The Count Down

I am stressed. I tend to not sleep when I am stressed which only compounds my stress. I am stressing over several things. I am struggling a bit financially and just do not seem to get on top of it. I am stressing over that as I hate being in debt. Norm is having issues with his very old car, we need to buy a new one but cannot at the moment. I hope repairing it will not cost too terribly much. It is what it is.

I am about to start a new project at work with a new client so I am stressing about that. We got approval on our proposal to UCT for assessing their Master Data Management maturity, we will start with a small pilot and then broaden our scope once we process prove our approach. It is not the best place to be based from a comfort point of view in regards to travel and parking and being near to places to get healthy food, but at least it is a project I can get my teeth into.

And finally on my list of stresses, this Saturday is our annual Halloween party and I always panic beforehand that no one shows up and that if they do the evening will fall flat. There is always a decent turn out, but this year there are many other events going on that weekend and so a lot of friends are not coming. We have the same DJ booked this year as we have had the last 2 years and he is brilliant at keeping us dancing so I should relax. But I can’t. I will only relax on the actual night of the event, once I have had a few drinks and I see that everyone is having fun. And then it is over for another year.

I have a busy week planned this week and that just compounds my stress levels.

As much as I was not looking forward to my Data Governance training last week it was actually very interesting! There were 4 of us getting trained, one was a client and the other 3 attendees were myself and my colleagues. We had some interesting discussions and we gave the client a lot of insight into what it is like to be a consultant. He was quite shocked when we told him some of the challenges we have with clients.

Norm had cooked most of last week since we are on a tight budget. He made a nice beef bolognaise type dish and he served it with sweet potato mash and stir fried red cabbage on Wednesday and on Thursday he served it over spinach noodles with steamed veggies. It was healthy and tasty. As it is so hot tonight he has cooked dinner on the gas grill, he made chicken and feta sausages and corn on the cob and then made a salad to go with it. It was perfect fare for the weather.

Last Friday night we had chicken burgers from the Kitchen Takeaway. These are usually so tasty but on Friday they were very average. One of the reasons they are so good is the roll, they are usually served on a kitke roll. A kitke roll by any other name is just challah bread. I love the texture and almost sweet taste and the sprinkling of sesame seeds is the perfect finish. However on Friday the burgers were served on a hard, stale, cheap burger bun. It was also missing the copious amount of pickle slices which are usually very prevalent (I love pickles). There was not the usual ‘sauce’ on the burger either. If this was the first time I had eaten their food I would most likely not go back. It was the quality equivalent of a KFC burger for twice the price. I am not sure what is going on at this restaurant but we have watched many venues in Hout Bay go under once they start cutting corners. I love their ribs too so I hope they sort their issues out and do not end up going under. That would result in unemployment for their staff and there is plenty of that in SAfrica already.

I have booked to go to the US Consulate this week as my Mom needs some papers notarised and posted over to her. She has just recently bought a new house in North Georgia and she had put the house she lived in with her husband just outside of Atlanta on the market months ago but has not managed to sell it yet. It is a big beautiful house in the countryside so I thought it would be snapped up instantly. It was originally listed with a family ‘friend’ who did absolutely nothing to help my mother prepare for the move. She did not help my mom pack up, sort the estate sale or even give her any discount on her commission. She did not even get her act together to take the brochure and website images when the house was beautifully decorated, she waited until my Mom had the estate sale and her draperies and decor were gone and then photographed an empty house. My Mom has now listed with a different agent and he has gotten things moving, however we just discovered that she had never had the house put into her name after my stepdad died. How the previous agent did not catch this I have no idea. Now the lawyer has decided that as the obituary had named me as Tom’s daughter rather than his stepdaughter, I have to send a notarised document saying that I will not try and lay any claim to the house when it does sell. As I am her daughter this seems so bizarre to me, but if that is what is required to help her get things sorted I will do so. In SA we get our documents certified at the police station which I did last week and sent to the lawyer, however the lawyer says this is not acceptable and I have to go to the US Consulate to get it properly notarised. The consulate charges $50 USD per document and there are 2 documents and I cannot afford to pay this as once you do the exchange to rands it is a lot of money in my currency. My Mom sent me the money via forex and I have made an appointment to go next week, it just means I have to take time off of work to do so. This process has been ongoing for weeks now, what a drama it has turned out to be!

It has been quite warm and windy the last few days with today being 38 degrees! The strong winds have continued and this has possibly been instrumental in several horrendous township fires this past week.

In the wee hours of Friday morning there was a fire in Hout Bay. This was in the township that is up high over the Hout Bay harbour and there were 2 deaths in the fire, a mother and her 14 year old son.

The firemen are so brave, I cannot imagine running into a scenario that most are running from.

The fire was finally under control by morning and from the pic made by The Aerial Perspective you can see the extent of the devastation.

Thula Thula were on site straight away sorting out donations of clothing and essentials to the victims of the fire. Hout Bay is so lucky to have them on their doorstep.

Then in the early hours of Saturday morning 342 informal structures were destroyed in Silver Town, Khayelitsha another settlement area a few miles from us. This has resulted in 1,355 people being displaced.

Later on Saturday night there was yet another fire in the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi‚ Cape Town which destroyed about 120 dwellings and it is estimated about 1‚400 people have been affected by the blaze.

I hope that the government will rise to support these families, it is so tragic. I read that the Gift of the Givers foundation are assisting the victims.

On Friday afternoon after work I went to pick up my new eyeglasses. My eyes have deteriorated quite a bit which explains my deep frown lines earned from squinting at everything. My astigmatism has also gotten worse. Add to this my Posterior Vitreous Detachment which causes a huge amount of ‘floaters‘ and I am lucky I can still get about without falling over anything. These challenges are why I hate to drive on the motorway and why I cannot drive at night.

Saturday I was up and out early as I had drumming practice at my friend Gerri’s. Gerri is our drum chief at the moment, it is usually her daughter Jesse who is working in the UK but Gerri did a great job. We all practiced on the communal drum which will be used in the upcoming dance.

After we finished our rehearsal we stayed to make Prayer Flags for tying around the four gates of the arbour.

Prayer flags or prayer ties are sacred bundles of tobacco which are used as offerings of prayer in sacred ceremonies. Our drum group are performing at a 4 day dance at the end of the month, however I am not going with them. One, I cannot afford it and two, I think it will be too much for me physically. One day solid drumming pretty much finishes me off, add to this the sleeping conditions of being in a camp and I cannot risk challenging my arthritis to this degree at a time when I am starting a new project and cannot take time off. But Gerri offered to take my prayer ties with her and then a little bit of me will be there too. The ties will be tied around the dance arbour.

We smudged all of the items used to make the flags: the tobacco, the material and the ties. I offered prayers for each of the items. Tobacco is sacred in the NA culture and as much a medicine as sage. It is used as a spiritual offering. We placed the tobacco into the material and followed the prescribed method of wrapping and tying it.

I found a video which shows the process much better than I can explain it.

After I got home from drumming I collected Norm and we headed out for something to eat as it was 3.30 and I was ravenous. We decided to go to the local German restaurant Zur Holzbucht.

The Chelsea game was on so Norm was happy watching that on their big screen.

The wind was so strong down at the beach that we could barely get in and out of the car as the wind whipped the doors of the car so hard. It was worth the battle though as their food is always so delicious and we were not disappointed. Norm ordered the Goulash which was on special.

I had the pork schnitzel and chose to have it with chips and then I wanted to kick myself as I love German potato salad and missed a trick there! But my food was very yummy.

Norm had dessert but I was full up. He had the cheesecake which was a proper baked cheesecake.

We headed over to the shops after we ate and bought some bits and pieces to tide us over for the weekend. We had a quiet night in that evening and started watching series two of ‘Making a Murderer‘. We have not finished it yet so no spoilers! This is a brilliant series if you have not seen series 1 then you must must must watch it! I wish I could remember the details of the first series better but we watched it a few years ago when it first came out. This is a 5 Kitten Star series.

On Sunday we had a lazy day. Norm was working on a bid and I stayed in bed playing games on my iPad surrounded by the animals for most of the morning. Norm made us a yummy breakfast when I finally got up.

I had a long session of dog grooming as the dogs were looking a mess. I got enough hair from all 3 beasties to make a whole new dog.

When it cooled down a bit Norm went out to clean the pool with much assistance by the dogs who barked madly and chased the end of the pool net every time it was raised out of the water. Due to the wind,  the pool cover was littered in debris so he spent most of the time actually cleaning the cover rather than the pool itself.

All manner of insanity is going on around the world. The 2 items which I have been following in the news are firstly, the murder which occurred in the Turkish embassy, a place which is supposed to symbolise a place of safety. The news of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been a shock to many, other than the Saudis who murdered him of course. Trump thinks the Saudis are very nice people of course. He is such an imbecile.

The second item I have been following is the murder of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara who was a witness in the trial of Indian Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a nun on multiple occasions over two years.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was released on bail on the condition that he return to Jalandhar, and when he returns he is given a hero’s welcome. Within a week, Father Kuriakose who testified against the Bishop is found dead in a church in Jalandhar. He had complained of threats to his life and it appears those complaints were justified.

Sometimes the world is a sad place. Even THAT stresses me out if I lie awake and think too much about it. As an empath if I let all of that pain and sadness in, it incapacitates me.

Until next time, hold your loved ones close and count your blessings.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

 

 

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The Karma of Kings

The wind started up on Thursday night and howled viciously like it sometimes does in Cape Town. I sat listening to the windows rattling in their panes and the doors banging against their frames and thought how terrifying it must be in this weather to live in a shack in one of our townships.

On Saturday when I went to the hairdresser I was chatting to Tembe who does my shampoo and colour and she said she had not slept a wink on Friday night as she was so frightened that the roof might blow off of her shack. I cannot even imagine the noise a tin shack would make in this howling wind.

Norm and I hunkered down on Friday evening and he popped down to the village and bought a free range chicken burger from The Kitchen Takeaway for us and we stayed in. We started watching The Haunting of Hill House.

I love this type of horror, a bit of the occult, ghosts, spirits, mystery and intrigue, but only a bit of shock and not full of unnecessary gore or blood. The PTSD Virgo’s perfect horror.

There are a few episodes which are about sleep paralysis which I found very interesting as I have experienced this phenomenon often and it is absolutely terrifying. I have thought it was my body  astral travelling while I was deep asleep. My experiences follow the same pattern each time, I wake up and I am fully conscious but unable to speak or move and I feel a heaviness pushing down on my chest. I am always lying on my back and experiencing something visual and terrifying in my mind, I may see demons, shadow shapes or even people in my life who have died. I always wake up crying and I feel a deep sense of loss after the terror subsides. However as my mind becomes awake and I realise I cannot move I make this loud keening sound which Norm says sounds like a ghost wailing and it absolutely terrifies him. Even from my own ears the sound is horrendous. It is this sound that wakes Norm up and alerts him to my distress. I do not remember this happening when I was a child, but due to PTSD from abuse when I was about 5 years old I have blocked out a lot of my childhood so I am not sure when it first started happening.

I’ve not finished the entire series, but I give The Haunting of Hill House a full score of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We went to bed later than usual and I was woken at 5am on Saturday morning by Lola sharpening her claws on the carpet next to the bed. Why can’t she just get into bed and snuggle in quietly? Why does her arrival require verbal acknowledgment and physical contact? On the rare occasion that she does get into bed quietly, if she can see my hands then she inserts herself under them or nudges or nibbles them until I pet her. Her last resort is to actually park her rear end on my face. It is so charming to wake up to the aroma of cat butt.

I had a hair appointment on Saturday at 11 and we lay in bed as long as we were able to. While I showered Norm popped down to the Spar to get us fresh pastries and when he got back he made us coffees to go with them. After I finished eating I headed into Cape Town. The sun was out and it was gorgeous. The wind had finally calmed down.

I stopped to enjoy the view over Camps Bay and snapped a pic. It is so beautiful. There was a young girl there taking selfies while balanced on one leg on a rock that was hanging over the periphery of the cliff. Many people die every year in the pursuit of the most Instagram likes but I also feel it is a way to cull the gene pool of stupid people, so there is that.

When I got into the city I parked up and the City of Cape Town car parking attendant walked up to me and I paid up, got the receipt to display in my window and I let him keep the change. He was very happy, it only cost me a few rands and we both benefited from the arrangement, me via karma and him via coins. Afterwards we went off in different directions, I walked off down the hill and when I was almost down to Long Street I was approached by a drunk homeless guy who started trying to get cash from me and he was very persistent. He reached out towards me as if to grab my arm and the parking attendant popped up out of nowhere and started walking between us, escorting me down the hill. I was so grateful to the parking attendant, as a woman it can be very risky walking about on your own.

Even in broad daylight, even when dressed in long trousers and long sleeves. Nothing enticing in my attire, nothing risky about my setting, it is a major public road. But I am a woman and therefore a potential target.

That is the reality of life, regardless of what country a woman lives in she has to be aware and alert at all times.

I headed into Pause and had my hair coloured and a treatment done, it was lovely and relaxing. Tembe gives the best head massage ever! I snapped a pic when I got home while waiting on Norm to get dressed. No more grey roots!

Afterwards I collected Norm and we then headed to my friend Mel’s house. Mel was having a succulent sale at her house. She had some adorable containers and plants. As she has a gardening business I knew she would have some beauties and I was right!

There were several ladies there shopping, chatting, having a drink and enjoying the stunning view.

Our friend Bronwyn was also there selling some really lovely things to support Community Cohesion. Community Cohesion does wonderful work, they provide support to the community by “providing psycho-social support, education and training. This translates into one on one Social Worker Therapeutic Intervention, Crisis Containment and Wide-Ranging Counselling, Group debriefs, supported group work and workshops to improve life skills.”

They are very deserving of any financial donations you can make, and if it is foreign currency a small amount converts to a lot in our local currency.

I hope that Community Cohesion make a huge success out of their new fundraising initiative. These items are handmade by various people who will get a commission on the items sold so it will not only help the organisation but it will benefit the creator of the items too and form a step to sustainability, creating income for their clients and also for the organisation.

I particularly loved the wooden jewelry and the shopping bags.

Unfortunately I am flat broke already this month so I couldn’t buy anything from either of them on Saturday but I needed to drop something off by Mel and so we stayed for a quick drink that led to a long chat! It was lovely as I met some new women that I enjoyed chatting to and saw a few ladies that I already knew I enjoyed the company of. Norm and Cyril, Mel’s hubby, sat outside by the pool rather than endure our chat so the blokes were happy enough too. It was a lovely afternoon.

After a bit Norm and I left and we headed down to the harbour to have some food at The Lookout Deck.

We were seated by the windows with a lovely view of the harbour.

The sun was shining on the mountains and it was stunning.

It was already almost 5pm and as we had no lunch and I had also had a glass of wine on my empty stomach, I was desperate for food. We quickly ordered and my salmon roses arrived quite quickly. The sushi was delicious and cost R68.

For my main I just had the tian of prawns starter at R87. It had panko prawns and a salad of red onion, avocado and tomatoes in a balsamic reduction with sweet chili sauce.

Norm had the fish and chips for R123.

He said it was very good, the fish was a nice thick piece of perfectly cooked fish. My prawn dish was very tasty too.

We both still felt a bit hungry after and opted for dessert. Norm had the baked lemon cheesecake which was on the menu at R65. It came with their soft serve ice cream and a bit of berry coulis.

I had a chocolate nut sundae for R59.

Our entire bill including 2 cocktails, a glass of wine and our food was R624 for the two of us (thank goodness for credit cards).

After we finished we headed home and Norm took the dogs for their walk and fed them then we settled in for the evening. Norm had a bit of a nap while I played Covet fashion. It was a lovely relaxing day.

I felt like I needed a pajama day on Sunday so I did not go to drumming. I had a shower and put on a warm track suit while Norm made us a yummy brunch of bacon, cheesy eggs and mushrooms.

Panda tried to nick my bacon, the cheeky sod.

The wind had picked up again and was howling outside.

Later in the afternoon I randomly discovered American Vandal. And only while looking for a link for this blog did I realize we missed series one and went right to series 2!

We think it is hilariously cringe-worthy even though it is about poop and Virgos do not like to discuss such things. It seems as if it is modeled on the interaction style of the two dudes from Catfish crossed with the filming style of 13 Reasons Why. I said to my daughters that it should have been called ’13 Reasons Why I Pooped My Pants’.

We give it 3.5 totally silly Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨. It is perfect fare for a lazy windy Sunday. We will watch series 1 at a later point as we have already finished this one.

We were treated to a burst of rain on Sunday evening. This is good after the crazy wind storms as our pool is a bit low as the wind appears to have emptied it out a few inches. Last night we discovered the pool pump is not working and we worry the dropped levels may have burnt out the pool motor. However I know nothing about pools or motors so we will need to phone an expert to come and have a look once I get paid.

Monday Norm cooked for us and made a low carb dinner of baked pork chops, cauliflower mash, fried zucchini and brussel sprouts. It was healthy and delicious. The cauliflower was given to me by a work colleague who is a part time organic farmer.

Following on from the train arson attack last week that I blogged about, we have been advised that PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) was supposed to have implemented their new Rail Enforcement Unit this week but we have been told for months now that they are still not ready. We were told the Unit would be in place by ‘October at the latest‘ but they are still delaying the implementation of this police unit for whatever reason.

The other big item in the news is the VBS bank heist. It has been identified by the South African Reserve Bank report that almost 2 Billion Rand was siphoned off by VBS bank. The 150-page report implicates prominent South Africans such as EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu‘s younger brother Brian and Venda King Toni Mphephu. They have also identified irregular behaviour in the relationship the bank had with our ex-president, the corrupt and dodgy Zuma who borrowed money for his Nkandla development and has been implicated in huge levels of theft of public funds as part of the State Capture investigations.

Zuma has said that he is misunderstood and not a criminal. The Venda King has now said that he will pay back the money he received from the bank if it can be proved the money is “shown to have been proceeds of the illegalities in the report”. So basically he is saying he has no knowledge of the money, and the king appears to be offering to pay back the money at the same time as he is denying having received it.

“To the best of my knowledge no amount of R17 million was paid to me, gratuitous or otherwise,” he says.

I wish I had enough money that R17 million could arrive in my account and me not notice!

VBS was placed under curator-ship by SARB earlier this year amid allegations of mismanagement and fraud.

As to whether the tax payers ever see any payback of the embezzled money will remain to be seen. Somehow I suspect the government will cover up their dirt and move onto the next item of corruption.

The other big item is the MyCiti bus strike.

That strike started on Monday and is still continuing.

Criminals have used this strike as cover for their dodgy activities as my work colleague was standing at the bus stop on Monday, unaware of the strike and he was approached by 2 homeless guys and while one asked for a light the other dove in and grabbed his laptop bag and ran. His laptop was not insured and he is an IT consultant so this will be a huge impact to his life. The druggies will probably trade it for a hit or two and move on with their lives, meanwhile my friend has had to have trauma counselling and take out a loan to purchase a new laptop.

The people who rely on public transport will really struggle now as they will not have the buses to use and the train service is incredibly unreliable now due to the recurring arson and vandalism attacks. The only people who will benefit from this cluster feck of chaos are the taxi associations. They will be so busy they will earn much more than usual due to the fact that people have no other options.

There have been no arrests made in the arson saga and we have heard so many different suggestions on who is the culprit. The ANC has been blamed for using the attacks as a means to destabilise the Western Cape (which is under DA rule).

The transport minister Blade Nzimande has even blamed organised crime for the attacks.

Dan Plato has blamed ‘economic sabotage’.

In other words…..no one knows for sure. Or if they do they are keeping quiet.

I am off to our head office tomorrow and the next day for training on Data Governance, I guess a change is as good as a holiday. A holiday spent in an office block drinking bad coffee. Wish me luck.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Bats & Ninjas

We had the most amazing weather all of last weekend and it continued on throughout the week! It is as if it is suddenly summer. Of course with Cape Town the weather can flip quickly so we will see how long it lasts. Our office is freezing and I sit under a vent so I’m still wearing boots and a cardigan and only feel the heat if I have to nip out for food or when I leave to go home.

On Saturday I had to be up and out of the house early to drive Miss Pixie to Noordhoek to see the doggy chiropractor. As usual, we arrived a wee bit early and had a cuddle while waiting.

Currently Pixie is going every 5 weeks for a treatment but we are going to try and push it out to every 8 weeks as she has been coping well in between visits. We will just monitor to see how she copes. As I now have both her and Navajo seeing David it can get very expensive. We just ordered a new brace for Navajo’s leg and hopefully that makes a difference in his mobility which in turn helps his issues with back strain.

After Pixie and I finished at David I drove home and changed out of my doggy fur-covered clothing and collected Norm. We headed down to the village as we had a long list of errands to run.

First we needed some brunch so we popped into Allegria Cafe and Life. We sat outside as it was so warm.

I am starting to realise (after over 20 years of marriage) that the best way to get a decent pic of Norm is to sneak up on him and snap a furtive pic like a ninja (when he least expects it or when he is distracted by something else).

One of the things I like about Allegria is the lovely owner who is always on site to keep the orders moving along and to keep her customers happy. She was standing chatting to us when we ordered and when I asked for an omelette with bacon and emmanthaler cheese she suggested that I also add in carmelised onions for a bit of sweetness.

I loved the carmelised onions and was very pleased with my omelette, however there were a few too many onions for my taste. I will order this again and next time ask for my carmelised onions on the side and that will be perfection.

Norm had his favourite that he usually orders when he goes here: Scrambled eggs, bacon & mushrooms.

After we finished with our lunch we headed off to Tanya Seeber Optometrist to try on the eyeglass frames she had ordered in for me. I had previously posted a few different lenses for people to vote on.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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But the pair that almost everyone preferred was pair 1 above which are red and I cannot really cope with red frames every day. But I do love the cat eye shape. If I could afford it I would buy 2 pair and have the red ones for when they suit whatever I am wearing but I cannot afford 2 pair.

Instead I chose these in the pic below, they are black with a bronze coloured finish on the trim and the inside of the frame. They were about 2k rand for the frames alone, once they added on the cost of the anti-reflective coating and the cost to make the very thick lenses as thin as possible, the cost goes up to over 8k rands. Phew. I may have to sell off Norm or a kid to pay for them. Let me know of any offers for either parties. 🤭

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I ordered new specs today. What do you think?

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After we ordered my glasses we hit the chemist and grocery shop as we were out of everything from toothpaste to lipstick. Which reminds me, am I the only lipstick addict who finally finds the perfect colour, buys a few tubes and then when you run out you find they have discontinued that colour? Revlon, you do my flipping head in. Or is it the buyer at Clicks who is erratic in her purchases? When you ask the staff at Clicks for any colour not on the shelf the answer is always ‘that one has been discontinued’. Can anyone say ‘Annoying AF’?

Never mind. Here is me at work at 7am wearing the new lippy. I mention the time so you can give me some sort of bonus points for the earliness and I mention the venue so you can give me some slack for sitting under bright AF strip lighting.

Don’t look too closely at my roots either, I am at the hairdresser on the weekend to sort that out.

Anyway.

We decided to braai that night as the weather was perfect for it so we bought some fillet steaks and salad ingredients. I marinated the steaks in a bowl of whatever-we-had-in-the cupboard when we got home. I think it was Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy, garlic and a tiny bit of mustard. I poked some holes in the steaks so that they would absorb the flavours.

After he walked the dogs Norm fired up the gas grill and braaied the corn on the cob and steaks while I made a salad. I also made a salad dressing but it was dreadful so the less we mention that the better really! I need to find a delicious low carb dressing so any ideas will be gratefully received.

It was all perfect for the hot weather. My steak was bright pink inside but nicely charred outside, just the way I prefer it. I give Norman 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️😂😂

After dinner Norm and I watched a new series we have recently started watching called Somewhere Between. It is a very gripping show and we are quite enjoying it. It has that actor that no one can remember the name of but everyone thinks looks familiar? Apparently his name is Devon Sawa. We have not finished watching it all as yet but based on what we have seen so far I give it 4 Kitten Stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a very lazy Sunday. It was even hotter than the previous day and I sat staring at the pool, trying to decide whether I could be bothered to remove the cover and clean it as it has not yet been used this year so the cover is full of crud. Luckily our tube from the guttering down pipe has kept the pool topped up with rain water.

That reminds me, last week there was a very loud screeching sound outside the front of the house late one evening. I was convinced it was bats. Where I grew up in Georgia we had a lot of bats and they would swoop down and bomb your head. I was terrified of them as a child. I told Norm I was sure there were bats, but then I wandered off and did something upstairs and Norm ventured out to investigate. He discovered it was not bats at all but the pool sucky thing had gotten stuck and was having a bit of a squeaky tantrum.

However I did not know that and later I told everyone on Facebook we had a bat infestation.

We don’t.

It still makes me giggle that several people in the Hout Bay group were googling ‘bat sounds‘ and listening to the results thanks to my red herring.

Norm and I decided to tidy up the Halloween dress up box as we both needed to try and find some bits and pieces for our upcoming party. I found some things which I can use to create my outfit, Norm found the bits he needs and we also put aside some things Caitlin needed.

Lily needs a blond wig for her costume and so I tried on the 3 blond wigs we have and sent the pics to the girls. I made silly faces in each of the pics and Lily said I look like a rooster so Caitlin found a pic of my soul mate.

I have such a giggle every time I look at that pic.

Lily managed to find a crinoline for my dress for Halloween. I’m getting so excited, my outfit is coming together nicely!

Norm decided that as it was sunny he would paint another coat on the garage door he is refinishing. I settled in with the kitties and a cup of tea and watched The Good Place while Norm painted the garage door.

This is one I have chosen to watch on my own as I know it is not Norm’s type of show, but I really liked it. It is not earth shaking or amazing, it is just a cute little show with an intriguing concept. I did find the idea that we are constantly being measured by the ‘gods’ and that every thing we do accrues a score on our overall life tally quite interesting and frightening at the same time. Bad things drop our points and good things raise our scores. If my score drops every time I rant at someone who drives like an eejit while I am driving round in the privacy of my car then I must be way down in the negatives due to that alone. Actually, my Virgo tongue has probably dropped my points wayyyy down.

I give The Good Place 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It was still really hot Sunday evening and I fancied sushi and Norm agreed to pop down to K1 in Hout Bay to order a take away.

K1 has a Two for the price of One on the same colour of plate so my order of 4 different types of sushi was only R123 as I only paid for two! A bargain in my books. I ordered Prawn roses, Salmon roses, Prawn tempura & Cucumber roses with prawn. I do not eat seaweed so I have to choose carefully. I did not snap a pic of the tempura but they were really big prawns with a yummy coating and I really enjoyed my entire meal. In fact I will give them 5 Kitten Stars and will definitely visit them again when my sushi craving hits. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

On Monday night Norm and I had to go down to the cop shop as I had some forms I needed to get notarised. We went into the station and there was a Rastafarian dude going mental at the counter, he was wearing a tattered tank top, with matted thick dreads hanging down to the middle of his back. He was there with a woman who looked like she hadn’t slept in months and they were both loudly giving off to the staff. After a few minutes of agitated ranting they were both taken into the back of the station. We were not sure if they were being arrested or what was going on but it made for an interesting show while we stood in the queue waiting our turn.

After we finished at the cop shop we popped by Woolies and got some meat to braai as it was 27 degrees Celsius when I got in my car to go home from work.

The weather app said it was 32C (90F)! Considering we were still wrapped up in front of a roaring fire just last week it is hard to keep up.

Norm fired up his gas grill and he cooked corn on the cob, aubergines and a lovely pork fillet and I made a raw spinach salad to go with it. I love spinach in any form, raw, cooked or creamed. I added lots of avocado to up the fat content.

Later that night there was a bizarre mist that came rolling in over the bay and you could not see outside of the perimeter of our garden. This is perfect cover for the house breakers and sure enough we heard on the radio that some drama was underway.

On Tuesday at lunch time when we went outside we spotted that there was another fire at the Cape Town train station which is across from our offices.

This is part of the ongoing attacks on our transport infrastructure that I have mentioned many times. According to the rescue service, “two trains with three carriages each on platform 17 and 18 respectively were alight”, with reports of the offices above the station deck also being affected.

These fires are causing so much devastation.

Norm cooked again on Tuesday night, he made a chicken and vegetable dish in a cream sauce and made low carb spinach noodles to serve it on.

On Wednesday I had an appointment with my dental hygienist for a cleaning. I am very dental phobic so I had to take a anti-anxiety pill. As I have had a hip replacement I have to guard against any bacterial infections so I also had to take a stack of antibiotics before hand. I arrived a bit early and they took me in early so I did not even have a chance to sort of calm down from the drive (that is why I arrive early to center myself). But I am sure it would be seen as efficiency by any normal patient! As I lay back in the chair I could feel the anxiety meds taking over and I was able to endure it with only 2 hand waves to say ‘Stop!’. The hygienist is brilliant as she chatters to me the whole time to distract me.

However she told me that one of their dentists had been stabbed the previous week while running on the mountain. He was not alone, he was running with other people, however this did not deter the culprits. I have searched for the news article and I think this is it HERE. The good thing is that they caught and arrested the culprits, we just have to hope that the case actually results in a conviction. So many of our arrests do not even make it to court, much less gain a conviction. Not only are our crime levels shocking but our justice system is a bit of a shambles. On the crime stats page they prompt you to take a survey about whether you or someone you know has been a victim of crime in the last 6 month. I took the survey and it tells me that 35% of the respondents have either been a victim or know someone who has been.

Shocking.

Still, life goes on.

Well, if you are lucky it does! Last night Pixie stole a chicken wing from Navajo and tried to swallow it whole. We only noticed when I looked over to see her convulsing on the floor. By the time I got to her she had managed to eject it from her airway. Cheeky lil monkey that she is, she terrified me! She was quite blasé about the whole affair. She even contemplated trying again but I snatched her away from it.

Wednesday night Norm and I cooked together and we made mexican food.

We just made tacos and refried beans and topped the tacos with home made guacamole, salsa, cheddar, lettuce and fromage frais. It was rather delicious as I love tacos. The best thing is how quick they are to prepare.

Today Norm had a meeting at the waterfront so he popped by my offices for a coffee. Work is a bit busy as I have new data to analyse but I took a wee break to chat to my darling.

Tonight he cooked chicken sausage, sweet potato mash with gravy, the last of our sweet corn and fried red cabbage. It was delicious. I love him looking after me.

I’m looking forward to the weekend, I hope yours is full of happiness.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Shutting Down

We have had a bit of on and off rain this week with more water to fill our dams. However after our weekend last week of sunny gorgeous weather it was a bit disorientating to have some days of cold weather interspersed with the warm sunny days. Do I wear boots? Do I wear flip flops? Those are predominately the only foot wear I wear and the weather in South Africa can change from one extreme to the other as it has done all week. We have not had a fire in the evenings all week so that tells you the temperature has been manageable by just wearing a warm sweater and wrapping up in furry blankets. Then again today was 27 degrees Celsius and it was a glorious day (that is about 78 in F for my American readers who can’t be arsed to google and covert).

We had one morning this week where it was pouring with rain and on my way in to work I spotted a huge bird of prey sitting on a road sign. The bird was as tall as the road sign and really fat with fluffy brown and white feathers. I wish I could have snapped a pic as he looked so majestic but trying to shoot a one handed photo while hurtling along a curvy road in the dark while it is pouring with rain is maybe not the safest so I chose to rather not risk it. I love it when we spot random animals just going about our daily lives, there are a few little bucks which have been spotted in our suburb lately as well, I would have thought it could be due to the drought except our streams are full again.

On Tuesday night Norm cooked dinner for us. He chopped up chicken breasts and mushrooms and fried them, then added baby broccoli and made a sauce out of cream, chicken stock, fromage frais, and a wee squizz of tomato paste.

It was low carb and very tasty and it was nice to try something different as it is easy to get into a menu rut, especially when trying to eat low carb. One can only create so many different types of salad or make cauliflower into so many different potato or rice substitutes.

Tuesday afternoon after work I had to stop for petrol. The South African petrol price had a monstrous hike of a Rand a liter on Wednesday. This puts our petrol up to almost R17 a liter. If my math and metric conversion skills are correct, this translates to $4.50 (USD) per gallon. As everyone was trying to fill up before the midnight price change I had to visit 2 different petrol stations to fill my tank up completely as the first station ran out of petrol in the middle of filling my car. The hike is being blamed on the poor rand value, however the poor rand value can be blamed on the cluster feck of our government and the fact that most of the government’s funds have been embezzled in the State Capture fiasco. So the root cause is the government’s lack of proper governing without the ability to avoid sticking their hands in the taxpayers pockets. I was curious about how our petrol prices rank against the rest of the world and I found this info which tells me we are not the most expensive globally. However this link is NOT considering the average salary in that country so there is very little perspective on the impact of the price to drivers. If the cost of petrol is high as are salaries then the effect is negligible, however South African salaries are not very high and this will really impact all of us. No road trips in my future for a while and this will probably mean my kids cannot pop down for the weekend as often.

Later on Tuesday night I had a dig through our family dress up box. We are having our annual Halloween party on the 27th of October. I am still not even 100% sure of what I am going as but I found a dress which I wore before I met Norman. I was unable to fit into it for decades, but as it is such a lovely funky dress I kept it, if only for Halloween options.

I was so pleased to see that it fit me again! I will possibly use this as the basis of my outfit and just tweak it. It is velvet and I love velvet. I am on the hunt for a crinoline and then I will be able to create the exact look I am after.

Meanwhile, we have had plenty of turmoil in South Africa with multiple different protests occurring across the country. (Much like the US where many women are protesting the potential Supreme Court appointment of the petulant man child Brett Kavanaugh.)

I received a demonstration alert from the US Embassy notifying us that there was a protest planned in the city on the 2nd October under the Western Cape Total Shutdown banner. However I later saw an article saying that this was fake news so I am not sure whether the Cape Town demo went ahead on the 2nd or not?!

The Western Cape Total Shutdown concept was implemented to protest gangster-ism, violence, unemployment and crime in the suburbs around Cape Town. But I am struggling to find any details other than this link.

A march had taken place on the 29th of August where scores of Kensington residents shut down a large part of Voortrekker Road as they peacefully demonstrated with placards and posters. A similar demonstration occurred in Bonteheuwel a few weeks later on the 25th of September when there was another protest held about the crime in the Cape Town suburbs. Residents in areas including Kensington, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Kraaifontein and Hanover Park took to the streets to highlight an increase in gang violence in their communities. A total of 13 protesters were arrested in Bonteheuwel and the police shot rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds.

On Thursday in the Bonteheuwel area a man was murdered by a known gangster. This issue with gangs is part of the basis for much of the protests. the gangs rule these areas. The victim was not associated to a gang so the reason for his murder is so far unknown or at least not yet publicised.

Today the Total Shutdown protests continued, this time in the north of SA near Johannesburg. The coloured communities are protesting over the killing of a woman during alleged gang violence.

They also highlighted their dissatisfaction with what they believe is the lack of prioritisation of people who identify as coloured. The term of ‘coloured’ is not a racial slur, this is a term used in SA to designate a particular distinct group of people. The term may have originated during the apartheid era, however now it is part of every day terminology here and is used by the coloured community themselves.

Another protest which occurred this week is regarding the ongoing issues with the Train Services in the Western Cape which I have blogged about previously. The rail service has been targeted for attack with many fires being set and many instances of robbery due to lack of proper security on the trains. This protest was under the banner of #UniteBehind. We have had at least one death from the arson attacks and at least one death from the robberies. In July alone 32 coaches were damaged as a result of arson. The damage caused to trains and infrastructure came to a total of more than R50m.

#UniteBehind launched #DelayRepay, a campaign to demand better rail service and compensation in cases of continued delays on Thursday. The coalition of civil society movements held a rally at the Cape Town Train Station.

The #DelayRepay campaign is a response to the “disastrous” deterioration of the Metrorail service. The rail service, the organisation said, “robs commuters and the public of money and human dignity”. People have lost their jobs due to this issue when they were late on a recurring basis. Some people spend up to 5 hours commuting every day due to delays and cancellations.

On Thursday there was a collision between 2 trains in the northern part of SA and 320 people were injured.

The first train was stationary due to technical problems when it was rear-ended by the second train. Metrorail’s spokesperson said they were investigating how the second train driver was allowed into a section where the existence of a stationary train had been reported to the depot. They were using the controversial manual authorisation system at the time. Metrorail has said previously it is forced to use this method because of severe cable theft and infrastructure damage that has crippled electronic communication to the signalling network.

Yet another issue due to lack of policing and non-adherence to safety processes in our rail system.

I am so grateful to have a car and to be independent of this drama (and to have a valid license albeit a temporary one.)

Another huge challenge in SA is unemployment where the unemployed rate is over 26% and is as high as 30% for the unemployed youth. This equates to over 6 million people without employment according to stats from the last quarter. The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7% in the first quarter from 36.3% in the previous quarter. The cycle of poverty can lead to an increase in drug abuse and crime. I am so blessed that my children are all employed.

Thursday night Norm and I cooked dinner together. We did a Mexican themed dinner of spicy mince and beans.

We just served the mince like a salad, on a bed of lettuce and topped with cheese, salsa, fromage frais and home made guacamole. It was really yummy and the best thing is it is so fast to prepare when there are two of you to chop and prep.

This weekend I have to take Pixie to the chiro for her 5 week adjustment. Navajo had a visit this week, Norm took him on Thursday. He is such a curious alert dog.

He is getting better about going to the chiro, he was a raging nightmare the first visit but he has gotten used to it now and still remains alert, but is more relaxed.

As for the rest of the weekend, it is open to possibilities. I hope you enjoy yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

Hummingbirds & Sand Dunes

We had a bit of a break from rain over this past weekend but it has started again on and off as we roll into the work week. As much as we need the rain to top up our thirsty drought ridden dams, it was nice to see a bit of blue sky when I was off of work and could enjoy it. It rained on and off through Friday but Saturday and Sunday were both stunners. The rain is coming down pretty hard today.

I had very little planned for last weekend and had anticipated a bit of relaxation but then my plans started to ramp up.

Friday Josh and his friend Shane arrived down from Mossel Bay to stay with us for the weekend as Josh was racing.

As Lily was at Comic Con in Johannesburg for the weekend Josh brought Shane with him for support. We ordered pizzas from Posticino as Josh likes to carbo load on the day before a race.

Saturday the boys were off to the race course very early and I had an appointment to get my eyes tested at Tanya Seeber optometrist in Hout Bay at 11. Norm and I decided to pop down for breakfast prior to my appointment and we chose The Hummingbird Eatery and Patisserie as it was right next door.

There were only a few people seated when we went in and we hoped this meant we would be served quickly.

I was not terribly hungry and their menu says that they offer a ‘Daily Muffin’ so I just ordered a chocolate chip muffin, luckily the flavour they had that day was my favourite. As the cafe calls itself a patisserie I had high hopes for this choice.

Norm ordered the full English breakfast with banting toast.

Our coffees came quite quickly but the food seemed to take a very long time. In fact, 10 minutes before my eye appointment was scheduled Norm went to find the waitress and met her coming through with our food. I quickly wolfed down the muffin but was very disappointed with the quality of it. The muffin had a hard lump in it which I think must have been a bit of the batter which was not fully mixed through properly. It was very dense and heavy. The muffin was very dry which makes me think it was not made daily as the menu suggested. Norm said his meal was fine but the banting toast did not taste like bread at all but then I have yet to meet a banting toast I enjoyed.

We have given this venue a few chances, you can read my most recent blog about our visits to this venue here. I see that on that older blog I had a whinge about the hollandaise, but I noticed on this recent visit that they actually have Bearnaise sauce on their Eggs Benedict, but the complaints still stand on the fact it was overcooked. Each time I am disappointed in the food and this was the 3rd strike of kitten discontent and we will not bother to go back. I give them 1 Kitten Star. ⭐️

I dashed over to the optometrist while Norm finished his food. I had my eyes examined and ordered some new daily use contacts. I have always had monthly use lenses but I wear them so seldom it is a waste. With the dailies I can just wear when I get dressed up and want to look nice and then chuck them away. I am allergic to many of the soaking solutions and this cuts out an irritant from the process. I am waiting on the salesman from the frames supplier to bring a pair of frames for me to try on so I did not order my spectacles yet.

After my eye appointment Norm and I headed over to Caitlin’s flat as she wanted to go  and purchase a dishwasher and we offered to help her collect it to save delivery costs. We went to Tafelberg Furnishers in Diep River as she had already been speaking to a salesman there who had put aside the dishwasher she wanted that was on special. We also bought a fold up clothes dryer as Cordelia had broken ours the day before. The salesman was a sweety and insisted on following us to Caitlin’s flat and helping Norman carry the dishwasher upstairs. We tried to tip him for his efforts but he refused. He was such a lovely young man. We managed to get it to fit under her new counters and it also fits perfectly in between her existing appliances. All of them are silver finished and it really looks lovely.

Caitlin also asked Norm to bring his tools to help her hang some of the items she wanted to put on the walls of the flat. The 1st items were to hang over her sofa, so we pulled out the sofa to avoid getting drilling dust all over the furniture. We found a wealth of cat toys lost by Scout and Mittens hiding back there. There were so many wine corks that it looked like a family of miniature alcoholics had been living under the settee.

Caitlin had 2 paintings which Susan, Wes’ mom, had painted for her, they are so stunning and the colours match her flat perfectly. The colour does not show that well but the wall is a soft minty-turquoisey-green and the sofas are a soft grey.

After all of the chores were done we were in need of some food and we walked over to Martins Bakery to get a quick bite to eat.

The kitchen at Martins had already closed but the waiter offered to have the kitchen do a sandwich croissant for us if we wished. We ordered a ham and cheese croissant and a coffee. The croissants at Martins are baked fresh daily and are hands down the best croissants I have ever eaten, including those which were eaten when we were on holiday in France. They are so light and buttery at Martins and so fresh.

We picked up some banting chicken pies to take home for dinner and we just served them with potato salad and coleslaw for a quick and easy meal that evening.

I also bought some sinful treats for later that night. I got a lemon meringue tart for myself.

I picked up a gorgeous, rich chocolate tart for Norm and a couple of pasteis de nata for us both as well.

We were definitely not disappointed in any of these sinful indulgences. In fact as you may notice I had to use pics from Martins as I wolfed mine down so fast I forgot to snap a pic. Oink.

Would one call Martins a Patisserie even though the owners are Portuguese rather than French. What does one call a Portuguese bakery? Whatever you call it, I give everything we had from there a full on 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We walked back over to Caitlin’s and Norm packed up his tools and other bits and pieces and we headed home. Norm and I had a quiet evening as we were a bit tired from all of our running around that day. I built a fire and we cuddled up with the pups and relaxed.

We have just finished watching the Netflix series Guilt which while watching we fluctuated between loving it and being annoyed with the silly bits. I can usually always identify the murderer in a show but this one had me flip flopping on who I thought was the killer. It had plenty of twists and turns.  The show was based predominately in London and had roles where the actors were supposed to be playing someone of English, Northern Irish and American origin. However it was oddly cast and I could hear the actor’s real accents coming through the fake accents the actors were portraying. The Northern Irish roles both sounded like the actors were from the south, not the north. My Belfast accent is far superior to either of the supposed NI actors. The part of the Prince was played by a Brit, but his accent is not naturally posh, I could hear his vowels slipping on occasion. The American actress who played the part of Grace did not sound American to me, I could hear British phrasing slipping in on occasion. The things that annoyed Norm were more factual points like the fact that the Special Prosecutor was interviewing people when they were arrested and various other things about the British justice system which wound him up as being blatantly ‘not British’ according to Mr Kitten. Also the portrayal of the Prince and the lack of support and counsel from the Royal family when he was deep in the poop was a bit of a stretch.

Saying that, we were really gripped by this show (in between being really annoyed) and so I will give it a solid 4 Kitten Stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday Josh and Shane were up early and heading off up the road towards home. I had drumming practice at 10.30 but my morning got away with me and by the time I got out of the shower I was already late! I made a piece of toast and Norm very kindly offered to drive me over to Constantia so I could eat it on the way and he could stop for petrol on his way back to save us time for our lunch appointment at 1. We raced over to Gerri’s and I arrived as they were busy doing their breathing exercises and they had to start over. Oops. I am normally the first to arrive and have never been late before so I did not stress too much. We had 2 solid hours of drumming and singing.

We learned that one of our songs is being sung wrong. The lyrics are:

CHU NO MUGEN NO CHIKARA GA KORE KOTTE ,
MAKOTO NO DAIWA NO MIYO GA NARI NATTA

It is in Japanese and as we sing phonetically we were garbling the message. However as when you have been singing misheard lyrics for a long time, it is hard to sing it the right way once the wrong way is stuck in your brain and we struggled a bit with the rhythm on that one.

Norm collected me around 1pm and we headed off to meet my friend Julie who is over from the UK. Julie is here with her Father and they are staying with Julie’s cousin Belinda and her hubby Wayne and their 2 adorable little babas. We arranged to meet at Dunes on the Beach as it has a playground for their son who is 2 and a half and a gorgeous view for the overseas visitors. We were seated in the children’s play area under a brolly. It was shady enough even for my wee Scotsman.

We were seated looking up towards the restaurant which is always good for people watching.

We had a view of the beach if we peered over the playground wall.

It was lovely to see my friend Julie. We worked together at British Gas when I was in the UK. I have not seen her in about 9 years since she last came over to SA.

I ordered the mussels and as I was starving by the time we finally ordered I scarfed up every little mussel.

It came with bread and the bread was so soft and fresh it must have been made that morning. Norm had the fish and chips and Wayne had a burger which he said was very good. Julie’s dad had the cajun chicken burger which he also enjoyed. Julie and Belinda shared some sushi and the salmon and were happy with their food too. The salmon come on crushed potatoes which they compared to warm potato salad. The pizza oven was off for some reason and several of them had planned on having pizza but quickly had to make a new choice when they heard the pizzas were off the menu.

We hung out for a while enjoying the nice weather and catching up with each other’s news. We were due to pop by Retha’s late afternoon but we had cancelled as we needed to nip home to check on the dogs and walk them. It had turned a bit chilly and so I built a fire while Norm was out with the pups.

On Monday Norm had a business meeting but was kind enough to cook for us before he left.

He had bought woolies hake fish cakes which were on special. He steamed some vegetables and made home made coleslaw. It was yummy and there was enough left for my lunch on Tuesday.

Norm had a bit of excitement on Tuesday when he received the required number of resident approvals to implement an SRA in our area. This is great news as it allows us a bit more control over the security issues we have in our suburb. A few individuals were strident in their disapproval, however the yes votes outweighed the no votes so it should proceed now despite the objections. Norm has put in so many hours of his personal time working on this for the benefit of many residents so I am very pleased to see that work pay off.

I realised yesterday that my drivers license has expired and am in a bit of a panic about getting pulled over. I will have to go as soon as possible to the filthy licensing department to queue with the millions of other people getting their licenses. Oh the joys. My car has gone in today for a service as the brakes have been pulling since my near miss accident when I was working on the UCT project. It is so difficult to achieve these tasks when you are working full time. Norm dropped me off at 8am and then drove me into work and collected me afterwards. It cost me almost R5k for the new brakes and the service. I still have to go to another service provider for the alignment but at least the brakes are sorted and that was the worrying issue.

Last night Norm cooked dinner for us and kept it simple but it was delicious. He baked chicken breasts and mushrooms in coconut oil and roasted some veggies to go with it.

This weekend is a long weekend as Monday is Heritage Day in South Africa. I am meeting Caitlin and our friend Carla for lunch on Sunday and I am looking forward to that. I am also going for lunch on Saturday with my friend Helen and it will be great to catch up with her.

The Cape Town Marathon is on this coming weekend which may impact our ability to get in and out of our village. I will have to check the routes to see what is happening. If I am housebound maybe that means I will do some of the chores around the house I have been putting off forever. Maybe. 😜

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x

To the left, to the left

The crime stats for South Africa were just released by the South African police department (aka SAPS). If you are a fellow data geek you can download them here. The poor grammar and spelling on this website tells you a lot about the state of our police’s attention to detail (or lack thereof). There is so much misalignment and lack of master data management it makes me cringe. For example the official stats are collated by station, yet the filter refers to ‘province’. They refer to ‘residential crime’ yet the stats have ‘Property-related crimes’ as the category heading. This can lead to misinterpretation and misallocation of data which is a huge issue if collating stats and providing Business Intelligence.

If you prefer to have your information already interpreted you can get a summary here. I have also extracted some of the more relevant stats for the Western Cape, where I live, from that site.

The overall crime stats for the province are in this 1st graphic. It would appear the criminals have reduced their attempts on car jackings and ramped up to truck jackings. Maybe they bought a ladder?

The stats for residential crime in my province are in the next graphic below. Residential crime is defined on the crime stats as:

  • Burglary at non-residential premises
  • Burglary at residential premises
  • Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle
  • Theft out of or from motor vehicle
  • Stock-theft

 

My understanding of the difference between burglary and robbery is whether the items were taken directly from a person, or taken in their absence. For example, a mugging is a robbery and burglary is a house or car break in.

And finally, the stats for murder and attempted murder.

The stats for attempted murders went down overall, but is this because their skills improved and the murderers were just more successful at achieving their desired results?

Either way it can make one despair or it can make one take whatever protective action you can, be vigilant and hope for protection from our guardian angels. Since the cops are doing such a crap job at protecting us and resolving crime, some divine intervention is needed. This is one of our motivations in creating the SRA for our area, it gives us some control over our safety and environment as a collective entity.

However we must be careful not to buy into the scaremongering from the Alt-right who claim there is a white genocide underway and that the South African farmers are all being deliberately targeted and murdered. I have blogged about this recently and you can read that blog here.

This video was posted on Facebook recently which gives a view that aligns to mine, that we are being subjected to right wing propaganda. White South African residents are far less likely to be murdered than any other racial group.

This is not discounting the violence and horror of the farm attacks.

You can generally always find information online to support your views, here is a video from the alt-right. Note their constant use of the term ‘they’ – they do not see Africans or Coloured people as equal, this is evident in their terminology. This is also known as Otherism which can be defined as “the exclusion of a person based on their perceived diversions from an acceptable norm.”

Noting that the 2nd video is from Australia and Australia has a long history of racism which is similar to the American history. Australia’s mistreatment and repression of their indigenous people is as systemic and horrid as the US treatment of the Native Americans. The aboriginal people were displaced from their homelands and treated as inferior to the usurping white settlers.

The Australian press has recently been accused of racism due to their portrayal of Serena Williams and her tantrum in the US Open. My opinion is that her behaviour was shocking and unprofessional but no more so than many male players who have thrown wobblies in the past. The fact that the cartoonist then doubled down and refused to admit to racism says a lot about their lack of ownership of their narrow views and their unwillingness to change.

This week has flown by for me, I have been busy at work preparing for a workshop at UCT which was held today. It went well, we are putting in a proposal to bid for some work which could lead to a long term project. I really resisted going to University of Cape Town when I was assigned my previous project there as I always resist anything new but eventually I settled in there and was very happy and in fact was sad to leave. It will be good to go back there again. I popped in after my workshop to visit the team I worked with before. It was lovely to see them all.

Last night after work I went with my friend Retha to her new house to unpack her kitchen things so that she could bring back the boxes and bubble wrap to pack another load of things today as she is moving out of Hout Bay on the weekend. We have been living so close to each other since we met so it will be strange having her not in the same suburb, but things change and we adapt.

Norm has been cooking most of the week. He was adventurous last night and made the most delicious high fat, low carb dinner of chicken breasts smothered with cream cheese and cheddar cheese and topped with home made bacon bits. He served it with sweet corn and cole slaw. It was ready shortly after I got home and as I was starving by the time I got in I scarfed every bite.

I found the recipe on this Low Carb website which has some good ideas.

Norm had a meeting the previous night so we had take aways as he got home quite late. I made chili con carne on Tuesday night as I was craving a bit of spice.

Lily and Josh’s sister are at Comic Con this weekend. I am sure they will have such a laugh. Josh is so mad about comic books it is a shame he wasn’t able to go but he has a race this weekend and he and his friend are coming down to stay in Cape Town with us instead. At least the tickets were not wasted. It is the first official Comic Con event in Africa. There is an annual comic book convention held in Cape Town every year which is called Fan Con but it is nice to see the Comic Con brand come to Africa.

I set up the event for our own fancy dress event which we have every year for Halloween and we are all starting to get excited about planning for that. It is my fave time of year and I cannot wait!

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I hope you all have a good one too. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

Hardly Strong

I was watching a series this week where a mother and daughter were having a bit of a disagreement and the mother said to the daughter ‘You think you are so strong, but it only comes off as hard.’ I have heard this myself many times, I know that I am strong. I am also hard when the occasion warrants it. I wonder what is the tipping point from one to the other? I guess I ride that fence in between the two, falling into one direction or the other depending on my need for self protection.

I had 3 days off last weekend as it was my birthday and I try to always book off work for my birthday. I think it should be illegal to have to work on your special day. Norm and I had discussed what I fancied doing weeks ago but the discussion did not stick in his head and what I planned and what we did ended up being completely different, however I was happy with the way the weekend panned out. I had asked Norm to book for the whole family to go to Hogshead as I knew that their food is a generic people pleaser and we have a few fussy eaters in our family. I had asked Norm to book for just he and I to go for a fancy lunch at La Mouette on the Sunday or even on Monday which was my actual birthday. The Hogshead somehow fell off plan completely and we ended up taking the whole family to La Mouette on Saturday night. A lovely, however pricey expedition.

Friday after I got in from work Lily arrived down from Mossel Bay. It was lovely to see her and catch up with what all is going on in her life. Josh did not come with her this visit as he has been traveling back and forth for months and just needed a bit of a rest. Friday night we just chilled at home, ordered pizzas and cozied up in front of the fire as it was quite cold again and the rain was pouring down.

Saturday morning Norm was up early as he had to take Navajo to David, the doggy chiropractor. Navajo’s ankle seems better but he has so much strain to his lower back and hips from hopping on 3 legs and hauling his weight around on his front legs. Just touching the middle of his back makes him cry. It is breaking my heart watching him struggle. However after seeing David on Saturday and the doggy physio on Monday he actually managed to pee while standing on his bad leg today, something he has not done for months. Fingers crossed he is on the road to recovery.

After Nav and Norm got back home, Norm had to quickly shower and change and he headed off to a business meeting in town where he was presenting to 2 different groups.

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❤️

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Focus on how cute he is and not my messy kitchen in the background please.

Lily and I decided to head into the village as I need to buy new eyeglasses and I needed some advice on what style suits me. I tried on dozens. I narrowed my faves to these 4.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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I posted this pic on both Facebook and Instagram asking for votes and I got loads of responses. Most votes seemed to be for either 1 or 3. Some people really did NOT like the red glasses, but I love red and I love cat eye glasses so I am not sure if I can be persuaded to not take them. I go back in 2 weeks for an eye exam and will decide then which ones I want. If I can get number 1 in a black frame, I will definitely take those.

After we finished at the optometrist Lily and I drove down to the Hout Bay harbour as we wanted to have a nibble and go for a walk along the harbour and pier. As we got into the car at the optometrist we were hit by a wave of stench. We have a fish processing plant in our village and when it is in operation the entire village reeks of a horrid smell which makes you feel nauseous. We decided to drive down to the harbour and see what it was like but once there we opened our car and decided it was unbearable so we turned around and headed back into the village and settled on Deli Delish. We sat inside as the weather is so unpredictable and we hoped that meant we would not smell the stinky fish factory.

The stench had made us a bit nauseous and we were conscious that we were eating a big meal a few hours later so we decided to just have a scone and a bit of pineapple tart.

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

After we finished we headed home to get ready for our dinner at La Mouette. Caitlin and Wes came to our place first and I opened the birthday gifts from the children. They gave me 2 gorgeous warm long cardigans and a low carb cook book.

Wes gave me a bunch of lilies which are my fave flowers, they will last ages and look gorgeous as they bloom.

We had a photo shoot on the balcony outside our bedroom before we left. (Ummm what is going on with my one weird skew boob?!)

We then all drove together into the city in my car and were lucky enough to get parked right by the venue. We asked the doorman to take a pic of all of us outside on the patio on our way in.

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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We were seated in a cozy corner booth with lots of room to stretch out. We were treated to a gorgeous glass of champagne as we were handed our menus. The champers was compliments of our host Mari. Such a thoughtful gesture!

They served us with 2 different types of home made bread and a bowl of warm dipping sauce. The sauce was made up of garlic and various gorgeous flavours in a hot beef fat broth. Sounds odd but it was very tasty, smoky and meaty.

We all decided to go for the Winter Tasting Menu which is R295 for 5 courses.

To kick off, the table was served some ‘snacks’ which were described as:

  • Mushroom gyoza, fermented cabbage and apple slaw
  • Truffle and cheese croquettes, roasted garlic aioli
  • Crispy beef short rib bao, pickled cucumber, crispy onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

These were all fabulous! The cheese croquettes are always a favourite and a meal at La Mouette would be incomplete without them. We all moaned with happiness while devouring them. The bao was rich and meaty, really gorgeous flavours. The gyoza was divine as well and I am not really a fan of the texture of dumplings, but the gorgeous flavours made up for the texture.

Next came the leek and potato soup described as ‘Smoked mash, leek oil, ash and velouté’. This was served with a bit of theatre. First they brought out a bowl with a pile of fine mash with a glistening puddle of leek oil sitting in the centre.

Then they bring around a little container and pour on the creamy soup which you then stir all together.

The soup has such flavour and I loved the way that they presented it.

For the next course you had a choice of either spicy vegetable kofta:
Cauliflower crumble, green tea and parmesan oats cracker. Norm chose this and he said it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

The other choice was the West coast mussels: Curry, compressed apple, burnt chard and onion bhaji powder. All of us except Norm had this dish. I am usually a big mussel fan, I found the delicate mussels to be a bit overwhelmed by the intense flavours of the dish. I enjoyed it but it was not my fave dish of the night.

The next course was a choice of two offerings as well, the choice that most of us went with was the cured pork belly: BBQ carrot purée, red chicory and crackling.

This was so good! The pork belly was tender and had an amazing flavour. The crackling was thin as paper and ever so crunchy. It was beautifully cooked. I loved this dish. I wanted to lick my plate.

The other main option was Herb gnocchi: Parmesan crème fraîche, pickle butternut purée, mushrooms and sorrel. Caitlin had this and she seemed to enjoy it and ate it all up quick sticks.

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Herb gnocchi

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Dessert was lemon meringue:
Mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and wood sorrel. Ohhhhh yummy yum yum. Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts and this one did not disappoint. It had such flavour. I loved it.

After we finished and asked for the bill we were served some of their homemade macarons. I missed the description but I thought I could taste passionfruit, but the girls thought they were blueberry! Whatever the flavour they were oh so good.

They made our tongues blue but our already full tummies even happier!

We had a lovely evening and Lily drove us home as she was our designated sober driver.

In the middle of the night that night the house alarm went off and Norm looked all around the house to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary but assumed it was just the wind and we eventually went back to sleep.

Sunday we were all up early as always, it is impossible to lie in with a houseful of hungry beasties. Norm went down to the kitchen to feed them and discovered a bird with an injured wing. It was a tiny little bird and Lola had obviously been torturing it and had damaged his wing. Norm caught him and took him down to the green and released him, I am telling myself that he recovered and is now fine.

Then today when I was coming home from work I saw a guinea fowl running frantically along the side of the road and then noticed that there was a bird knocked over and dead in the road and the frantic one was trying to get to its partner. I found both of these experiences so upsetting as I love birds.

Sunday morning Lily and I sat in the sun on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the nice change in weather.

The dogs hung out with us as they are always happy to be outside.

Lily had a long drive ahead and so she showered and packed up and headed home late morning. It was so lovely having her here.

Norm and I decided to go out for lunch later that day and headed across Chapman’s Peak toward Jake’s. It is the most stunning drive.

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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We were given a fabulous table in a spot of sunshine right by the door so we also caught a bit of fresh air.

I wore one of my new cardigans and it was lovely and toasty warm.

They had a different guy singing than the previous time we were there but we really enjoyed him, he had a great voice. He sang some great tunes and had a wide variety, he did Under the Bridge by RHCP and even King of the Road by Roger Miller which always reminds me of my grandmother.

Norm chose the fish and chips. It was beautifully presented but the fish was undercooked and full of bones. Norm never complains at a restaurant but he actually called over the manager and showed him the raw gooey dough and the piles of bones. The manager said we were the 3rd to complain about the fish that day and I wondered why did he not pull it off the menu? However the manager was very nice and apologetic and took the fish off of the bill.

I chose the Tasting Platter as I fancied picky things. It had panko prawns, yunan ribs, chili poppers, chicken pot stickers and parma ham and cheese balls. I had expected cheese croquettes but these were cold, spicy cheese balls, filled with a soft cheese and were not cooked. They were tasty but just not what I expected. The rest of it was very nice.

Norm felt deprived after his unsatisfactory meal and so we both ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie for dessert described as ‘white, milk and dark chocolate, bar one chocolate sauce and ice cream.

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

As an American I have high standards when it comes to brownies. Don’t give me a dry ass piece of cake, shove a nut in it and call it a brownie. I think the sauce was not made from a bar one but other than that I have no complaints. The brownie was moist and full of yummy chocolate chunks and was really good. I will be having this every time I visit Jake’s.

We drove the long way home and it had started raining while we were at Jake’s and it became a torrent of rain and it is a very windy road so we made our way slowly. We stopped off and did a little shop of bits and pieces and then headed home and built a big fire to stave off the freezing cold.

The next morning Norm gave me his gift as he had saved it for Monday as he wanted me to have something to open on my actual birthday. I badly needed a new handbag as mine was literally falling apart. He chose this one as it has a separate removable section for containing my iPad. It is simple and elegant, I love it.

Norm had to go to a meeting for work early that morning so he dropped me off about 10 at Cait’s. First we popped into Martins Bakery which is right by Caitlin’s flat. It is owned by Wes’ aunt and uncle so I am always happy to support them. The fact that they make such nice food is a bonus! I bought some donuts and muffins and we headed to Caitlin’s. We had a coffee and a pastry and then we headed to Kalk Bay. I have always loved Kalk Bay, it is a special little place. We parked at one end of the village.

We walked along the main road, hitting all of the cute quirky shops. We trawled through the china shop and realised that it used to be a tattoo parlour and this is where Caitlin and Trevor  got their first tat, we all 3 had one done there together about 12 years ago. Here is a throwback pic of me getting mine.

Caitlin bought some little china figurines to go into her printer tray and some other items and I bought a cowboy hat as mine is falling apart.

We shopped until we were exhausted and hungry and we headed off to Live Bait to see if we could get a table and we were in luck! We were given a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pier.

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

We both ordered the prawns which came with chips, rice or salad. I chose chips and Caitlin chose salad.

The prawns were perfectly cooked and were ever so tasty. We both loved this dish and scarfed every bite. They were in a buttery, slightly spicy sauce. The chips were home made and delicious.

After we finished eating we went for a walk down the pier to help with our digestion. The wind was howling!

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

After our walk we stopped for an ice cream at the Ice Cafe as Kalk Bay is infamous for their ice cream. We walked along the road munching and staring at the sea and then when we finished we headed back to Hout Bay.

Caitlin dropped me off at Retha’s so that she and I could have a birthday drink together. Retha gave me Pierre’s steam punk hat for our dress up box which I put on so that I would not forget it. The kitties seemed perplexed by it all.

Norm came to collect me and when we got home I discovered that Trevor and Amber had sent me some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a stunning bouquet of flowers.

Norm had bought a chocolate brownie to stick a candle in so that he could sing to me and wish me happy birthday. I made a wish that my ex-husband has good results from his biopsy this week. As I made the wish and blew out the candle I smugly thought ‘how virtuous of me to use my wish for the good of my children’ and the candle relit!!! I looked at Norm and he said ‘that means you get an extra wish’ and so I wished another wish. I thought that was a rather spooky experience. But I won’t look my gift wish in the mouth.

I really feel self indulgent wishing for anything as I have all that I could ever hope for – a roof over my head, an interesting career, a lovely family, a loving, handsome husband and wonderful children. I wish there was more money and less crime and that my mother lived closer and then my life would be perfect, but then who ever expects perfection? Even a Virgo would never be that greedy.

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0