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

 

Advertisements

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

Dirt, Water & Foxes

Last Thursday South Africa swore in Cyril Ramaphosa as our new President and the State of the Nation Address (SONA) occurred on Friday. I have added in a clip of some of the high points as the full speech is rather long. This clip highlights the difference in how our new President Ramaphosa expresses himself in comparison to the way that Zuma stumbled along unintelligibly in his resignation shown in the clip from my last blog.

Our new President has stated that he intends to put SA back on track and to rid the government of corruption and release the country from state capture.

For one, Ramaphosa has vowed to focus on resolution of the issues we are currently having with the management and corruption of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This hopefully means good bye to both Lynne Brown, Minister of Public Enterprises and Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane both of whom are also allegedly on the payroll of the Gupta family and instrumental in state capture. Ramaphosa has said he will implement governance to stop board members from being  involved in any processes related to procurement to mitigate the risk of conflict of interest.

Our electricity parastatal Eskom has been the focus of many investigations into corruption and state capture.  The CFO, Anoj Singh recently resigned and the investigations seem to be heating up. The former CEO Brian Molefe has been ordered to pay back the 11 million Rand he was illegitimately paid from the state owned company as part of his supposed ‘pension’ pay out when in fact he resigned due to the allegations of state capture from the public prosecutor’s report, he did not retire. He also has to pay almost 2 Million in legal costs. He tried to blag that he retired but it was proven that he did not, he ran from the risk of imprisonment due to his hand in the corruption and collusion with the Guptas.

The new president has also promised to clear out of the cabinet of the corrupt members who were allied with Zuma and captured by the Guptas.

In my opinion, one of the first to get the boot should be Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini who has proven her incompetence over and over. If she is not incompetent then that means she really is evil as her mismanagement of the processes to distribute funds intended for the vulnerable children and families in SA is shocking. You can never convince me that she did not get payouts from Cash Paymasters Services (CPS) for continually delaying the roll out of the child services financial processes to being managed by the SA Post Office.

We all got to witness Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba playing Candy Crush on his iPad while our new president spoke. I suspect he was not that interested in the future due to his past and he knows his days are numbered. He was given his current position in order to further capture SA, this time the treasury was in the pocket of the Guptas. The Budget speech was today and full of drama from the EFF abstaining to the DA grand standing. The DA have raised a complaint to the Public Prosecutor about Gigaba’s previously proven lack of ethical behaviour and hopefully he will be removed from post ASAP.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is also shrouded in controversy and is certainly not doing enough to protect us residents from the high levels of crime in SA. He was previously the Minister of Sport, I hazard a guess that he has zero clue about how to implement a strategy to resolve the corruption in the police services.

A recent audit of the South African Police identified high levels of illiteracy among the staff which helps to explain why they are often so reticent to make a report of a crime when it occurs. Paperwork is never much fun but if you cannot read or write it is a complete non-starter.

The audit also identified that there are more than 1,000 convicted felons employed by the police. This helps to explain the high number of case dockets and other info which goes missing resulting in cases being dropped.

There is also a huge issue with internal corruption and missing weapons or mis-allocated funds. Often times this is done with a helping hand from the top cops. A ‘top’ cop was recently arrested for selling police issue guns and ammo to criminals. Another for corruption over fraud and other charges.

There is even a member of Zuma’s family who is highly implicated in the State Capture report and that is his son Duduzane Zuma. He has absconded and there is a price on his head for his capture. Hopefully without his father to protect him he will be found and justice will be served.

The new president has promised free higher education available to those who qualify. SA has many challenges around schooling and access to education. In the Western Cape there are over 11,000 learners who have not been placed in a school as yet for 2018. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) says it’s on track to accommodate these children by installing mobile classrooms in the rapidly growing communities. Once again the current government proves it has no clue when it comes to forward planning. I hope that there is a major shake up in this department too.

Our new first lady Tshepo Motsepe has quite a long list of kudos of her own, independent of her husband. She is a medical doctor and she is a graduate of Harvard where she obtained a Master of Public Health [MPH] in Maternal Child Health and Aging at the Harvard School of Public Health. Mrs Ramaphosa has successful family connections as she is the older sister of South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe. Also her sister Bridgette Radebe is married to a Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe. Hopefully there is no bitterness between Radebe and Ramaphosa as Radebe fancied himself as a contender for the presidency himself.

The new first lady is active in several NPOs (Non-profit Organisations) mostly around children and education.

They both sound as if they will be a great asset to SA, but Zuma and his wives did not set the bar very high. I will withhold any judgement for a bit and see where this new president takes the country. I do have such hope for transformation.

The latest projection for Day Zero is that it has now been pushed back to the 7th of July. As we have had minimal rain this can only be due to other factors. However I will not question this push back, I will be grateful for the delay.

Personally, I had a lovely weekend. On Saturday Norm and I woke very early to the sound of alarms on our street. We realised that this was due to the electricity being off yet again. We found out that it was the same transformer as had blown the two previous times that we were without power for many hours.

I made us both a coffee by boiling water on our gas cooker and then I just tied up my hair and threw on some clothes and took Pixie to the doggy chiropractor.

It was an early appointment and after I got home we still had no power so Norm and I set out to find some breakfast. A new German restaurant has opened in Hout Bay called Zur Holzbucht and we had seen on social media that they were doing breakfast so we decided to give them a try.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and we went to sit outside but Norm spotted that they were setting up for a child’s birthday party so we skulked back inside to the shaded inside for optimal peace and quiet. We both ordered the farmer’s breakfast, an omelette with pan fried potatoes, bacon and onion.

This was a really nice omelette, I like my omelette’s properly cooked with no runny bits and this was just the way I like it. The addition of pickles was a bit odd but I liked the sliced tomato and red onion. I liked some of the other items on their menu and we will definitely be back to try more things.

Afterwards we went and did a shop for that evening as we were not sure if we would have electricity restored before dinner time. We just relaxed and I played offline games on my ipad while Norm napped. The electricity came back on around 5pm.

Later that evening Norm braaied dinner for us.

He cooked corn on the cob, halloumi and chicken sausages on the braai and I made coleslaw and sliced up some figs to go with it. Simple, yet delicious.

We are now addicted to Designated Survivor a series we started watching this weekend and we really love it!!! We spent the evening enjoying the intrigue (and rejoicing in having electricity – small pleasures).

On Sunday I had plans to meet my friends Lila and Nicola for lunch at Foxcroft.

Norm snapped a pic on our way out, I do love my view so much.

These ladies were some of the first friends I made when I moved to South Africa over 25 years ago.

Lila is also an American expat and she and her husband Nigel spend half the year in St Francis Bay on the east coast of SA and half the year in Florida. One of the other women who had booked bailed on us at the last minute so we let Nigel come along and fill the extra seat.

Nicola is a South African who spends part of the year here in SA and part of the year in England at her other home in Bath. It is rare that we are all 3 in the same city (or even country!) at the same time so we made the most of it.

The food was amazing as always and we had such a laugh. Lila and I are both your typical loud Americans and we had managed to involve the couple sitting at the table next to us in one of our convos with the waiter which got the couple laughing and they ended up chatting to us so much we almost offered them a seat with us. Our new friend took this pic of the group for us, while chirping to us the whole time, hence the laughter.

The set menu was for 2 tapas dishes, 1 main dish and 1 dessert for R435 per person.

I started with the Seared Tuna Tataki: Chipotle, avocado, cucumber, rice puff.

View this post on Instagram

Tuna tataki

A post shared by Kitten In The City (@stresskitten) on

The second tapas I chose was the Honey-glazed Quail: Confit leg, rhubarb, pecan, liver jus.

For my main I chose the same Pork dish as I had on New Year’s Eve when we ate there. There are 2 different bits of free-range Pork accompanied by Gemsquash, charred cabbage, fermented plum.

This is some of the best pork belly I have ever eaten. Oh so divine.

For my dessert I had the Compressed Strawberry: Lemon curd, geranium, sour cream, matcha. I adore this dessert. Light and oh so delicious.

We all had such fun, we laughed so much and gossiped about whomever I could remember from those days. I have blocked out a lot of memories from that time as it was very traumatic for me around the time of my divorce. Lila and Nigel let me and the kids live with them when I first left my ex-husband. Nicola had helped me out financially by using me as an assistant for various painting jobs she had when she was doing interior design.

These ladies will be my friends for life, wherever we may all end up on the planet I will always have a special place in my heart for them.

On Monday as I left work the security guard waved at me and pointed to my car tire. I put down the window and he said that I needed to get to a garage to check it. I was in a queue of traffic so I could not get out to check but I could hear it making a noise as I drove. The traffic in that area is horrific so I could not pull over safely and being stranded in South Africa is a huge risk for a woman so I kept going, praying continuously to my guardian angels and my ancestors to protect me. I finally made it to the garage and we saw that there was a nail in my tire. By this time it was completely flat.

The petrol attendants were ever so sweet and asked me to pull over to a parking spot and they very quickly replaced the damaged tire with my spare.

The following day I had to drag Norm out of bed to run me into work. He then went back home to let in Cordelia and Mzudumo and then went to sort out my tire. He came back to collect me that evening. Bless him he spent most of the day driving or sitting in traffic.

Cape Town traffic is getting so congested. Part of this is due to the dysfunctional train service. So many of the trains have been put off line due to vandalism. This puts extra pressure on the buses and the roads. The least that could be done would be to increase the allocation of buses in the areas where the train services are suspended but they do not even do that.

This morning it took me an hour and a half to get into work. There were no visible accidents, this was just the sheer volume of cars on the roads.

I guess even without water, a lot of people want to live in this fabulous city so that is the price we have to pay.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Cracking Moderately Misbehaved

Happy May to you all! This year is rattling past at a helluva speed. Why does time move faster the older we get?

clock

We did have a wonderful time with the family on our lovely 5 day break. I missed my boy Trevor but as he is now a proper adult he has his own home and animals to maintain and as Amber is away working he had to stay put.

Monday was Workers Day in South Africa. Our last day with the kids on Monday’s bank holiday was lots of fun.

We finished off the giant vat of curry I made earlier that weekend and we played various games with me, Lily, Josh, Caitlin and Norm all taking part.

First we played the board game Avalon. You are given a card which tells you the role you play in that round and you are designated as either a good guy, a bad guy or Merlin the wizard. Then you all close your eyes and put your fist in the centre of your circle of players, then with all except the bad guys keeping their eyes shut the bad guys stick up their thumbs and show the other bad guys who they are except I kept forgetting who was who. Oops. I was the bad guy for 3 rounds and the assassin for one. The game has obviously heard of me and my reputation for badassness. Yeah right.


It is a strategy game. The millennials love that shit. I’m not a fan, I like silly, fun, boisterous games where I can shout and laugh and expel energy. Therefore based purely on my personal taste, I give Avalon 3 Kitten Stars.

Then we played Uno. Everyone loves Uno, it is easy and fast and fun. Occasionally Josh would shout at me for giving him a card that meant he had to pick up lots or get skipped, but that was not deliberate on my part, it was just unfortunate timing that was the only card I could play and he was next to me.


Finally we all got a bit tired, so Josh went upstairs to play his online game and the rest of us wanted to adjourn to the comfy couches so we played Charades.

We had a great evening laughing and taking the piss out of each other. That is how our family shows love, we either feed you, torture you or both in succession. Fun heh?

The next morning Lily and Josh headed back home to Mossel Bay. It is about a 4-5 hour drive, on a hot day it is not very pleasant at all so I am always so grateful when they make the effort to come visit.

After they left I had a wander around the garden moving around my little treasures and enjoying the fact it had cooled off a bit after the rain. As the garden is constantly growing and changing the little garden art items get hidden by the growth.


The dogs really love when I have a mooch outside. They follow me around, sniffing and exploring everything.

Panda seems completely recovered from his op if a bit sedated from his ongoing pain meds. Navajo continues to constantly harass him, poor wee baby. 😦

As there was a packet of steaks opened at the braai we decided to cook the remainder of them and Norm and I made a yummy HFLC lunch for us and Caitlin.


We sat outside in the shade at the back of the house to eat our lunch as it was nice and cool.

Later Norm and I slobbed about and watched a few episodes of the first season of  Breaking Bad. This is one of the series that we were both keen on watching but as we missed the start of the series when it was first shown on telly we never bothered to try and catch up. Our new TV app LookTV was behaving luckily and we really enjoyed Breaking Bad.

I am so glad my life is on the opposite spectrum from Walter’s ‘chosen’ path.  There but for the grace of the gods go I.

Or you.

Or anyone.

Life is but a roll of the dice.

My life is generally so devoid of excitement that I am barely even Cracking Moderately Misbehaved, much less Breaking Bad. I am at a stage of my life where a chilled out life is desirable and contentment is my primary goal.

Chaos is for the young.

Other than for those who are unfortunate enough to live in an area which is rife with gangs, drugs and violence, whether they are part of that life or not they have to live with the chaos.

On Monday’s public holiday 13 people were shot in Elsie’s River which is an area that is incredibly unsafe. There are gang wars and drug wars and all manner of violent people living there. The innocent are sometimes trapped in the cross fire.

Yet there are 316,000 Capetonians who are without police protection due to the high levels of violence in some of the suburbs and informal areas. In the last 10 years the force have lost 872 police officials while the conviction rate in SA courts is almost non-existent. If the ratio of police to members of the public is 1:362 then that means 315,664 people have been left without police protection. As our census figures are grossly underestimated then this figure is quite likely much higher.

Since 2012, more than 200 attacks on EMS staff members have been reported. Furthermore, the Cape Argus reported that 214 ambulances had been taken off the roads last year. It is unfathomable to me that someone would attack a person who is trying to assist or provide medical care to someone else. That your own needs outweigh those of people needing assistance to me means a lack of any form of moral compass. The ambulances get attacked by addicts looking for drugs, or just by people who want to keep the police and emergency vehicles off their turf. Just in 2016, 5,148 days’ worth of work hours were lost. This is due to responders being absent on account of safety concerns or being off of work due to stress or post traumatic stress disorder due to being previously attacked.

Recently dozens of metro EMS personnel gathered outside the Khayelitsha magistrates court.

Everyone has a right to be able to do their jobs without fear of injury or attack. However the violence in these areas has led to attacks on police officers, emergency medical staff, fireman and others who are required to enter this area to perform their job functions. Several areas, including Hanover Park, Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Manenberg, have been identified as so-called red zones where emergency crews have been targeted by criminals. They are all part of the area known as the Cape Flats.

The recent shooting in Elsie’s River was potentially related to a huge gang war going on in the Western Cape over territory and drugs. One of the alleged leaders of one of these gangs was also recently gunned down. His death allegedly is linked to the fight over which of the players of the underground will ‘own’ the nightclub security industry. (AKA ‘Bouncers’ to you Yanks & ‘Doormen’ to the Brits.)

A shooting in the trendy nightclub Café Caprice in Camps Bay was also linked to this turf war. I am glad my kids are not big night clubbers as the risk is not worth the potential for fun.

The idea of living in the midst of this chaos is unfathomable for those of us whose biggest complaint is our neighbour’s barking dogs. A mild annoyance vs. the risk of your safety is just not something we can even begin to compare.

I guess our own areas of pain are relative to what we experience in our own little life bubbles. But to realise how lucky some of us are when we do not have to live in chaos is a step in the right direction. Starting to be aware and compassionate and to realise that everyone has their challenges is another step.

Baby steps….but at least I am stepping.

Big loves ❤

 

 

The Joke is on Us

It has been a week of volatility and chaos in South Africa. In my last blog I mentioned the protest that we in South Africa were calling ‘Black Monday’. Norm and I were both participating by wearing all black and tweeting our support of the cause. I tried about a dozen times to get a decent pic of Norm in his protest gear that evening but his dog pack would not eff off and leave him alone so we have a Navajo rump shot included for free. As always Panda has his eyes locked on his love, that dog adores Norman.


One thing that the protesting does is it opens up lines of dialogue with other people of all races which might normally not occur. I work with a very wise young African lady with whom I can openly discuss issues around race and other history which I may not fully understand as an American import. She knows my heart is in the right place and I can ask ‘why is this considered racist’ and she answers me from her heart, explaining the history behind the feelings of the people who have lived their entire lives here. These dialogues are necessary if we are to bridge the gaps between the races and the socioeconomic divides which are still so prevalent within SA.

I was saddened when saw on Twitter that many people were criticising the #BlackMonday protest and calling it #WhiteMonday as it was predominately white people who were protesting even though the corruption probably affects the poor even more than it affects the middle class.

I was utterly disgusted this week when my friend told me about a racial issue she had experienced with a local Guesthouse. She is busy buying a flat and as there are still tenants in the property it was not quite ready to move in on the first of the month, so the lawyers arranged for her to stay in a local guesthouse. She was given all of the booking info and she only had to phone to confirm with the owner what time she expected to arrive. She did so and the owner was very friendly on the phone until she asked for my friend’s name. My friend’s accent does not distinguish her as any specific race, but once she gave her name, her name is very obviously of African origin. The woman asked my friend to confirm her ‘nationality’. As she already had my friend’s SA ID number she knew my friend was South African, so what she was actually asking was ‘are you African?’. When my friend confirmed she is indeed African, the woman went quiet and terminated the call. A few minutes later the agent who had booked the guesthouse rang to say to my friend that ‘there is a double booking’ at the guesthouse and they must change where my friend will stay.

My friend very calmly told the agent that she knew the woman had refused to accommodate her because she is black.

The agent then sputtered and panicked and said that she would phone back and resolve the issue, but my friend said she did not want to force the woman to accommodate her and she would not feel comfortable staying there after the owner’s feelings about non-white guests were known. She also told the agent that if she did not sort things out quickly with her flat she would be suing them for breach of contract as well as taking the guesthouse to court for breaking the constitution with their discriminatory practices.

I was so upset for my friend. I was ready to blow things up about the guesthouse on social media, but my friend is far more mature and rational than I am (despite being almost half my age) and she asked me not to. I am also not mentioning her by name to preserve her anonymity. But I want to drive to the guesthouse and punch the racist beast of a woman in the face. Because that will make a difference right? No, it won’t. But it would make me feel better.

A nice bit of local news that I saw this week from the Thula Thula Charity was that one of the haunting photographs that was taken during the recent Hout Bay fire disaster  was made into a painting and auctioned off and the proceeds will be put towards helping both the local animal shelter as well as the actual child in the photo.


At least one positive item came from the devastation of the fire.

On the subject of Art, I recently mentioned in one of my blogs that my artist friend Carol Phillips is looking to part with a few of her beloved pieces. If you would like to look at them, you can view her website here. Carol is a photographer and an artist and has a brilliant eye and talent.  She recently had an exhibition in Vienna and has been invited to exhibit her work in New York next year in collaboration with Amsterdam Whitney International Fine Art Gallery. So if you want to get a piece of art from her before she blows up even more in notoriety, this is your chance.

This is my absolute favourite of all of her pieces, it is just so stunning!

Sandton Skin 950X1500mm.jpg

Many of her paintings have such depth and texture. My friend Retha bought one of Carol’s pieces herself recently.


The bad news for those of us who live in SA just continues, we heard on the news late Monday that S&P downgraded SA to junk status. This was a direct result from Zuma’s late night cabinet reshuffle that I recently blogged about.

A ratings downgrade will lead to lower access to credit and‚ potentially‚ an interest rate increase‚ which would affect many South Africans because they would be paying more to borrow money. Higher interest rates increase the cost of families financing things like home loans and vehicle finance payments. The Rand has already started to decrease further in value‚ causing a rise in the price of imported goods.

But Zuma cares not at all as long as his own pockets are full.

Today we hear that more rating agencies have downgraded SA to junk status.

Speaking of ‘jokes’ that no one finds funny, this week I received a rather alarming email message from a travel company called Travelstart.

It all started with an email to notify me that I should verify my departure information prior to travel. It advised me of the amount spent on the tickets to Rome which I had purchased:

travelstart booking

The confusion was strong as Norm and I have been looking at trips for our 20th anniversary and I thought I had maybe near-sightedly clicked on something and a transaction had inadvertently occurred. Then I started to panic that someone had stolen my card information and I was a victim of fraud. I frantically logged onto my banking app and checked my bank account, and then my credit card account and saw that no money had left either account for this booking.

I emailed the company and asked them to confirm the card number which had been used for the booking but I received no reply. Then when I went into work on Monday I notice a second email from Travelstart.

travelstart 2

What a ridiculous idea, to make a joke about someone spending over R6k on a trip! Especially with the high numbers of fraud cases that are so prevalent in South Africa. The company obviously panicked when their customers did not see the humour in the marketing ploy and their founder, Stephan Ekbergh issued a tweet saying oops, my bad.

travel ceo tweet

As if the world (or even their customers) know who he is and follow him on Twitter and notices what he says?! What arrogance. I would have far preferred a prompt reassuring response to the query I raised directly with Travelstart – a reply I still have never received. The company obviously received far too many complaints to actually respond to them! I will never use their services and I strongly suggest that none of you use them either. If they are capable of such poor decisions regarding how to deal with their customers, why would you? What utter imbeciles.

The 4th of April was  “Equal Pay Day” but it isn’t a holiday that we women should celebrate. It’s the day that marks how far into the current year a woman has to work to make the same amount a man made in the previous year. Because women who work full-time, year-round in the United States are paid just 80 cents on average for every dollar men earn, it takes them over fifteen months to make what a man makes in twelve. Women – regardless of which country they are living in – do not earn the same wages as men.

If you add in race to the mix then the pay gap is even wider as black or Hispanic women have an even greater pay discrepancy. We have a long way to go to reach equality.

On Tuesday evening Norm had a sports tribunal to attend so I was responsible for managing the evening household duties. I got home from work and tried to figure out what I could create for dinner while trying to get Cordelia home to the township and the hungry boisterous dogs dealt with. I dropped Cordelia home, then fed the beasties their raw mix of meat and then tried to plan something for dinner. I had beef mince in the fridge so I thought I could do low carb tacos so I started frying the meat. However I discovered that I had no lettuce to make a salad base and I had no baking paper to do my cheesy shells in the oven. A dilemma.

I had already started down the Mexican rabbit hole, so I decided to make an alternative plan on cooking the cheese ‘shells’ without baking paper. I had watched a cooking show where they put tortillas in a muffin pan and made crispy little baskets to hold their Mexican food. Cute heh? In my rush I had not thought it through and did not consider the fact that the cheese would just drop to the bottom of the pan when hot and melt into a cheesy puddle. Duh.

I mentally wrote off the provolone cheese as a failure but left it in the oven to cook and the little gems actually came out as crispy cheese cracker type things! Thank you baby jesus for spray & cook as they did not stick.


I still can’t believe it worked.

I was still left without a salad for a base, and I decided to chuck into the meat the single can of kidney beans I found in the cupboard and rebrand it as chilli con carne with cheese crackers. I fried onions and peppers in a separate pan and prepared the toppings and it all turned out just fine. It was actually rather delicious if not banting compliant as I used beans.

I ended up with Chili con carne topped with fried onions & peppers, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, salsa & fromage frais ❤️

On Wednesday I delivered my latest project to the client and the executive head of the team was to be in attendance. I was receiving last minute changes to my presentation slides 10 minutes prior to presenting. In what felt like a microsecond I created a potential road map for any subsequent phases and packed up and started sprinting. I was wearing a suit and had 5 minutes to make it over to the client offices. It is not terribly far but it was incredibly windy and hot so I arrived dripping in sweat with my hair looking like I had been dragged backwards through a hedge.

hedge

Not a great look.

I was so stressed out! Then there was no projector in the room and that took a bit of dancing around to find one. Luckily the exec was late and by the time he arrived I had touched up my lippy, combed my hair and cooled off. The presentation went brilliantly, the exec wants us to do a large piece of consultancy work next. I left work on a buzz!

That night all of the family contributed to making dinner. Norm shopped the day before and bought zucchini noodles and we decided to do a pseudo pasta with chicken and bacon in a creamy sauce to go with them. Norm chopped the chicken breasts then he had to nip out to the shops again as we discovered that the zucchini noodles bought the day before had gone slimy and icky already. While he was out I grilled the bacon and seasoned the chicken and Caitlin came home and took over and she put it all together and added the broccoli and coconut cream.

It was all low carb and high fat and was tasty and nutritious. But I am starting to get a bit burned out on the taste of these zoodles. Meh.

We woke to insane winds on Thursday. When I was making my coffee that morning I was chatting to the lady who cleans the office and she said to me that she barely slept the previous night. The wind was rattling the door to her shack and so she kept being startled awake, thinking it was criminals or the ‘tsotsis‘ as they are called locally, trying to break in. She said even though she has a padlock, a good kick would take the door off. There are still millions living in poverty in South Africa. A poverty so deep that most of us middle class people have no comprehension.

Despite the howling wind I went for a walk at lunch time to The Lunch Depot  as I hadn’t taken lunch in with me that day. The sun was out so it was not cold but it was difficult to even navigate in the wind. On the positive side, once I arrived I had a pulled pork wrap so good it would make you wanna slap your mama. I have no idea where that strange saying comes from, ironically I picked it up from my own Mom! But I would never smack her just to celebrate a wrap no matter how divine it was. Promise.

We had another heart-breaking tragedy in Hout Bay this week but I have minimal info on the details of exactly what happened. We heard rumours and then we read an article about a father who killed his twin children on Thursday afternoon. It was a girl and a boy, aged 3 years old who were murdered. The father was Spanish according to reports and was staying in his holiday flat near the beach, the children’s mother came to collect the children and found them strangled to death by their father. The father took off in the mother’s car but as they had the license plate and we have camera license plate recognition in this area he was quickly caught and arrested. I cannot imagine how the mother of those babies is coping with this tragedy, it would break your heart beyond recovery. RIP to those precious babies.

The week has been building towards the planned protests which were scheduled across South Africa today.

img_5526

We saw on the news and on Twitter that the city was feeling the impact of the march and roads were being blocked off.


We also saw plenty of intimidation by the police and army.

 

Why did dozens of MKMVA (Umkhonto we sizwe military veterans association) members feel it was necessary to form outside of Luthuli house? Were they protecting the rotten Zuma?


But we were not intimidated and slowly the people came……

And they came…

march.jpg

And they kept coming….

march crowds.jpg

Image credit.

Norm and I went to Tokai to join the other people forming a human chain down Main Road, from the southern suburbs through to the city.

march norm me chain.png

We linked hands with everyone, there were protestors of all ages and races attending and it made me feel such unity.

march human chain.jpg

Many ANC supporters tried to brand it the ‘DA March’ which implies it is led by mostly white residents of SA, however the truth was evident. All political parties were protesting the corruption which is endemic in our political ‘leaders’.

COPE, DA, ANC and EFF members all stood together as one.

march unity

Image source.

And the attendees showed that we have not forgotten the sins of Zuma’s past and that we will no longer tolerate his current games.

zuma rapist.png

For me and many others, the words from Mandela echoed in our ears:

“If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.” – Nelson Mandela, Cosatu Conference, 1993

The ANC has done very little to better the lives of their constituents. Keeping the voters uneducated and poor suits their aims, ignorance usually results in malleability and compliance. We will no longer be neither ignorant nor compliant.

After Norm and I left the protest we hoped to find somewhere open for lunch as many businesses shut completely to allow their employees to participate in the march. We spotted that there were a few people on the patio at Green’s Constantia so we popped in there and were lucky to snag a table out in the shade.

me at greens.png

I had eggs benedict and it was perfectly cooked with crispy bacon and a soft centred poached egg.

Norm had an omelette. It looked more like a frittata but it was nice he said.norm omelette greens crop.png

After our quick bite we headed home as I had promised the office I would work this afternoon to prep for a workshop booked first thing on Monday.

I am off to the city tomorrow early to get my hair done and then we will see what the weekend has in store for us. I am still on such a buzz about the unity shown today in South Africa, it gives me hope in a period of such despair about our future.

Today I choose to focus on the love that unites us rather than the hate that divides us.

 

 

Haunted

As promised I have some pictures of our Halloween party last weekend to share with you all. We had such fun. It was held in the back room at Spiro’s in Hout Bay. We had some very large parties in the past in our homes where lots of things got damaged, broken or barfed on and we decided rather to move it to our fave venue.

We arrived at 7 and some of our friends were there already.

Each year we have a theme. This year’s was ‘Disney or Animation’.  I was Tiger Lily from Peter Pan.

My daughters and I snapped a quick pic on arrival. Caitlin was Belle and Lily was Velma from Scooby Doo.

I ordered 6 of Spiro’s large platters and put them on the tables. There was different contents on the various tables but there was calamari strips and crispy squids, zucchini ribbons, fish cakes, meatballs, spicy chicken livers, Haloumi, Spanokopita (classic spinach, feta and dill pie), Dolmades (hand-made vine leaves stuffed with rice & herbs) and a variety of other bits as well as decadent dips like Taramasalata (creamy cod roe dip), Hummus or Tzatziki (tangy cucumber, garlic and mint dip) and my personal fave the aubergine dip which are all served with Pita bread. It was all divine and it served to line the tummies of the guests before they got stuck into the cash bar.



We then lowered the lights and moved out tables to make room to dance.


I thought Belle and Johnny Bravo (Caitlin and her fella Wesley) looked brilliant. Wes made the perfect Johnny Bravo and Caitlin is a beautiful Belle.

We had friends show up in all manner of crazy outfits. We had such fun.

Lily and Josh as Velma and Shaggy were adorable.

My book club girls mostly all made it this year and we had a laugh dancing.

Even Chris came late after a work party she had to attend.


We booked a DJ via the venue and didn’t have to manage him, when he veered off of the crowd faves and people sat down he caught on to the shift in mood and redirected. We danced all night! My legs were killing me on Sunday. As was my head. The problem is it is hot and you are dancing so you end up drinking far more than is good for you.

The night flew past and we staggered home just after 1. I woke up covered in lipstick as I was not able to remove my makeup the previous night. Oops.

But Monday was back to normal. Our client’s offices are being renovated and the building is covered in scaffolding. Outside our windows are men dangling from ropes – brave fellas 14 stories in the air. The homeless have taken up residency under the cover of the scaffolds so our walk through reeks of urine. Yum.

vc-renovation

Monday evening I popped round to Retha to catch up since we haven’t had a chat since she returned from  her trip to Paris and Corsica. She brought back a sweet little mirror for my handbag.


I love it.

The protestors were out again this week – this time protesting the suppression of the State Capture report. The march was coordinated by the Economic Freedom Fighters or EFF. The leader of this party was previously very involved in the ruling party , but they realised that the ANC was purely interested in bettering themselves, not in addressing the plight of the struggling masses.

2nov_state-capture-protest

This week has proven to not be a great one for our President or some of his puppets.

On Monday, Shaun Abrahams the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (aka the NPA) finally dropped the ridiculous charges against Pravin Gordhan, our finance minister. The charges against former SARS officials Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay were also dropped. South Africans are now calling for the resignation of Shaun Abrahams who is one of the many puppets under the control of Zuma.

The Report on State Capture which was produced by our recently departed and well loved Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was finally released. President Zuma and his cronies had tried to stop this being published as it clearly shows how much the Gupta family control South Africa. We all knew that the Guptas had a lot of influence but I do not think any of us realised how endemic and pervasive it actually is. So much of our countries finances are being mishandled and misappropriated.

The report clearly shows that Eskom, our parastatal energy supplier, has been favouring contracts with the Guptas and that the board did not put South Africa’s interests first, it made decisions on what was financially favourable for the Guptas. Eskom has also been misleading us on the need for a nuclear reactor. This coupled with the lack of care and attention and basic maintenance of the existing infrastructure by the ANC has led to mismanagement and the inability to provide SA with the energy we need. The Eskom board is so corrupt it should be dissolved.

We have also gone to another stage on water restrictions which is also due to incompetent management of the existing infrastructure as well as lack of control of the corporations and businesses which are dumping waste into our drinking water supplies. The government try to blame it on the drought, which is indeed compounding this issue however it is certainly not solely responsible.

The other area of mismanagement of funds due to incompetent leadership is our state owned airline SAA where billions of rands have been wasted. This money could have been used to assist students, provide housing or fill any of the other areas which could benefit the disadvantaged.

On Tuesday the NPA dropped fraud charges against Robert McBride, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate head. This was all again done for devious means.

It all makes for interesting dinner conversations as it’s like the script of a low budget soap opera.

Tuesday evening Norm did fillet steaks on the gas grill. 


He made fried mushrooms on the eye. I love that grill. It has saved us during the renovation project.


It was a lovely evening.


The public protector’s office confirmed on Wednesday that its chief executive officer, Louisa Zondo, has handed in her resignation. This story in itself smells of corruption. Maybe I am jumping to conclusions but the timing is just too suspect.

On a more personal note, my kitchen renovation project is making fabulous headway. The quartz countertops went in on Wednesday. Kitchen cupboard knobs were also put on that day. They look fabulous.


We just got a Posticino pizza on Wednesday and it was so yummy.


The plumber came today and installed the taps.

The electrician also fitted the extractor hood. 


Norm was working this evening and popped into Primmi to get dinner on his way home.

We had mashed butternut and spinach with grilled Mediterranean chicken.

It was delicious and lower in carbs than my usual chicken and pasta. It’s all about choices, I had a tasty dinner but didn’t choose pasta. I can cope with this if it’s considered a diet! 

We have a busy weekend ahead. I’m busy at work as well as I am now PM on a new project. It’s not long until Mom comes and the next thing you know it’s going to be Christmas. Life rattles past so quickly.

I hope you had a fun Halloween- it’s my favorite holiday. This year was pretty brilliant I must say.