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

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Candles and The Glen

It’s only week 3 in the New Russian Federation of America and yet it seems like it has been years. This week alone we had Rep Elizabeth Warren being told to sit down and shut up. She dared to call racist Sessions exactly what he has portrayed himself to be. 

We also had The Furher throwing a tantrum about his daughter’s Made in China tat failing in sales at Nordstrom and other retailers and as a result being pulled from their list of designers.

Hitting this family of bloodsuckers in the pocket will be an effective approach. You can download this app if you want to join this form of financial protest.


The resistance carries on with some other successes, such as the Muslim ban being halted by the US courts. My favourite lower scale protest this week was against the religious lunatic Betsy De Vos who bought herself the role of US Secretary of Education. The image below shows the list of palms that were greased.


This week she saw the public opinion of her up close and personal.

The crazy is strong all over the world. Great chasms are appearing in friendships and families due to differing political beliefs.

Anywayyyyy. Life goes on.

My ears have been blocked for ages, I hoped that when my Celtic flu finally cleared up that I would be able to hear properly again but no such luck. So last Sunday I decided to try candling my ears to see if it unblocked them. (Excuse my Sunday no make up face.)

It didn’t unblock them for some reason, normally it works like a charm. But it is a relaxing process anyway, I seldom just lie still with no diversions.

Sunday evening we decided to get a curry from our fave curry house in the village. It tasted delicious but I awoke in the middle of the night feeling very ill and ended up vomiting up what felt like gallons of curry. (TMI?)

I had meetings booked that morning and I was facilitating a workshop so I did not feel I could stay home in bed despite feeling rather rubbish so I trudged off to the city to work. I left work about lunch time however and came home to crash. When I got home I discovered that Caitlin was also feeling ill, so it must have been the curry we had. Norm was fine and he had chicken korma and Caitlin and I both had the prawn curry.

I went to bed and napped and felt better later that evening after I woke. Norm made us dinner. He had shopped for the week and he cooked pork chops, gem squash, pumpkin & asparagus for our dinner. It was yummy. I’m very spoiled.

Caitlin’s friend Annie was down from Johannesburg for a few days this week and she stayed over on Tuesday night and we made Mexican food.


We made a salad and baked provolone cheese for crispy fake-taco shells. Caitlin made chunky guacamole and I fried onions and peppers. All 100% HFLC and delicious.

The garden wall has been plastered now and the bright pink bougainvillea is in bloom.

I am feeling less stressed now that I am not posting every link and article I see about Trump on Facebook but instead I am trying to share just mostly the piss take pics.


However I did get very annoyed due to blatant ignorance and misogyny that happened closer to home. I recently left a local FB group for people in my village due to sexism and glorification/normalisation of rape culture. A guy posted a link to an article about a preacher who had his clergy perform sex acts on him which he claimed would purify and heal them. One of the comments from the group admin regarding why they did not remove the post was that it was ‘not rape, there was no force involved’ as he laughed along with the original poster. Just because a woman (or child) is not forcibly tied down and physically overpowered when abused does NOT mean it is not rape. It has been proven that people will obey a person in a position of power either out of fear or out of a desire to appear cooperative–even when acting against their own better judgment and desires.

Those sorts of comments just propagate ignorance and normalise rape culture. This study which was done at Berkley explains the psychology behind the normalising of extraordinary behaviours. It also helps one to understand how people can continue to support what is blatant insanity on the part of Twitler.

I often forget that South Africa is so different to the US in so many ways. This week I  had that brought home to me when I complained on social media about my neighbour’s house alarm which goes off constantly. (I do mean constantly and sometimes it goes on for hours at a stretch.)

In the U.K. and the US your alarm is usually linked to the police. In SA most people subscribe to a security service provider, like ADT. We subscribe to Deep Blue. However most homes here have walls around our properties for security as well as large dogs so when the alarm goes off the security company usually only walks around the perimeter looking for visible signs of entry. They can’t reset the alarm unless you give them a remote. We don’t trust anyone with our keys or remotes so we have to make sure someone in the family can get home to turn it off if it is triggered. The police will only be called if the security company has determined that a crime is in progress or has already occurred, thus reducing the number of calls requiring one of our limited police to attend.. They usually rock up at some stage but it is nothing like the police in the US or the UK.. I have been burgled in the UK – they found the perpetrators and located my stolen car. Here the police are just too understaffed to have capacity to deal with minor common irritations like trespassers or break ins. When we had a break in they took days to dust for fingerprints.

Wednesday I came home a bit early so decided I would cook dinner. Norm had bought some new carb clever noodles from Woolworths which I wanted to try.

carbclever-spinach-cauliflower-noodles-250g-6009204005891

He had thought he grabbed 2 packs, but he grabbed a ‘regular’ noodle instead, and as there were 3 of us I cooked both packets. That also helped reduce the risk that they tasted of cardboard and we ended up starving, but they were really good!

I fried chicken and mushrooms in coconut oil, then once cooked I added in a tin of pureed tomatoes and a container of cream, added some chili powder, cumin and garlic and various other seasoning and then heated the noodles and chucked them in. It was very tasty!

The South African State of the Nation Address was on Thursday and our rather dodgy president called in the Troops to protect him. Much like Trump he is very unpopular due to his unethical and fraudulent dealings.

sonapolice-gauntlet

Little did we know that Zuma would pretend to be Mariah and rock up an hour and a half after he was scheduled to address parliament. The disrespect made the other parties rather angry and a fight ensued when the leader of Parliament used security to forcibly evict the EFF.

This is so embarrassing for SA as a nation. The president gave his same old speech of bullshit and cover ups.

Traffic around the CBD and especially around Parliament is grid-locked due to all of the arrivals of the blue light brigades for the entire week of SONA as they have rehearsals etc. Us normal people just must get out of the way. Therefore I decided to rather just work from home on Thursday. I just set up at the dining room table so I can see my mountain.

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Just as well I did decide not to drive in as there were several fires which resulted in even more traffic delays.

fire

Norm went to buy milk and came back with bones for the beasties to try and keep them quiet.

dogs

They were very happy.

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As I was busy working he also fed me (probably to keep me quiet too.)

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He is great at looking after me.

I normally lay out my clothes at night so as I don’t disturb Norm as I leave for work about 6.45am. However I didn’t do so on Thursday and I grabbed what I thought were grey shoes and when I got to workI realized Ihad on a grey top, black jeans and brown shoes. It made my matchy match Virgoness cringe every time I looked down.

 It was so hot and humid on Friday. We just stayed in and had a relaxing night.

We had a girly lunch booked at Constantia Glen on Saturday . I had booked weeks in advance as I wanted the same table we had on my last visit. However when we arrived they had no note about the table I was promised and took us to a very crowded area surrounded by people. The table I booked was occupied. Instead they then they offered us a table on the other side which was quite acceptable and remote. 


The downside of that was that sometimes we were completely ignored. The restaurant was up the hill from our table.


We had a gorgeous view. 


When we complained we had to listen to the waitress make excuses about how she has a big table of twenty and blah blah blah. When she was aware of us she brought lovely food. We nibbled on the cheese and charcuterie platter.


We then ordered the beetroot, goats cheese and walnut salad. 


 We all had salmon. Two of us had the open salmon sandwich. 


The other 2 had salmon ribbons.


We had lots and lots of wine. I had far tooo much. But it was a gorgeous afternoon. We had a lot of laughs and got into some deep conversations. 


I had so much wine that I was locked in full on party mode. Retha and I decided to get a lift with Nicola to Simonstown and meet her friends for a party. Norm had dropped myself and Retha and Alison and was supposed to return to collect us, but I forgot to tell him we moved on so when the vineyard closed he was a bit concerned. 

Oops.

We arrived to a view that was gorgeous.


We moved over to drinking Gin and Tonic. This was our worst decision and today I am paying the price. 

Late that night we staggered down the hill to the village and went to Cafe Pescado on the main road. We had been going for hours and needed to eat something to sober up.

I had mussels which were delicious. 


Norm phoned about 10pm to ask what was I doing and where was I and I persuaded him to come and collect us. It was a long way. Bless him he is too good to me. 

When he collected us he told us Mr Toad came back again! 


Today I am just lying on the couch in the recovery position. I think I broke my liver.Try not to make much noise please.