Touched by an Angel

One more sleep.

That is, there is only one more sleep until my darling hubby is waiting eagerly at the Cape Town airport for collection.

All I can say is phew. I would say more but kids might be reading.

Managing a home as well as starting a new client and new project has almost done me in. Thank goodness we don’t also have small children, I wonder how single moms cope. Hats off to them. We have so much pressure just as women in general. Waxing and coloring and styling and making up. Feck it can be hard work. Add to that keeping a house functioning and it is a lot to keep juggled. It’s like a finely tuned machine, I used a calendar with color coded keys for each person, the domestic, the gardener, the pool man, the dog food delivery man, the house sitter and dog walker. If one factor shifted it all went awry. For example, Josh was planning on staying in Mossell Bay from Good Friday until the following Thursday so I had booked Vanessa a few nights to stay over and help me, but then Josh had to come back early for work so I ended up having all three of us here but that worked out ok. Luckily we had the new bed for Vanessa.

But then as I had originally cancelled Vanessa from Easter weekend I was on my own on Tuesday morning when I started my new project at our new client site. I had told our cleaner when she was here in person the previous week that I was starting a new project and was supposed to be in an 8am meeting and I also sent an SMS the day before to remind her that I had to leave by 7:30 at the latest and if she wasn’t there I could not wait. I was ready by 7 but there was no sign of her by 7:30 and when I rang her phone was off. Often when she goes to the Eastern Cape she is late coming back to Cape Town so I assumed she was not back and I left a voicemail and sent a text message to say I had to go to work. As she wasn’t here our gardener could not get in to work later at 9 when he arrived. It also meant the dogs were on their own all day. On the days when no one was going to be at home, I booked Vanessa who popped in to let the dogs out for a wander and a wee and filled their water bowls.

I had a meeting with a colleague on Monday even though it was a public holiday just to prep me for Tuesday but it was still exhausting sitting in workshops most of Tuesday. I left as soon as I could and raced back feeling so bad that Navajo was inside unable to go to the toilet from that morning but he did so well bless him.

We could not get our ID badges which meant I could not even go for a wee on my own, eventually that was sorted and yesterday I got access to the WiFi and network. Those niggly little details make such a difference when you get on boarded to a project. It’s lovely being in the city Centre with so many choices of food and a nice coffee place across the road. I’ve mostly eaten at Now Now which has a really great menu and delicious food and a few Banting choices. I have a coffee there every morning and usually my lunch is there too as it’s across the street and I don’t have time to faff about.

I had this Banting dish for lunch Tuesday, it has cauliflower mash topped with spicy chicken, sour cream and sliced almonds. Yum.

Peri Chicken Pot 👍🏼

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Josh and I were surviving off of OrderIn. This went fine most nights but one evening we ordered burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and had a major drama. The order got stuck in the app. Eventually I noticed that it had been a long time since I placed the order and I had not had an SMS so I checked the app to make sure the order had gone through and noticed it had not been completely processed. I rang the call centre (I won’t call it a ‘helpdesk’ as it certainly NOT that) and after sitting on the phone in a queue for 5 minutes someone finally answered and when I asked her about the status of my order she then put me on hold and disappeared for ages, she then came back to say that the ‘restaurant had refused the order’ and when I asked her why she said she had to check ‘with a colleague’. She then put me on hold again. After another 5 minutes listening to an annoying call centre message she comes back to say that the restaurant was missing an item we ordered and had cancelled the order. I told her that we only ordered burgers – how many ingredients could be missing?! This sounded rather unlikely.

Josh had subsequently rang the restaurant on his mobile who told us that A) they had not refused the order as they had not received the order and that B) there were no missing ingredients, they had all that we asked for. This can only lead me to the conclusion that the call centre agent was not being truthful. This has happened before where OrderIn agents blamed the restaurant for the issues in delivery and when I rang the restaurant they told me that the story I was given by the call centre agents is not true. They are obviously told never to admit a glitch on the app however the damage that they can do to a restaurant’s reputation can be terrible.

Petrol went up this week and I missed that memo. By the time I got the message I was home and in my PJs and not a chance was I moving. It is already taking twice the petrol driving up the mountain now that I drive the coast road.

I was presenting very tedious information to the client in workshops twice this week and both days I had such a sore tummy. Presenting stresses me out especially when I have not written the documents myself. I hate surprises. But both days went well and I have my rules confirmed. I’ll package for sign off next week.

Driving out of the city yesterday a car stalled at the traffic light in front of me. The large truck behind me got annoyed at the delay & overtook the queue of traffic & drove around us & cut in front to turn left at the same time the poor dude got his car to start resulting in a major collision right in front of me. It was rather shocking and loud but no one was badly injured. I was then starting to shift into victim mode and think “why me? Why are all of these stressful things happening to me?” And then I pulled myself up for languishing in egotistic self pity. I needed to shift my focus and say Thank You! Thank you spirit guides and protectors and ancestors for keeping me safe in that accident. Thank you for a job. Thank you for a job where I get to talk to people all day about a topic I love, data and data quality. How lucky am I that I get paid to write, even if I am writing technical approach documents, at least I am doing something I love to do and getting paid a cracking good salary to do so.

I need to refocus. Maybe being without Norm has made me more appreciative of what I have. I just know I can’t wait for him to get home and I’m feeling renewed in how I am approaching this project. Life is good. I’m a lucky Kitten. I just need to focus on those positives and keep myself in gratitude mode.

This morning I was up early and took Pixie to the doggy chiropractor. We were a bit early so we canoodled in the car.

I put a ham in to bake when I got back.

I baked a gammon ❤️

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I then popped out to Spar and bought some veggies so I will do roast butternut and cauliflower, corn on the cob and serve those with the ham.

I’ve just been chilling outside with the dogs and relaxing. Feeling blessed to have this view.

And feeling pleased the plants I repotted are thriving.

The view from my happy place ❤️😍

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Enjoy your weekend and until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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Path of Persistence

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of my own tasks as well as those which Norman  is usually responsible for and so far the house is still standing and all 5 animals are still alive.

Some of them are coping better than others.

Navajo is still hopping about on 3 legs and his ankle is still so swollen.

I am spraying arnica on it twice a day. It does not hurt him but it is cold and it smells funny so at first he scooted off in the opposite direction whenever he saw the bottle. I praised him and gave him so much love each time I treated him that he eventually started to stick his leg out and wait for the spray as he knew it would be followed with lots of attention. He was on anti-inflammatory meds every evening which I mixed into his mince. Norm tried every means possible to hide it, wrapping it in a block of cheese, in a sausage, in a ball of mince, he tried everything. I just grind it up and mix into the mince and he is eating it but the meds are now finished and I need to get him back to the vet but I can’t take him myself as I am in the city all day on a new project and cannot take time to get back to Hout Bay in business hours.

We gave Navajo a few days rest without walking, he was a bit overexcited about life (poor cats) but I think he needed to take it easy. He is struggling with getting up the stairs. He has no problem going down, he lifts that back leg and flies down the stairs. He is struggling a bit with weeing, he prefers lifting the ‘good leg’ and of course when he tries he wobbles about and then remembers and rights himself. Bless him.

He is a clever boy. The other day I heard Pixie snuffling about under the stairs and I managed to crawl in there with her to discover both of her balls lined up in a neat little row just outside of her reach. She has a little smushed up Pomeranian face and not much of a snout, whereas Navajo has a really long nose. He deliberately puts her toys there and sits back and watches her repeatedly trying to get to them, knowing she cannot reach them with her wee mouth. He has a strong streak of sadism.

Maybe he is paying Pixie back for annoying him. She can be a right little pain in the butt. She has this ‘trick’ where she goes outside at the back just when we are getting ready to go up to bed. She can get in and out of the house via her doggy door but once I lock up she cannot get upstairs to join all of us as she cannot navigate the security gate as she is too chubby to get through the bars. Navajo will not settle at night if one of his pack is missing so I have to go out and try and entice her back inside. If she decides to be awkward then I have to put off all of the alarms, unlock all of the locks to get out the back, traverse the dog poop and other surprises lying around in the dark while shoe less and fetch her. So when she did it this week I said to her ‘come in Pixie’ and then opened the treat cupboard to feed the cats. She then thought I was getting a treat to bribe her in and popped in through the doggy door with a look of expectation. Navajo had come down to assist me (aka get under my feet and make it twice as difficult) and I turned and said to them both in a very gruff voice ‘Naughty children GET UPSTAIRS NOW!!’ and they both turned and ran upstairs as if being pursued by a monster, feet scrambling against the tiles until they got traction. They knew they were being naughty and they were like cheeky children flying up those stairs. It was all I could do not to laugh.

The other doggy drama has been with the neighbour across the road who has several huge dogs. She cannot manage them all on leads while walking them on her own and so she takes them down to the road reserve off lead. This would be fine if they were disciplined. They are not. Twice this week I have had these massive dogs attacking my dogs while mine are in their own garden. They fight through the gate so only their snouts can make contact but this can be enough. When I lived in Los Angeles I had a little American Eskimo dog named Teka and while walking her one evening she had sniffed under a gate and the dog on the other side managed to get hold of her lip and tore it badly leading to a bad cut and a ton of blood.

I lost my cool a bit on Thursday when I got home and the dogs all started fighting for the second time that week and I saw the owner just watching from across the road rather than trying to restrain her dog. I have now told her that I will pepper spray the dogs if they attack my dogs while in their own garden. I hate to do that but I must protect my dogs.

It is a family joke that we always have some major catastrophe when Norm goes away and this trip I have been forced to be Mrs McGyver. The first issue was the garage door which cannot be opened when the electricity is off. Mzudumo and Cordelia were both at the house working that day when the power tripped. Luckily Mzudumo has experienced this before with the dodgy SA electrical supply and he managed to override the electric motor and open the door manually. However he did not fix it back so when I got home I could not open the garage and had to go through the house and open it manually but then I could not figure out how to get it back onto opening by the remote. Norm phoned and talked me through it and I sorted it out.

Next the ice maker in the fridge blocked up due to the electricity being off. This is also something Norm usually sorts out but I managed to chisel out the blockage and get it operational again.

I also have been plodding my way through some of the items on Norm’s honey-do list. I had been given a gorgeous bird feeder a few Christmases ago and I recently found it in a cupboard and when Caitlin and I went for lunch yesterday I bought some dried worms at Earthworx and hung it up. I can see it from my kitchen window and hopefully it will draw some interesting birds.

I have a plant which has needed to be tied to a stick to support it for ages and so I dug around in the garage and found a stick which I hammered into the ground and tied up the plant. So far it is still standing! This one long stem had grown so long and was so top heavy it was just lying on the ground. I could not bear to just chop it off in order to get it to fill out a bit as it had lots of blooms. I will cut it all back at some stage but I thought this was a good interim solution.

Josh has been a godsend as he has fixed the garage motor which kept shorting out every time we tried to open it, the landing light which tripped and various other things.

He drove all the way to House and Home to collect the headboard we ordered weeks ago but it was still not in stock! This is now twice we have driven to the shop to collect it after being told to do so, the first time it was damaged when Norm arrived and she said come back the following Tuesday to collect a new one. Unfortunately Josh was sick and could not go on Tuesday and it took over a week until he was well enough to make it through. He popped in last Thursday only to be told it was still not in stock. The reason we chose this particular head board was because the original salesman told us it WAS in stock. They have now said they will deliver it when it is finally in stock but had no date when that will be. Shockingly bad customer service.

Welcome to Africa. Not much is terribly efficient here.

Last Sunday I had my friends Caroline and Helen over for lunch.

We have all worked together on various projects over the years and we are all geeky girls who adore our animals. We talked data, dogs and cats mostly!

My dogs were barking like lunatics as there were lots of kids out in the street playing. Pixie was so annoying that I shouted ‘OK Pixie, that is enough I am getting my gun’, to which Caroline says ‘bloody Americans, I bet she goes through loads of Pomeranians.’

I laughed so much.

We have a water gun which we use to keep the Poms in check as they really detest getting wet. Pixie especially hates water and as soon as she sees the gun she has a Pavlovian type response and starts shaking the water off of her before it even hits her. It does not phase Navajo as he loves water and tries to catch the stream in his mouth.

That day I had gotten up early and tidied the house and then went to Spar to get some things to serve for lunch. I got croissants for Josh and I to have for a late breakfast. They have divine ones. I over heated them a bit, they were not so brown when I bought them but I prefer them with the chocolate melted.

For lunch I picked up loads of bits and pieces. I bought a roast chicken, some cold meats, some cheeses and fresh bread.

I made a cheese platter and used my lovely Carrol Boyes serving items.

I served salads and various ‘picky things’ which was all perfect fare for a warm sunny day. We have vowed to make this a regular event with the three of us meeting up more frequently.

Wednesday it started to storm in the early evening and the thunder and lightening were rather majestic.

Cape Lightning #storm #CapeTown #lightning

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Our dogs are not bothered by loud noises or the bright flashes of lightening but the dogs at the guest house next door are and they started barking as soon as the thunder started and they were still barking the following morning when I woke up. I think the dogs are left on their own most of the time and so no one is there to calm them when they get upset and they get upset over every noise. A siren sets them off howling like coyotes for hours.

Thursday was my last day at UCT and I had to leave at lunch time to go to the American Consulate to get my passport renewed. It was very sad to leave UCT I have been really happy working there it is a great team.

I had to get a new photo made for my passport and the American passport has a lot of rules. You are not allowed to wear glasses, you cannot smile, you have to put your hair behind your ears so that your ear lobes show and you cannot wear earrings. The US passport pics are also a different size than most other countries require. Add all of these requirements up and top them with some very unflattering down lighting, dirty hair and the inability to NOT smile when facing a camera and you end up with this clusterfeck of chaos. The photographer kept saying ‘don’t smile, look grumpy’ and so caught me pinching my smiley lips together.

I look like a criminal. I am now stuck with this photo for the next 10 years. My last passport was before the new rules and it was quite flattering.

Oh well.

After the photo I went to the Red Gallery Cafe for a quick bite of lunch before my appointment at the Consulate. I sat outside despite the gloomy weather and I ordered the chicken stir fry.

It was a massive portion and was nicely flavoured. There was so much left over I had the rest that night for my tea.

We have a 4 day weekend with two days off of work for Easter holidays.

Yesterday was Good Friday and Caitlin collected me and we went out for lunch. It has been raining for a few days now on and off and we had planned to go down to the harbour and have lunch and walk along the slipway but the weather was not being very cooperative. Caitlin wanted to buy a protea and so we decided to go to Earthworx Garden World as they have a sweet little cafe there where we could still wrap up warm and sit outside but be protected from the weather.

We both ordered the Chicken Pie and salad.

After we ate we wandered around and bought a few bits and pieces. I got a new type of succulent which I do not have, some potting soil and a new pot, I got the worms for my feeder, some stuff you put in the mellow yellow toilets to reduce the wee smell and some spray to try and stop the dogs peeing on the patio. We have a lot of pee related issues.

Caitlin came back and played with the pups for a bit and pottered around with me in the garden then headed home late afternoon. I just made myself a pizza with some left over mozzarella and the last of the salami from the previous weekend. It wasn’t fancy but it filled a gap.

Today is the Two Oceans Marathon which results in one of the roads out of Hout Bay being shut as it is actually the race route. I can see the choppers overhead following the runners.

#OMTOM2018 #choppers #houtbay

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I can also hear the voices over the tannoy cheering on the runners.

Sounds of #omtom2018

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I have the marathon playing live in the background on the telly as I write and I can hear it outside as well. I love seeing the beautiful images of Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The rain and clouds have cleared and it is a gorgeous day. I am going to pop a gammon in the oven and do some gardening today. My new succulent will be split into two plants and re-potted.

The drought has resulted in me changing the plants which have not survived without water and replacing them with succulents. You can literally just throw a leaf from a succulent into a bit of dirt and it grows. Amazing.

I am trying to get plenty of rest this weekend as I start a new client and project on Tuesday. It will be a rather intense project and I am feeling a bit stressed about it from both a logistical point of view as well as worrying about the level of intensity of the project. I am meeting a colleague on Monday afternoon to prep for the next day.

Luckily I have a friend staying with me to help with managing the dogs and the staff and everything else around the house. Like most things we just have to keep chipping away at it all until we get it done.

I am nothing if not persistent.

Enjoy your weekend. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxo

Wild West

Do you ever feel like your life is running away and that you are desperately trying to keep up? I am very much feeling like that at the moment. Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities I have.

Work, life and everything else has me feeling like I am not at all in control and as a self confessed control freak that unsettles me.

Luckily Norm and I had a relatively calm weekend. On Friday we just wanted a quiet night in so Norm popped out for fish and chips for me and Josh from the local chippy, The Catch. Norm ate chicken and salad from Spiro’s instead. Norm could eat from Spiro’s every night if we let him. I do love Spiro’s but I fancied a nice bit of battered hake and mushy peas and I was not disappointed. One needs a bit of variety. A girl cannot live on chicken souvlaki and salad alone.

I had started watching a documentary called Wild Wild Country one day when I was home on my own. I picked it randomly as it sounded like something Norm would not find interesting. I had never heard of Bagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Osho as he came to be called so I had no clue what I was in for.

Wow. I loved this series so much!!

The documentary used various clips from decades old films or videos to narrate and slowly roll out all of the past information about the heyday of the movement. The Bhagwan’s attorney was former top Los Angeles defense lawyer, Philip J. Toelkes. Philip went by the name Swami Prem Niren when he was living and working with the Bagwan and he was interviewed recently and this interview was used to provide a lot of the story. He seemed a bit melancholy, like he is either still mourning the loss of Osho or as if he is still struggling with the break up of the communal Rajneeshpuram ashram life style that they all led. It did seem rather heavenly. Sheela claimed that there were no drug addicts or alcoholics living there but what she really meant was that the environment was restricted from these items so was drug and alcohol free predominately, but they could have a beer with their dinner. The addicts and alcoholics were there they were just content with their life and did not feel the need to exercise those addictive behaviours. Maybe they became sex addicts? That is a joke btw.

I found the relationship between Osho and Ma Anand Sheela in particular rather fascinating and I am still unconvinced which of them was the instigator for the criminal activities they ended up getting prosecuted for. I don’t want to say too much as I want you to watch it with the same sense of wonder that I did. I will talk a wee bit about Osho and his methodologies and philosophies however.

According to the Bagwan “every human being is a Buddha with the capacity for enlightenment, capable of unconditional love and of responding rather than reacting to life, although the ego usually prevents this, identifying with social conditioning and creating false needs and conflicts and an illusory sense of identity that is nothing but a barrier of dreams.”

To me this is simply mindfulness. I interpreted this as saying that our thoughts create our own prisons and mental conflicts. If we simply lived in the present moment without viewing life through the filters of societal expectations and ‘norms’ then we would be much happier.

It is probably no surprise to hear that the Bagwan was called the ‘Sex Guru’ by some people. For a ‘holy’ person he was rather unconventional in his views about sex. He believed in the pursuit of pleasure and that sexuality was something not to be ashamed of, that any interaction between mutually consenting adults should not be taboo. He felt that love should be treated as sacred and fully enjoyed as a beautiful experience not a sinful task we should rush through.

There was much controversy surrounding the Bagwan and the “neo-sannyasins” or  “sannyasins” as his followers were sometimes called. There were some unconventional therapies practiced in the ashram.

He had “active meditation” techniques which were characterised by stages of physical activity leading to silence. The most famous of these remains Dynamic Meditation, which is a bit of a compressed summary of his various approaches.

The 5 stages are described here on this website, I am not going to bother to reinterpret rather let it come from the Osho’s mouth so to speak.

Whatever you have to say about his techniques, the followers all seemed deliriously happy in the old footage. Maybe it was all the sex but I suspect it was just the freedom of being able to be their true selves with no judgement. I sort of likened it to being almost childlike in the carefree aura they all seemed to have before things went a bit awry.

I don’t want to say more, but I will give Wild Wild Country a full on 5 Kitten Stars.

Last Saturday we met Caitlin for brunch at Martins Bakery. Martins is owned by Caitlin’s fella Wesley’s aunt and uncle.

I feel like I seldom see Caitlin now that she has moved out as we are both so busy. I don’t like to just pop in when I am out as she is a grown woman, I do not want to poke myself into her day uninvited. Norm and I were a bit late as we forgot that we were going to Caitlin’s flat after brunch to help her with bits and pieces and so we needed to pack some tools. We arrived a few minutes late and Caitlin walked over from her flat as she lives just literally across the road. Caitlin and I both had the eggs benedict.

Norm had the omelette with bacon, cheese and mushrooms.

They were all perfectly cooked. We had so many errands so we did not buy anything to take home, but they have delicious banting chicken pies.

We went over to Caitlin’s flat and Norm helped her hang up her clocks and paintings and helped her with various bits and pieces. It was fun to see her silly kittens again, they are so full of adorable nonsense.

On Tuesday we had a wee visitor in the form of a spider. It was rather large. I was watching telly and saw this movement out of the corner of my eye and saw this large furry dude shooting down the side of the fireplace and he then took off under the telly. We had a houseful of animals as usual so Norm tried to catch the spider. Don’t you love how Blue just does not give AF? He is such a funny cat.

He succeeded and took Mr Spider outside and popped him into the bushes. He is much safer out than in with our bunch.

Look who came in? And went right back out….. #spider #rainspider 🕸🕷

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Sunday we had a lazy day. Norm popped down to the shops and made a lovely dinner for us of baked chicken, roast vegetables and corn on the cob.

Monday and Tuesday were busy at work as I am wrapping up my project for handover at month end. We had a client workshop to walk-through some of our reports. All went well with minimum change so we are on track for the end of the month.

Tuesday night Norm was out at a business dinner so Josh and I used OrderIn to order a curry. I did not think it was up to their usual standard and in the middle of the night Josh woke up violently ill. He is still ill and the doctor has put him on a bag full of meds as he had food poisoning. Bless. I made him chicken soup and I had chilli con carne that I made yesterday.

Wednesday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa so we had the day off. Human Rights Day commemorates the Sharpeville Massacre that took place on March 21, 1960, when 69 people were killed during a protest against pass laws. Pass laws were implemented during apartheid as a way to restrict the movements of Africans.

We had a lazy morning and then Norm took me for lunch at Deli Delish. I love this venue it is always sunny and bright and I adore all of the pillows in this section where we usually sit. They are very welcoming to doggies out on the patio as well,  this is where we take the pups on the rare occasion that we venture out with all 3 of them.

We settled in with a big coffee and ordered some food.

I had the smashed avo on seed bread topped with a poached egg and I ordered some bacon to go with it.

#Brunch

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Wednesday was also the day I dropped Norm at the airport. He is flying to Atlanta to help my mother get her house sorted out to go on the market. My mother is a hoarder. Not a nasty ‘you can never have too many cats’ sorta hoarder, more of a ‘one can never have too many black cashmere sweaters’ sorta hoarder. She has 4 walk in closets rammed absolutely full of her clothing. (Aka 4,721 black cashmere sweaters and 2,488 pairs of black loafers at last count.) She also used to make china dolls so she has a room full of those and so much other bits and pieces of various ‘collections’ she has.

I drove him to the airport and he flew off to Johannesburg, then onto London and then onto Atlanta where my mom is collecting him. He is so sweet to go through all of that to fly over to help her, I have no paid time off left and cannot afford to be without pay.

Before the house sells she has stuff to go to auction, some bits to give to charity and there are a few items I want to come here if possible. My grandmother’s old armchair and tea set, my dad’s old wooden boxed phonograph are all things I want to ship over and as long as the cost is not too exorbitant we will do so. Mom has bought a new built single story small bungalow in north Georgia much nearer to our family. She does not really have anyone who can be relied on to help her quickly down in Atlanta, I will be so much more relieved to have her nearer her brothers and my cousins.

I have arranged lunch on Sunday with some friends I have not seen in ages and I am really looking forward to that. Next week is also a 4 day week with Friday being the start of Easter, then the following is also a 4 day week due to Easter Monday. It is lovely to have three 4 day weeks in a row. However I do wonder what percentage of people in South Africa are actually Christian? I do not celebrate Easter as I am not Christian. We often have a family lunch of some sort but there is no religious ceremony involved. Yet most of the country get the day off as well as a 4 day weekend. Is that the norm around the world or is the paid Christian holiday a leftover from the previous colonialism and apartheid inflicted on the country and its indigenous residents?

Maybe I think too much. I will just celebrate the paid days off from work and not look that gift in the mouth.

I hope you all have a Fabulous Friday sort of day tomorrow and a great weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Banging Bongos

If I were even partially educated about astronomy or astrology I would be looking to see what that fella Mercury is up to as I have just enough info to be dangerous and I know that Mercury is the planet that can cause chaos with communications. While looking for a reference to link to I see that Mercury also governs all of the characteristics of my personality. This is not very surprising as it rules Virgo and I am very much a stereotypical Virgo. Read THIS it is interesting (well it is to me anyway but I am a mercurial Virgo soooooo…..yeah that. Just read it.)

The reason I felt like Mercury was interfering on Tuesday was that I woke up to no internet at home. I trundled off to work and the traffic was horrendous. I managed to keep my calm by spotting squirrels in the forest that I was driving through or checking out the strange ways that trees form due to the crazy winds in Cape Town or listening to calming Native American tribal music or watching the people in the cars around me doing weird people things. I do love people watching and goodness knows we got plenty of weird ones in Cape Town.

I finally arrived at work to find I had no internet at work either. I do not have a network cable at my desk, I use the WiFi which was not communicating with my laptop. I spent an exasperating day talking to the unhelpful help-desk and connecting and disconnecting my laptop to try and connect to the database. We then had a client workshop over Skype and we had a horrendous connection, resulting in 50 minutes of frustration and about 10 minutes of productive conversation.

It was if the Universe (side-eyes at Mercury) was trying to stop me communicating to anyone!

On Tuesday evening Norm and I were booked to go to Cafe Roux in Cape Town city centre to hear a local young artist called Odwa Bongo. We love live music and in particular we love this music venue and intend to try and make it at least once a month to hear someone new. We had such fun when we went to watch our friend Mae Sithole perform recently.

We arrived about 7pm and settled in.

We like to arrive a bit early so that we have finished eating when the artist comes on and we can give them the attention they deserve.

I ordered the Mexican pizza which was thin, crispy and full of yummy flavours. I love fresh coriander and it had lots. The chipotle sauce was very tasty and spicy.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli with a burnt butter and sage sauce.

The artists usually start at 8:30pm but Odwa was a wee bit late starting as some of his audience was late arriving but once the audience settled in he was introduced.  Odwa emerged onto the stage in a long, hooded cape like jacket which was very dramatic.

He had a very interesting instrument which he used to open many of the songs.

Odwa has an amazing voice, he can reach some incredibly high notes and his voice is so pure with a lovely, full, rich tone. He was very charming and animated on stage  and talked about his personal challenges in life but he was very inspirational and positive in his outlook. His face is so expressive when he sings.

Odwa sang predominately in Xhosa which I assume is his home language. Even though we had no clue what he was singing about for many of his songs we did not mind as it meant that we could just feel the emotion of the song and not bother with trying to absorb the lyrics. He did sing a new song he has just written in English and it was fabulous! I wish I could find it online to share but he said it was brand spanking new so I feel privileged to hear it at all.

I did post this English track called ‘Confused’ on my last blog, however it is worth posting again so you can appreciate the clarity of his tone if you missed it. You can follow Odwa on Soundcloud here.

Odwa had a band as well as a back up singer on stage with him. I really enjoyed how the bass player and the keyboard player interacted. They were both enjoying themselves and it showed. I love how you can see the joy on some musician’s faces, pure elation at being in the zone doing what they love.

The back up singer was Zolani Bongo, I did not hear if they said whether they were related but it is an interesting surname to have in common if not.

After a few songs Zolani moved to the main microphone at centre stage to do a song on his own. Zolani has an amazing voice and range as well so if they are related there are some good vocal genes in that bloodline.

Zolani sang a gospel song, but I was not sure what it was called even though it was in English (blame it on the vodka). I asked Odwa on Facebook for the track and he told me that it is a song called ‘I remember, I believe’ which as far as I can discover was originally done by Lizz Wright. I would love to go and see Zolani perform a night of blues, his voice is perfect for the old blues classics. He gave me goosebumps.

I found this track of the original artist so you can appreciate the tune. (Zolani did it better in my opinion.)

I managed to track down the lyrics to go with the video if you would like to see them they are HERE. The interesting thing I discovered is that the singer Lizz is from the same state where I grew up! Maybe it was that Georgia girl vibe which got me all in my feels.

 

Then Odwa told us how he had won tickets to see Freshly Ground and that when there he was lucky enough to meet the adorable Zolani Mahola. She is a small, beautiful lady and has the cutest grin so even though she is a grown woman she is indeed adorable.

Their voices were so complimentary they killed it!! Everyone was up dancing and having such fun.

 

We stayed for a few more songs and then we headed home what with it being a school night. Between the vodkas and my exhaustion I forgot to take my phone out of my handbag when I got home, so I woke up confused and lost and banged around in the dark until I found it just before my alarm went off.

It started drizzling with rain on my way in to work and after stopping for most of the day it has again started this evening, there is the rarely heard sound of rain gushing out the drainpipes in the background as I write, I wish we had a system to collect it all but our plastic drain thingies got trodden on by Navajo and we have finally chucked them out.

Nevermind.

Hopefully our garden will be enjoying the drenching it is getting. I thank the Universe for this water, I hope that it is also falling over our thirsty dams.

The rain has cooled the air off beautifully, Norm is making homemade low carb lasagna for dinner for us and Josh.

Life is good, I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

 

 

Every Drop Matters

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

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

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

Passionate Buddha #Cocktails

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

Our friends Andy and Alison arrived shortly after we did.

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

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

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

Firecracker Crayfish ❤️

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

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

Chili salted squid ❤️

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

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

Mumbai Chilli Beef

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

Hake

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

Broccoli 🥦

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

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

Peanut Butter Shake 😍

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

❤️

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I had a wee vodka.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had a lovely relaxed evening.

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

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

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

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

kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Takers and Fakers

I mentioned that the Budget Speech was done last Wednesday. I also discussed the failings of the current government to adequately plan for the number of children in the Western Cape province and how 10k children have no placement in a school. I found it rather ridiculous that the ANC blamed the high levels of uneducated Africans solely on the past years of apartheid when the ANC have been in power for over 20 years. From what I have seen the ANC have done very little to better the cause of their constituents during those 20 plus years.

Unemployment in January 2018 was 26.7% as compared to the official unemployment rate in 1994, as recorded by Statistics South Africa, which was approximately 20%. The ANC have failed to improve in this area either and the two issues are intrinsically linked. Education is one of the paths out of poverty and unemployment.

Statistics SA calculates an “expanded rate” of unemployment which includes people who do not have a job and are available to work but have not taken active steps to look for work. Calculations using the expanded rate put unemployment at 31.5% in 1994 and 35.6% between July and September 2013. So either way you slice the data, the ANC is failing to progress the living conditions of the voters.

It is estimated that 53 million girls do not have access to education. This can be due to many different reasons but some of the girls are too isolated to be able to attend a physical school and so a proposal was made to the African Union (AU) Summit by the ONE foundation which suggested digital learning could be a way to reach many children. Globally there are so many challenges to getting access to education and this needs to be addressed strategically, hopefully the new first lady will help to further that agenda.

Another issue compromising the rights of young girls is the high incidence of sex trafficking and child trafficking and other ways of suppressing these young girls from living their best lives. A crazy situation has just literally blown up in South Africa. This oppression was done in the name of religion.

Back in February 2016 a raid was done on the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church where 18 kids between the ages of 7 and 13 years of age were removed from the care of the church. This was after months of investigation into the practices of the church where it was identified that none of the children there were being allowed to go to an external school and were also not being educated by the church. This is illegal to not educate a school aged child and so the police removed the children on the instructions of the Social Development MEC.

A report by chapter 9 institution the CRL Rights Commission was presented to Parliament’s portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs in October last year where they warned it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Commission chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva told City Press that she interviewed the cult leaders in 2016 during her investigation into church practices and made the parliamentary committee aware of her “serious concerns” however for some reason this case seems to have slipped through the many governmental cracks and the predictions by the CRL report were realised when the cult leaders ran out of money and then decided it would be a good idea to go on a crime spree in the hopes of topping up their coffers.

The cult members ambushed a police station in Ngcobo on the Eastern Cape. There were 5 police staff killed as well as an off duty soldier. Three of the SAPS members were shot on site while two additional members were kidnapped before being killed and left on the side of the road. During the attack, ten firearms and a police van were stolen from the police station, and an ATM a short distance from the police station was robbed.

Investigations into the raid on the police station led the police to the doors of the Mancoba Seven Angels Ministry church yet again where another shoot out occurred, this time the interaction left seven people dead and resulted in 10 arrests. Further exploration of the ‘church’ premises revealed that there were approximately 100 girls here who were being kept as sex slaves. These children ranged in age from infants to teens. The adults who lived on the premises were not allowed to leave the compound either.

If only the government had acted on the report they could have saved those girls from years of sexual abuse and gotten them into a school so that they could get an education.

There has been some rather horrid news over the last week.

There was a post going around social media regarding a woman who went missing on her way to work on Thursday, a notice was put out by the Pink Ladies organisation. 57-year-old Gill Packham‚ a teacher at Springfield Convent in Wynberg‚ was reported missing by a relative on Thursday morning. On Thursday night a burning BMW was discovered at the train station in Diep River and a body was discovered in the boot of the car. It is feared but not confirmed that this body is the missing teacher. I pray that she died prior to them setting the car alight as that would be a horrendous way to die. I feel so sad for her children and loved ones. Such a senseless death.

We also heard on the radio that there was some sort of taxi war going down on Thursday night in Hout Bay, very near our home. There were reports of gun shots from multiple people.

“Hout Bay police have now confirmed that a 22-year-old man was killed during a shooting incident outside the OK Mini-Mart in Hout Bay on February 22.

The shooting, which occurred at 9.30pm, is believed to be related to a taxi war.

“Another victim was shot inside the OK Mini Mart and sustained injuries to his head. He was transported to Groote Schuur Hospital,” said Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch. “A murder case and attempted murder case were opened. No arrests have been made as yet. All leads are being followed up to establish the cause of the incident.”

Rumours were circulating that this incident was linked to the most recent fire in the township. The fire is rumoured to have been caused by a fight over taxi routes. The man who allegedly started that fire has gone into hiding and the way things work in the community is that if you are not there to pay the price of your actions yourself then a family member will be given your punishment. The rumours are that one of the victims was the brother of the alleged arsonist.

The local Driftwood Restaurant & Pub in Hout Bay was reported to have been robbed by 4 armed men the morning after the shoot out. This was potentially an inside job as the takings from the previous night were all on site. There are various gambling machines in the pub which also would have been emptied. Who knew the patterns of the bank deposits? This has happened before at this same venue.

I had a relaxed weekend at home despite all of the chaos swirling around the village. Norm was away from Friday morning when he flew to Zambia at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. He left the house at 4.30am but I did not hear him tiptoe out, I only woke when Josh left for work.

Friday night Josh and I stayed in and ordered a curry from the Indian Oven and it was ever so delicious as always. As I had been awake so early that morning and Josh was working the next day we were both asleep by 10pm.

Saturday I had a friend pop by to drop off some cleaning products that I bought, but other than that I had a lazy day just doing not much of anything. Of course everything I do is accompanied by my shadow.

I started watching a new series called Retribution on Netflix. There were only 4 episodes in the series and I binge watched them all on Saturday night. It was such a great show, I really recommend it and give it a full 5 Kitten stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sunday I had to emerge from my nest and go shopping so I showered and went down to the village. I did not bother to put on make up so of course I saw so many people I know. Typical.

I decided to cook a beef curry for that evening and I put in loads of veggies and lentils and some cannelloni beans. It cooked all day and we had it that evening for dinner. I forgot to buy any cauliflower rice so we just had it as is with some poppadoms and some chicken samoosas I bought at woolies.

Beef and veggie curry

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Norm arrived home late on Sunday night so I waited up for him to get in. I am never sure who is more excited to see him, me or the dogs. Navajo has barely been eating while Norm was away and he is also limping on his back leg again. I am not sure if this is just amateur dramatics or whether he really has a problem. He is a bit of a drama queen.

On Monday Vanessa came around to do my pedicure and after she left I made dinner. I had cooked a bolognaise sauce on Sunday afternoon. I sliced up a couple of aubergines and fried them to make sure they cooked properly. I then created a sort of Lasouka or Mousana. (What you get if a Moussaka and a Lasagna had a baby.)

I layered the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan and topped it with a layer of the fried aubergines.

They were not as burnt as they look trust me, I am a Mousana Master. I then added a layer of ricotta cheese and topped with a layer of sliced mozzarella and baked it all for about 30-40 minutes.

It was very rich with all of the cheese, it would have been fine without the ricotta. But it was rather tasty and was a nice change from my usual low carb lasagna.

We have had a bit of rain here and there as well and the current estimate for Day Zero is July 9th.

Our new president has announced his new cabinet and I am rather disappointed to see that it is littered with Gupta owned Zuma supporters. His choices are driven by what is good for the ANC, not what is good for the country.

I am most disappointed in the retention of Bathabile Dlamini. Her incompetence has been proven many times over. David Mabuza will be sworn in as the Deputy President of South Africa which is also a slap in the face of all of us as he has been surrounded by scandal and corruption charges. A few of the ministers who did get moved out were a relief so it is not all doom and gloom. However this was a missed opportunity to do a proper clear out of the Gupta-ites and Zuma sycophants.

Ramaphosa only gets two kitten stars for this new cabinet. And that is me being incredibly generous.

⭐️⭐️

I’ve got my eye on you Cyril!

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Facing The Music

After our busy week last week Norm and I were quite happy to have a quiet night in last Friday. Norm made a delicious low carb cottage pie using cauliflower mash instead of potatoes. He topped it all with a thick layer of mature cheddar. To go with it he served baby zucchini fried in butter.

It was nice to have home cooked food on a Friday as we normally have a take away. Norm is getting pretty impressive with his cooking skills!

After dinner we started watching the People vs. O.J. Simpson docudrama which was shown a while back in the US and garnered great reviews. It is part of the American Crime Story series and I intend to watch some of the other ones after this is finished. We found it funny that even though we knew a lot of the info around this case we were still in suspense. I think the acting is brilliant. We finished the series on Tuesday night as we devoured it.

The weather reports had been predicting rain for Friday and as we were relaxing a call came in over the radio asking for assistance so Norm got dressed and headed out. As he left the sky opened and it poured with rain for several hours.

I thank the Cloud spirits and the Water spirits for blessing us with such abundance.

While Norm was out I looked for something on Netflix to keep me amused on my own. I spotted that they have done a new series of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this time branding it simply ‘Queer Eye‘. I did enjoy it but they jerk the heart strings and I’m too much of a bawler to watch many of those without getting too sad.

Saturday morning I had an appointment at the hairdresser in the city centre. I was lucky and got parking nearby on Long Street so I only had one near death experience walking across the chaotic traffic. Pause is such an airy gorgeous venue and I joined the throngs waiting for the lovely Leandra to work her magic.

Due to the drought most people are only washing their hair once a week. It is a bit of a bonus when that once a week falls on the day you get your hair washed at the hairdresser. I did not have a cut this time, we just did a half head of colour to cover my roots.

When I got home I asked Norm if he fancied going out for a late pub lunch and then skipping dinner. He agreed and so I waited for him to shower and then we headed out to the Woodcutters Arms in Hout Bay. It was a warm sunny day with a wee bit of wind but we found a table in the beer garden and we settled in.

We ordered drinks and noticed that they had changed their menu and added on a few new items, however we were not tempted to stray from our usual starters and so we did not. I had the jalapeno cheddar cigars and Norm had the Scotch Egg.

The chicken burger I normally order was gone from the menu however and so I chose another starter as a main, the Popcorn Chicken. I just ordered a portion of fries to go with it.

The chicken was nicely moist and not over cooked. The sauce was really bitter. Not sure what was going on there but it was inedible. I just used my tomato sauce I was given for the fries instead as a ‘dip’.

Norm ordered the Fish and Chips with mushy peas. He encountered a lot of bones when eating it but it was a nice large piece of fish and he did not seem to mind the bones.

I had spotted one item on the menu which was new. There was a peanut butter and popcorn sundae. I can’t get the exact name and description as it is not yet on their website. But it was a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream and another flavour I could not quite identify and there was a swirl of peanut butter sauce on the top and the bottom of the sundae. Peanut butter and popcorn are 2 of my favourite things and I was not disappointed in this tasty little pot of sinful deliciousness.

After we finished eating we headed home so that Norm could take the pups out for their daily constitutional. We just had a relaxing evening at home that night.

On Sunday we had invited Caitlin’s childhood friend Lee and his mom Carla over for lunch. Lee is wanting to set up an NGO and Norm has a lot of knowledge in that area so he has offered to assist Lee. Norm and I got up early to tidy up the back garden and Norm did a shop for us. We kept it simple and just did salads and grilled meat. It was a really hot afternoon but it was enjoyable company so we did not mind too much.

When driving to work on Monday morning I heard that there had been yet another fire in the township in Hout Bay. A firefighter was stabbed by a resident while he was battling the blaze. This is such a bizarre thing which happens in the townships sometimes, the very people coming to assist are then attacked. I have blogged about this from an ambulance point of view but it appears to be wider spread than I understood.

Later that day we also heard about a group of girls who had been raped by four men at the beach in the wee hours of the morning. The girls were parked at the beach and these 4 men attacked them. The alleged rapists were all caught which is at least some comfort.

It is not all doom and gloom and bad news however as we just heard that Day Zero has been pushed back to June! The drought has also finally been declared a national disaster so this should free up some funding. According to the statement released by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the government will “strengthen and support the disaster management structures to implement contingency plans and ensure that immediate relief, recovery and reconstruction measures are put in place to enable the national executive to effectively deal with the effects of this disaster”.

The three provinces – the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape – have already been declared provincial disasters and now they will all be declared national disasters.

On a global scale water scarcity is a huge issue.

In its most recent data (2014), the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said 45 countries were experiencing water shortages, defined as less than a thousand cubic metres (one million litres) per person a year. They include South Africa, Cyprus and Morocco.

The UN’s climate science panel, the IPCC, said in a 2014 report that for every degree Celsius of global warming, about seven percent of the world’s population will see a drop of at least 20 percent in renewable water resources.

Pollution and global warming as well as the population explosions over the last few decades have led us to a dangerous point regarding the resources we need in order to survive.

This week has also been full of some brilliant live music. Both compliments of Cafe Roux, but one was in the city centre branch and the other at the Noordhoek branch.

On Tuesday night Norm and I booked to go to see his former colleague Mae Sithole perform with her band at the Cafe Roux branch in the Cape Town city centre. I love how they make sure that the audience is there to listen and not whitter on to their pals.

We had the best seats in the house. We were on a raised platform at the back of the room and we had a brilliant view of the stage. After we sat down we both started to cough and I had a major sneezing attack. Our waiter, Maya, told us that there had been a fight in a club up the street and the bouncers had used pepper spray to break it up. The intense wind meant that it blew into the other bars down the street and we were all choking. They turned on the air con on high and eventually it dispersed but I would hate to imagine what it was like closer up!

We each ordered a drink to calm our sinus passages and then ordered some food.

Norm ordered the butternut ravioli with sage butter sauce. He really enjoyed this and raved about it.

I ordered a pizza as the menu said they make their own bases and the toppings for the Mexican pizza sounded yummy. I was not disappointed, they do nice thin crispy pizzas with plenty of toppings. I loved the fresh coriander.

To give you a taste, I found this video of Mae performing a while back on the Expresso Morning Show.

Mae’s live performance in Cafe Roux was much more passionate. But appearing at 7am on telly might lead one to be a bit less enthusiastic in their delivery.

Mae’s rendition of Jailer had everyone in the venue on their feet shaking it and singing along with her.

I love this video which was filmed on the streets of Cape Town. It will give you a feel for our city’s vibes as well as Mae’s.

And this is one of my favourite songs of hers which was filmed at UCT, the University where I am currently consulting. I wonder did she write this song about her and her German origin husband Joerg meeting and falling in love?

We chatted to Joerg before the performance and he was telling us about their wedding and his need to pay lobola or a bridal dowry as is customary in many African cultures. I think that Mae is Shona as she is from Zimbabwe. Joerg paid 8 cows for the privilege of Mae’s hand in marriage. As she is such a beauty with an amazing voice and a few University degrees under her belt, I think he got a bargain.

The staff, the comfy seating, the food, the venue, the performance were all brilliant. The only debit was getting slightly pepper sprayed, however that is not the fault of the venue.

I will give the evening a full on 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After the performance ended we joined the crowds trying to greet Mae and exit the venue. We gave her a congratulatory hug on our way past and we went out onto Shortmarket Street to walk to our car and saw that it was pouring with rain! Giant fat raindrops were falling, with thunder and lightening making a rather spectacular show above us. Normally we would run to avoid getting drenched but I was quite happy to revel in it. It poured with rain all the way home and we were so happy, we just hoped that the weather was not upsetting the pups at home but our dogs are never bothered by loud noises such as storms or fireworks. Norm has been walking them while it was storming over head before and they were not in the least bit fazed.

The following day was Valentine’s Day. Norm and I never exchange gifts but I was surprised by stunning flowers when I got in from work.

He had left the sweetest handwritten message on my card.

I am such a lucky girl. ❤️

We did book to go for a night out however. We booked at the Cafe Roux Noordhoek venue for dinner and to see Alice Phoebe Lou. The show was sold out so I am glad we booked in advance.

When we arrived at Noordhoek Village we were rather surprised that there were huge numbers of people milling around. There was no parking so Norm dropped me at the venue and went to park and I went through to get our seats.

We then discovered that there was a market on. Every Wednesday there is the Village Market from 4-8pm. It looked like a lovely market, however it was directly adjacent to the venue where the music was being played and the noises from the market stalls and the people who were attending it was rather overbearing and we struggled to hear each other or the music when it started.

When Norm dropped me I had first been escorted over to sit in the middle of a picnic table where there were already 2 other couples sitting. I had been having issues with my back for a few days so I was not keen on not having a seat with a back to lean on and when the waiter came over after Norm arrived and offered us a table on the perimeter of the venue which did have a back to the seats we gladly abandoned our new friends and moved over to the other table.

We ordered our food which came pretty quickly. I chose the pulled pork which came on a seeded bun with coleslaw and fries. I did not eat the bun but I did have most of the fries.

Norm ordered the cheddar cheese burger which was really messy but he seemed to enjoy it.

Alice came on at about 8.30. She was performing on the opposite side of the courtyard to where we were seated but we could see her OK.

However people would get food from the market behind us and then come and sit on the wall of the bench we were seated on and yammer on loudly. I shushed a few of them and glared at the rest but it was really distracting.

I found a video of Alice performing one of the songs from her last CD so you can hear her.

And this contains some of the songs she sang last night.

Alice has a lovely voice but she spent a lot of time talking to us and in some instances even lecturing us about one subject or another. She was a bit rambling in her conversation and somewhat distracted. She even forgot the lyrics a few times. As a result of that and the background noise I will only give the night 3 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Later that day we heard the horrific news from the USA of yet another school massacre, this one being the worst since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. This is also the 18th school shooting in the US since the start of this year only.

Let that sink in. In six weeks there have been 18 shootings which have occurred at a school. I am so glad I do not have children attending an American school.

However my sadness was somewhat alleviated by the resignation of our president Jacob Zuma. In typical Zuma fashion, he was very late for his own scheduled media appointment. If you can endure listening to his illiterate ramblings and bizarre speech patterns I have embedded the video below.

He jumped ship before the vote of no confidence could occur that was tabled for the next morning in Parliament. Jerking around the bollock deficient ANC and the rest of the country right up to the last minute.

I have my doubts about the proposed new President Cyril Ramaphosa because of the history of his involvement in the Marikana tragedy. I hope as the president he learns to put his constituents ahead of his bank balance. That concept seemed to be a challenge for the last president.

I hope that South Africa can recover from the damage done by Zuma. I also hope that he and the cronies who assisted him in raping our country will be brought to task and justice will be served.

On a more personal level I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend. I have another busy one scheduled. But of course, you will hear all about it soon enough.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo