The Power of Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love the white!

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

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

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

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

I’m a lucky Kitten.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now we are watching Knock Down The House.

I have such a girl crush on AOC. ❤️

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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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

 

 

Haunted

As promised I have some pictures of our Halloween party last weekend to share with you all. We had such fun. It was held in the back room at Spiro’s in Hout Bay. We had some very large parties in the past in our homes where lots of things got damaged, broken or barfed on and we decided rather to move it to our fave venue.

We arrived at 7 and some of our friends were there already.

Each year we have a theme. This year’s was ‘Disney or Animation’.  I was Tiger Lily from Peter Pan.

My daughters and I snapped a quick pic on arrival. Caitlin was Belle and Lily was Velma from Scooby Doo.

I ordered 6 of Spiro’s large platters and put them on the tables. There was different contents on the various tables but there was calamari strips and crispy squids, zucchini ribbons, fish cakes, meatballs, spicy chicken livers, Haloumi, Spanokopita (classic spinach, feta and dill pie), Dolmades (hand-made vine leaves stuffed with rice & herbs) and a variety of other bits as well as decadent dips like Taramasalata (creamy cod roe dip), Hummus or Tzatziki (tangy cucumber, garlic and mint dip) and my personal fave the aubergine dip which are all served with Pita bread. It was all divine and it served to line the tummies of the guests before they got stuck into the cash bar.



We then lowered the lights and moved out tables to make room to dance.


I thought Belle and Johnny Bravo (Caitlin and her fella Wesley) looked brilliant. Wes made the perfect Johnny Bravo and Caitlin is a beautiful Belle.

We had friends show up in all manner of crazy outfits. We had such fun.

Lily and Josh as Velma and Shaggy were adorable.

My book club girls mostly all made it this year and we had a laugh dancing.

Even Chris came late after a work party she had to attend.


We booked a DJ via the venue and didn’t have to manage him, when he veered off of the crowd faves and people sat down he caught on to the shift in mood and redirected. We danced all night! My legs were killing me on Sunday. As was my head. The problem is it is hot and you are dancing so you end up drinking far more than is good for you.

The night flew past and we staggered home just after 1. I woke up covered in lipstick as I was not able to remove my makeup the previous night. Oops.

But Monday was back to normal. Our client’s offices are being renovated and the building is covered in scaffolding. Outside our windows are men dangling from ropes – brave fellas 14 stories in the air. The homeless have taken up residency under the cover of the scaffolds so our walk through reeks of urine. Yum.

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Monday evening I popped round to Retha to catch up since we haven’t had a chat since she returned from  her trip to Paris and Corsica. She brought back a sweet little mirror for my handbag.


I love it.

The protestors were out again this week – this time protesting the suppression of the State Capture report. The march was coordinated by the Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF. The leader of this party was previously very involved in the ruling party , but they realised that the ANC was purely interested in bettering themselves, not in addressing the plight of the struggling masses.

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This week has proven to not be a great one for our President or some of his puppets.

On Monday, Shaun Abrahams the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (aka the NPA) finally dropped the ridiculous charges against Pravin Gordhan, our finance minister. The charges against former SARS officials Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay were also dropped. South Africans are now calling for the resignation of Shaun Abrahams who is one of the many puppets under the control of Zuma.

The Report on State Capture which was produced by our recently departed and well loved Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was finally released. President Zuma and his cronies had tried to stop this being published as it clearly shows how much the Gupta family control South Africa. We all knew that the Guptas had a lot of influence but I do not think any of us realised how endemic and pervasive it actually is. So much of our countries finances are being mishandled and misappropriated.

The report clearly shows that Eskom, our parastatal energy supplier, has been favouring contracts with the Guptas and that the board did not put South Africa’s interests first, it made decisions on what was financially favourable for the Guptas. Eskom has also been misleading us on the need for a nuclear reactor. This coupled with the lack of care and attention and basic maintenance of the existing infrastructure by the ANC has led to mismanagement and the inability to provide SA with the energy we need. The Eskom board is so corrupt it should be dissolved.

We have also gone to another stage on water restrictions which is also due to incompetent management of the existing infrastructure as well as lack of control of the corporations and businesses which are dumping waste into our drinking water supplies. The government try to blame it on the drought, which is indeed compounding this issue however it is certainly not solely responsible.

The other area of mismanagement of funds due to incompetent leadership is our state owned airline SAA where billions of rands have been wasted. This money could have been used to assist students, provide housing or fill any of the other areas which could benefit the disadvantaged.

On Tuesday the NPA dropped fraud charges against Robert McBride, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate head. This was all again done for devious means.

It all makes for interesting dinner conversations as it’s like the script of a low budget soap opera.

Tuesday evening Norm did fillet steaks on the gas grill. 


He made fried mushrooms on the eye. I love that grill. It has saved us during the renovation project.


It was a lovely evening.


The public protector’s office confirmed on Wednesday that its chief executive officer, Louisa Zondo, has handed in her resignation. This story in itself smells of corruption. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions but the timing is just too suspect.

On a more personal note, my kitchen renovation project is making fabulous headway. The quartz countertops went in on Wednesday. Kitchen cupboard knobs were also put on that day. They look fabulous.


We just got a Posticino pizza on Wednesday and it was so yummy.


The plumber came today and installed the taps.

The electrician also fitted the extractor hood. 


Norm was working this evening and popped into Primmi to get dinner on his way home.

We had mashed butternut and spinach with grilled Mediterranean chicken.

It was delicious and lower in carbs than my usual chicken and pasta. It’s all about choices, I had a tasty dinner but didn’t choose pasta. I can cope with this if it’s considered a diet! 

We have a busy weekend ahead. I’m busy at work as well as I am now PM on a new project. It’s not long until Mom comes and the next thing you know it’s going to be Christmas. Life rattles past so quickly.

I hope you had a fun Halloween- it’s my favorite holiday. This year was pretty brilliant I must say.

Jazzing it Up

Yesterday was another of the jazz events Norm and I enjoy attending. This time it was held at Amakhaya Guest Lodge which is owned by Lee and Pierre. Lee is the daughter of Harry Peacock whose band was performing.

The weather was perfect, we arrived just after 5pm and the sun was still beating down, but after some negotiating of one of the many sun umbrellas and we were sorted. The seats were placed round the pool which made for a lovely setting.

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My friend Caroline joined us.

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We had brought our own drinks and snacks. I wasn’t driving so enjoyed some ice cold Sauvingnon Blanc.

The event started with a little dance treat by the Jikeleza Dance Project. The Jikeleza Dance Project works with young people and children in the communities of Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg in Hout Bay, South Africa to empower and turn young lives around through dance and music. They strive to keep kids in school and have after school sessions with them where they study dance and music. Some of these children may have gone all day with no food, no breakfast or dinner. Can you imagine trying to learn when all you can think about is how hungry you are?

The girls were so adorable and all were wearing African face paint and had little shells full of beads tied round their ankles so each step generated a lovely sound.

My pics are not great as it was so bright and I didn’t want to block anyone’s view by standing in front of the dancers. But you can get a feel for it I hope.

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This is such a worthwhile group, I so admire what they are trying to achieve and was happy to donate. If any one also wants to donate, especially those overseas, your foreign currency goes so far here, it would be wonderful if you ‘adopted’ this charity on an ongoing basis, but even a once off donation would be so helpful.

Norm seemed to really relax, he’s usually running round networking.

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I do adore this man. My soulmate.

The band started up when the girls finished. Lots of people were dancing and we all really enjoying the music.

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The sun set and it finally cooled off, it was just a magical evening.

The event was due to finish at 8 and we had another party to go to so we toddled off about 8:30 and dashed home to feed the pooches and let them have a wee, then off we went to Fish Hoek. We went via Chapman’s Peak Drive but the most beautiful drive was lost on us as it was pitch dark. We found the Athletics Club where the party was happening.

It was my friend Rhona’s 50th birthday and the theme was The Wild West.

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The decorations were fabulous, they had put up saloon doors at the entrance, hay bales were piled up and they made wanted posters of many of the guests. All the guests really made an effort to dress up, the guest of honour looked stunning in a scarlet red saloon girl outfit she bought for the occasion. Rhona is a former work colleague who is now working in Dorset in the UK. She flew home just for the weekend!

They had a lamb on a spit and roast chicken, pita breads and cole slaw. By the time we ate it was about 10pm so I was like a half pissed ravenous menopausal bear.

I could have eaten my own leg by that stage! But the food was simple yet delicious. We shoved it all in the pita and wolfed it down.

There was a DJ and the crowd were all up dancing. We even got a boogie in, I do love dancing. It was the first time I met Rhona’s hubby and daughter and they were both really lovely, open and welcoming.

If we lived in Fish Hoek we would definitely join the Athletic Club, it’s a great venue and the members all seemed like such lovely people.

We finally set off home about 12.30 and when we got to the stop and go section of roadworks on Chappies there was no one anywhere to be seen to let us through. We waited, and waited and finally hooted the horn. No Joy. Norm started to get out to check things out but it’s too risky in SA to be wandering in the dark in an unknown situation. I thought I could see boots in the little shed the workmen use so I sat on the hooter. Finally a guy pops out the shed, rubbing his eyes. He had been sound asleep on duty. Oh dear. Never mind. After 10 minutes we finally get waved through and head home.

Today is also a stunning day. We have no kids this weekend so Norm made us coffee and toasted ciabatta when he fed the dogs, and we slothfully spent the day in bed. It was heavenly! We finally surrendered to the heat and our hunger and got up about 2.30!

I put on my new leopard print swimming costume and giant hat and had my lunch by the pool. I spent all day there, retreating to the shade after a bit to avoid burning.

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Norm is now braaing some kebabs for us and I’m off to make a salad, then we are going to watch a film.

Life is rather fabulous.

Steampunk & Salvation

Things have been hectic the last few weeks and I have been a bit slow with blogging. It is ramping up to the end of year craziness!

My regular readers may remember the previous blogs about the Hout Bay venue ‘Pescarne’, the 1st visit there was amazing! Really enjoyed the entire experience. The subsequent visits were of varied results and the last experience was vowed to be our last as it seemed to be depreciating rather than improving. However we were invited to go back with our friends Retha and Pierre and as it was Restaurant Week (www.restaurantweek.co.za) in South Africa there was an offer on which was too good to pass up so we decided to give them one more chance.

The booking was made for a Wednesday and I was worried we might be the only people there but by the time we left at the end of the evening it was pretty much full and had a great buzz, that was one of our issues previously was the lack of vibe as it has been empty too often.

If you ask my opinion (or even if you don’t actually you are gonna get it unless you stop reading) their issue has been their prices. A restaurant can only expect people to pay what they pay at the restaurant next door unless it is an exceptional experience.

A bottle of Warwick Estate Sauvignon Blanc Professor Black cost us R235 which seemed a bit high. But as the meal was on special it was not an issue. But if my meal had been full price it would have been a very expensive meal. However it was indeed exceptional this evening.

The special was a 2 course Dinner for R175.00

Choice of one starter:
-Smoked salmon and strawberry
– Steak tartar
-Scallop and prawn garlic pot
-Prawn and avocado cocktail

Choice of one main course:
-Pan fried pepper fillet steak
-Grilled ostrich with fig and gorgonzola
-Seared fresh Norwegian salmon
-Stuffed chicken supreme

I had the scallop and prawn garlic pot, it was 4 prawns and 3 scallops, but not what I would call a scallop but someone said to me that they are not native to South African coasts so who knows where these came from. They were quite clamish to me, sort of like a European scallop and a clam had a baby.
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Either way, the prawns were tender yet firm, perfectly prepared and nicely drenched in hot melted butter and tons of garlic. The wee scallopettes were ok. Just not a scallop by my experience. It was a perfect size, just a wee taste. I enjoyed it.

For my main I ordered the fillet steak. It was served with a delicious light creamy pepper sauce, no giant peppercorns lurking to break one of my dodgy teeth, no painful overpepperination. That’s a word. You have just never heard it before. Um. It’s American. (that only works with non-Americans of course haha)

It was undoubtedly one of the best steaks I have had, it was perfectly cooked. pink but not overly bloody. It was so tender and just really melted in your mouth.
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I ordered fries for the table having learned my lesson at Bistro 1682 this time I asked what came with the steak. The veggies which did come with it were perfectly al dente.

Norm and Retha both had the Smoked salmon and strawberry salad to start which looked nicer than this pic does.
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For his main he had the Stuffed chicken supreme on a bed of cous cous, he said it was good.
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We had a nice relaxing evening.
norm pescarneme pescarne
We decided to push the boat out and have dessert, mainly as I knew they have a divine chocolate fondant, one of my faves. As usual it was perfectly moist and full of warmly melting chocolate. It was rather exceptional.
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Norm had the apple crumble. He enjoyed it.
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I left feeling like they had undergone some sort of salvation, that they had risen from whatever it was that had caused their slump and were finding their feet again. If you make it through the winter in Hout Bay you are often over the main hurdle and they will do very well in season with the tourists. It is a summer sort of place with the glass doors all pushed wide open and the sun slanting in as it will be staying up so late in the evenings. Tables set up on the balcony – I do wish them well.

As we were leaving we were stopped by the owner who thanked us for coming and after a bit of a chat invited us to pop back in for a whisky. But it was a weeknight and I had meetings the next day so we toddled off home.

My opinion has changed again and we will go back.

The rest of the week flew by with me managing to sell my Peugeot. It was a really low offer but I just wanted to be rid of it and move on with my new Juke. So it is goodbye to my lovely baby girl. We had a lot of fun.
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She was such a sexy thing. She is off to be the guest hire car for a local guesthouse, so she will have hot young things writhing round her leather seats, sticky hot from the beach. I am glad, that is what she is meant for, not every day slogging up the mountain, she deserves a rest.

Saturday was the day of our Steampunk Halloween party. We had such fun. It was booked at Spiro’s for the first time, it was such a pleasure to just arrive and party and go home to a clean house at the end of the night. We had a shared party with Lee who was having a birthday party and provided the DJ. We provided platters for all of the tables, tapas which are always divine and perfect for a shared setting like that.

The family snapped a pic or two before people started arriving.
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How stunning are my baby girls? They take my breath away sometimes they are so pretty.

Everyone made such an effort, we really had fun.
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I was on the cocktails and Norm was on the wine, but at some stage we ended up doing shots, that was the end of me. I had a lotta lotta cocktails though, I was hot. And thirsty.

Anyway, after midnight we decided we were heading to Pirates to carry on and I couldn’t find Norm anywhere. So we went outside and found him sprawled across a picnic table in a stupor, about the same time I heard shouting and yelling and looked up to see a huge crowd of about 20 people spilling into the road like some beach version of West Side Story, fighting and rolling about strangling each other. My friend Michelle offered to help me get Norm home as Home Heroes were unable to arrive for an hour. I wonder why I am a member if that is specialised service. Anyway Norm was in no state to wait an hour and Michelle ran off to get her car, meanwhile the fight had reached where we were and she had to drive through the people to stop. I had to run the gauntlet, Norm slung over my shoulder Private Ryan style, the sound of imaginary machine gun fire echoing in my ears….oh wait, sorry I got carried away. Seriously it was very stressful, people rolling round our feet pummelling three shades of shite out of each other and an immobile large drunk man periodically heaving. Lovely.

Michelle got us home and we had no keys to get in, I rang the bell (a million times according to Lily) and we managed to get Norm up the steps and into bed, Caitlin and Vic arrived just after us and Victor had to help get him undressed. It was rather challenging. I have seen him like that maybe 3 times in our 18 years together.

Our bar bill was almost R4000 so I guess we did a bit of drinking. I thought I broke my liver as I was unable to function for a day. I had left my glasses in Norm’s car (which was at Spiro’s and we had lost the keys to) therefore I had to roam around the house by feel like a mole. I found some old glasses but they made me nauseous so I didn’t wear them unless I was walking.

Eventually Michelle found our keys under her car seat and we found Norm’s phone as well as his wallet. It was a hectic evening but we had a lot of laughs and I probably embarrassed myself a wee bit, but what is life if you can’t have a giggle.
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“I do not like green eggs and ham I do not like them Sam-I-Am.”

Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays. I’ve always loved the freedom of being in a fancy dress outfit. The funny thing is I don’t have a single childhood memory of trick or treating. We lived out in the country side – miles away from much of anything except a few other houses, all with long drives and vast stretches of darkness and shadows.

I do remember once going trick or treating with my cousins as they lived in an actual ‘subdivision’ with houses all close enough that you could rack up quite the bounty of goodies which was great fun.

Tomorrow is our annual party and my friend Sam has flown over from Spain to attend. Extreme? Yes, but that is how we roll.

Sam and I have been friends since I moved to England and started working at British Gas. We decided it must have been 1998 that we met, which in some ways seems a lifetime ago and in some ways seems like yesterday.
We have been through a few parties together that is for sure.

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Last night we all went to Chapman’s Peak Hotel as Sam fancied calamari. We then started reminiscing and talking about the nonsense we have gotten up to through the years.

Norm reminded us of the many times Sam and I would go clubbing in Birmingham, then phone him to come and collect me in the middle of the night, then while waiting I would hear a great tune, dive back into the club only to leave Norm driving round the dark streets of the city for hours looking for me while I am inside gyrating on a podium.

Or the other time when Norm dropped 3 girls in the city to go clubbing, then when he collected us there were about 10 people waiting. He gave us all a lift, even stopping at the chippy for take aways as we of course were all drunk and ravenous.

When we got home and stumbled out the van we get a phone call from Loz, one of the girls who went into town with us. She was asking where we were – oops, we left her in the city and brought home loads of other randoms. Norm then had to turn around and drive back to the city to find her. This was at least an hour round trip and it was probably 3am or so by then.

When he got back to find a big pile of uneaten fish and chips he was even more unimpressed with me.

The other time which he loves to recount is when Sam, myself and group of girls had gone out after work in Solihull one night when Norm was in London working. He was to come and collect me on his way back, so he rang us to ask where we were. My response ‘we are in the back of a police car’. We had somehow managed to get into a huge street fight with a gang of drug addled youth. The one lil fucktard had grabbed Sam by the booty and I decided to thump him. I then chucked a full coke can and hit him in the head which then made it all kick off big style. It was all rather messy and ended up with one of our friends getting badly injured.

I think our best memories are of my birthday weekend in Amsterdam. A group of 6 of us went and we had such an amazing time, one of my all time best memories. We stumbled round in such a state of disarray and chaos for 3 days but we did have such a laugh. We barely slept and lived off of cones of chips with mayo. Most of those stories are not suitable for public display however.

Needless to say, when Norm was unable to attend the invitation by the British Consulate to come for drinks on a Navy ship next week, Sam and I of course offered to attend in his honour. Knowing our past exploits and our penchant for trouble he was not in any way keen on that! (Coward)

Sam, like me, has a real affinity with Africa. She has worked here several times as a volunteer on various game farms and been here to visit me twice. She is now applying for a job here, doing the same thing she does back in Gibraltar. If she is successful I will be such a happy Kitten. I have a gap in my life for a fun, frivolous friend to get into trouble with now that Mandi has left. Fingers crossed 🙂

Keep it up

The rest of the week flew after Rihanna. My neck and shoulder were in spasm so I emailed an osteopathy dude I had heard about and he just happened to have an appointment for me Friday afternoon during lunch hour. Funny how the Universe literally had my back.

Here is their local website if you wish to check it out. http://www.myosteopractic.co.za/html/practitioners.html

It was the first time I had ever been to an myosteopath and was really impressed with the treatment. It is like the Bowen Technique and McTimmoney Chiropractic technique had a baby technique. Some deep acupressure, some reflexology moves, some stretching, some flicking (like in McTimmoney). I left feeling almost high from the released energy coursing thorough my body.

I met my friends Dawn and Chris and their daughters for cake and coffee at Hout Bay Manor. The cake on special was black Forrest, a dark chocolate gateaux with cherry filling and a creamy frosting. We ended up having 2 rounds of coffee and tea as we were having such a good chat. Seems ages since I saw them all and it was the perfect kick off for the weekend.

Friday the family were all home so we rented The Hangover 3 and had take aways from Cassarechio. They do some amazing pasta dishes. I had the Prawns Gamberi on Friday. It is a creamy tomato garlicky sauce with lots of big prawns. One of my faves from there.

Saturday I woke to find my neck and shoulder were seized up again. I was supposed to go to the local superspar to see about ordering some of their platters for my Halloween party. But I decided that could be done during the week. Caitlin and I were due to go to the hairdresser at 1 and she was going to a friend after so couldn’t give me a lift home. Norm kindly offered to come to collect me after so off we went. I had a lovely neck massage and it helped a bit. My hair got lots of red highlights, I love it.

Poor Norm had to race home, drop me, then head off to his puppy training with Navajo. When he got back he looked exhausted so I suggested we go a bit late to the party we were attending. We both nodded off but luckily Lily woke us or we would have probably slept all evening! We got ready and headed out to Re:Public, starving! The kitchen was closed so we just popped in and said hello to everyone and birthday girl Lee, then popped round the corner to Papino’s for a fillet steak. Their steaks are always tender, with no icky bits, and come with a nice variety of carbs and al dente veggies. They also do a fried mushroom side which is simply mushrooms fried in butter and garlic which I love with steaks.

We then went back to Re:Public and chilled with some new friends from Hout Bay Organised our local Face Book group. There was a DJ and dancing but it was so hot in there that it was unbearable so we had to duck without dancing.

Today we are just relaxing at home. Norm and I are cooking. I am doing a roast gammon, sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil, glazed carrots and Norm is doing potato dauphinoise. He also bought a yummy chocolate dessert so that should round it off nicely.

My weekend has been full of family, friends, good food and good times in a beautiful environment. I feel very blessed.