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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Camp Culture

Last week was a bit of a life challenge as we had load-shedding almost every day. To those who do not know, that means the city turns off the electricity to the grid in ring fenced areas at certain periods of the day. So you have to plan ahead, if it’s in the morning make sure to boil a full kettle of our precious water and charge your phone. I wasn’t sure whether our office had a generator so on Monday I went off to Now Now Cafe and got a large coffee, some oatmeal for breakfast and a bottle of water and got up to the 4th floor in the elevator before the 8am load shedding kick off time. I couldn’t face a 4 flight hike laden with my bags and I also couldn’t face not having a coffee. I park .4km away from my office at the moment so I cannot stair climb after the walk, I would literally have a heart attack.

All of these electricity issues are related to the collapse of 6 generating units, allegedly their collapse is related to the ANC’s lack of maintenance of the infrastructure that the previous government had built. Other people have insinuated darker forces are at play as the collapse of so many units at once the day after Ramaphosa announced the uncoupling of the 3 main Eskom business units smacks of sabotage. Here is a good article by the BBC summarizing the entire fiasco.

Whatever the root cause, the resolution must not be underestimated. It will require external input and re-governance.

Land expropriation without compensation is also an issue. The constant flip flopping of the ANC direction on this issue is head spinning.

SARS (SA Revenue Service) is also in a shambles. The ANC has made such a mess of South Africa. Tom Moyane even had the nerve to try and stop his suspension. The ANC criminals and the Guptas have ripped the heart out of our assets and pocketed millions in exchange. It destroys my confidence in the future of this country.

There have been two recent house break ins in my immediate area and a few more nearby in Hout Bay. The crime has peaked again. Post Christmas shopping? At this point we would consider leaving SA but only if my children would too. In the meantime I’m here to be near my children and we just do our best to live our best lives.

The new project has been good, I’ve been told I have to work on their desktop computer due to data security risks but it’s so less powerful than my laptop and keeps bombing out when I’m trying to chow through large tables of Data Warehouse data. I’ve lost hours of work a few times now as everything just crashes.

One day after much frustration I decided I needed a walk and I strolled around the city for a bit. I crossed paths with the SAPS police on horseback. I just love seeing them cruising through the city looking so powerful.

Another day last week when I needed to get out of the office I treated myself to lunch nearby at Nuri Sushi Factory. I love it there. I had the Dr Cara’s low carb salad with steamed prawns, carrot and cucumber ribbons, avocado chunks, sprinkled with sesame seeds and topped with Chinese mayonnaise.

It was delicious but was awkward to eat with chopsticks so I give it a 4 Kitten Star rating. If it was all in chunks rather than the curled noodles it would have been easier to manage.

Norm has been good about cooking this week but only from Wednesday as we had Xmas leftovers for most of our dinners at the start of the week.

Norm really spoiled me on Valentines Day. He made a lovely salad / side dish of boiled sliced pink beetroot, topped with goats cheese, on a bed of steamed spinach served with a pink fillet steak.

He made a white Lindt chocolate brûlée for dessert.

It was all so gorgeous.

He also gave me a lovely card and lilies, my favorite flowers.

I’m a lucky girl.

We exchanged the booking we had made to go to Beefcakes for NYE and couldn’t attend as we were in the States. Instead we booked to go to a burger and drag act night on Friday.

We arrived just after 7 and parked right outside the door. We were welcomed in by a bevy of good looking muscular bare chested men. Maybe they were wearing tank tops. My mind may be playing tricks on me.

Anyway.

We were taken to a table with tall stools. There was no way my back could cope with that so I asked to get moved and they put us in a charming little 50’s style booth with velvet seats. I was very happy.

We were surrounded by flamingos, gold lame and beautiful young men. I think we were the only people there who were neither gay nor out for a hen night!

I love drag artists. My IG feed is probably 1/3 hot bearded men with tattoos, 1/3 dogs, and 1/3 drag artists.

I’m a woman with varied interests.

Anyway. I ordered a strawberry daiquiri from our very sweet young waiter.

We ordered some nachos to share for starters. They were basically Doritos with thick cheese on top, very awkward to eat. The guacamole was not bad. I’ll give them 2 Kitten Stars.

Next time I will rather have chili poppers.

I had quite a few cocktails but Norm had one glass of wine then went onto water as he was driving. The way that the food works on this event is that you choose whether you want a beef, chicken or vegetarian burger and they bring a tray of toppings for you to add as you wish. There were 2 types of cheese, mushroom sauce, guacamole and chopped chilis to choose from.

The burgers were delicious. I used every one of the toppings. The patties had a lovely flavor and the meat was excellent quality. I think it was a kitke roll, but it was yummy whatever type of bread it was. I really enjoyed mine and I give it 5 Kitten Stars.

After we finished eating the acts came on. There were 2 artists. Vida Fan Tabisher and Samantha Knight were appearing and they were both absolutely brilliant.

Vida opened by teasing us with a leg and arm appearing cheekily from behind the curtain. She came out and serenaded us, but she was very in your face with her sense of humor, more of a bawdy style.

The second artist was Samantha Knight who was tall and muscular and lithe as the lithest thing you can think of. I googled her and found a video for you. Enjoy!

She came out in bright fur and stockings. She was dynamic. She had quite a few costume changes and looked amazing in whatever she was wearing.

Vida then did a funny routine where she criticized her ex and his small penis and I think her video starred her male self in it but I’m not positive. It was very funny.

Samantha did a sort of tribute to Freddy Mercury and she was so good, she is such a talented dancer with thighs to die for.

Samantha didn’t leave all the humor to Vida however, this skit was quite funny.

The finale was the waiters stripping off for our titillation.

I give the overall evening 5 Kitten Stars and recommend you book Beefcakes soon!

We headed home after I finished my drink and we got back to Hout Bay just before 11.

I had a lazy morning on Saturday recovering from all those cocktails. Norm was working and the animals snoozing so it was peaceful and luckily a bit cooler. Some of the days during the week it had gotten up to 40deg C! That’s feckin hot in Fahrenheit trust me. Ok it’s 104 F to be specific. We have no air conditioning at home so it makes it hard to sleep.

The rest of my weekend was somewhat more cultured than camp. If you can classify a musical as not camp and a wine sozzled day as cultured?

On Saturday we went to see Steven Sondheim’s Into The Woods at the allegedly newly renovated Theatre on The Bay.

We were running late and enroute we looked out and spotted whales in the bay! We only spotted them because they were blowing, the sprays from the blowholes are all you see sometimes. It was very exciting.

As is our preference we booked for the dinner and theatre package as it means you have a relaxing dinner timed around the production and you get parking as you are early. It can be a nightmare to park nearby as it’s all street parking and I have seen cars broken into that were parked too far from the theatre. Being by the beach there is nothing for miles when it’s hot. There is also housing tightly squashed in to the close.

Traffic was rammed so we parked down the road and walked around to the theatre. We went upstairs to the restaurant and were seated by the door so we could catch a bit of breeze and see a glimpse of the sea.

The restaurant has been redecorated and looks nice.

We ordered our food and settled in with a drink.

For my starter I had the tian of prawn and salmon.

Norm had the caprese salad.

I chose the beef short rib for my main.

It was quite nice but it was a wee bit dry.

Norm had the linefish, I think it was skipperjack.

He said it was excellent.

For dessert I had the chocolate fridge cake which was like a chocolate torte. It was very rich. I gave Norm half and took a bit of his ice cream.

I give the dinner 4 and the show 5 Kitten Stars.

I give the upstairs ladies loo only 1 star however. There are 3 cubicles, one was out of order and the second did not have a latch on the door and did not flush. The tap was broken on one of the sinks and the hand dryer had no oomph. It was not a pleasant experience at all. The queue was out the door for the downstairs ladies and maybe that one was renovated? I can’t say.

But we go for the shows not the decor. So, saying that, here is a little clip about the show.

I loved Zak Hendricks as both The Wolf / Cinderella’s Prince, and Kate Normington, the actress who played the witch but everyone in the cast was excellent. We had a great night. We got home after 11 and then Norm had a drink and we watched a bit of telly so headed off to sleep quite late.

On Sunday I went to lunch in Constantia with my friends Nicola

and Alison

We were seated outside under a brolly.

We went to one of my faves, Foxcroft.

Their current lunch offering is R495 pp and you get 2 tapas, 1 main course, 1 dessert.

Their online menu differs from the one we were offered so I cannot give details on some of the dishes.

I chose Yellowfin Tuna: 6-month kimchi, sesame, black vinegar for my 1st dish. It was so yummy. The tuna was so fresh.

For my second course I chose the mussels. I adored this dish. I liked that they used not only the mussel but the muscle that attached it to the shell.

For my main I had the Oak Valley Pork Belly: Pomme purée, apple mustard, walnut, cider jus. I’ve had it before and loved it and certainly wasn’t disappointed this time either.

For dessert I had the Strawberries: Compressed, semi-dried, verbena, bergamot. It was like a deconstructed strawberry shortcake and was delicious.

The food was amazing and I give it 5 Kitten Stars however the usually impeccable service was lacking yesterday. We had to wave down our waitress and had to top up our own water and wine. Our waitress was just nowhere to be seen for the majority of the day.

We had given Alison a lift to lunch and on our way home we stopped at her house for a drink and ended up staying for dinner and hanging out and chatting with the family. Unfortunately I wasn’t clever enough to stop drinking and I have been suffering all day today!

It was a very busy weekend but it was such fun and we had such a variety of events.

I’m a happy Kitten. A hungover Kitten, but a happy one.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

Home Sweet Home

As lovely as it was to see my family and friends and as sad as I was to be leaving my Mom, I am very happy to be back home in our own environment with our animals.

I also sensed that my Mom might have had enough of us being around as she got a bit snappy and told me all I did was boss her around. I did tell her to use her turn signal when driving which she never did and I would wake her when she slept late and suggest she went to bed at night when she stayed up late but that was so we a) survived her driving and b) spent more time together. But she is used to living on her own and seemed to struggle with getting into a routine. She also needs a lot more sleep than I do, but then most people do!

Our return trip was broken down into 4 phases: first we took a shuttle bus from Chattanooga to the Atlanta airport, we then had a 13 hour flight from Atlanta to Doha, a 9 hour layover in Doha, then another 10 hour flight from Doha to Cape Town. It makes it more manageable mentally to break it down like that rather than to view the 33 hour journey in its entirety. We celebrated the successful completion of each phase and got very excited as we neared the end of the final flight. We did not leave a car at the airport so we had to Uber home but that went smoothly and we were home quickly with no dramas. The only thing that marred our journey was the fact that we were surrounded by screaming babies and toddlers on the first flight. We were in the row behind the bulkhead which had 2 infants, one of them screamed blue murder for most of the flight. His brother was about 5 and alternated between playing full volume games on his dad’s phone and shouting and crying. He kept crawling up the aisles when the air hostess was trying to navigate her trolley. There were loads of men hovering around the children and the men wouldn’t sit down even as the plane was taxiing down the runway. They also kept moving seats throughout the flight. I kept hoping the pilot would slam on brakes so that we could watch the idiots fly off down the aisle. I was struggling with a headache and the screaming meant I had to take a tranquilizer to survive.

The second flight was uneventful as was our layover. At Doha we had a meal then found a quiet place to sit and rest. As I don’t sleep on planes I tried to sleep a bit but kept waking myself up by my snoring. Oops. Embarrassing.

We wandered about the airport being a bit silly and trying to keep ourselves amused.

Our last week in the US was busy yet relaxing.

We went shopping for the kids’ Christmas presents and I got some good buys in the sales. I got a pair of Levis for a bargain and they fit me perfectly. Norm also got a couple of pair of Levis but not as cheap as mine which I had unearthed in the clearance rack at TJ Maxx. His were from a posh men’s store but were still cheaper than buying them in SA.

We drove up to spend New Years Eve on Watts Bar Lake with our friends Joy and Tim. They have a lovely home directly on the lake.

We met my mom and Joy’s lovely friend Raven on the way so she could follow us as it is a twisty windy route which would be difficult if you didn’t know the area.

This is Raven, Joy and I.

Some of my Mom and Joy’s friends came up to see us too. Left to right is Tanya and her mom Evelyn, Joy, mom and I.

I probably haven’t seen Tanya in about 30 years. Evelyn came with my Mom to visit me in George when I first moved to South Africa in 1991/2. It was so nice to see them and spend time with them.

At midnight there were fireworks across the lake.

