A Smile A Day

Every day we see some new bit of progress with Panda’s development. If you compare his progress from my last blog to this one it is amazing! I usually write a few notes each day in my blog and then connect the dots and tie it all together when I’m ready to post but I had to scrap most of my notes as he has had so many milestones in a single week.

Since Norm returned from Kenya a week ago we have had a Physio session every afternoon when I got home from work.

At the start of the week we used a bit of fabric under Panda’s tummy to support him and used treats to encourage him to walk across the garden to me.

He was still unable to stand very long without assistance and he would not walk far without support.

He went to the Animal Fitness Centre on Monday afternoon and he had his first hydrotherapy session.

Look at that smile! Considering how much he hates water he was very happy in the jacuzzi. But he loves the staff, they are so kind. But they are also firm and told us to stop babying him and make him ‘be a dog’. He managed a few steps without any support and Norm got to see him walking unaided.

The next session we had at home we tried getting him to walk without the band under his tummy and he managed a few steps.

On Thursday morning Norm took him in the kitchen while he was preparing his food and Panda trotted around the kitchen completely on his own.

That afternoon we had him walk from Norm to me, turn around on his own and then walk back to Norm for a treat. That helped him work on turning and balance. He sometimes fell when turning but we persisted and he was doing it well after a few tries.

By Friday he was able to stand up by himself and walk unaided. Until then he could sit up but not stand as his back legs were still too weak.

He was still a bit wobbly and did a few tumbles but we just encouraged him to keep trying. The other animals had to be involved as they also wanted treats.

This morning when I came downstairs Norm and the dogs were already up and when Panda saw me he stood and trotted over to greet me! That delighted me.

Every day there is some progress. He can cock his leg to wee without falling over. He does his toilet outside when we pop him onto the grass and if he is inside and needs to go he barks to tell us he wants to go out. He hated using the pee pads when he could not stand. His tummy is more regular now that he is moving around and he has managed to do that outside now too. We have removed his little bed from our bed and he sleeps on the regular mattress like we do. He struggled to roll over in his bed as it has an indentation in the middle and now he does not wake us to turn him over. Last night he got up and came to snuggle into my tummy like he used to do. He is also being fed the recovery food and baked chicken in the garage with the other dogs each morning or eats out of a bowl on his own without being hand fed. These little returns to normalcy make us so happy.

Panda still can’t stay alone as cannot lift his front legs high enough to get out of the doggy door to go pee, or walk that far to get to the pantry where their water bowl is kept and we do not trust Navajo to not knock him over.

We had amazing weather this week no rain and lots of heat. My flowers are all blooming.

Does anyone know what this plant is called? I think it is so beautiful.

Today it is misty and we have a bit of drizzly rain.

Maybe because there is so much was going on, the week went by so quickly. We made some positive progress at work. The colleague next to me was even more distracting than usual as he has a cold. So now he has added coughing and sniffing to his usual repertoire of talking out loud to himself and playing loud music on rubbish headphones. I want to scream ‘STFU’ to him all day but instead I slap the desk and say ‘you are talking out loud again’. He also does no work, just messages his wife, reads linked in, does personal emails and listens to music. The client does not care too much as they do not pay him as he is on a government driven placement scheme, so we taxpayers are paying for him to mess about each week. When I suggested he tell our manager he has no work to do he just chuckled and said ‘Oh I am keeping myself busy’ and I wanted to say ‘yes but not in any way that is beneficial for the client’. I managed to repress that comment.

I had some sad news on Monday when I heard that one of the women at my old nail salon died. Simie was from Zimbabwe and was only 40 years old and had a 9 year old daughter. She also had two older sons but I feel so sad for her daughter who will now be in an all male household. Her husband said that Simie had pelvic pain and was diagnosed with fibroids at the government hospital and sent home. Her pain increased to such a stage that she went back to hospital 3 weeks ago and they realized she had been misdiagnosed and had stage 4 cervical cancer and she never returned home. Our government hospitals are horrendous. They are understaffed, under supplied with vital equipment and supplies, and very dirty. If the proposed National Health Insurance Bill is passed we are all in trouble. What the government wants to achieve is for those of us with jobs and private health insurance to pay for free healthcare for the poor and underprivileged but we already do so via our taxes. Why must they remove our access to private healthcare and hospitals?

It became public this week that 76% of police stations in South Africa do not have adult rape kits in stock, while a further 69% of stations do not have child rape kits in stock.

Without these kits, evidence in reported rape cases could not be collected, and without evidence the ability to successfully prosecute rapists diminished drastically, DA spokesman Andrew Whitfield said in a statement.

“If the minister of police does not heed to our call to resolve the rape kits crisis he must take full responsibility for the failure of the SAPS to investigate rape, arrest rapists, and ensure successful prosecutions of those who commit this heinous crime,” Whitfield said.

SAPS have now said that they have signed a contract with a supplier to provide rape kits for the next three years.

“The supplier will provide 13 different types of evidence collection kits including, adult sexual assault kits, paediatric sexual assault kits and Buccal (swab) sample collection kits. The first consignment of kits was received yesterday (Saturday) and they are being strategically distributed to provinces today to augment their existing stocks,” SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said in a statement issued Sunday. 

Naidoo explained that a dispute with the supplier forced the SAPS to cancel its contract after allegations of corruption arose between the supplier and members of the SAPS.

Before this, however, the kits were procured at national level and distributed to stations around the country, with the numbers managed on a central database.

Let’s see if they manage to resolve this issue as SA is deemed to be the country with the highest number of rapes internationally. This is only those which are reported and it is estimated that many rapes go unreported.

We have spent so much time dealing with Panda that we have not had much time to cook.

I made tacos and refried beans one night.

I used the left over taco meat to make chili con carne by adding beans, tomato passata and lots more spices.

One night Norm bought a chicken and mushroom pie and made chips in the air fryer and salad to go with it.

We had takeaways a few nights, on Monday I had tapas from Massimo’s. And then I had a Parma ham pizza from Massimo’s on Thursday. We love their food and they are right by our house so it is easy.

I am having a lazy weekend. Norm has been working all weekend so I have caught up with several series on telly.

I have started a new series called Offspring this week which is an Australian series and is very cute.

I adore the quirky theme song to it!

I also watched a documentary called First Face of America which I found really interesting. It is about the discovery of a 13,000 year old skeleton of a young girl they called Naia in a deep cave in the Yucatán province of Mexico. Naia is one of the original ancestors of Native Americans. The remains have been described as the “oldest, most complete and genetically intact human skeleton in the New World”.

It made me wonder what number of scientists are also Christian. How can you believe in both evolution as well as a divine being who is claimed to have created two humans whom we are all descended from with so many diverse physical appearances? I do pray to Wankan tanka or the Great Spirit and I also pray to my ancestors. I believe in giving thanks and showing gratitude for my blessings. However I do not try and tell other people what to believe or who to worship. If only most Christians believed in this right and did not try and convert others or tell them that they will be punished with hellfire and damnation if they do not believe in Jesus.

I also watched an episode of a show I have really enjoyed which is called This Is Life With Lisa Ling. Each episode Lisa has a topic about people who are living unconventional lives or who have jobs in controversial careers. This episode was about the Gay Rodeo.

It made me sad that so many of the LGBTQ community still cannot be who they really are or love whom they want to love openly and publicly. It was encouraging to see that some of the people on the show have been able to do so but so many places in America are unaccepting of being different. Most of the people interviewed had stories of violence or intimidation due to their sexuality. One man came out after a marriage which produced three children and his now adult son will not speak to him, same as many parents are unaccepting of their children. Do they think that being gay is a choice rather than who they are?

The human species still has a long way to go to develop acceptance and humanity.

I hope you have all had a good weekend and that you have a great week ahead. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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I Hear You Knocking

 

I suspect that I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life but I just did not have a name for it. When I moved from a tiny little town in rural Tennessee to Los Angeles in the 80’s I was diagnosed with asthma because when I would drive on the motorways I would hyperventilate and it was assumed it was a reaction to the air quality. Now I realise that I was experiencing my first full blown panic attacks.

Over the years they have reappeared in moments of extreme stress with different intensities. At their worst I faint and at their best I just feel a bit ‘twitchy’ and hypersensitive. A few years ago I was interviewing the CIO at a client and I blacked out in the middle of the interview, my vision went black and I heard the roaring in my ears but I stayed upright. Luckily the project manager I was working with realised something was going on with me and carried on the interview and I came around within a few minutes. On Wednesday this week the same intensity of breathless panic hit me. It started with being aware of my heartbeat, it seemed to be jumping around loudly in my chest. Then my bottom lip went numb which is the signal my doctor told me to be aware of, it signifies a panic attack. The symptoms then escalated until I could feel myself about to faint, I heard the roaring in my ears and my vision started to go dark. I managed to talk myself out of it by breathing deeply and slowly and reassuring myself that I was fine, it was not a heart attack, it was anxiety. Naming it took away some of its power. I scrambled around in my bag and found my anxiety medication and slipped an ativan under my tongue, drank some water and sent an SOS whatsapp to Norman asking him to ring me and talk me down. I walked around the office talking to him until I felt a bit more steady. However I could feel it’s insidious presence at the back of my mind, like a steady knocking to remind me of its presence.

One thing I find with anxiety is that if I try to be a typical Virgo and analyse what may have triggered it, it makes me more anxious. However I am pretty sure that it is the combination of work pressures, money pressures, the fear over Panda’s health and worries over his prognosis.

Sometimes you just have to accept that it is what it is and try to just take things a minute at a time.

When I went home I had to shower and get ready to go out again as it was Norman’s birthday.

We have a lot of history together.

We had made plans to go for dinner with our friends Mel and Steve. Caitlin had offered to babysit Panda so we could have a night out and so we dropped him off there enroute to Peddlars.

Caitlin has 2 kitty cats and neither of them were very happy about the interloper.

In fact there were a few stare offs going on between little Mittens and Panda.

We had booked and were seated at a nice big round table.

Soon after we were seated our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe arrived.

We were not allowed to take any pics of Chloe (teenagers) but it was lovely to catch up with them all, they had just returned from the UK where they were looking for Universities for Chloe.

We had a lovely dinner. Everyone except me ordered starters but I knew I wanted dessert and could not manage 3 courses. Mel was very generous and gave me one of her spinach and feta croquettes which were delicious! I will order these next time we go there. They were R59 and amazing, tasty little balls of heaven.

Norm ordered the Gnocchi Gorgonzola for R68: Potato dumplings with spinach, assorted mushrooms, cream and gorgonzola. Norm enjoyed it but I tasted it and thought it was revolting but then again I do not like gnocchi or gorgonzola so there you go.

Chloe had the calamari and it was a massive portion. Steve had the beef carpaccio. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food.

For his main, Norm ordered the fillet steak which was on special and had it with sweet potato fries but I did not snap a pic of it. The rest of us ordered burgers, Steve and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar Burger for R125: Crispy bacon, mature cheddar served with chips and onion rings.

Mel chose the Camembert Chicken Burger for R120: Chicken breast with melted camembert, cranberry and herb salsa, served with chips and onion rings. She enjoyed it but said it was very salty.

For dessert both Chloe and I had the chocolate brownie at R49. It came with ice cream and was garnished with strawberries.

I had asked the waitress about the brownie because as an American I have high standards for brownies and she assured me it was divine. She was wrong. It was full of chunks of chocolate and had very little actual brownie taste. The texture was wrong. I did not enjoy this dish very much at all.

I had advised the restaurant when booking that it was Norman’s birthday and so they did a special little bit of decoration on his cheesecake.

Norm gave his dinner 5 Kitten Stars but mine gets 4.5 as the brownie disappointed me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We stayed quite late for a school night just chatting and having a laugh and then we went to collect Panda. He was so excited to see us, I am sure he thinks we may just abandon him. Silly boy. We are in it as long as he is willing to fight.

Norm has been working on Panda’s prototype for a walking frame to assist him with rehab once his legs will function. He bought an aluminium side table and removed the top so that he just had the frame. He tested out the size using towels and clamps to hold Panda up.

During the week Norm went to a fabric shop in town to get neoprene. He had Panda in his arms and the manager stopped him to advise no dogs were allowed in the shop. When Norm explained his illness and why he needed the fabric, the lovely manager went to get samples of the fabric and brought them to Norm, let him choose, cut the size needed and helped Norm pay. So sweet.

On Saturday he made a sling from the cloth to go into the frame.

Panda was confused as to what was going on.

Panda is slowly starting to get stronger while simultaneously losing weight and muscle mass. Trying to get him to eat is a nightmare, some nights Norm has to almost force feed him the recovery food with a syringe and some nights he will almost bite your arm off for a bit of roast chicken and sometimes he turns up his nose. However he always has an appetite for biltong or dried meat treats.

He is still having tissue salts melted into his drinking water and he loves them. He licks any sediment up from the bowl when the water finishes. He is also now taking a daily dose of Colostem. It is a mix of colostrum and stem cells. Colostrum is taken to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight disease-causing agents.

Stem cells have the following benefits:

  • Synergistic formulation,
  • Colostrum supports healthy immunity.
  • Supports many aspects of healthy adult stem cell cascade (activate, specialise & regenerate) Encourages normal immunity
  • Helps to maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal environment

He also has CBD drops at night to help relax him for sleep.

Next on the agenda is to take him to Dr Barry Hindmarch for acupuncture next month when I get paid. Meanwhile Norm and I do a bit of light physio to keep his joints supple. I work on each leg individually and take them through their range of motion and then give him a massage but he is just a bag of bones, skin and copious amounts of hair.

I have seen his back leg kicking and this week when it happened I clapped and cheered and he did it again. Initially we weren’t sure if he was using his body to move his leg or whether it was deliberate fine muscle movement. Either way it is encouraging even though it is such a minor thing.

His bark gotten a bit stronger.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Panda, on Monday when I got in from work Navajo was unable to get up from the floor. He had obviously put his back out. Against my advice Norm went behind Navajo and tried to lift his hindquarters up. Navajo screamed in pain and nipped out to try and bite Norm and barely missed his face. If you have ever had back pain you know that if someone tries to help you up it can cause you pain. We messaged David the doggy chiropractor to request an appointment the next day and fretted over him all night. We had been given some CBD Jell-O shots for Panda and I decided to give one to Navajo to help with his pain. He happily took it all and about an hour later he was as high as a kite. He refused to come upstairs and he collapsed and fell sound asleep. I worried about him all night and woke feeling like death. When we came downstairs Navajo was as good as new. He had refused food the day before but he wolfed down his breakfast and acting like he had no pain at all! Norm took him to the chiropractor and David also did a little treatment on Panda to release some tension in his neck.

I’ve not stuck to low carb this week. Norm and I are both stress eating. On Monday he made a nice chicken stir fry but we had no sauce and I made a sort of satay sauce with teriyaki, sugar free peanut butter, chili and a bit of honey. We served it on noodles.

Tuesday night we had pasta takeaways from Cassarechio which left me with leftovers for lunch the following day. Thursday we had takeaways again, I had tapas from Massimo’s: calamari and fried polenta bites.

Friday I went for lunch at Nuri sushi with my friend Sakshi. I left work early as I was having another high anxiety day and had to take my meds to cope. It meant I was really tired and as I had done my billable hours there was no need to stay.

That evening Norman decided to try this recipe from one of our favorite low carb sites. He bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up so it was quick and easy and they tasted delicious.

He made homemade coleslaw and frozen chips in the air fryer.

This week there was an armed robbery at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel. It is a very high end beautiful building and has amazing service. Police spokesman FC Van Wyk said 15 armed men arrived at the hotel in two vehicles. The security guard at the access control gate was threatened with a firearm. Two of the suspects removed the guard’s baton and hand radio and stayed with him while other members of the gang proceeded to enter the hotel.

“They pointed staff members and guests with two firearms and robbed them of their personal belongings,” a statement from Van Wyk said.

“The suspects then started breaking the glass cabinet display windows in the foyer with big hammers and removed jewellery, and also took an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash register.”

The suspects fled the scene shortly after the robbery and 5 of them were later arrested.

Such high profile crimes are sure to impact tourism which is a large part of Cape Town’s economy.

The Army has now finally been deployed to the high crime areas around Cape Town to deal with the gang crime and high number of murders. It took a few weeks to get them on the streets. I hope it makes a difference.

Before the press all told us the Russians were stealing our information I downloaded the FaceApp and did the obligatory old lady shot.

I look just like my Grandmother ❤️

Saturday we just relaxed, I slept until 10 which is unusual for me. I obviously needed the rest.

It was freezing cold out so I built a fire. All five of the animals kept close by.

We had seen a few episodes of Killing Eve on a flight and we really enjoyed it and Caitlin downloaded both series for us and we watched a few episodes of that. It is gripping.

I put on a pot of chicken curry late that afternoon and it wasn’t ready for dinner that night so we are having it tonight. I’ll do spinach purée and cauliflower rice with coriander to go with, it smells divine.

Today I went to Marina da Gama for drumming. I have missed a few sessions so it was lovely to see everyone. Drumming and singing helps to ground me and gives me peace. This song is one of my favorite songs and I always get a lot of positive feelings from it. It is so beautiful.

I hope Panda makes more progress this week and I hope you all have a great week. Until next time. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

 

Offensive Defensiveness

This week we had news of a very significant arrest by SAPS (The South African Police Service) which I hope makes for a bit of peace in Hout Bay.

Official announcement from the Office of the Station Commander of Hout Bay SAPS: “On Wednesday, 22 of May 2019 at approx. 01:00 Hout Bay SAPS members led by the Station Commander, Lt Col Nebhisi searched several houses in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu for known suspects. Four suspects aged between 25 and 31 were arrested for violent crimes committed in Hout Bay. The suspects will be linked with other cases, including Robbery, Robbery with a firearm, House Robbery, theft and a case of Firearm control Act. Cellular phones and an imitation firearm were also confiscated. Currently photo identity parades are being conducted to link the suspects with cases that occurred in the last six month that contributed to the crime escalating in Hout Bay. Suspects names cannot be made public at this point as they have not made their plea at court. The suspects will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate court on Friday, 24 of May 2019 on the mentioned charges.”

Two other suspects had already been arrested after a recent chase following a car theft.

The 4 suspects appeared in court on Friday and were also remanded in custody for a bail hearing on 12 June 2019, so in all 6 well known criminals will be behind bars until 12 June for their bail hearings.

This lot of bad boys are assumed to be members of the balaclava wearing gang who have been hitting houses and robbing victims in both Meadows and the Harbour. We celebrated the arrests and signed a petition to not release them on bail as there is an iterative cycle of crime, arrest, bail, crime and on and on it goes. Same criminals, different victims.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was officially sworn in this week and crime and our ineffective criminal justice system should be top of his list of issues choking our country.

I had a strange interaction this week and I was quite taken aback by how a woman spoke to a colleague. I wasn’t involved in the convo, the African man next to me was talking to an Afrikaans woman who stopped by. There was an issue with some conflicting information and this woman was so rude to my friend. He investigated and it turned out her team are responsible for maintaining this info, and we wondered if that was at the root of her defensive behavior. I couldn’t believe it. I wondered was her attitude because she is Afrikaans and he is black? Is it because she is a pay grade above and sees herself as ‘superior’ in a literal way? I then listened to the woman, and I mean reallllly listened. As in read the vibrations of her voice, not her words. I watched her body language and watched her nervous twitching.

Her arrogance was a defense mechanism. A way to deter people, put them on the back foot so they were taken aback and didn’t defend themselves, even when she was wrong. Rather defend than risk attack.

Like a small barking dog. Like our smallest Pomeranian Panda.

I even recognize that behavior in myself.

It just shows it pays to sit back and observe and try and understand the motivation for the behavior of others.

I’m just so volatile and reactive there is no time for observation or reflection until afterwards, in my post game analysis.

Lessons!

I’ve had a great weekend. Norm had a conference in Johannesburg this weekend and so he treated me to a flight to George so that I could visit my oldest and youngest children. Trevor will be 33 years old in a few days which is almost unfathomable to me! How is that possible?

Norm flew up to Johannesburg on Wednesday and so I had to keep myself and the dogs alive until Vanessa and Robyn came to stay with the dogs on the weekend. We have a dog walker as well, Charles is lovely and the dogs adore him.

I had originally booked a half day off but decided that I would take a full day off on Friday. I had to take out the bins and recycling early on Friday morning, feed the dogs their raw diet, get packed and to the chemist to pick up my meds and then I was finally off. I checked in early then went to Mugg and Bean for a quick bite to eat then went to hang out by the gate and play games on my iPad.

They do no announcements at this airport, you have to watch the signs. Luckily my gate didn’t change as they often do, and we eventually boarded a bus and were driven to the little airbus. Down came a little set of stairs and you climbed up into the tiny little cabin. The center of the aisle is very narrow and reasonably tall but the areas under the overheads are very low and due to the narrow nature of the plane you have to sort of leopard crawl or crouch to your seats. An annoying man was in the wrong seat and as a result he held up the entire queue of people trying to board as he said ‘there are plenty of seats just sit somewhere else’ to the woman whose seat he was in when she questioned him. The flight was pretty empty. There are only 3 seats in a row, two on the one side and one on the other side.

I was originally given a bulkhead seat but it had been changed at the last minute and when I got on and saw that I had two large leather seats to myself on the exit row I was happy as I had tons of space.

It’s a beautiful view.

When we landed and we went to exit there was the same man who had been delaying entry now standing in the aisle turning on his phone and faffing about. I finally shouted ‘can we get out please’ and he finally looked up and slowly shuffled off halfway into his seat so we could get off. Some people are oblivious of what is going on around them. I wanted off as I was eager to see my babies!

Lily was waiting on me when I landed in George. I collected my bag and off we went.

We went to pop into Josh’s Mom Jackie and her man Alistair’s gorgeous house for a drink. Jackie was off back to the UK on Saturday so it was such coincidence we were both in George at the same time. It was lovely to see Bronwyn and her fiancée Brendan too. We sat in the garden chatting and then Lily and I went to her house for her to change and for us to meet Trevor.

The sun was setting on the drive from George to Mossel Bay and it was quite beautiful.

We got ready for dinner and Trevor arrived to join us. I hadn’t seen him in over a year!

He is such a handsome and sweet man.

I finally got to meet Toothless, Lily’s mad feral kitten.

For dinner we went to Cafe Gannet in the Mossel Bay Harbour. We did not book and we were happy that we were given a table all on our own which was nice.

Lily had the calamari with both rice and chips. She loved it.

Trevor had the Indian Battered Hake for R140: served with fries, side salad and coconut curry sauce.

I had Asian Chicken: Chicken breast in pomme coat, tossed in spiced soy, honey, ginger & garlic glaze. Served on top of short grain rice. Accompanied with pickled red sesame cabbage. It was R165.

I loved this dish! The chicken was tender and full of flavor I would have this dish again.

My only criticism was that the cabbage was not pickled. It had barely met the vinegar. It was certainly not pickled.

But I still give this dish 4.5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We were full but still had a sweet craving and so we chose dessert. Lily and I ordered the Chocolate Pudding which comes with your choice of ice cream and we both chose peanut butter.

Trevor ordered the apple crumble which he usually loves. He said it was ‘interesting’. He said ‘good interesting’ when I dug deeper.

Lily then went back home from the restaurant and Trevor and I drove through to the Wilderness where he and Amber live. Their house is in a lovely peaceful setting and faces a nature reserve.

Near their house is a stunning beach.

We had a relaxed evening chatting and watching telly. It was so good to just be with him.

On Saturday Lily came through to pick us up for lunch and we went to Timberlake Farm Village. We were starving and went straight to Zucchini for an early lunch. We sat outside despite the chill. It was pleasant as we were wrapped up warm.

We were in the sun which helped.

We all ordered a panini. Trevor had the Brie and gammon panini and Lily and I had the roast chicken one.

There are loads of little monkeys running around but they were too fast for a pic.

We had a leisurely meal and then we had a wander around the shops in the village. They had all sorts of things, some cute plants, lovely jewelry and charming hand bags. I could have spent a fortune. Lily bought some cute feather earrings.

We then went back to Trevor’s house and relaxed and hung out until that evening when we were going for sundowners at Upstairs at Rosie’s in Sedgefield. They have a wide view of the sea.

We chatted to the owner Rose (who is also Amber’s mom) before the crowds arrived.

Trevor ordered ribs and Lily and I both ordered a fillet steak.

We enjoyed our evening a lot!

After dinner Lily headed back home and Trevor and I went to his house.

We watched Aquaman.

I have to saw that I thought it was really rubbish, poorly acted, had a major overuse of CGI and weird voiceovers. But I watched it because my boy wanted to watch it, and well, because of Jason Momoa. He looked pretty fine.

But the film itself scores a low 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

Sunday morning we had a lazy morning, then Lily came to collect us and we headed into Wilderness for brunch. We went to The Blue Olive Restaurant.

We sat outside.

Lily and I ordered the Chicken Burger with avocado, brie cheese, bacon, figs and salad on a large grilled chicken breast.

Trevor ordered the Alfredo pasta but I did not annoy him with photographing it.

There was even a busker singing nearby who wasn’t bad!

After lunch we relaxed a bit then Lily drove me through to the airport. I told her that she could just drop me and head home but as I was so early she insisted on walking me in and waiting for me to go through. I had forgotten that George airport is so tiny and now I know why the kids eye rolled so hard when I wanted to get to the airport so early. We arrived before the check in desk was even open.

We had an iced coffee and hung about chatting until I insisted Lily go home and I then went through security to the gates. I had full bottles of water in my carry on bag when I went through security in Cape Town and George and they cared not at all!

The plane was delayed and they did nothing to update or inform the passengers. The board still showed the original boarding time even though we only started boarding closer to the time when we were actually due to take off. Eventually the plane tootled into view.

The board doesn’t update but people start to drift up to queue. I hate standing in queues so I waited til most people had gone through. I had asked for the same seat I had on the trip over and when I boarded, you guessed it, there was a man sitting in my seat. I stopped, looked pointedly at the seat numbers, looked at my boarding pass and then looked stonily at him. He said ‘I can move’ and I said ‘well you ARE in my seat, sooooo’ but then I realized I didn’t really want the window seat so I said that I would take the aisle seat. Of course I only said it after he unbuckled and shuffled out into the aisle and so he had to turn around and shuffle back in. Oops.

I wish I had suggested he go to a different row as there were plenty of empty seats and he manspread his thighs so wide that I felt like I had three legs. He also kept shoving his elbow across the armrest and into my body. I let him get his arm well into the space and then I leaned hard on it. I definitely heard a bit of a grunt out of him. Good. Silly arrogant arse.

I told you I am not good with strangers.

Anyway.

We land and I collect my bag and head out to the car park. I try to pay for my parking using a credit card but it won’t accept my card. I was holding up the queue and eventually had to use cash. I had exactly R400 and parking was R395. Norm said today when he tried to pay the machine charged him twice!

I was back at work today, a bit dazed and exhausted but I was there! Norm arrived home tonight to much hysteria from the dogs.

That squeaking is from the ball in Navajo’s mouth. He stole it from Pixie because a) it is a great way of expressing excitement, b) he loves to give a gift to new arrivals and c) because he loves to annoy Pixie.

It is lovely going away, but it is just as lovely to come home. We have a quiet week planned recuperating from our excursions.

We are going to Cafe Roux on Saturday to see ‘The Rockerfellas’.

The lead singer lives in our neighborhood so we are going for that reason as the music might be a bit too rocky for us old gits.

I hope you all have a great week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Power of Change

I think that my husband has a very sexy voice and accent, but sometimes our attempts to communicate with me and my southern drawl and him and his Scottish accent results in some confusion.

In my last blog I mentioned that we took a road trip out towards Paarl but I forgot to tell you about the rather funny conversation Norm and I had over the Afrikaans Language Monument. The monument commemorates the semi-centenary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch.

I had always heard it called the ‘Taal Monument‘ as Taal means ‘tongue’ or ‘language’ in Afrikaans. So when Norm saw it sitting on the hill he said ‘Is that the Afrikaans Monument’ to which I said ‘That is the Taal monument’, to which Norman replied ‘Yes it is indeed quite tall but what is it called?’. I said it is the ‘Taal Monument’ and he again said almost with annoyance, ‘YES I KNOW it is tall but what is it called??’.

We had such a giggle once we realised that we were both on about the same thing.

It was a short week last week. I only realised it was a public holiday in SA when I opened my May time-sheet template on the 30th and saw the following day was marked off as a holiday. Otherwise I would have been sitting in the office all alone wondering why there was no traffic and no one was in! The holiday is known as Worker’s Day in SA but it is also known as Labor Day or May Day. If you want to read more about the history behind it in South Africa here is a LINK.

Mozambique has been hit by yet another Cyclone. This is the second cyclone in a six week period. In the last count I saw, at least 38 people have died and about 35,000 homes have been destroyed by the storm. Aid workers were desperately trying to reach survivors but rain was disrupting their movements. They are now also suffering an outbreak of cholera on top of the other issues they are contending with and 14 people have been diagnosed.

Our weather in Hout Bay and Cape Town has suddenly turned very cold. As a result the cats are very clingy. They only get near each other when it is cold or rainy.

The mist rolled in and has been making the valley and seas quite eerie. I made a collage of what the view is like normally compared to what it has been like some days last week, you would not have even known there is a mountain range behind that mist!

It was quite beautiful at night as long as you did not have to try and drive in it.

We also had a tragedy a bit closer to home this week when a runner was shot in the back in Hout Bay while jogging down one of our main roads in Beach Estate. Luckily he survived. There was also a robbery and stabbing of a 20 year old French woman who was walking through the Bo-Kaap, an area formerly known as the Malay Quarter.

Crime is so out of hand in South Africa. We are so under resourced when it comes to the numbers of police needed, especially in Hout Bay.

Norm has been cooking for us on our new low carb reboot. One night he made teriyaki fillet steaks, fried halloumi cheese until it was crispy, roasted sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus. It was delicious.

Another night he baked chicken breasts and fried red cabbage with bacon & cooked the other half of the halloumi cheese from the previous night.

As a result of cutting out carbs and sugar I have managed to lose 2kgs this week!

We had a bit of a cheat night on the evening of the public holiday though as we went to Massimo’s for dinner.

Yes I needed my roots done. Shhh, don’t be rude.

We were seated by the door so we got periodic blasts of cool air which was a lovely contrast to the heat from the pizza oven.

As it is an Italian restaurant there were limited low carb options which were appealing to me in the colder weather so we gave ourselves a night off of our rations. I usually have pasta from there so I figure I shaved a few carbs off of my usual fare? Give me a wee bit of credit please for trying!

I had 3 dishes from their tapas menu. I chose the deep fried calamari, mozzarella cheese bites and the pepite which is fried squares of polenta topped with truffle salt and grated fresh parmesan cheese. It was all delicious.

Norm ordered “JJ’s Jewels” which is two oven roasted artisan sausages with mash, balsamic and onion gravy and seasonal vegetables. You can also have it with fries but their mash is yummy.

We did not realise it when we decided to pop in but Wednesday evening is open mic night so anyone who wanted to sing could get up and do so. There were a few of the restaurant patrons who sang but the best singers by far were the restaurant staff who all have really good voices.

We had just popped out for a quick bite but we ended up staying until the end of the evening as it was so enjoyable. I give our evening a high 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This has been a bit of a rocky week in regards to our families beloved animals. Lily’s childhood pet, Bacardi was put down as he had bowel cancer and it had spread to his spine and he was losing the use of his back legs. Lily had been so desperate for a Weimaraner dog when she was young and her Dad managed to find her one. Bacardi was a highly strung but loving dog for her and a companion for her Dad after the kids all moved out. We are all very sad that he is gone. The fact he died on the same date as Jean’s birthday was quite comforting to the kids as he adored Jean. Jean was their childhood nanny who raised them and whom they loved dearly as a Grandmother figure. I imagined Jean coming to take Bacardi over to the other plane.

On the same day our own dogs all went to the vet for their annual inoculations. Navajo has been scratching his ear a lot and the vet took a scraping and found he has yet another yeast infection in his ear. Even when muzzled he tries to rip your arm off when treating it though so it must be very sore.

Pixie was in fine health for a change but wee Panda has been deemed not so wee and has been put on a diet. He weighs almost as much as Pixie and she is much bigger framed than he is. He is not happy about it as he loves his food. After he finishes he looks up at Norm like, where is the rest of it? The increase in weight explains his increased snoring lately as he sounds like a chain saw and as he sleeps right up next to me I will be glad to have that noise toned down a bit!

We had also planned to take Blue the kitty to the vet as he had a couple of lumps on his head which both Norm and I are too blind to see but Caitlin had our cat carrier and had to bring it around. She checked out his lumps and could clearly see that they were scabs so he has probably been fighting again.

It was nice having Caitlin here for a visit. We chatted about what we should do next weekend on the 12th as it is both her birthday and Mother’s Day. We thought about doing lunch and painting at Clay Cafe but it was booked for parties of 2 that day so we decided to get some snacks in for our lunch and do pewter art at home and watch RuPaul’s Drag Race. She is going to get some boxes for us to decorate and we will do a design to decorate them. I’m just happy to have at least one of my babies here for the day and the fact I get to spend Cait’s birthday with her is very special. Lily and Josh will be down the following weekend and we are all going for a late birthday dinner for Caitlin then.

Norman had not shopped so that evening we had a takeaway from Posticino. We tried to keep the carbs down so we each ordered the Eggplant Parmigiana and a large salad to share. It was really tasty and far less carbs than if we had a pasta or pizza. It gets a full 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friday night we always have takeaways as well and I had my usual sushi from K1 in Hout Bay.

I had the crab salad, salmon nigiri, butterfly and salmon roses. Only two of my choices had rice. 50/50 right? #BetterThanFishandChips

It scores a full 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I treated the household to some new appliances this week. I ordered a new toaster and kettle combo. Our old kettle was a second hand gift from a friend who emigrated years ago so no telling how old it was. It leaked something awful and the toaster was a bit hit or miss on the toasting function.

I love the white!

I also ordered a cordless Dyson vacuum at a ridiculously obscene cost but it is made for coping with dog hair and lord knows we have plenty of that! It hasn’t arrived quite yet but hopefully it will soon. Norm vacuums daily and the floors are covered in hair almost immediately after.

Luckily I had a hair appointment on Saturday morning to sort out the aforementioned gray roots so I was up and out reasonably early.

Norm made us a yummy low carb high fat breakfast before I left as I knew we would not get lunch so I needed the fat to keep me full until evening.

He also made me a latte in my favorite Elvis mug ❤️

I’m a lucky Kitten.

When I was in the city there was a Taxi protest outside CT Traffic Services which is more than likely related to the Traffic Enforcement of Taxis. The police have been doing roadblocks and have been impounding taxis for unpaid fines or other violations. The taxis think they should be above the laws.

I parked a few blocks away so that I got in a bit of a stroll. Thembi brought me a coffee and got busy colouring.

I also had a moisturizing treatment. Afterwards Leandra did a lovely blow dry, I wish my hair looked so sleek on a daily basis.

I went home to collect Norm, we ran a few errands and then went to the local primary school to attend the 3pm show ‘Faces of Amoyo‘ being put on by Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation.

It started out with the whole group of performers singing You Gotta Be.

There were 17 different scenes with the children dancing, singing and even acting.

There were school children of all ages performing and there was such talent!

We enjoyed the show so much! Amoyo does amazing work in the community, helping children to stay focused on positivity and to try and keep children away from the influences of alcohol, drugs and crime. If you can spare any money to donate to them they are in desperate need of funding. Here is a link to their funding page. Either a once off donation or a regular monthly debit will be going to support the brilliant work they do. If you are overseas a little bit of foreign currency goes a long way.

Afterwards we stopped off to buy some Banting ice cream from our local Italian Gelato spot, Ice Dream. They make their own ice cream and it is so yummy and stops me from feeling deprived of treats while reducing our sugar intake. They also do vegan ice cream as well as the regular and no sugar versions.

We then came home so Norm could walk and feed the dogs and at 6pm we headed out for an early dinner. We went to Papino’s in Hout Bay.

We both ordered our fave dish from there, the hollandse biefstuk, and we also decided to have a cheat night so Norm ordered fries and I ordered Portuguese chips.

It was delicious! They seem to have changed the sauce recipe and added a new spice which I could taste and smell but could not identify. I’m not 100% sure about it, but I love their steaks and can always have a plain fillet if I decide to change from my usual choice. We enjoy this cosy, friendly little spot. I give it 4.5 Kitten Stars as the steak was perfect but the sauce was not quite what it usually is. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We were home early and had a relaxing evening as we had such a busy day.

Today we are also having a lazy day as befitting a Sunday. I made an omelette for a late lunch and Norm made bacon.

Now we are watching Knock Down The House.

I have such a girl crush on AOC. ❤️

Later on we may go into the village or I may spend all day in my PJs! Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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

Flying Orchids

What a mad week.

Norm and I were both very grateful for a lazy stress free weekend and we took full advantage of our free diary. We had a long lie in bed on Saturday morning. We only emerged due to my sore back needing to move about a bit. We moved downstairs and contemplated going out for lunch but that seemed like too much effort. Instead we settled in to binge watch Sons of Anarchy and I poked about in the kitchen and found some tidbits for us to eat. I stuffed boiled eggs with tuna and cut up a few bits and bobs to go with it. As it was so warm outside it was just what the doctor ordered.

tunaeggs

We completely slobbed about until time for Norm to walk the dogs, when he headed out with the beasties I headed upstairs to shower and get ready to go out.

We chose to head up the Nek towards Constantia and see where life took us. We pulled into High Constantia and decided to check Pastis Brasserie and see if there was a table available for us for dinner.

The place was quiet and candlelit, a very different vibe to sitting outside during the day. We were given a cosy intimate table in the corner and got settled in.

pastis me big eyes

(why do I look so sweaty?)

After examining the menu we both opted for the same dish, the Steak and Calamari, Pastis version of ‘Surf and Turf’. Sirloin strips, calamari and a couple of prawns for R155. The meat was tender and had no icky bits – I am always cautious with sirloin as it can be a bit fatty and gristly. I did think the copious amounts of sauce overwhelmed it all a bit, but I am not a huge sauce fan. The prawns were plump and the calamari tender and the coating was crispy.

We decided to be naughty and have dessert. I chose the chocolate nemesis and it was yummy and oh so rich! The flourless cake was tasty and similar to a brownie in texture, the sauce was very chocolaty. I really enjoyed it but it definitely needed the ice cream to break the richness of the chocolate. It was R65.

Norm opted for the Baked Cheesecake with a berry coulis for R56. The cake was a proper baked cheesecake and it had tons of flavour. I am not a huge cheesecake fan but it was very nice.

Twenty years ago we would have been off to a club or somewhere interesting after a dinner out but these days we seem to have an inbuilt homing device that prevents us taking detours. We were home quite quickly as we were only dining a few minutes away.

We have discovered this new show on BBC called ‘Sounds Like Friday Night‘ which we watch on the BBC iPlayer. We saw there was a new episode available and so we poured a drink and settled in to watch it. We had seen Sigrid perform at Glastonbury this year and we loved her then but promptly forgot about her.

Sigrid performed on the episode of #SLFN we were watching and we were instantly enamored of her.

Sigrid is the sort of artist who you might see perform and think ‘wow’ and then you may not hear her again for ages and then a ‘wow’ moment happens again and only when you see her full body of work do you connect all those disparate ‘wow’ moments and realise just how talented and entertaining she is. She dresses in retro style simple clothing and wears her hair long and straight. Sigrid looks about 14 years old but she has such a strong and powerful voice.

We woke to pouring rain on Sunday and so we stayed in bed with a coffee and Norm searched on YouTube to find some of Sigrid’s work. We were amazed when listening to her songs at how familiar her music is to us considering we would not have been able to pick her face out of a lineup!

We had planned on going to view some show houses on Sunday afternoon and we decided to go out for lunch first. We hit the High Constantia shops again and this time went to Bootlegger’s Cafe and Grill. We again had missed breakfast and the list of choices which are low carb are pretty limited there so we again opted for the Caesar salad.

I was a bit disappointed that there were no anchovies. Usually there are loads on their Caesar so maybe they were out or maybe the chef just forgot them.

We did not linger as we were only stopping so that we could fuel up for our outing. We had 5 houses which were on show that we viewed. All of them had done some jiggery-pokery to their garages. Either converted them to a guest room, living space or an office. Only one of them was a house I could live in without spending a fortune overhauling it.

So in the end it was a rather disappointing adventure.

We headed home and Norm took the dogs straight out for their walkies. Luckily the rain had stopped mid-morning so he did not get drenched.

I sat on the porch and waited on them to come back, gazing at my mountain and contemplating the interesting cloud formations which looked like the mountain had a halo.

After they got back from their walk we all chilled outside. The rain had filled the pool and soaked the garden.

For dinner later that night we ordered sushi from K1 sushi in Hout Bay. They had a special on which meant I got twice what I actually ordered! It was very good except the pieces are a bit large. I like my sushi the right size to pop into your mouth in one bite without choking.

On Monday I saw on Facebook that the City of Cape Town had finally relocated some of the people from the shacks where the victims of the fire have been housed for months.

I think it must be a nightmare for the fire victims to be moved over and over – each time risking loss of their few belongings and possibly ending up in a worse state or environment than the previous place they were moved from. I hope this means that some of the victims will now be able to settle and stay in a safe, dry place where they have access to amenities.

It really puts your own personal issues in perspective and makes you realise just how privileged most of us are.

I have had a busy week. I was back at the chiropractor after work on Monday  to make up for the appointment I had turned up for which did not happen the previous Friday. I hope this calms my back down for the rest of the month but it seems to have made it spasm again. My chiropractor very sweetly gave me a comped treatment to make up for the drama.

We are off to see Texas perform at Kirstenbosch Gardens on Friday.

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As we may be still young enough to love music, we are too old to take our backs for granted. Norm and I both struggled with sitting on the ground for hours the last time we went to a concert here so I ordered these chairs for us to try. You are not allowed to take a normal height chair as people behind cannot see but this one is a festival chair so hope it is allowed.

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We also have our year end function at the client on the same day as the Texas concert so I hope I stay awake for Sharleen. The theme is The Great Gatsby so how I am going to arrange all of this is a mystery to me – go to work in normal clothes, go for lunch in Great Gatsby gear then go to an outdoor concert in clothes suitable for lolling about the grass? Just as well I always love a challenge. I have checked the weather for Friday and it is supposed to be very hot but at least it generally cools off in SA once the sun goes down so we will just have to cope with being in the sun for an hour or so then it will be all good.

We have been trying to eat healthy all week and so Norm cooked for Josh and I on Monday. He steamed gem squash, baby broccoli and a wee bit of sweet corn. To go with he made baked breaded chicken breasts and melted a bit of cheese on top. It was yummy.

Last night he made the remainder of the gem squash with baked pork chops, baby spinach, roast butternut and fried mushrooms.

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I’m so lucky.

The doggies all went to the groomer yesterday as they were all starting to pong. They look and smell so nice after grooming.

clean babies

Last night when I was leaving work I had just left the client car park and was in front of the Mowbray police station when a guy in a large refrigerated truck just randomly turned into my lane and hit my car on the front passenger side. He then backed up and drove around me and took off up the side of the mountain. Luckily (and rather miraculously) there was a police car directly behind me and they saw the whole thing and took off after the guy. Once I recovered from the shock I pulled my car over and the 2 cops then arrived and said they had caught him and I went into the station to log a report. He had no insurance of course. It took a long time to log the report (as do most things in Africa) and then I carried on home. I was very sore and shook up from the event. However my car and my body were both protected from harm. It could have been so much worse.

When I arrived home already stressed and walked into the dining room I saw Cordelia (our cleaner) precariously gripping the container holding the baby orchid that I was given by Retha when Pierre died. He had bought the plant the week before he passed away.

When I gasped, Cordelia said ‘I did not touch it, I promise, it just jumped off into my hand.’

orchid

I did not connect the dots at the time, but then this morning I realised that Pierre was letting me know that it was him protecting me from harm. I knew that it was my Angels, I often feel my ancestors around me and when I talk of Angels I generally mean the ancestors and loved ones who are our guides and protectors.

I am so grateful for the love and protection which kept me safe. I am so blessed.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Launch of the Season

Even though it is not quite December, the season seems to be fully launched. The week flew by and it was the weekend again before I caught my breath.

On Thursday night we had a work function in the city centre. I left my office in Mowbray promptly at 3pm and shot off to Hout Bay to leave my car at home and then Norm kindly drove me in so I could have a drink. The traffic was insane! The function was at The Park Inn at the Foreshore. They have a roof top bar and restaurant called Harald’s Bar and Terrace. The view of Table Mountain is spectacular from there.

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It was a bit overcast and at one stage the dark clouds rolled over the mountain and we actually got rained on and had to dash inside for cover.

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Our lovely office manager Tamarin and I raced off to the bar when it started to drizzle.

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I got a lift home with my colleague Darren so I did not stay terribly long. As it was a work night I kept to single vodkas and avoided the deadly wine. As a result I was able to function on Friday at work without too much pain, just a bit of tiredness.

As Norm and Josh were home alone Norm bravely decided to make low carb spaghetti bolognaise. I sent him brief instructions and he managed it all on his own. It was delicious. We had been given tidbits to nibble at the work function so I did not have any that night, but I did take some to work the next day.

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On Friday afternoon Norm messaged me to say that a truck had rolled over on Rhodes Drive. I did not think much of it until hours later on my drive home when I came up on a long queue of traffic. There was a traffic cop redirecting everyone. A cement truck had rolled over onto a car. Luckily (and unbelievably) no one was killed.

cement truck

Photo credit.

We were all redirected back onto the motorway and then eventually we could drive the long way around and get home but it added a while onto the journey, not what anyone wants on a hot sunny Friday afternoon. But I guess it is better than being under a cement truck! #Winning

Norm and I decided to just get a take away for dinner that night as it was hot and we were both rather tired. I had been going to go out with Retha for her birthday but her plans changed and quite frankly I was happy with having a night at home.

Norm popped down to Indian Oven, our local Indian food take away spot.

We started with a shared order of Spinach bhajees.

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I had my usual prawn curry but it was a bit spicier than usual, it was still divine. We also shared an order of saag aloo which is cubes of potato cooked in pureed spinach. It is so tasty.

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We had a quiet cozy evening in. The dogs were being ridiculously cute. Pixie was chasing Navajo around and nipping at him. He would jump on the sofa with her ball in his mouth and she was then unable to reach him. Then he would jump down and run around the sofa with her in hot pursuit growling and yipping at him.

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I woke up early on Saturday as Pixie had an appointment in Noordhoek at the doggy Chiropractor.

It is such a stunning drive.

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We were lucky with the traffic and arrived early.

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Lucky for us he had a no show so we got to go in early and so we finished earlier than planned.

I was meeting the George Escapees NoBooksNOurBookClub members for lunch at 12. We have all been friends for about 25 years and meet up whenever we are all in Cape Town.

We were booked at Bistro 1682 at Steenberg Farm. Janine had already nabbed a table outside in the shade by the time I arrived.

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We had to wait about 30 minutes for Nicola who was late.

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The waiter helpfully suggested that she might be lost until I told him she actually lives on the estate! She had an exhausting week and after getting dressed had sat down for a second to just rest her eyes and fell asleep.

Oops.

We forgave her.

The menu at Bistro 1682 is mostly a Tapas based menu so we all decided to choose 2 starters. They do have main courses but it was a hot day and it was a bit too much to try and gnaw through a steak or something large and heavy.

I chose the Baby Patagonian Calamari for R92 which was described as: Avo pulp, tomato & jalapeno jam, aioli, coriander salsa. I loved the little phyllo pastry basket in the middle to add a bit of visual interest.

This was perfection! The tangy sauce and the coriander all joined together to create a celebration in my mouth.

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For my next course I chose their version of a “Caesar” Salad for R94. It was described as ‘Parma Ham, white anchovies, artichokes, marinated peppers, cos lettuce,
soft quail egg, curry oil’.

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Now regular readers know how calling a salad a Caesar just because someone chucked on some ‘Caesar dressing’ is a good way to wind me up. This one was adequately described so I did not really expect a proper Caesar. I found it a bit heavy on the dressing and not very much like a Caesar at all other than the anchovies. But it was tasty enough. I just found all of the sauces combined a bit overwhelming for what should be a delicate salad.

I did not take a snap of the menu on the day and the online menu only has this dessert dish which sounds vaguely like it could be what I ordered: Dark Chocolate Marquise R82 Raspberry Ice Cream, Chocolate Soil, Orange Foam, Chocolate Cigar.

However I do not see any raspberry ice cream or a chocolate cigar on my plate below, do you? Who knows what I ate but I can tell you I would have it again and again!

It was divine!!

Whatever it was.

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We did not stay out terribly late as Nicola was going to the Johnny Clegg concert so we wrapped it up about 2.30 and I rang for Norm to collect me.

We went home and pottered about getting ready for the open house on Sunday. That evening we had planned on going out for dinner but we decided rather to stay in and continue to get things ready for the show house.

Norm went to the fish and chip shop and bought calamari, prawns and fish then he went to the Thai place next door and bought salads. We split it all and had a rather delicious (low’er’ carb) dinner and did not miss the chips at all.

fish

On Sunday we got up and got moving with the cleaning and sorting of the house. I had a wander around the garden and decided to dead head my strelitzia. It was looking a bit straggly. (It is also known as a Bird of Paradise due to the bird like blooms.)

I got into the midst of it and tried to avoid losing an eye to the sharp leaves. I cut out quite a lot of dead growth.

Left pic is after, upper right before.

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Unfortunately I forgot that I am old and rather unfit and I put my back out due to all the contortions to avoid eye loss. I was in agony and this meant Norm had to do all of the rest of the show day preparation on his own. Not that I do much at the best of times, but still. I usually at least pretend to help.

I hobbled about until 3pm when the estate agent arrived then I took her on a tour so she knew where things were and what to promote to any potential sellers.

Then we bundled all of the dogs into Norm’s car and headed off to Deli Delish as they were so welcoming to us and the dogs when we went the last time. It was a terribly windy day and so we sat out on the patio area. This time Panda insisted on sitting in Daddy’s lap.

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We were both ravenous as it was 3pm and we had not had anything except coffees. As it was so warm I opted for a salad and had the soy-sesame chicken salad. It was OK but there was a bit too much sauce for me.

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Norm opted for breakfast.

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We even indulged in dessert and I had a piece of Pineapple tart.

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After we finished we popped over to drop off Retha’s birthday present. I gave her a voucher for Skin in Hout Bay so she can treat herself to a pedi or something nice. Norm took the dogs for a walk and I hung out with Retha, Paola and Philip chatting for a bit.

Just around 5pm Norm headed home to relieve the estate agent but I stayed a bit longer chatting.

I am still hobbling about with my back pain. Norm treated us to a lovely dinner last night, he made fillet steaks, veggies and roast pumpkin.

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There is nothing quite so nice as having someone look after you when you are not quite feeling yourself. I am very blessed.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox