Offensive Defensiveness

This week we had news of a very significant arrest by SAPS (The South African Police Service) which I hope makes for a bit of peace in Hout Bay.

Official announcement from the Office of the Station Commander of Hout Bay SAPS: “On Wednesday, 22 of May 2019 at approx. 01:00 Hout Bay SAPS members led by the Station Commander, Lt Col Nebhisi searched several houses in Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu for known suspects. Four suspects aged between 25 and 31 were arrested for violent crimes committed in Hout Bay. The suspects will be linked with other cases, including Robbery, Robbery with a firearm, House Robbery, theft and a case of Firearm control Act. Cellular phones and an imitation firearm were also confiscated. Currently photo identity parades are being conducted to link the suspects with cases that occurred in the last six month that contributed to the crime escalating in Hout Bay. Suspects names cannot be made public at this point as they have not made their plea at court. The suspects will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate court on Friday, 24 of May 2019 on the mentioned charges.”

Two other suspects had already been arrested after a recent chase following a car theft.

The 4 suspects appeared in court on Friday and were also remanded in custody for a bail hearing on 12 June 2019, so in all 6 well known criminals will be behind bars until 12 June for their bail hearings.

This lot of bad boys are assumed to be members of the balaclava wearing gang who have been hitting houses and robbing victims in both Meadows and the Harbour. We celebrated the arrests and signed a petition to not release them on bail as there is an iterative cycle of crime, arrest, bail, crime and on and on it goes. Same criminals, different victims.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was officially sworn in this week and crime and our ineffective criminal justice system should be top of his list of issues choking our country.

I had a strange interaction this week and I was quite taken aback by how a woman spoke to a colleague. I wasn’t involved in the convo, the African man next to me was talking to an Afrikaans woman who stopped by. There was an issue with some conflicting information and this woman was so rude to my friend. He investigated and it turned out her team are responsible for maintaining this info, and we wondered if that was at the root of her defensive behavior. I couldn’t believe it. I wondered was her attitude because she is Afrikaans and he is black? Is it because she is a pay grade above and sees herself as ‘superior’ in a literal way? I then listened to the woman, and I mean reallllly listened. As in read the vibrations of her voice, not her words. I watched her body language and watched her nervous twitching.

Her arrogance was a defense mechanism. A way to deter people, put them on the back foot so they were taken aback and didn’t defend themselves, even when she was wrong. Rather defend than risk attack.

Like a small barking dog. Like our smallest Pomeranian Panda.

I even recognize that behavior in myself.

It just shows it pays to sit back and observe and try and understand the motivation for the behavior of others.

I’m just so volatile and reactive there is no time for observation or reflection until afterwards, in my post game analysis.

Lessons!

I’ve had a great weekend. Norm had a conference in Johannesburg this weekend and so he treated me to a flight to George so that I could visit my oldest and youngest children. Trevor will be 33 years old in a few days which is almost unfathomable to me! How is that possible?

Norm flew up to Johannesburg on Wednesday and so I had to keep myself and the dogs alive until Vanessa and Robyn came to stay with the dogs on the weekend. We have a dog walker as well, Charles is lovely and the dogs adore him.

I had originally booked a half day off but decided that I would take a full day off on Friday. I had to take out the bins and recycling early on Friday morning, feed the dogs their raw diet, get packed and to the chemist to pick up my meds and then I was finally off. I checked in early then went to Mugg and Bean for a quick bite to eat then went to hang out by the gate and play games on my iPad.

They do no announcements at this airport, you have to watch the signs. Luckily my gate didn’t change as they often do, and we eventually boarded a bus and were driven to the little airbus. Down came a little set of stairs and you climbed up into the tiny little cabin. The center of the aisle is very narrow and reasonably tall but the areas under the overheads are very low and due to the narrow nature of the plane you have to sort of leopard crawl or crouch to your seats. An annoying man was in the wrong seat and as a result he held up the entire queue of people trying to board as he said ‘there are plenty of seats just sit somewhere else’ to the woman whose seat he was in when she questioned him. The flight was pretty empty. There are only 3 seats in a row, two on the one side and one on the other side.

I was originally given a bulkhead seat but it had been changed at the last minute and when I got on and saw that I had two large leather seats to myself on the exit row I was happy as I had tons of space.

It’s a beautiful view.

When we landed and we went to exit there was the same man who had been delaying entry now standing in the aisle turning on his phone and faffing about. I finally shouted ‘can we get out please’ and he finally looked up and slowly shuffled off halfway into his seat so we could get off. Some people are oblivious of what is going on around them. I wanted off as I was eager to see my babies!

Lily was waiting on me when I landed in George. I collected my bag and off we went.

We went to pop into Josh’s Mom Jackie and her man Alistair’s gorgeous house for a drink. Jackie was off back to the UK on Saturday so it was such coincidence we were both in George at the same time. It was lovely to see Bronwyn and her fiancée Brendan too. We sat in the garden chatting and then Lily and I went to her house for her to change and for us to meet Trevor.

The sun was setting on the drive from George to Mossel Bay and it was quite beautiful.

We got ready for dinner and Trevor arrived to join us. I hadn’t seen him in over a year!

He is such a handsome and sweet man.

I finally got to meet Toothless, Lily’s mad feral kitten.

For dinner we went to Cafe Gannet in the Mossel Bay Harbour. We did not book and we were happy that we were given a table all on our own which was nice.

Lily had the calamari with both rice and chips. She loved it.

Trevor had the Indian Battered Hake for R140: served with fries, side salad and coconut curry sauce.

I had Asian Chicken: Chicken breast in pomme coat, tossed in spiced soy, honey, ginger & garlic glaze. Served on top of short grain rice. Accompanied with pickled red sesame cabbage. It was R165.

I loved this dish! The chicken was tender and full of flavor I would have this dish again.

My only criticism was that the cabbage was not pickled. It had barely met the vinegar. It was certainly not pickled.

But I still give this dish 4.5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We were full but still had a sweet craving and so we chose dessert. Lily and I ordered the Chocolate Pudding which comes with your choice of ice cream and we both chose peanut butter.

Trevor ordered the apple crumble which he usually loves. He said it was ‘interesting’. He said ‘good interesting’ when I dug deeper.

Lily then went back home from the restaurant and Trevor and I drove through to the Wilderness where he and Amber live. Their house is in a lovely peaceful setting and faces a nature reserve.

Near their house is a stunning beach.

We had a relaxed evening chatting and watching telly. It was so good to just be with him.

On Saturday Lily came through to pick us up for lunch and we went to Timberlake Farm Village. We were starving and went straight to Zucchini for an early lunch. We sat outside despite the chill. It was pleasant as we were wrapped up warm.

We were in the sun which helped.

We all ordered a panini. Trevor had the Brie and gammon panini and Lily and I had the roast chicken one.

There are loads of little monkeys running around but they were too fast for a pic.

We had a leisurely meal and then we had a wander around the shops in the village. They had all sorts of things, some cute plants, lovely jewelry and charming hand bags. I could have spent a fortune. Lily bought some cute feather earrings.

We then went back to Trevor’s house and relaxed and hung out until that evening when we were going for sundowners at Upstairs at Rosie’s in Sedgefield. They have a wide view of the sea.

We chatted to the owner Rose (who is also Amber’s mom) before the crowds arrived.

Trevor ordered ribs and Lily and I both ordered a fillet steak.

We enjoyed our evening a lot!

After dinner Lily headed back home and Trevor and I went to his house.

We watched Aquaman.

I have to saw that I thought it was really rubbish, poorly acted, had a major overuse of CGI and weird voiceovers. But I watched it because my boy wanted to watch it, and well, because of Jason Momoa. He looked pretty fine.

But the film itself scores a low 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

Sunday morning we had a lazy morning, then Lily came to collect us and we headed into Wilderness for brunch. We went to The Blue Olive Restaurant.

We sat outside.

Lily and I ordered the Chicken Burger with avocado, brie cheese, bacon, figs and salad on a large grilled chicken breast.

Trevor ordered the Alfredo pasta but I did not annoy him with photographing it.

There was even a busker singing nearby who wasn’t bad!

After lunch we relaxed a bit then Lily drove me through to the airport. I told her that she could just drop me and head home but as I was so early she insisted on walking me in and waiting for me to go through. I had forgotten that George airport is so tiny and now I know why the kids eye rolled so hard when I wanted to get to the airport so early. We arrived before the check in desk was even open.

We had an iced coffee and hung about chatting until I insisted Lily go home and I then went through security to the gates. I had full bottles of water in my carry on bag when I went through security in Cape Town and George and they cared not at all!

The plane was delayed and they did nothing to update or inform the passengers. The board still showed the original boarding time even though we only started boarding closer to the time when we were actually due to take off. Eventually the plane tootled into view.

The board doesn’t update but people start to drift up to queue. I hate standing in queues so I waited til most people had gone through. I had asked for the same seat I had on the trip over and when I boarded, you guessed it, there was a man sitting in my seat. I stopped, looked pointedly at the seat numbers, looked at my boarding pass and then looked stonily at him. He said ‘I can move’ and I said ‘well you ARE in my seat, sooooo’ but then I realized I didn’t really want the window seat so I said that I would take the aisle seat. Of course I only said it after he unbuckled and shuffled out into the aisle and so he had to turn around and shuffle back in. Oops.

I wish I had suggested he go to a different row as there were plenty of empty seats and he manspread his thighs so wide that I felt like I had three legs. He also kept shoving his elbow across the armrest and into my body. I let him get his arm well into the space and then I leaned hard on it. I definitely heard a bit of a grunt out of him. Good. Silly arrogant arse.

I told you I am not good with strangers.

Anyway.

We land and I collect my bag and head out to the car park. I try to pay for my parking using a credit card but it won’t accept my card. I was holding up the queue and eventually had to use cash. I had exactly R400 and parking was R395. Norm said today when he tried to pay the machine charged him twice!

I was back at work today, a bit dazed and exhausted but I was there! Norm arrived home tonight to much hysteria from the dogs.

That squeaking is from the ball in Navajo’s mouth. He stole it from Pixie because a) it is a great way of expressing excitement, b) he loves to give a gift to new arrivals and c) because he loves to annoy Pixie.

It is lovely going away, but it is just as lovely to come home. We have a quiet week planned recuperating from our excursions.

We are going to Cafe Roux on Saturday to see ‘The Rockerfellas’.

The lead singer lives in our neighborhood so we are going for that reason as the music might be a bit too rocky for us old gits.

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

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Courage over Comfort

This week we had the National and Provincial Elections in South Africa. Considering the corruption the ANC has been proven to be guilty of and how much embezzlement they have done by pilfering money from so many areas I had hopes that they might be knocked from their perch but unfortunately the masses have again voted them into power.

I think that some people continue to support the ANC because they feel that the party saved them from the horrors of apartheid. They vote out of fear that if they give another party power, things could revert back to that repression.

Contrary to the fear of SA returning to the days of apartheid I overheard several old white toppies at work yearning for ‘the old days’. They reminisced over when SA was a safe place to live, where the shops were closed on Sundays and families went to the beach and had barbecues. What they are neglecting to remember was that those beaches were restricted to white use only and the black and colored populations were banned from the beaches and so many other places where whites took their privilege for granted. You can understand how some of the Africans who lived through that horrendous time are afraid of going back to that, but conversely the ANC have done nothing in their 25 years of governing to better the lives of the majority of their constituents.

Change is badly needed in SA. Our state owned enterprises are limping along having been badly managed and plundered by corruption. There have been so many politicians who have been proven to be involved in the state capture debacles and these people need to be prosecuted. The economy is struggling and needs uplifting. I only hope that Ramaphosa can turn the country around.

I am happy that the DA party has retained control of the Western Cape at a provincial level, now that they have gotten rid of Patricia De Lille I hope that they can also turn themselves around as I think she was as corrupt as the ANC politicians.

The benefit of the election was that most of the country had the day off to allow them to vote. As I am not a citizen I cannot vote but I fully enjoyed the paid day off!

Caitlin had a bit of drama on the holiday as she had a car crash. She works for a company with a mostly American client base so she had to work. On her way in to the office she had a guy turn directly in front of her resulting in her swerving into oncoming traffic to avoid hitting him. She hit the verge in the center of the road and it caused her tire to burst. Her bumper and rims were badly damaged. Luckily she was not injured but the driver kept going and did not stop so she has to claim on her insurance and pay her deductible and it will cost her thousands.

She had assistance from several people who stopped and changed her tire for her. There must be some chivalry left! I am just so grateful she was not injured, it could have been really bad if someone had been coming in the other direction.

Road safety in SA in general is a bit dodgy. Coming home last Friday I came around a blind bend to find an articulated lorry stopped in the middle of the road with no safety cones or any warning at all. I then drove on a bit to find a man frantically trying to pick up a load of broken bricks which had obviously fallen off of the back of the lorry. The poor guy had no protection or warning signs behind him for any traffic which came upon him, he was very vulnerable. You would never have that situation in Europe. The lane would be closed while it was all cleaned up.

We have tried to stay predominately low carb this week. Norm cooked where he could.

One night he did a ‘one pan’ meal of baked chicken, roast cauliflower, broccoli and butternut.

He also boiled some sweet potato and served it all with mashed sweet potato. It was delicious.

I also cooked a few times, I made a Mexican ‘Taco Salad’ by frying mince, adding spices and then serving it on a bed of lettuce. I topped with cheese, salsa, sour cream & guacamole. It was rather yummy if I say so myself.

To go with it I attempted to make some ‘cheese’ taco shell substitutes using provolone cheese. We used to get thinly sliced provolone from Woolworths but they no longer stock this and so we bought a block and I grated it and baked it. I did not leave them in quite long enough and they were a bit chewy rather than crispy but they were OK.

The following night I used the left over spicy mince to make a chill con carne and to serve it we topped it with cheese, salsa and sour cream.

On election night we decided to go out for dinner and I was craving prawns so we went to the Lookout Deck at the Hout Bay harbour. It was a cold night and there were only a few other tables of people there.

We chose to sit out on the deck as it was cold but not too cold.

As a result of it being such a quiet night the staff in the kitchen were obviously bored as the noise they made was incredibly loud and a bit off putting.

I ordered the Prawn Pan for R198.

Norm ordered the catch of the day which was Dorado. It was a nice meaty piece of fish and he said it was nice.

We had a moment of weakness and fell off the low sugar bandwagon. We both ordered a sundae. I had the chocolate nut sundae and Norm had the caramel fudge one.

The next day I felt sluggish and my joints were killing me, it reminded me of the toxins of sugar and that it is not compatible with my chemical make up.

One night we ordered Banting pizza from Casarecchio. It has a cauliflower base so it is low carb. I had it with mexican beef, peppers and onions and it was very tasty.

On Friday night I had my usual treat of Sushi for dinner. I had Crab salad, Cucumber Roses topped with fat steamed prawns, Salmon Roses and Butterflies.

Saturday morning I slept late and Lola kept me company. In fact I woke up to her sitting on my chest and she then refused to move for hours. I had a long lie as it would have been rude to disturb her, right? #ThatsMyExcuse

It was an absolutely stunning day.

When I finally got up I discovered a dead mouse deposited right where I usually sit in the lounge. I hoped it wasn’t Lola who killed him and then came to kiss me with that mousey mouth. Bleh.

Norm made us a late breakfast and I watched the Brené Brown Netflix show ‘The Call to Courage’. She referred to this quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I have always felt that I am courageous but I think maybe I am just aggressive and volatile. I am not at all good at being vulnerable. In fact if I feel hurt I attack. I cannot express feelings of vulnerability. I’m not very good at expressing anything except in writing actually!

Saturday night I had booked tickets to go to our fave live music venue Cafe Roux to see a performer we had never heard of, Cat Simoni. Many of her YouTube videos are a bit cheesy but this one has sound only and is a song I love, just to give you an idea of her voice.

It was a tribute to Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, James Taylor and Carole King, I chose to go as I love all of their music.

We arrived about 7 and we were shown to our favorite table.

We were quite hungry so we ordered some dinner. I chose the chicken salad which came with grilled chicken breasts, avocado, fresh Parmesan slices, toasted pine nuts, rocket and a fresh light salad dressing.

This salad was so delicious! I really enjoyed it. It had turned into a really warm day and evening after our week of cold and misty weather so a salad was the perfect choice.

Norm had the braised chicken fillet with mushroom sauce and steamed vegetables and he really enjoyed it.

We both give our food 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We settled in and waited on Cat to come on stage. Another couple were seated next to us and then shortly after that Cat came on. Usually the staff announce the performers and at the same time remind the audience that they should not talk during the performance but this time it did not happen. Maybe the couple next to us were not aware of this rule and they talked loudly throughout the entire show. The man even sang full voice along with Cat. He was out of tune and it really spoiled the evening for me, I found him so annoying!

When I wanted to confront him Norm reminded me of all of the concerts where I have misbehaved. I threw a girl across the tent at George Ezra and shoved a woman so hard I nearly chucked her off of the bleachers at Rodriguez and I threw a drink on a woman at Kings of Leon. I have an anger management issue. I am not good in crowds and I am not good with arseholes. Sometimes it goes a bit awry when those things are combined. His reminders calmed me down and I sat passively even though bristling with annoyance.

However Cat had a lovely voice and I loved the songs she sang. Funny enough my favorite was the unplanned track she sang as an encore, Landslide by Stevie Nicks.

Despite the obnoxious arse next to me we had a brilliant night.

The next day was both Mother’s Day as well as my daughter Caitlin’s birthday and she came around to collect me about 12:30 and we went down to the village to shop for some tidbits. We tried to keep the carb count low but had a few exceptions.

We had chicken meatballs, mozzarella arancini, a few different types of cheese, ham, dips, crudités, low carb seed crackers, onion marmalade and a low sugar cranberry iced tea. It was easy and delicious.

For dessert we had low carb brownies and Banting ice cream.

I loved the brownies but Norm did not like them at all. That is fine, more for me!

I gave Caitlin one of her birthday presents as the other gift had not arrived yet.

I had bought some succulents in a little metal teapot at the Vintage market from Potted Up.

I love the teapot and it is so heavy that it won’t blow around in the crazy Cape Town winds.

The children gave me a lovely little stone bird which goes on a metal rod and will go into a flower pot in my garden. How adorable is he?

Caity also painted a lovely little purple butterfly for me. I am going to frame it as it is so special.

Apparently Lily is bringing another little gift for me this weekend but the phone calls from Lily and Trevor and spending the day with Caitlin made me feel greedy to expect anything more. I am so blessed.

Caitlin and I were going to make some pewter designs and she brought us each a little notebook and a wooden box to decorate. I chose a few designs and Caitlin drew them to size.

I traced the first design onto my pewter and outlined it with the tools, then puffed out the design to make it raised. We melted beeswax to fill the back of the design to stop it being flattened.

We then rubbed it with a liquid which gave it a patina and then polished it.

After we finished we glued it to our notebooks. I did a Celtic design.

Caitlin did a protea.

I think they turned out rather fabulously. I am so chuffed with our efforts.

We packed up after 8pm as we were finished, tired and hungry. Norm went for takeaways and Cait and I shared a Banting pizza and salad.

We rang my Mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day and had a laugh about all sorts. Norm and I are hoping to go visit this year or next. I really miss having her near enough to pop round for a visit. I sent her a little parcel of things for her fairy garden. They arrived today.

We all relaxed a bit then Caitlin headed home. It was such a lovely day.

Today I was back at work. This is the first full week we have worked in ages as we have had a public holiday every week for the last 4 weeks.

I hope I cope. It’s going to be a busy week. Norm and I are going to the Opera on Wednesday to see Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. I am ever so excited. I adore the emotions the opera triggers in me. Here is a little taste for you.

Lily and Josh arrive on Friday and we are going to Hudson’s for burgers to celebrate Caitlin’s dinner as a family. Pixie has a chiropractor appointment on Saturday morning and I have drumming on Sunday so it will be a busy weekend.

I hope you all had a great weekend and here is hoping for a good week ahead for us all.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Hardly Strong

I was watching a series this week where a mother and daughter were having a bit of a disagreement and the mother said to the daughter ‘You think you are so strong, but it only comes off as hard.’ I have heard this myself many times, I know that I am strong. I am also hard when the occasion warrants it. I wonder what is the tipping point from one to the other? I guess I ride that fence in between the two, falling into one direction or the other depending on my need for self protection.

I had 3 days off last weekend as it was my birthday and I try to always book off work for my birthday. I think it should be illegal to have to work on your special day. Norm and I had discussed what I fancied doing weeks ago but the discussion did not stick in his head and what I planned and what we did ended up being completely different, however I was happy with the way the weekend panned out. I had asked Norm to book for the whole family to go to Hogshead as I knew that their food is a generic people pleaser and we have a few fussy eaters in our family. I had asked Norm to book for just he and I to go for a fancy lunch at La Mouette on the Sunday or even on Monday which was my actual birthday. The Hogshead somehow fell off plan completely and we ended up taking the whole family to La Mouette on Saturday night. A lovely, however pricey expedition.

Friday after I got in from work Lily arrived down from Mossel Bay. It was lovely to see her and catch up with what all is going on in her life. Josh did not come with her this visit as he has been traveling back and forth for months and just needed a bit of a rest. Friday night we just chilled at home, ordered pizzas and cozied up in front of the fire as it was quite cold again and the rain was pouring down.

Saturday morning Norm was up early as he had to take Navajo to David, the doggy chiropractor. Navajo’s ankle seems better but he has so much strain to his lower back and hips from hopping on 3 legs and hauling his weight around on his front legs. Just touching the middle of his back makes him cry. It is breaking my heart watching him struggle. However after seeing David on Saturday and the doggy physio on Monday he actually managed to pee while standing on his bad leg today, something he has not done for months. Fingers crossed he is on the road to recovery.

After Nav and Norm got back home, Norm had to quickly shower and change and he headed off to a business meeting in town where he was presenting to 2 different groups.

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❤️

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Focus on how cute he is and not my messy kitchen in the background please.

Lily and I decided to head into the village as I need to buy new eyeglasses and I needed some advice on what style suits me. I tried on dozens. I narrowed my faves to these 4.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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I posted this pic on both Facebook and Instagram asking for votes and I got loads of responses. Most votes seemed to be for either 1 or 3. Some people really did NOT like the red glasses, but I love red and I love cat eye glasses so I am not sure if I can be persuaded to not take them. I go back in 2 weeks for an eye exam and will decide then which ones I want. If I can get number 1 in a black frame, I will definitely take those.

After we finished at the optometrist Lily and I drove down to the Hout Bay harbour as we wanted to have a nibble and go for a walk along the harbour and pier. As we got into the car at the optometrist we were hit by a wave of stench. We have a fish processing plant in our village and when it is in operation the entire village reeks of a horrid smell which makes you feel nauseous. We decided to drive down to the harbour and see what it was like but once there we opened our car and decided it was unbearable so we turned around and headed back into the village and settled on Deli Delish. We sat inside as the weather is so unpredictable and we hoped that meant we would not smell the stinky fish factory.

The stench had made us a bit nauseous and we were conscious that we were eating a big meal a few hours later so we decided to just have a scone and a bit of pineapple tart.

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

After we finished we headed home to get ready for our dinner at La Mouette. Caitlin and Wes came to our place first and I opened the birthday gifts from the children. They gave me 2 gorgeous warm long cardigans and a low carb cook book.

Wes gave me a bunch of lilies which are my fave flowers, they will last ages and look gorgeous as they bloom.

We had a photo shoot on the balcony outside our bedroom before we left. (Ummm what is going on with my one weird skew boob?!)

We then all drove together into the city in my car and were lucky enough to get parked right by the venue. We asked the doorman to take a pic of all of us outside on the patio on our way in.

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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We were seated in a cozy corner booth with lots of room to stretch out. We were treated to a gorgeous glass of champagne as we were handed our menus. The champers was compliments of our host Mari. Such a thoughtful gesture!

They served us with 2 different types of home made bread and a bowl of warm dipping sauce. The sauce was made up of garlic and various gorgeous flavours in a hot beef fat broth. Sounds odd but it was very tasty, smoky and meaty.

We all decided to go for the Winter Tasting Menu which is R295 for 5 courses.

To kick off, the table was served some ‘snacks’ which were described as:

  • Mushroom gyoza, fermented cabbage and apple slaw
  • Truffle and cheese croquettes, roasted garlic aioli
  • Crispy beef short rib bao, pickled cucumber, crispy onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

These were all fabulous! The cheese croquettes are always a favourite and a meal at La Mouette would be incomplete without them. We all moaned with happiness while devouring them. The bao was rich and meaty, really gorgeous flavours. The gyoza was divine as well and I am not really a fan of the texture of dumplings, but the gorgeous flavours made up for the texture.

Next came the leek and potato soup described as ‘Smoked mash, leek oil, ash and velouté’. This was served with a bit of theatre. First they brought out a bowl with a pile of fine mash with a glistening puddle of leek oil sitting in the centre.

Then they bring around a little container and pour on the creamy soup which you then stir all together.

The soup has such flavour and I loved the way that they presented it.

For the next course you had a choice of either spicy vegetable kofta:
Cauliflower crumble, green tea and parmesan oats cracker. Norm chose this and he said it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

The other choice was the West coast mussels: Curry, compressed apple, burnt chard and onion bhaji powder. All of us except Norm had this dish. I am usually a big mussel fan, I found the delicate mussels to be a bit overwhelmed by the intense flavours of the dish. I enjoyed it but it was not my fave dish of the night.

The next course was a choice of two offerings as well, the choice that most of us went with was the cured pork belly: BBQ carrot purée, red chicory and crackling.

This was so good! The pork belly was tender and had an amazing flavour. The crackling was thin as paper and ever so crunchy. It was beautifully cooked. I loved this dish. I wanted to lick my plate.

The other main option was Herb gnocchi: Parmesan crème fraîche, pickle butternut purée, mushrooms and sorrel. Caitlin had this and she seemed to enjoy it and ate it all up quick sticks.

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Herb gnocchi

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Dessert was lemon meringue:
Mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and wood sorrel. Ohhhhh yummy yum yum. Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts and this one did not disappoint. It had such flavour. I loved it.

After we finished and asked for the bill we were served some of their homemade macarons. I missed the description but I thought I could taste passionfruit, but the girls thought they were blueberry! Whatever the flavour they were oh so good.

They made our tongues blue but our already full tummies even happier!

We had a lovely evening and Lily drove us home as she was our designated sober driver.

In the middle of the night that night the house alarm went off and Norm looked all around the house to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary but assumed it was just the wind and we eventually went back to sleep.

Sunday we were all up early as always, it is impossible to lie in with a houseful of hungry beasties. Norm went down to the kitchen to feed them and discovered a bird with an injured wing. It was a tiny little bird and Lola had obviously been torturing it and had damaged his wing. Norm caught him and took him down to the green and released him, I am telling myself that he recovered and is now fine.

Then today when I was coming home from work I saw a guinea fowl running frantically along the side of the road and then noticed that there was a bird knocked over and dead in the road and the frantic one was trying to get to its partner. I found both of these experiences so upsetting as I love birds.

Sunday morning Lily and I sat in the sun on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the nice change in weather.

The dogs hung out with us as they are always happy to be outside.

Lily had a long drive ahead and so she showered and packed up and headed home late morning. It was so lovely having her here.

Norm and I decided to go out for lunch later that day and headed across Chapman’s Peak toward Jake’s. It is the most stunning drive.

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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We were given a fabulous table in a spot of sunshine right by the door so we also caught a bit of fresh air.

I wore one of my new cardigans and it was lovely and toasty warm.

They had a different guy singing than the previous time we were there but we really enjoyed him, he had a great voice. He sang some great tunes and had a wide variety, he did Under the Bridge by RHCP and even King of the Road by Roger Miller which always reminds me of my grandmother.

Norm chose the fish and chips. It was beautifully presented but the fish was undercooked and full of bones. Norm never complains at a restaurant but he actually called over the manager and showed him the raw gooey dough and the piles of bones. The manager said we were the 3rd to complain about the fish that day and I wondered why did he not pull it off the menu? However the manager was very nice and apologetic and took the fish off of the bill.

I chose the Tasting Platter as I fancied picky things. It had panko prawns, yunan ribs, chili poppers, chicken pot stickers and parma ham and cheese balls. I had expected cheese croquettes but these were cold, spicy cheese balls, filled with a soft cheese and were not cooked. They were tasty but just not what I expected. The rest of it was very nice.

Norm felt deprived after his unsatisfactory meal and so we both ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie for dessert described as ‘white, milk and dark chocolate, bar one chocolate sauce and ice cream.

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

As an American I have high standards when it comes to brownies. Don’t give me a dry ass piece of cake, shove a nut in it and call it a brownie. I think the sauce was not made from a bar one but other than that I have no complaints. The brownie was moist and full of yummy chocolate chunks and was really good. I will be having this every time I visit Jake’s.

We drove the long way home and it had started raining while we were at Jake’s and it became a torrent of rain and it is a very windy road so we made our way slowly. We stopped off and did a little shop of bits and pieces and then headed home and built a big fire to stave off the freezing cold.

The next morning Norm gave me his gift as he had saved it for Monday as he wanted me to have something to open on my actual birthday. I badly needed a new handbag as mine was literally falling apart. He chose this one as it has a separate removable section for containing my iPad. It is simple and elegant, I love it.

Norm had to go to a meeting for work early that morning so he dropped me off about 10 at Cait’s. First we popped into Martins Bakery which is right by Caitlin’s flat. It is owned by Wes’ aunt and uncle so I am always happy to support them. The fact that they make such nice food is a bonus! I bought some donuts and muffins and we headed to Caitlin’s. We had a coffee and a pastry and then we headed to Kalk Bay. I have always loved Kalk Bay, it is a special little place. We parked at one end of the village.

We walked along the main road, hitting all of the cute quirky shops. We trawled through the china shop and realised that it used to be a tattoo parlour and this is where Caitlin and Trevor  got their first tat, we all 3 had one done there together about 12 years ago. Here is a throwback pic of me getting mine.

Caitlin bought some little china figurines to go into her printer tray and some other items and I bought a cowboy hat as mine is falling apart.

We shopped until we were exhausted and hungry and we headed off to Live Bait to see if we could get a table and we were in luck! We were given a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pier.

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

We both ordered the prawns which came with chips, rice or salad. I chose chips and Caitlin chose salad.

The prawns were perfectly cooked and were ever so tasty. We both loved this dish and scarfed every bite. They were in a buttery, slightly spicy sauce. The chips were home made and delicious.

After we finished eating we went for a walk down the pier to help with our digestion. The wind was howling!

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

After our walk we stopped for an ice cream at the Ice Cafe as Kalk Bay is infamous for their ice cream. We walked along the road munching and staring at the sea and then when we finished we headed back to Hout Bay.

Caitlin dropped me off at Retha’s so that she and I could have a birthday drink together. Retha gave me Pierre’s steam punk hat for our dress up box which I put on so that I would not forget it. The kitties seemed perplexed by it all.

Norm came to collect me and when we got home I discovered that Trevor and Amber had sent me some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a stunning bouquet of flowers.

Norm had bought a chocolate brownie to stick a candle in so that he could sing to me and wish me happy birthday. I made a wish that my ex-husband has good results from his biopsy this week. As I made the wish and blew out the candle I smugly thought ‘how virtuous of me to use my wish for the good of my children’ and the candle relit!!! I looked at Norm and he said ‘that means you get an extra wish’ and so I wished another wish. I thought that was a rather spooky experience. But I won’t look my gift wish in the mouth.

I really feel self indulgent wishing for anything as I have all that I could ever hope for – a roof over my head, an interesting career, a lovely family, a loving, handsome husband and wonderful children. I wish there was more money and less crime and that my mother lived closer and then my life would be perfect, but then who ever expects perfection? Even a Virgo would never be that greedy.

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

 

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