I Hear You Knocking

 

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

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

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

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

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

We have a lot of history together.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Panda was confused as to what was going on.

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

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

Stem cells have the following benefits:

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

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

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

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

His bark gotten a bit stronger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I look just like my Grandmother ❤️

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Patience and Protection

Since Panda became ill the scope of our lives has become quite narrow. Panda is at the center of everything we do and so we spend most of our time at home.

Yesterday we broke out of that pattern for a bit.

In the morning Norm got up to let Navajo and Pixie out for a wee and fed them their breakfast. I had Lola kitty asleep on my tummy so I lazed in bed a bit longer. Norm brought me a frothy coffee in bed and after I finished my coffee I had to get showered and head into Cape Town to Pause for an appointment at the hairdresser. When I got out of the shower I heard a lot of kerfuffle in the bedroom and when I opened the bathroom door Norm chastised me for tossing the duvet onto Panda’s head when I had gotten out of bed. I did not have my glasses on and wasn’t even aware Panda was in the bed with Lola and I, I had assumed that he had gone downstairs with Norm. I felt terrible but it was certainly not deliberate I’m just blind as a bat.

Due to my laziness I headed into town a bit late then I realized I had no cash to pay for my parking and so I also had to go to the bank. As a result I had no time for breakfast.

I had my hair colored and had a gorgeous head massage from Thembi. I left feeling pampered, relaxed and like a new woman.

I went home to collect Norm and Panda as we were going to attempt to go out for lunch. We chose Delish as we can sit outside and they are dog friendly. The owner also has a Pomeranian.

We chose a table in the shade outside.

We had taken Panda’s bed and we settled him into a seat at the table with us.

He was enjoying all of the attention.

I ordered a BLT which came on ciabatta and with fries.

Norm had a burger which also came with fries.

For dessert we shared a piece of baked white chocolate cheesecake which was divine.

The food was tasty and Norm and I both give our meals 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After we finished our lunch we headed to Mainstream Mall in the village. We split up for the sake of efficiency and Norm carried Panda into Clicks for peepee pads (aka ‘linen savers’ to the posh or polite). I went into Woolworths to get something for our dinner and some other bits and pieces. Norm took his shopping to the car and then walked Panda around the mall until I finished my shop. Everyone wants to stop and chat because he is such a cute baby. (Panda, not Norm although he is pretty cute too.)

We finished up our errands and headed home and Norm walked them all and fed them and we built a fire and relaxed a bit.

We had been watching series 3 of Stranger Things during the week and we finished it yesterday. It was riveting and tense but it was not as good as the previous seasons and there were some annoying bits. For example the constant childish bickering between Hopper and Joyce got a bit tiring after a while.

Saying that, we enjoyed it. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Later that night Norm cooked dinner for us. He cooked fillet steaks and baby portobello mushrooms and made chips in the air fryer. We also had coleslaw with it. It was simple and delicious.

We decided to watch a film and we looked through Netflix offerings and chose Shaft with the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson.

It was quite funny which kept me interested and had a lot of shoot em up action which kept Norm amused. I gave it 3 and a half Kitten Stars and Norm gave it 4 and a half which averages out to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The week started off a bit hectic. Last Sunday night we saw on social media that there was a bad car crash on the coast road into the city and that one of the cars was alight resulting in the road being closed. Luckily it was open again by morning but I do not have any information about the people in the cars or the cause, except it occurred on a section of the coast road where a single lane changes to two lanes to allow overtaking. Maybe the accident occurred due to someone overtaking. The damage to the road was clearly visible the next day and the road was badly charred from the fire.

Tuesday morning I was so tired when my alarm went off that I just could not get out of bed. I left half an hour later than normal and when I got about 30 minutes down the road I came upon a backup of tail lights.

There was a lot of fog and mist coming in from the sea so it was hard to see whether there was just a lot of traffic ahead or what was happening and after a few minutes of being parked up I could see black smoke billowing out and a person who had gotten out of their car to run up to see what was happening confirmed there was a serious accident ahead. After a while they waved us through but I was terrified that the flaming car might explode as I went past. When we drove through the smoke was so thick and black I could barely see and it smelled horrid.

Later I saw a pic of the car on social media.

The rumour was that one of the drivers was a tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road and that they ran from the scene. I do not know if this has any truth or whether the accident was a result of the loss of visibility due to the fog.

I was so thankful to my ancestors and guardian angels. If I had left home when I normally do I could have been involved in the accident. I was so grateful for my safety and hope that those who were involved recover.

The road was closed in both directions just after I got through resulting in some people sitting there for a long time while they removed the cars which were both very badly damaged.

I had Vanessa here on Monday to do my pedicure and as always it was lovely to see her and catch up with the gossip.

We also had repair men around on Monday to look at our gate and the security beam that keeps going off for no reason. Sorting out both will take money and we are rather tight on finances as Panda’s care has cost a lot, but both things need sorting as they impact our safety. The pool motor also needs replacing but as it is winter there is no rush on that.

We had some happy news this week as Lily has now booked the venue and photographer for her and Josh’s wedding next year. It is all very exciting and thanks to Whatsapp we have been able to involve Mom in all the decisions. As Mom will not be able to make the journey it is special that she can be involved.

We have been a bit hit or miss on our attempts at low carb food this week. Mostly miss.

I made Mexican food on Monday night after Vanessa left. I made tacos and retried beans. It is a quick and easy meal and one of my faves.

Norm cooked a pork fillet roasted in teriyaki on Tuesday night. He made sweet potatoes and broccoli to go with it.

It was delicious and healthy and it is so nice to have someone cook for you when you are tired.

Wednesday we had takeaways and I had sushi from K1. I had prawn roses, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura.

Thursday we had takeaways from Posticino and I had grilled chicken with olio and aglio pasta.

It was delicious as their food always is. The next night I had a Mexican pizza from Positicino which was spicy and yummy. They are moving to a new venue at the end of the month so we wanted to get our fix before they close.

On Thursday for lunch I went with my friend Sakshi to see her new flat. It is a two minute walk from my office. It has a lovely mountain view.

After lunch Sakshi gave me a chocolate layer cake as a late anniversary gift. We had a big piece for dessert that night and it was so moist.

My anniversary lilies are blooming and looking so pretty.

On Friday Sakshi and I went to Nuri sushi for lunch and I had Asian fries and prawn pops.

They were so yummy.

This week we have seen in the news that the Minister of Police Bheki Cele announced on Thursday in his budget speech that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to offer support to the police and enter 10 identified areas of the Cape Flats. The 10 Cape Town precincts identified for support by the SANDF are Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg.

This drastic measure was taken after eleven fatal shootings occurred in Philippi East in the Western Cape last weekend, prompting local police to initiate a 72-hour action plan. A week ago on Friday unknown suspects killed six women, aged 18 to 26, in Marcus Garvey in Philippi East and then on Saturday evening, five men, aged 18 to 39, were shot dead and one was injured in two separate shootings. All are suspected to be linked to gangsterism.

I have been busy at work and my contract has been extended again with a potential for another extension. I’m happy there so was happy to hear this. I have a new colleague sitting next to me who is a lovely bloke but he is incredibly distracting. He ‘types’ out loud, in other words he verbally expresses everything he types and he reads out loud. He is also using crappy headphones and I hear everything he listens to. His noises are driving me a bit batty. Even when I approached him and asked whether he was aware that he talks continuously out loud he just laughed and said he knows. FFS it makes me mental. I am so intolerant of noise.

The only annoying noise that makes me happy is my baby boy who expresses his displeasure regularly.

He barks if he pees and wants his bedding changed, he barks if he is thirsty or hungry and he barks if he is annoyed or happy (or if he gets trapped under the duvet). Basically he just constantly barks. I can see his frustration at the lack of response in his body. He is pretty much only happy in his Daddy’s arms.

I am so happy that he has survived his illness and is slowly improving that I can tolerate his grumbles. I’ve noticed a bit more tension in his little legs when I do his rehab and we have seen his back legs move a few times. As always we are ever hopeful.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Every Drop Matters

Last week was such a crazy busy week full of work related stress. Our team is most likely finishing at our current client at the end of March, but this has not been confirmed as yet. That is always a bit uncomfortable. We were very behind in our delivery due to the client being unable to assist us with technical design issues we were having but last week the consultant who does technical support for the project was over from Germany and he was able to offer some suggestions for our developer to try and we finally appear to have cracked it late on Friday. Progress!! I was ready to celebrate that night.

I had booked at Cheyne’s on Friday evening for dinner with friends and it was a great way to kick off the weekend. Norm and I arrived first.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha Cocktail to get me started. It is described as ‘belvedere vodka, fuji apple juice with toasted cardoman, ginger, fresh mint leaves shaken with passion fruit, star anise and mandarin puree and topped with MCC.’ I loved that it had a few visible whole star anise, a fig and various other bits to add visual interest as well as flavour.

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Passionate Buddha #Cocktails

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But be prepared mentally as the drinks took on average 30 minutes each to arrive. I ordered one on arrival and then another one as soon as I sipped down that one and I only managed to get 2 down me all night. So much for my desire to celebrate our work successes by imbibing in copious quantities of vodka cocktails.

Our friends Andy and Alison arrived shortly after we did.

And our friend Nicola who is over from Bath at the moment arrived just after.

Once we all chatted a bit and ordered some wine for the table we all perused the menu and the waiter told us what was on the specials list for the night. We opted for the Yum Cha Experience which is R260 per person for any 4 items on the menu.

Several of us ordered the Firecracker Crayfish which is an additional R25 per person.

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Firecracker Crayfish ❤️

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It was perfectly cooked and really divine. I have had this before and if it is on offer I always order it.

For my other sea choice I picked the Chilli Salt Squid with sesame mayo, green chilli caramel. There were some lovely pickled red onions on top which I also enjoyed. The squid was crispy and not at all chewy. However it arrived while I was still eating my crayfish.

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Chili salted squid ❤️

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So I had 2 dishes in front of me at this point, yet Norm had not been served anything as yet. I find that this is where Cheyne’s has shortcomings, not ensuring that people are all being served at least one dish at a time. Either the dishes ‘pile up’ and you cannot appreciate them slowly before they get cold or alternatively you sit watching everyone else eat with an empty plate in front of you. It happens almost every time but we go back again and again as we love the food.

The third dish I was served was the Mumbai Chilli Beef: soy, cardoman and ginger syrup with toasted coconut. This is one of my all time faves and it did not disappoint.

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Mumbai Chilli Beef

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Norm was delighted when his Hake arrived. Described as ‘Kombu roasted hake, miso, mirin, sake and pickled Japanese turnip’. Several people at the table had this and all said it was a lovely piece of fish.

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Hake

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Norm’s next dish arrived from the Earth section of the menu almost at the same time, he had ordered the pan fried tender stem broccoli, sweet garlic miso and bonito flakes. Norm loved this dish.

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Broccoli 🥦

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We had a break while everyone finished up their courses and we chatted and laughed and had a brilliant evening.

Finally those of us who had a remaining course ordered our dessert and I stuck with my fave, the double thick peanut butter shake topped with toasted peanuts and 70% chocolate soil.

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Peanut Butter Shake 😍

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We all headed out just after 10pm and finally got in the car after a long South African goodbye in the car park. It was a great night of amazing food and good friends.

On Saturday Norm and I had a lazy day as Josh, Lily and David were off at the track as Josh was racing that day.

It was really hot so we settled in downstairs with all of the doors and windows open to let in the stray breeze.

Norm was reading an article on his iPad and when I asked him what he was reading about he told me the story of Sarah Baartman whose name I had heard before but about whom I knew no background story. The story he told me horrified me and when he said that there was a film called Black Venus about her life we decided to try and find it on YouTube.

The version we watched was multilingual with English subtitles. It was a two part video and the links are here for PART ONE and PART TWO. It is difficult viewing but I think it is required viewing if you wish to understand some of the challenges that women and people of colour had in that time in history.

Sarah, or Sara, or Saartjie as she was re-named by the slave trader who took her to Europe, was a Khoikhoi woman born in 1789 in the Eastern Cape to a nomadic family of cattle herders. She spent her childhood living on a colonial farm where her family most likely worked as servants and after her parents both died she was engaged to marry a Khoikhoi drummer. He was murdered and their baby died and Sara was later taken into the slave trade by Pieter Willem Cezar and sent to work for his brother’s family in the Western Cape.

While Sara was working for the Cezar family the brothers Cezar came into an agreement with a man named William Dunlop and Cezar and Dunlop transported Sara to London for the purposes of displaying her and her ample bottom as a freak show anomaly.

They had a flesh coloured bodysuit made and displayed Sara in a cage in Piccadilly Circus and in various private parties where the guests were invited to touch her buttocks to prove they were so large and round due to legitimate flesh and not just stuffing. Sara allegedly objected strongly to being touched in such an intimate manner by strangers as you can imagine anyone would.

Sara also had what has been called a Hottentot Apron or Khoisan Apron. This is an extended labia. This was a source of great fascination.

After 4 years Sara was transported from Great Britain to France where the social scene was less prudish by nature. Rumours are that Sara was prostituted to raise more money, money which most likely never even made its way into Sara’s pockets. From what I have read it seems that Sara was victimised or abandoned by everyone who was in her life.

The French naturalist and zoologist Georges Cuvier (a.k.a Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric or Baron Cuvier) met Sara in Paris and was fascinated with her and wished to study and document her anatomy. Sara’s body was studied by French anatomists, zoologists and physiologists from March 1815 after which Cuvier concluded that she represented a link between animals and humans. Cuvier was convinced that Sara was proof that her race had descended from the mating of her ancestors with orangutans.

Sara Baartman died in 1816 at the age of 26. It is unknown whether she died from alcoholism, smallpox or pneumonia. Cuvier obtained her remains from local police and dissected her body after he made a plaster cast of her full body. He pickled her brain and genitals which were then displayed at the Musée de l’Homme until 1974. The story of Sara Baartman resurfaced in 1981 when Stephen Jay Gould, an American palaeontologist wrote about her story in his book “The Mismeasure of Man” where he criticised racial science.

When the African National Congress (ANC) took over as the ruling party in SA, President Mandela requested that the French government return Sara’s remains so that she could be laid to rest in her place of origin. The process took eight years as the French had to draft a bill that would not allow other countries to claim treasures taken by the French.

Finally on the sixth of March 2002, Sara Baartman was brought back home to South Africa where she was buried. On 9 August 2002, Women’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa, Sara was buried in the Eastern Cape Province where her family originated.

Sara lived a tragic sad life where she was treated as property of the men who traded off her offerings. I was really saddened by her story but it is a story that needs to be told.

Norm and I decided that as we were on our own for dinner we would cheer ourselves up and treat ourselves to dinner out so we headed down to the local venue Papino’s for dinner.

Norm was happy to get an icy cold glass of sauvignon blanc.

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❤️

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I had a wee vodka.

We love their steaks and so we had our usual. Hollandse Biefstuk at R172.00, Pan-fried beef fillet with mushrooms flambéed with brandy. It comes with a side of fresh steamed veggies and your choice of potato. Norm had normal chips but I had the Portuguese chips. I love the crispiness of them.

We ordered a side of extra mushrooms and a portion of onion rings.

We had a lovely relaxed dinner and then headed home. Josh won his races and they arrived back home just after 10pm. They were knackered though and were off to sleep soon thereafter.

The next morning Norm was kind enough to pop down to the shops for coffee, milk and pastries for the crowds. I made up a tray with fig preserves, soft butter and grated cheese for those eating plain croissants and we all settled outside with frothy coffees and pastries. I chose a chocolate croissant and a muffin, both of which Panda had his eye on……

After they finished breakfast they showered and packed and Lily and David headed out to make the long journey down the coast to the Garden Route.

I decided to potter about in the garden and I nipped a few offshoots from my thriving succulents and planted them in some pots at the back of the house. Everything else has died due to the drought. I added some little pans under the pots to catch what water they do receive and I will just have to hope for these to take root and grow like the many succulents at the front of the house I have planted.

When Norm had gone down to the shops that morning he also bought us some food to braai for dinner as it was very warm so we did not want to turn on the kitchen stove. He cooked it all on the gas grill. He grilled chicken thigh kebabs, chicken sausages stuffed with feta and herbs and halloumi. To go with all that goodness he did a mix of sweet potato, onions, green beans and baby broccoli.

We had a lovely relaxed evening.

There have been several global outbreaks of Listeria recently and SA is no exception. There have been at least 180 deaths here which have been linked to listeria and this weekend they announced the culprit. It was due to polony which is similar to American bologna (i.e. some nasty assed stuff). The outbreak in Oz was traced to a sexy, round juicy  melon. Ours to plastic horrid meat. Typical.

Tonight Norm cooked for us again. He made chicken breasts stuffed with Brie cheese, mushrooms and sweet corn on the gas grill and I sliced fresh figs and coleslaw to go with it.

I read on social media about an initiative that the local community centre Workspace have started. It is a feeding scheme which they are calling “Workspace Cadets”. Every Friday, Workspace offers a meal to the indigent youngsters who hang out in the harbour instead of being at school. The people who run the Workspace have gotten to know some of the kids and are attempting to understand the reasons why these children dropped out the system with an aim to help them change their attitude and to persuade them to go back to school. Today I set up a monthly debit order to buy 4 of the tokens each month. That means that every week when they do the feeding scheme one extra child will not go hungry. Some of these children in the harbour are living in horrific conditions, many of them due to drugs or alcohol in the home. If I can assist just a little with this then that makes me feel a bit better. Even though it is literally a drop in a very large bucket.

But as we are learning with living in a drought, every little drop matters.

kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Setting the Bar

Many of the schools returned this week for the start of the new school year and it made the roads all full of chaos again. If I did not know better I might assume it was the children doing the driving.

I still find a January to December school year odd having grown up with the American system of starting the new year in September after the 3 month summer break.

It was Lily’s birthday on Tuesday. She had a lovely dinner out down the coast with friends and family. This pic came up as a memory for me – I know where I was in 1991 as I stayed in the hospital for a full week! Lily was a huge baby at almost 5 kilograms and she was face down with the cord around her neck. She was purple when she finally emerged. The gynecologist had noted that her stats were low and they raced off to an operating theatre and he literally reached in with his giant basketballer sized hands and grabbed her and yanked her out. Luckily I had previously agreed to an epidural after the nurse had said to me that the baby was the size of a baby calf. If I had not had the epi the doc said I would not have been able to cope with the pain.

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#OnThisDay in 1991

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Lily was the only one of my 3 babies who was a wee chubster. We called her Buddha Baby as she had rolls of baby fat on her arms and legs. You can certainly not guess that by looking at her now she is such a slender, stunning girl.

Norm was great about keeping us fed all week despite the ongoing heat. He has become a master on his braai. He cooked fillet steak, mushrooms and roast veg for us on Monday night. The fillet was nicely crusty with a bit of char on the outside but very pink inside, just the way I like it.

There was even enough for me to take for lunch the next day as my appetite has lessened now that we are doing low carb again.

On Tuesday we have Cordelia in to clean and she leaves quite late so we just got a take away that night, however we both avoided the chips and we had veg and salad with our protein.

On Wednesday night Norm also cooked outside as it is still very warm. He grilled pork sausages, mushrooms and halloumi and I cooked red cabbage on the stove. Pork and cabbage go so well together.

Thursday he got very adventurous and made the sauce for a lasagna. I emailed him the instructions and he did the shopping and cooking. The sauce was divine and we layered it with chunky cottage cheese, sliced zucchini and topped with mozzarella and baked for about 30 minutes.

I had an odd experience on Wednesday morning. I was deep asleep and I heard someone calling ‘Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa’ over and over in my ear. I finally emerged into full consciousness and turned over to face Norm, except he appeared to be sound asleep. We are the only ones home at the moment. The dogs were not disturbed, despite Norm saying that he had heard me talking to someone just before I woke up. I never remember my dreams. I do have recurring incidents where I am sure I am astral travelling as I am partially conscious but unable to move. I am always ‘dreaming’ of someone on the other side and I do believe I am there with them in that plane and that is why I cannot move here in this plane. But this was not one of those incidents, I have no memory of the incident other than of waking and hearing the voice.

I had that same experience once before when we were living in a very old house that was full of spirits. But then the voice said ‘Mom, Mom, Mom’ and I knew in my heart that it was the baby I had miscarried prior to Trevor. That house had a lot of spiritual things going on, from seeing shapes out of the corner of my eye to the lights blinking on and off when I tried to communicate directly with the spirits I felt and saw in the house.

This experience was different. I have no idea what this one was……I have to confess that it really spooked me.

That night as we were cuddling before falling asleep I told Norm he was the ‘Best Husband in the World’ and he said that was not correct. He said that if he were the best in the world then he would be taking us around the world on holidays every few months and I would be able to retire.

I guess it depends on what you see as a priority in a relationship. I dated very wealthy men when I was younger and I did not choose them, I know my idea of what mattered to me in a husband and a relationship changed after my divorce. I wanted a good, kind, loving man who treated me like I was a goddess and who would love my children as if they were his own. What I got was exactly that and I will always be thankful for him in my life.

Even when I want to kill him I cannot imagine my life without him.

The fact that he is also handsome, sexy, Scottish (oh that accent) and has an MBE were just gravy on my already overflowing plate of luck. He also is proud of my intelligence, he would never try to diminish me or ‘dumb me down’ just to make himself feel superior as some men do. He is also a feminist and believes as I do that women should be who they are, not what the man in the relationship wants or needs them to be in order to not threaten their fragile male ego. He would never try to change me.

Even when he wants to kill me.

I tried out the Banting on the Go ‘Crackling Crisps’ this week that I mentioned in my last blog.

They were OK but I won’t buy them again. I could not finish the packet. They have a funny sort of chemically aftertaste which is pretty ironic as I had assumed that they were just your normal pork scratchings but without the chemicals. They definitely needed more salt.

And less of the aftertaste.

Pixie has been somewhat off her food, she did not want to eat her dinner at all on Tuesday night and she seemed so tired. But she is always smiley.

But it was very hot that evening and she did go for a walk. Of course now that the vet has said she is fine, any concerns I have are discredited by Norm the eternal optimist.

I do hope she is OK and that I am just overly paranoid. I so love this little girl.

Regular readers will know that the Western Cape is suffering from a severe drought. It was just announced this week that from the 1st of Feb the government will be implementing Level 6B water restrictions. This means that Capetonians will be expected to keep our water consumption to less than 50 liters per day per person.

This is an unachievable target as 60% of the people could not reach the previous target of 87 liters per person and most of us have no hope in hell of meeting the new targets. The City has sat on it’s hands and done nothing to proactively deal with this crisis and now they are all in a panic as the day when the taps in the city are turned off looms ever closer. April 21 of this year has been set as the estimated target of when we will run out of water (aka Day Zero).

This is all rather terrifying and yet I still see trucks being brought into the suburbs to fill people’s swimming pools. There were 2 in my suburb alone on the weekend. Where do the idiots buying this water think it is coming from?? I find some peoples lack of community and even common sense rather shocking.

The lack of action by the DA government is shocking and the mayor has been under review for multiple reasons. I hope she is removed from post as I think she is almost as bad as Zuma when it comes to doing what is best for her own interests rather than the interests of those she has been appointed to represent. The fact that they were trying to raise the rates everyone pays each month to compensate for the lack of forward planning has enraged most people. Under the proposed drought levy, some 52 510 Capetonians were set to temporarily pay a fixed rate of R150 a month to make up for the City’s R1.6bn loss in revenue from reduced water consumption. Rather penalise those who exceed the targets rather than try and recover the additional revenue needed by using the value of one’s property to drive the levy.

This afternoon the City of Cape Town voted to both limit mayor Patricia De Lille’s powers to handle the drought crisis, and to introduce punitive tariff measures for residents. The idea to add a levy to our rates based on our property value was voted down.

I’m delighted on both fronts.

Josh came back to Cape Town today. We all got a curry from Indian Oven in Hout Bay. It was delicious as always.

We have been relaxing tonight listening to the mad winds that are howling outside. It has at least cooled things down a wee bit.

I hope you all have a good weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Holiday Squared

We continued our Sunday tradition last weekend and I made a gorgeous roast beef for dinner. I cooked it American style as a pot roast rather than baking it. I cooked it in broth, onions and garlic. Once cooked I strained the sauce and added cream to the rich broth. I made crispy, buttery fondant sweet potatoes and steamed long stem broccoli. 

 

That meant the next night was destined to be Tacos. I shredded the left over beef and seasoned with cumin, paprika and whatever else was in the El Paso spice packet. Haha. 

I made my own salsa however so at least that contained no sugar or carbs. We served with a simple, crispy salad.

We bought sliced smoked provolone at woollies this time and that is the magic bullet to the cheese taco success.

  
After my previous attempts it made such a difference in both the effort it took as well as the consistency of my results. I overlapped two pieces of cheese and popped onto baking paper and baked til bubbly and it worked perfectly!

  

I even had leftovers to take for lunch on Tuesday.

Tuesday was a pseudo-Friday as last Wednesday was a Public Holiday. I arrived home and sat on the balcony outside my bedroom to destress. The sunset was amazing! 

  

We got take away crispy calamari squidlets that night for dinner from a local restaurant but they must have changed their supplier as they were not nice, they were very rubbery and chewy. Neither Lily nor I could eat them. Normally they are tiny and crispy and delightful but these were the size of a flippin tarantula and wouldn’t even fit in your mouth. Meh.

The public holiday which was on last Wednesday 27 April commemorates the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in South Africa. South Africa celebrates Freedom Day to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and white minority domination (apartheid).

But are we free? We have an uneducated, embezzling, unethical government led by a buffoon. Corruption and crime is at an all time high. 

As a result we residents have to do all we can to defend ourselves. We have several groups of men in Hout Bay who are unwilling to allow the underbelly of society to win the battle. They patrol our streets at night.

These are the pics of the highlights of one of these groups’ Freedom Day morning.

  
A knife of considerable size was taken off of a man who was spotted skulking about in the wee hours of the night.

A car was stolen and crashed by the thieves into another person’s house while racing away, catching the house alight. 

(But damn that house has some stunning doors!)

Some mornings we hear of 4-5 families being attacked in their homes at night. One family spent 2 hours tied up and locked in their bathroom. Another lady lost 5 teeth and suffered a broken jaw. People will say ‘Thank God you are safe’  to the survivors but I get so angry that it even happens. 

This country has such potential, but it has so many challenges. I don’t see the infrastructure put in place to support the change needed to address those challenges. 

Many African women especially still suffer from years of suppression both culturally and politically. I see this in many young women who have not yet found their voices. They are hesitant to speak up in a group until they gauge the temperament of their audience. Racism and sexism and bigotry can be hidden behind smiling faces. That is the worst racism or bigotry, the kind so ingrained the bigot is unable to see it. The people who put people into stereotypical boxes of their own narrow minded views. Those who say “I love gay people” or “I don’t like Germans” or generalise any stereotyped characteristics of a particular group or race. 

There are fabulous people who also happen to be gay. There are plenty of miserable arses who are gay. The same as any group of humans.

Even Germans. *giggle*

There was another protest at the City of Cape Town offices next to my office on Tuesday. It was the residents of Dunoon protesting over lack of housing. We have on average a protest a week. But people keep voting for their oppressors and those oppressors keep blaming history. At what pace should change happen? I have no doubt that the DA led Western Cape is better managed than the ANC led provinces. But even in the Western Cape change is slow.

On Thursday I hurried home at 4 from work as I had Vanessa coming round to do my nails. We had a good chat and a giggle as always. 
On the holiday I had been a busy bee and prepped food for a few dinners, so after Vanessa left I heated up the chicken curry I had made.

  

To go with it I made normal basmati rice for the girls and cauliflower rice for us low carb peeps. I just chopped up onion, cucumber and tomato and mixed in a bit of fromage frais. I had all manner of veg in the curry and in my bowl I added lots of green chilis as well.

 On Friday Lily and Caitlin got up early and went to the courts for a bail hearing of one of the alleged murderers of their childhood friend. Carl’s mom Carla needed support and my girls went. I am so proud of what kind thoughtful girls they are. 

They chatted to the bounty hunter who had managed to track down and catch accused Juane Jacobs. He was the size of a wall, a huge bear of a man bulging with muscles. He also captured a recent well publicized rapist, word on the streets is that the raper has become the rapee.

Karma is a bitch.

After court Lily had to go to SARS to sort out her tax number and as it is right by my office she joined me for a quick lunch. The weather was overcast and grim all week. 

After I got home from work we were all having a wander round the garden and Norm was working on the pool, but we were not outside for long and when we came in we saw that cheeky Panda had jumped onto the couch he normally pretends to be too feeble to reach on his own. Then he had opened my bag and gotten into a zipped compartment and opened up a closed box to steal my sugar free gum and was subsequently whisked off to the vet. The vet made him vomit. He brought up tons of gum. 

According to the vet the issue with xylitol is that the dog has a blood sugar drop and their body can’t regulate it, so the vet said after 4 hours to keep an eye on him and if he seemed especially tired to give him honey and take him to the 24 hour vet. Except 4 hours later was his bedtime and little dogs sleep lots.

We watched him and kept waking him up and making him walk sleepily around the room like a movie overdose victim.

He was fine thank goodness!  
That night we had the third of my midweek holiday prepared meals, bolognaise sauce. Norm picked up Butternut ‘noodles’ and we had those with my bolognaise sauce and fresh grated Parmesan.

  

We had a lazy morning on Saturday then headed out to Easy Life Kitchens in Tokai. We booked for them to come and give us a design and quote for a kitchen refitting.

  
We ran our errands and finally got a new clock for the kitchen.

 We need bedside lamps but I didn’t find what I wanted. We hit Builders Warehouse for various bits and pieces as welł as the chemist. By then we were starving so stopped on our way home at Greens in Constantia.

I had Eggs Benedict which was cooked perfectly other than a single strip of almost raw bacon.

  
But the eggs had perfect runny centers, it was topped with a rich hollandaise,  it was yum yum.

Norm had a cheese and bacon frittata.

  
On Saturday I hit 14kgs down in weight since I started the low carb lifestyle in January. Just over 30 pounds in U.S. terms. Amazing to me still to lose it so easily if I only make the right food choices. Fat is good but sugar is bad is a new concept. I’m still having a big bowl of Banting ice cream every night. We stock up every week at Ice Dream in Hout Bay.

We eat well and yet we just keep losing, it boggles my mind.

Saturday evening Norm and I decided to go out for dinner and went to local venue Papino’s.

 We had a bottle of Diemersdal Sauvignon blanc which was delicious and crisp,

 
We both had the same main, Hollandse Biefstek with extra mushrooms and vegetables. The steak was so tender. The veg was al dente and fresh.

  

We were not out late and when we came home Caitlin wanted to rent a film and we decided on The Hateful Eight by Tarantino.

Thanks to the fact my brain doesn’t shut off I had been awake since 5.30am and having had a few glasses of wine I passed out, missing the end of the movie.  

 This morning I woke at 4 and could not go back to sleep due to passing out mid movie last night. So I lay in bed playing games on my phone until the dogs finally forced Norm up to give them breakfast. 

I got up and made a giant milky coffee with our new machine and settled in to watch Hateful Eight again. This time with my eyes open. 

I loved it! I am such a fan of Tarantino’s films. The acting was great. I can see why Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Michael Madsen is one of my faves and he brought his sexy back in this film. The last film I watched him in he was rather bloated and corpulent. But he was sleeker and less red faced, or just potentially had better makeup in this one.

Norm made breakfast and I had a mooch round outside with the dogs, happy to see a bit of sun.

  
  
My flowers are finally blooming from all this rain.

  
Today is crisp and sunny. I’m pleased to have an extra day off as Monday is Workers Day, I hope you have a great weekend. I’m enjoying the fact that I have no obligations! 

The Decision Tree of Life

Sometimes nothing except a greasy burger will satisfy you. I felt like that last Sunday. To take the place of normal fries I made chips from sweet potatoes, cooking them in the oven in coconut oil. Sweet potato are on the orange list but a small serving is fine.

To make the burgers we puréed a raw yellow pepper and half an onion and added this mixture and an egg to the minced beef. Caitlin made it into a ball and inserted a thick block of cheddar into the centre of each ball, I grilled bacon and zucchini and cheese fritters. We made a guacamole and fromage frais sauce. I fried sliced mushrooms in butter then added a container of double cream and a big spoon of Dijon mustard. 

To serve I used the fritter as the base of the burger, and then layered a spoon of guacamole onto the fritter, the cheese stuffed burger, bacon and the creamy mushroom sauce. On top we popped the giant mushroom.  

I over cooked the sweet potato fries but the burgers were so moist and divine. This was about the only night this week when I cooked anything new.

On Monday there was an attack on a young girl which eventually resulted in her death and a charge of murder. She was running with her Mom and decided to run ahead.

A split second decision that ended her life. A single choice can make a world of difference. Is it destiny that determines the direction our lives go, or choice? Are we pre-programmed to make the choices which result in the interactions with our soul contracts?

She was in an area where she felt safe, with her running partners nearby. The horror this girl went through has highlighted our feelings of fear and the issues women in particular have to contend with.

With the typical ironic timing of the Universe, Tuesday was International Woman’s Day. 

  
 It should be about celebrating the fabulousness of being a woman, yet I am horrified at what life brings to some women.

For Franziska, the recently murdered young girl from the forest. For 19-year-old Sinoxolo Mafevuka whose half-naked body was discovered by a resident of Khayelitsha who found the young girl in a toilet.

Social media blew up over the former murder and barely made a peep in the latter.

The inequality and injustice based on happenstance of birth. 

The deaths in the township vs the rarity of a death in the middle class area of Tokai. 

According to the One Project, in 2016 half a billion women still cannot read, 62 million girls are denied the right to education and 155 countries still have laws that differentiate between men and women. It is an outrage that girls account for 74% of all new HIV infections among adolescents in Africa, and 40% of women on the continent suffer from anaemia, which results in 20% of maternal deaths.

Marital rape is still legal in 38 countries.

  

We have a long way to go to reach even a semblance of equality universally. I’m lucky to have a man who is very evolved regarding gender roles and human rights.

I’m leaving by 7 most mornings but I’m still only getting home at 7 some evenings. It’s tiring. 

Bloody traffic. I just sit staring out to sea.

  

Monday was one of those nights. We just got a takeaway of Banting friendly food from Spiro’s. Tuesday was another late night so I popped into Woolies on my way home and got a few roasted chickens, a bag of precut pumpkin, and a bag of baby spinach. I had a few mushroom caps and I threw them in the oven with the pumpkin and wilted the spinach while Norm carved the chickens. We have a few ripe creamy avos so I served those too.

  
Simple, colorful and healthy Banting food.

I also arrived home to find my order from my fave site Yuppiechef had been delivered. I love their packaging. You open the box to find it gently wrapped in tissue paper, a button  fridge magnet and a handwritten thank you card contained.

  

Then inside that wrapping was a well cushioned sleek black box holding my sexy steel knife set.

   
 
I love them! And now that I am cooking I need them desperately.

One night this week I made the prawn and chorizo dish I previously described in an older blog.
  
Other than that we had a Banting pizza one evening, grilled chicken kebabs and halloumi from Spiro’s another night and on Friday I had a wee Banting cheat as I had crispy squid, and to accompany I had grilled zucchini, grilled halloumi and salad so it was still low carb.

When Norm was collecting our pizzas from Casareccio a security guard came up to him and said a woman had been mugged over by Princess Beach. The woman was on holiday and didn’t want to press charges, which is why we don’t have enough police! If every crime was reported the stats might result in additional police assigned to our village!

Also on Thursday night, a car went off the road and through the barrier and the driver was lucky to escape.  His vehicle went off a cliff, sliding down a slope for 50m and stopped just short of the sea. 

  
Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA Picture: Leon Knipe

That’s one of my recurring nightmares, of my car hurtling off a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.

  
Luckily he appears to have survived.

Friday the girls went away for a girls weekend. They all rented a beach house for a couple of nights as one of their gang is off on her travels for a few months. Norm and I just had ourselves to look after. And the 5 animals of course.

Norm and I just chilled at home. He is working so many hours it’s crazy. So in effect I chilled, facebooked and watched telly while he worked on the other sofa.

The dogs played.
Norm was up early and off to the airport. When he got back I made us a late brekkie.

  
I love those multicolored tomatoes on the vine from Woolies.

On Saturday Mzudomo was here and he told us his friend had been murdered. The murder rate in the townships is shocking. We in the suburbs complain but we only get a portion of the crime that people who live in the townships endure.

After we dropped Mzudomo home he was heading off to Khayelitsha and we headed to Constantia Village to do a big shop. I only bought a few days meat and no cleaning products and spent over R4000. That’s about $270 USD. But that’s due to our economic crash following Zuma and his nonsense. When I moved here in 2007 a monthly shop was about R2000. The SA inflation is out of control. 

Saturday evening Norm and I went out for dinner to Pescarne in Hout Bay. 

  
We had our fave Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc wine from Warwick Estates.

  
Norm had the Prawn and Avocado Cocktail for R65.

  
It was beautifully presented and had big pieces of prawn.

I tried the jalapeño poppers at R55 but could only manage 1 as they were huge.

  
I had the 8 king prawns with veggies for R199.

  
I asked for melted butter and received a frothy, creamy divine tangy lemony butter. It was so nice, and looked so tasty that a woman from the table next to me came up to enquire what I had ordered and then chased down her waitress to change her order! 

Norm had the Hollandse Biefstek a 250g beef fillet with a mushroom, garlic and peppery sauce at R169.

  
I had a wee taste and it was delicious, the sauce rich and the fillet steak tender and juicy. We had a lovely evening and headed home.

The dogs just mooched about. Bored.

  
And hopeful.  
Next week we have book club on the same evening as a walk which has been organized in the forest where Franziska was murdered.

  

To any local Cape Town readers this is the info about the walk:
I hope the killers of these young girls get what they deserve. Hold your loved ones close and say a little prayer for the families these girls leave behind.

A Consistent Approach 

When Norm and I lived in Europe we made a real effort to take the kids to a new city every year. As I was the one who did the bookings and it was summer, we always stayed somewhere near a beach with a pool. Now that we live in Cape Town we have those things year round. We live a 5 minute drive to several stunning beaches and we have our own pool. Hence when my annual break comes we tend to just stay in Cape Town. After all, we would just be paying to go away somewhere else to experience what I am so blessed to have at home. 

Most businesses in SA shut down for at least a part of the holiday. It makes sense for an employer if staff take their holiday then so I tend to take 3 weeks off. This year I took just over 2 as I want to save some time off for my Mom’s planned visit in October next year. 

The first week is always Christmas preparation, shopping and various other things. But this year was relaxing as I was organized. 

In my last blog I talked about how serene it was on Christmas Day and Norm pointed out that this was the first year the kids all pitched in voluntarily. Normally they help if asked but this year it was volunteered. Such a difference it makes to share the load. 

I decided that this week I would do nothing other than ‘be on holiday’. So I’ve spent my mornings out back chilling on the patio and my afternoons right by the pool.

  
Norm has been productive and hung my new Buddha on the front porch.

  
The butterfly that was there before is now on my crazy blue shed.

  
And my new dragonfly is now hanging on the wall out back.

  
I had such a lovely Christmas. The family outdid themselves with some fab gifts and my home looks so cozy.

After everyone left on Boxing Day we relaxed for a bit then went to Woodcutters Arms pub.

My handsome hubby rocking his Xmas clothes.    
  We had driven down to the beach but the wind was howling so we moved into town. We thought Woodcutters appropriate as we took Mom there last year on Boxing Day. 

That night Hout Bay has had another horrendous fire in Imizamo Yethu the informal settlement predominately made up of shacks. On Boxing Day, the 26th, a day symbolic of giving, so many instead experienced devastating loss. Many of the shack owners were away for the holidays and may not even know their homes are gone. 

   
We had just given away so many clothes as Thula Thula had no space. Norm managed to find several boxes of decent condition men’s clothes and some sleeping bags. He did a wee shop for food donations too.

Every bit helps.

Last night we decided we were so over turkey and stuffing and went out for dinner. I fancied prawns and Norm a steak so we went to Pescarne.

We often dine at Pescarne & have done so since they opened, however last night was like being in an episode of Fawlty Towers. It was a long list of issues, the staff appeared to all be in training. Norm had to get up and find the waiter himself on multiple occasions due to lack of service and his steak arrived blue, or almost raw instead of medium rare.

  
We sent the steak back. When it arrived it was dropped off with no cutlery. He had to ask twice for a fork while his steak got cold. The second steak tasted great as did mine. I ordered the Pescarne Special at R185.

  
It was faultless, perfectly cooked, the prawns were fresh and the sauce was light and slightly lemony.

We ordered a round of drinks which we chased up three times as they took forever to arrive. We also had to finally get up to find a waiter to chase up the bottle of water we ordered and once it finally was dropped off we were given no water glasses. It literally took 20 minutes to complete the process of ordering water. 

Despite multiple complaints to our waiter and then later to another waiter when ours disappeared yet again and we wanted to pay, the owner could not be bothered to come and apologise or have a word with us. Even after our waiter went to speak to him about our complaints. You cannot treat locals so poorly and expect them to support you in the winter. Simply shocking service. 

In their defense, when I complained on their Faceboook page their representative contacted me immediately to offer a free return visit. So will try again. The issue isn’t the food it’s the service. The waiter treated me as if I was invisible. The owner did too so that is the precedent he sets. 

Today my friend Retha came round for a chat. I then spent the afternoon by the pool relaxing. I’m having a fab holiday!