Do Turkeys Have Totems?

This week crime has been predominant in the news. We read about three policemen being shot in Delft, one of the areas which has a high incidence of gang related violence. One of the policemen died and the other two were seriously injured.

This happened despite the recent deployment of the SANDF (the army) to help with the gang issues.

I also read that Shoprite, one of SA’s largest retailers, has implemented its own crime squad due to the high numbers of armed robberies they have to contend with. Apparently the chain has at least one a day!

Closer to home, on Saturday over the neighborhood watch radio we followed a chase of 3 criminals being pursued through Hout Bay. An Ukrainian tourist, 44 year old Ivan Ivanov, was stabbed multiple times in a struggle over the theft of his backpack. He was on a walking trail very near our village and was only a short distance from the public car park for the hiking trail. The tourist died.

I have heard that 80% of the crime in the Western Cape province is committed by people who are either on bail awaiting trial or are on parole from a crime. I wonder whether the perpetrators of this murder fall into that statistic? One of the three murderers was apprehended but two are still on the run.

Another tourist was robbed of his bags on the beach in our village and a woman was attacked while walking on the beach this weekend. Keri Cross is the Director of Community Crime Prevention (CCP) and she said the woman was out walking around noon when she was attacked on a trail just above Sandy Bay nudist beach.

Fortunately, another walker heard the woman’s screams and rallied the troops.

Cross said Hout Bay has about 820 cameras at different locations and the CCP Watchcon control room could track the suspect’s every move.

“Alerts were immediately sent out on all channels and a number of service providers and volunteers sprang to action to try to find the suspect. The chase lasted for over 90 minutes, with the suspect managing to evade response teams a few times. Shortly after 1pm, OmniVision Security spotted the suspect on CCTV along the mountainside and response teams moved to intercept him. The suspect was cornered, taken into custody and handed over to SAPS.”

As one of the key industries in Hout Bay is tourism these types of issues could be catastrophic to our village.

A study by the Western Cape community safety department has revealed some shocking figures, showing why the province seems to be losing its fight against violent and gang-related crime.

Nearly half – 45.8% – of Western Cape detectives have not received even basic training, while over 90% have had no specialised training.

Speaking to 702 Radio, MEC for Community Safety, Albert Fritz said, “Of the 875 cases monitored during the assessment, 380 dockets just did not arrive at court – this is completely unacceptable. When dockets are received, they are often incomplete, leading to cases being struck off the roll. Eventually, in some of the very serious crimes, like gangsterism, they only get a 2% conviction”, said Fritz.

This is shocking but not surprising. A skills audit done in the SAPS (SA Police Service) revealed that many officers are illiterate and that over 1000 policemen have criminal records themselves. Corruption is also very high within both the police force and the government.

Basically, in summary, we are fucked if we rely on the police for safety.

It made me so angry that the police were up in arms over the shooting of the officers in Delft and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole has vowed to stop at nothing to get the killer(s). Why are the police not as irate over the crimes and murders visited upon us every day citizens and visitors?

In Hout Bay, the majority of the criminals are apprehended by our amazing network of security providers: Hout Bay Community Policing Forum (CPF), Community Crime Prevention (CCP) various volunteers, and Watchcon coordinating it all with the police only acting as bit players. I am so grateful for the selfless individuals who rise to the occasion and risk their own safety to protect others.

“Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said Hout Bay had one of the best neighbourhood watches in the city. It’s extraordinary, the speed of the action. They have really mastered the art of crime-fighting and what we call plural policing where they combine Law Enforcement, SAPS and private security companies. They form a line of people, and if you’re a suspect, you can be sure that they will catch you, brilliant people doing excellent things,” he said.

Meanwhile life goes on.

I mentioned in my blog last week that I made a curry last weekend which we had for dinner on Sunday. I tried to keep it low carb and high fat, but we did have a few cheeky poppadoms which I just microwaved.

For the curry I fried onions, red and yellow peppers, chilis and garlic in curry powder and coconut oil and once done I used my hand blender to liquidise it. I fried cut up chicken breast in coconut oil and curry and various other spices then once cooked I added a bag of butternut chunks, more spices and a bottle of passata then let it simmer all of Saturday afternoon. I fried another onion, added cauliflower rice and loads of coriander to serve it over instead of traditional rice. I also stir fried a bag of baby spinach, then liquidised it with some cream and some spices. It was delicious and was enough to last for dinner on Monday night too.

On Tuesday Norm cooked a recipe from our favorite low carb site but we were not very keen on this dish. It was incredibly, overwhelmingly meaty and not very flavorful.

We won’t try that one again.

On Wednesday evening Norm had a meeting at Massimo’s and brought home dinner for us. I had tapas: pepite (fried polenta bits with truffle salt and Parmesan), calamari and fried baby artichokes. It is all high in carbs but I am addicted to these gorgeous polenta bites.

It was all so delicious. I had never eaten baby artichokes like those. I liked them a lot!

On Thursday we tried out some of the offerings from the new menu recently launched at Spiro’s in Hout Bay.

I had 2 of the prawn skewers priced at R60 for one or R110 for two skewers and there are 3 prawns per skewer. You order your side dishes separately and we ordered hand cut chips and loaded chips and shared them.

It was all very tasty and I loved the Greek version of loaded fries. I wish them much success with their venue remodel and new menu.

Friday we also had yet another takeaway and I chose sushi from K1 in Hout Bay.

I had crab salad, tempura prawns, salmon roses, and cucumber roses topped by prawn. It was all very yummy but I have noticed that their portions have gotten smaller. They used to give 4 tempura prawns instead of 3, the crab salad is about half the size it used to be and there are now 3 pieces of sushi in a portion rather than 4. Every restaurant appears to be struggling but once customers feel they are not getting value for money they will go elsewhere so I hope this reduction in value doesn’t affect them.

I cooked last night. I baked pork chops, fried red cabbage in balsamic and made fondant sweet potatoes.

I had a bit of drama with OrderIn this week for lunch. I ordered buttermilk chicken tacos from Knead Bakery in Wembley Square. The app provides a status of the delivery process and the status was sitting at ‘accepted by the restaurant’ past the time when I had been told it would be delivered. I sent a query on the app to ask whether there was an issue but I received no response. Finally after over an hour the status updated to say the food had been collected from the restaurant and the driver was on his way. I tracked his journey via the app and when I went to collect the food I asked him what took so long. He said he needed air in his tire. Umm what? It took an hour and a half.

When I got to my desk and opened the box the food was in complete disarray.

The OrderIn description said it came with salsa, a sriracha sauce, cheesy nachos and slaw but none of these things were included. The food was ice cold and incredibly dry. There was a small container of an incredibly sour, disgusting sauce which I could not stomach.

On their menu it is described as: BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN TACOS R95. Buttermilk marinated chicken breast coated and deep fried with tangy slaw, fresh salsa, creamy coriander dressing, fresh coriander, avo & radish.

But on the app it says: Buttermilk marinated chicken breast coated & deep fried with tangy slaw, fresh salsa & sriracha mayo in a 4×10 mini taco served with a side of cheesy nachos & sriracha mayo dip.

I wrote to OrderIn customer service and complained about the clusterfeck of chaos. In their defense, Knead admitted that the dish no longer comes with nachos and the description on the app is wrong and that they had inadvertently sent a vegan sauce instead of the promised sriracha sauce. Poor vegans.

Knead offered to give a free replacement meal the following day so I agreed to give them a second chance. OrderIn said they will credit me with 2 free delivery fees as well.

The food arrived and the driver was surly and short, obviously he was annoyed that he did not get a tip as I hadn’t ordered or paid, it was done by the agent dealing with the complaint. But the food was warm and intact and came with the correct sauce.

It was very tasty but I found a small bone in the chicken. I won’t order from Knead again despite their efforts to compensate me. It literally left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The weather has been a bit crazy this week, bringing a lot of much needed rain.

On Monday when I got into work I realized I had left my mobile phone in my car. I park almost half a kilometer away and it is still dark when I get to work so I was not keen on going back to get it. As I work in a dangerous area and I knew the phone could be seen once it became light I was worried my car would be broken into and my phone stolen.

Walking back and forth again resulted in an almost 1.5 kilometer walkathon before I could start work. But it could have been worse if it had happened on any other day as the weather turned on Monday afternoon and it started raining on my way to my car that afternoon and we even had a bit of thunder and lightning on Tuesday night. We built big fires every night to keep the chill out.

Despite the weather I had two hair raising incidents driving. One morning I was in a long queue of traffic and due to the rain and mist I left plenty of space between me and the car in front. As I neared Bakoven a SUV came flying up onto my rear, flashing his lights and swerving around me as if to overtake. There were cars coming on the other side of the narrow coast road and there were cars in front of me, so there was nowhere for me to move to and nowhere for the psycho driver to go if he got around me. I eventually got fed up, slammed on my brakes and gave him the finger out of my window and he backed right off.

The same day on my way home I was stuck behind a bus which was going slowly, but the road is very dangerous so I settled in and relaxed. Next thing in my rear mirror I see a fancy SUV racing up on the wrong side of the road, overtaking a long queue of traffic and then overtaking the bus on a blind bend. If a car had come around the bend it would have taken out me, the bus, and countless other cars. For the gain of at most, fifteen minutes.

The roads are full of arrogant arsehats.

We have had some progress with Panda’s illness. He is starting to get stronger and can hold his head up longer. He can even lift his head up from a side leaning position which shows his core strength is coming back. His bark is also getting stronger.

When I come home from work I am greeted by his yips, wiggles and happy smiling face. We still have to try and decipher his whines and barks. This week he was moaning a lot and squirming and we tried everything to settle him. Eventually Norm picked him up and put him on his lap.

Next Panda lets out a giant loud burp. He obviously had a bit of trapped wind is why he was so unsettled.

Norm has continued with putting him in his walker even though he cannot move around yet, but it gets him used to the walker.

Navajo is so protective over little Panda.

He had a busy day yesterday as Norm and I attended a fundraiser for CCP. I had told them when I booked that we would have Panda with us and when we arrived at Dario’s they had reserved a table for two people and a dog.

So cute.

Our table was out on the patio.

Norm held Panda so he could be a part of the social aspect.

The set meal included a coffee, orange juice and champagne, 2 eggs, 3 bits of bacon, a potato rosti, stuffed tomato and toast.

We popped Panda down on his bed while we ate.

There was an adorable baby French Bulldog sitting next to us, I love this breed. Look at that face!

After we finished we headed to the shops to run some errands. On our way home we saw that the new skate park was full of people skating.

It is lovely that the kids in the community have this venue.

We gave Panda a bath when we got home as he was starting to smell like an incontinent geriatric’s underpants. It took us both to do it as holding him and washing him is not easy since he cannot stand and he has tons of hair! We dried him with the blow dryer after. He smells so much better and I’m sure he feels better.

Last night Norm and I watched A Star is Born.

I loved this film so much! I adore Lady Gaga and also enjoy Bradley Cooper. His affected voice and accent was a bit annoying but he has a nice singing voice and of course Gaga was fabulous. I give the film 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Tonight we are watching Bohemian Rhapsody during dinner and I am really looking forward to that.

I had mentioned that the girls and I had bought my Mom a voucher for her birthday and she went shopping and bought some Chanel perfume with her voucher.

Look at her cute little smile. I love that we found a way to treat her despite being so far apart.

Work is slowly moving along. We had a BI department meeting and we were given a lot of information from teammates who had attended several recent conferences. I was rapt as I am always eager to learn new info.

It was a bit distracting that the guy behind me talked throughout the entire meeting. Ironically he is one of the people who has so much to learn. He also spends our smaller team meetings on his phone.

Why is it that those who need education the most are those who are the least eager to learn? Or is that why they need the education? A chicken and egg sort of situation?

Conversely my other colleague (the one who reads out loud and verbalises everything he types) is curious about everything. He has the most obscure conversations with me. He said to me that my bone structure reminds him of the ‘Red Indians’ on television. I had never heard Native Americans called this until I moved to Europe. It is a colonial term freely used there and in South Africa. I find the term incredibly offensive. I told my colleague that it is not politically correct to call us that and that I am of Cherokee origin. He obviously read up about my lineage and the next day he said ‘so do turkeys have totems?’ I said to him I did not understand the question and then he said ‘oops I meant Cherokees’.

That made me giggle. I’m happy to discuss things with him however as he is inquisitive and eager to learn. Even though he called me a turkey.

I hope you all have a great week. Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo

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Shutting Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox