You send me right round the Peninsula

This week has been full of both fun and stress, ironically both primarily related to work. We are now running three work streams at the client: Data Reconciliation of the migrated data to the staging area, a Data Quality Assessment of the HR source data and a Data Governance audit. I am involved in all 3 for one thing or another. I do the project management, the mentoring, the reviews of any deliverable and testing of the outputs produced by the developer. For the Data Quality work stream I am the only analyst and I am documenting the data rules, the data mapping and managing the client liaisons to determine the requirements. Phase 1 is due to go live on Monday and then I will have a lot of documentation to prepare for the data recon of that phase. It seems I need about 12 hours a day to be on track. The mentoring I am doing on the Data Governance work stream is taking up about half of my day and causing me challenges with delivering my own work, so I am very behind.

On Thursday we only had a half day in the office as we had our work year end function at Cape Point Vineyards. We started out doing a wine tasting.

We had a stunning view from our tasting table.

We tried 4 different wines: a Sauvignon Blanc, both a wooded and an un-wooded Chardonnay and a red. I do not drink red so I did not note what sort of red it was. I preferred the Sauvignon Blanc, but that is what I usually drink so no surprises there! You can order their delicious wines online via their website.

It was lovely seeing some of my colleagues that are based at different locations. Tamarin is our office manager and she is such a sweet and helpful young lady. Norm said she looked like my sister, but he is too kind, she does however look a lot like she could be my daughter!

I sat by Guy whom I have not seen in ages. I really like him as well, he is a very clever man and is ever so patient when you ask him questions. We had a lot of giggles, he said he missed my irreverent sense of humour.

Next we moved down to the picnic area and they brought our picnic baskets to us. They were for two people to share and contained 2 of each of these items.

I thought the food was perfect for the situation. It was tasty and easy to eat. The ciabatta was soft and delicious and went well with all of the bits and pieces, the tomato compote, the cheese and the charcutery. My least favourite was the vegetable quiche.

I did not take a pic of the actual basket so I knicked this one online. It contains different items than our basket but it gives you an idea of the presentation. The food comes in a proper old school wicker basket which contains 2 racks of food, you pop them out onto the table to share. I was starving and my basket companion eats like a bird so it worked out great!

The views are amazing, you can see across the lake to the sea.

From the other angle you can see the lake, the mountains and the sea.

We all mingled and caught up with everyone’s latest news and the various projects they are involved with.

I had traveled there with my colleague Darren and he booked a Home Heroes driver to come and collect his car and drive us back. Two drivers come to you and one drives your car back with you in it while the other one follows to collect the driver once you are dropped off at home. Our driver looked like Nelson Mandela right down to the freckles. We had to pay for both cars to come back through the toll road on Chapman’s Peak and we managed to scrape up R100 to get through only to have one of the notes rejected as it was Jersey currency. Oops, we managed to find R10 in coins to get us through.

Norm came to collect me at Darren’s house and when I arrived home I could not find my keys. As I was rather tipsy I was in a panic as I thought I must have left them at the vineyards which is a schlep to get to. Darren would not answer his phone so Norm went around and knocked the door. Luckily Darren found them in between my seat and the center panel between the seats. Phew. Drunk Kitten strikes again.

It was such a fun day and I really enjoyed it but I was suffering a bit on Friday at work. I wanted to leave early as I was so hungover but I had to help a colleague and so I had to stay late again.

We had a bit of drama this week when one evening we were chilling out and Blue brought in an entire bird nest complete with a tiny baby bird which looked like it had recently hatched. We only realised it when we heard the gruesome sound of him eating the baby. It had no feathers and it’s eyes were still shut so it could not even make a sound of distress. I wanted to choke him and refused to speak to him for several days. I know he was just doing what nature dictates but it made me sad.

Regarding our own dietary habits, we are hardly vegan so maybe I am a hypocrite. We have tried to stay low carb this week but again failed miserably. It started out well, I made a chicken curry in the crock pot which was low carb. I served it with cauliflower rice fried with onions, curry powder and coriander and the only carbs were from the poppadoms. It was so spicy Norm could barely eat it. Oops. I thought it was perfectly seasoned. Norm says it is because I am Indian but I reminded him I am not THAT kind of Indian. Silly Norm.

One night Norm made Kassler chops with pureed cauliflower cheese, fried red cabbage & steamed asparagus. It was delicious, I love a nice Kassler chop. For any American readers it is like frying a slice of ham shaped like a chop.

We derailed a few days with take-away meals and then I had my usual sushi from K1 in Hout Bay on Friday night.

I ordered 2 portions each of Prawn roses, Salmon roses and Cucumber roses topped with prawns. Unfortunately for me they got my order wrong. My fave is the cucumber roses topped with prawns and they only sent one portion of those and instead sent 3 orders of salmon roses. I can only eat so much salmon, however I can eat prawns until they come out of my ears.

On Saturday I had a long lie in bed and Norm made us a delicious brunch of poached eggs, crispy bacon and avocado.

When he was in the UK he discovered these little bags for poaching eggs. We both love poached eggs and have tried various egg poaching products but they all have some issue. These were so easy to use, the eggs did not stick to the packet and there was minimal mess. We cooked them for the time recommended but my eggs were medium rather than soft so next time we will cook them less time. I really recommend these little gems and give them 5 Kitten Stars. Pick them up HERE from YuppieChef.

In the afternoon we went into the city to collect Alec and Anne, some friends who are over from Scotland. We took the scenic drive around the city and showed them the Parliament buildings, the entrance to Company’s Garden and the view from the top of District 6. Norm knows so much about South African history and he told them about the impacts of apartheid and the city’s dirty past of oppression. I told him I am going to book him some side gigs as a tour guide.

We drove up Ou Kaapse Weg, a curvy mountain road which has a stunning view.

We drove through Simon’s Town and stopped off at Boulder’s Beach to view the penguins. We did not go into the actual sanctuary as it is expensive, crowded and a penguin is a penguin, so we skirted around the various other viewing sites.

We saw a big group of penguins chilling out on some rocks.

We then walked a bit further and spotted more rock dassies (aka Rock Hyrax) than I have ever seen in one place. There were loads of babies with them.

They were so cute! They were all over that bush like it was a jungle gym.

Alec and Anne seemed to really enjoy it.

Norm and I also enjoyed it and were ever so pleased that it stopped drizzling rain while we were wandering around.

After the Penguin Colony we drove to Cape Point Nature Reserve. It was so expensive to enter, R350 per person! But it is a lovely drive with gorgeous views and if you are lucky you can see various animals. There are no predators there, only bucks, a few zebras and ostrich.

We saw quite a few ostriches, both males and females. This male looks quite young still.

We saw a few springboks and we were ever so lucky to see a herd of eland!

Unfortunately they were very far away from the roads but it was still fabulous. You can see them up close via this google link.

We saw a few gemsbok. Here is a link to see them up close.

We saw a few tortoises in the road.

We drove down to Cape Point, where there are some stunning remote beaches.

And then we drove up to the top to the visitor’s center.

You can see the light house at the top of the mountain.

We then left the Nature Reserve and continued around the peninsula.

We drove home across Chapman’s Peak which has the most amazing views.

We could view Hout Bay off in the distance.

There were some very stupid young people who climbed over the safety barrier and hiked down the mountain in the exact same place where a young woman fell and died last year. Norm shouted at them but they just ignored him and when he persisted they cheeked back at him. I told him to leave them alone, it is an opportunity to cleanse the gene pool of ignorance. Callous but true. I tried to distance myself from the drama by taking selfies.

We drove around Hout Bay beach and then went to the Hout Bay Harbour.

We chose the The Lookout Deck for dinner.

Alec and I ordered the prawns.

Anne ordered the prawn and calamari combo and Norm ordered the hake and calamari combo.

Anne and I treated ourselves to a chocolate nut sundae for dessert. I forgot to take a pic so here is a pic from the last time I had this sundae just to make you drool ❤

We sat chatting for ages and then left just before 9pm. Norm dropped me home and Anne and Alec popped in for a minute while Norm fed the dogs. As it was so late the pups were ravenous, bless them. Norm then took Alec and Anne back to their hotel. It was a very long day but we had such a lovely time. I have enjoyed sharing the beauty of my gorgeous city with our guests and with all of you.

Today is a lazy day, I slept in until 9.30am which is so not like me. I was exhuasted and needed the sleep. Norm made brunch and is now pottering around while I write. The rest of the day will be spent slobbing about in my jimjams.

I hope you have all had a wonderful week and that your week ahead is stress free.

Until then, kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

3 Roots

When I meet new people they often cannot place my accent as I have absorbed a bit of each of the places I have lived. When I first moved to Los Angeles no one could understand my drawl. I had to tone down the Scarlet O’Hara-ness of it just to avoid people taking the mickey out of me. Then after living in Northern Ireland I took away a bit of that accent, as well as bits from the various places we lived in England, a bit from Norm’s Scottish brogue and probably even a bit from my many years in SA. I feel like I have at least 3 ‘homes’, the US, the UK and South Africa.

It is rather discouraging that all 3 of these countries seem to be governed by the inept, the corrupt and the misled. I felt so sad this week when my favorite South African politician, Mmusi Maimane,  resigned as the leader of the Democratic Alliance.

I had such hope in his ability to change things for the better for South Africa, however it appears he could not even change his own party to align with what most South Africans hope for, unity and peace. I wish him well in his future.

Then when I read articles like this one it discourages me even more. “Four police officers were arrested by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in Honeydew, for alleged murder and assault. The officers stand accused of torturing two men in holding cells at the local police station, one of which was killed. They allegedly punched and kicked the two arrested men repeatedly, while they were still in handcuffs. One of the men died from his injuries, and it is further alleged that the officers involved did not report this. The other man survived after being treated in hospital for his wounds.

“The police officers continuously kicked and assaulted the arrested people until one [died] and they didn’t report this to anyone. Only the family member came later on and insisted to see his brother and that’s when the discovery was made,” Ipid spokesperson Sontaga Seisa told EWN.”

How many others have these beasts tortured which went unreported?

The last week has been very challenging at work. Our reporting line is that we report to the Data Team Leader who reports to the Programme Manager. I provided a status report which has rattled some cages and caused some discord. Our overall project work stream status was Red. The Team Lead felt like we were reporting the wrong info and was upset as it made him look like he was not providing us with clarity and assistance. But I defended my stance and clarified the areas of confusion and eventually he seemed to accept what we were reporting. On Friday we provided a demo for our proof of concept and he obviously had no clue what we are doing much less how we achieved it. Regardless of his lack of support we managed to implement a process which has minimized the risks we had highlighted and resolved the issues we had reported. The Programme Manager respects our experience and skills and thinks we are exactly what the project needs and to me that is what matters. So despite the challenges we ended the week on a successful note and this week’s status report was yellow. Next week we should go green if we continue with the path we are on and hit no further snags.

It is so much easier when the client supports you and is not an adversary. I can never understand clients who bring a specialist on board only to be threatened by the application of those specialist skills.

The one bit of good news is that my friend Sakshi is also joining the project to do a Data Governance exercise so I will have her there from the 1st of November which makes me very happy.

This week flew by, probably because we are so busy. Norm has been working a lot of hours and is prepping for a new project too. We also had good news for Norm in that he has just bought a new car. It is a small truck with a canopy and will be perfect for his needs. We usually take my car when we go out together, his car is for hauling things to the dump or carrying the dogs around.

He collects it next week. I am so glad he will be getting rid of his 11 year old Zafira, I worry about him driving around in it as it has a lot of issues. Saying that we have spent a lot of money fixing most of them!

Norm only managed to cook a few nights due to his busy schedule.

He made a few recipes from our fave low carb website. He made the yummy low carb version of Mac & Cheese, Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. We top ours with crispy bacon.

We also spotted another recipe on that site and tried that one night. It was so simple, he baked chicken breasts, made guacamole and crispy bacon and layered it. The taste combo was divine. It sounded a bit odd but we loved it, this will be a regular menu item. He served it with sweet potato slices fried in butter.

He also cooked one of my favourite meals, fillet steak, fried mushrooms and steamed asparagus and baby broccoli. He also did some chips in the air fryer.

We went out to eat last night at Peddlars in Constantia as I was craving a burger and I am not a fan of any of the burgers that are served in Hout Bay. We went early so it was not too busy yet.

Norm likes to take pics of me but he always avoids my camera when pointed back at him, but that never stops me.

I chose the bacon and cheddar burger.

It is served on a platter with crispy fried onions and chips. It gets 5 Kitten Stars, it was tasty, juicy and delicious. A great standard of meat and just the right amount of toppings. I like a burger I can pick up and bite rather than have to cut with a knife and fork due to being too big for the bun to cope.

This week we finished watching Season 2 of The Sinner.

It was riveting viewing and I really enjoyed it. It had nothing to do with the Series 1 story line other than starring the same detective, Detective Ambrose who is in both. It is a similar sort of premise in that like Season 1, we know who committed the crime but we do not know why. The show then explores the background of the perpetrator and what led them to executing the crime. It gets a full on 5 Kitten Stars as it was really brilliant.

One of the subjects that was discussed in The Sinner was the concept of Lilith, the Night Hag archetype.

I have experienced a lot of episodes of sleep paralysis and am very familiar with the Night Hag, however I did not know that she is a well known ‘creature’! I thought she was the product of my imagination. She has been visiting me since childhood. I read up a bit about the concept and I think next time I will not be as terrified when she visits me. I hope.

I have also just finished watching Rhythm & Flow Season 1 and I also enjoyed that. It is a competition to find a new Rap performer and the guy who won was really talented.  The judges are Tip “T.I.” Harris, Cardi B and Chance the Rapper. I am a big Cardi B fan, she is so funny. A bit rude on occasion but always funny. There were some very talented artists on the show. I hope the winner becomes a big success as he has so much talent.

 

We have been having a lot of rain lately, drizzly misty days and then on Friday we had a downpour of note! We had a few places where the rain came in, we have a leak in the lounge ceiling and the rain water also poured under our patio door and onto the upstairs landing. It rained hard all Thursday night and then on Friday morning many of the roads were deep in water resulting in a rather hazardous journey to work. It was like white water rafting in a Nissan. It cleared up on Saturday and when I went into town to the hair dresser it was sunny if a bit chilly.

I always enjoy my visits to Pause, Leandra is a lovely girl and a great hair dresser and Thembi gives the best head massages ever. We decided to only trim my fringe as the rest of my hair was still falling nicely. Leandra had finished my fringe and I asked her to cut a bit more off as it grows so fast, but I should have followed her advice as I look a wee bit like I could have appeared in the film Dumb and Dumber.

Next time I will listen to Leandra. Luckily it grows quickly. Silly me.

Norm took Pixie and Navajo to the doggy chiro yesterday morning and it seems to have helped them both. Pixie is getting old and it breaks my heart to see her struggling. You can see the age on her face. It makes me a bit sad. If only our animals could live forever. Not in a creepy ‘Pet Sematary’ sort of way though.

Despite all of the challenges of our week, I have to count my blessings. Our home survived the torrential downpour, I have a job, we have food on our table, we have electricity and running water in our home, I have a wonderful husband, children and family and my Mom is still here with us. I have so much more than so many others and for all of that I am grateful.

Halloween is coming soon and this is the first year we have not hosted a Halloween Party. Cape-Tonians are just so unreliable, you never know how many people will arrive until the party is underway, so you do not know how many to cater for or how big the crowd will be despite people RSVP’ing. We decided to stop having the parties for that reason, it is expensive and stressful and that stress is just not worth it. It makes me so sad to not be dressing up or going out. But such is life. I was hoping a local venue might have a party we could attend but it does not appear to be the case.

I have a busy week ahead. It is pouring rain again today and I have had a pajama day. I hope you have all had a great weekend and that you have a safe and enjoyable week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Mother’s Little Helper

Last week in my blog I mentioned how calm I have been on this new client project. I had attributed it to emotional growth, but then those voices I have in my head  started again to tell me I am not clever enough, educated enough, young enough…….just not enough. Those voices reminded me that I am now medicated and the meds have probably had enough time to take proper effect, so maybe that is to account for my new found sense of confidence and peace? Either way, whatever the root cause I am happy with the outcome and will not question it.

On Monday the client still had not given us access to data or any documentation so my colleague and I were told to leave at 1pm. I stopped to collect Norman and we went to Allegria Cafe for a late lunch. It was a lovely day so we sat outside in the shade.

As it was warm Norm and I both decided to order salads. They had a crumbed chicken salad on special and I ordered that with extra avocado. The avocado was creamy and perfectly ripe.

It was really delicious and fresh. Allegria do one of the best chicken schnitzels in Hout Bay and they did not disappoint me that day.

After we finished our lunch we headed over to try and find the things I still needed for my Operation Shoebox Christmas boxes. I chose 2 little girls aged 2 years. On the weekend Norm and I bought the clothing and toys and on Monday we bought the other bits we needed. 

Both little girls said they love baby dolls so we got them both the same doll as it was cute and small enough for the box. I think it is important for the development of a child’s identity to have a baby doll they can relate to in appearance. It was really difficult to locate a black baby considering we are in Africa. She has a dummy and a teddy and her outfit can come off. I think the babas will love it.

One little girl also said she loves Peppa Pig and we tried to find her a few things with Peppa Pig on them. She will get a Peppa Pig hat, a long Peppa Pig shirt which could be worn as a nightgown, and finally a colouring book with stickers which are Peppa Pig.  The other girl has a cute unicorn on her long t shirt but the other items are the same. In addition both girls get a facecloth, a bar of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a packet of sweets, crisps and a juice box. The sweets are jelly pink princesses.

Both girls will get a peak cap, a white vest T shirt, a turquoise ‘skort’ which is a skirt with shorts underneath, and a sleeveless T shirt dress. All items are in colours which will blend to mix and match. One girl likes red and her dress is primary coloured stripes, the other girl’s dress has cartoon dinosaurs on it.

I always use plastic boxes instead of the cardboard shoe boxes as the kiddies or mom’s can use them for storage. As the kiddies are both toddlers it will make a nice little box for their personal treasures. I gave them the left over stickers too.

I also went to Woolworth’s and they had several things in my size so I bought a casual maxi dress, a wrap around dress in a gorgeous bright blue and a black skirt with a funky hem. All can be worn to work or for casual events.

We also shopped for food so on Monday night Norm cooked chicken sausages, sweet potato rounds and sweet corn on the cob.

On Tuesday morning I still had no access to the data at work but we finally got our identity cards so we could leave the office without having to knock to be let in if we had to go to the loo! To celebrate my new found access freedom we decided to go down to get a cooked breakfast for a change instead of my usual morning fare of a trough of milky cappuccino. My colleague and I both chose bacon and egg rolls and took them back to our desks. I took off my long sweater and bit happily into the roll to find that the yolk of the egg leapt out of the roll, shot across my cheek, skittered across my forearm, dropped down to my keyboard and decorated the Z to the V in sticky yolk. What a bloody disaster. I cleaned it all up, finished my breakfast and carried on. About midday I reached up to push back my hair to discover that the side of my hair was stuck together with yolk which had hardened into a crust. It brushed out luckily, but how had it looked until then?!

On Monday night I had put a beef, mushroom, onion and carrot stew into the slow cooker and left it overnight. It was absolutely divine the next night! We served it with cauliflower mash. The meat was tender and the sauce full of flavour.

The next night we tried a new recipe for cooking brussel sprouts in the air fryer. We converted incorrectly from Fahrenheit to Celsius and ended up burning them to a crisp. OK, me it was me. Norm left me in charge for 10 minutes.

We had kassler chops, fried mushrooms and the rest of the corn on the cob. Next time we will succeed with the sprouts I am confident. (i.e. Norm will do it)

Norm had meetings on Thursday so we had takeaways and I chose sushi from K1 Sushi in Hout Bay. 

I had salmon roses, bamboo roses topped with prawns, prawn roses and a salmon and prawn nigiri. It was delicious.

On Friday Lily came down for the weekend and we chose to have Chinese food for dinner that night. We ordered from Blue Lotus and we both had the crispy chili chicken and Lily ordered spring rolls and I had the prawn dim sum and we shared them.

The food was great, the only thing we could complain about was the spring rolls. They had a strong almost mustardy flavour which put us both off. They were also a bit soggy. The chicken was perfect as was the dim sum.

Caitlin came around early on Saturday to collect us as we were off to the northern suburbs for wedding dress shopping. For the first booking we went about an hour drive away to Durbanville.

It was a lovely salon, the sales attendant was also very good.

That is not her, that is a dummy. Just FYI.

My mom happened to be awake so we video called her so she could participate in viewing the dresses Lily tried on. Caitlin and the attendant faffed around while I sat holding the phone for Mom.

There were two dresses I loved but one was too fancy for the boho beach vibe of Lily’s wedding venue, but the other one has made it to our top three list.

We went onto a third bridal shop but it was horrid. We did not have an appointment as they would not answer the phone but as it is a large mall type shop we risked it. They managed to find an attendant but she was not very attentive. Caitlin had to join Lily to help dress her as the attendant buggered off. All of the dresses looked a bit cheap but the only one we liked was tagged at R15,000 so they only looked cheap. The music was horrid there too, it was a mix of trance music and Indian bollywood style. I could not wait to get out of there.

On Monday Lily and Caitlin have an appointment to try on the top 2 dresses again at a wedding fair and if they buy one at the fair it could save up to 10% off which is great news.

After we finished with wedding dresses we headed over to Sable Square to China Town to try and find fans and sun umbrellas for the wedding guests to cope with the heat. First we went for sushi as we were starving. We went to Saki Sushi which have a conveyor belt and an all you can eat special. We got seats around the conveyor belt and quickly got stuck in. We all ate until we almost felt nauseous. Oink. Then we had a wander around china town looking for the things Lily wanted just to give her an idea about costs. I bought a black shredded lace tutu for Halloween. It appears that I am not going out this year but it will be worn next year. Caitlin bought a necklace and Lily bought a very cute shirt and 2 cute hippy type hats. It was a lovely day but we were knackered and headed home after China Town. Caitlin stayed to chat a few minutes then was off as we were meeting early today.

We had plans to meet up at the Penguin exhibit in Simons Town at 11.30. We were meeting Caitlin and Wes as well as Calum, our nephew from Scotland.

The queues and crowds were hectic and reminded me why we never go there. We had a wander all around the penguin areas but it was very hot in the sun, very windy by the sea and I was hungry, so as soon as I could I steered them all off to the harbour.

It was nice to spend time with my girls.

It was a stunner of a day but the wind was a bit hectic.

It was lovely however.

The penguins are too cute.

We agreed to meet at Bertha’s which is right by the water and has a lovely view.

However the outside patio was packed so they found a nice table inside for us all.

Looks like we exhausted poor Calum.

I woke him up.

The boys all had Hake and calamari but the girls and I all had prawns.

On the way home we came across Chapman’s Peak which is so stunning. I filmed it for you guys. Between all of the curves and my crappy filming skills I hope it does not make you nauseous.

It has been a brilliant weekend with family, fun and excitement. I hope you all had a lovely weekend too.

I wish you all a happy week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

One

I have only one more day on my current project and I am so glad it is almost over but it makes me sad that we did not finish developing the entire solution. I loved the work, I enjoyed working with my client as I appreciate that he is as passionate as I am about data quality. I was given enough trust to make design decisions and manage the delivery without too much interference and I was fully supported by him. He trusted my judgment as an expert. However as I have mentioned on previous blogs, the developer who was allocated to the project has caused endless drama.

I am used to making visible progress every week and working to time constraints and delivering to very high standards but the standards of the developer are not like mine. He made rookie mistakes like copy and paste errors, mapping the rule to the wrong field, and misinterpreting the objective of the rule and building the rule to validate the opposite of what it should, for example it errors where the field is populated rather than null in a basic completeness rule. Yet he does not want help and will not admit his code is wrong even when proven to be so.

This week he reported me to HR for made up nonsense when I told him he had corrupted the data and lost the leading zeros from the numeric fields in our postal code validation data. He huffed and puffed and argued with me and then got especially angry when I finally told him that double clicking on an excel file will drop the leading zeroes from numeric data and that sort of basic knowledge is ‘excel 101’, but it is a well known risk to anyone involved in data. He just cannot take feedback because of his arrogance so he flounced off to whinge to HR.

I am exhausted from the drama. I am also working 10 hour days to get as much completed, handed over, and signed off as I can.

I worked very late last Monday and only got home at 7pm. When leaving there were hardly any other people about as it was so late and because the schools were off that week the usual groups of children kicking a football or shouting or dancing were also missing.

As I walked through the square and towards the road where I park my car the most beautiful sound of bells started ringing from the Town Hall. After 8 months working from this office I had never heard them!

It was quite magical! It seemed a suitable send off from work as it was a public holiday the following day so I had the day off.

Tuesday was Heritage Day in South Africa. On this holiday, South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions. Most people seem to call it ‘Braai Day’ and just have a barbecue. As Norm is not a keen braaier and we are not South African, we are never quite sure what to do with ourselves on that holiday.

Prior to 1995 the 24th of September was known as Shaka Day in KwaZulu-Natal. This was in commemoration of the Zulu King, Shaka, on the presumed date of his death in 1828. Shaka played an important role in uniting disparate Zulu clans into a cohesive nation. Each year people gather at King Shaka’s grave to honour him on this day. The Public Holidays Bill presented to the new democratic Parliament of South Africa in 1995 did not have the 24th of September included on the list of proposed public holidays. As a result of this exclusion, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, objected to the bill. Parliament and the ANC reached a compromise and the day was given its present title and seen as a public holiday.

Norm and I had not decided what we were going to do on my day off and when I woke with an intense headache I did not feel up to doing anything. I have a bit of medical knowledge due to Radiographer training and I am a bit of a hypochondriac as are many Virgos and these two things are a dangerous combination. On Monday evening I had a very sore area over my groin and upper leg and it was a bit bruised. As this pain was gone on Tuesday when I woke and my head was incredibly sore I became panicked that I had a blood clot which had moved and I was going to have a stroke any minute. Norm looked at me like I was insane when I told him this. It is very feasible dammit! Now that I survived my non-existent clot I can find it funny.

My Dad had his first heart attack in his thirties and died of a stroke at the age of 49 so I am justified in my paranoia, but luckily that was exactly what it was, paranoia.

As a practical Virgo I was also prepared to consider it could be residual sinus pain after my flu so I decided to try Salex which is a type of saline medication you mix into boiled water and squirt up your nostrils. Like a neti pot.

I also tried Hopi ear candling to try and unblock my ears.

Norm had nipped out that morning to buy us fresh pastry and he brought some with a frothy coffee to me in bed.

I took some aspirins and lay relaxing for hours with lots of Lola Kitty snuggles.

Norm is trying to start getting us back onto high fat, low carb eating but as I have been interspersing my diet with muffins and croissants this is probably not good for me. We want to start losing for our year end trip to the US and for Lily’s and Josh’s wedding. Those sorts of photos last forever so we need to get our arses in gear.

On Wednesday Norm took Panda for his last session of physio and hydrotherapy as Panda is pretty much back to normal. He can make it all the way up the main stairs, however sometimes it takes either a lot of our encouragement or a lot of us resisting his annoying bark. Yesterday none of us could be arsed to get up and stand behind him and clap and cheer him up the stairs and we were too tired to let his yapping bother us so he eventually ran upstairs on his own without any encouragement. He has the ability but he is not very confident.

That night Panda did the full walk around the neighborhood with the other two dogs after having gone for his physio session so he was so exhausted that night. He passed out on the sofa and did not budge all night.

I once again only got home about 7pm. When I got home Norm made us a delicious dinner of roast mushrooms and pork fillet, fondant sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.

When I left work on Thursday it was so hot walking to where I park my car and when I got in it was 34 degrees Celsius!

As it was after 6pm this was a shocker. Normally in Cape Town it usually starts cooling off late afternoon.

It was just too hot to turn on the oven that night so Norm stopped and got a ready cooked roast chicken and some coleslaw and salad and made chips in the air fryer to go with it. It was perfect for that weather.

Pixie does not seem to understand how hot her hair can make you feel when she climbs all over you for attention. When I was trying to cool off and relax by playing Covet Fashion, Pixie just wanted to play.

On Friday Lily came down for the weekend.

On Saturday Caitlin, Lily and I were going shopping for fabric for the bridesmaids dresses and then we had an appointment at 1pm to go to The Wedding Boutique for Lily to try on wedding dresses.

My favourite designer was Alena Leena who is Cape Town based. I loved almost all of her dresses.

Lily tried on all manner of designs from a princess style to a mermaid style, to the fitted style, many different fabrics from a few made of lace to heavy ones made of beads and all manner of patterns from flowers to art deco.

Lily tried on 6 dresses and we are still having a dilemma choosing one as they all looked so beautiful on her. But she is a gorgeous girl with a perfect body and luckily she fit into all of the tiny sample sizes with only a few being a smidge too tight in the chest. I wonder what they do with bigger girls as they only have a few dresses on site unless they have a storage room to hide the size 16s out of sight?

We narrowed it down to 2 that we all love and one which I do not like but the girls adore. We took videos and photos of each dress and sent them all to the Wedding Whats app group Lily created so as to include my Mom in the planning and design decisions. It was so funny that Mom’s top choice was my top choice and her least favorite was the same one that is my least favorite. The girls both prefer the one Mom and I do not like but if Lily wants that one I will immediately accept it, she has to go with what makes her heart sing. They all look beautiful it is just down to personal design choices.

After we finished shopping we were starving and there was a branch of Fat Cactus just down the road so we stopped off. It was very empty but the service was still shockingly slow.

Caitlin was driving us but Lily and I ordered a strawberry margarita.

It was lovely spending more time with my gorgeous girls.

I ordered the chicken tacos. They were very tasty and I give them 4 Kitten Stars.

Lily wanted a plain cheese quesadilla but the waitress said the cheese quesadilla had onions in it and she should order the Chi Chi Chi quesadillas with chorizo, cheese and chipotle which was the same dish Caitlin had ordered.

Neither of the girls enjoyed this dish. I tasted it and I could see why. It was basically a huge pool of barbecue sauce with a single slice of chorizo in each triangle of quesadilla. It did not taste nice and was like trying to eat soup with chopsticks. The girls each gave it 3 Kitten Stars (and that was being generous.)

I ordered refried beans which were NOT refried beans, it was a sort of chili made from kidney beans without meat. It only arrived when I was half way through my tacos.

Our second round of drinks took forever to arrive and when I saw them sitting on the bar I sent Caitlin to collect them. Our waitress was more interested in chatting up the cute bartender than looking after her 2 or 3 tables. The one thing nice she did was to turn off the footy when we asked her too. The sound of the game was blasting when we went in and as we were the only table we cheekily asked her to turn it down and she not only muted it but she put on some nice blues music too.

All in all, our lunch gets a measly 3 Kitten Stars.

On Friday night Lily and I started watching ‘The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco’. It is a spin off of ‘The Bletchley Circle‘ but as we hadn’t see the original series first we felt a bit uninformed.

On Saturday when we got home we were trying to find something on Netflix that we had not all seen and asked Caitlin had she seen it but she had so we decided to watch a few episodes of the original series as none of us had seen that. It is OK, not ‘wow’ but a decent show. As it is set in the 1950’s it is so hard to view the racism and misogyny that was deemed acceptable. Is this what the Trumplodytes mean when they refer to ‘Make America Great Again’? It is only a positive environment if you are a white man.

When we got home Norm had made a basic mince and tomato base sauce so I added kidney and borlotti (pinto) beans and seasoning and turned it into chili con carne and we had it with chips, salsa and sour cream. Mexican or Tex Mex food twice in one day is fine with me!

Today it is raining again and a bit cooler. At least the rain we have had has kept the garden alive.

My Clivia are thriving and are showing off lush bright orange blooms.

My air plant is blooming too.

Lily drove home this morning and Norm and I have been relaxing and enjoying the cooler weather as have the doggies.

Wish me luck tomorrow with coping with my last day. I have a sales meeting with another client on Tuesday and I have also been put forward to a new client based in Pietermaritzburg so we will see which of them comes forward and contracts us first.

Enjoy your week and until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xxoxoxoxox.

Protected by Women

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

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

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

There has been a heavy police presence all week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Toxicity and Acidity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.