Protected by Women

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

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

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

There has been a heavy police presence all week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

 

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Toxicity and Acidity

This has been a rather eventful week in Hout Bay, but before I catch you up let’s go back to where I left off on my last blog because us Virgo’s are nothing if not methodical in our approach.

Last Sunday Norm and I went out for a pub meal at our local, Woodcutters Arms. As it was a bit late for a Sunday night in our little village, the place was almost empty so we took a nice big booth at the back.

I asked if they had any of their Sunday Roast left and the waitress checked with the kitchen and said there was one portion of the beef roast remaining so I happily ordered it. I love their roasts, they have delicious horseradish and crispy roasties.

However this time as I was last in the queue I got the end of the roast and it was full of fat. The vegetables were completely raw, not even blanched. The roasties were perfect as was the yorkshire pudding and sauces.

Norm ordered his fave scotch eggs: Smoked Paprika Sea Salt, Pea Puree and Pea Shoots for R45.00. He said that the coating was very thick and hard. Maybe there was too much breading but as the egg is so under-cooked I suspect maybe the oil was just too hot? He was a bit disappointed and he usually loves this dish.

For his main he ordered the Pork Sausages: Served on Mashed Potatoes, Buttered Peas, Brown Sauce Onions and Gravy for R78.00. He enjoyed this dish and it was such a massive portion he took some home for lunch the following day.

When the manager came to inquire about our food I said mine was ‘OK’ but she sensed the hesitation in my voice and she asked was I sure so I mentioned that the beef was very fatty. I did not make a fuss, and she offered to replace it with something else but I was pretty full from the bits I could eat so I declined her offer. But then when the waitress brought the bill she told us that the manager had taken my dinner off of the bill! That is a rare occurrence in South Africa, in the US it is commonplace but certainly not here.

I realised that I had forgotten to mention in my last blog that when my friends and I had our excessively long breakfast at Hout Bay Manor that the manager had taken off the  main courses from the bill due to the eggs debacle. Amazing customer service in both regards.

We love the Woodcutter’s Arms and will not be deterred by a once off bad meal, it is our local and we enjoy sitting in their beer garden on a warm sunny afternoon and their food is usually always good, I think it is a very high standard for ‘pub grub’.

On Monday I was back at work and had to rush home to meet Vanessa who came to give me a pedicure. She is such a lovely girl and we have such a laugh while she is working on my calloused tootsies. We sat chatting and watching the Brexit chaos on sky news while she worked.

While Vanessa was finishing up Norm started cooking our dinner. He chopped chicken breasts and fried them in mushrooms and onions and to go with it he puréed some butternut with lots of butter and stir fried some baby spinach. I helped him with the sauce for the chicken and added thick cream, a bit of bisto and a big spoonful of Richard Bosman bacon jam to add a bit of depth to the flavour. It was a quick and easy meal and was very tasty as well as low carb and high fat with the added cream and butter.

Another night Norm cooked a big pot of bolognaise sauce and we had that with sweet potato mash and steamed baby broccoli and the next night he topped the sauce with mashed cauliflower and cheese and baked it making it last two nights. It was all very yummy. I am a very lucky Kitten!

On Tuesday afternoon I had to leave work early as I had an appointment to see a gastroenterologist about my abdominal pain and constant acid reflux. He sent me for an ultrasound which checked my organs and aorta and when I told the sonographer that I was trained as a radiographer she happily announced all of the findings in my scan, ‘there is your liver and it is fine, there is your gallbladder and it is nice and clear, and there is your aorta and you do not have an aneurysm’. Bloody hell an aneurysm was the one thing I was NOT worried about but thanks for clearing that up!

My gastroenterologist is a very amusing guy. He told me about the difference in men and women in regards to their bowels. He said that women tend to be constipated and I asked him was that a control issue? He said it is a thesis on it’s own (he is a professor) and yes, part of it is about control. He said that women often have issues with using  public toilets whereas if a man needs to go he is happy to pull over to the side of the road, drop a squat and use grass to clean himself. I even have issues going in a posh venue and could never go in anywhere unsanitary. I would only go on the side of the road if I was in danger of death or explosion. As a Virgo I cringe at even discussing these things. But discuss them I will do as Prof B booked me in for a ‘top and tail’ as he so charmingly called it, aka a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy.

On Wednesday morning I got up at my usual early hour and headed off to work. As I got to the entrance by the first taxi rank which goes up into the township I had a taxi almost back into me when he came flying backwards, reversing quickly into main road with his lights off and no brake lights in the dim light. He was setting up a blockade on the road but I did not realise that, I just thought he was being an idiot so I drove around him.

I carried on towards the roundabout at the police station and I drove straight into a protest / roadblock.  The taxis had all formed a line end to end around the traffic circle by the cop shop and were in the process of closing off the roads. I have had this happen before and I did the same thing as I did then, I just drove on the wrong side of the road and put my foot down and shot off towards the coast road to the city. Until you have been in that sort of situation you have no idea how terrifying and intimidating it is. You never know if the protesters will throw rocks at your car or even shoot at you, whether they will allow you to drive through or whether they will hold you hostage. I did see one police van but he just drove around the blockade and down towards the village ignoring the blockade.

I rang Norm once I had gotten past it and he told me that he had just started to ring me as he saw on social media that there had been 40 shots fired in a shoot out between rival taxi gangs resulting in a death to one of the drivers. This is in a residential area with a school nearby but these idiots do not care who is endangered in their fights over financial gain. They fight over which taxis get to drive which routes. This week I had a taxi overtake a long queue of traffic by driving on the wrong side of the narrow curvy coast road, not only endangering themselves and their passengers but all of the other drivers who could be involved if there was an accident.

The taxi drivers ended up closing down the entire village, blocking all of the points of exit or entry into the village. I must have been one of the last cars to get out via that route. Eventually law enforcement and the security teams managed to clear the roads and get the taxi drivers to leave. Why they did not arrest them all for their actions I have no idea. You sometimes wonder who is in charge, the cops or the bad guys.

Norm and I had started watching the new Netflix series about The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Norm and I used to live in the village next to where the McCann family lived in the UK and we had followed it all when it was going on so many years ago. However due to the lies and publicity put out by the Portuguese police I had incorrectly come to the conclusion that the parents were somehow involved, whether this was a cover up because they overdosed her on a sedative when leaving her alone in the room or some other skulduggery. However now that I have watched this documentary and reviewed all of the facts I believe that Madeleine was most likely the victim of child trafficking. There were so many leads that hinted at this but none of them were properly investigated as the Portuguese police were too busy trying to implicate the parents rather than launch a proper investigation. They did not even set up a roadblock until several days after the child went missing. Goncalo Amaral was the head of the incompetent policemen from the Polícia Judiciária‎ in Portugal and he has been proven to be corrupt and was fired from his post. He has also been proven to be money grabbing by writing a book full of lies, ironically called ‘The Truth of the Lie’ which was banned and then reinstated in a court of appeal. He has recently been linked to a mafia crime ring. He diverted this investigation and I feel he is ultimately responsible for the poor performance of the Portuguese police. Based on the latest charges against him it makes me wonder if he was actually implicated in her disappearance and that is why he derailed it. We may never know the truth.

It was a heart wrenching story and I cannot imagine what the McCanns have gone through over the years. To lose a child is traumatic enough but to then have people blaming you must be horrific. However it is a very well done documentary and I give it 5 Kitten Stars.

We have also started watching Outlander. It is a show that people have recommended to me for years but when they mentioned the time travel aspect I thought, nah, not for me. But I recently joined a new Fashion House in my covet fashion game and they are all fans of the show so I decided to give it a try when we found it on Netflix and I love it!! Many of the women who are fans are all agog over the lead character played by the handsome Sam Heughan but he does not do anything for me, don’t get me wrong he is cute but then, so are puppy dogs. But I do love the sight of a man in a kilt, especially my own man. I give Outlander 5 Kitten Stars.

On Friday afternoon when I left work I popped into Woodheads to buy waxed string to finish decorating my drumstick. I had plans to work on it over the weekend but my days got away from me and I have not yet finished it. But at least I am prepared!

I could not decide on the blue or the red so I got a roll of both. I hope they will go nicely with the design I recently painted on my drum.

On Friday evening Norm and I had a takeaway from the Blue Lotus Chinese restaurant in Hout Bay and finished the last episodes of the Madeleine documentary series. We were both up and out on Saturday morning as Norm had to take Navajo to Noordhoek to the doggy chiro and I had a hair appointment in the city at Pause.

I love my hairdresser and her assistant, they make me feel so spoiled.

When I got home Norm was out so I sat on the patio while the pups had a run around, it was a cloudy misty day.

I took a selfy of my newly coloured hair while I waited, how does it look?

When he got home Norm and I went down to the village for a late lunch as it was after 2pm and I was starving. We went to Zur Holzbucht the local German restaurant and chose a table in the beer garden as it was not too hot for my delicate wee Scotsman who cannot tolerate the heat or sun (neither can this Cherokee for that matter).

Norm had a light lunch earlier that day while I was busy in town so he had the only dessert on the menu, the apple strudel. He asked for it with ice cream but it came with cream instead, he said it was just average, nothing special.

I was ravenous so I had the kassler roast with sauerkraut and pan fried potatoes. It was really yummy, I love their food and I am a sauerkraut fiend and they make their own. They have very rich yummy gravy and the potatoes were crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside. I give it 4.5 Kitten Stars.

Sunday we were invited out for lunch with some friends but I had to start my prep for the colonoscopy I was having on Monday so sadly we were unable to attend. I was allowed to eat up until 1pm and Norm kindly made us crispy bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs which he served on a fresh croissant he had picked up that morning from Oakhurst Spar. Their pastries and baked goods are top notch and always fresh. It was very yummy. We kept referring to it as ‘my last meal’ like I was a Dead Woman Walking and due for execution rather than just the indignity of a scope.

And then the fun started. I had to drink 3 sachets of the prep diluted in a glass of water, followed by another glass of water, with a glass of water every hour between them. I was allowed no solid food after 1pm and so that evening I only had a cup of strained chicken (noodle-less) soup and some jelly, but to be fair I was not hungry due to the overabundance of water slogging around in my system. The prep itself was not as bad as I had heard as I had imagined it to be horrendous. It was rather unmentionable but at least it was efficient in it’s function, albeit being a bit uncomfortable. Enough said about that!

I took Monday off of work for the procedures and when I logged onto Facebook I saw that the village was again on lock down. There was another shoot out between the taxi drivers, this time resulting in the death of 4 men and the injury of several more. The large white vans in the video below are what we refer to here as taxis, they shove in dozens of passengers and drive like lunatics resulting in a many road traffic accidents and deaths, but they are the only affordable transport option that many of the poorer residents have access to.

By the time we had to leave to go to the clinic the roads were cleared and we sailed through with no issues.

Today I read on the Community Crime Prevention Facebook page that “All calm in the area with large presence of SAPS/POPS, traffic and Law enforcement. Multiple road blocks and impoundments (sic) of taxis reported this morning with 1 licensed firearm confiscated for ballistic testing already.”

I just hope that they continue to monitor this ongoing issue and punish the lawless who are driving the routes without a permit and putting all of our lives at risk.  It is such a toxic situation. I wish they would just close down the taxi ranks in the village and put on more of the buses and sort out proper safe affordable public transportation. The buses are usually safe but they do not cover the entire city and some say they are too expensive. I do not know the comparative price between the African taxis and the MyCiti buses. Uber and Taxify are expensive and are not always safe and the trains are also a risk to your safety and are very unreliable. This country has so many issues. The elections are coming up so it will be interesting to see if anything changes and which party wins, but somehow regardless of which party takes power I just think it will be more of the same old bullshit.

Speaking of bullshit, back to my more personal dramas……we made it to the clinic in plenty of time for my procedures. I had told the doc I wanted to be knocked completely out and I was taken in to the exam room and asked to undress and the nurse attempted to put in an IV, however I have very poor veins and my arm is black and blue today. She eventually got the IV in and gave me something ‘to relax me’ and that is the last thing I remember until I was being shaken awake and my basket of clothes shoved at me. I stumbled around and managed to get myself dressed and wandered off to the loo. They then moved me over to the tea room and went to fetch Norm. He made me a cup of tea and gave me a biscuit but I was nodding off and did not manage to really eat or drink. I was in such pain that I was not coping so they gave me another injection for nausea and then due to the excessive cramps they gave me an injection of buscopan to try and stop the cramping but it had no effect. Prof B took me in to view the images and he confirmed that my hernia repair had reversed and my hernia was back. He also found a polyp which he removed and sent for biopsy. He also said I have a lot of diverticulum and a very tortuous colon and he struggled to navigate it. Luckily there is no inflammation and I should have no issues with it. I know that is probably TMI but my blogs serve as a diary and even as memory aids for me when I cannot remember things, at least I can look it up!

I came home and slept the entire afternoon, the anesthetic knocked me out. I told Norm that must be what it is like to be in a relationship with a heroin addict as I could not keep my eyes open.

Prof B has put me onto a new medication which is a PPI or a proton pump inhibitor. When compared to taking an antacid, I like to think of it as the PPI actually wets the forest down to prevent the flare up of fires in the first place and an antacid just attempts to douse the already raging flames with a bit of water. I took one of them last night and one this morning and I am not having any reflux pain at all. I did take another day off of work as my throat feels like someone drove a truck down it and my stomach has not settled from all of the invasive things which occurred *ahem* so I did not feel up to being in the office all day with a dodgy tum. I will go back tomorrow.

Hopefully there will be no further taxi dramas and life will continue as it should, toxicity and acidity free.

In the meantime, I wish you all a great week. Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x

A Smashing Start

I started a new project this week at UCT in their IT department. We are a team of 3 consultants but one of us is not really on board yet as our role informs hers so she arrives more towards the end of the timeline. It’s a short term project so we have a lot to learn in a very short time. As a result my head is thumping every night when I get in. It’s a rather risky area of the city to be wandering around wearing a laptop and the traffic home is dreadful which adds to the stress but it’s a good project with a potential of a long term contract so at least it’s interesting and I’m learning about a new domain of data. With growth there comes pain!

I’ve been driving into the city then around onto the motorway and nipping off by the windmill. It seems crazy to drive so far but it’s quicker as it’s against the traffic. As it’s not stop start like surface roads it’s better on petrol consumption.

It has been awkward with Norm’s car being in the garage as he can’t shop for dinner. I might have to start to do so at the Shoprite by my new office. He cooked where he could do so last week. He did a quick shop on Monday and he did sausage, cheese topped steamed broccoli and cole slaw with mashed sweet potatoes.

On Tuesday after work Caitlin popped around and we got take away chicken schnitzel from Posticino. She brought back our ladder as we had more lights burned out than we had functioning and we needed to sort them or buy miners headlamps to navigate the house at night. She has finished most of her renovations now so she shouldn’t need it.

Norman went for a Chinese meal at Blue Lotus one night.

I had spicy crispy pork with noodles. The coating was crispy and the pork was tender. The amount of chili was perfect, a kick but no pain. This is my fave dish of theirs by far.

I had left overs for work only a few days but one day I was in workshops all day until well after 1 and was starving by the time I was free. As I start at 7am I tend to eat at 12. I ended up having KFC as Chicken Licken and JoJo’s fish and chip shop are the only other alternatives. It was the first time I had KFC in years! The next day when I had no lunch I decided to use OrderIn for a healthier alternative and picked Tigers Milk. I chose the Corny Chicken salad which consisted of: Mexican chicken strips, chargrilled corn, black beans, fresh avo, jalapeños, lettuce and pico de gallo with tortilla dippers. It was really delicious. I will order that again.

The weather has finally cooled down after intense heat during the last few weeks of October.

On Monday a thick mist was still present when I drove into work and then later that day a thick cloud rolled over the mountain.

After that it was lovely and cool all week. It heated up a bit as the week went on. The project office is freezing so I am still wearing boots and sweaters to work, but then I have to walk to my car so it can get hot.

I didn’t make it down to Dance to Heal The Earth this weekend as work is too intense and I just can’t spare the time. I’m rather exhausted. As a result we had a quiet night in on Friday night. I got home late as traffic was a nightmare. Norm popped into Cassarechio for a takeaway and we started watching a new series on Netflix.

Saturday we had a lazy morning. I woke to this cheeky face lying on my chest.

I had a coffee in bed then Norm and I had another coffee out on our balcony. I love this view.

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Good Morning World 🌎😘

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Then we showered and went for brunch at La Cuccina. We grabbed a table outside in the shade.

We both fancied a change from our usual fare. Norm ordered the Smashed Avocado with grilled halloumi on Banting bread and I ordered Smashed Avo with two poached eggs on sourdough for R89. A lot of smashing. It was thick smashed avo, lemon juice, salt & black pepper served with fresh coriander, chilli, thinly sliced red onion & olive oil. I ordered well done bacon on the side.

This dish was divine. It may be my fave new thing. Nice and fresh with the tart lemony avo and the burst of chili and sweet red onion is perfect. Next time I’ll also order mine with Banting bread as Norm said their version was nice. Not many Banting options taste nice, they are often very dry.

We also picked up two low carb ready meals for our dinner that night.

On our way out I noticed this mural, isn’t it stunning?

While we were leaving, Trevor my son rang and told me he asked his long term partner Amber to marry him!

I’m so pleased for them. Amber was one of Lily’s best friends as a child so she is like part of the family already. She is good for Trevor as she gets him out of the house and away from his computer. He would be such a hermit without her. I also love her mother Rose, she’s a fabulous woman and her baby sis Sage is too cute.

Trevor asked Amber in such a cute unique way. There’s this rapper they both like that started a twitch account and Trev asked him to say “Amber will you marry Trevor” ❤. You can watch here:

Proposal

I’m so excited!

We popped over to Earthworx after brunch as I needed potting soil. I love wandering around there.

We watched a film called “The Invitation” last night. It was really odd. I’ll give it 3 Kitten Stars.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Last night for dinner we popped our ready meals in the oven and I made fried cauliflower and onion rice to go with them. We shared them, we had beef curry and beef bourguignon.

The beef was high quality with no fat or revolting bits. The sauces were rich and plentiful. At what I think was about R80 and R95 respectively they were a bargain. They also do vegan and gluten free options as well. I think we will get a take away from here weekly. It’s great quality at a good price.

Today has been a chilled Sunday as we had no obligations so we have had a long lie in bed drinking coffees and then a lazy day after our lazy morning.

Norm made brunch for us: eggs, bacon, avo and tomato. I chose boiled, he had his scrambled.

We heard on the radio that another fire has started in Hout Bay. The winds are blowing quite a bit so hope it’s out and no one is injured or loses their home.

On Thursday night there was also a furor on the radio and social media. Many people were complaining of gunshots being heard somewhere in the valley. It was the funeral of a taxi driver who had been shot recently. They were firing off their guns in recognition I assume.

Never a dull moment in our wee village.

I feel a bit readier to tackle another intense week after lolling about all weekend. I needed complete downtime or I was going to splinter. A mental health day (or two). I’m feeling much calmer.

I wish you all a week of peace and love.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

The Route is the Root

I recently blogged about how happy I am to see the back of Shaun Abrahams and this week President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Silas Ramaite as the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ramaite is the NPA deputy national director responsible for administration and the office for witness protection. He has served as deputy director of the NPA for 15 years. I have to confess I have never heard of him, but often in politics that can be a good thing! We often only hear of the scandals and dodgy deals. Here is some more info on him and his background.

I hope that Mr Ramaite will serve us well. Crime in SA is astronomical and the conviction rates are terribly low.

Saying that, on occasion you hear of a successful apprehension. Last week on the tail of the fishermen protests we heard there was a shooting in Hout Bay. You can view the video here.  It was allegedly also related to the anti-poaching campaigns which resulted in the missing poacher recently.

I have noticed this week that there are cops pulling over taxis which are illegally using the coast road. This route is supposed to be off limits for taxis as this is the MyCiti Bus route. This dispute over routes is what is allegedly at the root of the taxi violence. This visible policing should hopefully resolve some of the issues. However some say that these incidents of violence are being deliberately instigated to make the western cape ungovernable and that the ongoing issues with arson on the trains is part of the same skulduggery. Another train was torched on Tuesday. This makes 8 incidents.

This infographic HERE is not current but it is interesting none the less.

The other theory is that the taxi drivers are behind the train arson. The train is the cheapest means of travel and is direct competition for the taxi drivers. When the trains do not run the taxis increase their revenue greatly.

For those who are outside of SA I should describe the taxis in SA, they are not yellow cabs like in New York or black cabs like in London. They are minivans which the drivers stack the passengers into like sardines. This link will show you images of the types of automobiles that are used as taxis in SA, just to give you some perspective.

Now we hear the response from our useless Minister of Police Bheki Cele after MPs complained in Parliament that the police had “failed miserably” in protecting the trains in Cape Town.

He said that “PRASA (Passenger Rail Agency of SA) spends millions annually on private security firms to secure its trains and rail network. We have heard that R770 million was spent on such security services in one year, but yet the trains are still being set alight.”

According to Cele, PRASA and the Department of Transport must ensure that their trains aren’t targeted by arsonists, cable thieves and vandals. “It’s not the police’s responsibility,” said Cele.

However rumours are that we have no chance of PRASA sorting out any issues, they cannot even manage their own internal affairs properly. “The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has not yet delivered its 2016/2017 annual report to Parliament – which has been outstanding for almost a year. However, on Tuesday, DA shadow minister for transport Manny de Freitas announced he would be taking legal action after documents leaked to him related to the outstanding report show financial mismanagement at the entity.” A leaked document from the Auditor-General’s office shows irregular expenditure totaling R4.4-billion. A copy of the leaked document can be viewed HERE.

The damage to the trains has been estimated at 64 Million Rand. Money better spent on helping the poor or educating the many children who want to study but cannot.

The crime continues on many levels as we also read about a 65 year old woman stabbed on Chapman’s Peak last week. She was out on her own, running on the mountain, when she was approached by a man who robbed her and stabbed her. From what I understand she handed over her goods, there was no reason for them to stab her, it was done purely out of evil motives. People were using the ‘blame the victim’ defense, asking what was she doing on the mountain on her own? However as some of you may remember, a group was attacked last year so numbers do not always protect you from the attackers. And why shouldn’t we be allowed to enjoy the nature and beauty around us without fear of attacks?

Another woman was mugged and stabbed this week by 3 men in a suburb near where we live, a 5 minute drive away. They managed to apprehend one of the men but 2 are still on the run.

I have written before about the high rates of murder and rape of women and children in South Africa. This week the trial of the murderer of Courtney Pieters has continued. She was raped and murdered by a man who was a family friend who actually lived with her family. I also read about the conviction of a man who raped and killed his own young son, so this issue is not restricted only to female victims, it is anyone who is vulnerable.

Alcoholism is rife in many of the marginalised communities in SA. According to the Inanda police station commander Brigadier Zwelihle Mnganga, alcohol consumption played a significant role in the perpetration of rape and sexual assault in Inanda, an area north of Durban. Police crime statistics for 2016/17 indicated that this police station had the highest number of reported rape cases in South Africa. It had 348 reported sexual offences cases, of which 309 were rape cases. The station commander also reiterated the common issue of under-staffing. The number of police assigned to each area is under control of the National Government, the ANC, but the figures are based on an outdated census which means that almost all stations are understaffed.

We also had another child murder conviction this week where a 52-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison for attempted rape and the murder of 13-year-old Rene Roman in Lavender Hill, an area just outside of Cape Town. Judge Robert Henney said he was concerned that over the past few years he had handled several cases where young girls had been subjected to a sexual offence before they were murdered by people known to them or who lived near them.

Henney mentioned the murder and rape of 11-year-old Stacha Arendse by neighbour Randy Tango in Mitchells Plain just outside of Cape Town. Henney sentenced Tango to three life terms in December.

The judge also named the case of Jerome Amerika, who raped and killed 10-year-old girl Shamonique Claasen in Paarl – a day before her 11th birthday in December 2016. He also raped his former girlfriend twice. Henney gave Amerika five life sentences.

“It is either a neighbour, or an uncle, or a family friend,” said Henney. “And that makes it so difficult to curb these types of offences. Because we always tell children to be careful of strangers. But I see that the perpetrators of these crimes are no strangers.” Henney said that in “99% of the cases” the child’s body was found buried in a shallow grave.

It is so important for parents to notice their child’s reactions to family members and not force the child to ‘give uncle a hug’ or other demands – if a child does not want to kiss someone, do not force them or you are telling them to deny their instincts or that their own feelings are to be subjugated to those of an elder.

The poor have so many challenges in South Africa, this week I saw this tweet by the Equal Education Movement. However when I researched to find the video as a stand alone link I see that wherever the news sites have written about this the video has been pulled from the news reports. Can anyone say suppression of news and promotion of propaganda? Welcome to ANC land.

Many of the rural schools still have latrines (long drops or pit toilets) rather than proper plumbing and there have been multiple deaths from children falling into these pits and drowning either at school or at home. In terms of the basic education department’s minimum uniform norms and standards that Minister Angie Motshekga passed in November 2013, a certain type of pit latrine was deemed acceptable sanitation for schools. She also promised that by 2016 all schools would have basic services as set out in the minimum uniform norms and standards regulations. Ominously, she warned that while schools without any sanitation would be prioritised, those using pit latrines may not be upgraded to flush toilets. However the pit toilets are still prevalent and the government are not meeting the basic needs of the learners.

The ANC are also responsible for the management of social grants and this has been so poorly handled and has resulted in many people not getting the money they are supposed to get each month due to ineptitude and what I suspect is underhandedness. I suspect that the Minister in charge is filling her pockets with back handers to encourage her to delay this process to allow the previous system integrators to receive maximum benefit.

The world seems to be governed by the inept and self serving as these issues pervade the UK, USA and SA, across all of the countries where I have lived. Now Trump is poking his beak into SA political issues which he knows nothing about. He is such an imbecile, he thinks we will be distracted with his bullshit. We aren’t.

Meanwhile, we stress and we carry on with our lives.

Last week on Thursday night my friend Retha came round for dinner as I have not seen her much lately. We also made a plan to meet up again on the weekend and we went for lunch on Sunday to Allegria Cafe and Life at Mainstream shopping centre in Hout Bay village.

We kept it simple and just had a toasted panini with salad. Retha had one with bacon jam and I had one with swiss cheese, ham and pickle.

I like the laid back vibe at this little cafe, Norm and I often pop in when we are out for a shop. The owner is always very charming and welcoming.

I popped into Pic N Pay clothing as I needed new slippers as the entire sole fell off of mine.

Cordelia took the old ones home to repair and I bought a new pair of grey ones. I also bought some black skinnies as mine are getting rather faded. I did a small shop for food as well and then headed home to the pups. I had been supposed to go drumming on Sunday morning but Panda was not feeling well that morning. He did not eat his breakfast and he followed me around looking very pitiful all morning but then he perked up a bit in the afternoon.

Saturday I had spent all day at home with them, it was a lovely day and we sat outside enjoying the sunshine.

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My pack ❤️

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Excuse Miss Lolakitty licking her bum in the photobomb in the background.

On Saturday I had very little food in the house so I had to make do with what I had if I did not fancy getting presentable and going to the shops. I made bacon and french toast topped with cinnamon apples.

Sunday evening I put a small pot roast into the slow cooker and added some spices as I intended to make shredded beef tacos. It cooked overnight and then I had it for dinner on Monday night. I had included a few spoons of chipotle and adobe sauce my friend had given me as a gift.

Wow it nearly melted my face! PS, how do you like my new slippers?

On Wednesday we saw on social media that there was yet another fire in Hout Bay.

I have been delaying another closet clean out since my Mom sent me some new clothes so the timing is right to make a decent contribution to Thula Thula, our local Disaster Relief group ran by the lovely Joanne Chemaly. Joanne does so much for our community and Thula Thula has done amazing work in assisting those who have been impacted by the many township fires. If you would like to make a contribution, however small then please do, the details are:

Thula Thula NPC
FNB Hout Bay
Account no: 62589383836
Branch code: 204009
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ

The SWIFT Code is only needed if you are overseas. Foreign currency goes a long way in South Africa so even if you pop in a tenner it will help someone to get back on their feet.

Norm has been away in Europe for the last 2 weeks. I have had my helpers all in place to support me, Charlie to walk the dogs, Vanessa to pop home and check on them on the days they were alone, Cordelia there 2 days a week to keep the house in order and Josh came down to stay with me the last week so I was not on my own at least. I was happy for the company.

I have kept myself amused watching all sorts of arbitrary shows on Netflix. Last night I watched a show where a psychologist called Michelle Ward interviews people convicted of murder. It is called ‘The Mind of a Murderer’. I always find these types of shows fascinating.

One of the episodes was about a woman named Janene Patton who had been found guilty of the murder of her 3rd husband. Michelle Ward used the term ‘Monkey Bar Relationships’ to describe Janene’s patterns of relationship behaviour. With each of her marriages she had already began a relationship with the man who was due to be her next husband while still married to the previous one, or she was unwilling to let go of one until she had another in her grasp. Michelle said that this is a pathological fear of being alone and feeling unworthy, so therefore these people exhibit an almost desperate fear of being without a partner. It was quite sad. I have read about women who do this out of a fear of being unable to support themselves, or out of a desire to not have to work. Particularly among both ends of the financial scale: the wealthy women need to remain wealthy, the poor and uneducated who have no marketable skills need to know someone is there to put food on the table.

It left me feeling quite sad but I thought it was an interesting series, out of the eps I have watched I will give it 4 Kitten Stars.

The other random show I watched was called Insatiable. It was insane but I found it quite funny. It was a bit of a predictable twist at the end but it was definitely worth a watch. I will give that one 4.5 Kitten Stars.

Today after work I dropped Cordelia and 2 of her pals who work nearby in the township. She walks to work but we drop her home. I messaged Charles the dog walker before I left to say I would be back in ten minutes.

When I got back I let the dogs out the front door and Navajo bolted out and he and Pixie had a tussle over who goes first, with him biting her then knocking little Pixie down the front steps. She tumbled over and over hitting each tiled step hard and eventually landed sitting down on her bum with her front leg stuck up straight in the air at an unnatural angle. I think her shoulder may have been dislocated but I think I popped her shoulder back in but she couldn’t stand properly on that leg.

Our dog walker arrived as I was flapping around hysterically and he drove us to the vet. Pix has a lot of swelling but they don’t think it’s fractured. She’s had anti-inflammatory and pain meds injected to help her. If she is not back to normal by Monday she must go for an X-ray. Typical, as always we had a drama while Norm was away.

I’m chilling tonight surrounded by all 5 animals. I stopped on my way home and bought some bits to make a pizza to make for my dinner, a crust from Posticino, mozzarella and pancetta from Richard Bosman.

Tonight is my last night without Norman, I collect him first thing tomorrow at the airport. I will be very happy to have him back home.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x

Soul Mates

When you are twenty, twenty years seems like a life time. I guess that is because it is. Even when you are old AF twenty years seems like a life time. Hence my surprise every time mine and Norman’s anniversary rolls around and I add up the duration of our years together. (Much like my age, I have to add it up every time, but at least I remember the YEAR I was born, unlike the year we got married which tends to be elusive to my memory.)

Twenty one years! We have certainly had a lot of fun (and a lot of fancy dress parties).

I have had past life regression and know that we have been married in past lives as well, and know that Norm is my soul partner. I have been very lucky to have even found him considering that I grew up in Georgia and he grew up in Scotland, but it was meant to be that we met. We met in Johannesburg South Africa after my first marriage ended. We were introduced by a common friend and when we met we recognised each other. Call it crazy but we were meant to be.

Saying that, we are both rubbish at remembering dates and the only reason I realised that the 5th of July was our anniversary was that the posts from our 20th anniversary safari trip last year came up as a memory on Facebook.

This year will be a bit less dramatic than our wonderful safari trip, we just booked to go for dinner at Foxcroft in Constantia this year. I love this restaurant, the food and service is always outstanding.

We booked for 7pm and arrived a bit early for a change.

We ordered a bottle of Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc from a nearby vineyard and settled in to peruse the menu.

Norm had promised to keep his beard until after our anniversary because I love it but it drives him mad as it is itchy.

The server brought some gorgeous olive ciabatta and some sort of fancy butter. It was so nice and was very charmingly presented.

We were given menus which offered a choice of 2 tapas, 1 main and 1 dessert course for R495 per person.

I chose the Tuna Tataki as one of my tapas dishes. It was described as ‘Seared Tuna Tataki: Chipotle, avocado, cucumber and rice puffs’. It comes with a wee vial of sauce / oil which you drizzle over. This was a gorgeous taste combination.

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Tuna tataki

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Norm started with the Sunchoke Mille Feuille which did not photograph well as it was flat, covered in a thick dusting of cocoa powder and was served on a black plate. However he really loved this dish and raved about it all night. It was described as ‘pickled mushroom, naartjie, hazelnut, burnt onion’. A naartjie is a local nectarine type fruit. The funny thing is there is no mention of artichoke in the description, yet apparently that was the main ingredient and we discovered that a sunchoke is a Jerusalem artichoke. Nevermind. Now we are educated on our artichoke varieties.

I have to confess to not being very adventurous overall in my choices as I had 2 pork dishes. I love their pork. Norm and I both had the ‘Free-range pork collar: Gochujang, white cabbage, sweet potato, kimchi’ for our second tapas choice. The lighting was a bit dark so apologies for the quality of the pic but you get the gist. This was a very tasty dish.

For my main I chose the Pork again, this time it was billed as ‘Oak Valley Pork: Butternut, sage, spiced apple and pecans’. The pork belly was very tender and the flavours were divine.

Norm had the linefish as he wanted to experience as many varieties of tastes as possible. The fish of the day was Angelfish. It was described as ‘Yakiniku Linefish: Aubergine, sweetcorn, chicory, puffed rice, nori’. He said this was a very nice dish, tasty and well cooked.

For dessert I chose the ‘Toasted Carrot Cake: Pecan ice cream, carrot ganache, cream cheese espuma’. It was very tasty and yummy. Of course I bit that crispy pastry tube without noticing it was chock full of the foamy espuma mixture which of course ejected out of the end of the pastry shell but luckily landed on my plate as opposed to my boobs where most things usually land.

Norm chose the ‘Mango, Chocolate, Madras: mango jelly, 55% itakuja, passionfruit and madras curry’. This did not appeal to me at all but Norm loved this dish.

After dessert they bring little treats of sweets to the table to have with your coffee but we avoided coffee as it was late. They specialise in macarons. The other little blocky was a coconutty yummy thing. Dunno. It was almond flavoured. Other than that I have no clue what it was but it was delicious.

We had a lovely night out together and counted the many blessings we have had and reminisced about the wonderful things we have experienced in our lives together. It has been an exciting adventure.

Josh has come back to stay with us for a few more weeks as his project in Simonstown has picked up pace again.

Norm has been great about cooking for us. On Monday he cooked a gorgeous pork fillet roast, spinach and roasted root vegetables. I ate it in front of the fire with Pixie drooling at my feet.

On Tuesday night he made chicken sausages, mashed sweet potatoes with chicken gravy and home made coleslaw. (He burns my sausages because I like them like that.)

Then on Wednesday night he made a rich, beefy, tomatoey sauce and served it with roast butternut and a delicious cheesy potato bake.

It is so lovely to have yummy leftovers for lunch at work each day, or else my options are to go out in the winter chill and rain to forage for food or settle for a crappy toasted cheese.

I mentioned the ongoing taxi wars in South Africa in my last blog. We keep receiving mixed messages in the media, that the battle has been resolved and then we hear of yet more shootings, injuries or deaths. Five more people were shot in Pretoria on Thursday.

We had another fire in Hout Bay on Monday. After the fire they discovered the body  of a 6 month old baby in one of the 15 shacks that burned. The news is not clear about whether the baby was at home alone or whether the mother & father were home during the fire or why the baby did not get rescued. It is such a tragedy, RIP to this beautiful baby girl. My only hope is that she died while sleeping and did not wake. Heartbreaking.

I left work early today as I went back to the doctor. My cold symptoms have just not gone away and I am coughing constantly and my throat is so sore. He has given me a list of things to do, salt water up my nostrils to cleanse my sinuses, nose drops and something to dry me up to stop the coughing so that I can sleep. He says there is no infection just inflammation.

We had a quiet night in last night, we ordered pizza and just chilled out with a big fire.

We woke up this morning and headed out. Before I went to my drumming session Norm and I popped over to Constantia to Mugg & Bean.

I had the M&B Classic with poached eggs, bacon, tomato, a hash brown, chips and toast.

Norman had the All American breakfast with scrambled egg, bacon, tomato, beans, sausage, chips and toast. I find it funny they call it the All American. I never had beans for brekkie in the USA but it is a constant item for a British fry up.

I was supposed to drum and sing at a Spirit Dance today but it was cancelled as we did not have enough dancers booked. I would say it is because of the dubious weather we have been having but today was stunning! As the dance was cancelled we had a rehearsal at Owl Lodge in Constantia. There were lots of us attending as it was a good bye party for Jesse and Neo who are off to Europe indefinitely. I will miss them both, they have such great energy in our drumming sessions and Jesse is the drum master.

Here is a pic of all of us after the last Spirit Dance.

We have tentatively rescheduled the dance for September when the weather might be more reliable.

Tonight Caitlin is popping round for dinner which will be lovely. The rest of the weekend will be spent relaxing. I hope you enjoy the rest of yours.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxo