I Hear You Knocking

 

I suspect that I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life but I just did not have a name for it. When I moved from a tiny little town in rural Tennessee to Los Angeles in the 80’s I was diagnosed with asthma because when I would drive on the motorways I would hyperventilate and it was assumed it was a reaction to the air quality. Now I realise that I was experiencing my first full blown panic attacks.

Over the years they have reappeared in moments of extreme stress with different intensities. At their worst I faint and at their best I just feel a bit ‘twitchy’ and hypersensitive. A few years ago I was interviewing the CIO at a client and I blacked out in the middle of the interview, my vision went black and I heard the roaring in my ears but I stayed upright. Luckily the project manager I was working with realised something was going on with me and carried on the interview and I came around within a few minutes. On Wednesday this week the same intensity of breathless panic hit me. It started with being aware of my heartbeat, it seemed to be jumping around loudly in my chest. Then my bottom lip went numb which is the signal my doctor told me to be aware of, it signifies a panic attack. The symptoms then escalated until I could feel myself about to faint, I heard the roaring in my ears and my vision started to go dark. I managed to talk myself out of it by breathing deeply and slowly and reassuring myself that I was fine, it was not a heart attack, it was anxiety. Naming it took away some of its power. I scrambled around in my bag and found my anxiety medication and slipped an ativan under my tongue, drank some water and sent an SOS whatsapp to Norman asking him to ring me and talk me down. I walked around the office talking to him until I felt a bit more steady. However I could feel it’s insidious presence at the back of my mind, like a steady knocking to remind me of its presence.

One thing I find with anxiety is that if I try to be a typical Virgo and analyse what may have triggered it, it makes me more anxious. However I am pretty sure that it is the combination of work pressures, money pressures, the fear over Panda’s health and worries over his prognosis.

Sometimes you just have to accept that it is what it is and try to just take things a minute at a time.

When I went home I had to shower and get ready to go out again as it was Norman’s birthday.

We have a lot of history together.

We had made plans to go for dinner with our friends Mel and Steve. Caitlin had offered to babysit Panda so we could have a night out and so we dropped him off there enroute to Peddlars.

Caitlin has 2 kitty cats and neither of them were very happy about the interloper.

In fact there were a few stare offs going on between little Mittens and Panda.

We had booked and were seated at a nice big round table.

Soon after we were seated our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe arrived.

We were not allowed to take any pics of Chloe (teenagers) but it was lovely to catch up with them all, they had just returned from the UK where they were looking for Universities for Chloe.

We had a lovely dinner. Everyone except me ordered starters but I knew I wanted dessert and could not manage 3 courses. Mel was very generous and gave me one of her spinach and feta croquettes which were delicious! I will order these next time we go there. They were R59 and amazing, tasty little balls of heaven.

Norm ordered the Gnocchi Gorgonzola for R68: Potato dumplings with spinach, assorted mushrooms, cream and gorgonzola. Norm enjoyed it but I tasted it and thought it was revolting but then again I do not like gnocchi or gorgonzola so there you go.

Chloe had the calamari and it was a massive portion. Steve had the beef carpaccio. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food.

For his main, Norm ordered the fillet steak which was on special and had it with sweet potato fries but I did not snap a pic of it. The rest of us ordered burgers, Steve and I both had the Bacon and Cheddar Burger for R125: Crispy bacon, mature cheddar served with chips and onion rings.

Mel chose the Camembert Chicken Burger for R120: Chicken breast with melted camembert, cranberry and herb salsa, served with chips and onion rings. She enjoyed it but said it was very salty.

For dessert both Chloe and I had the chocolate brownie at R49. It came with ice cream and was garnished with strawberries.

I had asked the waitress about the brownie because as an American I have high standards for brownies and she assured me it was divine. She was wrong. It was full of chunks of chocolate and had very little actual brownie taste. The texture was wrong. I did not enjoy this dish very much at all.

I had advised the restaurant when booking that it was Norman’s birthday and so they did a special little bit of decoration on his cheesecake.

Norm gave his dinner 5 Kitten Stars but mine gets 4.5 as the brownie disappointed me. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

We stayed quite late for a school night just chatting and having a laugh and then we went to collect Panda. He was so excited to see us, I am sure he thinks we may just abandon him. Silly boy. We are in it as long as he is willing to fight.

Norm has been working on Panda’s prototype for a walking frame to assist him with rehab once his legs will function. He bought an aluminium side table and removed the top so that he just had the frame. He tested out the size using towels and clamps to hold Panda up.

During the week Norm went to a fabric shop in town to get neoprene. He had Panda in his arms and the manager stopped him to advise no dogs were allowed in the shop. When Norm explained his illness and why he needed the fabric, the lovely manager went to get samples of the fabric and brought them to Norm, let him choose, cut the size needed and helped Norm pay. So sweet.

On Saturday he made a sling from the cloth to go into the frame.

Panda was confused as to what was going on.

Panda is slowly starting to get stronger while simultaneously losing weight and muscle mass. Trying to get him to eat is a nightmare, some nights Norm has to almost force feed him the recovery food with a syringe and some nights he will almost bite your arm off for a bit of roast chicken and sometimes he turns up his nose. However he always has an appetite for biltong or dried meat treats.

He is still having tissue salts melted into his drinking water and he loves them. He licks any sediment up from the bowl when the water finishes. He is also now taking a daily dose of Colostem. It is a mix of colostrum and stem cells. Colostrum is taken to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight disease-causing agents.

Stem cells have the following benefits:

  • Synergistic formulation,
  • Colostrum supports healthy immunity.
  • Supports many aspects of healthy adult stem cell cascade (activate, specialise & regenerate) Encourages normal immunity
  • Helps to maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal environment

He also has CBD drops at night to help relax him for sleep.

Next on the agenda is to take him to Dr Barry Hindmarch for acupuncture next month when I get paid. Meanwhile Norm and I do a bit of light physio to keep his joints supple. I work on each leg individually and take them through their range of motion and then give him a massage but he is just a bag of bones, skin and copious amounts of hair.

I have seen his back leg kicking and this week when it happened I clapped and cheered and he did it again. Initially we weren’t sure if he was using his body to move his leg or whether it was deliberate fine muscle movement. Either way it is encouraging even though it is such a minor thing.

His bark gotten a bit stronger.

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with Panda, on Monday when I got in from work Navajo was unable to get up from the floor. He had obviously put his back out. Against my advice Norm went behind Navajo and tried to lift his hindquarters up. Navajo screamed in pain and nipped out to try and bite Norm and barely missed his face. If you have ever had back pain you know that if someone tries to help you up it can cause you pain. We messaged David the doggy chiropractor to request an appointment the next day and fretted over him all night. We had been given some CBD Jell-O shots for Panda and I decided to give one to Navajo to help with his pain. He happily took it all and about an hour later he was as high as a kite. He refused to come upstairs and he collapsed and fell sound asleep. I worried about him all night and woke feeling like death. When we came downstairs Navajo was as good as new. He had refused food the day before but he wolfed down his breakfast and acting like he had no pain at all! Norm took him to the chiropractor and David also did a little treatment on Panda to release some tension in his neck.

I’ve not stuck to low carb this week. Norm and I are both stress eating. On Monday he made a nice chicken stir fry but we had no sauce and I made a sort of satay sauce with teriyaki, sugar free peanut butter, chili and a bit of honey. We served it on noodles.

Tuesday night we had pasta takeaways from Cassarechio which left me with leftovers for lunch the following day. Thursday we had takeaways again, I had tapas from Massimo’s: calamari and fried polenta bites.

Friday I went for lunch at Nuri sushi with my friend Sakshi. I left work early as I was having another high anxiety day and had to take my meds to cope. It meant I was really tired and as I had done my billable hours there was no need to stay.

That evening Norman decided to try this recipe from one of our favorite low carb sites. He bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it up so it was quick and easy and they tasted delicious.

He made homemade coleslaw and frozen chips in the air fryer.

This week there was an armed robbery at the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel. It is a very high end beautiful building and has amazing service. Police spokesman FC Van Wyk said 15 armed men arrived at the hotel in two vehicles. The security guard at the access control gate was threatened with a firearm. Two of the suspects removed the guard’s baton and hand radio and stayed with him while other members of the gang proceeded to enter the hotel.

“They pointed staff members and guests with two firearms and robbed them of their personal belongings,” a statement from Van Wyk said.

“The suspects then started breaking the glass cabinet display windows in the foyer with big hammers and removed jewellery, and also took an undisclosed amount of cash from the cash register.”

The suspects fled the scene shortly after the robbery and 5 of them were later arrested.

Such high profile crimes are sure to impact tourism which is a large part of Cape Town’s economy.

The Army has now finally been deployed to the high crime areas around Cape Town to deal with the gang crime and high number of murders. It took a few weeks to get them on the streets. I hope it makes a difference.

Before the press all told us the Russians were stealing our information I downloaded the FaceApp and did the obligatory old lady shot.

I look just like my Grandmother ❤️

Saturday we just relaxed, I slept until 10 which is unusual for me. I obviously needed the rest.

It was freezing cold out so I built a fire. All five of the animals kept close by.

We had seen a few episodes of Killing Eve on a flight and we really enjoyed it and Caitlin downloaded both series for us and we watched a few episodes of that. It is gripping.

I put on a pot of chicken curry late that afternoon and it wasn’t ready for dinner that night so we are having it tonight. I’ll do spinach purée and cauliflower rice with coriander to go with, it smells divine.

Today I went to Marina da Gama for drumming. I have missed a few sessions so it was lovely to see everyone. Drumming and singing helps to ground me and gives me peace. This song is one of my favorite songs and I always get a lot of positive feelings from it. It is so beautiful.

I hope Panda makes more progress this week and I hope you all have a great week. Until next time. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

 

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A Pyrrhic Victory

This week has been a week of lovely adventures and disappointing events. Or I guess under the circumstances some of them were non-events!

In my last blog I mentioned how excited I was about seeing Sam Smith in concert but Sam lost his voice and had to walk off stage in the middle of the first of the three nights he was booked to perform in Cape Town. We read about the cancellation of the Tuesday show on Wednesday morning but the promoters held back on making a commitment about whether the next two shows were going to be cancelled or not and in fact the news sites were still reassuring us that the Wednesday and Thursday shows were still going ahead.

Big Concerts finally made an announcement on social media at 2pm on the day of the show to say the remaining two shows were cancelled. They stated that Computicket would issue refunds to the same credit card we used to make the booking. As mentioned in my last blog, this is an issue for me because the card I used has expired and just getting the tickets printed was a major issue. As far as I was aware you cannot refund an inactive card? I emailed Computicket and their reply was to inform me they would refund the card used to book the tickets, which was the same info I had queried them about! I have tweeted Big Concerts and Computicket, raised a query via Facebook and raised a customer service query on the Computicket site. They finally told me to go to a Computicket branch and get my refund there so today Norm and I went to the offices at the Waterfront only to be told that the refund has already been issued and the bank will be able to route it to my account despite the card being expired. The bank holiday weekend appears to have slowed down the process but I will keep monitoring it as the tickets were almost 2k.

From the last minute confirmation of the cancellation to the responses to my queries, the customer service from Big Concerts has been abysmal.

On the night we were supposed to go to the show, as a consolation prize Norm suggested we go out for dinner so we decided to try a new spot and we picked the Cattle Baron in Constantia. We had not booked and they were very full but we were offered a table outside on the ‘patio’. The restaurant is in a little mall so the patio is actually inside the mall but outside the actual restaurant if that makes sense? We were seated under a gas heater so it was nice and cosy.

I chose the sautéed mushroom 200g fillet: Grilled beef fillet served on deep-fried rosti and topped with garlic sauteèd mushrooms for R195. It came with a choice of a side as well as creamed spinach and roast butternut and I also ordered onion rings (you all know about my onion ring addiction).

I am always torn about how to order my steak. I like it pink but not bloody. They had a little chart in the menu telling you what each ‘doneness’ meant in their terms and I went with ‘Medium’. It was utter perfection. The steak would melt in your mouth it was so tender. It was very garlicky and the mushrooms were very tasty. I enjoyed it so much!

Maybe not as much as I would have enjoyed Sam, but you gotta take your pleasures where you can get them.

Norm was brave this week and tried out a new low carb recipe I found online. He made cauliflower cheese topped with bacon and it tasted every bit as good as Mac and Cheese!

It was delicious and it was so cheesy that you could convince yourself that it was macaroni and cheese. I was so impressed.

He baked pork chops and roasted sweet potatoes, fried baby mushrooms and steamed broccoli to go with it another night.

I had a few lunches from OrderIn as I’m getting a bit bored with the NowNow offerings from next door to our office and OrderIn is so easy!

One day I had chicken strips and chips from Smak Deli.

The chicken was moist and tender and I enjoyed the panko crust. The chips were thin and crispy, more like crisps but they were very nice.

Another day I ordered a mexibowl from Tortilla Modern Mexican.

A mexibowl is your choice of protein, refried and black beans, corn, onion, sour cream, cheese, coriander and salsa. I had the shredded beef option as my protein and it was delicious.

One day I walked down to Nuri sushi for lunch. I had prawn pops.

I also had salmon roses.

It was as delicious as always. I love their food.

This week Woolworths released the products from their collaboration with Sir John. Sir John is Beyoncé’s make up artist. They all look lovely!

Speaking of Queen B, over the weekend I watched ‘Homecoming’, the Netflix documentary she has done about preparing for and starring in the Coachella festival.

She looks so amazing! The difference in her body from the start of rehearsals when she had not long given birth to her twins to the time of the actual show is unbelievable. She worked so hard to train and get her body back into shape. In my opinion she looks even better than she did before she had her children, she is so lean and toned.

I love that she brought on Destiny’s Child for a few songs.

There has been some chaos and negative events both locally and internationally.

Close to home this week we had a mugging near the graveyard where you turn up towards our house. This resulted in a chase by police and one of the perpetrators getting shot. Let us hope that deters the group who have been terrorizing Hughenden homeowners.

A church in Kwazulu Natal had thirteen people, mostly teenagers, killed on Thursday night. A wall at a Pentecostal church fell on top of congregants who gathered at the church for Easter celebrations. There had been heavy rain and there are rumors that lack of adherence to building regulations was the cause, however investigations are still underway.

After a bit of relief from train drama, it started up again this weekend when two Cape Town trains were set alight in the Cape Town city station.

The City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services received a call about a train alight at Cape Town Railway station at approximately 3.51pm yesterday and 8 coaches were badly damaged before it could be contained.

This weekend was the legendary Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon which normally routes through our village. It is an event of note with residents lining the streets and cheering on the runners. However this year there was a threat of protest action and the risk of violence was too great and the race was rerouted to avoid Hout Bay.

Many businesses in Hout Bay will suffer greatly as most of us park off and drink and eat and enjoy the vibe of the event. The restaurants will have lost this income. My friend Bronwyn called it a “Pyrrhic Victory” for the protestors and once I looked it up I totally agreed! (She’s a clever cookie) I do not know what benefit the cancellation will be for the protestors. Do they feel heard? Will it bring change? Will the City politicians listen? I just see another blow to our already struggling local venues and the potential for more layoffs of the very people the protesters are allegedly providing a voice for. I do understand the frustration of the protesters as their living conditions are abysmal, however I cannot see how moving the marathon benefits their cause.

There have also been multiple catastrophes globally.

The Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral caught fire this week and has burned. Luckily many of the artifacts were spared. Caitlin and I visited the Cathedral when I took her to Paris for her 18th birthday. I am so glad I was privileged to see it before the fire. Such a sad event and loss of history.

Jerusalem’s revered Al-Asqa Mosque was struck by a fire that broke out at the same time that Notre Dame was ablaze. Luckily the fire was contained quickly with no reported injuries or interior damage to the 2000-year-old building.

There have been multiple bombs detonated in Sri Lanka churches and hotels. At the time of writing the death toll is almost 300 innocent victims. Police found 87 detonators in a private terminal of the main bus station in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and a controlled explosion was carried out on a van near St. Anthony’s church, one of three churches targeted in the attack. On Sunday evening, an improvised explosive device (IED) was defused near the capital’s Bandaranaike International Airport. There had been intelligence warnings received days before the explosions but they were not acted upon.

And for a bit of light relief from the drama, we have been told that the SA police force have a new instrument for testing drunk drivers.

That is our Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande. While amusing it is also pretty scary stuff. Was he tongue tied or is he really that ignorant? Hard to know really! It is even scarier that he was formerly the Minister of Education. You can see why SA’s education system is ranked as one of the worst in the world! I worry about the future of this country in so many ways.

I had another one of my sleep paralysis incidents this week. Norm was woken by my keening, a horrid noise even to my own ears. I have read so many different points of view on what is happening when this occurs. Some say it is astral travel. I believe this is correct as I am always interacting with people from my past but in a different relationship than in this life. There is always a sense of loss when I wake and I often wake in tears.

Both of the shows I am watching at the moment are both about life in multiple dimensions (Outlander and The OA). Many of us believe in reincarnation but is it a ‘new life’ or is it a parallel life? Whatever it is, it fascinates me.

There are so many things that our one dimensional minds cannot conceive.

Norm and I have had lots of relaxation over the bank holiday. We had no plans and just played it by ear. We had long lies in bed most days and had outings when we got cabin fever.

Thursday was the new Friday so that night I had my usual sushi fest from K1. Prawn tempura, crab salad, prawn nigiri and salmon roses.

On Friday we went on an excursion to Game to get some steam cleaner stuff (she says vaguely) and enroute we stopped in Constantia at the newish Botanicum Cafe and Grill for lunch. We had not been to this venue since it changed over from the Bootleggers brand. The renovation looks lovely.

Norm ordered a chicken and avocado wrap.

I ordered the open faced chicken and mayo on ciabatta bread.

We both ordered chips which came in a cute little flower pot.

They were proper hand cut chips. I give our lunch 4 Kitten Stars.

We just had a takeaway from Massimo’s that night for dinner and watched some Netflix.

On Saturday we had a lazy day. I played games on my iPad and was amused by the silly pooches.

That night we decided to have a date night and we took a chance on getting a table at Cheyne’s and we were in luck! We nabbed the last available table.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha cocktail.

We chose the Yum Cha dining experience at R280 for 4 dishes. I chose the Baby Shrimp Tempura with garlic truffle mayo and red pepper flakes as my first dish.

Norm chose the Crispy Hake Tempura with pickled shallots, miso mayo and unagi sauce. He raved about this dish!

We both ordered the potato and coconut dumplings with penang sauce and toasted nuts.

For my third choice I had the Mumbai chili beef with cardamon and ginger syrup and toasted coconut.

Norm had the chicken yakitori with togarashi chips and pickled pineapple.

For dessert I had the vanilla creme brûlée with toasted banana bread and miso ice cream.

Norm had the Fuji apple crumble with apple caramel and peach ice cream.

The service was great and the food divine. I give our evening a full 5 Kitten Stars.

On Sunday we decided to venture out of the bay and we decided to drive across Chapman’s Peak drive.

It is a beautiful scenic drive.

We decided to stop at Jakes. We arrived at about 3 so the lunch crowd were finishing off and we managed to get a table.

There was live music on and the singer was brilliant, I really enjoyed his setlist.

We both ordered burgers, Norm chose the Whatta Burger with sweet potato fries. His burger had cheese, bacon, gherkins, port & mushroom sauce, crumbed feta & crispy onions.

I ordered the Classic American burger. It came with mature cheddar, chipotle mayo, gherkin & onion rings.

The service was a bit dodgy, the drinks took a lifetime to arrive, then they brought Norm’s burger a good ten minutes before they brought mine. I give the service 3 stars at most but the burgers were a solid 5 Kitten Stars they were divine. They were awkward to eat and we were not given side plates to juggle the toppings but we managed. We really enjoyed the food.

I had a Kahlua Dom Pedro and it is only now that I check the menu I see that they charged me for a separate shot of Kahlua yet the menu includes the shot in the price of the Dom Pedro! How dodgy!

Oh well, it was nice even if I was overcharged for it.

We came home via the longer route through Noordhoek and around the mountain, it is also a stunning view out over the entire city.

When we got home we sat out on our balcony for a bit enjoying our own amazing view. This is my happy place.

Today our adventure was based around trying to get my refund from Computicket. We did that as soon as we arrived at the Waterfront as we were not sure how long Computicket would stay open on a holiday. Afterwards we were walking down the steps from the upper level to the lower level and there was a lone woman standing on the stairs faffing about with her tightly tied hoody. As she was stopped on the stairs I went around her and as soon as I got in front of her she started to move up close to me and reach toward my handbag. She obviously had not seen my bodyguard Norm who smoothly slid in between us, triggering a string of profanity and abuse from her, she started yelling “I am not a pick pocket” and ran off in the opposite direction. The waterfront is so busy and is full of tourists so is the perfect setting for opportunistic crime.

We were still a bit shocked but we carried on our way and went to Sevruga for lunch. We were given a table in the glass surrounded veranda so we could see the sea and people watch, but yet we were protected from the howling wind.

We love people watching.

Norm ordered the kingklip that was on special. It came with an orange beurre blanc sauce and was served on a bed of wilted baby spinach and was surrounded by cubes of fondant potato, wedges of grapefruit and orange and grilled artichokes.

Norm gave this dish 5 Kitten Stars and I must say it was a feast for the eyes as well.

I had sushi. I ordered the Prawn salad, chopped prawn, cucumber and spicy mayo. It had some slivers of avocado on top.

I also had 2 pieces of prawn nigiri.

I also had an order of Creamy Salmon Roses which is salmon roses with a lovely creamy sauce and topped with a large tempura prawn.

My food was also amazing. That was the best prawn salad I have ever had. The added bit of chili made all the difference and elevated it from bland to fabulous. The creamy salmon roses were hands down the best sushi I have ever eaten. I was literally moaning with pleasure.

We had such a lovely meal and then we went for a walk around the waterfront. There is a gorgeous view of Table Mountain from the waterfront.

We watched the Cape Wheel for a bit.

And we listened to a band playing who were really talented.

We had a wander around the shops and then headed home. I am back at work tomorrow so we are just relaxing this evening. I have really enjoyed my long weekend and all of our adventures. I hope you have had a lovely break as well.

Until next time, Kisses from The Kitten xoxoxo

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

 

The Fear of Loneliness

The fear of loneliness can be a motivator behind many decisions made by some people. Irrational sometimes to outsiders, these decisions can result in constraints to the lives of some and heartbreak to others. People settle for people they do not love, or stay in relationships with people they do not love rather than risk being alone. Loneliness is one of humanity’s biggest issues, often leading to despair. Isolation is even used as the ultimate prison punishment, it can affect people in many different ways, leading some people to behave bizarrely. As an only child of working parents, one whose home was surrounded by countryside rather than playmates, I grew up being alone a lot and I am comfortable with my own company. However nothing makes me happier than time with my family. My family is everything to me. But I do not mind being alone.

This topic came up this weekend when watching ‘Like Father‘ with the fabulous Kristen Bell and Kelsey Grammer. Kelsey plays the Father and that was his term, ‘fear of loneliness’, he used it when discussing a poor decision made by Kirsten (in the role of the daughter) and proposing explanations for why the situation may have happened.

Lauren Miller Rogen was not only the screenwriter but also the director and producer of the film and hubby Seth Rogen appears in it.

It was a good enough movie to amuse me on a lazy cold winters day. I give it 3 and a bit Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Thursday was the start of a four day weekend for me as it was Women’s Day in South Africa.

August the 9th is a Public Holiday marking the day of the national march of women in 1956 to petition against legislation that required African persons to carry the ‘pass’.

The ‘pass’ was an identification document which restricted a black South African’s freedom of movement under apartheid and only by having the pass were they allowed to enter ‘white’ areas. The ‘pass’ had come into force under the Urban Areas Act (commonly known as the pass laws) of 1950.

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women staged a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against proposed amendments to the act. They left petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures at prime minister J.G. Strijdom’s office door. They stood silently outside his door for 30 minutes.

The women then sang a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (This translates to “Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock”.).

As discussed in my last blog, women in South Africa do not have a lot to celebrate however.

Neither do many women worldwide. I loved reading this week about the increase of the number of women entering into politics in the US. The one thing we can congratulate Trump on is waking people up to the risk of letting racist, misogynistic bigots run the country and getting them to step up to vote or even to run for office.

This day also marks the anniversary of my first day at work in South Africa after I immigrated back here in 2007. We were given a fancy lunch at the Mount Nelson by my new company and I thought ‘wow’ I can get used to this. However I only lasted 6 months with that company and am now on my third contract house since moving back. If I am unhappy, I move on. Life is too short.

I had booked to go on a reconnection medicine walk on Thursday but I woke up so stiff and sore from the cold that I could barely make it downstairs and so I had to cancel. We have had a cold snap of icy weather in Cape Town and my arthritis is reacting badly to it.

Instead I wrapped up warm and stayed tucked in bed and Norm went to get us pastries and then brought me pastry and a frothy latte in bed, where I lay surrounded by cats and snoozing Pomeranian pups.

That morning a guy came to repair the cowl that blew off of our chimney and the animals and I stayed in bed while Norm dealt with that. As the guy said it blew off the chimney due to his fitting it incorrectly the first time he did not charge us! That was lucky.

I put together some lunch from the salads I had picked up on my way home on Friday. I bought them for the shared lunch after my walk but as I did not walk we had some yummy bits to choose from. We had Asian slaw, potato salad, pickled beetroot with chunks of creamy feta and roast chicken. It was divine, healthy and so easy.

On Thursday evening we decided to just stay in by our cozy fire. We got chicken burgers from The Kitchen Takeaway and just relaxed.

The joint pain I was having could have been due to the Wednesday night when I had gotten chilled to the bones while sitting in an assembly room watching Norm present to 50 residents and several members of the City Of Cape Town Council about the proposal to start a Central Improvement District, aka a CID. This is a private-public partnership formed by the property owners in the area to provide complementary services over and above what the City of Cape Town provides.

Our CID will cover 3 areas, Oakwood, Hughenden and Meadows, it will be called by the acronym ‘OHMCID’. The website is live and the process is busy following the regulatory requirements. We just need 60% of the property owners to sign up to it and we can start to boost our security and be more in control of managing our area.

The presentation finished about 8pm and we were starving so we headed into the village and stopped at the Woodcutters Arms Pub in Hout Bay.

Norm was tired after presenting that night as well as several other meetings he had for work that day. It was a relief to get into somewhere warm.

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We both ordered a few Tapas items which they served on platters.

I had jalapeño cheddar cigars, onion rings and popcorn chicken strips.

