each other a bit confused and said “But we both ordered this dish” and the waiter said that was the last portion.

How odd! Why did he not say that when we ordered? Now we each had to eat on our own and we had to wait for them to cook Norm’s food.

Norm chose the frikkadels with spatzle and slaw. A frikkadel is a meatball for those who do not know. Spatzle is a sort of home made noodle. He said his lunch was very nice. I could only eat half of mine and he had the rest the next day for his lunch. Waste not, starve not. He enjoyed it too, it was really rich and delicious.

As it was so cold there we finished our lunch and headed off to the shops. We bought enough food for 3 meals, each of which would also provide me and Norm with lunch the day after.

On Sunday evening we had a ready made roast chicken that we bought that afternoon and Norm made cole slaw to go with it. As we had a big lunch we just needed a few nibbles that evening and that did us just fine. I made a chicken and cole slaw sandwich for my lunch on Monday too.

When I got to work on Monday I received a message from Norm asking if I was safe and telling me that Hout Bay Police held an operation early that morning to arrest a wanted man in Imizamo Yethu (the township next to our house). The 28 year old suspect resisted arrest and tried to stab the police officers and the police fired 2 warning shots. The suspect has been charged for 4 robbery cases, possession of ammunition & a dangerous weapon as well as resisting arrest.

Apparently I drove right through the midst of this shootout as it occurred near the graveyard by my house the same time that I was on the way to work. I was oblivious! However when I drove in on Tuesday there were loads of vans and police cars near the township entrance so I wondered if there was another raid or police operation in place. Then I read on social media that from Sunday, 24 May to Tuesday, 26 of May from 05:00 daily taxi operations were conducted in the Hout Bay area. Members of the Wynberg Cluster, Hout Bay SAPS, Law Enforcement and Metro Police held several vehicle check points where more than 100 vehicles were checked. A total of 459 Traffic fines to the value of more than R100 000 were issued.

However when we read reports about the city scrapping R854million in traffic fines you wonder why they bother.

On Monday evening when I got home Norm was heading out to assist with directing traffic as a large truck had broken down on the side of the Main road into the village. He was away for hours and so I built a big fire and started dinner. I put some chicken breasts in a pan, chopped up a pepper and some mushrooms and made some chicken stock. I mixed the chicken stock with some coconut milk and covered the chicken and vegetables and baked it. To go with it I steamed some gem squash and stir fried some baby spinach and roasted some butternut in coconut oil. I added a bit of the sauce from the chicken into the gem squash.

It was all rather delicious if I say so myself. It also gave me and Norm enough leftovers for our lunches on Tuesday.

We had also bought some minced beef as that is great for stretching for a few meals. The plan was that Norm would cook the mince during the day and then we just had to sort the veggies but the electricity was off in our neighbourhood for the entire day so he went to a cafe to work and our best laid plans were derailed.

Instead when I got home I started dinner and then when Norm got home he took over. We fried a whole chopped onion, a carrot and a red pepper with the rest of the mushrooms left over from the previous night. Once they were browned we removed from the pan and fried the mince. Then we added in some spices, a tin of beans, tomato paste and a container of beef stock. We just let it condense down while I roasted some chopped butternut and sweet potato in coconut oil. To give a bit of green we sauteed the remainder of the baby spinach from the previous night.

It was very tasty and nutritious.

Later that night it started raining a bit and this morning I woke to torrential rainfall. When I left home the roads from my house to the coast road were all flooded with deep rivers of flowing water. As it is pitch black at 6:30am and we have no street lights over most of our village it was so hazardous. Visibility was very poor as it was raining down in sheets. I was so worried my car would flood. There was little traffic at that time as the school kids are off on holiday this week so luckily I could drive on the other side of the road to avoid most of the flooding without risking a head on collision.

But do not get me wrong, we are thrilled with the rain! We desperately need it, however all of the construction in our area has destroyed the natural paths of rainfall off of the mountain and the scarcity of rain has meant that the ground is very dry and the rain just scoots overland and pools into the roads, taking dirt and debris with it. Tomorrow the roads will be full of sand, dirt and rocks.

Today Patricia De Lille, our Mayor of Cape Town is in court. Her party are desperate to get her out of office. There have been ongoing claims of misuse of funds, collusion with criminals and negligence of her duties. The way that the drought has been handled has been incredibly ham-fisted and blundering. We hear that she is involved with the darker elements of our village and that payments have been made to the elders & illegal slumlords to allow her to subvert the planning regulations. She cares not for the law, she is a mini dictator. I do hope that they manage to remove her or the DA has no chance to maintain their hold in the Western Cape in the next elections. Patricia is like an abusive husband, unwilling to let his victim escape from his grasp, preferring to see his victim decimated than to survive without being under his domination and control.

And we all know how I feel about abusive relationships, especially when my beloved Mother City is the one being victimised.

I will update you on the outcome on my next blog. Until then, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0

Baby Daddy

The World Cup has kicked off and our office has been bitten by the fever. We were designated teams and so the office has allowed each team to decorate their section with the team colours.

My section got England.

My British colleague brought in a flag for us.

Last week flew by as work is quite busy. I was keen on a weekend of relaxation.

Lucky for me Norm cooked most of the week and kept us on track with low carb eating.

He made a gorgeous bolognaise and served it over low carb spinach noodles the first night. He made roast veggies to go with it.

The next night he made the rest of the sauce into a low carb lasagna. He used zucchini instead of pasta sheets. It was delicious.

On Friday night Norm and I were watching telly and chilling out in front of the fire. Lola was cuddling with me.

Then we heard over the neighbourhood watch radio that there was a fire at Clay Cafe which is just up the road from our house. We dashed upstairs to look from the balcony and we could see huge flames leaping above the trees several miles away. We heard continuous explosions but were not sure what was exploding.

Next day we saw on social media a post about the damage that had been done by the fires and explosions.

This is the venue where we went for my last birthday to paint plates. You can see everyone’s pottery shattered in bits strewn across the lawns. I love this venue and I do hope that they get back in full operation soon. I am just glad that no one was injured in the fire.

On Saturday we did not have to be up and out so Norm and I had a slow morning drinking coffee in bed then eventually made our way downstairs to make brunch. I made some ‘flapjacks’ from Banting on the Go. I had thought from the pic that a flapjack in South Africa was just a pancake in American-speak.

FYI: It is not. It is more like a crumpet so I had to add tons of milk but they were still quite stodgy.

Norm made scrambled cheesy eggs and bacon to go with it all. I used a tiny bit of honey to sweeten my ‘flapjack_wannabe_pancakes’. In the end it was all really tasty and set us up for the rest of the day.

Not that we did much of anything. It was really cold and rainy on and off all week. We are so grateful for the rain. Hopefully this pushes day zero even further away, except now we read that it was all somewhat of a farce!

I was chatting to my Mom on the weekend and when I told her we had received a lot of rain she said ‘does that mean you can wash your hair more than once a week?’ She knows all about Day Zero and what it could mean for us residents to have our taps turned off. I thought that really sums up the way my mother thinks. Quite frankly, I don’t give AF how my hair looks!

Anyway.

Later on Saturday evening Norm and I decided to get a take away from Indian Oven.

We ordered our usual order, I had the prawn curry, we shared saag aloo and some spinach bhajis. We usually love their food but the last two visits the prawns have not been nice. They taste like they just thawed out some frozen prawns from Woolies and chucked them into the sauce. Their prawns used to be de-shelled and tasted like they were quickly fried and then added. There is a difference in both texture and shape. They are now not very nice at all. I could not finish them.

I won’t order that dish again, I will have to find an alternative as this is the only decent Indian food venue in Hout Bay. The rest of the food was nice, the spinach bahjis were a bit doughy but edible. The saag aloo is always yum.

My daughters Lily and Caitlin were both down in Cape Town for their friend Jess’s hen weekend and on Sunday we were surprised when my daughter in law Amber and Caitlin both popped in to take Norm out for Father’s Day brunch. We did not know that Amber was in town so it was a lovely surprise to see her. Her newly cut and coloured hair is so cute! It makes her eyes look so blue.

Caitlin had booked us into a local Hout Bay favourite, La Cuccina.

Norm and I like it here and often pop in for breakfast or lunch. It is a lovely open and airy venue.

I ordered the Sweetcorn Fritters Breakfast for R75:
Sweetcorn fritters with two poached eggs, oven roasted plum tomatoes and crispy streaky bacon, topped with homemade tomato chilli jam.

It was delicious but the fritters were a wee bit soft for my liking. The bacon was crispy and the eggs soft however and it was all very tasty. The chilli jam adds a nice tinge of sweet spicyness.

Norm ordered the Full Breakfast at R85. It consisted of two eggs, crispy streaky bacon, beef sausage, mushroom, roasted plum tomato and two slices of toast.

It was so lovely to see the girls. Caitlin has been so busy lately we have not seen her very often and Amber has been working away at sea a lot and we had not seen her in 6 months. Amber had not seen Caitlin’s new flat or met her kittens so she was going to stay over another night in Cape Town with Caitlin.

After we finished I could not resist a cheeky piece of Lemon Meringue Cake. It is a lemon cheesecake topped with meringue. It was delicious but I could only manage half and I took the rest home for afternoon tea.

The girls were struggling a bit from their weekend of drinking and partying and they headed off to Caitlin’s place after brunch.

I love that my kids make an effort to celebrate Norman on Father’s Day. He has been such a wonderful supportive step-dad to them and I am so happy that they recognise that. I am so blessed to have this kind, wonderful man in my life. It doesn’t hurt that he is sexy and has that Scottish accent.

For the rest of the day Norm and I had a lazy afternoon. Norm was surrounded by his pack of Pomeranians.

❤️

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We built a roaring fire and settled in for some Netflix binging.

Snuggly Sundays ❤️🔥❤️

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When we were at La Cuccina we decided to pick up a couple of their ready meals to just chuck in the oven for that evening’s dinner. We chose the Vegan sweet potato cottage pie and the Vegetarian aubergine, spinach and butternut bake. We topped both with cheese and baked for half an hour. They were both really tasty and we will definitely try these again.

That night in the middle of the night Norm and I were woken by a bang. When I say ‘woken’, I am only partially correct as I do not remember anything. Norm says I sat up and we had a long conversation but I don’t remember it. We have a set of 3 paintings which hang above our bed and one of these fell off in the night and crashed onto the bed with a bang.

The next morning when Norm mentioned it happening I immediately thought of my father since it happened on Father’s Day and my Dad has sent me messages like this before on other days of significance such as his birthday.

I know that I am being watched over by both my father and my maternal grandmother. It makes me feel protected and very grateful.

Our spirits never die, they simply transform from one form to another.

We repeat various patterns until we resolve our character defects, but even that condition is temporary. Some of us take longer than others to resolve those issues. We often rub up against the same souls ad infinitum until we finally resolve that particular soul contract we have been dancing around for many incarnations.

I spoke to yet another friend this week who is a survivor of domestic abuse. This type of relationship is inconceivable to anyone who hasn’t been involved in one. Abusers, like many serial killers, have an incredibly high level of charisma. They are able to turn on the friendly, charming part of their personality and make a woman feel like she is incredibly special and well loved. They often pick lonely women who have been on their own for a while and are almost desperately lonely. They choose their victims. After building the woman up for several months they slowly start to tear them down, bit by bit, chipping away at her confidence and often her sanity. He will exhibit violence or intense anger, then try and make the woman think it is her that is either the cause, or that she is overreacting or ‘hysterical’. The violence escalates, the woman often living in such terror and insecurity that she feels she deserves no better or that she is the reason for the anger.

Even mental abusers follow the same patterns, first making the woman feel he cannot survive without her, that she is amazing and he adores her. Then the little misogynistic jibes start, talking down the gender and then targeting her specifically. Denigrating her intelligence or capabilities and making her feel less than in order to make him feel superior. I almost think emotional abuse is harder to recognize. When they thump you the bruises are visible, when they use words to destroy you it can be harder to identify and women are culturally indoctrinated to believe what men say, they are superior aren’t they? It takes a switched on woman to recognize these behaviors. It takes a strong one to realize it is better to be alone than with half a man.

It is a long psychological game that positions the woman to be willing to allow her boundaries to be pushed or even violated.

It is something that will make or break you. It almost broke me, but I realized that only I had the power to make better choices. That I deserve to be happy and respected.

That I am a Fucking Goddess TYVM.

If I don’t believe it, then no one else will, right?

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Exploding Kittens & Birthday Celebrations

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

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

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

Crispy chili beef and noodles

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

Our drumming circle ❤️

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The pic is from Aurelie from Voice The Change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That also led to a lot of hilarity.

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

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

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

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

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

I am such a Happy Kitten.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My baby girl and I ❤️ #daughters #love #family

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

We had a lovely evening and a lot of laughs.

How funny is the photo bomb dude in the background?

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

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

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

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

These are little balls of heaven.

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

He also loved his milkshake luckily!

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

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

Salmon Poke Bowl @bayharbourmarket ❤️

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

Oh my gawd they were amazing.

I regret nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Sunday we went to the stunning Constantia Glen vineyard.

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

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

Norm had the Caprese Flammkuchen.

Caprese Flammkuchen @constantiaglen

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I had the charcuterie and cheese platter.

Cheese and Charcuterie platter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norm had the lemon meringue with coconut sorbet.

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

Mandela photo exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

Calamari and fish cakes

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

Norm had the cheesecake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Path of Persistence

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of my own tasks as well as those which Norman  is usually responsible for and so far the house is still standing and all 5 animals are still alive.

Some of them are coping better than others.

Navajo is still hopping about on 3 legs and his ankle is still so swollen.

I am spraying arnica on it twice a day. It does not hurt him but it is cold and it smells funny so at first he scooted off in the opposite direction whenever he saw the bottle. I praised him and gave him so much love each time I treated him that he eventually started to stick his leg out and wait for the spray as he knew it would be followed with lots of attention. He was on anti-inflammatory meds every evening which I mixed into his mince. Norm tried every means possible to hide it, wrapping it in a block of cheese, in a sausage, in a ball of mince, he tried everything. I just grind it up and mix into the mince and he is eating it but the meds are now finished and I need to get him back to the vet but I can’t take him myself as I am in the city all day on a new project and cannot take time to get back to Hout Bay in business hours.

We gave Navajo a few days rest without walking, he was a bit overexcited about life (poor cats) but I think he needed to take it easy. He is struggling with getting up the stairs. He has no problem going down, he lifts that back leg and flies down the stairs. He is struggling a bit with weeing, he prefers lifting the ‘good leg’ and of course when he tries he wobbles about and then remembers and rights himself. Bless him.

He is a clever boy. The other day I heard Pixie snuffling about under the stairs and I managed to crawl in there with her to discover both of her balls lined up in a neat little row just outside of her reach. She has a little smushed up Pomeranian face and not much of a snout, whereas Navajo has a really long nose. He deliberately puts her toys there and sits back and watches her repeatedly trying to get to them, knowing she cannot reach them with her wee mouth. He has a strong streak of sadism.

Maybe he is paying Pixie back for annoying him. She can be a right little pain in the butt. She has this ‘trick’ where she goes outside at the back just when we are getting ready to go up to bed. She can get in and out of the house via her doggy door but once I lock up she cannot get upstairs to join all of us as she cannot navigate the security gate as she is too chubby to get through the bars. Navajo will not settle at night if one of his pack is missing so I have to go out and try and entice her back inside. If she decides to be awkward then I have to put off all of the alarms, unlock all of the locks to get out the back, traverse the dog poop and other surprises lying around in the dark while shoe less and fetch her. So when she did it this week I said to her ‘come in Pixie’ and then opened the treat cupboard to feed the cats. She then thought I was getting a treat to bribe her in and popped in through the doggy door with a look of expectation. Navajo had come down to assist me (aka get under my feet and make it twice as difficult) and I turned and said to them both in a very gruff voice ‘Naughty children GET UPSTAIRS NOW!!’ and they both turned and ran upstairs as if being pursued by a monster, feet scrambling against the tiles until they got traction. They knew they were being naughty and they were like cheeky children flying up those stairs. It was all I could do not to laugh.

The other doggy drama has been with the neighbour across the road who has several huge dogs. She cannot manage them all on leads while walking them on her own and so she takes them down to the road reserve off lead. This would be fine if they were disciplined. They are not. Twice this week I have had these massive dogs attacking my dogs while mine are in their own garden. They fight through the gate so only their snouts can make contact but this can be enough. When I lived in Los Angeles I had a little American Eskimo dog named Teka and while walking her one evening she had sniffed under a gate and the dog on the other side managed to get hold of her lip and tore it badly leading to a bad cut and a ton of blood.

I lost my cool a bit on Thursday when I got home and the dogs all started fighting for the second time that week and I saw the owner just watching from across the road rather than trying to restrain her dog. I have now told her that I will pepper spray the dogs if they attack my dogs while in their own garden. I hate to do that but I must protect my dogs.

It is a family joke that we always have some major catastrophe when Norm goes away and this trip I have been forced to be Mrs McGyver. The first issue was the garage door which cannot be opened when the electricity is off. Mzudumo and Cordelia were both at the house working that day when the power tripped. Luckily Mzudumo has experienced this before with the dodgy SA electrical supply and he managed to override the electric motor and open the door manually. However he did not fix it back so when I got home I could not open the garage and had to go through the house and open it manually but then I could not figure out how to get it back onto opening by the remote. Norm phoned and talked me through it and I sorted it out.

Next the ice maker in the fridge blocked up due to the electricity being off. This is also something Norm usually sorts out but I managed to chisel out the blockage and get it operational again.

I also have been plodding my way through some of the items on Norm’s honey-do list. I had been given a gorgeous bird feeder a few Christmases ago and I recently found it in a cupboard and when Caitlin and I went for lunch yesterday I bought some dried worms at Earthworx and hung it up. I can see it from my kitchen window and hopefully it will draw some interesting birds.

I have a plant which has needed to be tied to a stick to support it for ages and so I dug around in the garage and found a stick which I hammered into the ground and tied up the plant. So far it is still standing! This one long stem had grown so long and was so top heavy it was just lying on the ground. I could not bear to just chop it off in order to get it to fill out a bit as it had lots of blooms. I will cut it all back at some stage but I thought this was a good interim solution.

Josh has been a godsend as he has fixed the garage motor which kept shorting out every time we tried to open it, the landing light which tripped and various other things.

He drove all the way to House and Home to collect the headboard we ordered weeks ago but it was still not in stock! This is now twice we have driven to the shop to collect it after being told to do so, the first time it was damaged when Norm arrived and she said come back the following Tuesday to collect a new one. Unfortunately Josh was sick and could not go on Tuesday and it took over a week until he was well enough to make it through. He popped in last Thursday only to be told it was still not in stock. The reason we chose this particular head board was because the original salesman told us it WAS in stock. They have now said they will deliver it when it is finally in stock but had no date when that will be. Shockingly bad customer service.

Welcome to Africa. Not much is terribly efficient here.

Last Sunday I had my friends Caroline and Helen over for lunch.

We have all worked together on various projects over the years and we are all geeky girls who adore our animals. We talked data, dogs and cats mostly!

My dogs were barking like lunatics as there were lots of kids out in the street playing. Pixie was so annoying that I shouted ‘OK Pixie, that is enough I am getting my gun’, to which Caroline says ‘bloody Americans, I bet she goes through loads of Pomeranians.’

I laughed so much.

We have a water gun which we use to keep the Poms in check as they really detest getting wet. Pixie especially hates water and as soon as she sees the gun she has a Pavlovian type response and starts shaking the water off of her before it even hits her. It does not phase Navajo as he loves water and tries to catch the stream in his mouth.

That day I had gotten up early and tidied the house and then went to Spar to get some things to serve for lunch. I got croissants for Josh and I to have for a late breakfast. They have divine ones. I over heated them a bit, they were not so brown when I bought them but I prefer them with the chocolate melted.

For lunch I picked up loads of bits and pieces. I bought a roast chicken, some cold meats, some cheeses and fresh bread.

I made a cheese platter and used my lovely Carrol Boyes serving items.

I served salads and various ‘picky things’ which was all perfect fare for a warm sunny day. We have vowed to make this a regular event with the three of us meeting up more frequently.

Wednesday it started to storm in the early evening and the thunder and lightening were rather majestic.

Cape Lightning #storm #CapeTown #lightning

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Our dogs are not bothered by loud noises or the bright flashes of lightening but the dogs at the guest house next door are and they started barking as soon as the thunder started and they were still barking the following morning when I woke up. I think the dogs are left on their own most of the time and so no one is there to calm them when they get upset and they get upset over every noise. A siren sets them off howling like coyotes for hours.

Thursday was my last day at UCT and I had to leave at lunch time to go to the American Consulate to get my passport renewed. It was very sad to leave UCT I have been really happy working there it is a great team.

I had to get a new photo made for my passport and the American passport has a lot of rules. You are not allowed to wear glasses, you cannot smile, you have to put your hair behind your ears so that your ear lobes show and you cannot wear earrings. The US passport pics are also a different size than most other countries require. Add all of these requirements up and top them with some very unflattering down lighting, dirty hair and the inability to NOT smile when facing a camera and you end up with this clusterfeck of chaos. The photographer kept saying ‘don’t smile, look grumpy’ and so caught me pinching my smiley lips together.

I look like a criminal. I am now stuck with this photo for the next 10 years. My last passport was before the new rules and it was quite flattering.

Oh well.

After the photo I went to the Red Gallery Cafe for a quick bite of lunch before my appointment at the Consulate. I sat outside despite the gloomy weather and I ordered the chicken stir fry.

It was a massive portion and was nicely flavoured. There was so much left over I had the rest that night for my tea.

We have a 4 day weekend with two days off of work for Easter holidays.

Yesterday was Good Friday and Caitlin collected me and we went out for lunch. It has been raining for a few days now on and off and we had planned to go down to the harbour and have lunch and walk along the slipway but the weather was not being very cooperative. Caitlin wanted to buy a protea and so we decided to go to Earthworx Garden World as they have a sweet little cafe there where we could still wrap up warm and sit outside but be protected from the weather.

We both ordered the Chicken Pie and salad.

After we ate we wandered around and bought a few bits and pieces. I got a new type of succulent which I do not have, some potting soil and a new pot, I got the worms for my feeder, some stuff you put in the mellow yellow toilets to reduce the wee smell and some spray to try and stop the dogs peeing on the patio. We have a lot of pee related issues.

Caitlin came back and played with the pups for a bit and pottered around with me in the garden then headed home late afternoon. I just made myself a pizza with some left over mozzarella and the last of the salami from the previous weekend. It wasn’t fancy but it filled a gap.

Today is the Two Oceans Marathon which results in one of the roads out of Hout Bay being shut as it is actually the race route. I can see the choppers overhead following the runners.

#OMTOM2018 #choppers #houtbay

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I can also hear the voices over the tannoy cheering on the runners.

Sounds of #omtom2018

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I have the marathon playing live in the background on the telly as I write and I can hear it outside as well. I love seeing the beautiful images of Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The rain and clouds have cleared and it is a gorgeous day. I am going to pop a gammon in the oven and do some gardening today. My new succulent will be split into two plants and re-potted.

The drought has resulted in me changing the plants which have not survived without water and replacing them with succulents. You can literally just throw a leaf from a succulent into a bit of dirt and it grows. Amazing.

I am trying to get plenty of rest this weekend as I start a new client and project on Tuesday. It will be a rather intense project and I am feeling a bit stressed about it from both a logistical point of view as well as worrying about the level of intensity of the project. I am meeting a colleague on Monday afternoon to prep for the next day.

Luckily I have a friend staying with me to help with managing the dogs and the staff and everything else around the house. Like most things we just have to keep chipping away at it all until we get it done.

I am nothing if not persistent.

Enjoy your weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Wild West

Do you ever feel like your life is running away and that you are desperately trying to keep up? I am very much feeling like that at the moment. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities I have.

Work, life and everything else has me feeling like I am not at all in control and as a self confessed control freak that unsettles me.

Luckily Norm and I had a relatively calm weekend. On Friday we just wanted a quiet night in so Norm popped out for fish and chips for me and Josh from the local chippy, The Catch. Norm ate chicken and salad from Spiro’s instead. Norm could eat from Spiro’s every night if we let him. I do love Spiro’s but I fancied a nice bit of battered hake and mushy peas and I was not disappointed. One needs a bit of variety. A girl cannot live on chicken souvlaki and salad alone.

I had started watching a documentary called Wild Wild Country one day when I was home on my own. I picked it randomly as it sounded like something Norm would not find interesting. I had never heard of Bagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Osho as he came to be called so I had no clue what I was in for.

Wow. I loved this series so much!!

The documentary used various clips from decades old films or videos to narrate and slowly roll out all of the past information about the heyday of the movement. The Bhagwan’s attorney was former top Los Angeles defense lawyer, Philip J. Toelkes. Philip went by the name Swami Prem Niren when he was living and working with the Bagwan and he was interviewed recently and this interview was used to provide a lot of the story. He seemed a bit melancholy, like he is either still mourning the loss of Osho or as if he is still struggling with the break up of the communal Rajneeshpuram ashram life style that they all led. It did seem rather heavenly. Sheela claimed that there were no drug addicts or alcoholics living there but what she really meant was that the environment was restricted from these items so was drug and alcohol free predominately, but they could have a beer with their dinner. The addicts and alcoholics were there they were just content with their life and did not feel the need to exercise those addictive behaviours. Maybe they became sex addicts? That is a joke btw.

I found the relationship between Osho and Ma Anand Sheela in particular rather fascinating and I am still unconvinced which of them was the instigator for the criminal activities they ended up getting prosecuted for. I don’t want to say too much as I want you to watch it with the same sense of wonder that I did. I will talk a wee bit about Osho and his methodologies and philosophies however.

According to the Bagwan “every human being is a Buddha with the capacity for enlightenment, capable of unconditional love and of responding rather than reacting to life, although the ego usually prevents this, identifying with social conditioning and creating false needs and conflicts and an illusory sense of identity that is nothing but a barrier of dreams.”

To me this is simply mindfulness. I interpreted this as saying that our thoughts create our own prisons and mental conflicts. If we simply lived in the present moment without viewing life through the filters of societal expectations and ‘norms’ then we would be much happier.

It is probably no surprise to hear that the Bagwan was called the ‘Sex Guru’ by some people. For a ‘holy’ person he was rather unconventional in his views about sex. He believed in the pursuit of pleasure and that sexuality was something not to be ashamed of, that any interaction between mutually consenting adults should not be taboo. He felt that love should be treated as sacred and fully enjoyed as a beautiful experience not a sinful task we should rush through.

There was much controversy surrounding the Bagwan and the “neo-sannyasins” or  “sannyasins” as his followers were sometimes called. There were some unconventional therapies practiced in the ashram.

He had “active meditation” techniques which were characterised by stages of physical activity leading to silence. The most famous of these remains Dynamic Meditation, which is a bit of a compressed summary of his various approaches.

The 5 stages are described here on this website, I am not going to bother to reinterpret rather let it come from the Osho’s mouth so to speak.

Whatever you have to say about his techniques, the followers all seemed deliriously happy in the old footage. Maybe it was all the sex but I suspect it was just the freedom of being able to be their true selves with no judgement. I sort of likened it to being almost childlike in the carefree aura they all seemed to have before things went a bit awry.

I don’t want to say more, but I will give Wild Wild Country a full on 5 Kitten Stars.

Last Saturday we met Caitlin for brunch at Martins Bakery. Martins is owned by Caitlin’s fella Wesley’s aunt and uncle.

I feel like I seldom see Caitlin now that she has moved out as we are both so busy. I don’t like to just pop in when I am out as she is a grown woman, I do not want to poke myself into her day uninvited. Norm and I were a bit late as we forgot that we were going to Caitlin’s flat after brunch to help her with bits and pieces and so we needed to pack some tools. We arrived a few minutes late and Caitlin walked over from her flat as she lives just literally across the road. Caitlin and I both had the eggs benedict.

Norm had the omelette with bacon, cheese and mushrooms.

They were all perfectly cooked. We had so many errands so we did not buy anything to take home, but they have delicious banting chicken pies.

We went over to Caitlin’s flat and Norm helped her hang up her clocks and paintings and helped her with various bits and pieces. It was fun to see her silly kittens again, they are so full of adorable nonsense.

On Tuesday we had a wee visitor in the form of a spider. It was rather large. I was watching telly and saw this movement out of the corner of my eye and saw this large furry dude shooting down the side of the fireplace and he then took off under the telly. We had a houseful of animals as usual so Norm tried to catch the spider. Don’t you love how Blue just does not give AF? He is such a funny cat.

He succeeded and took Mr Spider outside and popped him into the bushes. He is much safer out than in with our bunch.

Look who came in? And went right back out….. #spider #rainspider 🕸🕷

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Sunday we had a lazy day. Norm popped down to the shops and made a lovely dinner for us of baked chicken, roast vegetables and corn on the cob.

Monday and Tuesday were busy at work as I am wrapping up my project for handover at month end. We had a client workshop to walk-through some of our reports. All went well with minimum change so we are on track for the end of the month.

Tuesday night Norm was out at a business dinner so Josh and I used OrderIn to order a curry. I did not think it was up to their usual standard and in the middle of the night Josh woke up violently ill. He is still ill and the doctor has put him on a bag full of meds as he had food poisoning. Bless. I made him chicken soup and I had chilli con carne that I made yesterday.

Wednesday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa so we had the day off. Human Rights Day commemorates the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on March 21, 1960, when 69 people were killed during a protest against pass laws. Pass laws were implemented during apartheid as a way to restrict the movements of Africans.

We had a lazy morning and then Norm took me for lunch at Deli Delish. I love this venue it is always sunny and bright and I adore all of the pillows in this section where we usually sit. They are very welcoming to doggies out on the patio as well,  this is where we take the pups on the rare occasion that we venture out with all 3 of them.

We settled in with a big coffee and ordered some food.

I had the smashed avo on seed bread topped with a poached egg and I ordered some bacon to go with it.

#Brunch

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Wednesday was also the day I dropped Norm at the airport. He is flying to Atlanta to help my mother get her house sorted out to go on the market. My mother is a hoarder. Not a nasty ‘you can never have too many cats’ sorta hoarder, more of a ‘one can never have too many black cashmere sweaters’ sorta hoarder. She has 4 walk in closets rammed absolutely full of her clothing. (Aka 4,721 black cashmere sweaters and 2,488 pairs of black loafers at last count.) She also used to make china dolls so she has a room full of those and so much other bits and pieces of various ‘collections’ she has.

I drove him to the airport and he flew off to Johannesburg, then onto London and then onto Atlanta where my mom is collecting him. He is so sweet to go through all of that to fly over to help her, I have no paid time off left and cannot afford to be without pay.

Before the house sells she has stuff to go to auction, some bits to give to charity and there are a few items I want to come here if possible. My grandmother’s old armchair and tea set, my dad’s old wooden boxed phonograph are all things I want to ship over and as long as the cost is not too exorbitant we will do so. Mom has bought a new built single story small bungalow in north Georgia much nearer to our family. She does not really have anyone who can be relied on to help her quickly down in Atlanta, I will be so much more relieved to have her nearer her brothers and my cousins.

I have arranged lunch on Sunday with some friends I have not seen in ages and I am really looking forward to that. Next week is also a 4 day week with Friday being the start of Easter, then the following is also a 4 day week due to Easter Monday. It is lovely to have three 4 day weeks in a row. However I do wonder what percentage of people in South Africa are actually Christian? I do not celebrate Easter as I am not Christian. We often have a family lunch of some sort but there is no religious ceremony involved. Yet most of the country get the day off as well as a 4 day weekend. Is that the norm around the world or is the paid Christian holiday a leftover from the previous colonialism and apartheid inflicted on the country and its indigenous residents?

Maybe I think too much. I will just celebrate the paid days off from work and not look that gift in the mouth.

I hope you all have a Fabulous Friday sort of day tomorrow and a great weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox