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

 

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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

Queue Convos & Transient Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloody Brits.

So anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

It was a stunning sunny day perfect for dining outside.

I started out with a strawberry daiquiri.

Norm ordered the calamari.

I had the half kilo of prawns with chips.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Norm settled in with a chilled glass of wine.

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

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

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

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

I finished every drop of it and really enjoyed it.

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

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Little munchkins all in a row #dogs

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

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Until next time, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0

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

 

The Little Engine

Inevitably every time Norm travels there is a drama at home. I almost anticipate it happening and I wonder am I actually generating some of this energy with my thought processes? And each time there is a drama I begin my mantra of ‘I can’t cope’. Saying this over and over in my head almost embeds my feelings of dependency on Norm.

Even though I always cope. After all, what is the alternative? To just give up and rock in a corner while twirling my hair and crying? I am just not that sort of girl. I think a challenge actually galvanises me into action. I may have an immediate breakdown but I then rally.

And then afterwards I generally cry.

I am going to try and be more confident of my abilities. I have survived things that would break most people, but I am still here, still surviving.

I need a new mantra, something like from the Little Engine That Could.

I think I can, therefore I can!

It has been so lovely having Norm back home with us. The weather was dreadful over the weekend and we stayed in and snuggled with the animals in front of the fire. Panda did not leave his Daddy’s side.

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Daddy’s home ❤️

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Pixie seemed fine after her drama on Friday. Maybe she was high on pain meds but she was bouncy and full of fun. However she wanted to sit in my lap and cuddle all weekend.

Navajo has regressed while Norm was away and we had to get the doggy physio back in to work on his back as he was struggling to even haul himself up off of the floor. Bless his heart, I am so worried about him. Norm is going to take him to the doggy chiro as well as his back seems to be his main ailment now.

It was so nice to have Norm home and looking after us all. I collected him at the airport on Saturday morning and we came back home and built a big fire and settled in.

We saw on social media that the roads in the village were flooded and it was recommended that everyone stay off the roads to avoid any issues.

We just got take away chicken burgers on Saturday night and enjoyed catching up with Norm’s travel activities and the latest UK family news.

We had a long lie in bed on Sunday and then when we got up Norm made us a delicious HFLC brunch of cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon and avocado.

Norm had to go out to pay Charles the dog walker on Sunday afternoon so despite the torrential rains he popped to the shop and got a gammon to cook for Sunday dinner. He glazed it in honey and wrapped it in foil and baked it. It was so tender and juicy. He also made corn on the cob, baked beans and cole slaw.

Monday afternoon after work Vanessa popped in to give me a pedicure. We built a big fire as it was still pouring with rain and freezing cold. Norm had a meeting about the SRA he is involved in trying to implement and then he popped down to get us a Chinese take away from the Blue Lotus in Hout Bay, I had crispy spicy pork and it was yummy. I also had sushi which got thrown about while en-route so I did not take any pics of it.

On Tuesday night Norm baked some fish in lemon and butter and made loads of veggies to go with it. We had fried zucchini and red cabbage, roasted butternut, cauliflower mash and cole slaw.

The dogs and cats were hoping I dropped my plate. Or at least dropped the fish.

We have had more crazy chaos in SA over the last few weeks.

Trump pissed off loads of people by poking his beak into an area about which he knows nothing, his education as always comes from his right wing sources. In this particular instance his tweet was triggered by a segment from the racist moron Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

Following the backlash received in the aftermath of the broadcast, Tucker Carlson has once again gone on another fear-mongering rant as he called his detractors out for supporting “whatever the corrupt and incompetent” SA government is doing.

SA Professor Steven Friedman has said that “Trump and the right-wing commentators close to him are responding to the South African non-governmental organisation AfriForum. Two of its leaders went to the US to campaign on the land issue earlier this year, where they met Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton.

AfriForum calls itself a “civil rights organisation” but is in reality a lobby group for white Afrikaans speakers who feel threatened by majority rule.”

US State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert had a press conference where she tried to clean up the mess made by Trump. Her statement was that “We encourage (?) an expropriation of land without compensation would risk sending South Africa down the wrong path. We encourage a peaceful and transparent public debate about this important issues that seems to be happening in South Africa.” (Sic)

“If policies are poorly implemented, there are potentially detrimental political, socio and economic issues.”

What I find ridiculous is her statement that after Zimbabwe had implemented land expropriation without compensation, Mugabe had a media shut down to stop the international press having any insight to the atrocities going on there. How can she mention this as a risk flag when Trump has done his best to discredit the legitimate press and to promote fake news sources such as the racist website Brietbart or Fox News. She seems to not see the irony or the hypocrisy. There is also no ambassador to South Africa since Trump took over so they hardly have their finger on the pulse, more likely they have it up their arse.

Carlson also had a second rant where he discussed Julius Malema. Local South Africans all know that Julius is radical and that he is anti-white. Luckily his party, the EFF, is not the ruling party but you never know what will happen in the next election. I think the DA is in big trouble, personally I do not see any other party which threatens the ANC dominance. If the EFF won the National government it would be a bad place for land or home owning people, Julius wants all property and land to be state owned. How he expects that to work logistically I have no idea. I never said he was rational. Clever, yes. But certainly not rational.

This week we had the dozy cow Theresa May here to chat to President Ramaphosa and do the robot dance with various South African groups.

Good Lord white people, just keep still and try not to look like an eejit.

May has stated that the UK supports Land Expropriation as long as it is “legal, that is transparent, that is generated through a democratic process,” May told reporters.

The other issue which was mentioned in Trump’s tweet was the white genocide or murder of white farmers which many say are being deliberately targeted for attack, whether motivated politically or from the point of retaliation. The reported statistics are inconsistent from the multiple sources about the numbers of murders, but you can see some of the stats here. I also found an article about fact checking the facts on this situation which points out why the data is unreliable. As a data consultant I want proper solid data and this appears to be lacking.

The roots of this dispute go deep. Someone very astute in South Africa once said: “The roots of apartheid are not to be found in the white cities, nor even in the endless tunnels of the gold mines of the Rand. They are buried deep in the red soil of the white-owned farms, where for some 200 years, before even South Africa became an urban industrial economy and the word apartheid was thought of, relationships were being forged between white master and black serf.” Unfortunately I cannot find a reference to who the quote is from but I think it was from Rosalynde Ainslie and has been excerpted from her book ‘Masters and Serfs: Farm Labour in South Africa’.

There have been decades of farmers abusing the farm workers and a history of very little being done about farm worker’s rights or conditions of employment. Much like my Native American ancestors, alcoholism was encouraged among the coloured farm workers as they were paid in wine by the vineyards. The living conditions of many of the workers is shocking.

This link is to an old article written in 1991 but the past is the past so it is as reliable as any, so you can read more on this history here.

However, regardless of the past, members of the white farming community are still being killed in armed attacks at an extraordinarily high rate. The prevalence of this type of murder in farm areas is clearly abnormal, the age profile of the murder victims is usually elderly and that is also abnormal. The horrific level of brutality is abnormal. That these high levels of farm attacks and murders have been sustained for decades is also abnormal. Why is nothing done to prevent them despite there being a strategy announced for the police to investigate it?

The age of the victims could signify that they still held the views of the past instigators of apartheid and believed that people of colour are inferior beings. If their attitude from apartheid had not shifted then their treatment of their staff may have reflected that past.

The judicial system is now starting to prosecute the farmers who do heinous atrocities to their employees. Recently a farmer was convicted of bashing in an employee’s head with a spade and burying the body on the farm. After Visser murdered Adam Pieterse, his body had been dragged behind a vehicle and then his genitals were mutilated after his death. There are many such stories.

The stories we hear of what has happened to the murdered farmers are also horrific and barbaric. One behaviour should not justify the other however and moving on from this situation seems to be a struggle for both ‘sides’ in the equation.

The difference is that the farmers who murder or torment their workers often get reported and arrested, however the people who kill the farmers often escape prosecution.

Most of us do not know the depths of the horrors visited on either of these groups, the police only report some of the crimes. All we can hope for is peace and reconciliation. It’s a tragic situation that the farmers are targeted. Food is the lifeblood for a country.

Some people are calling for white South Africans to be given special refugee status in the USA or Canada and this is supported by the right wing AfriForum group and their cohorts. But what about the black and coloured communities who suffer far more violence and crime than whites? Should this refugee status and policy exclude their emigration from SA? Basically, this would be a plan that would result in even more racism to be visited upon the indigenous population.

This morning we heard that there was another raid in Hangberg in the local coloured townships. They were looking for drugs and weapons and apparently were quite successful.

People are again up in arms about the police being successful yet there are just as many people moaning about crime. You can’t only allow the crime that suits you. The Broken Window Theory is the only sensible thing associated to old Rudy.

This weekend we have some fun things planned as it is my birthday on Monday. Trevor cannot come down for the weekend but Lily and Josh are due to come, however the kid’s father has had some health issues and has been in hospital so there was a chance they were going to need to stay to be with him.

Their father was supposed to be coming down to Cape Town for the weekend but then he ended up in hospital. Today was supposed to be his Uncle Bam’s 95th birthday so they have family here from all over the world to celebrate with him but last week he fell and broke his hip and then passed away the same evening. The family will all be attending his funeral instead of his birthday. They are having dinner later which will be the first time some have seen each other in ages.

Sometimes life has a cruel and tragic sense of humour.

If you can spare some healing thoughts for my ex-husband and comfort towards that side of my children’s family I would appreciate that.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten. x0x0x0x0x0

The Route is the Root

I recently blogged about how happy I am to see the back of Shaun Abrahams and this week President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Silas Ramaite as the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ramaite is the NPA deputy national director responsible for administration and the office for witness protection. He has served as deputy director of the NPA for 15 years. I have to confess I have never heard of him, but often in politics that can be a good thing! We often only hear of the scandals and dodgy deals. Here is some more info on him and his background.

I hope that Mr Ramaite will serve us well. Crime in SA is astronomical and the conviction rates are terribly low.

Saying that, on occasion you hear of a successful apprehension. Last week on the tail of the fishermen protests we heard there was a shooting in Hout Bay. You can view the video here.  It was allegedly also related to the anti-poaching campaigns which resulted in the missing poacher recently.

I have noticed this week that there are cops pulling over taxis which are illegally using the coast road. This route is supposed to be off limits for taxis as this is the MyCiti Bus route. This dispute over routes is what is allegedly at the root of the taxi violence. This visible policing should hopefully resolve some of the issues. However some say that these incidents of violence are being deliberately instigated to make the western cape ungovernable and that the ongoing issues with arson on the trains is part of the same skulduggery. Another train was torched on Tuesday. This makes 8 incidents.

This infographic HERE is not current but it is interesting none the less.

The other theory is that the taxi drivers are behind the train arson. The train is the cheapest means of travel and is direct competition for the taxi drivers. When the trains do not run the taxis increase their revenue greatly.

For those who are outside of SA I should describe the taxis in SA, they are not yellow cabs like in New York or black cabs like in London. They are minivans which the drivers stack the passengers into like sardines. This link will show you images of the types of automobiles that are used as taxis in SA, just to give you some perspective.

Now we hear the response from our useless Minister of Police Bheki Cele after MPs complained in Parliament that the police had “failed miserably” in protecting the trains in Cape Town.

He said that “PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of SA) spends millions annually on private security firms to secure its trains and rail network. We have heard that R770 million was spent on such security services in one year, but yet the trains are still being set alight.”

According to Cele, PRASA and the Department of Transport must ensure that their trains aren’t targeted by arsonists, cable thieves and vandals. “It’s not the police’s responsibility,” said Cele.

However rumours are that we have no chance of PRASA sorting out any issues, they cannot even manage their own internal affairs properly. “The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has not yet delivered its 2016/2017 annual report to Parliament – which has been outstanding for almost a year. However, on Tuesday, DA shadow minister for transport Manny de Freitas announced he would be taking legal action after documents leaked to him related to the outstanding report show financial mismanagement at the entity.” A leaked document from the Auditor-General’s office shows irregular expenditure totaling R4.4-billion. A copy of the leaked document can be viewed HERE.

The damage to the trains has been estimated at 64 Million Rand. Money better spent on helping the poor or educating the many children who want to study but cannot.

The crime continues on many levels as we also read about a 65 year old woman stabbed on Chapman’s Peak last week. She was out on her own, running on the mountain, when she was approached by a man who robbed her and stabbed her. From what I understand she handed over her goods, there was no reason for them to stab her, it was done purely out of evil motives. People were using the ‘blame the victim’ defense, asking what was she doing on the mountain on her own? However as some of you may remember, a group was attacked last year so numbers do not always protect you from the attackers. And why shouldn’t we be allowed to enjoy the nature and beauty around us without fear of attacks?

Another woman was mugged and stabbed this week by 3 men in a suburb near where we live, a 5 minute drive away. They managed to apprehend one of the men but 2 are still on the run.

I have written before about the high rates of murder and rape of women and children in South Africa. This week the trial of the murderer of Courtney Pieters has continued. She was raped and murdered by a man who was a family friend who actually lived with her family. I also read about the conviction of a man who raped and killed his own young son, so this issue is not restricted only to female victims, it is anyone who is vulnerable.

Alcoholism is rife in many of the marginalised communities in SA. According to the Inanda police station commander Brigadier Zwelihle Mnganga, alcohol consumption played a significant role in the perpetration of rape and sexual assault in Inanda, an area north of Durban. Police crime statistics for 2016/17 indicated that this police station had the highest number of reported rape cases in South Africa. It had 348 reported sexual offences cases, of which 309 were rape cases. The station commander also reiterated the common issue of under-staffing. The number of police assigned to each area is under control of the National Government, the ANC, but the figures are based on an outdated census which means that almost all stations are understaffed.

We also had another child murder conviction this week where a 52-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for attempted rape and the murder of 13-year-old Rene Roman in Lavender Hill, an area just outside of Cape Town. Judge Robert Henney said he was concerned that over the past few years he had handled several cases where young girls had been subjected to a sexual offence before they were murdered by people known to them or who lived near them.

Henney mentioned the murder and rape of 11-year-old Stacha Arendse by neighbour Randy Tango in Mitchells Plain just outside of Cape Town. Henney sentenced Tango to three life terms in December.

The judge also named the case of Jerome Amerika, who raped and killed 10-year-old girl Shamonique Claasen in Paarl – a day before her 11th birthday in December 2016. He also raped his former girlfriend twice. Henney gave Amerika five life sentences.

“It is either a neighbour, or an uncle, or a family friend,” said Henney. “And that makes it so difficult to curb these types of offences. Because we always tell children to be careful of strangers. But I see that the perpetrators of these crimes are no strangers.” Henney said that in “99% of the cases” the child’s body was found buried in a shallow grave.

It is so important for parents to notice their child’s reactions to family members and not force the child to ‘give uncle a hug’ or other demands – if a child does not want to kiss someone, do not force them or you are telling them to deny their instincts or that their own feelings are to be subjugated to those of an elder.

The poor have so many challenges in South Africa, this week I saw this tweet by the Equal Education Movement. However when I researched to find the video as a stand alone link I see that wherever the news sites have written about this the video has been pulled from the news reports. Can anyone say suppression of news and promotion of propaganda? Welcome to ANC land.

Many of the rural schools still have latrines (long drops or pit toilets) rather than proper plumbing and there have been multiple deaths from children falling into these pits and drowning either at school or at home. In terms of the basic education department’s minimum uniform norms and standards that Minister Angie Motshekga passed in November 2013, a certain type of pit latrine was deemed acceptable sanitation for schools. She also promised that by 2016 all schools would have basic services as set out in the minimum uniform norms and standards regulations. Ominously, she warned that while schools without any sanitation would be prioritised, those using pit latrines may not be upgraded to flush toilets. However the pit toilets are still prevalent and the government are not meeting the basic needs of the learners.

The ANC are also responsible for the management of social grants and this has been so poorly handled and has resulted in many people not getting the money they are supposed to get each month due to ineptitude and what I suspect is underhandedness. I suspect that the Minister in charge is filling her pockets with back handers to encourage her to delay this process to allow the previous system integrators to receive maximum benefit.

The world seems to be governed by the inept and self serving as these issues pervade the UK, USA and SA, across all of the countries where I have lived. Now Trump is poking his beak into SA political issues which he knows nothing about. He is such an imbecile, he thinks we will be distracted with his bullshit. We aren’t.

Meanwhile, we stress and we carry on with our lives.

Last week on Thursday night my friend Retha came round for dinner as I have not seen her much lately. We also made a plan to meet up again on the weekend and we went for lunch on Sunday to Allegria Cafe and Life at Mainstream shopping centre in Hout Bay village.

We kept it simple and just had a toasted panini with salad. Retha had one with bacon jam and I had one with swiss cheese, ham and pickle.

I like the laid back vibe at this little cafe, Norm and I often pop in when we are out for a shop. The owner is always very charming and welcoming.

I popped into Pic N Pay clothing as I needed new slippers as the entire sole fell off of mine.

Cordelia took the old ones home to repair and I bought a new pair of grey ones. I also bought some black skinnies as mine are getting rather faded. I did a small shop for food as well and then headed home to the pups. I had been supposed to go drumming on Sunday morning but Panda was not feeling well that morning. He did not eat his breakfast and he followed me around looking very pitiful all morning but then he perked up a bit in the afternoon.

Saturday I had spent all day at home with them, it was a lovely day and we sat outside enjoying the sunshine.

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My pack ❤️

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Excuse Miss Lolakitty licking her bum in the photobomb in the background.

On Saturday I had very little food in the house so I had to make do with what I had if I did not fancy getting presentable and going to the shops. I made bacon and french toast topped with cinnamon apples.

Sunday evening I put a small pot roast into the slow cooker and added some spices as I intended to make shredded beef tacos. It cooked overnight and then I had it for dinner on Monday night. I had included a few spoons of chipotle and adobe sauce my friend had given me as a gift.

Wow it nearly melted my face! PS, how do you like my new slippers?

On Wednesday we saw on social media that there was yet another fire in Hout Bay.

I have been delaying another closet clean out since my Mom sent me some new clothes so the timing is right to make a decent contribution to Thula Thula, our local Disaster Relief group ran by the lovely Joanne Chemaly. Joanne does so much for our community and Thula Thula has done amazing work in assisting those who have been impacted by the many township fires. If you would like to make a contribution, however small then please do, the details are:

Thula Thula NPC
FNB Hout Bay
Account no: 62589383836
Branch code: 204009
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ

The SWIFT Code is only needed if you are overseas. Foreign currency goes a long way in South Africa so even if you pop in a tenner it will help someone to get back on their feet.

Norm has been away in Europe for the last 2 weeks. I have had my helpers all in place to support me, Charlie to walk the dogs, Vanessa to pop home and check on them on the days they were alone, Cordelia there 2 days a week to keep the house in order and Josh came down to stay with me the last week so I was not on my own at least. I was happy for the company.

I have kept myself amused watching all sorts of arbitrary shows on Netflix. Last night I watched a show where a psychologist called Michelle Ward interviews people convicted of murder. It is called ‘The Mind of a Murderer’. I always find these types of shows fascinating.

One of the episodes was about a woman named Janene Patton who had been found guilty of the murder of her 3rd husband. Michelle Ward used the term ‘Monkey Bar Relationships’ to describe Janene’s patterns of relationship behaviour. With each of her marriages she had already began a relationship with the man who was due to be her next husband while still married to the previous one, or she was unwilling to let go of one until she had another in her grasp. Michelle said that this is a pathological fear of being alone and feeling unworthy, so therefore these people exhibit an almost desperate fear of being without a partner. It was quite sad. I have read about women who do this out of a fear of being unable to support themselves, or out of a desire to not have to work. Particularly among both ends of the financial scale: the wealthy women need to remain wealthy, the poor and uneducated who have no marketable skills need to know someone is there to put food on the table.

It left me feeling quite sad but I thought it was an interesting series, out of the eps I have watched I will give it 4 Kitten Stars.

The other random show I watched was called Insatiable. It was insane but I found it quite funny. It was a bit of a predictable twist at the end but it was definitely worth a watch. I will give that one 4.5 Kitten Stars.

Today after work I dropped Cordelia and 2 of her pals who work nearby in the township. She walks to work but we drop her home. I messaged Charles the dog walker before I left to say I would be back in ten minutes.

When I got back I let the dogs out the front door and Navajo bolted out and he and Pixie had a tussle over who goes first, with him biting her then knocking little Pixie down the front steps. She tumbled over and over hitting each tiled step hard and eventually landed sitting down on her bum with her front leg stuck up straight in the air at an unnatural angle. I think her shoulder may have been dislocated but I think I popped her shoulder back in but she couldn’t stand properly on that leg.

Our dog walker arrived as I was flapping around hysterically and he drove us to the vet. Pix has a lot of swelling but they don’t think it’s fractured. She’s had anti-inflammatory and pain meds injected to help her. If she is not back to normal by Monday she must go for an X-ray. Typical, as always we had a drama while Norm was away.

I’m chilling tonight surrounded by all 5 animals. I stopped on my way home and bought some bits to make a pizza to make for my dinner, a crust from Posticino, mozzarella and pancetta from Richard Bosman.

Tonight is my last night without Norman, I collect him first thing tomorrow at the airport. I will be very happy to have him back home.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x