Patience and Protection

Since Panda became ill the scope of our lives has become quite narrow. Panda is at the center of everything we do and so we spend most of our time at home.

Yesterday we broke out of that pattern for a bit.

In the morning Norm got up to let Navajo and Pixie out for a wee and fed them their breakfast. I had Lola kitty asleep on my tummy so I lazed in bed a bit longer. Norm brought me a frothy coffee in bed and after I finished my coffee I had to get showered and head into Cape Town to Pause for an appointment at the hairdresser. When I got out of the shower I heard a lot of kerfuffle in the bedroom and when I opened the bathroom door Norm chastised me for tossing the duvet onto Panda’s head when I had gotten out of bed. I did not have my glasses on and wasn’t even aware Panda was in the bed with Lola and I, I had assumed that he had gone downstairs with Norm. I felt terrible but it was certainly not deliberate I’m just blind as a bat.

Due to my laziness I headed into town a bit late then I realized I had no cash to pay for my parking and so I also had to go to the bank. As a result I had no time for breakfast.

I had my hair colored and had a gorgeous head massage from Thembi. I left feeling pampered, relaxed and like a new woman.

I went home to collect Norm and Panda as we were going to attempt to go out for lunch. We chose Delish as we can sit outside and they are dog friendly. The owner also has a Pomeranian.

We chose a table in the shade outside.

We had taken Panda’s bed and we settled him into a seat at the table with us.

He was enjoying all of the attention.

I ordered a BLT which came on ciabatta and with fries.

Norm had a burger which also came with fries.

For dessert we shared a piece of baked white chocolate cheesecake which was divine.

The food was tasty and Norm and I both give our meals 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After we finished our lunch we headed to Mainstream Mall in the village. We split up for the sake of efficiency and Norm carried Panda into Clicks for peepee pads (aka ‘linen savers’ to the posh or polite). I went into Woolworths to get something for our dinner and some other bits and pieces. Norm took his shopping to the car and then walked Panda around the mall until I finished my shop. Everyone wants to stop and chat because he is such a cute baby. (Panda, not Norm although he is pretty cute too.)

We finished up our errands and headed home and Norm walked them all and fed them and we built a fire and relaxed a bit.

We had been watching series 3 of Stranger Things during the week and we finished it yesterday. It was riveting and tense but it was not as good as the previous seasons and there were some annoying bits. For example the constant childish bickering between Hopper and Joyce got a bit tiring after a while.

Saying that, we enjoyed it. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Later that night Norm cooked dinner for us. He cooked fillet steaks and baby portobello mushrooms and made chips in the air fryer. We also had coleslaw with it. It was simple and delicious.

We decided to watch a film and we looked through Netflix offerings and chose Shaft with the brilliant Samuel L. Jackson.

It was quite funny which kept me interested and had a lot of shoot em up action which kept Norm amused. I gave it 3 and a half Kitten Stars and Norm gave it 4 and a half which averages out to 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The week started off a bit hectic. Last Sunday night we saw on social media that there was a bad car crash on the coast road into the city and that one of the cars was alight resulting in the road being closed. Luckily it was open again by morning but I do not have any information about the people in the cars or the cause, except it occurred on a section of the coast road where a single lane changes to two lanes to allow overtaking. Maybe the accident occurred due to someone overtaking. The damage to the road was clearly visible the next day and the road was badly charred from the fire.

Tuesday morning I was so tired when my alarm went off that I just could not get out of bed. I left half an hour later than normal and when I got about 30 minutes down the road I came upon a backup of tail lights.

There was a lot of fog and mist coming in from the sea so it was hard to see whether there was just a lot of traffic ahead or what was happening and after a few minutes of being parked up I could see black smoke billowing out and a person who had gotten out of their car to run up to see what was happening confirmed there was a serious accident ahead. After a while they waved us through but I was terrified that the flaming car might explode as I went past. When we drove through the smoke was so thick and black I could barely see and it smelled horrid.

Later I saw a pic of the car on social media.

The rumour was that one of the drivers was a tourist who was driving on the wrong side of the road and that they ran from the scene. I do not know if this has any truth or whether the accident was a result of the loss of visibility due to the fog.

I was so thankful to my ancestors and guardian angels. If I had left home when I normally do I could have been involved in the accident. I was so grateful for my safety and hope that those who were involved recover.

The road was closed in both directions just after I got through resulting in some people sitting there for a long time while they removed the cars which were both very badly damaged.

I had Vanessa here on Monday to do my pedicure and as always it was lovely to see her and catch up with the gossip.

We also had repair men around on Monday to look at our gate and the security beam that keeps going off for no reason. Sorting out both will take money and we are rather tight on finances as Panda’s care has cost a lot, but both things need sorting as they impact our safety. The pool motor also needs replacing but as it is winter there is no rush on that.

We had some happy news this week as Lily has now booked the venue and photographer for her and Josh’s wedding next year. It is all very exciting and thanks to Whatsapp we have been able to involve Mom in all the decisions. As Mom will not be able to make the journey it is special that she can be involved.

We have been a bit hit or miss on our attempts at low carb food this week. Mostly miss.

I made Mexican food on Monday night after Vanessa left. I made tacos and retried beans. It is a quick and easy meal and one of my faves.

Norm cooked a pork fillet roasted in teriyaki on Tuesday night. He made sweet potatoes and broccoli to go with it.

It was delicious and healthy and it is so nice to have someone cook for you when you are tired.

Wednesday we had takeaways and I had sushi from K1. I had prawn roses, salmon roses, cucumber roses topped with prawns and prawn tempura.

Thursday we had takeaways from Posticino and I had grilled chicken with olio and aglio pasta.

It was delicious as their food always is. The next night I had a Mexican pizza from Positicino which was spicy and yummy. They are moving to a new venue at the end of the month so we wanted to get our fix before they close.

On Thursday for lunch I went with my friend Sakshi to see her new flat. It is a two minute walk from my office. It has a lovely mountain view.

After lunch Sakshi gave me a chocolate layer cake as a late anniversary gift. We had a big piece for dessert that night and it was so moist.

My anniversary lilies are blooming and looking so pretty.

On Friday Sakshi and I went to Nuri sushi for lunch and I had Asian fries and prawn pops.

They were so yummy.

This week we have seen in the news that the Minister of Police Bheki Cele announced on Thursday in his budget speech that President Cyril Ramaphosa had given the go-ahead for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to offer support to the police and enter 10 identified areas of the Cape Flats. The 10 Cape Town precincts identified for support by the SANDF are Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Delft, Elsies River, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi, Kraaifontein and Manenberg.

This drastic measure was taken after eleven fatal shootings occurred in Philippi East in the Western Cape last weekend, prompting local police to initiate a 72-hour action plan. A week ago on Friday unknown suspects killed six women, aged 18 to 26, in Marcus Garvey in Philippi East and then on Saturday evening, five men, aged 18 to 39, were shot dead and one was injured in two separate shootings. All are suspected to be linked to gangsterism.

I have been busy at work and my contract has been extended again with a potential for another extension. I’m happy there so was happy to hear this. I have a new colleague sitting next to me who is a lovely bloke but he is incredibly distracting. He ‘types’ out loud, in other words he verbally expresses everything he types and he reads out loud. He is also using crappy headphones and I hear everything he listens to. His noises are driving me a bit batty. Even when I approached him and asked whether he was aware that he talks continuously out loud he just laughed and said he knows. FFS it makes me mental. I am so intolerant of noise.

The only annoying noise that makes me happy is my baby boy who expresses his displeasure regularly.

He barks if he pees and wants his bedding changed, he barks if he is thirsty or hungry and he barks if he is annoyed or happy (or if he gets trapped under the duvet). Basically he just constantly barks. I can see his frustration at the lack of response in his body. He is pretty much only happy in his Daddy’s arms.

I am so happy that he has survived his illness and is slowly improving that I can tolerate his grumbles. I’ve noticed a bit more tension in his little legs when I do his rehab and we have seen his back legs move a few times. As always we are ever hopeful.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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Strength of the Feminine

This week has been full of stress, trauma and drama.

My smallest Pomeranian, Panda, has had an odd turn which has had the whole family so upset. Norm had meetings on Wednesday and when he got home he noticed that Panda’s normally high pitched yap was a coarse gruff bark.

Norm took him to the vet who noticed that his face and tongue were swollen and she said that this swelling was why his voice was impacted. She thought he had been stung by an insect and gave him a cortisone injection and some allergex for the swelling.

The other animals seemed to sense he was not well and kept by his side.

Navajo tried to almost cuddle him and had such a look of concern on his face.

The next morning we noticed that Panda was a bit unsteady on his feet but thought it was the sedative effect of the antihistamines but by afternoon he was struggling to stay upright and we rushed him back to the vet. They took X-rays of his spine to check for injuries and X-rays of his airway to check for constrictions but all was fine. The vet was baffled as to what was going on but assumed it was due to the inflammation and gave him more cortisone and sent us home. As the next day progressed he was completely unable to stand on his own and we took him back again. This time they decided he had not been bitten and instead there was something neurological going on and tried to get him an appointment with a neuromuscular specialist at one of the veterinary hospitals but they were all booked solid. As this was a long weekend in South Africa we could only get an appointment for Tuesday. Initially the local vet wanted to keep him there with them until Tuesday but then decided it would be better to keep him at their offices during the day and let him sleep at home in the evening.

As the weekend progressed Panda deteriorated to the point where he could only move his head.

He could not sit up or turn over or even hold his head up by Saturday night. He cannot bark or make any sounds at all. I was in bits and just sat crying and praying. I felt such despair. When he started refusing food and water I was inconsolable with worry.

Finally on Sunday when he came home from being at the vet all day he was perky and alert for the first time in days.

That night he was very hungry and gobbled up the boiled chicken and broth Norm made for him. He ate eagerly and was very interested in his surroundings again. He still cannot make any sound or move his limbs. His legs twitch but are as limp as noodles and he cannot hold himself up.

The vets think it may be Acute idiopathic polyradiculoneuritis. That is quite a mouthful! It is more commonly called Coonhound paralysis. Here is a link about it. It is a serious illness but most animals can recover and that is what I am focusing on, hopes that he will recover. My long term readers may remember that Panda has already survived one near death experience when he was attacked by a dog and I have confidence that he can recover from this too with enough love and care.

The specialist tomorrow will do the relevant tests and hopefully we will have a prognosis and treatment plan in place afterwards. Until then I am trying hard to remain positive.

We have also been giving him doses of tissue salts from my friend Alison. We dissolve them in his broth.

Last week had plenty of other stresses.

On my way home one evening last week I was stopped at a pedestrian crosswalk when a minibus taxi came up behind me and ran the red light, then went across on a pedestrian crossing. I stayed behind him on the way up the mountain and then he stopped in the middle of a narrow curvy road to offload a passenger and another taxi came from behind me and overtook the first taxi that was stopped in the road by driving on the wrong side road with a car coming towards us. It was rather terrifying!

You who live in the US or Europe may ask, where were the police? Well, I ask that often, the taxis here are a law unto themselves and this is why there are so many deaths from taxi crashes. The drivers overload them to ridiculous degrees. At most they should take 14 people, yesterday one crashed and all 24 passengers were killed. They had almost double the number of passengers there should be.

There was another bus torched this week as well. There was a protest in Cape Town and the bus took the brunt of the protestors anger.

I also read that 6 officers from the anti-gang unit were shot in one day! Police were conducting an operation in the community when they came under attack. Police said anti-gang unit members had arrested one suspect allegedly linked to recent murders in the area and as they were searching for another suspect, the officers came under attack. It is pretty scary when even the police are not safe!

This week we also saw shitbag husband Rob Packham sentenced to 22 years for the murder of his beautiful wife Gill Packham. It is not long enough if you ask me. He showed no remorse and continued to try and bullshit his way out of being prosecuted. He is a horrid little toad of a man. For those who don’t remember my previous blog, he not only murdered his wife he burned her car with her body in the boot.

His wife. The mother of his children.

He must rot in jail.

Why do some men feel they have the right to treat women this way? And why are so many men intimidated by strong, confident women? And should we as women try to minimize ourselves in order to fit into that little box that those men want to keep us in?

I had a dilemma of this nature this week where I was told I was too quick, too clever and too thorough. I was told that as I was dealing with a junior resource that I must slow down.

So I must lower my standards for the sake of progress and to avoid damaging a fragile male ego? That is not in my nature. I expect others to rise up to meet me rather. To stretch themselves. When I started in IT I latched onto any mentors who were willing to teach me, but I am generally always eager to learn. I find that is not always the case with others.

My current contract had requirements which concerned me at the start as I am usually placed on a client site with a developer who manages all of the technical aspects. This project there was only me and I have managed to act as the data architect, data modeler and the data analyst in addition to the business analyst and data quality consultant roles I normally do. I’ve had to teach myself to write SQL queries which is a skill I had only a basic grasp of, but I have been given very complicated stored procedures to unpick to determine the mappings and transformation rules.

It was a challenge but I approached it with all I had and I googled what I did not know. My client calls me ‘his superstar’ and my 3 month initial contract has been extended to 6 months and they are trying to find funds to extend me further. This gives me such a sense of achievement. The other day my client reminded me that when I came for my interview I told him ‘no I can’t do that’ in response to many of the things I have now easily achieved.

We are only limited by our own mental boundaries.

Our low carb eating has taken a back seat to our nursing of our baby boy. We had takeaways most nights and the anxiety meant that I either needed a gallon of vodka or M&Ms to get me through it.

I opted for the latter. The family sized bag no less.

Norm did cook this week before our baby fell ill. He has been determined to make the perfect sweet potato fries.

Monday we had chicken breasts stuffed with brie and wrapped in bacon. He roasted broccoli and cauliflower in the oven (I adore roasted broccoli). He attempted the sweet potato fries in the air fryer and I thought they were tasty but he was not 100% satisfied with them.

The next night he made spaghetti bolognaise and served it on spinach noodles and topped it with cheese.

The next night he made pork fillet roasted in teriyaki sauce. He again made his air fryer sweet potato chips. He made roast broccoli, zucchini and green beans.

I tried to eat low carb at work for lunch most days. One day I had the chicken peri peri pot from Now Now Cafe, it is a bed of cauliflower mash, roast chicken, peri peri sauce and topped with sliced almonds and sour cream.

This dish is so delicious!

Friday I always go for lunch at Nuri Sushi Factory and the last two weeks my new colleague has joined me. She is very sweet and was so supportive this week with me being so upset about Panda. Nothing like someone crying in their prawn pops to put you off of your lunch! Sheesh. Was a bit embarrassing really but I’ve been a bit of a basket case.

On Saturday night Caitlin came around and brought a gorgeous dinner to have an early Fathers Day dinner for Norm. She had cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker to make pulled pork and she made a low carb mustard sauce to go with it, she also brought two different types of low carb salads and some fresh corn on the cob. It was absolutely delicious! This was restaurant quality food.

Caitlin did a great job. I give my baby’s delicious dinner 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Caity brought over the gifts that she, Trevor and Lily had bought Norm for Fathers Day. We kept Panda’s bed near us so he could feel a part of things. Norm got a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

He also received some PJs and 3 new tops. He was so spoiled but it is what he deserves.

We had quite a bit of rain and it was bitterly cold a few of the days during the week and this cold streak continued on Saturday so we built a big cosy fire while Caitlin was here.

During the day over the long weekend while Panda was at the vet, I watched nonsense on telly to distract me from obsessing endlessly.

I watched the movie ‘Always Be My Maybe’.

It was so cute! I loved the actors and the characters they played. I give it a strong 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

I watched several seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race as it is mindless entertainment which makes me laugh and doesn’t require too much concentration. I wasn’t mentally able to cope with anything more taxing.

Panda went off to the vet for the day today and Norm took me for brunch. It was my first foray out of the house since Friday. I was feeling much lighter of heart and felt up to it. We went to Constantia and popped into Mugg & Bean for brunch. We sat outside on the patio.

I ordered Eggs Benedict.

Norm ordered the The Country-style breakfast consisting of two eggs, back bacon, pork sausage, fresh baby spinach, grilled mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado & cauliflower hashbrowns.

After we finished brunch we walked over to the shops. Norm needed a new battery for his iPhone as his was only lasting an hour and there was an Apple Doctor there and so we dropped it off and had a mooch about the shops. I badly needed a new wallet as the card section in mine was so loose and that is why I lost my driving license. I found one the size I wanted that zips and it was on sale. Do you like it?

Today we were off work as yesterday was Youth Day. Youth Day commemorates a wave of protests across the country known as the Soweto uprising of 1976. 176 people were killed by the apartheid police. It is celebrated as a public holiday across South Africa to remember the brave students who protested.

I wish that I could see more change in the lives of more of the youth as so many still live in such poverty and poor conditions. The ANC has brought so little change to the lives of the poor. But freedom from oppression may be worth more than gold to those who have felt the yoke of that oppression. I guess it is all relative.

The Sounds of Silence

It is often the tasks that we think will go smoothly which end up being the most trying and those situations where we anticipate drama that end up being the easiest to achieve.

Today Norm and I had a few errands to run which we had expected to be very quick. We both nipped out in our ‘house clothes’ (which they call leisure wear in the US and pajamas in some countries). After all, who might we see at the police station or at the Computicket ticket kiosk? I showered but did not bother with makeup as we expected to be back home in no time.

First we stopped at the Police station as we both needed affidavits signed. I have lost my drivers license and I need the affidavit to collect a new one and Norm needed one signed for business reasons. We had printed all the paperwork we needed, had our passports for ID, a proof of residence and even a pen so we were very prepared.

We arrived and there was one lone guy working the front desk. He spent ages filling in forms of some sort for a previous ‘client’ and after about 20 minutes he drifted over to help us. Eventually after more than half an hour we finished and we were off to Checkers to collect our tickets for Sam Smith whom we are seeing perform this week.

We queued for ages at the Computicket kiosk even though we were very well prepared for this adventure as well, we had a print out of the transaction email, my ID and my debit card and when we got to the desk I handed all of this over. The woman entered my card number and nothing came up. I then realized that I have had my cards renewed since I had bought the concert tickets over 6 months ago so that is why it would not come up on her screen. She tried the booking reference but that did not work either. Eventually she called over a manager who repeated all of the same steps with no success so they ended up having to phone Computicket but the phone rang foreverrr before someone eventually answered. The manager kept asking me to ‘show her the email on my phone’ despite the email being printed out and lying on the counter in front of her. It was rather exasperating but eventually they managed to find my tickets on the system and print them.

We spent well over an hour on these tasks which we thought would be quick sticks.

By this time we were starving as we had not had breakfast so we decided to pop into Allegria Cafe for brunch. Enroute we ran into several people we know, we couldn’t get away with looking a mess and seeing no one of course!

We both ordered a coffee and Eggs Benedict with bacon.

The eggs were soft and the bacon crispy. It was perfection. 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

After brunch we came home and Norm had a nap.

We had been kept awake until almost 2am last night by our hard partying, Beatles loving, jacuzzi shagging, profanity belting neighbours. They had a Beatles album on loop for 10 hours or more as they were partying when we got home from lunch. It takes a lot of effort to make the Beatles obnoxious but the volume was so loud we could barely hear our own telly over the noise from their music even after we closed all of our doors.

We eventually ended up calling the police, once at 12.30 and again after 1am. The police just hung up on me three times but I kept phoning back. FFS that volume of music is so thoughtless.

One of the people we ran into at the shops was our other neighbour whose house is even closer to Miss Beatles and she said she was kept awake until 3am. We had eventually went to bed and drowned the bulk of the noise out with our fan.

It might be time to start using some special powers to get Miss Beatles to move on.

Other than the noise drama this weekend things were pretty uneventful this week.

Last Monday Norm picked up dinner for us from Posticino in Hout Bay.

The chicken schnitzel was nice but the pasta was light on sauce and a bit dry, I’ll give it 4 Kitten Stars overall ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

On Tuesday Norm had a meeting after I got in from work so I cooked dinner. He had shopped so I didn’t have to plan.

I made chicken breasts wrapped in Richard Bosman prosciutto and served it with Woolworths sweet potatoes stuffed with a creamy leek sauce and steamed asparagus.

The chicken was delicious but I wasn’t overly keen on the sweet potatoes dish as I’m not a huge fan of leeks. But if you like leeks it is a quick and easy side dish, you just chuck the tray into the oven and bake for half an hour.

Speaking of Woolworths, this week they announced a new make up collaboration with Sir John who is known for being the man behind the faces of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Priyanka Chopra and Kim Kardashian West.

These are one of the few 100% vegan and Beauty Without Cruelty-endorsed products in South Africa. I am keen to check them out but my makeup routine is pretty basic, I don’t wear eyeshadow and use high street products.

As it is almost election time in South Africa the current party governing SA are busy bribing voters and making promises they won’t deliver on (and I use governing in the loosest sense possible). They trotted out some shiny new trains to gawk at, promising they will be up and running soon. PRASA later clarified that the trains will not be fully operational until late 2020 at the earliest.

However the launch did not go as smoothly as Ramaphosa probably hoped.

The entire country has had multiple protests over various things this week. Some groups have been protesting crime, some protesting drugs and education challenges and some protesting service delivery.

A report by the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice found that three South African cities are among the top 50 most violent places on earth based on murder rates per 100,000 people. Cape Town’s murder rate has steadily increased since 2009/10, up by almost 70% between 2009/10 and 2017/18, despite plateauing over three years.

“The increase in the murder rate in Cape Town is presumably driven by gang violence, which has been exacerbated by the supply of thousands of illegal firearms to criminal gangs in Cape Town,” the report I found said.

The ANC have made a mess of governing this country.

I had a few days of intense sushi-ness this week. On Thursday for lunch I had a takeaway from Nuri.

I ordered salmon roses and double prawn rolls. They were both very tasty but very awkward to eat from the takeaway box without mutilating them. The box is great for transporting them however as it stops them rolling about!

One of the young lads on our team, Mawande has just got a new job working for Oracle which is such a brilliant opportunity for him. He will gain so much experience. I am sad to see him go as he is a very nice lad and is always so helpful to me.

The team went for a coffee to say cheerio and to wish him well. He was flying to Johannesburg today, they have their head office there. He is starting work tomorrow. He had never flown or stayed in a hotel and I gave him a bit of advice about everything from avoiding the costly mini bar in his room, to being early for his flight and being on his best behavior while on training as this is the time when they will be assessing him. He was a bag of nerves but I think he will do just fine.

For lunch on Friday I went for sushi again. I had a major craving all week.

After work I went to my chiropractor Kevin for my regular 5 week adjustment.

I had sushi from K1 for dinner that night. I had salmon roses, prawn and cucumber roses, prawn nigiri and crab salad. It was all delicious.

Norm and I finally finished his favorite series, Ray Donovan and we started watching The OA this weekend.

We finished the first series and I really loved it! I give it 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. It was bizarre but it was right up my alley!

We were up early on Saturday as Norm had to take Pixie to the Chiro in Noordhoek. I stayed in bed until he got back home as it was a bit drizzly and dreary weather out.

We had plans to collect my friend Jenny for lunch. As she is visiting from the UK I had planned to take her to a Constantia wine farm with a lovely view but the weather was not very cooperative and we ended up going to Peddlar’s instead. We had not been there in a while as the last time we went it wasn’t very nice. But they seem to have upped their game.

We got a nice bright table inside rather than risk the on and off drizzle outside on the patio.

We all opted for one of their Burgers. Norm and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar burger which came with fries and gorgeous onion rings.

Norm ordered the Cheesecake for dessert. It looked very appealing.

Proof that looks cannot be relied on when it comes to food, Norm said it wasn’t great and only rated it 2.5 Kitten Stars.

I also ordered dessert and in a similar vein, my creme brûlée looked lovely.

However when I cracked open the perfectly formed crisp topping, underneath it was a very soupy consistency. It did not even have a very tasty filling.

I was very disappointed in my dessert and give it 2 Kitten Stars but my burger was delicious and gets a full 5 Stars. The meat was good quality, the patty nice and thick, it was juicy and perfectly cooked.

Jenny was very virtuous and avoided the bun, the chips and dessert.

It was lovely to see Jenny, we first met in George well over 25 years ago as our ex-husbands were work colleagues. We lost touch for ages but reconnected when I moved back to SA. Ironically she moved to the UK after I came back here! Jen is a very kind, no nonsense sort of woman, it is always lovely to catch up with her.

We left late afternoon and took her back to her daughter Vicky’s house and we headed home. Norm walked the dogs and we settled in for a quiet evening at home, however our eejit neighbour put paid to that plan!

Later last night we got a bit hungry so Norm popped out to Massimo’s and I had the chicken milanese which is chicken breaded in Parmesan and fried, it came with mash and roast veg. It was delicious.

Tonight we had a takeaway from Cassarechio, Norm had ravioli and I had half of a Mexicana pizza.

This week I was added to a Facebook group page for planning our 40th high school reunion. Things like reunions and lunches with old friends make you realise just how quickly your life has hurtled past. I would love to attend but we just don’t have the funds to go to the US just 9 months after our recent visit.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Sam Smith in concert this week. I hope you all have a lovely week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Protected by Women

The last week or so the vibe in our village has been a bit tense after the recent protests that resulted in the roads in and out of our village being closed and 5 men being murdered.

Community Crime Prevention (aka CCP) posted an update the day after the 4 taxi drivers were shot to reassure us that our concerns over our safety were being addressed:

“6 Vehicle Control Points held in the course of the day and 8 taxis impounded. 14 traffic warrants served and 3 arrests made on outstanding warrants during vehicle stops. Strong Police presence along with Traffic/Metro/Law Enforcement continues.”

There has been a heavy police presence all week.

I have had a few of my international readers asking me about the background to the taxi violence and I have found an article to explain it which you can read HERE but in summary it is that there are 2 different taxi associations who are fighting over the right to use the lucrative Hout Bay to Wynberg routes. There are many people in Hout Bay who use the african taxis and the difference in cost between the government run MyCiti buses and the african taxis is supposed to be about R14 each direction per day according to the people I have spoken to. This is a lot of money to those who are paid so little.

Last Friday there was a meeting in Hangberg (a suburb in Hout Bay) which was meant to be a forum for all of the political parties to speak to the voters and it started peacefully enough but it erupted into a brawl and was eventually called off.

Today the police minister Bheki Cele was due to arrive in Hout Bay to address various issues. The police were out in force.

However I saw on social media that this visit triggered another protest. I later read that the protest was local students, specifically organised by the Congress of South African Students (Cosas) and I cannot find anything online regarding this protest in Hout Bay specifically, but the march was held across many areas in South Africa. The students have stated that they ‘want the Education Department to improve the school’s infrastructure and implement a safety programme to rid places of learning and South African streets of drugs.’  I also read that Cosas is raising concerns over the violence, the sexual assault of learners by teachers and the need for the provision of sanitary towels in schools.

Below is an update on the outcome of the meeting with the Police Minister.

Throughout all of the chaos and nonsense, the rest of us have to keep on with the requirements of living life.

I had a phone call from my gastroenterologist to tell me that the results of my biopsy were back and that it was all clear! Such a relief. The medication he has given me for the heartburn is working well and my reflux is minimal. If I avoid overeating then I am  mostly okay. If the meds do their job then hopefully I will be able to avoid having another op. I had a bit of dizziness on Wednesday when I went back to work but that has  gone away. I think it was from too much caffeine. I do not cope well with excessive caffeine.

Norm has been looking after me as always. He made a delicious dinner on my first night back at work last week. He made chicken sausage fried with mushrooms which he served with sweet potato mash and baby spinach. It was so yummy. Sausage and mash is such a warm cozy homely meal.

I cooked on Thursday night and made tacos, one of my favourite foods. They are so quick to make when late home from work.

We got sushi from K1 on Friday and I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried some different items.  I had salmon roses, prawn nigiri, crab salad and tempura prawns. It was all so delicious. This might become my new normal.

We had takeaways from Spiro’s one night last week, I had crispy squids and chips and Norm had chicken souvlaki. We love Spiro’s and it is one of our fave take away spots, the portions are big and the prices are reasonable and the food is consistently good.

We also had takeaways from Massimo’s one night, I had the creamy prawn and crab granchio pasta and Norm had the fritto misto that was on special and both were delicious.

On Saturday I had to buy a birthday gift for Bronwyn so Norm and I popped into Culture Box at Oakhurst Farm Park in upper Hout Bay to look for a gift as I wanted to support our local shops and designers. They had some lovely things and I finally settled on a gorgeous thick, soft black scarf which will be perfect for winter. They wrapped it in tissue paper and put it in a bag for me so I did not have to wrap it.

Norm and I then went off down to Hout Bay village to find some lunch. We decided to try the new Famous Bean Cafe which I had not yet been to.

It was overcast but still warm enough to sit outside and we found a nice shady table on their patio.

I had heard good things about their burgers and the menu said they are hand made patties so Norm and I both ordered the ‘Famous Burger’.

It arrived on a wooden serving board with a little bowl of fries.

The burger was OK, but only just OK. I far prefer the burgers from Dario’s personally. I also ordered a chocolate milk shake but it was not nice at all. It was more milk than shake and the ice cream used was not nice, it tasted quite artificial. Maybe I am spoiled by the amazing hand made Italian ice cream at Ice Dream? Hout Bay has some brilliant restaurants so the owners of Famous Bean Cafe will need to up their game if they want to survive. All in all I give my experience at Famous Bean 3 Kitten Stars and that is mainly due to the attentive and chatty waitress who served us and the free WiFi. I will give them another chance however, I will go for breakfast and see how their eggs benedict stand against the other venues in the bay.

Norm and I popped into Woolworths and did a shop of bits and pieces we could heat for an easy dinner as we had such a big lunch. We bought chicken samoosas, mozzarella arancini, sesame chicken, asian slaw, potato salad and beetroot.

We spent the evening relaxing surrounded by the animals. Navajo chilled at my feet with his head on the footstool. He is such a beautiful boy.

On Sunday I met up with Bronwyn and a few of her other friends to celebrate her birthday. We met at Kirstenbosch Gardens which is such a beautiful special place. It was a hot day and the gardens were very busy.

Norm dropped me off as I intended to have a wee vodka or two and I met up with the other ladies at the gate. We went into the gardens and managed to find this little secluded area under cover of the trees and we set up our little camp and put out all of the goodies Bronwyn had bought for us to feast on. She had brought loads of gorgeous freshly baked breads, salami, pepper ham, parma ham, brie and several types of cheese, lots of dips and spreads and pate as well as crisps and cupcakes. She really spoiled us!

I had brought a jug of vodka, apple juice, soda and passionfruit cordial and Bronwyn had brought wine and champagne.

We posed for some funny photos which had us all giggling like school girls. We did a cheesy album cover shot draping ourselves all over the giant trees that were sheltering us from the sun.

Then we straddled a different tree and did a sort of human centipede shot.

Several of us tried to master a group selfy but only Bronwyn had any measure of success.

We spent all day there and finally wandered home around 5:30pm, I for one was a little tipsy from my vodka concoction. We had such a wonderful day chatting and munching and I so enjoyed spending Bronwyn’s special day with her and such fabulous women and our one token fella (he was the photographer and is not in the pics I posted).

Our little spot was like a magical fairy garden, it was such a divine special area. I love the energy you get by being surrounded by ancient trees and I also gained energy by interacting with the less than ancient humans sharing the fairy garden with me.

We talked about all manner of things ranging from who would make up the perfect dinner party if you could invite dead people, to the ideal table of living hot men. We touched on the foolishness of the young, dissected the traditional gender based roles of men and women in society and how we ignore these stereotypes and apply our own rules in our own relationships, and we discussed the physical and emotional abuse suffered by so many women all in the name of what masquerades as love.

Angie raised a very salient point about how so many of the abusers are protected by society, by other women or even by the victims themselves. Society tells women they should be grateful that they have a man, any man, regardless of how he treats ‘his’ woman. So many african families will tell the wife that she must do as she is told and bow to the needs of the man. If the man wants a houseful of children, even though he is unwilling to work to feed or clothe them, the wife must accommodate his wishes. This pattern of subservience is also still prevalent in many Afrikaans families so it is not restricted to race. It is prevalent in most countries within many races and religions.

Silence may be the only protection offered but sometimes that is all that is required. Whether the silence is there out of fear of reprisal, or just due to the gaslighting that occurs to the victims, the end result is still men literally getting away with murder or with ongoing repeated abuse. Does this silence make the victim complicit in their own abuse or is it just a symptom of the victim hood?

Last week the mother and step father of a child who was systematically tortured and abused until he died were both sentenced. The courts have called the child ‘Baby Daniel’ for the sake of anonymity of the mother’s other children.  The step father has been sentenced to life in prison, while the child’s mother was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The judge said that the mother was guilty in that she did nothing to remove the child from the reach of the step father. The report from a social worker states that the mother was a victim of sexual abuse and physical abuse as a child which resulted in her making poor relationship choices and violence was normalised for her.

As a survivor myself I feel some level of sympathy for her. I know that I also made many poor life choices due to the damage of my childhood and I also made poor relationship choices which led to more abuse, first being engaged to a man whose emotional abuse convinced me that I was so ugly and stupid that I was lucky to have him as no one else would be interested in me, all while trying to lead me down a path of drug addiction, a road he was very familiar with. I managed to get out of that relationship but then ended up marrying an angry, violent man. However I could never have stood by while anyone harmed my children. My children’s father did not abuse them, he only directed his violence towards me. Once my son was old enough to witness the abuse something clicked in my head. I still remember it very clearly, we were living in LA and one night while I lay on the floor having been thrown across the room, I looked up to see my son standing in the doorway. He was less than 2 years old and I was pregnant with my second child. I then realised that if I did not do something to change my circumstances that my children would grow up with this violence as the template for their own relationships. I stood up and picked up my son and put him back into his bed. I then calmly walked up to my ex-husband and I told him that if he ever laid another hand on me and did not kill me, that I would wait until he went to sleep and I would bash his head in with a brick. He later told me that he could see in my eyes that something had changed. He never hit me again after that. He still abused me emotionally and played power games with me but he never laid a hand on me until many years later after our divorce. I am proud to say that I stood up to him that time as well. Part of the issue with abuse is the loss of power, the helplessness associated to being a victim. Not everyone has the strength of character or the confidence to break these chains.

Obviously Baby Daniel’s mother did not. I feel so much sadness for Baby Daniel, for his mother and for the other children from that family. I hope that the other children are able to get counselling to help them heal from the horrors that they have seen or experienced themselves and can break that cycle in their own lives.

As for his step father, I hope that karma deals with him in the manner he deserves.

Hold your own loved ones close and tell them that you love them.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

The Humming Heart of my Ancestors

I have had 2 lovely weekends since my last blog and I have a lot to say so grab a cuppa and settle in.

The weather has been absolutely stunning but we have had a lot of wind.

Last Saturday I was up very early as I had an appointment at 9am to get my hair done at Pause in the city. I usually schedule it around lunch time but I had moved it to accommodate the belated family Christmas lunch which has now been rescheduled to February. At least it got me up and out of the house. (I am trying to think of an advantage to waking early on a weekend).

After I finished with my hair I popped home to collect Norman and sat outside waiting on him to get ready as it was such a nice day.

We went to Dario’s in Hout Bay for lunch. It was a bit windy but we still chose to sit outside on the veranda.

I fancied a burger and had heard their burgers were good so I ordered the jalapeno burger with bacon, cheese, jalapenos and an egg but asked them to leave off the egg. I asked for it to be medium well as I cannot face a bloody burger. Luckily the bacon was nice and crispy as well.

It was a brilliant burger, in fact I might say it is the best burger I have had in Hout Bay now that Ragafellow’s has closed. And I am not an easy to please person when it comes to burgers. I do not like a lot of herbs in the burger patty and it must be nice quality meat. No icky bits. No pre-made patties. This one ticked all the boxes. It gets 5 Kitten Stars.

Dario’s have taken over the shop that was previously next door and have put in a little play area for kiddies at the back. They are even open some evenings now so we will make a point of having burgers there more often.

After lunch we went home to relax a bit as we were off to a friend’s leaving party that afternoon. It was held at Dunes restaurant which is in a stunning location right on the beach in Hout Bay. We headed over there about 5pm and the place was already packed. The party was in the upstairs section of the restaurant.

We ordered drinks and mingled with our friends, some of whom we had not seen in ages. The party was in honour of our friends Dawn and Gavin who are emigrating back to the UK after being here since 2007.

We had a laugh about my recent trip to the US and my Facebook posts (aka rants) about the annoying children on the flight and the woman who was seated behind me putting her feet on my armrest. I was the first person that Dawn and Gavin met on their move to Hout Bay as we met on the plane when we were all emigrating from the UK to South Africa and at that time their daughter Bo was an infant. The flight could have gone quite badly except Bo was an absolute dream of a baby and slept the entire trip. Dawn and I were sat next to each other and started chatting and we realised that we were both not only in the process of emigrating to South Africa but we were going to be living in the same village! What are the odds of that? Once Norm arrived we all socialised at braais and various other functions and we even had a ladies book club for many years until we all lost enthusiasm and it fell by the wayside. Norm and I are older than most of the group and neither of us are into sport and the other couples all either have small children or are runners and/or cyclists so we drifted apart the last few years but were still friends. It will seem odd to not have them just across the valley from us. Bo is starting high school this year and will have to settle in with a new group of kids in Bath. She is such a beautiful girl and a talented little sportswoman, she does everything from horse riding to surfing so I hope she copes with the British weather. I hope Dawny can cope without her amazing cleaner Doreen, it is hard to shift to doing everything yourself once you have had household help.

We will really miss them even though we did not see them that often lately.

We did not stay late as Norm still had to walk the dogs before it got too dark. We headed home about 7ish and stopped for fish and chips on the way.

Last Sunday we had a lazy day and I did not even get out of my pajamas! I had a long lie in bed then Norm popped down to get us some food and we just relaxed. We started watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace which we really enjoyed. I knew very little about Versace’s murder or his murderer Andrew Cunanan so it was all new info to me. I give the series 4 Kitten Stars, it loses a star due to the convoluted timeline of info which can sometimes be very confusing but it is very much worth watching.

On Monday night Norm had a business meeting after I got home from work so he just picked up a take away from Massimo’s for dinner after his meeting. We both had the pork fillet medallions with roast vegetables and smashed baby potatoes.

There was so much food that I had enough for lunch the next day too. It was delicious and gets 5 Kitten Stars!

On Tuesday Norm had Mzudumo there working in the garden and he had also been running around all day and so that night he just made fish cakes, corn on the cob and steamed baby broccoli. It was quick and easy.

Wednesday night we attended a meeting about the SRA that Norm and the other steering committee members are trying to implement and so we had a quick dinner before we left. Norm had made chili con carne. We topped it with cheddar cheese. It was delicious.

On Thursday a colleague brought in some quail’s eggs. He raises quails and gets about 20 eggs a day from them so he gave them to me for free! I will make a nice Caesars salad this weekend using them and let you know how it goes.

Friday I had an interview with a client regarding a new project I am going to be assigned. I start on the 1st of February. I was really hoping that the UCT project would kick off and I would be assigned to that project but the delays in their obtaining financing means that I am ‘on the bench’ and the company I work for needs to place me on a paying client site. The new project is for a large retail customer and is the 3rd project I have done for them. It is a 3 month project.

On Friday night we just got a takeaway and had Chinese food from Blue Lotus in Hout Bay. I had an order of salmon roses to start and crispy chill chicken with rice for my main. It was really good. I will give it 4 Kitten Stars.

I was up early on Saturday as I was going to a Drum Painting workshop at Sacred Ibis and it started at 10am. It is such a peaceful spiritual space.

There are so many interesting pieces of art there I can roam around for ages checking things out.

We started out upstairs in the loft space. We took turns reading aloud from a book that comes with the Sacred Path Cards and we read the section about the origin of the drum in Native American culture. The part that resonated with me was the part about the drumbeat mirroring the heartbeat of Mother Earth and the sound of the heartbeat of our mother while in the womb. That was my first experience when I did past life regression, I went back to when I was in my mother’s womb and could hear her heartbeat.

Then we all lay down in a circle and Michelle led us on a drum journey and took us all to a mental space where we could communicate with our drums and ask them to guide us in what we should do to adorn them. I had printed out 3 images that spoke to me and I was originally going to paint a simple wolf head howling. However the messages that came through to me very clearly were that I should pay tribute to my female ancestors, in particular my grandmother who communicates to me with hummingbirds. So I chose the more complicated hummingbird image for my drum.

We then drummed and walked around the vast garden down to the ancestors tree to call in the ancestors for guidance and support.

We sang the Cherokee Morning song, we n’ de ya ho.

While we were standing in a circle singing, a beautiful butterfly flew into the centre of the circle and flew around in front of each of us, around the tree and then flew off. I took that as a message from our ancestors that they supported our efforts and appreciated the song of tribute.

We then walked back up to the house and had a bite of lunch before we settled in to paint. We all had taken a dish to share and we had salad, pizza, quiche, bread and some home made orange and date muffins.

We cleared away the plates and settled in to paint. I traced my image directly onto my drum using carbon paper and then I chose the paints and started painting. It took me hours to do it and I had to repaint a few bits that went a bit wonky but I was very pleased with the end result.

Once I finished I phoned Norm to come and collect me around 4pm. On the way I showed him my drum and he said to me that while he was outside in our garden that 2 hummingbirds came and danced around the pool! I think that was my grandmother showing her pleasure in what I painted and my tribute to her.

We headed home and he walked the dogs but it was very hot outside so he only took them on a quick jaunt. I was absolutely exhausted from the drum journey and the painting. My arthritis was not happy with the clenching of the paint brush or with gripping my drum. I was ready for bed by 9pm but managed to stay awake til a reasonable hour.

Today I have been going nonstop since I woke up. I was collected at 10 by my friend Alison and we headed off to The Shamballah Tea House & Holistic Centre where we were attending a talk on ‘The Fertility Astrology of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon’ which was being given by my friend Nicola Smuts Allsop who is a fertility astrologer. This basically means she helps women to understand when it is best to try to fall pregnant. She does much more than that but you can read about it all on her website via the link above.

We traveled across Chapman’s Peak drive which is such a beautiful drive.

The event was held far away in a remote location near Cape Point. It was a lovely venue and it was a very interesting talk, even though I understand zip about astrology I enjoyed the history aspect of the discussion.

After the talk Alison and I popped in to visit her mom who lives in Noordhoek for a few minutes. Alison is lucky to have her mom near enough to be able to pop in for a cuppa. Afterwards we came back across Chappies and Alison dropped me at home.

I was ready for a late lunch/ early dinner by this stage as it was about 4pm and I had only had tea, biscuits and such so Norm and I went down to Zur Holzbucht. I always enjoy the food here. It was a very hot day so we sat out in the shady beer garden.

Norm ordered a salad with grilled chicken. He only gave it 3 stars as he said the chicken tasted like it had been cooked previously and reheated so was a bit dry.

I ordered a dish which I cannot remember the name of but it was basically a German version of a posh Ploughman’s as it came with half a boiled egg, half a camembert cheese, pickles, peppers, pickled onion, cole slaw, pickled mushrooms. red onion, olives, black forest ham, salami, kassler roast and sliced tomatoes. It was delicious and perfect for such a hot day as I did not fancy cooked hot food.

I give it 5 kitten stars I enjoyed it so much. I would have liked a bit of german potato salad because I love it, but there was way too much food to finish as it was so that is just me being greedy.

After lunch we went to the shops and got some ready made salads for me to take to lunch this week and a few other odds and ends we needed then came home. Norm has had a nap and is now taking the dogs out for a walk while I write. I think tonight will be an early night for me as my busy weekend has exhausted me!

I hope you have had a lovely weekend yourselves and I wish you have a wonderful week ahead.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

Shutting Down

We have had a bit of on and off rain this week with more water to fill our dams. However after our weekend last week of sunny gorgeous weather it was a bit disorientating to have some days of cold weather interspersed with the warm sunny days. Do I wear boots? Do I wear flip flops? Those are predominately the only foot wear I wear and the weather in South Africa can change from one extreme to the other as it has done all week. We have not had a fire in the evenings all week so that tells you the temperature has been manageable by just wearing a warm sweater and wrapping up in furry blankets. Then again today was 27 degrees Celsius and it was a glorious day (that is about 78 in F for my American readers who can’t be arsed to google and covert).

We had one morning this week where it was pouring with rain and on my way in to work I spotted a huge bird of prey sitting on a road sign. The bird was as tall as the road sign and really fat with fluffy brown and white feathers. I wish I could have snapped a pic as he looked so majestic but trying to shoot a one handed photo while hurtling along a curvy road in the dark while it is pouring with rain is maybe not the safest so I chose to rather not risk it. I love it when we spot random animals just going about our daily lives, there are a few little bucks which have been spotted in our suburb lately as well, I would have thought it could be due to the drought except our streams are full again.

On Tuesday night Norm cooked dinner for us. He chopped up chicken breasts and mushrooms and fried them, then added baby broccoli and made a sauce out of cream, chicken stock, fromage frais, and a wee squizz of tomato paste.

It was low carb and very tasty and it was nice to try something different as it is easy to get into a menu rut, especially when trying to eat low carb. One can only create so many different types of salad or make cauliflower into so many different potato or rice substitutes.

Tuesday afternoon after work I had to stop for petrol. The South African petrol price had a monstrous hike of a Rand a liter on Wednesday. This puts our petrol up to almost R17 a liter. If my math and metric conversion skills are correct, this translates to $4.50 (USD) per gallon. As everyone was trying to fill up before the midnight price change I had to visit 2 different petrol stations to fill my tank up completely as the first station ran out of petrol in the middle of filling my car. The hike is being blamed on the poor rand value, however the poor rand value can be blamed on the cluster feck of our government and the fact that most of the government’s funds have been embezzled in the State Capture fiasco. So the root cause is the government’s lack of proper governing without the ability to avoid sticking their hands in the taxpayers pockets. I was curious about how our petrol prices rank against the rest of the world and I found this info which tells me we are not the most expensive globally. However this link is NOT considering the average salary in that country so there is very little perspective on the impact of the price to drivers. If the cost of petrol is high as are salaries then the effect is negligible, however South African salaries are not very high and this will really impact all of us. No road trips in my future for a while and this will probably mean my kids cannot pop down for the weekend as often.

Later on Tuesday night I had a dig through our family dress up box. We are having our annual Halloween party on the 27th of October. I am still not even 100% sure of what I am going as but I found a dress which I wore before I met Norman. I was unable to fit into it for decades, but as it is such a lovely funky dress I kept it, if only for Halloween options.

I was so pleased to see that it fit me again! I will possibly use this as the basis of my outfit and just tweak it. It is velvet and I love velvet. I am on the hunt for a crinoline and then I will be able to create the exact look I am after.

Meanwhile, we have had plenty of turmoil in South Africa with multiple different protests occurring across the country. (Much like the US where many women are protesting the potential Supreme Court appointment of the petulant man child Brett Kavanaugh.)

I received a demonstration alert from the US Embassy notifying us that there was a protest planned in the city on the 2nd October under the Western Cape Total Shutdown banner. However I later saw an article saying that this was fake news so I am not sure whether the Cape Town demo went ahead on the 2nd or not?!

The Western Cape Total Shutdown concept was implemented to protest gangster-ism, violence, unemployment and crime in the suburbs around Cape Town. But I am struggling to find any details other than this link.

A march had taken place on the 29th of August where scores of Kensington residents shut down a large part of Voortrekker Road as they peacefully demonstrated with placards and posters. A similar demonstration occurred in Bonteheuwel a few weeks later on the 25th of September when there was another protest held about the crime in the Cape Town suburbs. Residents in areas including Kensington, Bonteheuwel, Bishop Lavis, Manenberg, Kraaifontein and Hanover Park took to the streets to highlight an increase in gang violence in their communities. A total of 13 protesters were arrested in Bonteheuwel and the police shot rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowds.

On Thursday in the Bonteheuwel area a man was murdered by a known gangster. This issue with gangs is part of the basis for much of the protests. the gangs rule these areas. The victim was not associated to a gang so the reason for his murder is so far unknown or at least not yet publicised.

Today the Total Shutdown protests continued, this time in the north of SA near Johannesburg. The coloured communities are protesting over the killing of a woman during alleged gang violence.

They also highlighted their dissatisfaction with what they believe is the lack of prioritisation of people who identify as coloured. The term of ‘coloured’ is not a racial slur, this is a term used in SA to designate a particular distinct group of people. The term may have originated during the apartheid era, however now it is part of every day terminology here and is used by the coloured community themselves.

Another protest which occurred this week is regarding the ongoing issues with the Train Services in the Western Cape which I have blogged about previously. The rail service has been targeted for attack with many fires being set and many instances of robbery due to lack of proper security on the trains. This protest was under the banner of #UniteBehind. We have had at least one death from the arson attacks and at least one death from the robberies. In July alone 32 coaches were damaged as a result of arson. The damage caused to trains and infrastructure came to a total of more than R50m.

#UniteBehind launched #DelayRepay, a campaign to demand better rail service and compensation in cases of continued delays on Thursday. The coalition of civil society movements held a rally at the Cape Town Train Station.

The #DelayRepay campaign is a response to the “disastrous” deterioration of the Metrorail service. The rail service, the organisation said, “robs commuters and the public of money and human dignity”. People have lost their jobs due to this issue when they were late on a recurring basis. Some people spend up to 5 hours commuting every day due to delays and cancellations.

On Thursday there was a collision between 2 trains in the northern part of SA and 320 people were injured.

The first train was stationary due to technical problems when it was rear-ended by the second train. Metrorail’s spokesperson said they were investigating how the second train driver was allowed into a section where the existence of a stationary train had been reported to the depot. They were using the controversial manual authorisation system at the time. Metrorail has said previously it is forced to use this method because of severe cable theft and infrastructure damage that has crippled electronic communication to the signalling network.

Yet another issue due to lack of policing and non-adherence to safety processes in our rail system.

I am so grateful to have a car and to be independent of this drama (and to have a valid license albeit a temporary one.)

Another huge challenge in SA is unemployment where the unemployed rate is over 26% and is as high as 30% for the unemployed youth. This equates to over 6 million people without employment according to stats from the last quarter. The expanded definition of unemployment, which includes people who have stopped looking for work, rose to 36.7% in the first quarter from 36.3% in the previous quarter. The cycle of poverty can lead to an increase in drug abuse and crime. I am so blessed that my children are all employed.

Thursday night Norm and I cooked dinner together. We did a Mexican themed dinner of spicy mince and beans.

We just served the mince like a salad, on a bed of lettuce and topped with cheese, salsa, fromage frais and home made guacamole. It was really yummy and the best thing is it is so fast to prepare when there are two of you to chop and prep.

This weekend I have to take Pixie to the chiro for her 5 week adjustment. Navajo had a visit this week, Norm took him on Thursday. He is such a curious alert dog.

He is getting better about going to the chiro, he was a raging nightmare the first visit but he has gotten used to it now and still remains alert, but is more relaxed.

As for the rest of the weekend, it is open to possibilities. I hope you enjoy yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

To the left, to the left

The crime stats for South Africa were just released by the South African police department (aka SAPS). If you are a fellow data geek you can download them here. The poor grammar and spelling on this website tells you a lot about the state of our police’s attention to detail (or lack thereof). There is so much misalignment and lack of master data management it makes me cringe. For example the official stats are collated by station, yet the filter refers to ‘province’. They refer to ‘residential crime’ yet the stats have ‘Property-related crimes’ as the category heading. This can lead to misinterpretation and misallocation of data which is a huge issue if collating stats and providing Business Intelligence.

If you prefer to have your information already interpreted you can get a summary here. I have also extracted some of the more relevant stats for the Western Cape, where I live, from that site.

The overall crime stats for the province are in this 1st graphic. It would appear the criminals have reduced their attempts on car jackings and ramped up to truck jackings. Maybe they bought a ladder?

The stats for residential crime in my province are in the next graphic below. Residential crime is defined on the crime stats as:

  • Burglary at non-residential premises
  • Burglary at residential premises
  • Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle
  • Theft out of or from motor vehicle
  • Stock-theft

 

My understanding of the difference between burglary and robbery is whether the items were taken directly from a person, or taken in their absence. For example, a mugging is a robbery and burglary is a house or car break in.

And finally, the stats for murder and attempted murder.

The stats for attempted murders went down overall, but is this because their skills improved and the murderers were just more successful at achieving their desired results?

Either way it can make one despair or it can make one take whatever protective action you can, be vigilant and hope for protection from our guardian angels. Since the cops are doing such a crap job at protecting us and resolving crime, some divine intervention is needed. This is one of our motivations in creating the SRA for our area, it gives us some control over our safety and environment as a collective entity.

However we must be careful not to buy into the scaremongering from the Alt-right who claim there is a white genocide underway and that the South African farmers are all being deliberately targeted and murdered. I have blogged about this recently and you can read that blog here.

This video was posted on Facebook recently which gives a view that aligns to mine, that we are being subjected to right wing propaganda. White South African residents are far less likely to be murdered than any other racial group.

This is not discounting the violence and horror of the farm attacks.

You can generally always find information online to support your views, here is a video from the alt-right. Note their constant use of the term ‘they’ – they do not see Africans or Coloured people as equal, this is evident in their terminology. This is also known as Otherism which can be defined as “the exclusion of a person based on their perceived diversions from an acceptable norm.”

Noting that the 2nd video is from Australia and Australia has a long history of racism which is similar to the American history. Australia’s mistreatment and repression of their indigenous people is as systemic and horrid as the US treatment of the Native Americans. The aboriginal people were displaced from their homelands and treated as inferior to the usurping white settlers.

The Australian press has recently been accused of racism due to their portrayal of Serena Williams and her tantrum in the US Open. My opinion is that her behaviour was shocking and unprofessional but no more so than many male players who have thrown wobblies in the past. The fact that the cartoonist then doubled down and refused to admit to racism says a lot about their lack of ownership of their narrow views and their unwillingness to change.

This week has flown by for me, I have been busy at work preparing for a workshop at UCT which was held today. It went well, we are putting in a proposal to bid for some work which could lead to a long term project. I really resisted going to University of Cape Town when I was assigned my previous project there as I always resist anything new but eventually I settled in there and was very happy and in fact was sad to leave. It will be good to go back there again. I popped in after my workshop to visit the team I worked with before. It was lovely to see them all.

Last night after work I went with my friend Retha to her new house to unpack her kitchen things so that she could bring back the boxes and bubble wrap to pack another load of things today as she is moving out of Hout Bay on the weekend. We have been living so close to each other since we met so it will be strange having her not in the same suburb, but things change and we adapt.

Norm has been cooking most of the week. He was adventurous last night and made the most delicious high fat, low carb dinner of chicken breasts smothered with cream cheese and cheddar cheese and topped with home made bacon bits. He served it with sweet corn and cole slaw. It was ready shortly after I got home and as I was starving by the time I got in I scarfed every bite.

I found the recipe on this Low Carb website which has some good ideas.

Norm had a meeting the previous night so we had take aways as he got home quite late. I made chili con carne on Tuesday night as I was craving a bit of spice.

Lily and Josh’s sister are at Comic Con this weekend. I am sure they will have such a laugh. Josh is so mad about comic books it is a shame he wasn’t able to go but he has a race this weekend and he and his friend are coming down to stay in Cape Town with us instead. At least the tickets were not wasted. It is the first official Comic Con event in Africa. There is an annual comic book convention held in Cape Town every year which is called Fan Con but it is nice to see the Comic Con brand come to Africa.

I set up the event for our own fancy dress event which we have every year for Halloween and we are all starting to get excited about planning for that. It is my fave time of year and I cannot wait!

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend. I hope you all have a good one too. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0