Norm had his beloved scotch egg with fries and hake goujons.

The food at that pub is reliably well cooked and tasty. We wanted something simple to share and nibble with our fingers. I give it four Kitten Stars for being exactly what you could hope for in a Gastropub. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It hit the spot and we came home and crashed after.

We have both had busy weeks. At least the days were busy with work but our evenings were spent in front of a fire as it’s been so cold and drizzly outside. The animals were happy snuggling up.

The cats love it when we have a fire.

We had plans to go on a road trip on Friday as I also had the day off. We were going to drive across Chapman’s Peak to Imhoff Farm but it was drizzly, overcast and rainy so we fancied something a bit cosy. We needed to do a few errands so we decided to go to Peddlars in Constantia then pop over to the mall.

We quickly settled in to a table by the window after trying 2 others which were reserved (it was very empty so that shuffling around was all a bit bizarre).

Even Scots Norm was feeling the cold.

We decided to just order the pub platter to share.

It had calamari, onion rings, chips, chicken strips, pulled pork spring rolls and a few sauces. It was really yummy and hit the spot. We didn’t linger, we had a drink each then headed off to the mall. We got a human wrist support for Navajo’s sore ankle.

The doggy Physio has recommended it, so far so good, we will see if he wears it. We had a few other things we needed so we ran our errands then bought a few groceries and we decided to go for a coffee.

We popped into Mugg & Bean and Norm had a cappuccino and a slice of caramel cheesecake.

Norm gives their cheesecake 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had an iced coffee and a chocolate chip muffin. They have divine muffins.

We headed home as Norm had to walk the dogs and take Cordelia home at 5. We popped into Hout Bay quickly first as I had inadvertently sat on my specs and they badly needed to be adjusted so we stopped by Tanya Seeber enroute.

We were still full from lunch so didn’t even eat dinner that night despite shopping for it. We just nibbled nuts, cheese and apples and such that night.

Despite our plans going awry we had a lovely day together. I feel very blessed that after 21 years of marriage Norm is still my best friend. We can make most things we do enjoyable.

On Saturday morning Norm cooked us a delicious breakfast to set us up for the day.

After breakfast Norm and Nav pottered about the garden.

I got ready while they were busy as I was signed up for a slot in a day of singing at a two day Sacred Song Circle Marathon event.

This is one of the songs in our repertoire and it is one of my favorite songs to sing. It’s such a happy lighthearted song with such a nice rhythm.

The lyrics are “waniskâ! pêtâpan ôma

âsay piyêsîsak kî-nikamowak

ê-miyonâkwan kitaskînaw”

This translates to:

“Wake up! The sun is coming.

The birds are already singing

How beautiful this land of ours is.”

Isn’t it a lovely song, suited for what turned out to be a lovely day. The event started on Friday evening and carried on all day Saturday. It was held in a house off the beaten track, in a remote area in the southern peninsula and it was about an hour from my house. I went to Gerri’s house, our drum circle leader, then she and I drove in convoy to the house.

Our drummers were supposed to wear red.

There were lots of people there, approximately 20 adults. There were also children of all ages and there were many places on the property to keep children occupied but the vibe was relaxed and they ran in and out of the tent too. The singing was held in a large round tent filled with rugs, blankets and pillows. There was a center altar with many items there for blessing. There were different rounds of songs, with the changing of song leaders every hour or so. When we arrived our friend Martyn was singing and then it was to be our turn. Martyn sang very lovely, soothing, soft songs and everyone was quite lethargic from the shared lunch they had eaten just before we arrived. Gerri brought our large communal drum and when it was our turn we stood up around it. We sang all dance songs so they were mostly quite energetic. Waniska is probably our slowest song and we really wail on the chorus even for that one. We woke the tent up and got the energy going.

After our round we stayed for one more round of South American native songs which were sung in Spanish or Aztec. Some of the terms were familiar from my North American song repertoire and some from my very limited Spanish. I left and drove Michelle back to Gerri’s house where she had left her car. I then headed home, cold and tired but happy.

Norm cooked us a delicious dinner when I got home. He grilled the fillet steak and we finished off the salads from the previous day. He also boiled some corn and sliced up an avocado.

He also made a roaring big fire to warm me up. It was a divine end to a lovely day.

We are having a lazy evening tonight and we do not yet have plans for tomorrow, we will have to see what the day may bring.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Gathering No Moss

This week has been a hectic one. Last Friday afternoon I left work a little bit early as I had an appointment with my chiropractor. He managed to unlock my stiff back a bit but advised me to take it easy and put an ice pack on my back when I got home. I had to make an appointment to go back the following Monday. Once I got home Norm made a little ice pack for me and I applied it to my sore back and we quite literally chilled out in front of a warm fire as it was pouring with rain.

Norm had a very exciting day while I was off at work that day. He had gotten involved in an attempt to apprehend a robber at Mainstream, our main shopping area in Hout Bay. A dodgy character has been hanging out with a knife in the basement parking area and approaching people and taking their handbags or phones or whatever he can get from them. Norm was part of the chase and he came around a corner to find the guy sitting down on the pavement putting on his shoes, Norm shouted at him and the guy bolted right past him, dropping his rather large scary knife. Unfortunately he got away again but fortunately Norm was not injured in the process.

We had an easy morning drinking coffee in bed on Saturday until the doorbell rang and Norm remembered that we had workmen coming to repair the garage roof.

We then went downstairs to build a fire and watch the Royals tolerate the arrival of Trump the Twat and his prostitute companion.

It says so much about how the Queen received the Obamas vs the lower budget version of greetings she gave the Trumps. The Obamas had a proper state visit with her and Phillip collecting the Obamas in the Royal Land Rover as compared to this visit which was much like Trump himself: all flash, little depth.

But how much has this little adventure cost the UK taxpayers? Some say upwards of 30 million pounds, the cost of the Scotland foray alone was confirmed at up to 5 million quid. We can monitor this page for the results once published. Whatever the UK paid, it was not worth it. I would pay to stay away from the chief kitty grabber.

Trump was such an embarrassment (again). He would have been briefed on protocol but was probably either still under the sunbed or getting his hair backcombed and did not hear it.

He left a 92 year old woman standing in the sun for 15 minutes while he fecked about. He did not bow to acknowledge her once he finally sloped in, he then walked in front of her and roamed vaguely around the military grounds and then wandered off in the middle of the final salute from the guard. He then later went on telly and gossiped about his private conversations with the Queen. He is a clueless feckwit.

He then went on to talk about how strong and powerful Putin was the night before with him and….oh wait. He said that Putin claimed he is innocent regarding interference and tampering with the US elections. He then said he believes Putin over his own staff and the FBI. And still his believers keep making excuses for him.

Anyway we enjoyed the scenes of pomp and circumstance from Windsor as they bring back our memories of Norman’s investiture ceremony at Windsor.

It started drizzling with rain and the repairmen had to pack up and go. Later in the afternoon Norm answered a neighborhood watch call about an African woman ringing doorbells on the road behind us. They said she seemed distraught. There is a mentally ill woman who rings all the bells in the neighbourhood on Sundays begging for food or money so we assumed it was her and so Norm drove over to see what was going on. He found a young woman covered in blood frantically waving him down. She had a deep gash on her arm and told Norman that she had been stabbed because she could not pay rent to the man whose shack she stays in. Norm could see that she was in a bad way and he drove her to the fire station. The men on duty told her that she must go to the hospital. She was not happy with that and was still in a panic about money and the risk to her life if she does not get funds. The emergency tech told her that if she did not get her arm sutured she risked gangrene and the loss of her arm. I think he tried to scare her into looking after her injury but he is correct in his dire prognosis, that was a definite risk if she did not get it seen to. She reeked of booze either from the night before or from earlier that day. Norm left her there with the fire and rescue team waiting on an ambulance to collect her. I hope that she found a safe place to stay once she was released from the hospital.

Yet another desperate victim of abuse who was drawn to us? I am glad the universe sent her to us so Norm could get her help. She was so distracted by the money issues she was not at all concerned about the large gash on her arm.

Saturday was a very lazy day and evening surrounded by the dogs.

Norm and I binge watched the documentary ‘Staircase‘. It is a miniseries about the trial of novelist Michael Peterson and his conviction for the murder of his wife Kathleen. I think that this man was convicted predominately for his lifestyle rather than the evidence presented. It was revealed that Michael was bisexual and that he and Kathleen had an open marriage. They denied that they could have had a happy marriage and they felt that this gave him a motive.

The parochial conservative residents of the town where they lived in North Carolina had a completely narrow point of view and an inability to accept an unconventional lifestyle consisting of multiple partners or involving bisexuality. The prosecutor was so full of venom it was obvious she lives a vanilla life full of 5 minute missionary interactions with eyes furiously clenched shut.

I know straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, asexual, pansexual, and all manner of people who are living many different lifestyles. That is no one’s business except the adults involved in these relationships and lifestyles. Why do other humans feel that they have the right to judge other people based on their own ideas of what is acceptable and what is not?

Not being heterosexual does not make one more predisposed to murder than any other sexual proclivity does.

It makes me sad that still so many people cannot live an open life with no judgement.

On Saturday night I really fancied Chinese food so Norm went to the Blue Lotus in Hout Bay and got a take away for us.

I ordered Bamboo Rolls, Spicy Crispy Pork and noodles with vegetables.

The sushi was not the best, it was loosely rolled and was predominately rice. But it was edible. The crispy pork was divine! Tender pork with a crispy coating with just the right amount of spices. The noodles seemed a bit bereft of actual vegetables, it only had a few onions. But the noodles went nicely with the pork.

On Sunday we had the repairmen come back around to finish painting the roof in the morning and then we had plans to go to the shops to buy Norm’s birthday presents afterwards. However when we got ready to leave and went outside it was such a stunning, sunny winter day that we decided to rather go on an adventure.

We drove through Hout Bay village and over Chapman’s Peak Drive. It is quite often called one of the world’s most stunning drives.

For once the road did not seem terribly busy, often the traffic is insane as it is popular with tourists and cyclists and the roads are crazy curvy and narrow.

Norm took a pic of me after he paid the toll fee but was holding the receipt in his hand. The wind was pumping so I asked him to put it down but of course I was being difficult.

*Cough that is not a cloud*

After we hit Noordhoek we decided to stop at Jakes On the Common to see if there was space for us but it looked very busy. We were quite lucky and we were given a table upstairs.

We were starving as it was late afternoon so we quickly ordered and were served very promptly. Norm chose the Pulled Pork burger with chips and looked very pleased with his choice when it arrived even though he ordered sweet potato fries and got normal full carb fries. His dish was R109 (if he had paid for sweet potato fries they would be R15 extra).

I had the pulled pork Moroccan flatbread for R136. It was divine!! I really enjoyed this.

They also had live music  on for the afternoon which we really enjoyed a lot.

I did not catch this guy’s name but he played some brilliant songs. In SA in particular these sorts of entertainers usually all have the same repertoire of about 5 or 10 songs. There is little variety. But this guy was laying down some beauties. So many of them triggered some wonderful memories.

He played the Rolling Stones classic ‘Angie’. This is one of my all time favourite songs. One of my Desert Island discs if you will.

Who else had forgotten how gorgeous Mick was back in the day?

‘Angie’ always brings back memories of listening to this album in the car on our annual family treks to Daytona Beach Florida. My Dad and I would sing at the top of our lungs.

Brilliant that Norm didn’t have his phone so we ended up chatting more than usual. The music kept generating conversations around the places we were at the time the songs were popular or the times or places that the musical memories took us to.

He played ‘Perfect’ by the Scottish band Fairground Attraction which reminded us of going to see the lead singer Edie Reader when we lived in Belfast.

We happily listened and chatted and we decided to order dessert.

I chose the Cinnamon Donut Holes for R48. They were served with a Nutella dipping sauce. The menu said they came with cream but there was no cream. The donut holes were a bit firm as opposed to light and airy but they did have a nice taste and I did enjoy them and eat every bite. They were more like a churro than a donut in texture.

Norm had the Upside Down Potted Cheesecake for R55. He thought it was OK, but not the best cheesecake he has ever had. It was not supposed to have cream so he gave me his.

Norm had a chat to the waitress about it but she wasn’t listening it seemed.

We drove home around the mountain roads to avoid both the R50 tolls as well as any traffic we might encounter.

In the evening I started watching Stephen Fry’s America on Netflix while Norm was out with the dogs. It brought home to me how far removed my life is in Cape Town or Europe to what the lives of people on this show are like. I could barely understand the people he spoke to who live in the same state I grew up in!

Overall it has been a hectic week. I had another appointment at the Chiro on Monday so got home a bit later than usual. Norm cooked dinner for us that night. He made fillet steak, roasted butternut, steamed asparagus and stir fried mushrooms.

On Tuesday I got a call from my son Trevor. He was upstairs gaming on his computer and there was a fire downstairs in the fireplace. He heard a strange crackling noise and when he looked out there were flames billowing out of the garage. He ran into the garage and put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. He has burned his left hand and there is a lot of damage to the garage but the house is all fine.

The next morning I ended up spilling a boiling hot latte on my left hand and burning the same fingers that Trevor burned the day before. This empathy thing is now getting a bit silly!

Tuesday was Norman’s birthday and we invited Caitlin and Wesley to come to dinner with us at Cheyne’s. They collected us and we arrived for 7pm.

The menu has recently been updated and I was happy to see some familiar items and some new ones to try. The Yum Cha Dining Experience is R150 per person for 3 dishes and R50 extra for a 4th dish. We all opted for 4 dishes.

Me, Caitlin and Norm all started with the Crispy Hake Tempura: picked shallots, miso mayo, unagi sauce.

For my choice on the Land section of the menu I had the Mumbai Chilli Beef: cardamon and ginger syrup, toasted coconut and chili.

For my Earth choice I had the potato and coconut dumplings: penang sauce and toasted nuts.

Caitlin and Wes both had the baby back pork ribs: sweet yakaniku glaze, toasted sesame.

For dessert the girls both had the peanut butter shake. (I am a creature of habit.)

Both of the fellas had the Fuji Apple crumble: apple caramel and peach ice cream. They both seemed to really enjoy it.

The service was impeccable and as always the food divine. After we finished our meal we headed home so that Norm could open his presents. The kids got him some trendy track suit pants and a warm woolly sweater perfect for our winter weather.

He also was given a bottle of wine from Wes. This resulted in us staying up far later than we should on a school night.

Therefore I was feeling a bit tired on Wednesday night but we had plans straight after work. We went to Kalk Bay Books for a book signing by Mandy Wiener. As you see below, Norm and I were the youngest people in attendance. And we are old AF.

It was really interesting. She talked about her new book The Ministry of Crime. This is a follow up book to Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed. There is such a criminal underbelly to South Africa, most of us have no clue as to the depth of corruption in our country.

After the talk was over we left and wandered off towards our car. We were parked right outside of the Kalk Bay Kitchen Bar so we decided we might as well give them a try. Norm had a burger and I had the Chicken Burrito Bowl.

The flavours were brilliant. The combination of items was really perfect. I found a bone in my chicken however which put me off. After that I just picked about in the bowl trying to avoid death by chicken bone.

Also on Wednesday my shipment from my Mom in Atlanta finally arrived!

We opened it up and had a quick peek of my new goodies. My mom sent a chair and footstool that belonged to my Grandmother.

The other item is an old Victrola that belonged to my Daddy.

It just needs a polish and it will be grand.

I also received a stack of the old records it plays so we will try and get it operational. It would be nice to have a cocktail evening and play the records.

The boxes were packed full of second hand clothes from my Mom as well so I will need to do a cupboard clean out to accommodate them all. My mom has fabulous taste so I am very pleased with most of them.

Tonight we have nothing on our itinerary so we are having an easy night in. Norm cooked a fab dinner of chicken in a cream sauce on cauliflower noodles with sweet potatoes and squash.

We have a busy weekend planned. Sunday is non-stop with drumming in the morning and a pop in at a friend’s farewell picnic and coffee with a friend among the highlights.

Until then, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

Facing The Music

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On a global scale water scarcity is a huge issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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