The Spectrum of Light And Dark

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

The world has a long way to go to address the issue, it isn’t only South Africa where gender based violence is prevalent but it is a huge issue here. Add in our high levels of poverty, HIV and drug addiction and it is a recipe for disaster.

Cape Town has a forensic unit at Victoria hospital where medical care, social workers, psychology and medico-legal assistance is provided.

My friend Bronwyn who runs Community Cohesion works there.

Recently Bronwyn launched an appeal for donations of instant oats for the rape survivors who are being treated at the forensic unit. Victims need to take post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV transmission.

The reality is that many women do not have the food security they need to take the medication, which needs to be taken for a month, and is seriously strong. It cannot be taken without food.

This forensic unit covers over 50 different suburbs. Here is a map so you can see the high number of communities and the immense level of need.

All of the areas shown go to Victoria hospital for assistance with sexual violence. There are so many areas in the catchment with abject levels of poverty, so these oats will make a huge difference. Just having transport to get to the hospital is a huge challenge for many of the women.

Some women do not survive their attack to even make it to the hospital.

A friend told me a horrific story about a friend of hers who was strangled and stabbed in Hout Bay.

Christel was murdered by her cousin Andrew and her dead body was left in the bathroom of her home for days. Her family had been trying to contact her and they went to her home to look for her. Her mother, son and the father of her child discovered her decomposing body lying on the bathroom floor with a curtain covering her face.

Christel had shared the house with her female cousin whose parents owned the house. Her aunt and uncle lived in Hangberg which is another area of Hout Bay. When Andrew was released from prison for murder he pitched up at his parents previous home where Christel and his sister were staying. Andrew was a meth addict and when he came around he tried to rape his sister but his sister fought him off and then she went to stay with her parents in their home in Hangberg. Christel had nowhere else to go and stayed in the home.

Andrew returned and argued with Christel and he stabbed her several times and strangled her. Over the next few days Andrew tried to find a way to get rid of Christel’s body. He tried to borrow a chain saw from the woodcutters who live by the river. He tried to dig a hole at the cemetery but the caretaker chased him away. He bought plastic bags and an axe.

When the family discovered Christel’s body they found 4 or 5 used condoms which indicated that Andrew must have been violating her body after her death. He wore condoms as Christel was HIV positive.

Everything about this murder is just so horrendous but many aspects of it occur regularly in South Africa and in other countries.

There are so many women and children who are victimized by people they know or even by family.

A few weeks ago 2 teenagers were charged with the rape and murder of 14 year old Janika Mello whose body was found in her backyard. The half-naked girl was found lying among broken furniture, rubble and several condoms with a bloody concrete block next to her.

She had been bashed beyond recognition and her mother could only identify her by her shoes. One of the murderers was a distant cousin.

Or the story of Kwanele Fezile Zuma and her brother Ngceboyenkosi Minende Zuma, both 22, from Mpumalanga. They took a taxi back home late on Monday after they both went for interviews in Johannesburg.

The taxi had several men in it and one of them hit Ngceboyenkosi in the back of the head with a gun and threw him out of the moving taxi. Ngceboyenkosi had blacked out and only woke up in hospital the next day where he was told that his sister Kwanele was dead. She had been raped then murdered.

Another young University student was stabbed 52 times in her dorm room. 21 year old Precious Ramabulana was a hard working student and the shining light of her family. Precious was murdered on the eve of the launch of the 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence.

It seems to never end.

If you would like to support the brilliant work that Community Cohesion do then please donate via the bank info found on their website.

Or if you want to donate to the Back A Buddy fund raising campaign for purchasing the oats, it’s available HERE.

Another ongoing drama in Cape Town is the attacks on our public transport systems and this week there were more train fires. In the early hours of Thursday morning 18 carriages were destroyed by fire and many of the platforms were closed.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato stated that more than 40 train sets, with at least 140 carriages, have been burnt over the past three years “yet not a single person had been prosecuted”. This is despite a new security force being implemented.

My own Thursday was pretty good however. Our new HR system went live and the client provided champagne and Charly’s cake. 🧁 Charly’s Bakery is the best in Cape Town. They also brought in a portable coffee cart and a few baristas to provide us with free coffees all day.

They also gave us all a branded baseball cap and a nice big coffee mug.

Everyone else on the project was relaxing and making tons of noise but as I’m working on multiple work streams I was as busy as always, but I definitely scarfed some of that delicious cake. I had a meeting from 3 to 4pm then I dashed out quickly as we had dinner plans.

When I got home I had a few minutes before I needed to shower and decided to have a wee lie down, but Pixie was not having it. She insisted on trying to shove her tongue up my nostril.

Norm and I were meeting my daughter Caitlin, her beau Wes and our nephew Calum who is over from Scotland.

We all met in Hout Bay at Lucky Bao. As it was 34 degrees that day we asked for a table outside. It was a stunning evening and the recently redesigned patio and garden looked gorgeous.

As we were seated near the door the smokers in the garden did not bother us.

Caitlin has been ill for a few days and Wes has the flu so I was happy they made the effort.

Caitlin looked so beautiful and she was wearing a gorgeous pair of leather boots I had passed on to her as I can no longer wear high heels. I love it when I can recycle something to my girls, especially when it is an item I invested a lot of money in. I bought the boots from a charming little boutique in London.

Calum had been at a wine farm with his friends all day so he took an Uber. He seems to be having a great time on his visit.

We had a variety of dishes and all of the food was very well received. All of us had the Bao Chica Bao dish as a starter. It was a crispy piece of chicken in a fluffy fresh Bao.

Popeye’s Chicken sandwich better watch their back.

Norm and I both had the Lucky Wagyu Burger: 180g local Wagyu, kimchi, miso & spring onion aioli, bourbon, maple & soy glazed bacon, 8 month aged boerenkaas, toasted japanese milk bun, fries. It was R140.

