Touched by an Angel

One more sleep.

That is, there is only one more sleep until my darling hubby is waiting eagerly at the Cape Town airport for collection.

All I can say is phew. I would say more but kids might be reading.

Managing a home as well as starting a new client and new project has almost done me in. Thank goodness we don’t also have small children, I wonder how single moms cope. Hats off to them. We have so much pressure just as women in general. Waxing and coloring and styling and making up. Feck it can be hard work. Add to that keeping a house functioning and it is a lot to keep juggled. It’s like a finely tuned machine, I used a calendar with color coded keys for each person, the domestic, the gardener, the pool man, the dog food delivery man, the house sitter and dog walker. If one factor shifted it all went awry. For example, Josh was planning on staying in Mossell Bay from Good Friday until the following Thursday so I had booked Vanessa a few nights to stay over and help me, but then Josh had to come back early for work so I ended up having all three of us here but that worked out ok. Luckily we had the new bed for Vanessa.

But then as I had originally cancelled Vanessa from Easter weekend I was on my own on Tuesday morning when I started my new project at our new client site. I had told our cleaner when she was here in person the previous week that I was starting a new project and was supposed to be in an 8am meeting and I also sent an SMS the day before to remind her that I had to leave by 7:30 at the latest and if she wasn’t there I could not wait. I was ready by 7 but there was no sign of her by 7:30 and when I rang her phone was off. Often when she goes to the Eastern Cape she is late coming back to Cape Town so I assumed she was not back and I left a voicemail and sent a text message to say I had to go to work. As she wasn’t here our gardener could not get in to work later at 9 when he arrived. It also meant the dogs were on their own all day. On the days when no one was going to be at home, I booked Vanessa who popped in to let the dogs out for a wander and a wee and filled their water bowls.

I had a meeting with a colleague on Monday even though it was a public holiday just to prep me for Tuesday but it was still exhausting sitting in workshops most of Tuesday. I left as soon as I could and raced back feeling so bad that Navajo was inside unable to go to the toilet from that morning but he did so well bless him.

We could not get our ID badges which meant I could not even go for a wee on my own, eventually that was sorted and yesterday I got access to the WiFi and network. Those niggly little details make such a difference when you get on boarded to a project. It’s lovely being in the city Centre with so many choices of food and a nice coffee place across the road. I’ve mostly eaten at Now Now which has a really great menu and delicious food and a few Banting choices. I have a coffee there every morning and usually my lunch is there too as it’s across the street and I don’t have time to faff about.

I had this Banting dish for lunch Tuesday, it has cauliflower mash topped with spicy chicken, sour cream and sliced almonds. Yum.

Peri Chicken Pot 👍🏼

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Josh and I were surviving off of OrderIn. This went fine most nights but one evening we ordered burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and had a major drama. The order got stuck in the app. Eventually I noticed that it had been a long time since I placed the order and I had not had an SMS so I checked the app to make sure the order had gone through and noticed it had not been completely processed. I rang the call centre (I won’t call it a ‘helpdesk’ as it certainly NOT that) and after sitting on the phone in a queue for 5 minutes someone finally answered and when I asked her about the status of my order she then put me on hold and disappeared for ages, she then came back to say that the ‘restaurant had refused the order’ and when I asked her why she said she had to check ‘with a colleague’. She then put me on hold again. After another 5 minutes listening to an annoying call centre message she comes back to say that the restaurant was missing an item we ordered and had cancelled the order. I told her that we only ordered burgers – how many ingredients could be missing?! This sounded rather unlikely.

Josh had subsequently rang the restaurant on his mobile who told us that A) they had not refused the order as they had not received the order and that B) there were no missing ingredients, they had all that we asked for. This can only lead me to the conclusion that the call centre agent was not being truthful. This has happened before where OrderIn agents blamed the restaurant for the issues in delivery and when I rang the restaurant they told me that the story I was given by the call centre agents is not true. They are obviously told never to admit a glitch on the app however the damage that they can do to a restaurant’s reputation can be terrible.

Petrol went up this week and I missed that memo. By the time I got the message I was home and in my PJs and not a chance was I moving. It is already taking twice the petrol driving up the mountain now that I drive the coast road.

I was presenting very tedious information to the client in workshops twice this week and both days I had such a sore tummy. Presenting stresses me out especially when I have not written the documents myself. I hate surprises. But both days went well and I have my rules confirmed. I’ll package for sign off next week.

Driving out of the city yesterday a car stalled at the traffic light in front of me. The large truck behind me got annoyed at the delay & overtook the queue of traffic & drove around us & cut in front to turn left at the same time the poor dude got his car to start resulting in a major collision right in front of me. It was rather shocking and loud but no one was badly injured. I was then starting to shift into victim mode and think “why me? Why are all of these stressful things happening to me?” And then I pulled myself up for languishing in egotistic self pity. I needed to shift my focus and say Thank You! Thank you spirit guides and protectors and ancestors for keeping me safe in that accident. Thank you for a job. Thank you for a job where I get to talk to people all day about a topic I love, data and data quality. How lucky am I that I get paid to write, even if I am writing technical approach documents, at least I am doing something I love to do and getting paid a cracking good salary to do so.

I need to refocus. Maybe being without Norm has made me more appreciative of what I have. I just know I can’t wait for him to get home and I’m feeling renewed in how I am approaching this project. Life is good. I’m a lucky Kitten. I just need to focus on those positives and keep myself in gratitude mode.

This morning I was up early and took Pixie to the doggy chiropractor. We were a bit early so we canoodled in the car.

I put a ham in to bake when I got back.

I baked a gammon ❤️

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I then popped out to Spar and bought some veggies so I will do roast butternut and cauliflower, corn on the cob and serve those with the ham.

I’ve just been chilling outside with the dogs and relaxing. Feeling blessed to have this view.

And feeling pleased the plants I repotted are thriving.

The view from my happy place ❤️😍

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Enjoy your weekend and until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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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

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

Every Drop Matters

Last week was such a crazy busy week full of work related stress. Our team is most likely finishing at our current client at the end of March, but this has not been confirmed as yet. That is always a bit uncomfortable. We were very behind in our delivery due to the client being unable to assist us with technical design issues we were having but last week the consultant who does technical support for the project was over from Germany and he was able to offer some suggestions for our developer to try and we finally appear to have cracked it late on Friday. Progress!! I was ready to celebrate that night.

I had booked at Cheyne’s on Friday evening for dinner with friends and it was a great way to kick off the weekend. Norm and I arrived first.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha Cocktail to get me started. It is described as ‘belvedere vodka, fuji apple juice with toasted cardoman, ginger, fresh mint leaves shaken with passion fruit, star anise and mandarin puree and topped with MCC.’ I loved that it had a few visible whole star anise, a fig and various other bits to add visual interest as well as flavour.

Passionate Buddha #Cocktails

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But be prepared mentally as the drinks took on average 30 minutes each to arrive. I ordered one on arrival and then another one as soon as I sipped down that one and I only managed to get 2 down me all night. So much for my desire to celebrate our work successes by imbibing in copious quantities of vodka cocktails.

Our friends Andy and Alison arrived shortly after we did.

And our friend Nicola who is over from Bath at the moment arrived just after.

Once we all chatted a bit and ordered some wine for the table we all perused the menu and the waiter told us what was on the specials list for the night. We opted for the Yum Cha Experience which is R260 per person for any 4 items on the menu.

Several of us ordered the Firecracker Crayfish which is an additional R25 per person.

Firecracker Crayfish ❤️

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It was perfectly cooked and really divine. I have had this before and if it is on offer I always order it.

For my other sea choice I picked the Chilli Salt Squid with sesame mayo, green chilli caramel. There were some lovely pickled red onions on top which I also enjoyed. The squid was crispy and not at all chewy. However it arrived while I was still eating my crayfish.

Chili salted squid ❤️

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So I had 2 dishes in front of me at this point, yet Norm had not been served anything as yet. I find that this is where Cheyne’s has shortcomings, not ensuring that people are all being served at least one dish at a time. Either the dishes ‘pile up’ and you cannot appreciate them slowly before they get cold or alternatively you sit watching everyone else eat with an empty plate in front of you. It happens almost every time but we go back again and again as we love the food.

The third dish I was served was the Mumbai Chilli Beef: soy, cardoman and ginger syrup with toasted coconut. This is one of my all time faves and it did not disappoint.

Mumbai Chilli Beef

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Norm was delighted when his Hake arrived. Described as ‘Kombu roasted hake, miso, mirin, sake and pickled Japanese turnip’. Several people at the table had this and all said it was a lovely piece of fish.

Hake

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Norm’s next dish arrived from the Earth section of the menu almost at the same time, he had ordered the pan fried tender stem broccoli, sweet garlic miso and bonito flakes. Norm loved this dish.

Broccoli 🥦

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We had a break while everyone finished up their courses and we chatted and laughed and had a brilliant evening.

Finally those of us who had a remaining course ordered our dessert and I stuck with my fave, the double thick peanut butter shake topped with toasted peanuts and 70% chocolate soil.

Peanut Butter Shake 😍

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We all headed out just after 10pm and finally got in the car after a long South African goodbye in the car park. It was a great night of amazing food and good friends.

On Saturday Norm and I had a lazy day as Josh, Lily and David were off at the track as Josh was racing that day.

It was really hot so we settled in downstairs with all of the doors and windows open to let in the stray breeze.

Norm was reading an article on his iPad and when I asked him what he was reading about he told me the story of Sarah Baartman whose name I had heard before but about whom I knew no background story. The story he told me horrified me and when he said that there was a film called Black Venus about her life we decided to try and find it on YouTube.

The version we watched was multilingual with English subtitles. It was a two part video and the links are here for PART ONE and PART TWO. It is difficult viewing but I think it is required viewing if you wish to understand some of the challenges that women and people of colour had in that time in history.

Sarah, or Sara, or Saartjie as she was re-named by the slave trader who took her to Europe, was a Khoikhoi woman born in 1789 in the Eastern Cape to a nomadic family of cattle herders. She spent her childhood living on a colonial farm where her family most likely worked as servants and after her parents both died she was engaged to marry a Khoikhoi drummer. He was murdered and their baby died and Sara was later taken into the slave trade by Pieter Willem Cezar and sent to work for his brother’s family in the Western Cape.

While Sara was working for the Cezar family the brothers Cezar came into an agreement with a man named William Dunlop and Cezar and Dunlop transported Sara to London for the purposes of displaying her and her ample bottom as a freak show anomaly.

They had a flesh coloured bodysuit made and displayed Sara in a cage in Piccadilly Circus and in various private parties where the guests were invited to touch her buttocks to prove they were so large and round due to legitimate flesh and not just stuffing. Sara allegedly objected strongly to being touched in such an intimate manner by strangers as you can imagine anyone would.

Sara also had what has been called a Hottentot Apron or Khoisan Apron. This is an extended labia. This was a source of great fascination.

After 4 years Sara was transported from Great Britain to France where the social scene was less prudish by nature. Rumours are that Sara was prostituted to raise more money, money which most likely never even made its way into Sara’s pockets. From what I have read it seems that Sara was victimised or abandoned by everyone who was in her life.

The French naturalist and zoologist Georges Cuvier (a.k.a Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric or Baron Cuvier) met Sara in Paris and was fascinated with her and wished to study and document her anatomy. Sara’s body was studied by French anatomists, zoologists and physiologists from March 1815 after which Cuvier concluded that she represented a link between animals and humans. Cuvier was convinced that Sara was proof that her race had descended from the mating of her ancestors with orangutans.

Sara Baartman died in 1816 at the age of 26. It is unknown whether she died from alcoholism, smallpox or pneumonia. Cuvier obtained her remains from local police and dissected her body after he made a plaster cast of her full body. He pickled her brain and genitals which were then displayed at the Musée de l’Homme until 1974. The story of Sara Baartman resurfaced in 1981 when Stephen Jay Gould, an American palaeontologist wrote about her story in his book “The Mismeasure of Man” where he criticised racial science.

When the African National Congress (ANC) took over as the ruling party in SA, President Mandela requested that the French government return Sara’s remains so that she could be laid to rest in her place of origin. The process took eight years as the French had to draft a bill that would not allow other countries to claim treasures taken by the French.

Finally on the sixth of March 2002, Sara Baartman was brought back home to South Africa where she was buried. On 9 August 2002, Women’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa, Sara was buried in the Eastern Cape Province where her family originated.

Sara lived a tragic sad life where she was treated as property of the men who traded off her offerings. I was really saddened by her story but it is a story that needs to be told.

Norm and I decided that as we were on our own for dinner we would cheer ourselves up and treat ourselves to dinner out so we headed down to the local venue Papino’s for dinner.

Norm was happy to get an icy cold glass of sauvignon blanc.

❤️

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I had a wee vodka.

We love their steaks and so we had our usual. Hollandse Biefstuk at R172.00, Pan-fried beef fillet with mushrooms flambéed with brandy. It comes with a side of fresh steamed veggies and your choice of potato. Norm had normal chips but I had the Portuguese chips. I love the crispiness of them.

We ordered a side of extra mushrooms and a portion of onion rings.

We had a lovely relaxed dinner and then headed home. Josh won his races and they arrived back home just after 10pm. They were knackered though and were off to sleep soon thereafter.

The next morning Norm was kind enough to pop down to the shops for coffee, milk and pastries for the crowds. I made up a tray with fig preserves, soft butter and grated cheese for those eating plain croissants and we all settled outside with frothy coffees and pastries. I chose a chocolate croissant and a muffin, both of which Panda had his eye on……

After they finished breakfast they showered and packed and Lily and David headed out to make the long journey down the coast to the Garden Route.

I decided to potter about in the garden and I nipped a few offshoots from my thriving succulents and planted them in some pots at the back of the house. Everything else has died due to the drought. I added some little pans under the pots to catch what water they do receive and I will just have to hope for these to take root and grow like the many succulents at the front of the house I have planted.

When Norm had gone down to the shops that morning he also bought us some food to braai for dinner as it was very warm so we did not want to turn on the kitchen stove. He cooked it all on the gas grill. He grilled chicken thigh kebabs, chicken sausages stuffed with feta and herbs and halloumi. To go with all that goodness he did a mix of sweet potato, onions, green beans and baby broccoli.

We had a lovely relaxed evening.

There have been several global outbreaks of Listeria recently and SA is no exception. There have been at least 180 deaths here which have been linked to listeria and this weekend they announced the culprit. It was due to polony which is similar to American bologna (i.e. some nasty assed stuff). The outbreak in Oz was traced to a sexy, round juicy  melon. Ours to plastic horrid meat. Typical.

Tonight Norm cooked for us again. He made chicken breasts stuffed with Brie cheese, mushrooms and sweet corn on the gas grill and I sliced fresh figs and coleslaw to go with it.

I read on social media about an initiative that the local community centre Workspace have started. It is a feeding scheme which they are calling “Workspace Cadets”. Every Friday, Workspace offers a meal to the indigent youngsters who hang out in the harbour instead of being at school. The people who run the Workspace have gotten to know some of the kids and are attempting to understand the reasons why these children dropped out the system with an aim to help them change their attitude and to persuade them to go back to school. Today I set up a monthly debit order to buy 4 of the tokens each month. That means that every week when they do the feeding scheme one extra child will not go hungry. Some of these children in the harbour are living in horrific conditions, many of them due to drugs or alcohol in the home. If I can assist just a little with this then that makes me feel a bit better. Even though it is literally a drop in a very large bucket.

But as we are learning with living in a drought, every little drop matters.

kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Takers and Fakers

I mentioned that the Budget Speech was done last Wednesday. I also discussed the failings of the current government to adequately plan for the number of children in the Western Cape province and how 10k children have no placement in a school. I found it rather ridiculous that the ANC blamed the high levels of uneducated Africans solely on the past years of apartheid when the ANC have been in power for over 20 years. From what I have seen the ANC have done very little to better the cause of their constituents during those 20 plus years.

Unemployment in January 2018 was 26.7% as compared to the official unemployment rate in 1994, as recorded by Statistics South Africa, which was approximately 20%. The ANC have failed to improve in this area either and the two issues are intrinsically linked. Education is one of the paths out of poverty and unemployment.

Statistics SA calculates an “expanded rate” of unemployment which includes people who do not have a job and are available to work but have not taken active steps to look for work. Calculations using the expanded rate put unemployment at 31.5% in 1994 and 35.6% between July and September 2013. So either way you slice the data, the ANC is failing to progress the living conditions of the voters.

It is estimated that 53 million girls do not have access to education. This can be due to many different reasons but some of the girls are too isolated to be able to attend a physical school and so a proposal was made to the African Union (AU) Summit by the ONE foundation which suggested digital learning could be a way to reach many children. Globally there are so many challenges to getting access to education and this needs to be addressed strategically, hopefully the new first lady will help to further that agenda.

Another issue compromising the rights of young girls is the high incidence of sex trafficking and child trafficking and other ways of suppressing these young girls from living their best lives. A crazy situation has just literally blown up in South Africa. This oppression was done in the name of religion.

Back in February 2016 a raid was done on the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church where 18 kids between the ages of 7 and 13 years of age were removed from the care of the church. This was after months of investigation into the practices of the church where it was identified that none of the children there were being allowed to go to an external school and were also not being educated by the church. This is illegal to not educate a school aged child and so the police removed the children on the instructions of the Social Development MEC.

A report by chapter 9 institution the CRL Rights Commission was presented to Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs in October last year where they warned it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told City Press that she interviewed the cult leaders in 2016 during her investigation into church practices and made the parliamentary committee aware of her “serious concerns” however for some reason this case seems to have slipped through the many governmental cracks and the predictions by the CRL report were realised when the cult leaders ran out of money and then decided it would be a good idea to go on a crime spree in the hopes of topping up their coffers.

The cult members ambushed a police station in Ngcobo on the Eastern Cape. There were 5 police staff killed as well as an off duty soldier. Three of the SAPS members were shot on site while two additional members were kidnapped before being killed and left on the side of the road. During the attack, ten firearms and a police van were stolen from the police station, and an ATM a short distance from the police station was robbed.

Investigations into the raid on the police station led the police to the doors of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church yet again where another shoot out occurred, this time the interaction left seven people dead and resulted in 10 arrests. Further exploration of the ‘church’ premises revealed that there were approximately 100 girls here who were being kept as sex slaves. These children ranged in age from infants to teens. The adults who lived on the premises were not allowed to leave the compound either.

If only the government had acted on the report they could have saved those girls from years of sexual abuse and gotten them into a school so that they could get an education.

There has been some rather horrid news over the last week.

There was a post going around social media regarding a woman who went missing on her way to work on Thursday, a notice was put out by the Pink Ladies organisation. 57-year-old Gill Packham‚ a teacher at Springfield Convent in Wynberg‚ was reported missing by a relative on Thursday morning. On Thursday night a burning BMW was discovered at the train station in Diep River and a body was discovered in the boot of the car. It is feared but not confirmed that this body is the missing teacher. I pray that she died prior to them setting the car alight as that would be a horrendous way to die. I feel so sad for her children and loved ones. Such a senseless death.

We also heard on the radio that there was some sort of taxi war going down on Thursday night in Hout Bay, very near our home. There were reports of gun shots from multiple people.

“Hout Bay police have now confirmed that a 22-year-old man was killed during a shooting incident outside the OK Mini-Mart in Hout Bay on February 22.

The shooting, which occurred at 9.30pm, is believed to be related to a taxi war.

“Another victim was shot inside the OK Mini Mart and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Groote Schuur Hospital,” said Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch. “A murder case and attempted murder case were opened. No arrests have been made as yet. All leads are being followed up to establish the cause of the incident.”

Rumours were circulating that this incident was linked to the most recent fire in the township. The fire is rumoured to have been caused by a fight over taxi routes. The man who allegedly started that fire has gone into hiding and the way things work in the community is that if you are not there to pay the price of your actions yourself then a family member will be given your punishment. The rumours are that one of the victims was the brother of the alleged arsonist.

The local Driftwood Restaurant & Pub in Hout Bay was reported to have been robbed by 4 armed men the morning after the shoot out. This was potentially an inside job as the takings from the previous night were all on site. There are various gambling machines in the pub which also would have been emptied. Who knew the patterns of the bank deposits? This has happened before at this same venue.

I had a relaxed weekend at home despite all of the chaos swirling around the village. Norm was away from Friday morning when he flew to Zambia at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. He left the house at 4.30am but I did not hear him tiptoe out, I only woke when Josh left for work.

Friday night Josh and I stayed in and ordered a curry from the Indian Oven and it was ever so delicious as always. As I had been awake so early that morning and Josh was working the next day we were both asleep by 10pm.

Saturday I had a friend pop by to drop off some cleaning products that I bought, but other than that I had a lazy day just doing not much of anything. Of course everything I do is accompanied by my shadow.

I started watching a new series called Retribution on Netflix. There were only 4 episodes in the series and I binge watched them all on Saturday night. It was such a great show, I really recommend it and give it a full 5 Kitten stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday I had to emerge from my nest and go shopping so I showered and went down to the village. I did not bother to put on make up so of course I saw so many people I know. Typical.

I decided to cook a beef curry for that evening and I put in loads of veggies and lentils and some cannelloni beans. It cooked all day and we had it that evening for dinner. I forgot to buy any cauliflower rice so we just had it as is with some poppadoms and some chicken samoosas I bought at woolies.

Beef and veggie curry

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Norm arrived home late on Sunday night so I waited up for him to get in. I am never sure who is more excited to see him, me or the dogs. Navajo has barely been eating while Norm was away and he is also limping on his back leg again. I am not sure if this is just amateur dramatics or whether he really has a problem. He is a bit of a drama queen.

On Monday Vanessa came around to do my pedicure and after she left I made dinner. I had cooked a bolognaise sauce on Sunday afternoon. I sliced up a couple of aubergines and fried them to make sure they cooked properly. I then created a sort of Lasouka or Mousana. (What you get if a Moussaka and a Lasagna had a baby.)

I layered the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan and topped it with a layer of the fried aubergines.

They were not as burnt as they look trust me, I am a Mousana Master. I then added a layer of ricotta cheese and topped with a layer of sliced mozzarella and baked it all for about 30-40 minutes.

It was very rich with all of the cheese, it would have been fine without the ricotta. But it was rather tasty and was a nice change from my usual low carb lasagna.

We have had a bit of rain here and there as well and the current estimate for Day Zero is July 9th.

Our new president has announced his new cabinet and I am rather disappointed to see that it is littered with Gupta owned Zuma supporters. His choices are driven by what is good for the ANC, not what is good for the country.

I am most disappointed in the retention of Bathabile Dlamini. Her incompetence has been proven many times over. David Mabuza will be sworn in as the Deputy President of South Africa which is also a slap in the face of all of us as he has been surrounded by scandal and corruption charges. A few of the ministers who did get moved out were a relief so it is not all doom and gloom. However this was a missed opportunity to do a proper clear out of the Gupta-ites and Zuma sycophants.

Ramaphosa only gets two kitten stars for this new cabinet. And that is me being incredibly generous.

⭐️⭐️

I’ve got my eye on you Cyril!

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Dirt, Water & Foxes

Last Thursday South Africa swore in Cyril Ramaphosa as our new President and the State of the Nation Address (SONA) occurred on Friday. I have added in a clip of some of the high points as the full speech is rather long. This clip highlights the difference in how our new President Ramaphosa expresses himself in comparison to the way that Zuma stumbled along unintelligibly in his resignation shown in the clip from my last blog.

Our new President has stated that he intends to put SA back on track and to rid the government of corruption and release the country from state capture.

For one, Ramaphosa has vowed to focus on resolution of the issues we are currently having with the management and corruption of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This hopefully means good bye to both Lynne Brown, Minister of Public Enterprises and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane both of whom are also allegedly on the payroll of the Gupta family and instrumental in state capture. Ramaphosa has said he will implement governance to stop board members from being  involved in any processes related to procurement to mitigate the risk of conflict of interest.

Our electricity parastatal Eskom has been the focus of many investigations into corruption and state capture.  The CFO, Anoj Singh recently resigned and the investigations seem to be heating up. The former CEO Brian Molefe has been ordered to pay back the 11 million Rand he was illegitimately paid from the state owned company as part of his supposed ‘pension’ pay out when in fact he resigned due to the allegations of state capture from the public prosecutor’s report, he did not retire. He also has to pay almost 2 Million in legal costs. He tried to blag that he retired but it was proven that he did not, he ran from the risk of imprisonment due to his hand in the corruption and collusion with the Guptas.

The new president has also promised to clear out of the cabinet of the corrupt members who were allied with Zuma and captured by the Guptas.

In my opinion, one of the first to get the boot should be Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini who has proven her incompetence over and over. If she is not incompetent then that means she really is evil as her mismanagement of the processes to distribute funds intended for the vulnerable children and families in SA is shocking. You can never convince me that she did not get payouts from Cash Paymasters Services (CPS) for continually delaying the roll out of the child services financial processes to being managed by the SA Post Office.

We all got to witness Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba playing Candy Crush on his iPad while our new president spoke. I suspect he was not that interested in the future due to his past and he knows his days are numbered. He was given his current position in order to further capture SA, this time the treasury was in the pocket of the Guptas. The Budget speech was today and full of drama from the EFF abstaining to the DA grand standing. The DA have raised a complaint to the Public Prosecutor about Gigaba’s previously proven lack of ethical behaviour and hopefully he will be removed from post ASAP.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is also shrouded in controversy and is certainly not doing enough to protect us residents from the high levels of crime in SA. He was previously the Minister of Sport, I hazard a guess that he has zero clue about how to implement a strategy to resolve the corruption in the police services.

A recent audit of the South African Police identified high levels of illiteracy among the staff which helps to explain why they are often so reticent to make a report of a crime when it occurs. Paperwork is never much fun but if you cannot read or write it is a complete non-starter.

The audit also identified that there are more than 1,000 convicted felons employed by the police. This helps to explain the high number of case dockets and other info which goes missing resulting in cases being dropped.

There is also a huge issue with internal corruption and missing weapons or mis-allocated funds. Often times this is done with a helping hand from the top cops. A ‘top’ cop was recently arrested for selling police issue guns and ammo to criminals. Another for corruption over fraud and other charges.

There is even a member of Zuma’s family who is highly implicated in the State Capture report and that is his son Duduzane Zuma. He has absconded and there is a price on his head for his capture. Hopefully without his father to protect him he will be found and justice will be served.

The new president has promised free higher education available to those who qualify. SA has many challenges around schooling and access to education. In the Western Cape there are over 11,000 learners who have not been placed in a school as yet for 2018. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says it’s on track to accommodate these children by installing mobile classrooms in the rapidly growing communities. Once again the current government proves it has no clue when it comes to forward planning. I hope that there is a major shake up in this department too.

Our new first lady Tshepo Motsepe has quite a long list of kudos of her own, independent of her husband. She is a medical doctor and she is a graduate of Harvard where she obtained a Master of Public Health [MPH] in Maternal Child Health and Aging at the Harvard School of Public Health. Mrs Ramaphosa has successful family connections as she is the older sister of South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe. Also her sister Bridgette Radebe is married to a Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe. Hopefully there is no bitterness between Radebe and Ramaphosa as Radebe fancied himself as a contender for the presidency himself.

The new first lady is active in several NPOs (Non-profit Organisations) mostly around children and education.

They both sound as if they will be a great asset to SA, but Zuma and his wives did not set the bar very high. I will withhold any judgement for a bit and see where this new president takes the country. I do have such hope for transformation.

The latest projection for Day Zero is that it has now been pushed back to the 7th of July. As we have had minimal rain this can only be due to other factors. However I will not question this push back, I will be grateful for the delay.

Personally, I had a lovely weekend. On Saturday Norm and I woke very early to the sound of alarms on our street. We realised that this was due to the electricity being off yet again. We found out that it was the same transformer as had blown the two previous times that we were without power for many hours.

I made us both a coffee by boiling water on our gas cooker and then I just tied up my hair and threw on some clothes and took Pixie to the doggy chiropractor.

It was an early appointment and after I got home we still had no power so Norm and I set out to find some breakfast. A new German restaurant has opened in Hout Bay called Zur Holzbucht and we had seen on social media that they were doing breakfast so we decided to give them a try.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and we went to sit outside but Norm spotted that they were setting up for a child’s birthday party so we skulked back inside to the shaded inside for optimal peace and quiet. We both ordered the farmer’s breakfast, an omelette with pan fried potatoes, bacon and onion.

This was a really nice omelette, I like my omelette’s properly cooked with no runny bits and this was just the way I like it. The addition of pickles was a bit odd but I liked the sliced tomato and red onion. I liked some of the other items on their menu and we will definitely be back to try more things.

Afterwards we went and did a shop for that evening as we were not sure if we would have electricity restored before dinner time. We just relaxed and I played offline games on my ipad while Norm napped. The electricity came back on around 5pm.

Later that evening Norm braaied dinner for us.

He cooked corn on the cob, halloumi and chicken sausages on the braai and I made coleslaw and sliced up some figs to go with it. Simple, yet delicious.

We are now addicted to Designated Survivor a series we started watching this weekend and we really love it!!! We spent the evening enjoying the intrigue (and rejoicing in having electricity – small pleasures).

On Sunday I had plans to meet my friends Lila and Nicola for lunch at Foxcroft.

Norm snapped a pic on our way out, I do love my view so much.

These ladies were some of the first friends I made when I moved to South Africa over 25 years ago.

Lila is also an American expat and she and her husband Nigel spend half the year in St Francis Bay on the east coast of SA and half the year in Florida. One of the other women who had booked bailed on us at the last minute so we let Nigel come along and fill the extra seat.

Nicola is a South African who spends part of the year here in SA and part of the year in England at her other home in Bath. It is rare that we are all 3 in the same city (or even country!) at the same time so we made the most of it.

The food was amazing as always and we had such a laugh. Lila and I are both your typical loud Americans and we had managed to involve the couple sitting at the table next to us in one of our convos with the waiter which got the couple laughing and they ended up chatting to us so much we almost offered them a seat with us. Our new friend took this pic of the group for us, while chirping to us the whole time, hence the laughter.

The set menu was for 2 tapas dishes, 1 main dish and 1 dessert for R435 per person.

I started with the Seared Tuna Tataki: Chipotle, avocado, cucumber, rice puff.

Tuna tataki

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The second tapas I chose was the Honey-glazed Quail: Confit leg, rhubarb, pecan, liver jus.

For my main I chose the same Pork dish as I had on New Year’s Eve when we ate there. There are 2 different bits of free-range Pork accompanied by Gemsquash, charred cabbage, fermented plum.

This is some of the best pork belly I have ever eaten. Oh so divine.

For my dessert I had the Compressed Strawberry: Lemon curd, geranium, sour cream, matcha. I adore this dessert. Light and oh so delicious.

We all had such fun, we laughed so much and gossiped about whomever I could remember from those days. I have blocked out a lot of memories from that time as it was very traumatic for me around the time of my divorce. Lila and Nigel let me and the kids live with them when I first left my ex-husband. Nicola had helped me out financially by using me as an assistant for various painting jobs she had when she was doing interior design.

These ladies will be my friends for life, wherever we may all end up on the planet I will always have a special place in my heart for them.

On Monday as I left work the security guard waved at me and pointed to my car tire. I put down the window and he said that I needed to get to a garage to check it. I was in a queue of traffic so I could not get out to check but I could hear it making a noise as I drove. The traffic in that area is horrific so I could not pull over safely and being stranded in South Africa is a huge risk for a woman so I kept going, praying continuously to my guardian angels and my ancestors to protect me. I finally made it to the garage and we saw that there was a nail in my tire. By this time it was completely flat.

Oh dear, damn you nail. Just what I needed on a Monday afternoon

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The petrol attendants were ever so sweet and asked me to pull over to a parking spot and they very quickly replaced the damaged tire with my spare.

The following day I had to drag Norm out of bed to run me into work. He then went back home to let in Cordelia and Mzudumo and then went to sort out my tire. He came back to collect me that evening. Bless him he spent most of the day driving or sitting in traffic.

Cape Town traffic is getting so congested. Part of this is due to the dysfunctional train service. So many of the trains have been put off line due to vandalism. This puts extra pressure on the buses and the roads. The least that could be done would be to increase the allocation of buses in the areas where the train services are suspended but they do not even do that.

This morning it took me an hour and a half to get into work. There were no visible accidents, this was just the sheer volume of cars on the roads.

I guess even without water, a lot of people want to live in this fabulous city so that is the price we have to pay.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo