The Count Down

I am stressed. I tend to not sleep when I am stressed which only compounds my stress. I am stressing over several things. I am struggling a bit financially and just do not seem to get on top of it. I am stressing over that as I hate being in debt. Norm is having issues with his very old car, we need to buy a new one but cannot at the moment. I hope repairing it will not cost too terribly much. It is what it is.

I am about to start a new project at work with a new client so I am stressing about that. We got approval on our proposal to UCT for assessing their Master Data Management maturity, we will start with a small pilot and then broaden our scope once we process prove our approach. It is not the best place to be based from a comfort point of view in regards to travel and parking and being near to places to get healthy food, but at least it is a project I can get my teeth into.

And finally on my list of stresses, this Saturday is our annual Halloween party and I always panic beforehand that no one shows up and that if they do the evening will fall flat. There is always a decent turn out, but this year there are many other events going on that weekend and so a lot of friends are not coming. We have the same DJ booked this year as we have had the last 2 years and he is brilliant at keeping us dancing so I should relax. But I can’t. I will only relax on the actual night of the event, once I have had a few drinks and I see that everyone is having fun. And then it is over for another year.

I have a busy week planned this week and that just compounds my stress levels.

As much as I was not looking forward to my Data Governance training last week it was actually very interesting! There were 4 of us getting trained, one was a client and the other 3 attendees were myself and my colleagues. We had some interesting discussions and we gave the client a lot of insight into what it is like to be a consultant. He was quite shocked when we told him some of the challenges we have with clients.

Norm had cooked most of last week since we are on a tight budget. He made a nice beef bolognaise type dish and he served it with sweet potato mash and stir fried red cabbage on Wednesday and on Thursday he served it over spinach noodles with steamed veggies. It was healthy and tasty. As it is so hot tonight he has cooked dinner on the gas grill, he made chicken and feta sausages and corn on the cob and then made a salad to go with it. It was perfect fare for the weather.

Last Friday night we had chicken burgers from the Kitchen Takeaway. These are usually so tasty but on Friday they were very average. One of the reasons they are so good is the roll, they are usually served on a kitke roll. A kitke roll by any other name is just challah bread. I love the texture and almost sweet taste and the sprinkling of sesame seeds is the perfect finish. However on Friday the burgers were served on a hard, stale, cheap burger bun. It was also missing the copious amount of pickle slices which are usually very prevalent (I love pickles). There was not the usual ‘sauce’ on the burger either. If this was the first time I had eaten their food I would most likely not go back. It was the quality equivalent of a KFC burger for twice the price. I am not sure what is going on at this restaurant but we have watched many venues in Hout Bay go under once they start cutting corners. I love their ribs too so I hope they sort their issues out and do not end up going under. That would result in unemployment for their staff and there is plenty of that in SAfrica already.

I have booked to go to the US Consulate this week as my Mom needs some papers notarised and posted over to her. She has just recently bought a new house in North Georgia and she had put the house she lived in with her husband just outside of Atlanta on the market months ago but has not managed to sell it yet. It is a big beautiful house in the countryside so I thought it would be snapped up instantly. It was originally listed with a family ‘friend’ who did absolutely nothing to help my mother prepare for the move. She did not help my mom pack up, sort the estate sale or even give her any discount on her commission. She did not even get her act together to take the brochure and website images when the house was beautifully decorated, she waited until my Mom had the estate sale and her draperies and decor were gone and then photographed an empty house. My Mom has now listed with a different agent and he has gotten things moving, however we just discovered that she had never had the house put into her name after my stepdad died. How the previous agent did not catch this I have no idea. Now the lawyer has decided that as the obituary had named me as Tom’s daughter rather than his stepdaughter, I have to send a notarised document saying that I will not try and lay any claim to the house when it does sell. As I am her daughter this seems so bizarre to me, but if that is what is required to help her get things sorted I will do so. In SA we get our documents certified at the police station which I did last week and sent to the lawyer, however the lawyer says this is not acceptable and I have to go to the US Consulate to get it properly notarised. The consulate charges $50 USD per document and there are 2 documents and I cannot afford to pay this as once you do the exchange to rands it is a lot of money in my currency. My Mom sent me the money via forex and I have made an appointment to go next week, it just means I have to take time off of work to do so. This process has been ongoing for weeks now, what a drama it has turned out to be!

It has been quite warm and windy the last few days with today being 38 degrees! The strong winds have continued and this has possibly been instrumental in several horrendous township fires this past week.

In the wee hours of Friday morning there was a fire in Hout Bay. This was in the township that is up high over the Hout Bay harbour and there were 2 deaths in the fire, a mother and her 14 year old son.

The firemen are so brave, I cannot imagine running into a scenario that most are running from.

The fire was finally under control by morning and from the pic made by The Aerial Perspective you can see the extent of the devastation.

Thula Thula were on site straight away sorting out donations of clothing and essentials to the victims of the fire. Hout Bay is so lucky to have them on their doorstep.

Then in the early hours of Saturday morning 342 informal structures were destroyed in Silver Town, Khayelitsha another settlement area a few miles from us. This has resulted in 1,355 people being displaced.

Later on Saturday night there was yet another fire in the Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi‚ Cape Town which destroyed about 120 dwellings and it is estimated about 1‚400 people have been affected by the blaze.

I hope that the government will rise to support these families, it is so tragic. I read that the Gift of the Givers foundation are assisting the victims.

On Friday afternoon after work I went to pick up my new eyeglasses. My eyes have deteriorated quite a bit which explains my deep frown lines earned from squinting at everything. My astigmatism has also gotten worse. Add to this my Posterior Vitreous Detachment which causes a huge amount of ‘floaters‘ and I am lucky I can still get about without falling over anything. These challenges are why I hate to drive on the motorway and why I cannot drive at night.

Saturday I was up and out early as I had drumming practice at my friend Gerri’s. Gerri is our drum chief at the moment, it is usually her daughter Jesse who is working in the UK but Gerri did a great job. We all practiced on the communal drum which will be used in the upcoming dance.

After we finished our rehearsal we stayed to make Prayer Flags for tying around the four gates of the arbour.

Prayer flags or prayer ties are sacred bundles of tobacco which are used as offerings of prayer in sacred ceremonies. Our drum group are performing at a 4 day dance at the end of the month, however I am not going with them. One, I cannot afford it and two, I think it will be too much for me physically. One day solid drumming pretty much finishes me off, add to this the sleeping conditions of being in a camp and I cannot risk challenging my arthritis to this degree at a time when I am starting a new project and cannot take time off. But Gerri offered to take my prayer ties with her and then a little bit of me will be there too. The ties will be tied around the dance arbour.

We smudged all of the items used to make the flags: the tobacco, the material and the ties. I offered prayers for each of the items. Tobacco is sacred in the NA culture and as much a medicine as sage. It is used as a spiritual offering. We placed the tobacco into the material and followed the prescribed method of wrapping and tying it.

I found a video which shows the process much better than I can explain it.

After I got home from drumming I collected Norm and we headed out for something to eat as it was 3.30 and I was ravenous. We decided to go to the local German restaurant Zur Holzbucht.

The Chelsea game was on so Norm was happy watching that on their big screen.

The wind was so strong down at the beach that we could barely get in and out of the car as the wind whipped the doors of the car so hard. It was worth the battle though as their food is always so delicious and we were not disappointed. Norm ordered the Goulash which was on special.

I had the pork schnitzel and chose to have it with chips and then I wanted to kick myself as I love German potato salad and missed a trick there! But my food was very yummy.

Norm had dessert but I was full up. He had the cheesecake which was a proper baked cheesecake.

We headed over to the shops after we ate and bought some bits and pieces to tide us over for the weekend. We had a quiet night in that evening and started watching series two of ‘Making a Murderer‘. We have not finished it yet so no spoilers! This is a brilliant series if you have not seen series 1 then you must must must watch it! I wish I could remember the details of the first series better but we watched it a few years ago when it first came out. This is a 5 Kitten Star series.

On Sunday we had a lazy day. Norm was working on a bid and I stayed in bed playing games on my iPad surrounded by the animals for most of the morning. Norm made us a yummy breakfast when I finally got up.

I had a long session of dog grooming as the dogs were looking a mess. I got enough hair from all 3 beasties to make a whole new dog.

When it cooled down a bit Norm went out to clean the pool with much assistance by the dogs who barked madly and chased the end of the pool net every time it was raised out of the water. Due to the wind,  the pool cover was littered in debris so he spent most of the time actually cleaning the cover rather than the pool itself.

All manner of insanity is going on around the world. The 2 items which I have been following in the news are firstly, the murder which occurred in the Turkish embassy, a place which is supposed to symbolise a place of safety. The news of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been a shock to many, other than the Saudis who murdered him of course. Trump thinks the Saudis are very nice people of course. He is such an imbecile.

The second item I have been following is the murder of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara who was a witness in the trial of Indian Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a nun on multiple occasions over two years.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal was released on bail on the condition that he return to Jalandhar, and when he returns he is given a hero’s welcome. Within a week, Father Kuriakose who testified against the Bishop is found dead in a church in Jalandhar. He had complained of threats to his life and it appears those complaints were justified.

Sometimes the world is a sad place. Even THAT stresses me out if I lie awake and think too much about it. As an empath if I let all of that pain and sadness in, it incapacitates me.

Until next time, hold your loved ones close and count your blessings.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

 

 

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The Karma of Kings

The wind started up on Thursday night and howled viciously like it sometimes does in Cape Town. I sat listening to the windows rattling in their panes and the doors banging against their frames and thought how terrifying it must be in this weather to live in a shack in one of our townships.

On Saturday when I went to the hairdresser I was chatting to Tembe who does my shampoo and colour and she said she had not slept a wink on Friday night as she was so frightened that the roof might blow off of her shack. I cannot even imagine the noise a tin shack would make in this howling wind.

Norm and I hunkered down on Friday evening and he popped down to the village and bought a free range chicken burger from The Kitchen Takeaway for us and we stayed in. We started watching The Haunting of Hill House.

I love this type of horror, a bit of the occult, ghosts, spirits, mystery and intrigue, but only a bit of shock and not full of unnecessary gore or blood. The PTSD Virgo’s perfect horror.

There are a few episodes which are about sleep paralysis which I found very interesting as I have experienced this phenomenon often and it is absolutely terrifying. I have thought it was my body  astral travelling while I was deep asleep. My experiences follow the same pattern each time, I wake up and I am fully conscious but unable to speak or move and I feel a heaviness pushing down on my chest. I am always lying on my back and experiencing something visual and terrifying in my mind, I may see demons, shadow shapes or even people in my life who have died. I always wake up crying and I feel a deep sense of loss after the terror subsides. However as my mind becomes awake and I realise I cannot move I make this loud keening sound which Norm says sounds like a ghost wailing and it absolutely terrifies him. Even from my own ears the sound is horrendous. It is this sound that wakes Norm up and alerts him to my distress. I do not remember this happening when I was a child, but due to PTSD from abuse when I was about 5 years old I have blocked out a lot of my childhood so I am not sure when it first started happening.

I’ve not finished the entire series, but I give The Haunting of Hill House a full score of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We went to bed later than usual and I was woken at 5am on Saturday morning by Lola sharpening her claws on the carpet next to the bed. Why can’t she just get into bed and snuggle in quietly? Why does her arrival require verbal acknowledgment and physical contact? On the rare occasion that she does get into bed quietly, if she can see my hands then she inserts herself under them or nudges or nibbles them until I pet her. Her last resort is to actually park her rear end on my face. It is so charming to wake up to the aroma of cat butt.

I had a hair appointment on Saturday at 11 and we lay in bed as long as we were able to. While I showered Norm popped down to the Spar to get us fresh pastries and when he got back he made us coffees to go with them. After I finished eating I headed into Cape Town. The sun was out and it was gorgeous. The wind had finally calmed down.

I stopped to enjoy the view over Camps Bay and snapped a pic. It is so beautiful. There was a young girl there taking selfies while balanced on one leg on a rock that was hanging over the periphery of the cliff. Many people die every year in the pursuit of the most Instagram likes but I also feel it is a way to cull the gene pool of stupid people, so there is that.

When I got into the city I parked up and the City of Cape Town car parking attendant walked up to me and I paid up, got the receipt to display in my window and I let him keep the change. He was very happy, it only cost me a few rands and we both benefited from the arrangement, me via karma and him via coins. Afterwards we went off in different directions, I walked off down the hill and when I was almost down to Long Street I was approached by a drunk homeless guy who started trying to get cash from me and he was very persistent. He reached out towards me as if to grab my arm and the parking attendant popped up out of nowhere and started walking between us, escorting me down the hill. I was so grateful to the parking attendant, as a woman it can be very risky walking about on your own.

Even in broad daylight, even when dressed in long trousers and long sleeves. Nothing enticing in my attire, nothing risky about my setting, it is a major public road. But I am a woman and therefore a potential target.

That is the reality of life, regardless of what country a woman lives in she has to be aware and alert at all times.

I headed into Pause and had my hair coloured and a treatment done, it was lovely and relaxing. Tembe gives the best head massage ever! I snapped a pic when I got home while waiting on Norm to get dressed. No more grey roots!

Afterwards I collected Norm and we then headed to my friend Mel’s house. Mel was having a succulent sale at her house. She had some adorable containers and plants. As she has a gardening business I knew she would have some beauties and I was right!

There were several ladies there shopping, chatting, having a drink and enjoying the stunning view.

Our friend Bronwyn was also there selling some really lovely things to support Community Cohesion. Community Cohesion does wonderful work, they provide support to the community by “providing psycho-social support, education and training. This translates into one on one Social Worker Therapeutic Intervention, Crisis Containment and Wide-Ranging Counselling, Group debriefs, supported group work and workshops to improve life skills.”

They are very deserving of any financial donations you can make, and if it is foreign currency a small amount converts to a lot in our local currency.

I hope that Community Cohesion make a huge success out of their new fundraising initiative. These items are handmade by various people who will get a commission on the items sold so it will not only help the organisation but it will benefit the creator of the items too and form a step to sustainability, creating income for their clients and also for the organisation.

I particularly loved the wooden jewelry and the shopping bags.

Unfortunately I am flat broke already this month so I couldn’t buy anything from either of them on Saturday but I needed to drop something off by Mel and so we stayed for a quick drink that led to a long chat! It was lovely as I met some new women that I enjoyed chatting to and saw a few ladies that I already knew I enjoyed the company of. Norm and Cyril, Mel’s hubby, sat outside by the pool rather than endure our chat so the blokes were happy enough too. It was a lovely afternoon.

After a bit Norm and I left and we headed down to the harbour to have some food at The Lookout Deck.

We were seated by the windows with a lovely view of the harbour.

The sun was shining on the mountains and it was stunning.

It was already almost 5pm and as we had no lunch and I had also had a glass of wine on my empty stomach, I was desperate for food. We quickly ordered and my salmon roses arrived quite quickly. The sushi was delicious and cost R68.

For my main I just had the tian of prawns starter at R87. It had panko prawns and a salad of red onion, avocado and tomatoes in a balsamic reduction with sweet chili sauce.

Norm had the fish and chips for R123.

He said it was very good, the fish was a nice thick piece of perfectly cooked fish. My prawn dish was very tasty too.

We both still felt a bit hungry after and opted for dessert. Norm had the baked lemon cheesecake which was on the menu at R65. It came with their soft serve ice cream and a bit of berry coulis.

I had a chocolate nut sundae for R59.

Our entire bill including 2 cocktails, a glass of wine and our food was R624 for the two of us (thank goodness for credit cards).

After we finished we headed home and Norm took the dogs for their walk and fed them then we settled in for the evening. Norm had a bit of a nap while I played Covet fashion. It was a lovely relaxing day.

I felt like I needed a pajama day on Sunday so I did not go to drumming. I had a shower and put on a warm track suit while Norm made us a yummy brunch of bacon, cheesy eggs and mushrooms.

Panda tried to nick my bacon, the cheeky sod.

The wind had picked up again and was howling outside.

Later in the afternoon I randomly discovered American Vandal. And only while looking for a link for this blog did I realize we missed series one and went right to series 2!

We think it is hilariously cringe-worthy even though it is about poop and Virgos do not like to discuss such things. It seems as if it is modeled on the interaction style of the two dudes from Catfish crossed with the filming style of 13 Reasons Why. I said to my daughters that it should have been called ’13 Reasons Why I Pooped My Pants’.

We give it 3.5 totally silly Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨. It is perfect fare for a lazy windy Sunday. We will watch series 1 at a later point as we have already finished this one.

We were treated to a burst of rain on Sunday evening. This is good after the crazy wind storms as our pool is a bit low as the wind appears to have emptied it out a few inches. Last night we discovered the pool pump is not working and we worry the dropped levels may have burnt out the pool motor. However I know nothing about pools or motors so we will need to phone an expert to come and have a look once I get paid.