The mix of flavours were brilliant together.

Wes had the Shio Ramen Pork Belly: Egg, double-soup and spring onion at R125. He said it was really good.

Caitlin had the Lucky Poké Bowl with salmon and black rice and said it was delicious.

Calum had the spicy chicken wings after his Bao.

We had a fabulous relaxed night.

At home this week Norm has been cooking some delicious low carb meals.

He tried the steak and zucchini noodle dish again, this time he used fillet steak instead of beef strips and it was so tender and tasty.

Tuesday night Norm baked chicken breasts and I made guacamole to spread on top. He grilled bacon to top it all.

He made fondant sweet potatoes and steamed asparagus to go with it. It was so delicious.

On Wednesday he roasted a pork fillet and made puréed cauliflower with cheese as a base and fried zucchini and mushrooms to go with it.

Friday we always do take outs and I had my usual sushi from K1.

It was sheer perfection this week. They got the order right and the salmon and prawns were tasty and fresh.

As we had gone to bed late on Thursday after our dinner out, I was a bit groggy on Friday. Traffic was backed up badly to get onto the motorway and after a very slow bumper to bumper journey to the next junction we were diverted off the motorway and into another suburb. I did not know the route and when I put on my GPS I received a message from my colleague telling me to avoid the motorway as a truck had lost its load on the motorway. Damnit. A bit too late to save me unfortunately. I eventually managed to find my way to the office but spent well over an hour getting there.

We had more treats from the client to celebrate the successful migration and they brought in a team of masseuses to give us all ten minute neck massages and there was more cake. The massage was amazing and she worked hard on my sore neck and upper back. I am still bruised but my neck is so much looser.

A few people rolled off of the project this week. One team member flew back home to India and another team member said ‘he was much better than most of the Indians I have worked with’. I looked at him with shock and called him out on his racism and otherism. I said to him it is like saying to a Chinese person they are a great driver as opposed to the ‘rest of their people’ or that someone is ‘sexy for a black girl/guy’. I actually heard both of these latter phrases on telly this week believe it or not.

My coworker was offended by me pointing out his stereotyping and racism. He said ‘Well I know what I meant’ and he just did not grasp what I was trying to explain. He tried to explain that all of the Indians he has worked with are fine if working from a specification document but will not apply independent thought on their own. I finally just left it.

The show I saw the Asian driver comment on is a new show I just started watching called “Merry Happy Whatever” with Dennis Quaid and Ashley Tinsdale.

It was quite a cute show but it also approached some interesting views on a variety of issues and showed the inherent racism and bigotry of some people from previous generations or those with extreme religious views.

On the complete opposite of that show I also started the series “Ghost Wars”. I love anything about the supernatural so I love this show. It is a tiny bit gory and a whole lot of freaky.

We had a longer lie on Saturday but Norm had to meet the rest of the security group from our suburb at 9. He got home late morning and made us a healthy brunch of scrambled cheesy eggs, bacon, Rosa tomatoes and avocado.

Norm worked in the afternoon and I relaxed and pottered about, relishing not having to be anywhere.

I went to Drumming this morning in Marina da Gama. It was our last session until next year.

On the way there I passed a large peacock just chilling near the forest edge. He appeared to be on his own, no peahen or other male nearby. He was so bright and beautiful.

While waiting for everyone to arrive, Frans read a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh.

One day the Buddha was sitting in the wood with thirty or forty monks. They had an excellent lunch and they were enjoying the company of each other. There was a farmer passing by and the farmer was very unhappy. He asked the Buddha and the monks whether they had seen his cows passing by. The Buddha said they had not seen any cows passing by.

The farmer said, “Monks, I’m so unhappy. I have twelve cows and I don’t know why they all ran away. I have also a few acres of a sesame seed plantation and the insects have eaten up everything. I suffer so much I think I am going to kill myself.

The Buddha said, “My friend, we have not seen any cows passing by here. You might like to look for them in the other direction.”

So the farmer thanked him and ran away, and the Buddha turned to his monks and said, “My dear friends, you are the happiest people in the world. You don’t have any cows to lose. If you have too many cows to take care of, you will be very busy.

That is why, in order to be happy, you have to learn the art of cow releasing. You release the cows one by one. In the beginning you thought that those cows were essential to your happiness, and you tried to get more and more cows. But now you realize that cows are not really conditions for your happiness; they constitute an obstacle for your happiness. That is why you are determined to release your cows.”

We could all benefit from releasing our cows.

We had tea after drumming as a few people brought some treats. I love that group of people, they are all so kind and sincere.

Later this afternoon we went to a braai at our friends Andy and Alison. There were 11 of us there and everyone was lovely. Andy and Alison have 3 Saluki dogs, one is a 11 month old puppy who is adorable. They are such elegant and beautiful animals.

The older two were constantly harassed by the pup and eventually wandered off to have a rest.

Alison made loads of salads and veggies and Andy grilled lamb, pork and steak.

In honor of so many people who eat low carb, Alison also made a peanut butter cheesecake and it was divine! Even Norm loved it and he hates peanut butter.

We had such a fun evening chatting and laughing. I really enjoyed it.

Lily messaged us to say that Calum made it to Mossel Bay and had dinner with Lily and Josh.

He is driving all along the Garden Route and then up to Johannesburg and on to a game farm. It was so great to see him.

Tomorrow I am back at work. We have a new person joining us on the team which will be great as we have far more work than we can cope with. Hopefully that will take a bit of stress off of me.

Have a great week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Value of a Woman

September was Women’s Month in SA and I wrote about some of the women who were murdered during that month. One of those victims was Jesse Hess who was raped and murdered and her grandfather also murdered. The Police suspected Jesse’s cousin was the perpetrator but felt they did not have sufficient evidence and so they decided to wait until the suspect committed another crime with the same pattern. He did.

The man has been arrested and appeared in court charged with rape, aggravated robbery and attempted murder following an attack on a 16-year-old this week. He is suspected in the assault on another woman as well. The police decided it was worth sacrificing another woman yet sacrificed at least two. He is finally in custody, now we must hope our criminal justice system can manage to convict him.

It says so much about the misogyny endemic in SA that the death of other women was an acceptable trade off for his capture.

In that same blog I also mentioned the rape and murder of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana. Her murderer was convicted last week and has been sentenced to 3 consecutive life sentences.

If you can stomach it, here is a link to a transcript of his confession.

I hope he rots in jail.

This misogyny does not only affect South Africa, it is international. The police in Minneapolis just announced that an internal review of sexual assault cases turned up an estimated 1,700 untested rape kits from as far back as the 1990s, a backlog that officials say could take at least two years to clear.

The revelation of the untested kits comes one year after the discovery of widespread failings in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault in Minnesota which spurred changes by police departments and county prosecutors throughout the state. Minnesota police frequently struggled to investigate cases of sex assault in the years reviewed, often failing to interview witnesses, collect evidence or even assign detectives in cases in which the victim was drinking, the months long investigation found.

But I assume that most of the victims are women and the majority of the police are men who either did not value the safety of these women or feel they deserved justice.

The world has a long way to go to reach equality between genders.

In fairness the violence and crime in SA is not always against women. I read a post on Facebook from a man who was hosting friends for dinner on Friday night when one of the couples there received a phone call from kidnappers who had their 19 year old son and two other lads as hostages and were demanding R8k in ransom. The police were completely ineffective but the guests contacted a Muslim security firm and despite it being the time they would normally be in Mosque they arrived in minutes. They were still wearing their religious garments but they were so effective and clued in to what they were up against. They hacked into the boy’s phone. The boys were left on their own briefly and managed to escape and were rescued. It must have been terrifying for all involved.

I have written many times about the dire state our State Owned Enterprises and this has definitely not improved. Last Friday the employees of South African Airways declared they were going on strike and rather than deal with the potential chaos of managing with a skeleton staff or bringing in untrained temporary staff, SAA cancelled all flights on Friday and Saturday. International flights resumed today.

SAA estimate a daily loss of R50 million per day and that if the strike continues then they will fold. The airline is more than R40 billion in debt, and it’s failing to generate enough revenue to launch a recovery. The recent strike action now has the potential to finish the company off for good. It’s understood that SAA will struggle to pay worker salaries at the end of the month.

On Monday the Springbok Rugby team did a bus tour through Cape Town and some of the suburbs.

Much of the city turned out to celebrate their success.

Their World Cup success has made so many people feel positive about the hope of our multicultural society being more tolerant of each other. Hopefully it helps in that regard and the magic lasts.

Work has been very busy and stressful. We had several workshops and I am now involved in 3 different work streams. We are also doing a bid for another client and had to spend a bit of time giving input to that. I had worked a lot of overtime and intended to leave early on Friday but we had a meeting which ran over and then I still had to do my status reports so I left about 5 despite getting in just after 7am.

On Saturday I had a pajama day and did absolutely nothing. Lola woke me at 6am. That is when my alarm goes off during the week and she obviously wanted a cuddle like she gets most mornings. I was not best pleased.

Norm got up very early as Navajo had a chiropractor appointment at 8:45 and it’s a long drive there. Norm has been working with Navajo to get him to use his new ramp to get into our new truck. We were worried that Navajo would refuse it and he was a bit wobbly going up but he used it!

We had no milk for a coffee so I decided to lie in bed with the Pomeranians and cats. On his way home Norm bought milk and croissants and when he got in he cooked breakfast and we had a yummy bacon and egg croissant.

I decided to watch a film in the afternoon while Norm was having a nap.

I randomly chose the film ‘Fractured’ as it was on the recommended list on Netflix.

I don’t want to give anything away, it was a bit of an emotional roller coaster! It was nothing like I expected. The acting was a bit sketchy but I still really enjoyed it. Don’t get distracted at the end, it has a major twist. I give it a strong 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We started out the week trying to keep it low carb but that failed miserably. Norm cooked chicken kebabs and sweet potatoes with fried mushrooms and coleslaw and it was yummy.

The rest of the week was takeaways. I had sushi on Friday night but it arrived so discombobulated that it wasn’t photo ready. Oops. It still tasted delicious once I reconstructed it.

Today I was supposed to go to drum rehearsals but the dogs woke us at 6am and Norm and I both managed to fall back to sleep and only woke at 10am so it was too late to shower and drive there for 10.30 so I gave it a miss. Norm brought me coffee in bed and Lola and I snuggled.

We have a super king bed and she chose to balance on top of my bent knee. Why do cats choose the most awkward spots to sit?

Pixie sprawled across my lap while I played games on my iPad.

You can barely tell which end of her is which. I almost always have at least one animal perched on top of me.

Today is a stunning day with very little wind. We have had insane winds most of the week and the calm is nice.

In the afternoon Norm went to the shops and I put a chicken curry in the slow cooker for tomorrow’s dinner. Norm tried a new low carb recipe tonight.

It was delicious but next time we will use fillet as it was a bit tough. I suspect he used stewing steak. Nevertheless it was very tasty.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend, mine has been very lazy and relaxing.

This week we are off half a day on Thursday to attend our year end function. It will hopefully make the week pass a bit faster.

Have a wonderful week. Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Good Vibrations

From mid-September to early November The Veil is thinner than normal. The Veil acts as a barrier between the physical world and the spirit world. Think of it as a sort of spiritual bridge that the spirits or mortals must cross over in order to communicate freely.

As I am able to see and hear spirits and have empath abilities this energy has had a strong effect on me. On Sunday and Monday I had virtually no sleep. I could feel a strong vibrational energy coursing through my body. I half expected to experience sleep paralysis but luckily I did not.

Work was very intense but the lack of sleep only tired me, bizarrely it did not affect my ability to function. We had many meetings to kick off the new work parcels and I was on-boarding our new analyst so I had a lot of things on my plate. As she still does not have access to the database I had to send her the metadata she needed to do the mapping. This obviously impacted my own progress.

This week we held a workshop with a female executive and after the meeting some of the men on the team were slagging her off and insinuating she was stupid. I suspected that it was because she is a woman and I got very annoyed. I blurted out ‘well she seemed far more intelligent than anyone I have met on this project’ and turned to flounce off dramatically but unfortunately my laptop was still plugged in and it caused me to get yanked back to my desk. It sort of ruined the drama of my exit. Bloody typical.

Misogyny is rife in many South African cultures. By African culture I’m not limiting this opinion to only the various tribes, I’m including many other cultures and all colours. This is part of the root cause of the high levels of gender based violence.

Norm also had a busy week of meetings and he attended the launch of the newly formed Africa Scotland Business Network. ASBN is “a dynamic, Scottish diasporic network based in Africa connecting the fast-developing African continent with the progressive spirit and booming industries of Scotland”. It is described as a fully independent membership network of businesspeople and companies founded by a diverse team of successful Scottish and African entrepreneurs.

As we were both so busy we had a lot of takeaways. I had sushi from K1 on Monday night.

I always order it with no ginger but the prawns must have been next to the ginger during prep as it tasted strongly of ginger. But it was still edible.

Norm cooked many of my favorites on Friday night: fillet steak, onion rings, chips, creamed spinach, butternut and coleslaw and it was delicious.

Norm bought a ramp for Navajo to use to get into the back of his new truck. Navajo can’t jump due to his back and leg issues. We tried using the Pomeranians as examples but it wasn’t a success as Panda nicked the treat we were using to tempt them.

Excuse my rubbish video skills.

We will keep trying until he’s comfortable and next time we will keep the other dogs out of the way to reduce the chaos.

Norm was up early on Saturday to catch a flight to Johannesburg. He brought a frothy coffee to me in bed and headed off about 9am. There was a protest planned in Hout Bay from 9 to 11 but he was going the opposite direction and got through with no issues.

I was scheduled to perform at a Sacred song circle marathon and I was so tired I almost decided not to go, but I didn’t want to let everyone down so I dragged myself out of bed.

I had my second morning coffee on the porch with the dogs. It was a beautiful, hot, windy day.

I had breakfast and showered and packed my drum, rattle and a sarong to wear over my trousers. In our culture you wear a skirt or a dress in a mixed ceremony or if you wear trousers you cover them with a sarong. We had each chosen a colour of the medicine wheel to wear. I chose black as I have loads of black clothing.

My friend Michelle came to my house then I drove us through to Scarborough. It is a gorgeous drive along the southern peninsula and the coast is so wild and beautiful.

The song marathon was held in a large bell tent laden with thick blankets and had a large alter in the center.

There were many different performances over the weekend and songs and chants from many different spiritual cultures.

A group was just starting when we got settled into a section of the tent. They were singing songs from the natives of the Brazilian shaman culture and most were in Portuguese but you eventually manage to join in as they are sung a few times and we were all given song sheets. This is the type of sound but not necessarily the same songs. It’s just to give you a flavour.

Our drum circle was on next and Gerri had brought our large communal drum. We sat in the central part of the tent.

There were 7 of us performing. Jess was the drum leader and we sang some songs in several African languages and in many of the languages of various North American Native tribes. We had passed out sheets of lyrics and many people sang along with us.

We started welcoming in the directions with the Cherokee morning song, WE N ’ DE YA. We then sang many different songs. The Women’s Honouring Song is one of my favorite songs that we sing.

We sang in Yoruba, a Nigerian language.

And in Lakota. I also love this song.

It was incredibly warm drumming in a closed space and I was dripping with sweat when we finished. I was exhausted yet pulsing with the energy of the spirit.

We did not stay long after we performed as the dogs were inside the house on their own so we headed back up the coast road. It was even more stunning on the way home!

There were lots of kite surfers as the wind was blowing a gale.

After Michelle left I popped down to the shops for something for dinner and once I fed the dogs and ate myself I showered and then collapsed on the sofa to veg out. I was exhausted.

I saw there was a new series of ‘End of The F***ing World.

It is full of murder, intensity, black humor and all around bizarreness. Just my cup of tea. I love it!

It has a brilliant soundtrack of a lot of retro music. If you are on Spotify here is the link.

I give the series and the soundtrack 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today I am relaxing with the dogs and resting up for another busy week at work. Norm flies home this evening.

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Hypocritical Kitten

One thing about keeping a blog is that you often have moments of self realization. Before I write I always read the previous week’s blog to remember where I left off. Last week I was having a whinge about clients hiring a specialist (i.e., me!) and then not listening to my advice. Then I proceeded to note that I did the same thing at my hairdresser! My too short fringe taught me that lesson. Listen to the experts! Such a hypocritical Kitten.

Work has been full of the usual stresses. This week my colleague and I were called to a meeting with several C-level executives and neither our MD or the programme manager were in Cape Town to support us. We invited our other company director and on the morning of the meeting her partner was bitten by a bush pig and admitted to hospital.

Yes, that was not an autocorrect mishap.

A bush pig.

We toddled off on our own to the meeting and managed to get through it with minimal trauma. Basically they want us to pick up two additional work parcels so we are recruiting another developer to join the team. My friend Sakshi joined us on Friday so that will mean we will have a team of four on site. If we succeed this could result in more work in the future as they desperately need our skills.

When I left the office someone had parked so close to my driver’s door that I could not get in the car. I had to get in the passenger side and climb over. I was wearing a tight fitting dress and I am not very flexible or bendy and ended up knocking every dial or control enroute to the drivers seat so when I started the car the radio blasted, the windscreen wipers and turn signal came on and the high beam lights were knocked on. I’m too old for all that exertion.

Last Sunday night I woke up in the middle of the night and was ill. Something I had eaten was too acidic and had triggered my hernia and I felt dreadful. I had no antacids and I could not get back to sleep as the acid was burning my esophagus so on Monday I was a bit of a zombie.

Norm went away to the UK on Monday and is flying home today. My friend Michelle has been staying with me and helping with the dogs. The animals love her and I would struggle to cope without her.

I cooked for us every evening. I made a bolognese sauce on Sunday night and we had spaghetti and garlic ciabatta on Monday. I then used the rest of the sauce to make a lasagna for Tuesday dinner.

I just made some nice tempura hake, chips, baked beans and cole slaw the next night. On Thursday I stopped at Spar for a baked chicken and salads.

Thursday was Halloween and the first time I have not held a party in many years and it made me so depressed. I love Halloween and I love dressing up. I decided to dress up to hand out candy to the kids. My outfit is a bit of a hodgepodge but I was happy.

Friday I made good progress with documenting data rules for one of the new work parcels and I left at 3 and got home early. Michelle and I used OrderIn to have pizzas delivered from Posticino and they were delicious as always. We just chilled out with the animals that night.

The weather on Saturday morning was very misty and overcast. You could not even see the mountains.

I sat on the patio with the dogs all surrounding me and had my morning coffee.

Michelle went off early that morning and so I watched a Netflix documentary called “Tell Me Who I Am”.

I had not read anything about it, I just picked it as it came up on the screen as a suggestion. It was a very difficult film to watch. I don’t want to give away the ending so will just say that it is about identical twins from an aristocratic family. One brother, Alex, had a motorcycle accident at 18. His helmet flew off and he hit the ground with his head. He was in a coma for 3 months and when he woke he had lost his entire memory except that he recognized his twin, Marcus. He did not remember his parents, his home, his friends or any of his past history. The other twin manufactures an imaginary past to avoid telling Alex about their real, traumatic past. In the film Marcus finally tells Alex the truth. It is an emotional film but very good. I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

When Michelle got home we settled in to watch South Africa vs England play in the Rugby World Cup finals. I had set up a UK streaming account using a VPN. Except we could not get the UK app to load. We spent about an hour frantically searching for an alternative but finally settled for listening on the radio.

It was so exciting when SA won! I think it is just what SA needs for morale.

The Boks get at least 5 Kitten Stars!

💫⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

However it does not mean that there aren’t still many reasons for despair in SA. More police were arrested for corruption last week. Three police officers, and an ex-officer were arrested on charges of extortion, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice for attempting to solicit a bribe from arrestees for the release of a panel van full of marijuana from Swaziland.

At least once a week we hear a corruption related story.

But we won’t let that burst our bubble of patriotism, pride and elation.

Last night Michelle and I decided to watch a film. Michelle had brought home popcorn and we chose to watch ‘The Laundromat‘ purely because it stars Meryl Streep.

Neither of us knew anything about it and both assumed it was your typical drama. It so wasn’t!

It also starred Antonio Banderas, David Schwimmer, and Gary Oldman with a cameo from Sharon Stone.

The film is a series of interwoven vignettes about various characters involved or affected by the Panama Papers. “The Panama Papers consist of 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. The documents, some dating back to the 1970s, were created by, and taken from, Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca, and were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source.

The documents contain personal financial information about wealthy individuals and public officials that had previously been kept private. While offshore business entities are legal (see Offshore Magic Circle), reporters found that some of the Mossack Fonseca shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.”

It was filmed in a fly on the wall, tongue in cheek manner. I enjoyed it but it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. I give it 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When we woke today the mist had cleared and it was gorgeous.

Our drumming circle met this morning so Michelle and I went off to Muizenberg. The traffic lights near Gerri’s house were out due to protest action. The protestors had burned tires at the intersections last week.

Recently there have been several busses set alight in this area. I am not sure if the events are related but neither of these protests punish the government just the citizens.

Anyway. We did manage to get there with no trauma.

We were smudged in the back garden.

We did our calling in the directions outside then moved inside to drum.

Drumming was fabulous fun as always and I left on a buzz. We are performing next week at a Song Marathon so we needed to decide what to sing and to rehearse.

Afterwards Michelle and I popped home to let the dogs out to wee and then we headed down to the Harbour. It was a beautiful day so it was very busy. All of the market stalls by the ocean side were open. We managed to get a table right by the window at The Lookout Deck.

The view from our table was so breathtaking.

I was so hungry as it was almost 3pm. I ordered salmon roses to start.

And for my main I ordered the prawns. I love that they are served in a pan.

Michelle had the fish and chips.

There was live music on and so we hung out for a bit to listen to them. Eventually we fancied dessert and we both ordered the chocolate nut sundae.

The food was all fabulous as was the vibe. We left at 5pm so that we could get home for the dogs.

We strolled back to the car enjoying the beautiful bay that I am so blessed to dwell in.

We spotted the infamous seal of Hout Bay. There is a guy who feeds him and expects the tourists to tip him.

I snapped my pic and legged it as he started shouting at me. He’s a bit of a violent nutter.

When we got home Michelle took the dogs for their walk and fed them their dinner and now we are all relaxing. I am so grateful for her support and companionship this week.

Saying that, I am looking forward to seeing my darling hubby. He had a very successful trip and got some leads on other consulting opportunities so it has been great for him.

I’ve had a lovely relaxed weekend and hope you have too. I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time, Kisses From The Kitten xoxoxo.

Soul Food

It is starting to feel a bit like summer is finally here, our weather has been stunning this week if a bit windy.

As my new client has a stricter dress code I have been digging into my cupboard to find clothes that are appropriate. Usually I wear jeans and a T-shirt to work. This week I wore a chocolate linen dress and jacket that I have had for over 25 years! Quality always lasts.

We have made a bit of progress on the project but it has been slow going. It is a rather chaotic environment. I was asked to go to a interview at another client next week but it is even further away from where I am working currently which has added two hours of travel to my day. I told my contract house that I was unwilling to drive even further. My last client also wants me back as the next phase is kicking off there but I am now committed to my current client. There are too many clients who want my skills but I can only be in one place at a time! It is a nice change from having several of us on the bench, I prefer to be busy and have something I can sink my teeth into.

Load shedding has kicked in this week and we have had several instances where we had no electricity. It is so much easier if it happens in the day time as you can always amuse yourself, but if it happens at dinner time or during the time of the evening when we are chilling out and watching telly it is rather annoying! It happened on Thursday night from 8pm to 10.30pm just when we were relaxing and it was so frustrating. Norm read to me while I played games on my iPad. I love the sound of his voice so I was OK with that form of entertainment.

Norm has been busy with work so wasn’t able to shop and cook every evening but he did his best.

Monday night he cooked a delicious pork fillet, fried sweet potato slices, mushrooms and brussel sprouts. This was another attempt of doing the sprouts in the air fryer and it’s the last attempt as they were not nice. The outside leaves get a bit charred and the inside remains too crispy for my taste.

On Tuesday he made chicken, spinach and feta sausages with cauliflower mash and steamed broccoli.

The rest of the week we had takeaways. On Friday I had sushi from K1 in Hout Bay and it was all very fresh and yummy.

I had salmon roses, prawn roses, king nigiri and cucumber roses topped with prawns.

On Saturday I met my friend Bronwyn for breakfast at Hout Bay Manor. First I delivered my Operation Shoebox parcels for the little girls as the Manor was the drop off point for Hout Bay.

It was a beautiful day and Bronwyn and I sat outside.

Bronwyn ordered the Eggs Benedict but with potato rostis as the base instead of an English muffin. She added bacon and it was R78.

I chose the El Pixo which was R75 and consisted of Sweetcorn fritters and feta, chilli, spring onions, avocado, streaky bacon, 2 poached eggs, grilled baby tomatoes and fresh coriander.

Bronwyn was meeting some other friends at 12.30 and invited me to stay and we ended up hanging out til 3pm! Bjorn works with Bronwyn and his friend was over from the UK.

The guys had lunch and Bronwyn and I had cake and coffee. Bjorn’s friend had a curry and Bjorn had a delicious looking duck breast.

We chatted about so many things, spirituality, astral traveling, anxiety, past life regression, gender based violence, the different beliefs of the many cultures in South Africa and so many other topics and the time flew by.

It was such a relaxed day spent with lovely people. It was good for my soul. I am able to vent and be myself with Bronwyn, there is no judgment or need for holding back my true feelings or my wacky beliefs.

After I went home I relaxed while Norm pottered about and then we ordered take away dinner from Massimo’s and we watched a bit of The Sinner. I had watched it ages ago with Lily but there is a second season available and as Norm had not watched it we started watching from the beginning again. I read that there is also a third season but that has not been released here yet. It is intense but very good.

Today I was due to go to my Drumming Circle but we had committed to go to a party at our Scottish neighbor Kate’s. The timing would have meant I was rushing around if I tried to attend both so I gave drumming a miss.

We had a bit of a downpour of rain late morning but it cleared up soon afterwards and it was bright and sunny after.

We went down to Kate at about 1.30pm and arrived to the sound of bagpipes.

There were many other Scots there so Norm felt right at home. We found a seat in the shade and grabbed a drink.

Everyone was asked to bring along a bottle and a plate of food to share. After the piper finished there were a couple of young girls who were DJing. There was lots of dancing and everyone had such fun.

Except maybe the doggy. He howled when the piper played. Everyone is a critic.

The view from Kate’s garden is the same as ours obviously just a bit lower down the mountain. She has a stunning garden.

We had such a lovely afternoon chatting to everyone, drinking and dancing. Kate is such a brilliant host.

We staggered up the hill just as it started to drizzle with rain again. Norm walked and fed the dogs then crashed. Afternoon drinking is not for the weak. As I have a long drive to work and an early start tomorrow I limited myself to just two drinks.

We had a bit of progress with the wedding planning. After last weekend’s wedding dress adventures Lily finally decided on her wedding dress this week. I wish I could show you but obviously I can’t but it is so beautiful on her. She is going to be such a stunning bride.

I’ve had such a delicious weekend and hope that you all have enjoyed yours too.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Stepping Into Your Power

Usually when a client’s project wraps up I have a few days to recover before I start a new project with another client, but my last project ended on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday afternoon we had a sales meeting with a new client and I was asked to come back on Wednesday to join their Data Migration team so my head was spinning! It was exacerbated by the fact that our new client is in a panic as they are on a tight schedule and have not built a reconciliation process. They have been told by their auditors that a reconciliation process is required for approval. We have not even signed a statement of work and the client seems a bit all over the place in regards to timelines and requirements so I have no idea how long we will be there.

Usually when I start a new project I am full of anxiety and fear. Will I be able to do what the client needs? Will I be out of my depth? Is it too technical for my skills? But this time I have not been nervous at all. I am quite comfortable and confident. Even Norman remarked on the fact that I have not been panicky. It’s as if something shifted.

I was discussing this with a friend and she said that maybe the shift is due in part to the dramas from my last client. Maybe the every day battles with the developer sharpened my confidence? Similar to the way a grain of sand can turn into a pearl. The oyster adds layer after layer of substance to protect itself from the irritating sand and eventually a pearl forms from the layers of protective minerals.

The developer is the irritating grain of sand and the emergence of my confidence represents the pearl in this scenario with the outcome being me stepping into my power.

It was an interesting way to look at it. Through pain comes growth.

The interesting thing is that my previous client contacted me on Friday to say the next phase is starting soon and they may need me back sooner than expected to document the metadata.

The current client initially only needed us for three weeks but the work he requires will take much longer than that. It is still all up in the air.

My new client is in the northern part of Cape Town and it adds an hour each way of travel to my day. Normally I panic driving on the motorway, especially when I’m traveling to an area I am unfamiliar with. I’ve been using Google Maps and have gotten lost once, however I did not stress. I’m just taking my time.

I’m enjoying this feeling of peace. Long may it last.

Unfortunately peace is not present in all of Cape Town or Hout Bay.

Last Saturday night a lot of the schools had their year end dances and many of the students met at the beach at the end of the night. A 19 year old young man and two of his friends were robbed and two of them were stabbed. The 19 year old died. He was a student at UCT. Later in the week another victim was stabbed at the beach and another had a brick thrown at his head. This is all taking place just down the road from Camps Bay police station.

On Wednesday this week we had a shooting in Hout Bay which also occurred almost on the doorstep of the police station. It was part of the ongoing taxi wars. A driver and his passenger were both shot.

The Western Cape police service is severely under resourced and many of the police nationwide are corrupt or criminals themselves.

This week in another province there was a shootout between two rogue cops who had just robbed a post office and two legitimate police. You couldn’t make it up!

We had such a surprise on Thursday evening. I had arrived home about 6pm and had just gotten into my comfy (e.g. sloppy) clothes and settled in to watch a bit of telly. The doorbell rang and I looked out and thought ‘hmmm no idea who that is so I’m ignoring it’ and came back to sit down. Luckily Norm is more curious than I am and he went outside to see who it was. As he got closer he saw the other person was smiling at him but he could not see who it was until he was right at the gate. It was our nephew from Scotland who was visiting Cape Town! He wanted to surprise us and he certainly did! He brought a bottle of wine for Norm and flowers for me.

They are so beautiful. Calum is a digital nomad. He travels around the world staying in a place only as long as he fancies, renting AirBnB properties and absorbing the local customs and atmosphere. He owns an IT based company so can work anywhere he likes. It’s a brilliant lifestyle for a young single man. He has been living in Bali on and off as he loves it there. He is meeting up with some South African friends in Cape Town and has rented a flat with an amazing view of Table Mountain.

It had been ten years since we last saw Calum. He stayed with us for a few months when we first bought our house. He and Caitlin became such good friends so we rang her on Thursday and she came round to join us for pizzas.

Calum joined Caitlin and her friends today on a mountain hike.

It was so misty it made the visibility a bit difficult.

There was a lot of cloud cover over the mountains visible from our house this morning too.

We had a bit more excitement this week as Lily and Josh won an engagement photo shoot from Ruby Bear Photography. They went to the beach near where they live. The sun was setting towards the end of the shoot and the photos we have seen are amazing!

They got soaked from the waves.

But the photos are beautifully done.

I had drumming this morning and before I left I sat outside to have my morning coffee. The dogs were outside with me, I wanted Panda to trot down the stairs so I could film it but he refused to cooperate.

I really loved our drumming session, I felt so rejuvenated and relaxed afterwards, it is always so cleansing for me. It is also nice to see all of my drumming circle.

Afterwards I collected Norm and we went for a pub lunch at Woodcutters Arms. It was very busy but we found a table in the beer garden. Norm ordered the Guinness Beef stew with mash which looked delicious.

He rated it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had two starters. First I had the jalapeño cheddar cigars.

They could have been cooked a bit longer to crisp the phyllo pastry a it more. They were a bit doughy but they were tasty.

I then had the starter portion of popcorn chicken strips with chips.

I give my dishes 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ They make the best homemade chips so that boosted the score.

Yesterday Norm and I went to Blue Route Mall. Norm needed some shorts and I wanted to spend my birthday gift card. I also wanted to shop for the two toddlers I am making my Operation Shoebox Christmas donation boxes for. Norm found several nice things but I could find nothing I fancied. I was looking for work clothes as my current client offices are much more professional and I can’t wear jeans every day like I usually do. I did get all of the clothes and toys for my Christmas boxes though. Now I just need the boxes and the food treats and I can drop them off.

Norm and I had brunch at Mugg & Bean in the mall. Norm had the Tropical Breakfast, consisting of a fresh seasonal fruit salad served with full cream plain yoghurt, luxury muesli & honey.

I went for lunch instead of breakfast and had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken which was described as ‘sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips served with a side of sweet chilli sauce.’ However if there were sesame seeds on that chicken they must be invisible.

They were not very crispy either, they needed to be fried longer. They were rather disappointing.

After we finished shopping we headed home to relax.

We watched a few films this week.

I chose “The Silence” because it had Stanley Tucci in it. (Or one of those Tucci brothers anyway.)

It sucked so bad it could have sucked a golf ball through a garden hose. I give it 2 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️

It had a ridiculous ‘plot’ (if you can call it that) and was nonsense.

However this afternoon we watched ‘In The Shadow of The Moon’ and I really enjoyed that. It was also a bit far fetched but I was very entertained by it. It gets 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We also just finished a series on Netflix which I really enjoyed called The I-Land.

I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. Norm was not as keen on it as I was as he thought it a bit weak on plot. (Yet he enjoyed that disastrous The Silence??)

Norm has cooked for us most of the week. As I get home so late with this new project I can’t or we would be eating at midnight.

He made chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, gem squash, fondant sweet potatoes and roast broccoli on Monday night. It was delicious.

Another night he grilled fillet steaks and I made a salad. He also did some chips in the air fryer. It was a really warm evening so was perfect.

Wednesday he made chicken sausages with cauliflower mash, mushrooms and steamed asparagus.

I had my usual weekly treat of sushi. I had crab salad, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawn, and tempura prawns.

They added something crispy on top of the crab salad and I did not enjoy that at all. I think I will stop ordering that dish as it is a bit tasteless. But the sushi was delicious and fresh.

I have had a busy weekend and am looking forward to just chilling for the rest of the evening before I have to do that long commute again all week.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and that you have a great week.

Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Five

I have five more days on my current project and then hopefully I don’t ever have to work again with the developer I’ve had so many issues with. This week he allegedly developed 10 data rules but only half were valid. He could not even get his job to complete on Friday but felt no pressure and swanned about chatting up the ladies instead of working to resolve the issues. It is always 1 step forward 2 steps back. The Dosey Doe of development.

We have also had 5 days of protesting in Hangberg, a suburb in our village. Some residents are demanding that a tract of land earmarked for electrical infrastructure be used for housing and there is much unhappiness about plans for evictions and houses being demolished in Hangberg.

50 protesters lit fires in the road and vandalised a construction site, and a truck was torched at a power depot. Roads were closed off, buses were rerouted and shots were fired at foot patrols in the area. Flares and petrol bombs were also directed at the officers.

Police fired tear gas and let off stun grenades in an attempt to quell protests. The protesters retaliated with stones and marine rocket flares.

The protests against gender based violence have continued all across South Africa. The police seem to have approached some of the protests against violence to women with even more violence.

My daughter Caitlin and her boyfriend Wes and some of their friends joined the protest in Cape Town yesterday.

There was good attendance despite the pouring rain.

Caitlin videoed a bit of the speeches and crowds.

Millions of people across the planet also protested against Climate Change on Friday.

The youth across the world have been inspired by Greta Thunberg and her protesting against climate change. I love that the younger generations are so vocal and unwilling to put up with the risks to their futures and their health and are not so ignorant as to deny the information from the science community.

I took my car in for a service this week and it cost me R8.5 thousand as I had to have the brakes, pads and discs replaced. Norm spotted a little bakkie he fancied and is planning to trade his Opel for it once he gets paid for his last project.

Panda has made more progress this week and he managed to get upstairs all by himself on Tuesday. He still needs help getting onto the sofa but he has no issues jumping down off of the sofa or the bed. He is much stronger on his feet and it feels like he has gained back the weight he had lost. He is now joining the other dogs on their walks. Norm gradually increased the distance with him on his own until he managed their full walk and then he joined the others once he mastered that.

Norm has been very busy with work this week so we have had a few takeaways. I tried some new dishes instead of sticking with my tried and trusted usual dishes.

I had the spicy chicken breasts from Papino’s and was really pleased. It usually comes with mash and I will try it with that next time but I fancied chicken and chips.

It was garlicky and spicy and so divine. I give it 5 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I also tried a new dish from Casareccio. I had their Pasta Pollo with chicken, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. It was so delicious and it tasted like a dish I made for the kids when they were younger. It was Trevor’s favorite meal. I also give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

We chose a few dishes from Massimo’s specials menu and they were both so good we went back the next night and chose the same dishes and shared them between Norm and I. The first night I had the Pollo (Chicken) Milanese and Norm had the Pork Stufata and we both had creamy mash. Their mash is soooo good, creamy and not lumpy. The next night we ordered both dishes and had half of each. The chicken was a large Chicken Breast, schnitzel style, coated with breadcrumbs and parmigiano, served with creamy polenta or mash and seasonal roast veg. The other dish was slow cooked pork casserole in a porcini and field mushroom sauce, with a touch of cream, also served with roast seasonal veg and creamy polenta or mash. The pork was so tender it would melt in your mouth. Both dishes are so tasty I wish they were on the menu all the time. Both get 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I only had one bad experience this week when I had pasta from a local venue and it was under-cooked and very dry. It is unusual for our local venues to be inconsistent. It is a dish I have often which is what led to my being adventurous and trying new dishes.

I was having a bit of an adventurous week all round as I decided on the spur of the moment to chop off my hair and get a fringe! (AKA ‘Bangs’ to the American readers.)

My hair is getting so grey and we have been lightening the colour around my face to try and lessen the contrast of the grey. Now we will continue that approach and eventually may even let the grey grow out.

After my hair appointment I gave my friend Thembi a lift home. We were chatting and she told me that her neighbor had died that week. She said the neighbor had taken away the husband of a Malawian woman and the Malawian woman had stolen a pair of the neighbor’s underwear off the washing line and had put some sort of poison on them and then took them back to the neighbor and when she wore them it made her vagina swell up massively and a few days later she died. That is some bad mojo! How much of it is fact, how much is gossip and how much is superstition is unknown but I never doubt anything to do with magic, the mind has as much power over people as the body does, sometimes even more.

Other than going to the hairdresser Norm and I have had a lazy weekend.

Today he made us a lovely brunch of crispy bacon, avocado and a cheesy omelette.

We started a new documentary series called The Kalief Browder Story which is based on a true story and was produced by Jay Z.

It is very intense and almost unbelievable how this child was treated. The US prison system seems to be in a mess, especially Rikers prison. We are only a few episodes in as it is too hard to watch more than one episode at a time but it is highly recommended.

The next 5 days will be spent finishing off the last few bits and pieces with my project. I’ve been put forward for an assessment of a new client’s adherence to the Protection of Personal Information Act and to produce a strategy to address any gaps. The client is based in Pietermaritzburg which is a 4.5 hour flight from Cape Town. But at least it is a short duration.

Until next time, I wish you all a great weekend. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo