Queue Convos & Transient Relationships

Last week I had to leave work midday on Wednesday to go to collect Norm at the airport. On the way home I was starving so we decided to hop off the motorway in Constantia and stop for a quick lunch at Mugg & Bean.

Norm was a bit jet-lagged and just ordered a blueberry muffin. I was ravenous as I had not had time for breakfast and so I ordered a couple of items off of their tapas menu.

The top pic is the Mini Hasselback Potatoes, described as deep-fried Hasselback baby potatoes topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon bits & chopped chives, served with a side of M&B salsa & guacamole. This dish was R38.90.

The lower picture is of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken: sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips served with a side of sweet chilli sauce. This dish was R49.90.

The hasselback potatoes did not even vaguely resemble a hassleback potato, other than the fact they were potatoes. A hassleback potato should be sliced across the top and fried or roasted in butter or oil so that the skin crisps up. Sort of like a potato wedge and a baked potato had a baby. HERE are some pics of what they should look like. The potatoes at Mugg & Bean were just boiled baby potatoes with some toppings thrown on. Granted they were tasty toppings, but they should just call them boiled potatoes with tasty toppings. The buttermilk chicken strips were crispy and nicely cooked and I enjoyed those. I also enjoyed the potatoes, but I would have enjoyed them more if they were crispy. I give my meal a solid 3 Kitten Stars.

I took Norm home to have a wee nap and I worked from the lounge with Lola kitty sitting in my lap. It was a rather lovely way to work. The dogs were insanely happy to see their Daddy and did not leave his side all day.

That night we had a quiet night in as Norm was pretty tired from his trip.

The following day Norm had a meeting at the City of Cape Town offices which are across the road from my offices and so he walked over to meet me for lunch after he finished. We went to The Lunch Depot nearby. I often pop in here for a quick bite if I am not getting a take away as it has a nice seating area. Norm ordered a breakfast wrap with egg and bacon and I ordered the salmon salad.

It was very nice, the salmon was fresh and the salad crisp and not overly doused in dressing. My egg was not over boiled. It was also nice to spend time with Norm after his trip. If I do not take a lunch in with me I do not often make the effort to eat something so fresh, I usually grab a toasted sandwich at the local cafe.

After work on Thursday Norm cooked us dinner and it was so nice to have home cooked food. He made chicken sausages, sweet potato mash and cole slaw. There was enough for my lunch the next day as well which stops me wandering off to eat unhealthy things.

On Friday I had to go to the traffic department to renew my drivers’ license that had expired back in April when I wasn’t looking. I was advised to arrive before they open at 8am and I was standing in the already long queue at 7:40 but there were probably 20 people ahead of me already when I arrived. Once they opened the doors we all moved to the appropriate window and formed another queue there. Out of boredom I started chatting to the people around me in the queue. I am not good with crowds or with people getting too close to me. I had already been annoyed by a woman smoking in the queue and had made a mental attempt to relax and let my tensions and stress go, just to avoid throttling someone in the queue. The cop shop was too close by for any nonsense of that nature.

There was an african man and a coloured woman behind me in the queue and the woman was chattering away to the man. He was pretty quiet. She was telling him that she works as a housekeeper in Gardens and that she only has a learners license and she had let that expire which meant she had no license at all. She said she had taken the morning off of work to sort it out. She tried to grill him on his personal info but he was very closed mouth and all she could get out of him was that he drove a ‘goods delivery truck’ which was pretty strange as he had no license. I know he did speak English as I had already asked him the time earlier. We started talking about expired licenses and how the police departments are so rubbish at managing their data. I told them the story about trying to renew my car license and the car license department sending me across town to pay off a fine which the traffic department did not even have down on their register. Of course I spent half a day queuing at various departments to discover that.

I joked about how I was so panicked once I realised my license had expired and how I had been driving extra carefully to avoid getting stopped and how I was worried that if I got stopped that I might get chucked into Pollsmoor Prison. Then I laughed and said ‘I am not even sure if they put women into Pollsmoor.’ My new friend then said ‘Yes they do, I was in Pollsmoor once’. She told us a story about once when she was younger and was protesting and was picked up and put into prison for 24 hours then released. She talked about the high number of mothers who are raising their children in prison. What a sad story that was. It is good that the babies get time with their mothers but sad they would spend their first months or years in a prison environment.

At the first window we gave over our documents and they were stamped and stapled together and we were given a new form and told to go to window 14. I thought she said window 16 and wandered vaguely around for ages looking for the non-existent window 16 until a member of staff realised my discombobulation and redirected me to 14.

I had gone to the effort of getting a letter from my optometrist as I had just been the previous week for an eye test. I had assumed this meant I could skip the eye test at the licensing center, however this form was not even looked at despite me waving at everyone who would listen. I had no choice, I had to press my eyes against the eye test machine. I have such germophobia and this was freaking me out.

There were 3 women working in this area testing your eyes and then taking your fingerprints. One woman was shouting abuse at the African man who had been behind me in the queue (he got ahead during my lost foray looking for the imaginary window 16). She kept shouting ‘do you speak English? do you understand what I am saying to you? can you not figure out which way the letter is pointing? what is your problem?’ in a constant stream. She had the poor guy so stressed out he did not know what was happening. She sent one guy off to see an optometrist. He obviously failed. The 2nd tester was coughing so much I thought her lung might land at my feet any minute. She was weeping continuously from hacking. She sounded like she was either very ill or about to die. Either way, she should not have been at work hacking her germs all over the testers. The 3rd woman was the one I ended up with and she seemed the lesser evil of the choices available. She was a miserable cow. She spoke to me like I was a simpleton. I passed and I managed to resist shoving that fingerprint scanner up her ample backside so it was a win win.

As they test both your actual sight as well as your peripheral vision I had to alternate between taking off my glasses to take the peripheral exam and putting them on to take the vision test. Eventually I managed to complete my test. The same woman who does the fingerprints asks you to move your chair back a bit and then snaps a pic when you are peering confusedly at her and looking your most unflattering. I had gone in with 4 decent ID pictures.

But they stapled the nice pic onto my temporary license and will use the horrid pic snapped by Miss Grumpy Pants where I look like I could move an 18 wheeler worth of storage in the bags under my eyes. Added to this virtual indignity is the fact that I ended up with itchy, swollen eyes the following day, most likely the start of an eye infection from the shared germs of all of humanity squinting into the exam thingy since 1943. I used a few hot compresses over the weekend and the pain has lessened but not gone away. My immunity is pretty rubbish it seems.

After we finished with the eye exam and fingerprints we were directed to ‘windows 4 to 8’ except there was only someone working in window 4 and so we all queued up again at this window. I then started chatting to a tiny Jewish woman, she said she was a researcher and I wondered if she was associated to UCT as I had done a project there for the research department. I thought what a small world we live in but I could not grill her for info as she was called up to the window and after that she left as she was finished. I can almost guarantee that I could have discovered a common acquaintance within few degrees of separation if we had continued our conversation.

I found the whole experience a bit stressful as I do with anything ‘official’. But after just under 2 hours I was finished and on my way to work. I have to go back to collect my license in 6-8 weeks which means queuing up again but hopefully that step in the process will be quicker than applying for the renewal of my license was.

On Friday night Norm popped out for fish and chips for us as we were both too tired to go out and I refuse to cook on a Friday. We built a big fire and started watching a new series called ‘The Good Cop‘ with the bizarre combo of Josh Groban and Tony Danza. They play a father and son combo and it is really corny but somehow it kind of works. It is very superficial and a bit funny so it is perfect background kind of TV, you don’t have to play too much close attention to keep up with it. I will give it about 3 and a bit Kitten Stars.

We had no appointments on Saturday morning and Norm had some work he needed to do so he went to the shop and got pastries and made us frothy coffees and I settled in bed with Lola on my lap and a still warm chocolate muffin to keep me amused while Norm worked. Later he finished up with what he needed to do and I showered and we headed off to Simon’s Town. I had been very keen on going to see the Tibetan Monks who were visiting South Africa.

They were going to be creating mandalas in the places where they were being hosted. “A Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation of a spiritual symbol representing a cosmic universe of celestial bodies made from coloured sand. Usually four monks work side by side to create this two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional ideal universe. This painstakingly time-consuming procedure is a very rare sight to see and the monks will construct the sand mandala design of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion to generate strong compassionate and peaceful energy. To symbolise the transitory nature of life, the sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed.”

I have no artistic skills at all but I would find it hard to eliminate something which I spent so much time creating.

However the Buddhists believe that in order to be at peace we must let go of our connections to earth bound objects and the concepts of ownership. The mandalas represent the transient nature of the objects, people and places in our lives.

Our lives change on a continual basis, I have had a year or so of adapting to the temporary nature of ‘friendships’ which is something I have never really had to deal with as I have seldom lived in one place long enough to out live a friendship. Instead I have friends in all of the places I have lived or worked and maintain these long distance friendships however I can.

My lifestyle has changed greatly over the last decade as befits the shift from the mid-forties to the mid-fifties. A decade ago I still felt like a young person, ready to party the night away, however tipping over past the age of 55 has made a shift to the amount of energy and zest for life I can summon up. I am not bothered to go out most nights. I am quite happy snuggled up with my hubby, any kids who may be around and our animals. There are always at least 5 beings, even up to 8 of us just hanging around. That is my little world and all that matters to me. I have drawn inward.

We are terrible about inviting people around. If we are invited to anyone else’s we always show up, and if people were to pop in unexpectedly to see us we would be very pleased, as long as they do not mind witnessing us in our fluffy jimjams at 7pm. Ok, me, it is only me. Norm sits around the house in shoes and trousers. Shoes, for god’s sake!

Bloody Brits.

So anyway.

It was a stunning, sunny day with only a breath of wind on Saturday. We drove the long way around the mountain to avoid paying the toll at Chapman’s Peak. It is still a beautiful drive so it was not really a hardship. We spotted the sign for the Simon’s Town Museum and we pulled into the parking lot. There was a stunning view from the front of the museum.

We went through to the room where the monks were busy with the mandala and saw the altar they had set up on the side of the room, the room was smelling strongly of sage burning to cleanse and purify the air.

In the center of the area marked off with a divider was the mandala with only 1 monk remaining at work.

The mandala itself was well underway by the time we arrived as they had begun the ceremony the previous day. We sat and watched the monk work on the design until he broke for his lunch. I was mesmerized by the intricacy of the design and the skill of the monks in placing the coloured sand with the small devices they used.

The monks all began their prayers in another room and so we drifted off back to the car and headed to the habour for lunch. We went to Bertha’s and we were given a table right by the sea with a stunning view of the harbour.

It was a stunning sunny day perfect for dining outside.

I started out with a strawberry daiquiri.

Norm ordered the calamari.

I had the half kilo of prawns with chips.

I had the peri peri sauce with them and they were very nice, perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned. I really enjoyed them.

After we ate we went for a walk along the little pier by the harbour.

We then walked up through the shops and back to our car and headed back home. I was really craving an ice cream and so we decided to stop at the Constantia shops and also do a little shop of items we needed. On our way to Pic and Pay we popped into Tasha’s Waffle House.

Their ice cream was delicious and we did our shopping then headed home.

We had a relaxing evening and later when we felt a bit nibbly we decided to have an easy dinner and we made cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon and avocado and served it on the croissants that Norm had bought that morning when he nipped out for milk.

Sunday I was up and out by 10 as I had drumming at Eagle Owl Lodge. It was a lovely 2 hours of singing spirit songs and drumming. I always feel so energized from those sessions, I really love them. I drove back home and collected Norm and we went out for lunch. It was a stunning, hot sunny day and Hout Bay was rammed with visitors. We had been going to go to the harbour and have lunch there but decided it was too busy and rather just went to Woodcutters Arms. We grabbed a seat in the beer garden.

Norm settled in with a chilled glass of wine.

I had the daily roast, there was a choice of lamb or beef. I chose the beef.

Norm had his beloved scotch egg starter and a chicken caesar salad.

Norm only rated his salad 3 stars as he said the chicken was overcooked and it was all a bit bland. My roast was 4 stars, the beef was very tender if a bit well done for my tastes. The main issue with eating at this venue is that they allow smoking in the areas where they serve food which is a bit off putting. I also want to enjoy the sunshine sitting outside, I just do not want to inhale copious amounts of smoke while trying to enjoy my food.

To carry on with my ice cream addiction I had the white chocolate and oreo sundae.

I finished every drop of it and really enjoyed it.

After lunch we came back home and I sat outside with the pups enjoying the sunshine, it was a beautiful day.

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Little munchkins all in a row #dogs

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It was a really lovely weekend and it was so nice to have Norm home with me again and our lives back to normal.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0

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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,

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.

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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.

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Caprese Flammkuchen @constantiaglen

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I had the charcuterie and cheese platter.

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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.

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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.

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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

Return of My Heart

I sometimes feel as if my life is just an endless round of the same activities, my own personal Groundhog Day.

Wake at 6, up at 6.30, try to leave by 7 (but always leave later), spend ages in traffic, walk to my office, work for 9-10 hours, walk to car, drive home, cook dinner, eat, watch a bit of telly then pass out.

I do have an amazing view while being annoyed by the road works.

  
It could be worse. So then I try to flip that feeling of monotony to a place of positivity.

I’m so grateful for a safe journey back and forth to my work each day and for my reliable air conditioned lovely little Rhinomobile. I’m grateful I have a safe place to park and that I don’t have to pay out of pocket every day and have to wander round for ages looking for street parking, I’m grateful I have a loving family to cook for, I’m grateful for my warm, dry home and functional kitchen (it’s pretty ugly but I won’t let that dampen my gratitude). I’m grateful for a job in this economy. I’m grateful to have that routine!

I’ve stuck with Banting, resisting the random craving but mostly coping fine.

Sunday I never made it to the shops, instead I enticed Caitlin to stop on her way home. I found a yummy recipe on this Facebook Page and adapted it. 

I layered chicken in a glass dish, then a layer of sliced mushrooms, then a packet of washed baby spinach. I mixed about 2 large tablespoons of cream cheese with a cup of chicken broth and poured it over. I baked for 40 minutes then added mozzarella on top and baked about 15 more minutes. To go with I made cauliflower mash and topped with mozzarella and baked it. It looked a right mess but it was very tasty.

   
 
Monday we had no proper food in the house so creativity was required. I just put together the last odds and ends. I made ‘tacos’ using gem lettuce as shells. We chopped bacon, mushrooms and peppers and fried them and made lots of guacamole and chopped tomato.

  
We had 1 sweet potato so we sliced it and fried the rounds in coconut oil. We made fritters with the last of the zucchini and cheese. It was tasty and filled a gap and complied with our low carb attempts. It meant no take away and that’s an improvement.

I have a new breakfast I’ve been eating all week as I was getting fed up with all the fry ups. It’s too much to have that much in the morning then lunch and dinner as well. This week I have had a container of full cream yogurt, sprinkled it with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts and cinnamon. Yummy. 

Tuesday I stopped at the shop and got some food in for me and the girls. Shopping is so quick with Banting as I mostly hit the ends of the shop: the meat, the veg and dairy. Most of the stuff in the middle of the shop is full of sugar.

That night after I got home from the shops I took Cordelia home and then I made my own pork meatballs. I bought minced pork and put garlic, red pepper, onion, celery and coriander into the blender, then after finished I added to the minced pork along with 2 eggs and a sprinkling of almond flour then made into little balls and fried them in coconut oil til crispy outside and nicely browned. 

  
I heated zucchini noodles and coconut cream, steamed broccoli and served the pork meatballs on top.

That night I popped beef stew meat into the slow cooker, added vegetable stock and seasoning and left it on overnight. The next day I steamed gem squash and served the stew in the squash. I fried mushrooms in butter and made brussel sprouts.  It was a great way to serve the stew and all went well together. 

Thursday the dogs were home alone while we were working and either they or the wind triggered the alarm and the security company kept ringing so I left work at midday and went to work from home. It was hot but I put on my fan and enjoyed my view. 

  
My poor dead grass.

The next night I fried chicken and chorizo then when brown I added a tin of tomato and some fat green olives and grated fresh Parmesan on top.

  
I fried mushrooms and then threw in a bag of spinach. 

     

I took the left over gem squash and puréed it with cream cheese. It all went so well together. The sweet creamy squash was a perfect balance to the earthy spinach and spicy acidity of the chicken and chorizo. 
That night our illustrious *cough* leader President  Zuma gave the South African State of The Nation Address. The promises are the same empty platitudes. We are in a crisis, the water supply infrastructure is in dire need of reworking, we are in a nation wide drought. Our electricity grid is unstable, the entire electrical infrastructure has not been properly maintained for 20 years and there is no visibility of plans for proper support and development or regeneration. The Rand is at its weakest ever. We need a leader. Zuma Must Fall.

Friday night we had Josh down and he offered to get pizzas so I had a Banting base one I just got cheese and tomato and then cooked my own chorizo to go on top.

Saturday I had to go into the CBD to get my hair done. It’s so relaxing and a necessary evil unless I want to grow out my zebra stripes. I think once I retire I will go my natural colour and let the grey come thru.

This week Norm has been in the UK. I’ve missed him lots. He’s such a supportive husband. It’s a lot to do both our chores when he is away, but luckily the girls help. Lily feeds the dogs in the morning. We feed raw so chopping up chicken feet and lungs when first awake is a challenge. 

When Caitlin is home she helps with dinner. She also does the evening dog feed most of the time. I make sure we humans get fed and keep the house in check.

Last night the girls, Josh and I were all home so I made zucchini noodle pasta with prawn and chorizo in a creamy tomato sauce. I fried chorizo with a yellow pepper, an onion and 2 chopped chilies. Once done I threw in a tin of chopped tomato, a squidge of tomato paste and half a tub of creme frais. Once that was warm I added in the woollies prepared zucchini noodles and my thawed cooked prawns from Woolies. Heated it through and left the noodles al dente.

  
We just relaxed and watched movies Saturday night. While we were sleeping it rained a bit as we woke to a wet garden, however it was rapidly soaked up as the sun rose in the sky.

I headed out to the airport to collect Norm this morning at 11 and then we stopped on the way home in Constantia at Greens for lunch as neither of us had eaten.

After we ordered our food Norm disappeared into the little deli shop next door and came back with some beautiful Valentine flowers for me! 

  
He is so sweet.

Neither of us fancied a warm, heavy breakfast as it is quite a humid day so we both opted for a Caesar salad, minus the dressing. 

I had the bacon Caesar. 

  
The bacon was very inconsistently cooked, some bits almost raw and some bits perfectly crispy. I was disappointed in the lack of anchovy. I avoided the breadcrumbs and the rest was suitable for Banting. 

Norm had the Chicken Caesar. He polished it all off and we chatted and caught up with each other’s week.

  
The dogs were over the moon with excitement when they saw Norm. Navajo was crying and whimpering while galloping with delight. Panda hasn’t left his side. 

They had a nap after Norm had a shower and changed from his winter clothes to shorts and a T-shirt.

  
Norm brought me so many presents from the UK. A new cover for my iPad, my Ghost perfume which is only sold in the UK, Touché Éclat concealer by Yves St Laurent, a James Bay CD and 3 books for me to contribute to Book Club as I’m hosting it on Tuesday. We found out it’s the wrong City of Bones but too late. Oh dear.

  
I’m so spoiled!  It’s hard when your fave beauty products are either unavailable or incredibly expensive.

Our actual Valentines celebration was booked for 7, a dinner at Massimo’s in Hout Bay. It’s 5 minutes from our house. They put on a gorgeous Valentine’s menu.

  
For tonight, Banting be damned. I had a night of whatever I wanted.

  
It was fab having my honey home.

  
We had Eagle’s Nest Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard just up the road. It was quite tart but nice.

  
I love that they have a proper pizza oven. 

  
And they show old school movies on the wall.

  
To start I had the melanzane parmigiana. This is a dish I make often and will always order if on a menu. I love it. Theirs was amazing.

  
Norm had the ‘Opera’ which was melon and Parma ham.

  
For my main I had the beef and spinach lasagna which was massive!

  
Norm had the artichoke ravioli which was amazing.

  
For dessert Norm had the tiramisu.

  
I had the brownie and ice cream, it was delicious. Like – amazing! 

  
We left feeling stuffed and satisfied. We had a really wonderful coffee and headed home. 

Norm is snoozing on the couch again. I’m happy to have my nest intact again.