Monday Norm cooked for us and made a low carb dinner of baked pork chops, cauliflower mash, fried zucchini and brussel sprouts. It was healthy and delicious. The cauliflower was given to me by a work colleague who is a part time organic farmer.

Following on from the train arson attack last week that I blogged about, we have been advised that PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) was supposed to have implemented their new Rail Enforcement Unit this week but we have been told for months now that they are still not ready. We were told the Unit would be in place by ‘October at the latest‘ but they are still delaying the implementation of this police unit for whatever reason.

The other big item in the news is the VBS bank heist. It has been identified by the South African Reserve Bank report that almost 2 Billion Rand was siphoned off by VBS bank. The 150-page report implicates prominent South Africans such as EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu‘s younger brother Brian and Venda King Toni Mphephu. They have also identified irregular behaviour in the relationship the bank had with our ex-president, the corrupt and dodgy Zuma who borrowed money for his Nkandla development and has been implicated in huge levels of theft of public funds as part of the State Capture investigations.

Zuma has said that he is misunderstood and not a criminal. The Venda King has now said that he will pay back the money he received from the bank if it can be proved the money is “shown to have been proceeds of the illegalities in the report”. So basically he is saying he has no knowledge of the money, and the king appears to be offering to pay back the money at the same time as he is denying having received it.

“To the best of my knowledge no amount of R17 million was paid to me, gratuitous or otherwise,” he says.

I wish I had enough money that R17 million could arrive in my account and me not notice!

VBS was placed under curator-ship by SARB earlier this year amid allegations of mismanagement and fraud.

As to whether the tax payers ever see any payback of the embezzled money will remain to be seen. Somehow I suspect the government will cover up their dirt and move onto the next item of corruption.

The other big item is the MyCiti bus strike.

That strike started on Monday and is still continuing.

Criminals have used this strike as cover for their dodgy activities as my work colleague was standing at the bus stop on Monday, unaware of the strike and he was approached by 2 homeless guys and while one asked for a light the other dove in and grabbed his laptop bag and ran. His laptop was not insured and he is an IT consultant so this will be a huge impact to his life. The druggies will probably trade it for a hit or two and move on with their lives, meanwhile my friend has had to have trauma counselling and take out a loan to purchase a new laptop.

The people who rely on public transport will really struggle now as they will not have the buses to use and the train service is incredibly unreliable now due to the recurring arson and vandalism attacks. The only people who will benefit from this cluster feck of chaos are the taxi associations. They will be so busy they will earn much more than usual due to the fact that people have no other options.

There have been no arrests made in the arson saga and we have heard so many different suggestions on who is the culprit. The ANC has been blamed for using the attacks as a means to destabilise the Western Cape (which is under DA rule).

The transport minister Blade Nzimande has even blamed organised crime for the attacks.

Dan Plato has blamed ‘economic sabotage’.

In other words…..no one knows for sure. Or if they do they are keeping quiet.

I am off to our head office tomorrow and the next day for training on Data Governance, I guess a change is as good as a holiday. A holiday spent in an office block drinking bad coffee. Wish me luck.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

A Scotsman, an Irishwoman & an American walk out of a bar….

It has been three weeks since I have had the time to blog. I was signed off of work due to stress for two days just after Norm arrived back home from his trip to the states. We are under such time pressure on this project that I could not afford to have any down time so despite being signed off I worked from home both days. I made great progress at home with no distractions. When we are in the office we spend up to four or five hours of the day in meetings rather than designing our solution and documenting it.

I went back to work the following Monday and have focused on applying various tools to help me deal with the personalities around me. The work does not stress me, I am one of the few people who enjoy creating documentation, but I love writing so to me it is paying me to do what I love to do, as long as I have the proper level of understanding of the design I am trying to document. The stress comes from the people around me who cannot cope with their own stress and therefore displace it towards the team.

My friend Rosie has been over to visit us for the last 2 weeks. We have been friends for over 20 years.  I first met Rosie when I moved to the UK to live with Norm in November 1996. Norm and I still lived in Belfast when we got married in Scotland in July 1997 but I cannot remember when we left there to move to England, but we were probably living there about 18 months to 2 years. Rosie was part of the group I hung out with in Belfast, we went to the same pubs, went on weekends away and attended various other events as a group together. Rosie was also one of our friends who made the effort to come and spend time with us when we visited the UK in January 2017 on our whirlwind tour.

Unfortunately I was knee deep in my very tightly dead-lined intense project for the majority of her visit and Norm was left to be the tour guide. He took Rosie to the Cape Point Nature Reserve and they were lucky enough to see a pair of Eland, DassiesPenguins, Baboons and all manner of lovely things. He took her to the V&A Waterfront where she got to see the new Zeitz MOCAA museum and wander around the shops. She went to the Slave Museum and saw the Bo kaap and District Six.

We took her to dinner and lunch at some of the area’s nicest spots for either their vistas, their food or both. I will not do my usual blow by blow or it will bore you to tears so I will touch on the highlights of her visit.

Lily and Josh came down for Rosie’s first weekend,

and Caitlin and Wes also joined us all for dinner at my fave venue, Cheyne’s.

We had a lovely evening and a lot of laughs.

How funny is the photo bomb dude in the background?

I do not have a copy of the menu that night but I will try and remember the basic description of what I had. The beauty of Cheyne’s food however is the alchemy of the combinations he puts together and I will not be able to express that level of granularity. We all went for the Yum Cha experience which is any four dishes from his menu. His menu is divided into 4 themed sections: one with seafood dishes, one with carnivorous choices, one with ‘side’ dishes and one with sweet dishes.

I started with this dish in the pic below. It is baby shrimp tempura with a delicious sauce. I adore this dish.

For my selection from the Land section of the menu I had the Mumbai Chill Beef. It is always divine and nothing else tempted me away from choosing it again this visit. It was so yum, I love the combination of the raw coconut and the slices of chili.

I was delighted that the sweet potato fritters were back on the menu. I adore these fried dumplings in the rich peanut buttery coconut sauce. Rosie asked to swap one of her duck fat fries for one of my fritters and I threatened to impale her in the eye with my chopsticks. I think she got the message I do not share my food.

These are little balls of heaven.

For my fourth choice I had the peanut butter shake. There was a bit of drama when the waitress forgot our fourth course. She came around to our table after having disappeared for ages after our third round of dishes and asked us if we wanted anything else or should she bring the bill and we said ‘ummm yes, we would like the rest of our dinner’. Josh had just been about to give up and leave as he had a race the following day and was up really early so in order to get him to come out with us we had promised him he would be home by 9pm. But he had also ordered dessert as had the rest of the table except Wes and Cait who both had 4 savoury courses. Josh got home late but luckily it did not impair him as he still kicked ass and took home first prize.

He also loved his milkshake luckily!

We had a great evening and it was lovely having my girls and Rosie all together. They were so tiny when Rosie and I were friends years ago I wanted her to get to meet them, I only wish Trevor had been here too.

Saturday morning Rosie and I got up and headed out to the Hout Bay Harbour Market. We had a wander around the stalls and a tour of the food section and Rosie bought a hat and had a healthy salmon poke  bowl.

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Salmon Poke Bowl @bayharbourmarket ❤️

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It was too early for that for me as I was feeling a wee bit hung over from the previous night as my Cherokee liver cannot metabolise the fire water and I ended up being tempted by a plate of bite sized, fresh, hot, iced donuts.

Oh my gawd they were amazing.

I regret nothing.

We left the market and drove over to the actual harbour and had a wander around the stalls selling African artifacts. Rosie bought a little musical instrument at one of the stalls and then found some sunglasses to go with her new hat.

It was a stunning warm sunny day. We bought a gorgeous soft serve ice cream at Muriel’s and walked to the end of the pier, watching the variety of people strolling around us.

We are so blessed to live in such a stunning village.

The local man who feeds the seals and drags them out of the water to beg for tourist donations was around but we avoided him and I took a pic of the seal as he headed back out to sea.

That evening we headed back to the Harbour for dinner at the Lookout Deck as we went for their Saturday night kilo of prawns special.

We had our prawns and sat by the window looking out to sea, it was a lovely setting and the food was nice, the prawns were quite difficult to peel this time for some reason but once you managed to wrest it out of the shell it was lovely. A huge catch of tuna were being processed just nearby and we watched all of the activity with interest.

On Sunday we went to the stunning Constantia Glen vineyard.

It was a gorgeous sunny day outside with just a bit of wind to keep it pleasant.

Both Norm and Rosie had the flammkuchen. (That is just German for pizza.)

Norm had the Caprese Flammkuchen.

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Caprese Flammkuchen @constantiaglen

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I had the charcuterie and cheese platter.

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Cheese and Charcuterie platter

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I really enjoyed the Constantia Glen Two wine, it was a blend but was really easy on the palate and not too acidic.

I was back at work on Monday but Rosie had been struggling with anxiety since her Mom’s recent death and so I arranged some healing treatments of various modalities for her and Norm took her to them during the week. Luckily I knew who to make the first booking with and that person helped with the connections for the other treatments which Rosie managed to have. She went for Reiki, hypnotherapy and family constellations therapy which deals with how our past can affect our present. She also happened to time it so that she was here when my spirit workers group held an all women sweat lodge and she got a lot of benefit from that too.

I booked midweek for us all to go and see a singer we knew nothing at all about on Wednesday night at our fave music venue, Cafe Roux in town. Usually I watch a video to gauge whether the artists will be my type of music before booking but this time I was so busy I just looked for someone appearing that week and chose Lucy Kruger and the Lost Boys.

They were very talented, Lucy had a haunting voice and she called up various other artists she knew to perform with her. There was a guy next to her who she called Andre who was half genius and half irritating twat. He needed to be noticed and sometimes he just made a lot of noise, occasionally adding a positive element to the sound. Another woman sang with her and their voices were the perfect complement to each other.

However we had a brilliant night despite Andre and toddled home quite late for a school night. I was sluggish the next day at work, however I had promised Rosie a night out on the legendary Cape Town gay scene the following night. I asked a gay friend to recommend some options and she suggested we go onto the group Cape Town Lesbians on Facebook and look for suggestions. I went on to the page and saw an event posted for a singer called Janelle Botha who was performing at what appeared to be a small venue in Cape Town called the Cheeky Bean Cafe. It was a really cheap entry of R30 and there were only a few people saying they were attending so I thought it sounded like a nice cosy environment in which to gently dip our toe into the Cape Town scene. We thought we might meet some friendly women who could direct us onto our next venue.

Norm had to take Caitlin to the airport that day and had a busy day chasing around trying to sort his visa (that is a blog all on it’s own) so he decided to have a chilled night at home. Rosie and I booked an Uber and set off into town in high spirits. We did not know exactly where we were going but once we got to Somerset Square the driver got out of the car and spoke to the guards and found the venue and dropped us right outside. There were less than 10 people there all of whom were sitting outside smoking, however all of the inside tables had signs saying ‘Reserved’ on them. We walked up to the bar and were approached by a very pretty and friendly member of staff who asked if we knew about the cover charge. I said we did but it looked like the tables were all taken. She said they would ‘sort something out’ for us. She told us to pay at the bar when Rosie offered her a R200 note for our joint R60 cover charge. I placed an order for a round with the bartender and also handed over R100. The barmaid then gave us a sour look and asked did we not have anything smaller. We dug around and came up with exact change which she took. We got our drinks and we asked the first waitress again where could we sit? She said they would ‘sort something out’. In the meantime we went to sit on the couch in the corner of the room. As soon as we sat the grumpy little barmaid stomped over and started ranting again about us not booking. We told her the invite said nothing about booking being required, besides which they took our entrance fee! You cannot make someone pay entrance and then tell them there is not enough room for them. We got up and moved to a table which had become available outside but it was a cold evening and I was dressed for being inside in a bar, not sitting outside. Besides which the smell of cigarettes was overpowering. I was freezing cold and very hungry. We again asked about a table inside for the third time when Rosie went for a new round and the grumpy barmaid shouted ‘I don’t know you!’ which seemed a bizarre thing for a manager of a public venue to say. We clearly were not welcome and she seemed to be rather angry about us being there and asking for a seat apparently! Why did they not just ask a group at a bigger reserved table whether we could join them? The singer was average but we would have enjoyed the event except that the manager was so unwelcoming and unpleasant that I phoned Norm and begged him to rescue us. He was not happy as he had driven all the way to the airport and had just arrived back home and had to come back to the city. He kindly agreed to come through and collect us and we all drove down the main road until we spotted a Hudsons Burgers and parking available just across the road and we were lucky enough to get a table with a stunning and friendly waitress who was very efficient and had us all munching happily on a burger in no time at all.

I was feeling so traumatised by the horrid experience at The Cheeky Bean Cafe that I even had a milkshake to cool me down.

Our waitress asked us where we were from and when I said ‘Hout Bay’ she looked perplexed so we had a laugh and explained how a Scotsman, a Northern Irish woman and an American all ended up together in Africa. She really was lovely. She proved to me again just how the waiter or waitress is such a big part of your overall experience.

When we got home we enjoyed relaxing on our new sofa which I bought second hand from a friend. Our old one was lovely but Norm hated it and I knew that this one was really well made and comfy and as I am a red freak I bought it spur of the moment.

I love it so much! It was a bit of drama getting it home as it poured with rain and it was being temporarily stored on a patio but luckily it did not get damaged. The dogs are baffled by the change as the back is not cushy enough for dogs to be draping over it and there are no blankets covering it like we needed with the creamy sofa so there are no hidey places for them under the blankets. It has just confused them terribly.

I was off work on Thursday as it was Freedom Day in South Africa and Rosie had booked to go to Robben Island. Norm and I drove her to the waterfront and put her onto a boat then we had some shopping to do and a nice afternoon together planned. We did the things we needed to do and then we went to the Zeitz MOCAA and were pleasantly surprised it was free as it was a public holiday. We went to the 6th floor and grabbed a table with a gorgeous view all around us.

We ordered a simple lunch of chicken and chips. We were a bit naughty and both indulged in the gorgeous looking desserts we saw being served. I had a piece of the Red Velvet Cake of the day.

Norm had the lemon meringue with coconut sorbet.

Norm and I had over 4 hours to kill in total. We wandered through the Zeitz after our leisurely lunch even though we saw most of the displays recently, but we saw some new items and noticed things we missed the first visit. Afterwards we walked about outside the silo and spotted that the Chavonnes Battery Museum had a sign announcing a Mandela Photography exhibit was on. It was R100 entry each but profits go to youth development so we decided to bite the bullet even though we only had less than an hour before Rosie was due to arrive back.

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Mandela photo exhibition

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After that we sat by the water at the arrival point waiting for Rosie, it was a moody and dark and somewhat gloomy day inland but when she returned Rosie said the weather was gorgeous at sea.

On our way home we drove up to the top of Signal Hill so that Rosie could see the beautiful view of the city laid out below but as we drove up the mountain, the already dreary weather turned worse and a thick mist rolled over the city. Rosie hopped out and tried to snap some pics, I snapped this pic of her snapping a pic which I thought looked quite cool.

That evening we took Rosie to Papino’s for dinner, one of our fave venues which only locals have discovered. Norm and I both had our usual, the hollandse biefsteak but Rosie had lamb shank and raved about it. Ours was as divine as it always is.

On Saturday Rosie attended the sweat lodge I mentioned so Norm and I dropped her off and then popped out for lunch. We stopped in at Pastis in Constantia as it was a lovely sunny day and it feels like you are in a pub garden in Europe when sitting there outside under the vines.

We had two of the items on special and shared them. We ordered fishcakes and Portuguese calamari. The fishcakes were a bit gooey for my taste and the calamari was a bit chewy despite the coating being a bit insipid in colour. It was OK but nothing amazing.

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Calamari and fish cakes

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We were enjoying sitting in the sun however so we decided to linger and have dessert. I had the lemon meringue.

Norm had the cheesecake.

We woke to a sunny morning for Rosie’s last full day and Rosie and Norman headed off early to catch the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. After they returned home Norm dropped Rosie and I at Dune’s on the Beach for a late lunch.

The venue has a gorgeous setting of simple picnic tables under umbrellas with a sand floor. We got a seat under the shaded area at the back of the restaurant.

I ordered the chili poppers for us to nibble on as starters.

Rosie and I both ordered the mussels with fries to share.

They were delicious! We both really enjoyed every morsel of our food, the bread was fresh, the chips crispy and the sauce on the mussels was moreish.

We had a gorgeous afternoon chatting and munching and drinking. I had to be back at work on Monday so I took it easy and only had a few ciders and we did not have a late night.

On Monday I shot off early as always and arrived at the client site about 7.30am. I knew the client was not going to be in the office as they had all taken a day’s leave as Tuesday was another public holiday. I did expect my team to be in the office though and when I discovered they were all working from home I was so annoyed. What a waste of petrol just because no one seems able to communicate in a professional manner. I packed up and drove back home and started working from there. I was using our Bluetooth mouse and when working my screen suddenly flipped upside down and my spreadsheets started closing down. I lifted my hands up but the typing in front of me continued as if my laptop was possessed by a demon. I quickly pulled out the USB thingy (what the hell is that thing called?) and tapped furiously on my laptop mouse rather than the Bluetooth one. The crazy activity all stopped. I restarted my laptop and Norm googled to find out how to reset my screen and then I managed to retrieve all of my documents. I assumed it was a virus of some sort that caused it and then carried on working. A bit later my wrists started aching so I asked Norm for the keyboard which goes with the mouse. Norm went to rummage around to find it and when I came back into the room he confessed that while rummaging around in that same box earlier he had bashed around the keyboard which was linked to my laptop and that was what had resulted in my bizarre pseudo-possession. I think he only confessed in order to shut me up going on about bad juju and muttering about doing a spirit cleansing on the house.

That afternoon we drove Rosie to the airport and went in to have lunch with her and send her on her way. She has now messaged to say she has made it home safe and sound. I have had a lazy pajama day today and have a pot of chicken curry on the stove bubbling away. It will be a 3 day work week for the remainder of it, our project ends at week end and then I move offices back to the foreshore. It has been an exciting & busy few weeks for both work and our social lives, I could do with a bit of quiet now really! We have a few weeks until the family all go away for Caitlin’s 30th birthday. I hope I have some peace until then.

One thing that having a visitor highlights is just how beautiful my home and country is and just how blessed I am.

I am such a lucky woman. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Build That Wall! 

The week in LaLaLand is over. No harm, possibly a few fouls. I did try, and mostly succeeded, in keeping my anxiety under control. I’m aware that the new alt-right who are in charge of the White House are hitting hard and heavy early with the hopes of protest fatigue setting in and the normalization of alternative facts and repression to overcome the resistance. There will be no breather before the storm, the storm was launched full throttle straight out of the gate. 

One thing we didn’t expect to see was Arnie terminating Twitler’s arrogance and narcissistic rants with this video.

This was my reply on Twitter.


So I have also had a few rants and raves, but I kept it to Twitter mostly. I think that will be my approach. To separate my social media profiles into different agendas. 

It has been another week that just disappeared before my eyes. 

On Tuesday night I put a beef roast in the slow cooker overnight and made a delicious pot roast for Wednesday’s dinner. I just steamed green beans and made fondant sweet potatoes when I got home that evening.


The following night I fried mushrooms in butter and added the remaining shredded beef roast and a container of cream. I chucked in the remaining green beans and served with mashed cauliflower and gem squash. 


It was very tasty. 

I’ve been busy taking pics from my balcony for friends who are making collages for Valentines.


A cute idea! One of my Covet fashion house girls made one for me.


Our new garden wall is up and the pesky tree removed.


This pic was taken on Thursday, on Friday they plastered it. They will let it dry and come paint it once dried. It looks bare without the tree, I think I will plant a bush or maybe another Bougainvillea there. We can train it to run along the wall and give a nice bit of colour and curb appeal. Another renovation project almost complete. 

Friday night we wanted a relaxed evening in and so we just got ribs and burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway in Hout Bay, they have amazing food. 

I had a lazy Saturday morning but Norm pottered about in the kitchen doing bits and pieces of tiling and trim and around 3pm we headed off to the Hout Bay Harbour to meet Norm’s friends who were over from St Andrews in Scotland. We met them upstairs in the bar at Mariners Wharf


The view is stunning. 


We had a drink then we took Steven and Karen up to Chapman’s Peak to show them the view. 


We then drove back to Hout Bay beach and were lucky to get a lovely table at Dunes. Dunes is a busy restaurant directly opposite the beach.


We had a great view and managed to get some shade as it was very hot,


I had salmon roses to start and they arrived quickly and were fresh and delicious. 


For my main I had fried calamari strips and Norm had grilled Patagonian calamari tubes. 


I tried a bite of Norm’s and they were tasty, the lemon butter was divine. My fried calamari strips were tender and the batter was crispy and not oily, it was really nice. 

Karen had the mussels which I didn’t take a pic of but I did sample and they were delicious: huge, plump and juicy, and the serving was very generous. I will try these next visit. I also tried one of Steven’s ribs but they wer no patch on the Kitchen Takeaway’s. They were dry and chewy. But based on the brilliant service from Blessing, our waiter,  as well as the starters and the other three mains I would give our meal there a good solid 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We left there and went to Woodcutters to catch the rugby but it was rammed. We grabbed a table out in the beer garden and had a coffee. 

Steven and Karen had a taxi booked for 830pm so we eventually took them back to the harbour and saw them off. 

That night we found Mr Leopard Toad back in our lounge. Norm had snapped a pic of Mr Toad 1 and Mr Toad 15 and it is definitely the same bloody Toad. 


Check the marking right rear flank. This time Norm drove him far away. He now is on a bit of green still in our neighborhood but it’s a lotta hops away. 

We are having a pajama day today. The most strenuous thing I’ve done is make brunch.

I cooked eggs scrambled with cheese, and served with avocado and tomato and delicious salty Joostenberg organic bacon from Oakhurst Spar. 


Norm is having a snooze and I am watching fluff on TV and drinking iced coffee in the heat. The dogs are having naps and it’s lovely and quiet, exactly how a Sunday should be spent.  

I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

What Doesn’t Kill You

Our family have now been on the Banting diet for 6 weeks and there are many noticeable changes in our bodies. The obvious one for me being the 8.5-9kgs weight lost, but we all have noticed other things, loss of cellulite, stomach bloat going, our dry hair and skin is better, my joint pain went, the swelling in my hands and feet went away.

There were some unpleasant things such as intense thirst which luckily eventually went away, tiredness and headaches were an issue for a few days. But mostly, I felt great. 

On Sunday we went out for Valentines dinner and decided to enjoy the food and not follow Banting. 

We indeed enjoyed the food, it was amazing. But my body reacted rather viciously to the first instance of sugar it had encountered in 6 weeks. I had an upset tummy both that night as well as the following day, my feet and hands swelled and my joints hurt so badly. To me it seems like a reaction to something, chocolate or sugar or gluten or whatever that may be.

However we jumped back on the horse the following day, I cooked dinner but it was very late when finished and we ended up eating at almost 9pm.

I sliced up some aubergines and baked them on a tray in a single layer til mostly cooked. I chopped up a yellow pepper, lots of garlic and an onion and fried in butter. Once cooked I put it in the blender with a tin of tomato and puréed it. I fried a chopped up packet of bacon, then when brown added a chopped punnet of mushrooms, then added a bag of spinach and the puréed pepper mix. I let it simmer a bit then layered the tomato mix with the eggplant. I topped it all with mozzarella and baked.

  

It was delicious. If you want veggie just leave out the bacon and add coconut oil.

Tuesday I hosted our book club. There were 6 of us and I decided not to stress myself. I asked Norm to shop and I just carved up 3 woollies roasted chickens, sliced 2 loaves of fresh bread, steamed some broccoli and made a giant salad. That meant all I had to avoid was the bread and all I had to ‘cook’ was the broccoli.

It was Chris’s birthday month so we celebrated with an apple crumble and custard. Luckily I’m not a fan of either so I resisted. I didn’t even have a glass of wine, I stuck to water.

The next day I gave Cordelia the leftover breads, pie and custard.

All week I had the same breakfast of full fat yogurt with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, a few mixed nuts and cinnamon. My lunch the following day after book club was a bit of salad and chicken. I tend to take a small lunch.

Wednesday night I was home quite late and Norm just grabbed a takeaway from Spiro’s. We had grilled chicken kebabs, tzaziki, salad and grilled halloumi so bar the occasional bit of sauce on the chicken we were Banting compliant.

 I had my manicurist coming round to my house on Thursday after work so I left the office a bit early. I enjoy our sessions, gossiping, laughing and getting a pedicure in the comfort of my home with my dogs milling about. 

  

Luckily they went to the groomer on Thursday. They were filthy, stinky and tangled. No matter how often we groom them it’s not enough. I asked Norm to take their pics when they were clean as by the time I’m home they are a mess. 

He tried bless him. Norm’s animal pics are as bad as my food pics.

  

He said they kept moving.

After Vanessa left I just threw together some bits and pieces for dinner. I asked Norm to get pork chops but he was too busy (aka forgot). I made my friend Guy’s stuffed gem squash recipe. I steamed some gem squash, cut them in half and scooped out the seeds, then put the squash and full fat cream cheese into the blender til smooth, then added chopped crispy grilled bacon and stuffed the empty shells with the mixture topped it with cheese and popped them in the oven. I made a huge pan of red cabbage, frying it in butter and lots of balsamic vinegar and then putting a bit of boiling water over to make sure it cooked through. 

Friday morning I woke to a fine drizzly mist of rain. And lots of clouds.

  

We had our usual Friday Mexican salad for lunch and we got quite wet walking over town to the Icon building. The rain is badly needed, the ground and plants are struggling. 

That night Lily had her friend Talia over so we rented Pan and ordered pizza. Norm and I got Banting bases but the girls got normal bases. I just ordered cheese and tomato and jalapeño and at home I fried onions, chorizo & green olives and then popped it all in the oven as the cauliflower bases don’t hold the heat for the journey home.

It was a lovely family night in, the cooler misty weather meant snuggling under blankets.

Saturday I had no commitments and opted for a pajama day. We watched a few movies, messed about on our iPads and Norm worked.

Pixie and I played frisbee.

  

I made us a Banting brunch of chorizo, onion and cheese omelettes with fried tomatoes. The sky was overcast all day, misty and occasionally a bit of rain,

Lily had to open a new bank account and while out she popped into Pep Stores and got the cutest fake Converse for me. Only R99!

  

  

Norm popped down to the shops and got in some things for dinner. I fried a mix of red and green cabbage. I cut up 3 pork fillets into bite size chunks and sliced up a huge punnet of mushrooms and fried them both in butter. I fried an onion and an orange pepper in a separate pan and once cooked I popped them in the blender with a container of double thick cream and paprika and liquidized. I then added to the browned pork and mushrooms. I left it to simmer for 15 minutes. I just stir fried the cauliflower rice and served it all with plenty of the creamy sauce.

  

Trust me it was a million times better than it looks. 

Today we got up about 9 and had a slow morning. We eventually made it to our fave venue The Riverway Cafe for a late breakfast. 

  

I love the charming decor such old world charm!

  

I had the Eggs Benedict with Banting bread.

  

Norm had scrambled egg & Banting toast.

  

After we finished eating we did a run round Pic n Pay and a full shop at Woolworths. We were going to the harbour as I wanted to get Banting pizza bases at the market and some fish to cook on the grill at the fishmonger but the traffic was queued back for miles! We decided to give it a miss and headed home.

It’s a gorgeous day today and I didn’t want to spend it in traffic.

  

Tonight I’m going to make a lasagna for tomorrow’s dinner and a pork roast in my slow cooker for tonight. I’m really enjoying my lazy weekend. Next week is going to be busy.

I’m attending the Xtraordinary Women Networking Awards Gala Event on Tuesday. It’s formal and I hope that now I’ve lost weight I will fit nicely into one of my existing dresses. I certainly have no chance to shop. 

  

The following night I see David to have my body re activation session.  Keeping working on clearance of my deeper issues

I’m also very excited about going to Cape Farmhouse next Saturday as we are going to see several very funky local bands.

  
It should be brilliant! 

I hope you have all had a great weekend and I hope your week is full of fun.