Exploding Kittens & Birthday Celebrations

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

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

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

Crispy chili beef and noodles

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

Our drumming circle ❤️

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The pic is from Aurelie from Voice The Change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That also led to a lot of hilarity.

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

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

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

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

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

I am such a Happy Kitten.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had a lovely evening and a lot of laughs.

How funny is the photo bomb dude in the background?

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

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

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

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

These are little balls of heaven.

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

He also loved his milkshake luckily!

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

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

Salmon Poke Bowl @bayharbourmarket ❤️

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

Oh my gawd they were amazing.

I regret nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Sunday we went to the stunning Constantia Glen vineyard.

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

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

Norm had the Caprese Flammkuchen.

Caprese Flammkuchen @constantiaglen

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I had the charcuterie and cheese platter.

Cheese and Charcuterie platter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norm had the lemon meringue with coconut sorbet.

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

Mandela photo exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

Calamari and fish cakes

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

Norm had the cheesecake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Path of Persistence

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

Some of them are coping better than others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome to Africa. Not much is terribly efficient here.

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

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

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

I laughed so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cape Lightning #storm #CapeTown #lightning

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

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

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

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

Oh well.

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

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

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

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

We both ordered the Chicken Pie and salad.

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

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

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

#OMTOM2018 #choppers #houtbay

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

Sounds of #omtom2018

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

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

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

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

I am nothing if not persistent.

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

Wild West

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

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

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

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

Wow. I loved this series so much!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norm had the omelette with bacon, cheese and mushrooms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#Brunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Banging Bongos

If I were even partially educated about astronomy or astrology I would be looking to see what that fella Mercury is up to as I have just enough info to be dangerous and I know that Mercury is the planet that can cause chaos with communications. While looking for a reference to link to I see that Mercury also governs all of the characteristics of my personality. This is not very surprising as it rules Virgo and I am very much a stereotypical Virgo. Read THIS it is interesting (well it is to me anyway but I am a mercurial Virgo soooooo…..yeah that. Just read it.)

The reason I felt like Mercury was interfering on Tuesday was that I woke up to no internet at home. I trundled off to work and the traffic was horrendous. I managed to keep my calm by spotting squirrels in the forest that I was driving through or checking out the strange ways that trees form due to the crazy winds in Cape Town or listening to calming Native American tribal music or watching the people in the cars around me doing weird people things. I do love people watching and goodness knows we got plenty of weird ones in Cape Town.

I finally arrived at work to find I had no internet at work either. I do not have a network cable at my desk, I use the WiFi which was not communicating with my laptop. I spent an exasperating day talking to the unhelpful help-desk and connecting and disconnecting my laptop to try and connect to the database. We then had a client workshop over Skype and we had a horrendous connection, resulting in 50 minutes of frustration and about 10 minutes of productive conversation.

It was if the Universe (side-eyes at Mercury) was trying to stop me communicating to anyone!

On Tuesday evening Norm and I were booked to go to Cafe Roux in Cape Town city centre to hear a local young artist called Odwa Bongo. We love live music and in particular we love this music venue and intend to try and make it at least once a month to hear someone new. We had such fun when we went to watch our friend Mae Sithole perform recently.

We arrived about 7pm and settled in.

We like to arrive a bit early so that we have finished eating when the artist comes on and we can give them the attention they deserve.

I ordered the Mexican pizza which was thin, crispy and full of yummy flavours. I love fresh coriander and it had lots. The chipotle sauce was very tasty and spicy.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli with a burnt butter and sage sauce.

The artists usually start at 8:30pm but Odwa was a wee bit late starting as some of his audience was late arriving but once the audience settled in he was introduced.  Odwa emerged onto the stage in a long, hooded cape like jacket which was very dramatic.

He had a very interesting instrument which he used to open many of the songs.

Odwa has an amazing voice, he can reach some incredibly high notes and his voice is so pure with a lovely, full, rich tone. He was very charming and animated on stage  and talked about his personal challenges in life but he was very inspirational and positive in his outlook. His face is so expressive when he sings.

Odwa sang predominately in Xhosa which I assume is his home language. Even though we had no clue what he was singing about for many of his songs we did not mind as it meant that we could just feel the emotion of the song and not bother with trying to absorb the lyrics. He did sing a new song he has just written in English and it was fabulous! I wish I could find it online to share but he said it was brand spanking new so I feel privileged to hear it at all.

I did post this English track called ‘Confused’ on my last blog, however it is worth posting again so you can appreciate the clarity of his tone if you missed it. You can follow Odwa on Soundcloud here.

Odwa had a band as well as a back up singer on stage with him. I really enjoyed how the bass player and the keyboard player interacted. They were both enjoying themselves and it showed. I love how you can see the joy on some musician’s faces, pure elation at being in the zone doing what they love.

The back up singer was Zolani Bongo, I did not hear if they said whether they were related but it is an interesting surname to have in common if not.

After a few songs Zolani moved to the main microphone at centre stage to do a song on his own. Zolani has an amazing voice and range as well so if they are related there are some good vocal genes in that bloodline.

Zolani sang a gospel song, but I was not sure what it was called even though it was in English (blame it on the vodka). I asked Odwa on Facebook for the track and he told me that it is a song called ‘I remember, I believe’ which as far as I can discover was originally done by Lizz Wright. I would love to go and see Zolani perform a night of blues, his voice is perfect for the old blues classics. He gave me goosebumps.

I found this track of the original artist so you can appreciate the tune. (Zolani did it better in my opinion.)

I managed to track down the lyrics to go with the video if you would like to see them they are HERE. The interesting thing I discovered is that the singer Lizz is from the same state where I grew up! Maybe it was that Georgia girl vibe which got me all in my feels.

 

Then Odwa told us how he had won tickets to see Freshly Ground and that when there he was lucky enough to meet the adorable Zolani Mahola. She is a small, beautiful lady and has the cutest grin so even though she is a grown woman she is indeed adorable.

Their voices were so complimentary they killed it!! Everyone was up dancing and having such fun.

 

We stayed for a few more songs and then we headed home what with it being a school night. Between the vodkas and my exhaustion I forgot to take my phone out of my handbag when I got home, so I woke up confused and lost and banged around in the dark until I found it just before my alarm went off.

It started drizzling with rain on my way in to work and after stopping for most of the day it has again started this evening, there is the rarely heard sound of rain gushing out the drainpipes in the background as I write, I wish we had a system to collect it all but our plastic drain thingies got trodden on by Navajo and we have finally chucked them out.

Nevermind.

Hopefully our garden will be enjoying the drenching it is getting. I thank the Universe for this water, I hope that it is also falling over our thirsty dams.

The rain has cooled the air off beautifully, Norm is making homemade low carb lasagna for dinner for us and Josh.

Life is good, I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

 

 

Bedfellows

This week I was invited to a Town Hall meeting at the American Consulate. I am not one of those expats who feels the need to gravitate towards a collective gathering of my home boys and girls. I am the sort who tends to try to assimilate into my environment. However this is the first Town Hall that our new consulate general has put on and I thought it would be interesting to attend.

I arrived very early as I always tend to do, I have a rubbish sense of direction and get a bit panicky if I get lost so even though I had been to the consulate a few years ago I left plenty of travel time. It was really hot outside so I parked in the shade and waited until I saw them opening the doors and a queue forming. You have a lovely view of the mountains from the car park so I did not mind waiting. Once inside I went to the front of the room as I am blind as a bat and I could see that they were doing a presentation. I strategically chose a chair on the aisle on the second row. I noticed that everyone had sat down and I remembered that I wanted to get some forms to register to vote and so I got up and went back to the other side of the room. I debated leaving my sweater on the seat to hold my place but there were no more people arriving so I could not imagine that anyone would deliberately get up and scoot over to that particular chair which had no one near it. When I came back a little old lady had magically appeared in my seat. I moved around her to the front row and sat on the corner seat thinking this would mean I would not be annoyed. I could feel the woman one seat away checking me out and looking for any opportunity to launch into a convo. I desperately avoided meeting her eye. It is like being on a plane when you just want to be left alone to read your book and you have an enthusiastic, bored person next to you slavering over you like a Labrador. I am far too anti-social for that. Meeting strangers is my worst as it inevitably leads to a gazillion personal questions.

I had forgotten the amount of noise a room full of Americans can make. It was deafening as there were at most 50 people there. But at least I avoided eye contact and thus avoided getting the third degree.

As soon as I got comfy in my new seat a very large lady with massive amounts of long thick obviously unwashed hair came and wedged in next to me. She swirled around and threw her clump of hair over her shoulder and smacked me right in the head with it. (Strike One)

She then shoved her arm over the arms of both chairs and impaled me with an elbow. (Strike Two)

She then chucked what appeared to be a parka made especially for Arctic travel over the chair arm and it landed fully in my lap. (Strike Three).

At this point I stood up, lifted my chair and banged it onto the floor a few inches away from her hair, wardrobe and various appendages.

She then decided to heave said parka out of her chair completely and it landed on my crossed legs. I simply kicked it across the floor.

She was all out of strikes.

There were various speakers, the session was opened by a new guy who only recently joined the Cape Town consulate, I think his name was Tom. He seemed very nervous but he was quite amusing. He then handed over to the Consul General Virginia Blaser who arrived in Cape Town in August last year. She chatted to us about the duties of the Consulate and some of the various functions they perform and some of the contributions that the US Government make to other countries, including SA.

Next we had a presentation from the City’s safety and security executive director, Richard Bosman. He gave us the good news that Day Zero has been moved back and is not expected to hit in 2018 at all. He gave us an overview of the City’s Disaster Plan. My personal opinion is that the management of the drought has been a clusterfeck of note. But I did not tell him that of course. (Luckily I was sober)

It was all an interesting event but it felt very odd to be surrounded by so many American accents.

The annoying lady next to me was a ‘positive listener’ in that she made either a grunt or a ‘mmmm hmm’ noise or some sort of vocal response to every single thing that any of the speakers said while bobbing her head in the corresponding direction. WTF woman this is not a private phone chat, STFU.

Anyway, I did not do her any harm, so go Kitten! (No strikes)

This week the news has been full of the Gugulethu, Nyanga & Phillipi township protests. Demonstrators are protesting evictions by the city’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit who removed illegal shack dwellings this week. The protests were over the evictions as well as the fact that the protesters do not have proper housing. This chaos spills onto the motorways & results in road closures which creates danger and havoc for commuters. The protesters torched the post office. However living in a tin shack would make one want to protest, I cannot blame anyone for protesting, but there is no need for violence and destruction of property. I guess their frustration has led to this however.

I had recently written about the school secretary Gill Packham who was missing and the burning car that was found with a body in the boot. It has now been confirmed that the body was Gill’s and her husband Rob has now been arrested for her murder. Her head had been bashed in at the back, she could have fallen, but why put the body in a torched car? What is he hiding? There are some rather seamy articles being posted about his sexual proclivities. He had allegedly undergone treatment for sex addiction and was into bondage. Maybe her death occurred during some sexual game and afterwards he panicked and put her in the boot and torched the car, or maybe her death was as a result of domestic abuse. We may never know the real truth as he is claiming it was not him. I feel such heartache for their two daughters. To lose your mother is bad enough but to lose her to violence at the hands of your own father and to then have the country gossiping about their sex lives must be the worst possible scenario. I pray for their peace.

Norm took all 3 of the dogs to the vet on Friday.

Navajo has been limping again on his back leg, but it is on and off. The steroid injection he had last time did help but only temporarily. Today they drained fluid from his ankle so I hope that brings him some relief. Pixie and Panda were both due some injections. Panda yelped and Pixie tried to hide as she probably remembers the last visit where she was left to be sedated on her own. Owning dogs is an expensive adventure but I would rather go without than have my dogs suffer.

For lunch on Friday I used OrderIn to bring some food as we had nothing to take for my lunch. I tried a place called Knead and I was ordering a Caesar salad when I saw that they had kitka bread. I love kitka bread and switched my order to the Classic Chicken Mayo Toasted Sandwich @ R56.00 with Square Kitka bread.

I’ve only had kitka rolls and had expected that, but the bread was sliced from a loaf but it was nice but not the density of the rolls I expected. There was a lot of mayo on it but it was tasty enough. It contained big chunks of chicken which I prefer to minced chicken. It also had lots of pickle and I love pickles.

I am so relieved it is finally the weekend but I have been busy already.

I got up early and set off for the hairdresser just after 9. I encountered a million cyclists preparing for the Cape Town Cycle Tour and several tourists tottering along goggle eyed staring at the sea. Therefore I was surprised to get parked on Long Street just after 9:30. I went into the salon to wait. It’s normally so busy but was really quiet.

Leandra looked a bit confused but I assumed it was because I was so early. She called me over and said “I’ve got you in the book for next week” I checked my diary and so did I! OMG I was a week early. Luckily she had a client cancel and I fit in perfectly. Silly me. Anyway my hair feels fab!

After I finished I went to collect Norm as we needed to buy a bed for our guest room as we are expecting a friend over from Belfast soon. We went to 3 shops and found a bed that fit my budget and then hit the mall as it was now after 2 and we were starving.

We popped into Mugg and Bean at Blue Route Mall and Norm had a stuffed croissant with ham and eggs in it. I had a few items off the tapas menu which Norm shared with me.

I had the buttermilk chicken which was very tasty but needs bigger pieces of chicken. I also had the wedge of salad which is a wedge of iceberg lettuce with bacon and blue cheese and we also shared the fritters which had jalapeño and corn with a chipotle sauce. Th fritters were doughy and needed another minute in the fryer.

We then found the perfect headboard, simple and plain.

You can see it HERE

All we have to do is buy bedding to match my chaise loungue which is in that room and it will look fab. It will still be Norm’s office but when we need a third bedroom it means our visitors do not have to stay in the garden flat.

Tomorrow is the Cape Town Cycle race but we are not sure if we will watch it from the comfort of our home or join one of the parties on the main road cheering them on. I find I need one day on a weekend to recharge, preferably in my pajamas.

Next week I have booked for Norm and I to go to see Odwa Bongo perform at the city branch of Cafe Roux. I found a track he has released on Soundcloud if you would like to listen – click here.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0