Enough is Enough

My work week started pretty much on the same note as it ended on last week. My PC was still with the technician when I got in on Monday morning and finally at midday my client said I may as well go home.

On my way I popped in to the shop and got steaks for dinner. To go with them Norm made mushrooms, fondant sweet potatoes, red cabbage, and brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock.

To make the fondant potatoes, he just peeled and parboiled them, then he sliced the potatoes into thick discs and fried the discs in butter until browned. I love these. He parboiled the sliced sprouts in chicken stock then fried them off in butter. He added the mushrooms in with the sprouts once the stock had cooked down.

Before I left work on Monday I asked my client to let me know when my computer had been fixed so that I did not drive into the city for nothing. I got a message late Monday afternoon to say my computer had been repaired so I went in at 7:30am on Tuesday only to discover it still had issues.

I raised another Helpdesk call. Finally by lunch time on Tuesday I was operational and had to quickly test the data run from that morning.

Tuesday was my birthday and I woke to some stunning lilies from Norman.

He also made a card for me and gave me a gift card from Woolies so I will get a new top or jeans or something nice with it.

When I got home from work there had been a delivery of a stunning bouquet of various bright flowers. They were from my son Trevor and DIL Amber.

There was also a basket containing a package of yummy treats with a cluster of beautiful pink roses attached.

The treats were licorice All Sorts, biscuits, a Lindt chocolate bar, biltong and a large box of nougat. So special!

I put the roses in a vase. The buds were so lush and they are such a beautiful colour.

I felt very spoiled.

That night we met Caitlin and Wes for dinner in Hout Bay at Cheyne’s.

They were already there when we arrived.

Wes gave me a bottle of Amarula (my favorite liqueur) and Caitlin made a colorful mandala type drawing for me. It is to help with anxiety. I can focus on the colors and patterns to ground me.

On the other side of the art she wrote a really sweet note. It was so touching.

We got settled in and checked out the menu.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

Cheyne’s had on their Spring Yum Cha special at the price of R280 per head for 4 courses. There are four sections of the menu, Sea, Earth, Land and Happy Endings. You can choose any four dishes. I always choose one from each section.

Wes had shrimp tempura and Norm, Caitlin and I all had the Hake tempura from the Sea section of the menu to start. It came with pickled shallots, miso mayo and unagi sauce.

It was perfection. The tempura was light and crispy and the tartness of the pickled shallots and the richness of the unagi sauce were the perfect compliment.

Next I had my favorite, the Mumbai chili beef. It was as tasty as it always is.

Norm and Wesley ordered the pork belly. It came with pear teriyaki, crispy potato, Keralan cream and puffed black rice.

This dish looked so beautiful. Norm rated it a full 5 stars so it must have tasted as good as it looked.

Caitlin and I ordered the crispy potato pave from the Earth section of the menu. It was flavored with truffle oil, maldon salt, Parmesan and caviar.

I wasn’t convinced about these. I always have the potato and coconut dumplings but felt like I should be adventurous. I missed my dumplings so we need to go back soon!

The pave potatoes were like what you would get if a hassleback potato and a croissant had a baby. They were tasty and delicious but just a bit dry. I nicked some sauce from Norm’s pork belly dish and it was just what the potatoes needed.

Instead of a dessert, Caitlin ordered 2 of the Land offerings, the baby back ribs and the Tokyo beef slider. I tasted the beef slider and I am definitely having that next time. It was tender sliced beef in a gorgeous shiitake cream with crispy rosti potato and it was served on a brioche. It was divine!

Norm had ordered the aubergine tempura dish from the earth section but it never arrived. Norm asked the waiter could he rather have an extra dessert as he was past eating savory food by the time we had finished our last round of food and the waiter had cleared the plates. Caitlin had not ordered a dessert so she had a bit of his peanut butter shake.

I also ordered the peanut butter milkshake. It comes with miso butterscotch, toasted nuts and chocolate soil.

Norm and Wes chose the creme brûlée. It came with toasted banana bread and miso ice cream.

I had a taste and it was as divine as it was the last time I had it. It was the perfect texture, light, rich and creamy with a crispy sugar topping. We all gave our meals 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When the bill arrived there was a bottle of wine on the bill that we did not drink, but it was quickly replaced by the correct bill and we paid up and headed home as it was a weeknight.

On Wednesday I woke up with the beginnings of a terrible flu. I went into work as I was so behind thanks to my PC issues.

I felt dreadful but I struggled through and delivered the analysis I needed to. However as the night went on I felt worse and worse. I called in sick on Thursday and Friday and just stayed in bed feeling sorry for myself.

Norm looked after me, pumping me full of Corenza C, Acc 200 and steaming mugs of med lemon.

Panda kept me company.

August was Women’s Month in South Africa but instead of being shown the honour and respect we deserve, the murder and rape of women and children continued unabated.

South Africa’s femicide rate is 5 times higher than the global average, and more than one in five women experience physical violence, worsening to one in three in low-income areas.

The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) had found that South Africa had the world’s highest rate of rape, estimated at 138 rapes per 100,000 women in 2017.

The women in SA decided enough is enough and planned a week of protests.

I watched the protests on social media and on the telly from my bed.

I was so proud of the women who took to the streets.

There were some men who joined in support.

There were so many people supporting the cause.

During Women’s Month alone at least 23 women or girls were murdered.

Below is a list of the known 23 victims:

  1. Nolundi Vumsindo from the Eastern Cape. The 44-year-old victim was sleeping in her home next to her daughter when a man pushed into the house and stabbed the woman before running away.
  2. Verusha Padayachee, a 32 year old gym owner from Pietermaritzburg was found beaten, cable tied and strangled allegedly by her husband. She had a restraining order against him. He has since committed suicide.
  3. Lynette Volschenk, a 32 year old woman from Cape Town was murdered and chopped up by a 21 year old male suspect who lives in the same block of flats.
  4. An 84 year old grandmother from the Eastern Cape was brutally stabbed to death in front of her grand children. Her murderer claimed she was a witch.
  5. Meghan Cremer, a 30 year old woman from Cape Town was taken from her home, beaten, murdered and dumped on a sand mine. One of the suspects was known to her and her family.
  6. Leighandre ‘Baby Lee’ Jegels, a 30 year old boxer from the Eastern Cape was allegedly shot and killed by her policeman husband. Jegels’ professional boxing career took off in 2014 and in two years she was named the South African Junior Bantamweight Champion. She later also became the WBA Pan African Junior Bantamweight Champion. 
  7. Nathlia Pienaar a 6 year old from Cape Town was shot dead in a gang shooting while playing outside her house.
  8. Sadiqah Newman, 26, from Cape Town, was 8 months pregnant and a mother of two. She was shot 8 times while walking to a shop with a friend. Cops say the young woman was used as a shield by the man who was the intended target.
  9. Chantal McKenzie-Vlotman a Cape Town mother of 6 and a grandmother of 4 was fatally shot.
  10. Lauren Prins, a 30 year old Cape Town disabled mother of a three year old boy died after she was shot 10 times in gang cross fire.
  11. Jo-Anita Schulz was shot dead on Women’s Day by her husband.
  12. Nyameka from Cape Town was murdered and her body was dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  13. Yanela from Cape Town who was murdered and dumped. Her murder is believed to be gang related.
  14. In Johannesburg a 39 year old female doctor was strangled to death.
  15. The doctor’s helper was also murdered and burnt beyond recognition by robbers who then stole TVs, laptops and cellphones.
  16. Jesse Hess who was 19 years old and lived in Cape Town was murdered. Her 85 year old grandfather was murdered too.
  17. Esmeralda Isaacs, a 14 year old girl from the Northern Cape was stabbed multiple times and was found dumped on a field. No one has been arrested.
  18. An Eastern Cape woman, aged 71, was stabbed to death by her son.
  19. A Cape Town woman, aged 55 was stabbed to death by her 14 year old son.
  20. Sisanda Fani, aged 30, from Port Elizabeth, a young mother, was found dead in her car from a single gunshot to head. She was in the process of getting divorced.
  21. An unknown woman in her thirties was found murdered and dumped under a tree near a primary school in Welkom.
  22. Janika Mallo, 14 years old from Cape Town, was raped and murdered and her body found dumped in her Grandmother’s yard
  23. Uyinene Mrwetyana (Known as ‘Nene’ to family and friends) Nene was 19 years old and living in Cape Town and was raped and murdered in the post office.

A vigil was held at UCT where Nene attended University.

After days of unrest our president finally made an appearance to try and placate the protestors.

I hope it is not empty platitudes. Let’s hope that the government puts something in place to affect this huge issue. None of us feel safe. But life goes on and you do what you can to maximize your security and minimize your risks.

We have had continued progress with Panda. He can make it out of the doggy door into the back garden and as of today he can make it back in! He can go up and down the two steps from the garage to the scullery. He now runs on his walks with Norm. He went to his Physio and she has said he will only need a few more appointments.

This week we had Vanessa come stay with him on Tuesday night while we were out. But Norm also tried leaving Panda alone for a few hours Norm had to go to the dentist. He made sure he could get to water and had him pee before he left. He was fine on his own.

As Norm had work done on his dental implant he has to eat soft food. Last Sunday we had pasta from Posticino. I had spaghetti with amatriciana sauce. It was delicious.

On Tuesday Norm made the low carb mac n cheese using cauliflower and it was delicious as always.

We also had pasta from Massimo’s one night. I love their pasta.

On Friday Lily came to stay. She dropped Josh at his best mates house as they were going riding early on Saturday. We watched Black Mirror and shared a lasagna and margarita pizza from Cassarechio on Friday. Cassarechio does such a wonderful lasagna.

On Saturday there were 10 of us booked for dinner at Papino’s for a late birthday celebration but I felt so ill that I rescheduled. We ordered takeaway pizzas and pastas from Papino’s instead. They even sent a divine little parcel of chocolate mousse for my birthday dinner.

How sweet was that?

We had Josh, Lily and Caitlin here with us. The girls and Trevor gave me a gorgeous statue of Ganesh, a Hindu god. Ganesh (or Ganesha) is a god of wisdom, success and good luck.

It has been so hot this weekend but I’ve stayed snuggled up in my pajamas. At least I was surrounded by my family. If I am not well by tomorrow I must go to the doctor as I will need a note for work. I hope I wake up magically recovered. Wish me luck.

Until then, air Kisses from a germ free distance from The Kitten. xoxoxoxox

Advertisements

Three Bad Things

I’ve always heard that bad things come in threes, but I am sure that I have exceeded that count recently.

On Monday night I was notified that Jay, one of my dearest and oldest friends, had passed away.

Jay and I went to Junior School and High School together, Jay was in the class one year ahead of me so we had become friends when I was about 12 years old and we had stayed friends ever since.

We got up to such mischief and had such fun doing it. When I was about 15 or so we got into trouble when Jay, my friend Robin and I had told our parents that we were baby sitting Robin’s sister’s kids but in reality we were out driving around and partying. It saddens me that both Robin and Jay have now passed away.

I grew up in North Georgia and after graduation Jay moved to Atlanta to go to University. My friend Marie drove us both down to visit him one weekend. We drove down in her Dad’s old white convertible, I think it was a Cadillac. Jay was working in a record shop (yes it was THAT long ago that record shops were commonplace) so Jay could get discount concert tickets and we went to see Joe Jackson perform at an Atlanta stadium.

We took a bucket of KFC and a bottle of schnapps and we had such fun. It was a simpler time when we were all young, beautiful and broke.

I left the south when I was about 22 years old and I moved to Los Angeles. Every time I would go back home to visit I tried to always meet up with Jay. I ate Jamaican food for the first time when he and I went to a restaurant in the funky little Five Points in Atlanta.

In 1990 I emigrated to South Africa and 7 years later I moved to the UK. Jay and I found each other on MySpace and we followed each other’s blogs and stayed in contact via email and social media, eventually moving over to Facebook as MySpace suffered its death throes.

In 2006 Norman, my children and I went back home for a visit and I contacted Jay to meet up. Jay was still based in Atlanta.

We went to Dave and Busters and had dinner.

We then spent ages playing games in the arcade and had such fun.

He knew of the issues I had experienced in my first marriage and he was so pleased to meet Norm and my kids and see me happy. Jay also seemed settled and happy.

It was another 11 years until I went home to the US again and Jay was the first person I made plans to see but Jay was too ill to come visit me but he did not tell me that until I had returned back to SA. Instead he told me that his father had a heart attack and he wasn’t able to leave his mom and various other excuses. I thought it was all a bit odd but once I was back in SA he let me know about the issues he was having with his liver and the ascites which meant he had to have his abdomen drained of fluid regularly. It turned out that he had end stage liver disease but he was very private and did not tell me that part. He kept telling me that they were doing tests and that he might need a liver transplant and the doctor did not know what caused it.

We chatted on messenger almost daily and he always read my blog and messaged me nice comments about it. Recently Jay went to Florida on holiday but he had to leave earlier than planned and go home to Atlanta to check into the hospital for treatment. We were in constant communication and then he just stopped responding to my messages. I had such a bad feeling and I started messaging various friends back home asking if they could find out how he was. My worst fears were realised on Monday as we were going to bed and many friends messaged me to tell me that Jay had passed.

I was already in so much distress over Panda and whether he was going to survive his sudden illness, so this news devastated me completely.

I barely slept for crying and fretting on Monday night. My heart felt broken. Jay was such a kind, loving, gentle soul. He always had time for everyone and did not have a mean bone in his body.

I had to go back to work on Tuesday and I was a zombie. I kept praying to the Great Spirit that Jay had a peaceful transition. I could not get Jay out of my mind and I felt Jay’s presence all around me.

On Wednesday night I was woken out of a deep sleep by bright flashing lights. I am very visually challenged and I thought it must have been Norm on his phone and I shook him and asked him what was going on. He was sound asleep and told me that nothing was going on, that I was dreaming and to go back to sleep. However I was now wide awake and I could see bright lights shooting around the room, almost like bolts of lightening, flashing and zinging around the room. I have never experienced anything like that. Even when I closed my eyes I could see these lights. I then started wondering was I having some sort of neurological episode and checked that I could move my limbs but the lights did not go away. It went on so long that I started to feel frightened and as soon as I felt this fear, the lights stopped.

Eventually I went back to sleep but I was so confused by the entire episode. I’m now convinced that it was Jay coming through to communicate with me.

My Mom went to the funeral home to pay respects from our family and she said that Jay was so thin. I am glad I did not see him like that, I will remember him happy, healthy and smiling. I hope that he is now pain free and at peace. I miss him.

As mentioned in my last blog, we have still been nursing little Panda. He went to his appointment with the specialist vet on Tuesday and they kept him in overnight to run tests. On Wednesday Norm picked me up at the client in town at lunchtime and we drove through together to collect Panda and speak to the vet. He agrees with the third vet Panda had seen. They are confident it is most likely idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. He gave Panda IV antibiotics to target the most likely causes of the issue. It will take a few weeks to get the results of the blood tests back and they may not provide any definitive answers.

The vet said this is a very rare condition but that he has another patient with the same issue but that is a large dog. I cannot imagine how his owners cope with turning him and getting him back and forth to the vet.

He thinks the prognosis is good and that Panda will recover but it could take up to 4 months & a lot of nursing care. It is like caring for a mute newborn as he is so helpless & cannot make any noises at all. It does not affect smooth muscles so his urinary & bowel functions are not affected. Luckily his lungs do not appear to have been affected either. We have waterproof pads under him and keep an eye on him so that he is not left lying in urine. He has not yet managed to poop on his own, we have to take him to the vet for them to get the poop out of him manually. We turn him over every few hours to make sure he doesn’t get any pressure sores. We give him antibiotics twice a day and make sure he eats and stays hydrated and I am putting tissue salts in his water. We sleep with him in our bed so neither of us get a full night’s sleep.

I am hopeful yet terribly sad watching the confusion on his wee face when he tries to move or bark. He is so determined to get his bark back. He spends ages just trying and trying.

On Tuesday night while Panda was at the vet overnight Norm and I were so sad and to distract us we avoided any drama or anxiety inducing TV shows. We watched a house building show as that should be mindless and stress free and then at the end the mother in the show bloody well dies of a brain tumor! Her house wasn’t that nice either so it was a poor choice all around. FML

We are seeing a very slight improvement in Panda, but the main thing is that it seems the deterioration has stopped and he has stabilized so we hope he has turned a corner. He can hold his head up longer and can drink from a bowl now.

When it turns 4pm Panda knows it is the time when they usually go for their walk. He gets so excited and barks and barks. Silently. Norm has carried him around the block a few times and Panda comes home bright eyed and smiling. He loves his Dad so much.

Wednesday was rehearsal for the SONA and many roads in the city were closed. I park near Parliament so my usual drive home was closed off. I was diverted onto the motorway and only got home very late as I had to work over to make up the time I missed by popping out to the vet.

On Thursday I discovered what Bad Thing Number 3 was. The client does not allow me to work from my own laptop and when I got into the office and tried to log on to the computer they provide I was greeted with this:

I forced a shut down, then tried to log in using safe mode but the blue screen of death advised that my hard drive was corrupt.

I had gotten to work at 7:30 & I logged a Helpdesk call. Finally at 10:30 they came to collect the computer but they could not say how long it might take to bring it back or whether they would be able to recover my documents. The client decided to send me home at 12 as I had been unable to work all day. I fretted about my work as I did not have a recent back up and redoing my work would put me over my timeline for delivery as I am due to finish up there at the end of July. Luckily when I went in on Friday they had managed to restore my documents and nothing was lost.

When I was leaving on Thursday I mentioned to the client that I had not slept well all week and told him about Panda and how much it had cost in vet bills so far and he said ‘wow, what would a new dog cost?’

What

The

Actual

Fudge?!

I snapped back, ‘your daughter was sick recently, what would it have cost to get a new kid?’. He apologized as he could see he had been inappropriate and had touched a nerve. Some people do not understand how much our pets are part of the family.

When I left work I went to collect my drivers license from the Traffic Department. It took longer to collect it than it did to apply for it and applying consisted of an eye test, fingerprints and waiting in 3 different queues! But at least I am finally legal and now that I have a new wallet hopefully I don’t lose it again and won’t have to go through that for a long time.

It was a beautiful warm day and I was happy to be released from the ivory corporate tower. It also meant I did not get caught up in the SONA traffic dramas.

In his SONA speech on Thursday night our new President seemed to be describing a Disney film instead of a plan of how to address our many issues in South Africa.

He mentioned that there are seven priorities his government will focus on:

– Economic transformation and job creation,

– Education, skills and health,

– Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services,

– Spatial integration, human settlements and local government,

– Social cohesion and safe communities,

– A capable, ethical and developmental state,

– A better Africa and World.

It was a bit like a salesman bidding for a contract, all promises with no tangible plans on delivery of those promises.

Many others agreed with my opinion.

For example what are the specific plans to resolve the chaos prevalent within our State Owned Enterprises. After years of a spending free-for-all at SOEs, both Treasury and Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Department of Public Enterprises have now tightened the reins to the point where those in new leadership positions complain that they are given too little room, too little trust, and too little money to manoeuvre effectively. As mentioned in a recent blog, the resignation of a number of top executives in the past months speaks to this frustration.

On Friday a cold front rolled into Cape Town but the morning was warm and sunny so Norm let Panda sit on the patio to get some fresh air. The pack all gathered round.

Norm said Panda lay there silently barking at the dogs in the road.

The wind came up about 2pm and by 4pm there was torrential rain but I managed to get to my car without getting too wet and headed home damp and chilled. Friday night was spent wrapped up warm and relaxing with the animals. We ordered a pizza. We have been living off of takeaways as we are too exhausted to cope with shopping and cooking on top of nursing Panda. Our waistline is the least of our concerns.

On Saturday the rain continued all day and evening and it was bitterly cold so when I got up I built a roaring fire.

Norm dropped Panda at the vet so they could check him and while Panda was there Norm ran some errands but it was a miserable day and he came home as soon as he could.

Today I was supposed to go to Marina da Gama for drumming but as Panda is in need of so much care and Norm needed to work I decided to stay home. I was in bed with Panda and when Norm went downstairs to feed Pixie and Navajo little Panda started barking like mad.

After Norm finished with the other two he made up Panda’s breakfast and took him downstairs to eat. He gets a little bowl of boiled chicken and broth as well as the food prescribed by the vet. He is not keen on the commercial food but needs the nutrients so we have to encourage him with the chicken and alternate the two.

As Norm was working I could watch whatever I fancied. I love Cher and someone on RuPaul mentioned the documentary about her mother Georgia Holt so I found that and watched it.

It was very interesting and Cher sounds so much like her Mom! Georgia is a beautiful woman and looks so much younger than her age. She is now in her nineties but looks much younger.

Norm took a break from work and gave Pixie a bath with her special shampoo for her skin issues. She looks so tiny when she is wet. She has so much hair and we spent ages blow drying her with minimal success.

She was not impressed at all with our efforts. #ShadyPomWithTheSideEyes

Panda has spent most of the weekend practicing his barking. He now does this to let us know when he needs anything, but much like a crying baby you have to guess what it is that he needs. He barks if he has peed and his bed needs changing, he barks if he is thirsty, he barks if he is hungry and sometimes he just seems to be doing it for the sake of the exercise as it is all he CAN do.

I’m hopeful that he will continue to improve, we just have to keep looking after his needs and keeping him comfortable.

We have come to terms that for now our lives will be devoted to his care and we are not able to decide on a whim to go out for a meal or a drink. But like everything else, this too shall pass and we must just adjust to this restriction and be there for Panda.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo

 

Act Two

Considering that I was worried about being able to endure a full week, this week flew by! I find if you are out midweek it makes the week feel shorter.

The monotony of our week was broken up on Wednesday when we attended the Opera at the Artscape. It was organized by my friend, a lovely ex-colleague named Rob.

We left early and stopped at Col’Cacchio in the Foreshore for a quick bite. We chose them because of the proximity to the theatre and they do low carb options.

We were seated at the front by a large window.

There were only six tables of customers in that section of the restaurant and three of them had Americans sitting at them. What are the odds?

I chose the Zucchetti Verde Rosso for R95: zucchetti with chicken parmigiana. Zuchetti is zucchini made into a noodle format.

It was very tasty but I could have done with more chicken. Next time I will have a salad starter as I didn’t quite feel well fed up.

Norm had the low carb beef lasagna with brinjal (aka eggplant), bolognaise, ricotta, Italian parmesan. It was R100.

He enjoyed it.

We give our dinners 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After dinner we headed off to the Artscape Opera House.

We saw the Opera ‘I Capuleti e i Montecchi’ which is based on the classic love story, ‘Romeo and Juliette’. We had a drink in the lobby prior to the show.

The opera house had a display of beautiful costumes from other versions of the opera.

It is such a beautiful opera. It was a Cape Town Opera production and they did such an amazing job.

Here is a link to a video of images from their Instagram account, hope it works!

View this post on Instagram

The young cast of rising stars and phenomenal creatives have given their all to this production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. This eternally fascinating story of Romeo and Juliet with incredibly beautiful music opens tonight on the opera stage followed by performances on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May. Designer Michael Mitchell has done some extraordinary costume and set designs which look like renaissance paintings, it’s a visual feast. The contrast between the privileged and powerful Capulets, insurgent Montagues and the innocence of Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated love is palpable and ultimately heart-wrenching. Tickets are between R100 and R300 to see this glorious opera with an orchestra, forty singers and superb set, costumes and lighting. Book today, link in bio! . . . . #AllThingsItalianCPT #capetownopera#music #art #classicalmusic #opera#theatre #singer #artist #operasinger#soprano #travel #fashion #teatro#concert #instagood #capetownopera#piano #style #capetown #dance#orchestra #architecture #makeup#theater #artschool #musica #priora#bhfyp #musicstudents

A post shared by Cape Town Opera Company (@capetownoperacompany) on

Here is a clip of a version of the same opera done years ago, it begins with the scene between the priest Lorenzo and Guilietta where he persuades her to drink the sedative.

The opera was so beautiful and we were surprised to see a female actor playing the part of Romeo.

Apparently that is traditional. I thought maybe it was just the Cape Town version as it is supposed to be one of the top ‘gay capitals‘ in the world or something like that. Then we joked that the dramatic nature of Romeo and Giulietta’s relationship was just like some of our lesbian friends’.

The actress Brittany Smith played Guilietta in the show we attended, and she was beautiful and had an incredible voice. She was a pleasure to watch.

We were seated on the second row so we could see down into the orchestra pit as well. It was interesting to watch the faces of the musicians. Some of them just appeared to be doing a job, their faces lacking any animation. Some of them had such joy beaming from their faces that you could see their love of music. It gave us something to do during the set change breaks. The opera was 3 hours duration so was a bit long and tiring for a school night. But we loved it so much.

The Opera merits a full 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a bit of middle aged excitement this week when all of our things we had ordered for the house arrived.

We bought a new Dyson vacuum which is amazing. It is cordless so you can whiz around with it easily. It is made for managing dog hair and our house has never been cleaner. It breaks down into a little handheld version as well so you can quickly do a little bit if needed.

We also bought a Phillips Air Fryer. We tried it out the first night and used this recipe HERE. It was for pork chops and brussel sprouts. We followed the instructions in the recipe and then cooked a few minutes longer as the chops looked a bit anemic.

Norm fried halloumi in the grill pan to go with it. While we were eating the first chop we cooked the second for 15 minutes. It turned out much more golden.

They were good! I loved the sprouts. I used American mustard instead of Dijon and the maple syrup is not low carb but it was a teaspoon between us and most of it remained in the bowl where I mixed it into the sprouts. We will do this again but will cook one or the other in the fryer, the air needs to be able to circulate around the contents I think. Will keep you posted on our progress.

We also got a new bed for Navajo. He has so many issues with his back and leg and we hope it makes it softer than lying on the tiles for him.

He’s such a lovely boy.

Last Tuesday Norm cooked the low carb cauliflower cheese and bacon dish I loved so. With it we served the last of the chicken frikkadels leftover from Sunday lunch.

On Thursday night I had my usual Friday treat a day early and had sushi.

I had my usual crab salad, butterfly, salmon roses and cucumber roses with prawn on top.

It was delicious even if it contained a bit of rice and sugary mayo.

There was a horrific murder in the news in Cape Town this week and we all read in shock about the hijacking and murder of the surfer David Wolfromm. The hijackers shot him, stole the car after having thrown him bleeding into the back, then crashed the car and set it alight with him still tied up inside. That would be a horrendous way to die. From the first time I read about this murder I had a feeling that I had a connection to the victim. Even before they released his name, I felt it. Today when I went to drumming everyone was discussing David’s murder and several of the attendees had attended various memorials for him. I then realized that I had met David and his family at the song marathon I attended last August where various spiritual groups had all gathered in a giant tipi to sing and drum. People sang in many different languages and David was a follower of the South American tribe Huni Kuin or the Kaxinawá, also known as the Kashinawa who are an indigenous people of Brazil and Peru. He and a group of others sang in the native language and it was beautiful.

David seemed like a lovely happy man. He had a wife and 5 children so it is just so unfair that a good man was taken for no reason at all.

Today we did a few songs in honor of David. We sang The Wolf and we learned a new song in Huni Kuin called Eskawata Kayaway. We used shakers rather than our drum.

From what I understand the tribe does not have a written language so everything such as lyrics are just written down phonetically. I managed to find a video of a man I assume to be Huni Kuin singing the song we sang today in honor of David.

It seems odd that he doesn’t move his mouth but maybe it is cultural? At least it’s the same song and as it appears to be a rare thing to find online I am grateful I found it!

I am glad that we paid a tribute to David and maybe a bit of him will stay with our group and we may adopt this new song to add to our repertoire for the dance? It’s just so sad for his loved ones.

There were other crimes and various headlines around transport.

There were a few instances of local bus robberies in the news. A man was shot and killed on a bus into town this week. The Golden Arrow bus service has suffered more than 20 robberies on its buses in the last seven months. They say they are going to consider implementing a specialised unit targeted at dealing with crime.

The residents of Hout Bay are threatening another protest if the City of Cape Town does not deliver on their promise of adding additional buses to the existing routes to cater for the hundreds of residents who took taxis before they shut down the taxi route from Hout Bay to the City. People just stand and watch full buses not even stop because of over crowding. People are late into work and late back home to their families due to the lack of available transport.

There has also been ongoing issues about 5 hours up the coast in George near my children. The city is in the process of introducing the Go George bus service and buying out taxi routes has been full of drama with at least two assassinations, attacks on buses and numerous protests.

South Africa’s public transport system is in a shambles. You have read my many blogs about the train system, the taxi service and now the buses. I am so grateful I have a car and am not reliant on the vagaries of all the unreliable transport methods in SA.

We had a re-enactment of Caitlin’s birthday and my Mother’s Day celebrations on Friday night as Lily and Josh were down in Cape Town for a wedding.

We went to Hudson’s in Claremont on Friday for 7. I have always gone to the city branch or Green Point but Claremont was easier for Caitlin. Lily and Josh stayed with us on Friday night and we all went together in my car and arrived first.

The music was all rock and was incredibly loud. Even the kids found it loud so that opinion is not just because I am an old fart. It was deafening. You could not converse without shouting directly in someone’s ear. The table was so sticky that we asked them to wipe it but it remained sticky even after wiping and they told us it is always sticky. It was so sticky we kept the menus and put our arms and phones on them or they stuck to the table. It wasn’t a very pleasant venue and we found out that the food was far inferior to the other branches.

Norm and I both had the Original Royale.

It had onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon and a bit of chili oil. It was R89 for the 180gram patty I had or R105 for the 250gram that Norm had.

Lily had the Shroom Burger with cheddar cheese and mushroom sauce, Josh had The Player with bacon, feta and avocado and both Caitlin and Wesley had the Tribeca Selection with 3 100g sliders: The Shroom, The Player and The Wiseguy (which has tons of chili).

You order your side dishes separately at an additional cost. I had skin on fries and bought dusted onion rings for the table to share.

The breaded rings on the burger were a bit heavy on the dough, I far preferred the dusted version.

Caitlin and Wes had truffle fries and Norm had sweet potato fries but he said they were ice cold. I ordered a vanilla milk shake and it was as thin as milk and super sweet. It was not nice. I’ve had shakes at both of the venues we normally go to and they are usually thick and delicious.

My experience at the restaurant was only nice because of the company. I give it 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

After dinner we opened gifts.

Caitlin got both some cute fun gifts and some practical gifts.

She got a set of three books from me by the author Joe Abercrombie, the First Law Trilogy series.

Her dad bought her a slow cooker. Lily got her a set of cute notepads with sloths on them and a glass cutting board and a toy for her cats.

She set it up as soon as she got home and Mittens had a blast.

The kids gave me a set of painted stones. I have been wanting some of these for ages. I have set them out on the front porch.

The bird they also gave me is now flying over my succulent collection.

I love them all. I love any type of garden art.

It was lovely having my girls with us.

It was nice to see their fellas too.

We were up early on Saturday as Lily and Josh had to run some errands and then get to their friends house and get ready for the wedding and out to Stellenbosch by 2pm.

Norm took Pixie to the chiropractor in Noordhoek early in the morning and when he came home he made us cheese omelettes, bacon and avocado. I added a spoon full of onion marmalade to mine.

It was delicious. I am a lucky Kitten.

Saturday evening we decided at the last minute to go out to dinner and we headed to Constantia and managed to snag a table at the Cattle Baron.

We were seated out on the little patio area under a gas heater.

Norm ordered the 300g Chateaubriand: Fillet flambèed with brandy. Served with a Cattle Baron Bèarnaise & a mushroom sauce.

I ordered the 200g Sautéed Mushroom Fillet: Grilled beef fillet served on deep-fried rosti and topped with garlic sauteèd mushroom. It was R195.

We both had chips and shared an order of mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter. They serve a complimentary dish of mashed butternut and creamed spinach with the steaks. It was all so delicious, the steaks were both very tender and perfectly cooked.

I had the chocolate fondant with ice cream: molten chocolate cake with a crispy exterior and runny chocolate centre. It was R58.

Our meal was delicious and the service perfect so we give 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This place is becoming my fave local steak house.

We went home and cosied up with the animals.

Panda tolerated Blue because it was so cold.

On Sunday after drumming I drove back from Marina Da Gama and collected Norm and we went for lunch at Woolworths before we did our grocery shop.

I ordered a bottle of still water and a chili omelette with bacon.

I was given sparkling water and did not notice until I took a swig. Blech who enjoys sparkling water and if you do, why do you hate yourself so much? It tastes like I imagine water tastes like when drank around a mouthful of rocks.

Then she finally brings our food and I get a few bites in wondering why I don’t taste chili when I got a mouthful full of salmon. Not what my mouth was prepared for.

Eventually a chili omelette was delivered and it was ok. It had a weird cream cheese and chive type stuffing that was a bit odd but it was ok.

But due to the long time it took to cook, the fishy first attempt and the weird cheese it gets 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

Tonight Norm and I made low carb pizza, I used veggie pizza bases and topped them with mozzarella and Proscuitto.

First I baked the base for 5 minutes.

I made my own sugar free sauce from garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes I liquidized, a small tin of tomato paste and a dash of Worcester sauce.i simmered it for about half an hour.

I topped the sauce with the ham and the cheese and baked.

It was good. Not as good as a real pizza, but for low carb it was edible.

We are wrapped up warm watching telly and listening to the pouring rain. Cape Town needs the rain.

Wishing you all a great week ahead. Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Fear of Loneliness

The fear of loneliness can be a motivator behind many decisions made by some people. Irrational sometimes to outsiders, these decisions can result in constraints to the lives of some and heartbreak to others. People settle for people they do not love, or stay in relationships with people they do not love rather than risk being alone. Loneliness is one of humanity’s biggest issues, often leading to despair. Isolation is even used as the ultimate prison punishment, it can affect people in many different ways, leading some people to behave bizarrely. As an only child of working parents, one whose home was surrounded by countryside rather than playmates, I grew up being alone a lot and I am comfortable with my own company. However nothing makes me happier than time with my family. My family is everything to me. But I do not mind being alone.

This topic came up this weekend when watching ‘Like Father‘ with the fabulous Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer. Kelsey plays the Father and that was his term, ‘fear of loneliness’, he used it when discussing a poor decision made by Kirsten (in the role of the daughter) and proposing explanations for why the situation may have happened.

Lauren Miller Rogen was not only the screenwriter but also the director and producer of the film and hubby Seth Rogen appears in it.

It was a good enough movie to amuse me on a lazy cold winters day. I give it 3 and a bit Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Thursday was the start of a four day weekend for me as it was Women’s Day in South Africa.

August the 9th is a Public Holiday marking the day of the national march of women in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the ‘pass’.

The ‘pass’ was an identification document which restricted a black South African’s freedom of movement under apartheid and only by having the pass were they allowed to enter ‘white’ areas. The ‘pass’ had come into force under the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against proposed amendments to the act. They left petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom’s office door. They stood silently outside his door for 30 minutes.

The women then sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (This translates to “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”.).

As discussed in my last blog, women in South Africa do not have a lot to celebrate however.

Neither do many women worldwide. I loved reading this week about the increase of the number of women entering into politics in the US. The one thing we can congratulate Trump on is waking people up to the risk of letting racist, misogynistic bigots run the country and getting them to step up to vote or even to run for office.

This day also marks the anniversary of my first day at work in South Africa after I immigrated back here in 2007. We were given a fancy lunch at the Mount Nelson by my new company and I thought ‘wow’ I can get used to this. However I only lasted 6 months with that company and am now on my third contract house since moving back. If I am unhappy, I move on. Life is too short.

I had booked to go on a reconnection medicine walk on Thursday but I woke up so stiff and sore from the cold that I could barely make it downstairs and so I had to cancel. We have had a cold snap of icy weather in Cape Town and my arthritis is reacting badly to it.

Instead I wrapped up warm and stayed tucked in bed and Norm went to get us pastries and then brought me pastry and a frothy latte in bed, where I lay surrounded by cats and snoozing Pomeranian pups.

That morning a guy came to repair the cowl that blew off of our chimney and the animals and I stayed in bed while Norm dealt with that. As the guy said it blew off the chimney due to his fitting it incorrectly the first time he did not charge us! That was lucky.

I put together some lunch from the salads I had picked up on my way home on Friday. I bought them for the shared lunch after my walk but as I did not walk we had some yummy bits to choose from. We had Asian slaw, potato salad, pickled beetroot with chunks of creamy feta and roast chicken. It was divine, healthy and so easy.

On Thursday evening we decided to just stay in by our cozy fire. We got chicken burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and just relaxed.

The joint pain I was having could have been due to the Wednesday night when I had gotten chilled to the bones while sitting in an assembly room watching Norm present to 50 residents and several members of the City Of Cape Town Council about the proposal to start a Central Improvement District, aka a CID. This is a private-public partnership formed by the property owners in the area to provide complementary services over and above what the City of Cape Town provides.

Our CID will cover 3 areas, Oakwood, Hughenden and Meadows, it will be called by the acronym ‘OHMCID’. The website is live and the process is busy following the regulatory requirements. We just need 60% of the property owners to sign up to it and we can start to boost our security and be more in control of managing our area.

The presentation finished about 8pm and we were starving so we headed into the village and stopped at the Woodcutters Arms Pub in Hout Bay.

Norm was tired after presenting that night as well as several other meetings he had for work that day. It was a relief to get into somewhere warm.

View this post on Instagram

❤️

A post shared by Kitten In The City (@stresskitten) on

We both ordered a few Tapas items which they served on platters.

I had jalapeño cheddar cigars, onion rings and popcorn chicken strips.

Norm had his beloved scotch egg with fries and hake goujons.

The food at that pub is reliably well cooked and tasty. We wanted something simple to share and nibble with our fingers. I give it four Kitten Stars for being exactly what you could hope for in a Gastropub. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It hit the spot and we came home and crashed after.

We have both had busy weeks. At least the days were busy with work but our evenings were spent in front of a fire as it’s been so cold and drizzly outside. The animals were happy snuggling up.

The cats love it when we have a fire.

We had plans to go on a road trip on Friday as I also had the day off. We were going to drive across Chapman’s Peak to Imhoff Farm but it was drizzly, overcast and rainy so we fancied something a bit cosy. We needed to do a few errands so we decided to go to Peddlars in Constantia then pop over to the mall.

We quickly settled in to a table by the window after trying 2 others which were reserved (it was very empty so that shuffling around was all a bit bizarre).

Even Scots Norm was feeling the cold.

We decided to just order the pub platter to share.

It had calamari, onion rings, chips, chicken strips, pulled pork spring rolls and a few sauces. It was really yummy and hit the spot. We didn’t linger, we had a drink each then headed off to the mall. We got a human wrist support for Navajo’s sore ankle.

The doggy Physio has recommended it, so far so good, we will see if he wears it. We had a few other things we needed so we ran our errands then bought a few groceries and we decided to go for a coffee.

We popped into Mugg & Bean and Norm had a cappuccino and a slice of caramel cheesecake.

Norm gives their cheesecake 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had an iced coffee and a chocolate chip muffin. They have divine muffins.

We headed home as Norm had to walk the dogs and take Cordelia home at 5. We popped into Hout Bay quickly first as I had inadvertently sat on my specs and they badly needed to be adjusted so we stopped by Tanya Seeber enroute.

We were still full from lunch so didn’t even eat dinner that night despite shopping for it. We just nibbled nuts, cheese and apples and such that night.

Despite our plans going awry we had a lovely day together. I feel very blessed that after 21 years of marriage Norm is still my best friend. We can make most things we do enjoyable.

On Saturday morning Norm cooked us a delicious breakfast to set us up for the day.

After breakfast Norm and Nav pottered about the garden.

I got ready while they were busy as I was signed up for a slot in a day of singing at a two day Sacred Song Circle Marathon event.

This is one of the songs in our repertoire and it is one of my favorite songs to sing. It’s such a happy lighthearted song with such a nice rhythm.

The lyrics are “waniskâ! pêtâpan ôma

âsay piyêsîsak kî-nikamowak

ê-miyonâkwan kitaskînaw”

This translates to:

“Wake up! The sun is coming.

The birds are already singing

How beautiful this land of ours is.”

Isn’t it a lovely song, suited for what turned out to be a lovely day. The event started on Friday evening and carried on all day Saturday. It was held in a house off the beaten track, in a remote area in the southern peninsula and it was about an hour from my house. I went to Gerri’s house, our drum circle leader, then she and I drove in convoy to the house.

Our drummers were supposed to wear red.

There were lots of people there, approximately 20 adults. There were also children of all ages and there were many places on the property to keep children occupied but the vibe was relaxed and they ran in and out of the tent too. The singing was held in a large round tent filled with rugs, blankets and pillows. There was a center altar with many items there for blessing. There were different rounds of songs, with the changing of song leaders every hour or so. When we arrived our friend Martyn was singing and then it was to be our turn. Martyn sang very lovely, soothing, soft songs and everyone was quite lethargic from the shared lunch they had eaten just before we arrived. Gerri brought our large communal drum and when it was our turn we stood up around it. We sang all dance songs so they were mostly quite energetic. Waniska is probably our slowest song and we really wail on the chorus even for that one. We woke the tent up and got the energy going.

After our round we stayed for one more round of South American native songs which were sung in Spanish or Aztec. Some of the terms were familiar from my North American song repertoire and some from my very limited Spanish. I left and drove Michelle back to Gerri’s house where she had left her car. I then headed home, cold and tired but happy.

Norm cooked us a delicious dinner when I got home. He grilled the fillet steak and we finished off the salads from the previous day. He also boiled some corn and sliced up an avocado.

He also made a roaring big fire to warm me up. It was a divine end to a lovely day.

We are having a lazy evening tonight and we do not yet have plans for tomorrow, we will have to see what the day may bring.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Rose Petals & Thorn Bushes

On Monday morning I woke early and when I checked my phone I saw a message from a friend telling me that our street was closed due to chaos from the riots. A fire had been started in the middle of the only street out of our suburb and a barricade put up. I then checked our local Facebook group and saw that the rioters had also cut down a tree and placed it across the road. We were totally blocked in.

The problem was that we had a flight to catch and I panicked that we wouldn’t get out to get to the airport. Our flight was at 10am and we decided to keep to our itinerary and hope the police managed to clear the roads by the time we had to leave.

Navajo was desperate to come along with us.


We left the house at 9am and when we got to the intersection shown in the top pic the road had been cleared and was being manned by Neighbourhood Watch members as well as the police. We got out of our road and then once we got out of Hout Bay we knew we would make our flight. It was so stressful! We also were worried about Caitlin being left home alone for a week but we knew she had a good support system what with the neighbours in our street, Neighbourhood Watch, Navajo and the police.

Later when we checked the Facebook groups we saw pics of the malicious damage done by the protestors. Offices were vandalized, cars turned over and torched. A retirement village was targeted and the residents terrorized. Bricks were hurled and rubber bullets fired.

We had not had any breakfast due to the stress and chaos of the morning so we stopped at Mugg & Bean at the airport for a muffin and a quick coffee.

Once we were on the plane I took an aspirin and tried to relax and get into holiday mode.

We arrived at Port Elizabeth airport, rented a car and drove 100kms to Kichaka, the lodge where we were booked for the first three nights.

The accommodation is in the actual game park so you arrive at the reception building and leave your car there and they put your bags into a Safari truck and drive you through the park to the lodge.


We saw a herd of buffalo on our trip to the lodge.


We checked in and they gave us a tour and took us to our room. It was rather spectacular.


We had an amazing view of the water hole from our room. There were 3 hippos swimming around.


We even had our own little swimming pool if we chose to swim, but when we arrived it was freezing cold.

We unpacked and changed into warm clothes for our safari drive and went for afternoon High Tea at 2:30pm.



It was served in the main lodge in front of a roaring fire. We were the only people in the lodge and we felt very spoiled.

At 3pm we were off on our first sundowners safari and we saw a Warthog as soon as we left the gate.


We saw more Buffalo (or the same ones which moved?), a lonely wildebeest and loads of different types of buck.


Then we drove all the way across the park and we saw a whole herd of Elephants including several babies.


Very near to the herd we saw 4 Rhino: a male and three females.


The drive finished at 6pm and we went back to the lodge. We went to our room to get ready for dinner and then we were treated to a local African children’s choir. They sang in Xhosa and did some traditional dances for us. They are the children of the hotel staff. I really enjoyed this special treat.


After the choir finished we went in for dinner. They have 3 choices for each of the 3 courses. You place your order for that night in the afternoon at tea time.

My battery on my phone had crashed so I did not get any pics but I had the Baked Brie with berry compote, the kingklip, and bread and butter pudding for dessert. It was all very nice. The fish was thick with a crispy coating and was divine, it was served with sweet potatoes and veggies. All drinks are included in the deal so I had a few cocktails and Norm had a few glasses of wine. We were both very tired so we moved off to have a last round of drinks in the main room and then went off to sleep.

Jonty our guide gave us a wake up call at 630am and we went to the main lodge to have coffee, juice, croissants and fruit before our drive.


Then at 7am we set off on another 3 hour game drive.

Straight out of the gate we saw a herd of giraffe.


We drove a bit and saw a large troop of monkeys grooming each other in the sun.

We saw another group of giraffes munching on thorn trees.


We saw more warthogs and various other animals and then headed back to the lodge for breakfast at 10. There was a buffet of meats, cheeses, breads, fresh fruit, juices, yogurts, cereals and all sorts.

Then they brought a menu to choose a hot cooked breakfast. I had eggs benedict. Norm had an omelette stuffed full with cheese, bacon and mushrooms.


After we ate we sat in the sun outside and relaxed by the waterhole.


While we were drinking we watched some warthogs drinking in the pond.

We were so full from three rounds of breakfast we went off and had a wee nap after we sat on the balcony for a while and decided to rather skip lunch.

We woke up and went down at 2.30pm for High Tea.


At 3pm we set off again on a Game drive. We saw some more warthogs and another group of giraffes. Then we missioned across the park as Jonty our guide had heard on the radio that there was a lioness hiding in the grass watching some buck.

We found her and sat watching her hoping that she was hungry enough to hunt.

We watched her for ages and then moved off a bit of a distance and Jonty served us cocktails and snacks on the plains while watching the animal world go by.

We then went back to check on the lioness and we stayed longer than we were scheduled to and the sun had started to set. I looked up on the horizon at the sun going down and saw a huge bull elephant coming straight towards us at a hell of a pace. We had our engine off and as he walked past a nearby land cruiser from a different camp which was full of people he stopped in his tracks. He turned and looked at the truck and lifted his trunk and sniffed the van. He was inches from them. He then just turned and sauntered casually off.

If I had been in that truck I would have peed my pants! By now it was pitch dark. In the bush when the sun goes down it is so dark you cannot even see your hand in front of your face. We rattled quickly back to the camp and just as we got near the gate we saw a tiny buck called a duiker. But it was too dark for a pic.

After every game drive we were always greeted on arrival back to camp by a concierge holding hot towels to wipe the dust off our hands and faces. Then when we got to the front door of the lodge another staff member greeted us with a cocktail or a hot drink. This night it was hot chocolate and amarula, it was so delicious.

We freshened up and went through to the dining room where there was the usual cosy fire waiting.

That night for dinner I had spicy prawns on curried lentils. This was my fave dish of the week, the prawns were done in a marmite coating which sounds odd but it was so tasty.

Norm had mushroom soup.

We both had fillet steak for our main course. I felt this needed something like some crispy chips or mash. Something…but the fillet was tender and tasty.

For my Dessert I chose the chocolate pancake stuffed with amarula mousse. The mousse had a touch too much gelatin and was set too firm. But it was tasty.

Norm had the Cheese plate which was served on such a cute platter with a silver meerkat lying chilled out on the edge.

We had a few more drinks then headed off to our room, that 6.30am wake up comes early and it is amazing how exhausting bouncing around in a land cruiser for 6 hours a day is.

The next day was our 20th wedding anniversary which was why we had planned our trip. We woke at 6.30 as usual and headed off for our fruit and croissant tummy liner before we went on the morning safari. We went straight off to where the lioness was last seen and were lucky enough to find her again.

I was ever so chuffed.


This time she got up and strolled across to sit and stare out across the valley.



We sat watching her for a while, she was such a beauty.

Then we headed off to see what else we could find. We saw zebra, various buck and some red hartebeest. We drove further and we spotted our friends the rhinos again!


We sat so close to them, listening to them graze and snort their way around. With so few of these magnificent beasts left in the world we felt very privileged to spend so much time with them.

We headed back to camp at 10am and the staff had set up our breakfast table on the veranda as it was a stunning crisp sunny winter day.


We both had some fruit and yogurt followed by a cooked breakfast of bacon stacked on hash browns, mushrooms, grilled tomato and two fried eggs.


We then sat by the waterhole for a bit and relaxed and at 11am I went for a facial and massage.


It was heavenly even if the massage was a bit painful over my always sore back. After the massage I went for a shower and Norm and I then relaxed until time for a late lunch. We opted to skip High Tea and rather have our lunch later.

I had an avocado salad.


Norm had broccoli and cauliflower soup.


We relaxed in the main lodge until time for the next game drive. It’s a stunning lodge.


We headed off at 3pm again. We tracked two large male lions but even though we could see them, we could not get very close to them.

We saw lots of other game from giraffe & hippos to a large solo eland and then we stopped for champagne and snacks on the plains again.


We continued driving and viewing and then just before we arrived back at sundown we saw a young caracal, also called a Rooikat. They are nocturnal and it was too dark for a photo.

When we popped down to our room to freshen up before dinner we were so surprised to find that they had decorated our bed with rose petals, ran us a bubble bath, lit candles and left a bottle of champagne for our anniversary.


We felt so spoiled.

We went down to have dinner. We had the butternut soup to start.


We then had very tender kudu fillet.


For main we had the chocolate fondant with ice cream.


After dinner we went back to the room to drink our champagne and relax in our bubble bath together. We could hear lions roaring across the valley and it was magical and ever so romantic.

It was a pretty amazing anniversary.

We woke up again at 6.30 for our final day at the resort and we had our croissants and headed off. We saw our friends the rhino and hung out with them for a while.

We then saw a gorgeous tiny giraffe with her mommy.


Then we heard on the radio that there was a pride of lion nearby and we raced off to see them. There was a large male and 3 young males.


We watched them for a while and then we searched across the park and managed to find a herd of elephants.


We then headed back very happy for our last breakfast and when we went to our table looked out and spotted a large bull elephant cavorting in the water hole!


He stayed for most of our breakfast. We went and packed and showered and then headed out to the main reception to check out and collect our car.

We headed off to Grahamstown where there was an arts festival on.

We found a beer garden and sat listening to reggae in the sun.


Then we walked around town and went to many art exhibitions where Norm bought me a lovely statue of a rhino.


We thought he was the perfect remembrance of our holiday.

We spent the day wandering about the festival and then headed off to Port Elizabeth late in the afternoon. We checked into the hotel and were so surprised to find more rose petals and champagne awaiting us!


The view from our room on the 15th floor was stunning.


As it was late and we were exhausted we just had dinner in the hotel restaurant. We then took a drink back to our room and relaxed. We had a slow morning the next day and headed out to the Boardwalk for breakfast.


We had breakfast at Mugg and Bean and then went for a wander round the waterfront.

We then went off to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum and after that we went to the mall where I bought some new boots and a few new tops as it was so hot and I had only brought heavy winter items. We went back to the room to relax a bit and then phoned an uber to go out to dinner.

We went to Fushin. We had such amazing food. The sushi was delicious. We also had prawn ‘toast’ on aubergines, crispy schezuan prawns, pepper fillet carpaccio, salt and pepper squid, dim sum, and tempura vegetables. It was all fabulous!


The next day was our last and we had a lazy morning then checked out and went down to the beach for a stroll and some breakfast.


I had jalapeño eggs benedict which was so nice.


After a leisurely breakfast we went for a walk then stopped for iced coffees.


We flew home that afternoon and got back to Cape Town about 4pm. The dogs went crazy with happiness when we got home.

We have had loads of rain since last night which Cape Town desperately needs. Today we have stayed in just relaxing. I made a chicken and butternut curry for dinner tonight which I served with cauliflower rice.


I made a chilli con carne for tomorrow as I am back at work.

I had an amazing week but reality comes soon enough.

❤️💕❤️💕

Pocket Watches

I realise that my life is pretty fabulous. We had a moment on Wednesday evening where we were driving in to the city, along the coast road with the setting sun hitting the mountains and turning them a warm shade of pink, comfy in the leather interior of Retha’s air conditioned Mercedes, off to a girl’s dinner with friends and realising that we are rather lucky. Or is it spoiled? Potato, potatoe. Is it acceptable to be spoiled if you realise you are spoiled?

It was a spontaneous evening, something I seldom seem to do these days. I subscribe to a ‘secret eats’ newsletter which holds events in ‘secret’ locations – you sign up to attend with no info on the chef or venue and on the evening you get the info. I have never actually attended one of these events as they are quite pricey for a couple but this newsletter posted a link.

IMG_2711.JPG

I interrupt this train of thought to say, notice how the lady in the pic looks like she wants that chef naked on a cracker? Meowwwww. Lady number 2 seems to be inhaling his manly aroma. I bet he smells of vanilla and sweat.

Anywayyyy I didn’t read it properly and thought it was a competition to win a watch, so I clicked it and entered into an amusing chat with a guy called ‘Zak’. He teasingly and tentatively offered me entry for me and 4 friends to the event the following evening. I contacted Retha and she managed to round up 3 more lovely ladies.

The next morning we had confirmation that we scored an invite and we all made plans to meet up when they opened at 7. Retha collected me and then we swung by to pick up our lovely friend Alison. We arrived slightly before 7 and decided to sit and chat for a few minutes. A rather dodgy looking guy kept hovering around our car offering to ‘guard’ it for us. To be honest he looked more like the kind of guy we would need to be protected FROM!

But this is the way of the world in South Africa – if you have a scabby looking high viz vest you are deemed to be a trust-worthy guy who can guard our cars and then expect a tip at the end of it.

The venue is down a rather narrow one way street off of Buitengracht. If it wasn’t for our GPS we would still be lost as Church Street is one of those bitty streets broken up in blocks, if you don’t know where it is in that road it can be a nightmare to navigate.

This was proven when Retha’s friend Nola rang to say that Uber taxi had dropped her at New Church Street! She rang them back to tell them they dropped her miles from her requested destination, they came and got her again and dropped her a second time at the wrong location! Shocking service, especially for a woman travelling on her own in the city with the rather illustrious title of the 7th highest murder capital of the world.

After the 2nd attempt to get Nola there Retha just decided to rather go to meet her on foot. Retha was wearing heels which I would only sit quietly in, so this seemed an insane idea but off she trotted, the rather large menacing looking doorman offered to accompany her when she asked for directions, but when she tried to say it wasn’t necessary he sweetly insisted and jogged off with her to collect Nola. Just goes to show you can’t judge a thug by his covers.

We all got drinks and settled in for a chat and a catch up. It is funny how serendipity works, our frantically planned gathering bringing together women who had never met, but who needed to. One of our group has had some health issues and 2 of the women she had never met both put in front of her were offering support in areas she needed. You sometimes don’t know what you are looking for until you find it.

Wednesday nights at Spasie consist of a chilled vibe and street food, they had a visiting chef from The Chef’s Bench, a mobile catering truck. What we used to call a ‘Roach Coach’ in LA. But this is food truck at a different level than dodgy burritos full of mystery meat and week old frijoles.

I snapped a pic of the chef for the night, however I did not get his name and I didn’t get any response from my tweet to Chef’s Bench, sooooo hey ho. Here is a pic of a random chef who cooked our dinner.
Whomever he may be. 😀

IMG_9077.JPG

Unfortunately I was well into the Sauvignon Blanc and did not take a pic of the menu, so I can only vaguely describe the food. We decided to just order one of each of the items on the menu to sample, there was a boerewors roll, a flatbread with chicken in harrisa sauce and a flatbread with spinach & feta. As I don’t eat boerewors I just tried the other 2, the flatbread with the chicken filling was so divine! The flatbread was lovely and light and the chicken had a tikka-esque taste and chicken tikka is one of my faves. The chicken dish was so good we ended up ordering 5 more portions so we could all have our own.

The mains were about R60 each and chips I think were R30. A bottle of wine was R150 and a glass was R40 as was a shot of whiskey.

IMG_9110.JPG

The chips were nice and crispy outside and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese which had warmed and formed a crust on top. Really yummy chips indeed. (We ordered 3 portions of those to share, but as most of the women seemed to be banting, I probably had at least 2 portions own my own, oops).

The vibe was very chilled and casual, they don’t appear to tend to serve plates or cutlery with the street food, but as we were sharing we had to ask for them to sort that out for us. I was getting close to my Hangry stage as I had been saving myself for dinner and had a few wines in me but kept my annoyance under control until I got a plate and some food into me. The waiters were too cute to be mean to.

The room is simply decorated, just 2 large tables lit with tea lights and a table set up in the corner as a bar. There were large pieces of art on the wall, the walls were all white and the finishing was rough and rustic. There was a large animal head in the entrance so I had a stroke of his neck. As you do.

IMG_9111.JPG

The staff was all young and male and trendy, there were only a few waiters to serve the whole room, all manning both the bars and the tables. When we arrived I asked who was the concierge Zak that I had been chatting to online, only to be told Zak is no longer with them! It seems Zak is just the joint email account, so who knows who I was talking smack to?! It could have been someone different each response. Odd.

We were both the oldest patrons there as well as the only women. It was a bit of a sausage fest and I don’t mean the boeries! Not that it is an issue, most women are happy to have the ratio of more men to women than vice versa, especially in Cape Town where they guess that the ratio of straight women to straight men is estimated to be 8:1. Our group were all married however and not interested in being chatted up, as you can see the men were at one end of the table and we were at the other. They weren’t any more interested in us than we were them so it was nice to not get hassled by random drunk eejits. Umm not that they were drunk or eejits lol.

IMG_9081.JPG

I didn’t realise that they were all playing Cards of Humanity at the other table, next time I intend to join up on that group as I do love Cards of Humanity. I also want to attend a chefs night.

My only negative was that it was hot – it was a very warm evening and luckily we were all dressed in cool summer clothes but we still went through many jugs of water to cool us off. They should invest in some ceiling fans. I cannot imagine how hot the chef was, I just know that it is not only my lack of love of cooking that stops me wanting to do that for a living, I could never be trusted in a room full of steam and knives.

At the end of the evening we all posed for one last pic by the kitchen.

IMG_9092.JPG

And we all had a chat with the guy who seemed to be the host. I mentioned my confusion over the watch saga and he whips out a ‘watch’ for me!

IMG_9082.JPG

As you can see it is a stopwatch, not technically a pocket watch, but it was a cool gesture. Still not quite clear on why I got a watch or what I do with it but who am I to look a gift watch in the ummm face?

When we left it was late for a school night, I was tipsy and the lovely door man walked us all to our cars and kept us protected from any advances by the group of homeless people who had taken up residence on the doorstep of the house next to where we parked.

In moments like that it is hard to rationalise that we have spent the evening drinking wine and eating yummy food and are off to our lovely homes while that group of people are possibly hungry and most definitely cold. It really brings home the disparity between the haves and the have nots.
The government who has been in power since the end of Apartheid has done so little to raise the quality of life of the voting constituents. The unemployment rate is 25% in SA. Many people still have no running water or electricity and live in shacks made of tin and scraps of wood.

The result of this is that despondency and lack of motivation or goals then often leads to drug addiction. Drug addiction leads to crime. It is all a vicious downward spiral.

It is a hard line to walk between having care and sympathy and concern for people who have less than you do, knowing what balance and how much to offer and not being taken advantage of.

I’d rather buy the guy who sleeps by my office a meal than give a druggy cash.

Every day I am accosted by beggars asking for handouts of money and if you say no then they often go for you.

On Monday a guy actually grabbed me. I was walking through the foreshore from my office to where my car is parked. He ran up right at me, he was tweaking off his face. I just refused to engage with him. I won’t open my bag on the street and these guys often get very aggressive. He started shouting and then started crying. This was when he went in for a wee hug.

I whirled round worried he was trying to remove my laptop from my backpack. I just shouted ‘get away from me’ loudly in his face. Luckily the light changed and I strode off across the road and he stayed behind, it’s for this reason I have to carry pepper spray and a rape whistle.

So like most things in Africa we have the civilized evening, driving home in the light of the full moon, a great evening out, just slightly nipping at the heels of this comfort is the discomfort of the disparity of the various residents of this beautiful country I call home.

Up, up, and Away

This year has gone by so quickly and has had both highs and lows, but predominately I would score it on the high side. It’s a year since I began the new client, project and site. I had some rough patches and the implementation of a project manager and a change in team lead resulting in a rational and pleasant team vibe. Things are now great, a challenging project but we are up to the challenge, we are a strong team,

The last night of December 2013 was spent waiting for the Queen’s Honours list to be published to see if Norm was on it after being told in confidence he had been nominated. And a night spent jumping around thrilled to bits when we discovered he was to be given an MBE. This was topped in April this year when we managed to fit in Norm’s investiture at Windsor Castle, a family wedding and a few meet ups of some of my best pals. We had a fabulous trip.

We were busy socially this year, and having the girls to look after as well, we are always doing something or other! We had Caits graduation and Lily finished her degree even if she won’t actually have the ceremony until April. My son and his girlfriend bought their second house. I bought a new car and got a pay rise. Best of all my mom came to visit. Various friends also came over throughout the year for visits.

There were sad and stressful events, my stepdad Tom passed, Norm’s ex wife committed suicide, Panda was attacked and we almost lost him. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for certain.

All in all it was a good year, I hope this next year 2015 is a good year. I’ll be able to see my son and his girlfriend more as their new house means we can stay there with the dogs. Lily and Caitlin will be finished studying so we can take turns shopping and cooking so hopefully as a family we will eat fewer takeaways this year. I need to get my health under control. The girls both join the work force as well so things will change with their schedules.

Work will continue to be busy but it’s a healthy team and things should be manageable.

My biggest change from 2014 is I’ve let go of a lot of resentment. I’ve realised the power I have and the universe has and that this power can be collectively harnessed. I’ve realised that holding onto hatred, negativity and anger only hurts me, not the recipient of those feelings. That energy is created within me and I choose whether to generate it, or whether to allow it to disable me. I choose my reaction.

This year will be about living in the present, embracing reality (and not my perceived reality) and choosing to live positively, unencumbered by the weight of the past. It’s empowering and freeing.

IMG_2681.JPG

I wish all of you serenity in 2015.