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

 

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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

Basic Rights for Humanity

Norman had a meeting in the city on Wednesday last week and so he came through to meet me and take me for lunch. There is a Kauai just behind my client’s offices and so we met there.

Norm had the Tropical chicken wrap for R59: free range chicken, pineapple, carrot, greens, with thai peanut dressing.

I had the Salsa Quesadilla wrap for R49: white cheddar, red pepper, salsa, jalapeno,
spring onion, coriander.

It was OK, I would have preferred it toasted longer to crisp it up and make it a bit more golden but it was acceptable. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.

Thursday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa and is historically linked with the date 21 March, 1960 and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights.

It was also World Water Day on Friday. This day is to highlight the importance of access to fresh water which is a basic human right. Many people would argue that access to electricity is also a basic human right.

The irony is that both of these precious commodities are scarce in South Africa.

South Africa is suffering from a drought across the majority of the country. Cape Town is no longer in a critical state but many other areas are still desperate for help.

On the flip side of that we have the recent cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi & Zimbabwe resulting in a large portion of areas in those countries being submerged by flood waters and causing hundreds of deaths.

 

Both sides of this coin are due to climate change.

The load shedding has continued with the electricity being turned off for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours in a 24 hour period across rotating areas of the country. There is not much you can do to amuse yourself in the dark. Well maybe if you are young and full of energy, but not when old and tired from working all day. Us oldies just want to watch Netflix and eat chocolate at night. Our goals are usually achievable with minimal effort.

Norm came up with the idea to play Scrabble during the evening’s load shedding.

He forgot that I am a word junky and I kicked his ass. However it kept us occupied and meant that we interacted rather than just grumpily staring at our phones or squinting at a book (I struggle to read even in the light these days).

The shambles around public transport in SA has continued unabated despite the efforts and successes by the new rail enforcement unit. Recent stats on their new unit’s work was that they have conducted about 588 stop-and-searches, 84 hot spots searched and fines to the value of R8300 were issued. What levels of success they have achieved in stopping the theft of the cables I have no idea.

The ANC-led government manifesto states that it will “invest in rail infrastructure to ensure it is safe, reliable and integrated with other modes of public transport. Rail must be the backbone of our public transport system” however the ANC has had the duty to deliver this promise for the last 25 years. Decades of mismanagement, corruption and a lack of care has directly led to the breakdown of South Africa’s rail system.

Since 2010, 3,642 have died and 15,634 people have been injured on our railways. Between 2015 and 2018, R213,744 million was paid out to victims while a total of R503,552 million has been lost due to vandalism and derailments. Behind the shocking statistics are truly horrifying stories of how the ANC and by extension Prasa has failed both their employees and the commuters.

You can read the full report from Thuli Madonsela who was the previous public protector here.

New trains have been promised to the long suffering commuters which have endured poor service, poorly maintained filthy and dangerous trains as well as risk of attack from arsonists and thieves. Many people lose their jobs due to the inability to get to work on time despite arriving at the station hours before they are due at work. Our train services are a nightmare as was witnessed directly by President Ramaphosa when he took a journey last week which resulted in the train being stuck for 3 hours.

This week a dummy of the new train design arrived in Cape Town. However until they deal with the cable theft and security issues it is just a bandage over a gaping and bleeding wound.

Sometimes I despair at the future of this country and sometimes I revel in the beauty around us and the wonderful people of South Africa. I bounce between these opposing dichotomies often.

For example, it was lovely having Thursday off of work for the public holiday however we spent most of it in the dark rather than doing whatever we wanted.

We decided on Thursday that rather than struggle with trying to prepare food without electricity to just indulge ourselves and eat out. We first went to Tasha’s in Constantia but there was a huge queue for a table so we walked across the car park to the other mall and went to Mugg and Bean. We got the last table there. I ordered my food and the waitress then told us that the fryer is not working due to the electricity shut down so I re-examined the menu and quickly choose the Rancheros Omelette, cheesy chili & M&B salsa-filled omelette topped with chorizo, fresh avocado, baby potato, charred corn & cherry tomatoes, drizzled with sriracha mayo & sour cream served on the side.

I did not read the ingredients that carefully as I was rushing to choose something that came without the elusive fries or hash-browns and did not notice that the omelette contained chorizo which I only like if it is sliced thin and fried til crispy, I also forgot about my stomach issues and the prospects of pain from eating chili. I do love chili but it is not my friend at the moment. I chucked the chorizo onto Norm’s plate. However I will not let my own shortcomings contaminate the rating of the food and I will give it a good 4 Kitten stars as it was very tasty, just spicy AF.

Norm had the California Omelette: omelette filled with cheddar, mozzarella & fresh basil. Loosely topped with fresh avocado, back bacon & Danish-style feta, drizzled with a basil pesto mayo & served with pan-fried rosemary cherry tomatoes. He enjoyed it.

After we finished eating we walked back across to the main building and had a wander around the shops. Norm needed to buy a data dongle as he is struggling to work without access to the WiFi during the power outages. We tried to buy another lantern but the shops were all sold out as expected.

We then headed back home and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.

Pixie has been so tolerant of her cone of shame and has even mastered being able to use the cone to scoop up her ball to get it into her mouth. She is a clever wee thing. She needs to have someone scratch her face for her though as she is unable to manage that.

Her little leg is all healed now and so we took the cone off of her yesterday and she is not chewing herself so I think she is A-OK now thank goodness. I love that little ball of fluff, and cannot bear the idea of her being in pain or unhappy.

On Thursday night we went out for dinner during the second period of electricity shut down and we chose to go to Papino’s in Hout Bay. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the owner brought out large silver candelabras for each of the tables which gave us enough light to see. I wanted something easy to manage in the dim light which was also not too spicy or heavy for my constantly sore tummy and so I chose the Flammenkuchen which is a German variation on a pizza. I had never eaten one at Papino’s but I have tried them at various German restaurants and had expected something similar to those thin and crispy styles, but this version was more like a tomato-less cheesy pizza. It was good but it was a bit heavy and salty for my tastes. I do love Papino’s pizza bases though and next time will stick to a traditional pizza.

Norm chose his favourite dish from Papino’s, the Hollandse Beifstuk which is a pan fried steak with a brandy butter mushroom sauce. He was told in advance that they were not serving any starch dishes so it came only with the vegetables.

Apologies for the standard of my pics but they were taken by candlelight so please cut me some slack. The electricity came back on just as we were leaving so we were able to pay our bill and we headed home to enjoy some rare TV time and relax before bed as I had work the next day.

On Friday the load shedding was from 6pm to 8pm and so Norm nipped out to get us take aways for dinner and I chose to have sushi from K1. They do a 2 for 1 special for the same ‘colour plates’ as their dishes are classified by plate colour. I chose the prawn salad which was minimal prawn, chopped cucumber and avocado and topped with sesame seeds.  The other dish in this bracket was the salmon sashimi. It was nice and fresh but cut a bit thick for my liking. I also had cucumber prawn roses & salmon roses as my other 2 dishes. It was R129 for all 4 dishes and I was pleased with my choices but probably will not order the prawn salad again.

On Saturday I had plans to meet my friends Bronwyn and Melody for breakfast at 10 am at Hout Bay Manor. I arrived first and the waiter sat me in a shady spot by the fountain.

I tried to take a group selfy of the 3 of us once the ladies arrived but I failed miserably. I did get Bronwyn and Mel in it though!

I ordered the El Pixo for R75: sweetcorn fritters made with feta, chili & spring onions, served with slices of avocado, streaky bacon, 2 poached eggs, grilled baby tomatoes, fresh coriander, chili, olive oil, lemon zest & a wedge of lemon. I asked for soft eggs and crispy bacon and the chef delivered on both points. It was delicious but I forgot I am supposed to be avoiding chili and ended up suffering a bit after and trying to drown the burn in gallons of water. However I cannot blame the venue for my stomach issues and I give this dish 5 Kitten stars as it was delicious.

The girls both ordered the Dippy Eggs and Buttered Soldiers for R65: 2 soft boiled eggs, 2 slices of buttered toast, blanched asparagus with hollandaise & tarragon, sea salt & black pepper.

They asked that the chef make sure that the eggs were soft as you cannot dip your soldiers into hard eggs. The food arrived but the eggs were too hard and both orders were sent back. The second time was much better.

We stayed so long that we ended up ordering cake and another round of coffees. Bronwyn had the orange cake and I had the chocolate cake which was rich and divine.

Our ‘breakfast’ ended up lasting until 4pm! We had not even noticed how long we were there as we were chatting up a storm. It was all so effortless to communicate with these ladies, there were no awkward silences or talking over each other, the conversation all just flowed smoothly. I love these ladies, I feel like I do not have to put up defenses or false pretenses, I can just be me. That is not something that happens often in Cape Town, there are a lot of false and superficial women who only care about what car you drive, where you live, what gym you attend, how much money your husband makes and where you get your botox injections. I make my own money and do not inject that shite into my body so it can make small talk with some women quite challenging as what matters to them quite often matters not at all to me. It is so refreshing to find women whose views are more aligned to mine despite the vast differences in where and how we were raised.

Bron and Mel shared with me what it was like growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era, something which many of us westerners cannot even begin to comprehend, especially those of us who are white. Friends and families were torn apart due to the Immorality Act. Whites were not allowed to have a relationship with anyone who was not also white. Non-whites were not allowed to go into restaurants or public spaces, even onto the beaches. People of colour were not allowed into any ‘white’ residential areas unless they had a ‘Pass’ which gave them permission to enter an area due to their employment.  The girls told me about the police driving around in large vehicles called a Casspir or a Black Maria. The police would search for non-whites and arrest any who did not have a pass authorising them to be there and would throw them in the back of the van. Unfortunately this mentality has remained with some white people in SA, they phone the police as soon as they see a person of colour walking along the road minding his own business. It can take generations for the damages of the past to heal.

However the current ANC government is doing little to better the lives of the people who were damaged so badly by the apartheid government. Corruption is rife and I see so little progress in creating better living conditions for most people.

I had a conversation with Caitlin last week after I gave an African man on the street some coins. She said to me ‘he will just spend it on drink’ and I said she should not be so quick to judge someone based purely on their physical appearance. He was shaking and yes that could be from DTs due to needing a drink, it could also be due to Parkinson’s or other neurological condition. There is no way to know that without having a conversation with him. Even if he does have a drinking problem, we have no idea what demons he may be living with which drive him to use drink to numb his pain or trauma. He was an elderly man and so he would have been victim to the atrocities of apartheid and we cannot imagine what damage or abuse he may have been subjected to. We may all be just one trauma away from a similar state of poverty ourselves. If I lost my job I am but a few months salary away from financial trouble. I am lucky to have a house, but there is no guarantee I would be able to sell that house in a timely manner to support my lack of income. We do at least have pensions and some savings, however minimal. Some people do not even know where their next meal is coming from. I do not pretend to be able to understand the challenges the poor have to endure.

I am not suggesting that we are obligated to give money to everyone we encounter who extend their hands, there are so many desperate and needy people in South Africa that it would be an impossible goal. I limit the money I give to the elderly or to women as I know that they often suffer the most indignities and are the most vulnerable.

After our hours of chat at the manor, setting the world to rights and discussing our retirement options we realised the time and we wandered off home to our husbands. It was a very hot day but it was lovely in the shade by the pool at the manor. I found a cool corner in my house and relaxed as Norm was busy working.

Later that night we had load shedding again and so we decided to go to Massimo’s for dinner. We managed to nab the last table outside on the balcony.

I had a lovely view of both my darling hubby and an amazing pink sky as the sun was setting.

I wanted to avoid anything acidic or spicy. I chose the Granchio pasta dish: real flaked white crab meat, prawns, mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. The chili is so minuscule that it cause me no harm. It was light and creamy and the prawns were beautifully cooked. This is my favourite of their pasta dishes. It gets 5 Kitten Stars.

Norm chose a dish from their specials menu, the Pork and Beef Meatloaf for R135. It was meatloaf topped with a creamy mushroom sauce, served with oven roasted potatoes and seasonal veg. I was impressed they managed to conjure up potatoes as none of the other restaurants have had a back up plan for potatoes as even with a generator the fryers use too much electricity. This dish looked yummy. I love the roast veg that Massimo’s serves as it always includes roast beetroot.

Today we are having a lazy day, Norm made us a late brunch of eggs, preservative free Richard Bosman bacon and avocado. We will go for dinner at the pub later on.

I have an appointment to go to a gastroenterologist on Tuesday about my stomach pains. I am really struggling to cope, the occasional heartburn is now pretty much constant and the added dull ache has me a bit worried. I wanted to wait til after my current client contract ended but it has been extended a month so I cannot wait any longer, particularly if I do have an ulcer as I suspect I may have. Wish me luck please!

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Hellos, Goodbyes & All That Jazz

Due to safety risks I did not want to mention it in my last blog but Norm was away last week for 3 days and as per usual, everything went haywire. Even Facebook and Instagram crashed! I mentioned in my last blog about the lock jamming in our security gate resulting in us being locked in upstairs and that was the first thing to go wrong but he was still here to resolve that. He ended up using a bicycle chain to lock the gate shut. Quite innovative really as I would have just said to hell with it and left it open.

I also mentioned the dramas with the electricity knocking out the downstairs WiFi and trying to resolve that after much poking about. I spent one night with no telly and much frustration.

The one thing I did not mention was that Pixie had developed a hot spot on her back leg. It was on her inner leg and within a matter of 48 hours she had gnawed it raw to the point that it was bleeding and very gooey and starting to go septic. She would not eat and was so lethargic that she worried me so. Pixie loves food and if she is not eating then you know she is very ill indeed. As I had to come home early due to the issues with the dog sitter and the alarm I decided to take her down to the vet on Thursday afternoon. The vet noticed that she had little patches of eczema all over her body and she said I had to leave Pixie behind so that they could sedate her and shave and treat her wounds. I was already so worried about her that this set me over the edge and it took all of my self control to not start sobbing. I did have leaky eyes and the vet was comforting me and telling me that Pixie would be fine. I felt a right wuss.

I went back home for a bit and soon after I got home Norm arrived back from the airport. He settled in a bit but then it was time to go back and collect Pixie. The vet said that they had to keep giving her more meds as she kept waking up, the little crack head. Eventually they managed to shave her and give her a dose of anti-inflammatory meds, cortisone and antibiotics. They also put on a cone to stop her chewing her leg.

After we collected Pixie from the vet Norm drove me over to Constantia to my friend Gerri’s house. She was moving out of her house and we were having a drum session to say goodbye to the land and the ancestors of the land. I cannot see to drive at night so Norm was kind enough to take me there.

We dug a hole in the spot where the lodge used to be and we put the prayer ties from the lodge into the hole and we burned them. We gave some tobacco to the ancestors and thanked them for all of the beautiful ceremonies we have had at her home. It was at Gerri’s home that I had my first sweat lodge in South Africa and where I started to learn about my Native American roots and to start to follow the red road so I felt very emotional.

We sang the Cherokee morning prayer song We n’ de ya ho to each of the directions.

Gerri prayed and said thank you to the spirits, the trees, the ancestors and the beings who all supported the teachings and learnings that have happened at Eagle Owl Lodge. When she called in the spirits and the ancestors the wind picked up and starting blowing a gale. The birds started flying around overhead.

We then all settled around the communal drum and sang our hearts out and drummed with great enthusiasm. While we were drumming an owl came and settled in the tree overhead and hooted along with us. The hadedas flew over and raised their voices in unison with us. A load of frogs started chirping along with us too. As we were smack dab in the middle of a housing estate this was quite magical. I could feel the energy of the beings showing support and making their presence known. I could feel the love of the land surrounding us.

We were oblivious to the dramas going on inside the house as one of the neighbours came over and just walked into the house and started going insane and calling us satanists and all sorts of vitriolic poison. Norm had unfortunately arrived in the midst of her craziness and when she was asked to leave the house she started attacking Norm and taking photographs of him and the car and when he asked her to stop she called him a Glaswegian Git. A) He is not Glaswegian and B) he is not a git! She is crazy AF. Nevermind, she will not have us there to harass any longer.

We did not let it spoil our night however, I left on a high, despite the sadness of knowing I will never go back to that house where I learned so much, I know it is time to move on. I always absorb so much energy and positivity from drumming and singing our prayer songs.

I have started praying on my knees, I have always had bouts of praying but never on a consistent basis and since I started following the red road I try to give gratitude regularly but I had never really knelt to do so. I met a really lovely woman a while back at Gerri’s and she said to me that I needed to get on my knees and since then it has been niggling at the back of my mind and I have finally started to do so. If I forget to kneel and pray before I leave in the morning for work I pray on the drive in and listen to NA music to try and keep me centred and to put me into a calm state. It really does work.

On Friday it was 32 degrees and it was so hot walking from the office to my car after work. I worked late to try and make up some of the hours I had lost dealing with Pixie and when I left my office the town was chocka with young people. There was a global student protest about climate change and many of the student must have been hanging around afterwards. Here is a link to a video of the Cape Town protest but it was all over the world.

As it was so hot Norm popped down to get us sushi for dinner from K1 sushi. They have a buy one get one free offer so all of this loveliness was only R123! That is $8.50 USD. I had salmon roses, prawn roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura. Can you guess that I like prawns?

Friday night we had load shedding and it continued all through the weekend, occurring 4 separate times on Saturday. Load shedding is to protect the stability of the national power grid during times of severe strain. When Eskom is unable to meet the nation’s demand for energy it implements power rationing – load shedding – which reduces the load on the grid by cutting electricity to suburbs, towns and villages. In this way, Eskom is able to manually reduce demand to match its capacity. It is not too bad when it is in the day time as you can amuse yourself doing things, but when it happens in the evening you have to wait for it to finish in order to go to bed or you are likely to be woken when the lights all come back on. It went off at 4am and I woke up dripping with sweat as the fan was off. It was so tiring being woken all night by this nonsense. We were at Stage 4 of load shedding all weekend but it has dropped back to Stage 2 at the moment. We are due to be without power tonight from 8pm to 10.30pm which of course is right when we are usually getting ready for bed. It is exhausting remembering to prepare for it and trying to function.

Eskom has said that one of the reasons why it has been so intense this week is due to cyclone Idai in Mozambique and Zimbabwe knocking out the supply there which we are dependent on.

However insiders say that it is due to a number of issues, mainly poor maintenance of the infrastructure.

Whatever the reasons, it is a pain in the arse to deal with.

On Saturday morning I had plans to meet my friend Bronwyn for coffee at Hout Bay Manor but it was closed for a wedding so we had to quickly regroup and we decided to go to Delish instead as we could sit outside there. We had coffee and scones.

We chatted for hours and realised that we have so much in common and I decided we are basically twins. I had been told by several people before we met that we looked alike and had the same mannerisms and even communicated the same and when we talked we realised it is so true. I left feeling so relaxed and yet energised as you do when you really connect with someone. Women need female energy in their lives and I had been missing that. I hope we manage to spend more time hanging out as I think it would be good for both of us.

Bronwyn had a lunch date with her family and so we headed off just after midday. Norm and I were taking Caitlin and Wes to Hoghouse Brewery for dinner that evening.

We collected them and drove over to Ndabeni arriving for 6:30. We were seated upstairs.

We were warned that they were due for load shedding at 8 so we quickly made our choices and ordered. You order the food for the whole table and share it.

We ordered 100g of Korean burnt ends and 100g of normal burnt ends. These are the ends of a beef brisket which go a bit burned. We also had 300g of pulled pork.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 200g of beef brisket and 200g of pork belly.

For our sides we had big fat chips, onion rings and mushroom arancini. The fellas had the chorizo scotch eggs. It was quite a spread!

I finished it off with a pasteis de nata, I adore these little gems.

We literally waddled out of there with big fat bellies, the food there is so divine. There was nothing that we had that was not tasty and delicious. It was nice to be able to hang out with Caitlin and Wes, they are such a lovely couple. Wes is a really nice lad and I am glad Cait is with him, they are very well suited.

There was a famous rugby player called Siya Kolisi also there. He is a huge bloke and very handsome.

I felt sorry for him as everyone wanted to take a pic with him and he just wanted to hang out with his adorable son. He was very polite to his fans however.

We left before load shedding kicked in and dropped the kids at Caitlin’s flat then headed home. It was a restless night with the power going on and off. I was a bit groggy when I woke on Sunday and I had a lazy morning. Norm made us bacon and eggs for brunch and then Caitlin came to collect me at 4pm as we were going to see the musical Chicago which was on at the Artscape. Caitlin had won a competition on CapeTownetc and she invited me to attend with her.

We went to the city and drove down Kloof Nek looking for a restaurant with easy parking as the show started at 6pm so we did not have much time to mess around. We saw parking outside of Van Hunks and so we grabbed it and went in. They sat us outside on the balcony and we had a nice mountain view.

But when the wind was blowing in a certain direction it reeked of urine. There are many homeless people in that area and that area is also a bit of a party place so I assume the street is used as a urinal by the masses. Charming.

We asked to move and were put on the other side of the veranda where we were much happier.

We were even happier when we saw that there were two for the price of one burgers and we ordered the Parmesan crusted chicken breast burgers with chips and onion rings.

We finished our dinner and headed off to the theatre. Parking was a bit of a mission and we had to race up to collect the tickets, get a bottle of water and have a wee. We made it just in time to our seats only a few minutes before the curtain came up.

It was a brilliant production and we really enjoyed ourselves. It was nice to have a weekend full of female company and time with family.

When we got home it was load shedding and so Norm and I stayed up until the lights came back on but then it was so late when we got into bed and I was really tired today. However the positive energy I gained from drumming and the time with people I enjoy bolstered me up and kept me buoyant. Pixie went for her check up at the vet who says she is doing really well and that has also helped.

I hope the load shedding settles down soon as life is enough of a challenge without that. Thursday is a public holiday so it will be nice to have that day off. I do not have any annual leave left or I would also take off Friday but I am grateful for the one day I will have to relax.

I hope you all have a great week surrounded by happiness and love. That is what makes the world go round after all.

Until then, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x.

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

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

Sizzling

There was a fire last Friday night and we could smell the smoke from our house so intensely that I checked social media to see if it was nearby but it was miles away in Grabouw. When I woke up on Saturday the whole valley was covered in smoke and the horses across the valley were whinnying which I assume was due to being agitated by the smoke.

We read that this fire had been contained and was under control but then on Sunday evening we started smelling smoke again.

We read on social media that there was a new fire on Kloof Nek and Signal Hill which had spread across to Sea Point. It was dark but we could see from our balcony that there were thick clouds of smoke rising over the back of Table Mountain. The pics we saw were horrific.

When I drove in on Monday morning I could see the mountain was still smoldering and the choppers were busy dousing the flames.

These ongoing fires are worse than I have ever experienced since I have lived in SA. It seems too coincidental that they are occurring in an election year. There have been rumours for years that the ANC party are trying to make the Western Cape ungovernable and to challenge our resources to the point of collapse in an attempt to shift the voters from the DA to the ANC.

Several people were on twitter claiming that the ancestors were punishing the white home owners by the fire on Signal Hill.

We had a tragedy this week where 4 children were killed when a walkway collapsed. The Black First Land First (BLF) spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp has come out in support of a comment by Facebook user Siyanda Gumede, in which he said he “doesn’t have a heart to feel pain” for the three children who died after the tragic collapse of a walkway at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark, who he assumed to be white. This political party has been accused of hate speech over their comments on many occasions. The BLF seem to hate all white people and want us all out of South Africa.

The EFF party also want the white people to leave South Africa and think that any land or property we own should be taken from us. Their leader Julius Malema has said that we must be happy that the EFF have not called for white genocide.

The EFF have also had claims of hate speech levied about their abuse of journalists, predominately women journalists.

Bheki Cele who is our Police Minister had objected to the appeal for additional police officers being allocated to the Western Cape. The Western Cape Equality Court estimated that the Western Cape is 4,500 officers short of the amount needed to police the province. In December, the court found that the system being used to allocate police resourcing was unfairly discriminating against poor and black people in the Western Cape. The provincial police-to-population ratio was one officer for every 509 residents and in Cape Town it was even worse – 1:560. This had to be corrected so that crime-fighting capacity in the province could get close to the national average of 1:375, so that crime could effectively be addressed.

The fact that Cele is one of the ANC’s disciples just feeds into that theory that the treatment of the Western Cape is deliberately subversive.

The newly implemented Rail Enforcement Unit has been somewhat successful in their arrests of a few of the culprits who are committing crimes on the railways. The  stats I can find are that thirteen arrests were made by the end of 2018: for assault, possession of drugs and stolen property, theft and fraud. It is just a shame that there had to be millions worth of damages done and many injuries and a death to trigger any results to happen.

There were more arrests made in 2019 for cable theft. In January the police arrested five suspects allegedly involved in cable theft in Rondebosch.

Regardless, it is still not a safe environment to travel on the trains in the Western Cape. It is not safe to venture into many of the areas in Cape Town due to gang violence and lack of police presence. It is not always safe just to walk around being white. I have had verbal abuse when walking in the city being told to ‘go home’ or ‘get out’. It can be very intimidating.

Norm was called out to attend a break in very near our home on Friday night. The family were violently attacked when 5 African men walked into their home carrying axes. The security beams were off and the back door was open due to the intense heat. There was a delivery driver arriving to drop off food or cigarettes and he was also attacked. There were several children there who witnessed this all. I hope the family and their visitors get over this trauma. I hope the smaller children do not even realise what was going on and therefore won’t have too much residual trauma.

There will most likely not be any arrests made and if so they most likely will not make it to court or a conviction.

There have still been no arrests for the train arson attacks. A whopping 214 trains were burnt in suspected arson attacks in South Africa in the past three years, with 174 of them torched in the Western Cape.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande’s response to a parliamentary question revealed that most cases of arson took place in 2016 when 69 coaches were burnt, compared to 65 in 2018 and 41 in 2017.

The Western Cape accounted for 56 of the 65 coaches burnt in 2018, with eight incidents taking place in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

All of these problem areas are under the ownership of the National government, the ANC, so I am a bit confused why they think that non-delivery in these areas will impact on people’s votes?

But then again as a westerner there are many things I do not understand about South Africa.

We have chosen to make our home here and so we just get on with life.  I can only hope that we can find a way for us all to live in peace and harmony.

I started a new project with a client on Friday. This is the 3rd project I have done for this client since 2010. I am documenting the metadata for their data warehouse. It seems like it will be interesting.

It has been a busy week and we have not been eating that healthy so we are going to get back to banting from tomorrow.

I tried the quail’s eggs my friend gave me and boiled them and added them to a chinese slaw salad I picked up from woolies and some tuna.

Norm did cook one night and made baked pork fillet with mushrooms, corn on the cob and gem squash and it was very yummy.

We ended up having take aways a few nights however so our balance of healthy vs unhealthy was off.

Last night we met our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe at Hoghouse Brewing Company.

We took an uber so that Norm could have a few drinks.

One thing that I struggle with at this venue is drinks. I know it is a brewery but I do not drink beer. I tried their cider but it was just OK, I did not really enjoy it. I ended up drinking water. I go there purely for the food. We ordered food to share for the table, we ordered lots of meat as you do at a BBQ joint.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 300g of pulled pork, 300g of burnt ends and 300g of pork belly.

The boys ordered the chorizo scotch eggs, Chloe ordered some nachos, Mel ordered the eggplant parmiagiana and we ordered chips, onion rings, chili poppers and wild mushroom arancini.

For dessert I had a pasteis de nata, Chloe had a vanilla milkshake and Mel and Steve had sorbet.

I found that  few of the dishes had changed since we were last there. The burnt ends were quite fatty, next time I would choose the beef brisket in the hopes it was less fatty. I did not try the pork belly but there was a gorgeous crackling and it looked nice. I loved the pulled pork. In fact next time I may just order that only it was so good. We had a lovely evening catching up with our friends and eating like piggies.

Today Norm and I are having a pajama day. I have been fasting with only hot water with lemon until lunch time to clear my digestion. I have tidied my clothes and have been writing. Norm is going to make us a high fat low carb lunch of eggs, bacon and avocado. I know that I will feel better once we get back to reducing our sugar intake. It makes a huge difference to my digestion and my arthritis symptoms. We will derail temporarily next weekend as the girls are coming up for our belated Christmas lunch. I look forward to that! Seeing my girls, not the banting derailing.

I have also booked a few events to look forward to, I booked to go to the theatre to see Into the Woods. It is playing at The Theatre on the Bay which is our fave venue and we have booked the dinner and show option which is usually lovely. I booked a lunch at Foxcroft with some girl friends. I love that restaurant.

Today we woke to some cool weather and it has rained quite a bit which hopefully will dampen some of the ongoing fires we have been having.

I am very grateful for the rain.

I wish you all a happy week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0