Hope and Comfort

After I posted my last blog about my friend Jay who passed away, my friend Chris messaged me to say he had also experienced the same light show I had written about! Chris was also at school with us and he said that Jay had sent him this image as a GIF:

However IG will not allow the GIF to do it’s thing so I found this video which is a very close representation to what I saw.

The fact that Chris saw the same sorts of lights and that the GIF was sent by Jay confirms to me that Jay was communicating to us. It comforts me.

Norm attempted to start us off eating well this week and did a shop to make dinner on Monday but as he has to wait for me to get home from work so I can take over Panda-sitting and I worked late it was very late by the time he got home and we ended up with another take away that night.

On Tuesday he made a yummy dinner of cauliflower cheese ala macaroni and cheese. He make crispy bacon to go on top and I added grated parmesan and chopped chill to mine.

Wednesday was my Mom’s birthday and the girls and I clubbed together to buy a gift card for her. She had been wanting to buy herself some new perfume and it was the same cost as the gift card so she will buy that for herself from us. It was such a mission to find a company in the US that would accept a SA credit card for a US ‘delivered’ item, even though it was an electronic gift card but that seemed not to matter. Amex was going to charge a fee, Eileen Fischer made me jump through a million hoops and Dillard’s allowed the purchase then cancelled it the following day. Finally I found Nordstrom’s and they were brilliant. From now on I can just send her a credit to spend. I video called Mom on Wednesday night when I got home and we had a nice chat, it is so nice to be able to see her and chat via whatsapp without having to pay for an international call.

That day Norm and I both had to go to the bank as it is a joint account which requires both of our signatures. Standard Bank as always was incredibly inefficient and we queued for an hour to get to see a teller. I really hate this bank and may consider moving our investments to a more user friendly bank. Standard are closing down many of their branches so I assume that the queues will just get worse. They suck at customer service. The teller asked us the same question 3 times and could not seem to grasp the concept of moving funds from one account to another.

We had a dilemma about what to do with Panda as he cannot be left alone and we could not take him into the bank. Caitlin kindly volunteered to puppy sit and Norm dropped him off at her office.

Caitlin said he had a few visitors pop by to see him and he was so tired that night from his adventures.

After our long time waiting at Standard Bank we were starving so we popped into Brownies & Downies across from the bank for a spot of lunch.

They serve their cappuccinos on a cute little tray with a few bits of brownie and fresh cream.

They had a pulled chicken sandwich on ciabatta on special and we both ordered that.

It was so tasty! Slightly spicy and really yum. The chef said it usually has peppers in it but peppers cause my hernia to go a bit mental so I asked him to leave them off and he did. There is a lovely warm vibe there.

The premise of this cafe is to “train people with intellectual disabilities. Special-needs young adults are trained and integrated into jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors. Training while working in Brownies & downieS helps to break down long-standing stigmas and gives customers and special-needs adults the opportunity to meet and interact with each other in a fun and homely environment.”

That night for dinner Norm and I made a really delicious meal. We are getting a bit tired of takeaways but needed something simple and quick. We grilled fillet steaks we had marinated in garlic, pepper and olive oil. We sliced the steaks and served them on a bed of spinach and rocket, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts and thick shavings of parmesan cheese. It was soooo divine! This is going to become a regular meal for us.

Lily drove down to Cape Town to collect her passport at the US embassy and she arrived on Thursday night. Norm cooked for us and made baked pork chops, roasted sweet potato rounds, fried halloumi and steamed broccoli. It was so delicious.

We have continued with nursing little Panda back to health, sometimes he is happy to chow the fancy food from the vet which is supposed to give him the nutrients he needs to recover and sometimes he turns his nose up.

We bought him bibs as his ruff is a nightmare to clean.

Saturday Norm ran errands while Lily and I watched after Panda. He got some tapas type bits for lunch. We had chicken samosas, chili poppers and arancini stuffed with mozzarella with various salads.

The girls offered to babysit Panda for us that night as we tickets booked to go to see the musical Kinky Boots at The Fugard Theatre in the Cape Town city centre.

First we stopped at Hudson’s for a burger.

We sat on the outside patio but it wasn’t unbearably chilly.

I ordered the Original Royale burger with battered onion rings, bacon, cheddar cheese and chili oil.

Norman ordered the East Village Selection of 3 60g sliders but said the meat was very average. I was too hungry to bother with a pic of his dinner.

We give our meal 4 Kitten Stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We headed over to the theatre and grabbed a drink and roamed around until we could take our seats.

We absolutely loved the show. The lead, Lola, was so talented! Lola was played by Earl Gregory. I remember him from Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Darren Craig played Charlie and he was also very talented as was the actress who played Lauren, Namisa Mdlalose. Their chemistry was very sweet.

We loved the choreography with this scene being my favorite.

We had such a lovely evening with a lot of laughs. It was also nice to see my friend Rob. We have not had a break since Panda became ill so I was glad the girls were so kind.

When we got home we watched some of the acts appearing at Glastonbury.

Some of my favorite performances have been, Miss Janet ❤️

The sexy, energy bomb that is Lizzo.

I also enjoyed King Princess.

We loved Lewis Capaldi too.

We are so limited in what music we get exposed to here that we have a wonderful time watching the various artists.

We stayed up far too late. After Lily left today we have carried on watching. I’m rather lazy today.

Norm took Panda to the vet as he is not too keen on eating, but we finally managed to get some roast chicken down him. The vet says he has lost a tenth of his body weight already. The vet gave him an IV as he seemed a bit dehydrated and she gave him another vitamin shot.

Panda has discovered he can make a bit of a growl now and practices a lot.

We realised just after filming that Panda managed his first solo poop (you can see Navajo realised it when he gave Panda a sniff). That was obviously what the grunting was about! The vet checks may have loosened things up in that regard.

In the local news over the last few weeks were the horrors that have been becoming public around the Al Noor Childrens Home in Cape Town.  Back in June the Department of Social Development  removed 17 children from the centre after conducting a preliminary investigation into a number of serious complaints of alleged physical and sexual abuse.

The children were placed in other child and youth care centres, and are receiving the necessary social support, including assessment and counselling. Then we heard that more children were removed and that the manager was up on various charges including fraud. Amina Okpara was arrested on June 14 for fraud and corruption by the Hawks and may face further charges including sexual offenses. It is alleged that Okpara redirected donor funds meant for daily operations of the Centre into her personal bank account and used it for personal gain. She was arrested during a sting operation by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team together with the Department of Social Development (DSD). At the time of her arrest, there were 35 children in the building none of whom any record existed on the premises.

Joshua Covenant Chigome, spokesperson for MEC of Social Development Minister Sharna Fernandez, confirmed that criminal charges have been laid with the SAPS against the alleged perpetrators.

The home has since lost it’s license and has received an eviction notice from the City of Cape Town.

A third whale has died due to being trapped in the fishing nets around False Bay.

“The former department of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries had issued the exploratory octopus permit about 17 years ago, allegedly without consulting the City. In 2017, after the drowning of a Bryde’s whale, the City asked the department to set limits as a condition of the permit, but this was ignored. The permits were intended to assess the techniques, economics, population and biology and management of a possible future commercial octopus fishing industry, according to a published notice by the environmental affairs department in 2003.”

Everyone is up in arms and a petition is going around and hopefully the nets will be removed. Regardless of where you live please sign.

News from Limpopo showed a different sort of protest in that the protesters hijacked an excavator and forced the operator to dig up the road.

There are so many things to protest but this sort of vandalism doesn’t help anyone’s cause in my opinion.

The SA government is in a mess. The auditor-general’s annual municipal audit report, released this week, details the alarming state of financial management at most of South Africa’s towns and cities.

Only 18 of the country’s 257 municipalities received clean audits in the past financial year.

Unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure at municipalities, which piled up over many years, has now reached R122 billion.

The latest annual municipal audit report details some alarming instances of maladministration in several towns and cities in South Africa. These include spending of R21 million on a single fence, and R58 million in missing pension fund investments. One Eastern Cape municipality paid R2,500 per toilet for a sanitation project that now threatens local drinking water.

Crime is still on the increase and the Cape Town murder rate has risen by more than 18% in one month. It is only six months into the year, the murder rate in Cape Town stands at 2,302. Between November 2018 and April 2019, there were a total of 1,875 murders in the province. In essence, that is an average of 10.2 murders reported in a single day. In April alone, mortuaries in the Western Cape reported 308 corpses that were processed. Gang violence has been identified as the primary cause of this rapid increase in murders. The Cape Flats has been identified as the capital killing grounds of the city.

The crime in our suburb has lessened since they did not release the members of the group who were recently arrested and their bond was refused.

As much as we love SA there is a long way to go to sort out the challenges, however much like I have with the prognosis of my baby boy, I do have hope.

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Act Two

Considering that I was worried about being able to endure a full week, this week flew by! I find if you are out midweek it makes the week feel shorter.

The monotony of our week was broken up on Wednesday when we attended the Opera at the Artscape. It was organized by my friend, a lovely ex-colleague named Rob.

We left early and stopped at Col’Cacchio in the Foreshore for a quick bite. We chose them because of the proximity to the theatre and they do low carb options.

We were seated at the front by a large window.

There were only six tables of customers in that section of the restaurant and three of them had Americans sitting at them. What are the odds?

I chose the Zucchetti Verde Rosso for R95: zucchetti with chicken parmigiana. Zuchetti is zucchini made into a noodle format.

It was very tasty but I could have done with more chicken. Next time I will have a salad starter as I didn’t quite feel well fed up.

Norm had the low carb beef lasagna with brinjal (aka eggplant), bolognaise, ricotta, Italian parmesan. It was R100.

He enjoyed it.

We give our dinners 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After dinner we headed off to the Artscape Opera House.

We saw the Opera ‘I Capuleti e i Montecchi’ which is based on the classic love story, ‘Romeo and Juliette’. We had a drink in the lobby prior to the show.

The opera house had a display of beautiful costumes from other versions of the opera.

It is such a beautiful opera. It was a Cape Town Opera production and they did such an amazing job.

Here is a link to a video of images from their Instagram account, hope it works!

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The young cast of rising stars and phenomenal creatives have given their all to this production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. This eternally fascinating story of Romeo and Juliet with incredibly beautiful music opens tonight on the opera stage followed by performances on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 May. Designer Michael Mitchell has done some extraordinary costume and set designs which look like renaissance paintings, it’s a visual feast. The contrast between the privileged and powerful Capulets, insurgent Montagues and the innocence of Romeo and Juliet’s ill-fated love is palpable and ultimately heart-wrenching. Tickets are between R100 and R300 to see this glorious opera with an orchestra, forty singers and superb set, costumes and lighting. Book today, link in bio! . . . . #AllThingsItalianCPT #capetownopera#music #art #classicalmusic #opera#theatre #singer #artist #operasinger#soprano #travel #fashion #teatro#concert #instagood #capetownopera#piano #style #capetown #dance#orchestra #architecture #makeup#theater #artschool #musica #priora#bhfyp #musicstudents

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Here is a clip of a version of the same opera done years ago, it begins with the scene between the priest Lorenzo and Guilietta where he persuades her to drink the sedative.

The opera was so beautiful and we were surprised to see a female actor playing the part of Romeo.

Apparently that is traditional. I thought maybe it was just the Cape Town version as it is supposed to be one of the top ‘gay capitals‘ in the world or something like that. Then we joked that the dramatic nature of Romeo and Giulietta’s relationship was just like some of our lesbian friends’.

The actress Brittany Smith played Guilietta in the show we attended, and she was beautiful and had an incredible voice. She was a pleasure to watch.

We were seated on the second row so we could see down into the orchestra pit as well. It was interesting to watch the faces of the musicians. Some of them just appeared to be doing a job, their faces lacking any animation. Some of them had such joy beaming from their faces that you could see their love of music. It gave us something to do during the set change breaks. The opera was 3 hours duration so was a bit long and tiring for a school night. But we loved it so much.

The Opera merits a full 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We had a bit of middle aged excitement this week when all of our things we had ordered for the house arrived.

We bought a new Dyson vacuum which is amazing. It is cordless so you can whiz around with it easily. It is made for managing dog hair and our house has never been cleaner. It breaks down into a little handheld version as well so you can quickly do a little bit if needed.

We also bought a Phillips Air Fryer. We tried it out the first night and used this recipe HERE. It was for pork chops and brussel sprouts. We followed the instructions in the recipe and then cooked a few minutes longer as the chops looked a bit anemic.

Norm fried halloumi in the grill pan to go with it. While we were eating the first chop we cooked the second for 15 minutes. It turned out much more golden.

They were good! I loved the sprouts. I used American mustard instead of Dijon and the maple syrup is not low carb but it was a teaspoon between us and most of it remained in the bowl where I mixed it into the sprouts. We will do this again but will cook one or the other in the fryer, the air needs to be able to circulate around the contents I think. Will keep you posted on our progress.

We also got a new bed for Navajo. He has so many issues with his back and leg and we hope it makes it softer than lying on the tiles for him.

He’s such a lovely boy.

Last Tuesday Norm cooked the low carb cauliflower cheese and bacon dish I loved so. With it we served the last of the chicken frikkadels leftover from Sunday lunch.

On Thursday night I had my usual Friday treat a day early and had sushi.

I had my usual crab salad, butterfly, salmon roses and cucumber roses with prawn on top.

It was delicious even if it contained a bit of rice and sugary mayo.

There was a horrific murder in the news in Cape Town this week and we all read in shock about the hijacking and murder of the surfer David Wolfromm. The hijackers shot him, stole the car after having thrown him bleeding into the back, then crashed the car and set it alight with him still tied up inside. That would be a horrendous way to die. From the first time I read about this murder I had a feeling that I had a connection to the victim. Even before they released his name, I felt it. Today when I went to drumming everyone was discussing David’s murder and several of the attendees had attended various memorials for him. I then realized that I had met David and his family at the song marathon I attended last August where various spiritual groups had all gathered in a giant tipi to sing and drum. People sang in many different languages and David was a follower of the South American tribe Huni Kuin or the Kaxinawá, also known as the Kashinawa who are an indigenous people of Brazil and Peru. He and a group of others sang in the native language and it was beautiful.

David seemed like a lovely happy man. He had a wife and 5 children so it is just so unfair that a good man was taken for no reason at all.

Today we did a few songs in honor of David. We sang The Wolf and we learned a new song in Huni Kuin called Eskawata Kayaway. We used shakers rather than our drum.

From what I understand the tribe does not have a written language so everything such as lyrics are just written down phonetically. I managed to find a video of a man I assume to be Huni Kuin singing the song we sang today in honor of David.

It seems odd that he doesn’t move his mouth but maybe it is cultural? At least it’s the same song and as it appears to be a rare thing to find online I am grateful I found it!

I am glad that we paid a tribute to David and maybe a bit of him will stay with our group and we may adopt this new song to add to our repertoire for the dance? It’s just so sad for his loved ones.

There were other crimes and various headlines around transport.

There were a few instances of local bus robberies in the news. A man was shot and killed on a bus into town this week. The Golden Arrow bus service has suffered more than 20 robberies on its buses in the last seven months. They say they are going to consider implementing a specialised unit targeted at dealing with crime.

The residents of Hout Bay are threatening another protest if the City of Cape Town does not deliver on their promise of adding additional buses to the existing routes to cater for the hundreds of residents who took taxis before they shut down the taxi route from Hout Bay to the City. People just stand and watch full buses not even stop because of over crowding. People are late into work and late back home to their families due to the lack of available transport.

There has also been ongoing issues about 5 hours up the coast in George near my children. The city is in the process of introducing the Go George bus service and buying out taxi routes has been full of drama with at least two assassinations, attacks on buses and numerous protests.

South Africa’s public transport system is in a shambles. You have read my many blogs about the train system, the taxi service and now the buses. I am so grateful I have a car and am not reliant on the vagaries of all the unreliable transport methods in SA.

We had a re-enactment of Caitlin’s birthday and my Mother’s Day celebrations on Friday night as Lily and Josh were down in Cape Town for a wedding.

We went to Hudson’s in Claremont on Friday for 7. I have always gone to the city branch or Green Point but Claremont was easier for Caitlin. Lily and Josh stayed with us on Friday night and we all went together in my car and arrived first.

The music was all rock and was incredibly loud. Even the kids found it loud so that opinion is not just because I am an old fart. It was deafening. You could not converse without shouting directly in someone’s ear. The table was so sticky that we asked them to wipe it but it remained sticky even after wiping and they told us it is always sticky. It was so sticky we kept the menus and put our arms and phones on them or they stuck to the table. It wasn’t a very pleasant venue and we found out that the food was far inferior to the other branches.

Norm and I both had the Original Royale.

It had onion rings, cheddar cheese, bacon and a bit of chili oil. It was R89 for the 180gram patty I had or R105 for the 250gram that Norm had.

Lily had the Shroom Burger with cheddar cheese and mushroom sauce, Josh had The Player with bacon, feta and avocado and both Caitlin and Wesley had the Tribeca Selection with 3 100g sliders: The Shroom, The Player and The Wiseguy (which has tons of chili).

You order your side dishes separately at an additional cost. I had skin on fries and bought dusted onion rings for the table to share.

The breaded rings on the burger were a bit heavy on the dough, I far preferred the dusted version.

Caitlin and Wes had truffle fries and Norm had sweet potato fries but he said they were ice cold. I ordered a vanilla milk shake and it was as thin as milk and super sweet. It was not nice. I’ve had shakes at both of the venues we normally go to and they are usually thick and delicious.

My experience at the restaurant was only nice because of the company. I give it 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

After dinner we opened gifts.

Caitlin got both some cute fun gifts and some practical gifts.

She got a set of three books from me by the author Joe Abercrombie, the First Law Trilogy series.

Her dad bought her a slow cooker. Lily got her a set of cute notepads with sloths on them and a glass cutting board and a toy for her cats.

She set it up as soon as she got home and Mittens had a blast.

The kids gave me a set of painted stones. I have been wanting some of these for ages. I have set them out on the front porch.

The bird they also gave me is now flying over my succulent collection.

I love them all. I love any type of garden art.

It was lovely having my girls with us.

It was nice to see their fellas too.

We were up early on Saturday as Lily and Josh had to run some errands and then get to their friends house and get ready for the wedding and out to Stellenbosch by 2pm.

Norm took Pixie to the chiropractor in Noordhoek early in the morning and when he came home he made us cheese omelettes, bacon and avocado. I added a spoon full of onion marmalade to mine.

It was delicious. I am a lucky Kitten.

Saturday evening we decided at the last minute to go out to dinner and we headed to Constantia and managed to snag a table at the Cattle Baron.

We were seated out on the little patio area under a gas heater.

Norm ordered the 300g Chateaubriand: Fillet flambèed with brandy. Served with a Cattle Baron Bèarnaise & a mushroom sauce.

I ordered the 200g Sautéed Mushroom Fillet: Grilled beef fillet served on deep-fried rosti and topped with garlic sauteèd mushroom. It was R195.

We both had chips and shared an order of mushrooms sautéed in garlic butter. They serve a complimentary dish of mashed butternut and creamed spinach with the steaks. It was all so delicious, the steaks were both very tender and perfectly cooked.

I had the chocolate fondant with ice cream: molten chocolate cake with a crispy exterior and runny chocolate centre. It was R58.

Our meal was delicious and the service perfect so we give 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. This place is becoming my fave local steak house.

We went home and cosied up with the animals.

Panda tolerated Blue because it was so cold.

On Sunday after drumming I drove back from Marina Da Gama and collected Norm and we went for lunch at Woolworths before we did our grocery shop.

I ordered a bottle of still water and a chili omelette with bacon.

I was given sparkling water and did not notice until I took a swig. Blech who enjoys sparkling water and if you do, why do you hate yourself so much? It tastes like I imagine water tastes like when drank around a mouthful of rocks.

Then she finally brings our food and I get a few bites in wondering why I don’t taste chili when I got a mouthful full of salmon. Not what my mouth was prepared for.

Eventually a chili omelette was delivered and it was ok. It had a weird cream cheese and chive type stuffing that was a bit odd but it was ok.

But due to the long time it took to cook, the fishy first attempt and the weird cheese it gets 2 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️

Tonight Norm and I made low carb pizza, I used veggie pizza bases and topped them with mozzarella and Proscuitto.

First I baked the base for 5 minutes.

I made my own sugar free sauce from garlic, a tin of chopped tomatoes I liquidized, a small tin of tomato paste and a dash of Worcester sauce.i simmered it for about half an hour.

I topped the sauce with the ham and the cheese and baked.

It was good. Not as good as a real pizza, but for low carb it was edible.

We are wrapped up warm watching telly and listening to the pouring rain. Cape Town needs the rain.

Wishing you all a great week ahead. Until next time Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Sizzling

There was a fire last Friday night and we could smell the smoke from our house so intensely that I checked social media to see if it was nearby but it was miles away in Grabouw. When I woke up on Saturday the whole valley was covered in smoke and the horses across the valley were whinnying which I assume was due to being agitated by the smoke.

We read that this fire had been contained and was under control but then on Sunday evening we started smelling smoke again.

We read on social media that there was a new fire on Kloof Nek and Signal Hill which had spread across to Sea Point. It was dark but we could see from our balcony that there were thick clouds of smoke rising over the back of Table Mountain. The pics we saw were horrific.

When I drove in on Monday morning I could see the mountain was still smoldering and the choppers were busy dousing the flames.

These ongoing fires are worse than I have ever experienced since I have lived in SA. It seems too coincidental that they are occurring in an election year. There have been rumours for years that the ANC party are trying to make the Western Cape ungovernable and to challenge our resources to the point of collapse in an attempt to shift the voters from the DA to the ANC.

Several people were on twitter claiming that the ancestors were punishing the white home owners by the fire on Signal Hill.

We had a tragedy this week where 4 children were killed when a walkway collapsed. The Black First Land First (BLF) spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp has come out in support of a comment by Facebook user Siyanda Gumede, in which he said he “doesn’t have a heart to feel pain” for the three children who died after the tragic collapse of a walkway at Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark, who he assumed to be white. This political party has been accused of hate speech over their comments on many occasions. The BLF seem to hate all white people and want us all out of South Africa.

The EFF party also want the white people to leave South Africa and think that any land or property we own should be taken from us. Their leader Julius Malema has said that we must be happy that the EFF have not called for white genocide.

The EFF have also had claims of hate speech levied about their abuse of journalists, predominately women journalists.

Bheki Cele who is our Police Minister had objected to the appeal for additional police officers being allocated to the Western Cape. The Western Cape Equality Court estimated that the Western Cape is 4,500 officers short of the amount needed to police the province. In December, the court found that the system being used to allocate police resourcing was unfairly discriminating against poor and black people in the Western Cape. The provincial police-to-population ratio was one officer for every 509 residents and in Cape Town it was even worse – 1:560. This had to be corrected so that crime-fighting capacity in the province could get close to the national average of 1:375, so that crime could effectively be addressed.

The fact that Cele is one of the ANC’s disciples just feeds into that theory that the treatment of the Western Cape is deliberately subversive.

The newly implemented Rail Enforcement Unit has been somewhat successful in their arrests of a few of the culprits who are committing crimes on the railways. The  stats I can find are that thirteen arrests were made by the end of 2018: for assault, possession of drugs and stolen property, theft and fraud. It is just a shame that there had to be millions worth of damages done and many injuries and a death to trigger any results to happen.

There were more arrests made in 2019 for cable theft. In January the police arrested five suspects allegedly involved in cable theft in Rondebosch.

Regardless, it is still not a safe environment to travel on the trains in the Western Cape. It is not safe to venture into many of the areas in Cape Town due to gang violence and lack of police presence. It is not always safe just to walk around being white. I have had verbal abuse when walking in the city being told to ‘go home’ or ‘get out’. It can be very intimidating.

Norm was called out to attend a break in very near our home on Friday night. The family were violently attacked when 5 African men walked into their home carrying axes. The security beams were off and the back door was open due to the intense heat. There was a delivery driver arriving to drop off food or cigarettes and he was also attacked. There were several children there who witnessed this all. I hope the family and their visitors get over this trauma. I hope the smaller children do not even realise what was going on and therefore won’t have too much residual trauma.

There will most likely not be any arrests made and if so they most likely will not make it to court or a conviction.

There have still been no arrests for the train arson attacks. A whopping 214 trains were burnt in suspected arson attacks in South Africa in the past three years, with 174 of them torched in the Western Cape.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande’s response to a parliamentary question revealed that most cases of arson took place in 2016 when 69 coaches were burnt, compared to 65 in 2018 and 41 in 2017.

The Western Cape accounted for 56 of the 65 coaches burnt in 2018, with eight incidents taking place in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal.

All of these problem areas are under the ownership of the National government, the ANC, so I am a bit confused why they think that non-delivery in these areas will impact on people’s votes?

But then again as a westerner there are many things I do not understand about South Africa.

We have chosen to make our home here and so we just get on with life.  I can only hope that we can find a way for us all to live in peace and harmony.

I started a new project with a client on Friday. This is the 3rd project I have done for this client since 2010. I am documenting the metadata for their data warehouse. It seems like it will be interesting.

It has been a busy week and we have not been eating that healthy so we are going to get back to banting from tomorrow.

I tried the quail’s eggs my friend gave me and boiled them and added them to a chinese slaw salad I picked up from woolies and some tuna.

Norm did cook one night and made baked pork fillet with mushrooms, corn on the cob and gem squash and it was very yummy.

We ended up having take aways a few nights however so our balance of healthy vs unhealthy was off.

Last night we met our friends Mel, Steve and their daughter Chloe at Hoghouse Brewing Company.

We took an uber so that Norm could have a few drinks.

One thing that I struggle with at this venue is drinks. I know it is a brewery but I do not drink beer. I tried their cider but it was just OK, I did not really enjoy it. I ended up drinking water. I go there purely for the food. We ordered food to share for the table, we ordered lots of meat as you do at a BBQ joint.

We ordered 300g of pork ribs, 300g of pulled pork, 300g of burnt ends and 300g of pork belly.

The boys ordered the chorizo scotch eggs, Chloe ordered some nachos, Mel ordered the eggplant parmiagiana and we ordered chips, onion rings, chili poppers and wild mushroom arancini.

For dessert I had a pasteis de nata, Chloe had a vanilla milkshake and Mel and Steve had sorbet.

I found that  few of the dishes had changed since we were last there. The burnt ends were quite fatty, next time I would choose the beef brisket in the hopes it was less fatty. I did not try the pork belly but there was a gorgeous crackling and it looked nice. I loved the pulled pork. In fact next time I may just order that only it was so good. We had a lovely evening catching up with our friends and eating like piggies.

Today Norm and I are having a pajama day. I have been fasting with only hot water with lemon until lunch time to clear my digestion. I have tidied my clothes and have been writing. Norm is going to make us a high fat low carb lunch of eggs, bacon and avocado. I know that I will feel better once we get back to reducing our sugar intake. It makes a huge difference to my digestion and my arthritis symptoms. We will derail temporarily next weekend as the girls are coming up for our belated Christmas lunch. I look forward to that! Seeing my girls, not the banting derailing.

I have also booked a few events to look forward to, I booked to go to the theatre to see Into the Woods. It is playing at The Theatre on the Bay which is our fave venue and we have booked the dinner and show option which is usually lovely. I booked a lunch at Foxcroft with some girl friends. I love that restaurant.

Today we woke to some cool weather and it has rained quite a bit which hopefully will dampen some of the ongoing fires we have been having.

I am very grateful for the rain.

I wish you all a happy week.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

The Karma of Kings

The wind started up on Thursday night and howled viciously like it sometimes does in Cape Town. I sat listening to the windows rattling in their panes and the doors banging against their frames and thought how terrifying it must be in this weather to live in a shack in one of our townships.

On Saturday when I went to the hairdresser I was chatting to Tembe who does my shampoo and colour and she said she had not slept a wink on Friday night as she was so frightened that the roof might blow off of her shack. I cannot even imagine the noise a tin shack would make in this howling wind.

Norm and I hunkered down on Friday evening and he popped down to the village and bought a free range chicken burger from The Kitchen Takeaway for us and we stayed in. We started watching The Haunting of Hill House.

I love this type of horror, a bit of the occult, ghosts, spirits, mystery and intrigue, but only a bit of shock and not full of unnecessary gore or blood. The PTSD Virgo’s perfect horror.

There are a few episodes which are about sleep paralysis which I found very interesting as I have experienced this phenomenon often and it is absolutely terrifying. I have thought it was my body  astral travelling while I was deep asleep. My experiences follow the same pattern each time, I wake up and I am fully conscious but unable to speak or move and I feel a heaviness pushing down on my chest. I am always lying on my back and experiencing something visual and terrifying in my mind, I may see demons, shadow shapes or even people in my life who have died. I always wake up crying and I feel a deep sense of loss after the terror subsides. However as my mind becomes awake and I realise I cannot move I make this loud keening sound which Norm says sounds like a ghost wailing and it absolutely terrifies him. Even from my own ears the sound is horrendous. It is this sound that wakes Norm up and alerts him to my distress. I do not remember this happening when I was a child, but due to PTSD from abuse when I was about 5 years old I have blocked out a lot of my childhood so I am not sure when it first started happening.

I’ve not finished the entire series, but I give The Haunting of Hill House a full score of 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

We went to bed later than usual and I was woken at 5am on Saturday morning by Lola sharpening her claws on the carpet next to the bed. Why can’t she just get into bed and snuggle in quietly? Why does her arrival require verbal acknowledgment and physical contact? On the rare occasion that she does get into bed quietly, if she can see my hands then she inserts herself under them or nudges or nibbles them until I pet her. Her last resort is to actually park her rear end on my face. It is so charming to wake up to the aroma of cat butt.

I had a hair appointment on Saturday at 11 and we lay in bed as long as we were able to. While I showered Norm popped down to the Spar to get us fresh pastries and when he got back he made us coffees to go with them. After I finished eating I headed into Cape Town. The sun was out and it was gorgeous. The wind had finally calmed down.

I stopped to enjoy the view over Camps Bay and snapped a pic. It is so beautiful. There was a young girl there taking selfies while balanced on one leg on a rock that was hanging over the periphery of the cliff. Many people die every year in the pursuit of the most Instagram likes but I also feel it is a way to cull the gene pool of stupid people, so there is that.

When I got into the city I parked up and the City of Cape Town car parking attendant walked up to me and I paid up, got the receipt to display in my window and I let him keep the change. He was very happy, it only cost me a few rands and we both benefited from the arrangement, me via karma and him via coins. Afterwards we went off in different directions, I walked off down the hill and when I was almost down to Long Street I was approached by a drunk homeless guy who started trying to get cash from me and he was very persistent. He reached out towards me as if to grab my arm and the parking attendant popped up out of nowhere and started walking between us, escorting me down the hill. I was so grateful to the parking attendant, as a woman it can be very risky walking about on your own.

Even in broad daylight, even when dressed in long trousers and long sleeves. Nothing enticing in my attire, nothing risky about my setting, it is a major public road. But I am a woman and therefore a potential target.

That is the reality of life, regardless of what country a woman lives in she has to be aware and alert at all times.

I headed into Pause and had my hair coloured and a treatment done, it was lovely and relaxing. Tembe gives the best head massage ever! I snapped a pic when I got home while waiting on Norm to get dressed. No more grey roots!

Afterwards I collected Norm and we then headed to my friend Mel’s house. Mel was having a succulent sale at her house. She had some adorable containers and plants. As she has a gardening business I knew she would have some beauties and I was right!

There were several ladies there shopping, chatting, having a drink and enjoying the stunning view.

Our friend Bronwyn was also there selling some really lovely things to support Community Cohesion. Community Cohesion does wonderful work, they provide support to the community by “providing psycho-social support, education and training. This translates into one on one Social Worker Therapeutic Intervention, Crisis Containment and Wide-Ranging Counselling, Group debriefs, supported group work and workshops to improve life skills.”

They are very deserving of any financial donations you can make, and if it is foreign currency a small amount converts to a lot in our local currency.

I hope that Community Cohesion make a huge success out of their new fundraising initiative. These items are handmade by various people who will get a commission on the items sold so it will not only help the organisation but it will benefit the creator of the items too and form a step to sustainability, creating income for their clients and also for the organisation.

I particularly loved the wooden jewelry and the shopping bags.

Unfortunately I am flat broke already this month so I couldn’t buy anything from either of them on Saturday but I needed to drop something off by Mel and so we stayed for a quick drink that led to a long chat! It was lovely as I met some new women that I enjoyed chatting to and saw a few ladies that I already knew I enjoyed the company of. Norm and Cyril, Mel’s hubby, sat outside by the pool rather than endure our chat so the blokes were happy enough too. It was a lovely afternoon.

After a bit Norm and I left and we headed down to the harbour to have some food at The Lookout Deck.

We were seated by the windows with a lovely view of the harbour.

The sun was shining on the mountains and it was stunning.

It was already almost 5pm and as we had no lunch and I had also had a glass of wine on my empty stomach, I was desperate for food. We quickly ordered and my salmon roses arrived quite quickly. The sushi was delicious and cost R68.

For my main I just had the tian of prawns starter at R87. It had panko prawns and a salad of red onion, avocado and tomatoes in a balsamic reduction with sweet chili sauce.

Norm had the fish and chips for R123.

He said it was very good, the fish was a nice thick piece of perfectly cooked fish. My prawn dish was very tasty too.

We both still felt a bit hungry after and opted for dessert. Norm had the baked lemon cheesecake which was on the menu at R65. It came with their soft serve ice cream and a bit of berry coulis.

I had a chocolate nut sundae for R59.

Our entire bill including 2 cocktails, a glass of wine and our food was R624 for the two of us (thank goodness for credit cards).

After we finished we headed home and Norm took the dogs for their walk and fed them then we settled in for the evening. Norm had a bit of a nap while I played Covet fashion. It was a lovely relaxing day.

I felt like I needed a pajama day on Sunday so I did not go to drumming. I had a shower and put on a warm track suit while Norm made us a yummy brunch of bacon, cheesy eggs and mushrooms.

Panda tried to nick my bacon, the cheeky sod.

The wind had picked up again and was howling outside.

Later in the afternoon I randomly discovered American Vandal. And only while looking for a link for this blog did I realize we missed series one and went right to series 2!

We think it is hilariously cringe-worthy even though it is about poop and Virgos do not like to discuss such things. It seems as if it is modeled on the interaction style of the two dudes from Catfish crossed with the filming style of 13 Reasons Why. I said to my daughters that it should have been called ’13 Reasons Why I Pooped My Pants’.

We give it 3.5 totally silly Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨. It is perfect fare for a lazy windy Sunday. We will watch series 1 at a later point as we have already finished this one.

We were treated to a burst of rain on Sunday evening. This is good after the crazy wind storms as our pool is a bit low as the wind appears to have emptied it out a few inches. Last night we discovered the pool pump is not working and we worry the dropped levels may have burnt out the pool motor. However I know nothing about pools or motors so we will need to phone an expert to come and have a look once I get paid.

Monday Norm cooked for us and made a low carb dinner of baked pork chops, cauliflower mash, fried zucchini and brussel sprouts. It was healthy and delicious. The cauliflower was given to me by a work colleague who is a part time organic farmer.

Following on from the train arson attack last week that I blogged about, we have been advised that PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) was supposed to have implemented their new Rail Enforcement Unit this week but we have been told for months now that they are still not ready. We were told the Unit would be in place by ‘October at the latest‘ but they are still delaying the implementation of this police unit for whatever reason.

The other big item in the news is the VBS bank heist. It has been identified by the South African Reserve Bank report that almost 2 Billion Rand was siphoned off by VBS bank. The 150-page report implicates prominent South Africans such as EFF deputy president, Floyd Shivambu‘s younger brother Brian and Venda King Toni Mphephu. They have also identified irregular behaviour in the relationship the bank had with our ex-president, the corrupt and dodgy Zuma who borrowed money for his Nkandla development and has been implicated in huge levels of theft of public funds as part of the State Capture investigations.

Zuma has said that he is misunderstood and not a criminal. The Venda King has now said that he will pay back the money he received from the bank if it can be proved the money is “shown to have been proceeds of the illegalities in the report”. So basically he is saying he has no knowledge of the money, and the king appears to be offering to pay back the money at the same time as he is denying having received it.

“To the best of my knowledge no amount of R17 million was paid to me, gratuitous or otherwise,” he says.

I wish I had enough money that R17 million could arrive in my account and me not notice!

VBS was placed under curator-ship by SARB earlier this year amid allegations of mismanagement and fraud.

As to whether the tax payers ever see any payback of the embezzled money will remain to be seen. Somehow I suspect the government will cover up their dirt and move onto the next item of corruption.

The other big item is the MyCiti bus strike.

That strike started on Monday and is still continuing.

Criminals have used this strike as cover for their dodgy activities as my work colleague was standing at the bus stop on Monday, unaware of the strike and he was approached by 2 homeless guys and while one asked for a light the other dove in and grabbed his laptop bag and ran. His laptop was not insured and he is an IT consultant so this will be a huge impact to his life. The druggies will probably trade it for a hit or two and move on with their lives, meanwhile my friend has had to have trauma counselling and take out a loan to purchase a new laptop.

The people who rely on public transport will really struggle now as they will not have the buses to use and the train service is incredibly unreliable now due to the recurring arson and vandalism attacks. The only people who will benefit from this cluster feck of chaos are the taxi associations. They will be so busy they will earn much more than usual due to the fact that people have no other options.

There have been no arrests made in the arson saga and we have heard so many different suggestions on who is the culprit. The ANC has been blamed for using the attacks as a means to destabilise the Western Cape (which is under DA rule).

The transport minister Blade Nzimande has even blamed organised crime for the attacks.

Dan Plato has blamed ‘economic sabotage’.

In other words…..no one knows for sure. Or if they do they are keeping quiet.

I am off to our head office tomorrow and the next day for training on Data Governance, I guess a change is as good as a holiday. A holiday spent in an office block drinking bad coffee. Wish me luck.

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

Hardly Strong

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

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

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

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

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

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❤️

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

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

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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

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

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

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

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

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

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

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

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Herb gnocchi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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

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

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

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

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

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

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

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

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

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

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

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

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

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

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

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

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

 

The Little Engine

Inevitably every time Norm travels there is a drama at home. I almost anticipate it happening and I wonder am I actually generating some of this energy with my thought processes? And each time there is a drama I begin my mantra of ‘I can’t cope’. Saying this over and over in my head almost embeds my feelings of dependency on Norm.

Even though I always cope. After all, what is the alternative? To just give up and rock in a corner while twirling my hair and crying? I am just not that sort of girl. I think a challenge actually galvanises me into action. I may have an immediate breakdown but I then rally.

And then afterwards I generally cry.

I am going to try and be more confident of my abilities. I have survived things that would break most people, but I am still here, still surviving.

I need a new