We were hoping to meet Tim and Joy’s giant pony of a dog Bo but he was put into kennels as there were a lot of people there for the party and the roof was being replaced early the next morning and they were worried the noise would stress him out. Little Pax was there however and he is so adorable.

Norm and he became great friends.

We had a lovely time.

We were hungry by the time we finally got organized and on the road the next day and so we stopped at Abuelo’s for Mexican food as we were going to a shop in the mall next to it.

It was bitterly cold that day.

We enjoyed their queso dip and chips and salsa. I was hoping for some really good carnitas and so I chose the carnitas enchiladas.

I was disappointed in the carnitas as well as the flavorless enchilada sauce. It was all rather bland. Mom had recommended the potato side dish papas con chile instead of rice but in my head I had expected patatas bravas which are Spanish spicy fried potatoes but instead it was cheesy creamy mash with peppers, onions and chilli topped with cheese. I didn’t enjoy that dish very much mostly due to the texture. I’m not a fan of mushy food.

Norm and Mom had the quesadilla.

Mom and my friends love Abuelo’s but I definitely preferred the Mexican food we had the previous week by far, the whole Abuelo’s vibe from the ‘hacienda style’ decor to the food felt a bit gringo plastic. The staff all looked incredibly grumpy and unhappy but I would also be grumpy if I had to work on New Year’s Day. I suspect Tres Amigos is family run and all staff seemed to be Mexican or Hispanic based on their accents and the food tasted more authentic. I give Abuelo’s 3 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️.

While home I had been trying to track down Peggie who was my bestie when I was in my early 20’s. We used to party hard back in the day and we got into all sorts of mischief. I managed to contact her and we met her at a local diner called Nikki’s Drive In for dinner.

Nikki’s has been around since the 1950’s and is a local icon.

Norm had a burger.

I ordered the shrimp platter and Mom ordered the fried oysters and we shared them.

We stayed for hours and chatted. Our journey there was a bit of a nightmare as it was pouring rain, we were traveling at rush hour and we ended up exiting via the wrong exit and so Peggie was waiting almost an hour for us. I was so glad she waited. When we got ready to pay our bill the waitress told us that it had been paid by a secret Santa! Apparently he paid the full bill for 3 tables!

We met my uncle Joe at The Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar the following day for lunch.

It is right on the Tennessee river.

Joy and Tim drove down to join us.

We enjoyed getting to see everyone again.

Mom enjoyed it too and she treated us all to lunch.

Mom and Joe had the fried oysters and I nicked one and they were divine. Much better than Nikki’s.

Joy, Tim and I all had the shrimp.

It was really good. The shrimp in the south of the US are very different to South African prawns.

We all had a piece of key lime pie for dessert. It was just OK. I am not a fan of whipped cream and expected it to be topped with meringue.

I give the pie 3 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ but my main course was a solid 5 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Peggie came to Mom’s house to see us on our second last day and it was nice to spend more time catching up with her. She gave me a painting she had done, a feathered clasp she made as well as some stunning earrings.

On our last full day we had a lazy morning, packed our bags and then went to dinner at Fuji Steak House. I was craving teppanyaki style food and some friends recommended this venue. I used to love Benihana but there wasn’t one nearby. We were seated at an empty teppanyaki table when we arrived.

While we were eating our miso soup and salad 2 other groups joined us.

We all ordered our food and the chef got busy cooking.

One of the groups at our table was a family of 3, a young man and his parents and they were revolting to be near due to the way which they ate. There was a very sweet white sauce served with the food and they dumped 4 servings of the sauce all over their food and mixed it all together into a sticky sweet mess, running their fingers round the serving bowl then loudly sucking their fingers clean. They took huge bites and chewed loudly with their mouths open. It rather put me off of my food. I also found it odd that the father was wearing a trucker cap while eating. It is basic etiquette to remove a hat when dining. Almost every man there had on a trucker cap. What is that about?

Mom and I ordered the shrimp and fillet steak. As is traditional it was served with rice and vegetables done on the grill.

The food was good but I found the sauce quite heavy. The steak was tender and the shrimp tasty.

I give our dinner 3.5 Kitten Stars, the food was acceptable but the overall experience probably pulled that score down due to the finger suckers at our table.

Later that evening Warren and Anita popped by to visit.

He seemed to be minding his manners after falling out with Mom on his last visit. He chose to blame me for my Mom getting upset over his behavior during his previous visit rather than apologize for his being inappropriate. He loves to shock people and takes pride in having ‘no filters’. However if that is how he wants to present himself then he has to take responsibility for the impacts of that. I love him but he can be hard work.

Norm said to me that he understands me much better after this visit. He found it odd that no one was at all curious about our life in South Africa. Everyone mostly just talked about themselves. He also found it odd that some of my family made very little effort at all to spend time with me or even to ring to say goodbye. My religious and political beliefs are diametrically opposed to my family but that should not matter. Family is family. My uncle Joe surprised me in the efforts he made, he was sick but we still saw him many times. He even popped by on our last day to say cheerio. I really valued and appreciated the time with him. Much like our last visit to the UK the people we thought would make an effort couldn’t be bothered and the ones we thought we might not even see did make the effort!

As they say in the UK, ‘There is nowt so queer as folk’. I still am permanently surprised by the interactions I have with people and their behavior. Life is easier without expectations and then you are never disappointed when those expectations are not met.

But maybe I am a bit unfair today as I am incredibly hung over and suffering from lack of sleep.

We arrived home on Monday around lunch time and I showered and went straight to bed for a nap. I slept a deep sleep until 6pm when Norm woke me. We got a takeaway for dinner and I forced myself to stay awake until 11pm to get onto local time. I kept nodding off but we soldiered on. I slept really soundly that night despite my long nap.

On Tuesday I had plans to meet my friend Cathi for lunch as she was here visiting from Canada and it was her last day today. We picked her up in Constantia at 1.15 and headed to Bistro 1682 at Steenberg winery.

Norm dropped us off and we were given a lovely table on the patio.

To start they brought a complimentary platter of bread, olives, olive oil and raspberry vinegar.

For our starter we shared the Panko Crusted Cheese Fritter at R88: Tender greens, goat’s’ cheese mousse, charred courgettes, tomato & jalapeño jam. It was divine but I forgot to snap a pic before we wolfed it down.

I ordered 2 tapas dishes, Tempura Prawns for R110: Chargrilled pineapple salsa, coriander, chipotle aioli, pineapple syrup.

This dish only gets 3 Kitten Stars as it was a small portion of prawns for that price. Maybe I am spoiled by the giant American shrimp and portions.

I also had the Beef Tataki for R105: Seared beef, truffled corn, shimeji mushrooms, wild rocket, chilli, mayo. The chilli oil gave it a nice little kick. The beef was very tender.

This dish gets 5 Kitten Stars as it was a nice sized portion and tasted delicious. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Cathi ordered the Sesame & Ginger Sirloin Salad at R185: Tender greens, red cabbage, onion, coriander, sprouts, aioli, chilli & soy ginger vinaigrette. It looked lovely and Cathi seemed to enjoy it.

We had just finished our meal when our friend Nicola arrived to join us.

We have all been friends for over 25 years. It proves that for true friends the passage of time makes no difference at all. We all chatted nonstop and laughed ourselves silly. It was a very long leisurely lunch and I consumed far too much wine and was rather tipsy when Norm collected Cathi and I at 7.30pm. We dropped Cathi at her mom’s and tootled off home. As we had eaten at 2pm I was drunk hungry and we stopped at Massimo’s for food to take home. Norm tried to get a lot of water down me as well but I passed out on the couch and woke at 11pm and got a second wind. He eventually persuaded me to go to bed at midnight but my snooze meant I was feeling the acidity of the wine and my hangover had started to kick in so I couldn’t get back to sleep for hours.

As Cathi was flying today I hope she felt better than I did when I woke this morning!

We are trying to get back onto our low carb eating and Norm made us a low carb high fat brunch.

For dinner tonight we got a takeaway from Spiro’s as we still haven’t done a proper food shop. I didn’t make it out of my pajamas all day much less to the shops.

I had crispy baby squids, grilled halloumi, vegetable medley and cucumber slices and creamy feta. There is breading on the squid but other than that it was mostly HFLC.

I’ve had a horrendous headache again today. I’ve had one on and off for a few weeks now and if it is still bothering me tomorrow then I will go to my GP.

On Sunday morning I have drumming in the morning and Norm and I have a lunch with friends afterwards and on Monday I am back at work. I have really enjoyed my long break but I will not be able to take off any time for ages now.

The girls are coming here for a belated Christmas lunch the following weekend and I am looking forward to seeing them. I wish Trevor could come with them but he only has a few more days with Amber before she goes offshore again so I understand that he cannot do so. Hopefully I can go down to see him soon as I miss him.

I hope you have all had an enjoyable break as well.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

High Times

It has been fabulous being off of work this week and I’ve mentally started to finally chill. Even the village energy seems relaxed and it feels like we are away somewhere exotic on holiday rather than roaming round our own town.

Tuesday was the start of my annual leave and I’m now off work until mid-January. I couldn’t have a long lie in that morning however as I had a doctor appointment in the northern suburbs and left home just after 730am to make it. Traffic was abysmal and it was pouring rain and foggy and I barely made it there for my 830am appointment.

After my appointment I collected Norm and we went to Allegria Cafe for breakfast. The tourist season has launched for sure as they were rammed! The owner was running round and keeping everything on track and we were shown to a table off in the corner. I ordered the Eggs Benedict with bacon and it was perfectly cooked.

Afterwards we had lots of errands to run and we went to RockChic to shop for my Mom. I narrowed it down to these choices and sent the pic to my Mom to choose from.

As it was the middle of the night in Georgia I decided to come back to the shop the next day to make my purchase after Mom had replied.

Norm and I did some shopping for our upcoming trip and for dinner and we headed home afterwards as Norm was busy writing his report that was due. On our way we stopped off to collect Norm’s car from the garage. The reason it broke down when we collected it last time was that the fuel gauge was broken and it had been out of petrol. They only discovered that when they dropped the fuel tank to check the fuel pump. The funny thing is I had told Norm I thought it was out of petrol and he said ‘don’t be silly there was a quarter of a tank’. Miss Witchy Pants was right. When will he learn to listen to my messages?

Never mind. At least it did not cost any additional money.

We were invited to our friends Tim and Nicola’s anniversary party that evening in Simons Town.

Nicola looked stunning as always.

Their house is directly on the beach of a nature reserve and they have an amazing view.

There were endless trays of delicious canapés making the rounds and a huge trough of bottles of wine and champagne. We met some lovely people and caught up with those we knew already. It was a beautiful warm night and we were all sitting outside on their veranda overlooking the sea. We had a great night but we were both up early the next morning and so we didn’t stay late.

Norm was busy working and I was up early and off to the city to Pause, the hair salon. I had a lovely relaxing session under the hands of the fabulous Thembi. My hairdresser Leandra snapped a pic afterwards.

Norm was in the city for a meeting and he rang after he finished to find out where I was but I had already left the city. We agreed to meet for lunch back in Hout Bay.

I went to purchase the bracelet for my Mom then walked to the pub and got a table in the beer garden.

While waiting for Norm I heard the clatter of tiny hooves on the roof and looked up hoping for a glance of Santa.

It was just a man cleaning the gutters and the magic was ruined. 🎅😂

Norm arrived and we ordered. He had his fave scotch eggs with chips.

I ordered the popcorn chicken starter with chips.

It was a stunning day and we had a leisurely meal then went to the chemist to see if I had a refill on my tranquilizer script but I did not. I prefer to use CBD oil for my anxiety but I cannot travel with that so I reverted to my script. I popped into my GP and they said they would email the script to the chemist for collection. Norm picked up something for dinner that night then met me at home.

We grilled out as it was a lovely warm night. I made a simple salad with lots of feta and Norm grilled sweet corn and fillet steaks.

Thursday morning Norm had a Skype call at 7am and I had a long lie in.

We were invited for Christmas drinks at the British High Commissioner’s residence that evening. The historic home is so exquisite and the old cape Dutch furnishings and interior are as well.

The gardens are so stunning.

I wore a dress Norman bought for me, it’s a few years old but has only been worn once before as I seldom dress up or wear short dresses.

We had a giggle trying to get a decent selfy with the cheetah in the background.

And again trying to get one with the house in the background.

There was a bar on entry and waiters were roaming around with trays of delicious canapés.

We had assumed it would be a large group attending but it was an intimate gathering of only a few dozen. The High Commissioner, Nigel, gave a speech and we all toasted to the end of 2018.

Not long after that we booked an Uber and headed off to get food in Constantia. However as we drove there I remembered that we had not taken any cash or cards as the food and drink is catered and we did not intend to go on anywhere after. Luckily we could just update our app with our home address and redirect our driver. Thank goodness we realized before we got to the restaurant, tipsy and broke.

Once home we used OrderIn to get a pizza delivered from Massimo’s as we have no food in the house at all and we had drank too much to drive.

It was delicious as always and we were happy when we toddled off to sleep full of pizza and wine.

Mom rang when we got in to say she was really sick and on antibiotics and might not be able to come to Atlanta to collect us. We looked online at our options and the bus would take an additional 4 hours on top of our 33 hour trip so we decided to rent a car for one day. Luckily Norm sleeps on planes so he should be fine to drive.

We have booked a lovely couple and their daughter to house sit and the dogs know and love them. We have also booked a dog walker to come walk them every day.

I will miss seeing my children over the holidays but I won’t miss cooking in the intense heat.

I am excited about seeing my friends and family whom I haven’t seen in so long. I will take lots of pics and share our adventures with you when I am back home.

Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebrating whatever it is that you believe in. I hope the remainder of your year is full of love, family, good food and fun.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

A Scotsman, an Irishwoman & an American walk out of a bar….

It has been three weeks since I have had the time to blog. I was signed off of work due to stress for two days just after Norm arrived back home from his trip to the states. We are under such time pressure on this project that I could not afford to have any down time so despite being signed off I worked from home both days. I made great progress at home with no distractions. When we are in the office we spend up to four or five hours of the day in meetings rather than designing our solution and documenting it.

I went back to work the following Monday and have focused on applying various tools to help me deal with the personalities around me. The work does not stress me, I am one of the few people who enjoy creating documentation, but I love writing so to me it is paying me to do what I love to do, as long as I have the proper level of understanding of the design I am trying to document. The stress comes from the people around me who cannot cope with their own stress and therefore displace it towards the team.

My friend Rosie has been over to visit us for the last 2 weeks. We have been friends for over 20 years.  I first met Rosie when I moved to the UK to live with Norm in November 1996. Norm and I still lived in Belfast when we got married in Scotland in July 1997 but I cannot remember when we left there to move to England, but we were probably living there about 18 months to 2 years. Rosie was part of the group I hung out with in Belfast, we went to the same pubs, went on weekends away and attended various other events as a group together. Rosie was also one of our friends who made the effort to come and spend time with us when we visited the UK in January 2017 on our whirlwind tour.

Unfortunately I was knee deep in my very tightly dead-lined intense project for the majority of her visit and Norm was left to be the tour guide. He took Rosie to the Cape Point Nature Reserve and they were lucky enough to see a pair of Eland, DassiesPenguins, Baboons and all manner of lovely things. He took her to the V&A Waterfront where she got to see the new Zeitz MOCAA museum and wander around the shops. She went to the Slave Museum and saw the Bo kaap and District Six.

We took her to dinner and lunch at some of the area’s nicest spots for either their vistas, their food or both. I will not do my usual blow by blow or it will bore you to tears so I will touch on the highlights of her visit.

Lily and Josh came down for Rosie’s first weekend,

and Caitlin and Wes also joined us all for dinner at my fave venue, Cheyne’s.

We had a lovely evening and a lot of laughs.

How funny is the photo bomb dude in the background?

I do not have a copy of the menu that night but I will try and remember the basic description of what I had. The beauty of Cheyne’s food however is the alchemy of the combinations he puts together and I will not be able to express that level of granularity. We all went for the Yum Cha experience which is any four dishes from his menu. His menu is divided into 4 themed sections: one with seafood dishes, one with carnivorous choices, one with ‘side’ dishes and one with sweet dishes.

I started with this dish in the pic below. It is baby shrimp tempura with a delicious sauce. I adore this dish.

For my selection from the Land section of the menu I had the Mumbai Chill Beef. It is always divine and nothing else tempted me away from choosing it again this visit. It was so yum, I love the combination of the raw coconut and the slices of chili.

I was delighted that the sweet potato fritters were back on the menu. I adore these fried dumplings in the rich peanut buttery coconut sauce. Rosie asked to swap one of her duck fat fries for one of my fritters and I threatened to impale her in the eye with my chopsticks. I think she got the message I do not share my food.

These are little balls of heaven.

For my fourth choice I had the peanut butter shake. There was a bit of drama when the waitress forgot our fourth course. She came around to our table after having disappeared for ages after our third round of dishes and asked us if we wanted anything else or should she bring the bill and we said ‘ummm yes, we would like the rest of our dinner’. Josh had just been about to give up and leave as he had a race the following day and was up really early so in order to get him to come out with us we had promised him he would be home by 9pm. But he had also ordered dessert as had the rest of the table except Wes and Cait who both had 4 savoury courses. Josh got home late but luckily it did not impair him as he still kicked ass and took home first prize.

He also loved his milkshake luckily!

We had a great evening and it was lovely having my girls and Rosie all together. They were so tiny when Rosie and I were friends years ago I wanted her to get to meet them, I only wish Trevor had been here too.

Saturday morning Rosie and I got up and headed out to the Hout Bay Harbour Market. We had a wander around the stalls and a tour of the food section and Rosie bought a hat and had a healthy salmon poke  bowl.

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Salmon Poke Bowl @bayharbourmarket ❤️

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It was too early for that for me as I was feeling a wee bit hung over from the previous night as my Cherokee liver cannot metabolise the fire water and I ended up being tempted by a plate of bite sized, fresh, hot, iced donuts.

Oh my gawd they were amazing.

I regret nothing.

We left the market and drove over to the actual harbour and had a wander around the stalls selling African artifacts. Rosie bought a little musical instrument at one of the stalls and then found some sunglasses to go with her new hat.

It was a stunning warm sunny day. We bought a gorgeous soft serve ice cream at Muriel’s and walked to the end of the pier, watching the variety of people strolling around us.

We are so blessed to live in such a stunning village.

The local man who feeds the seals and drags them out of the water to beg for tourist donations was around but we avoided him and I took a pic of the seal as he headed back out to sea.

That evening we headed back to the Harbour for dinner at the Lookout Deck as we went for their Saturday night kilo of prawns special.

We had our prawns and sat by the window looking out to sea, it was a lovely setting and the food was nice, the prawns were quite difficult to peel this time for some reason but once you managed to wrest it out of the shell it was lovely. A huge catch of tuna were being processed just nearby and we watched all of the activity with interest.

On Sunday we went to the stunning Constantia Glen vineyard.

It was a gorgeous sunny day outside with just a bit of wind to keep it pleasant.

Both Norm and Rosie had the flammkuchen. (That is just German for pizza.)

Norm had the Caprese Flammkuchen.

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Caprese Flammkuchen @constantiaglen

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I had the charcuterie and cheese platter.

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Cheese and Charcuterie platter

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I really enjoyed the Constantia Glen Two wine, it was a blend but was really easy on the palate and not too acidic.

I was back at work on Monday but Rosie had been struggling with anxiety since her Mom’s recent death and so I arranged some healing treatments of various modalities for her and Norm took her to them during the week. Luckily I knew who to make the first booking with and that person helped with the connections for the other treatments which Rosie managed to have. She went for Reiki, hypnotherapy and family constellations therapy which deals with how our past can affect our present. She also happened to time it so that she was here when my spirit workers group held an all women sweat lodge and she got a lot of benefit from that too.

I booked midweek for us all to go and see a singer we knew nothing at all about on Wednesday night at our fave music venue, Cafe Roux in town. Usually I watch a video to gauge whether the artists will be my type of music before booking but this time I was so busy I just looked for someone appearing that week and chose Lucy Kruger and the Lost Boys.

They were very talented, Lucy had a haunting voice and she called up various other artists she knew to perform with her. There was a guy next to her who she called Andre who was half genius and half irritating twat. He needed to be noticed and sometimes he just made a lot of noise, occasionally adding a positive element to the sound. Another woman sang with her and their voices were the perfect complement to each other.

However we had a brilliant night despite Andre and toddled home quite late for a school night. I was sluggish the next day at work, however I had promised Rosie a night out on the legendary Cape Town gay scene the following night. I asked a gay friend to recommend some options and she suggested we go onto the group Cape Town Lesbians on Facebook and look for suggestions. I went on to the page and saw an event posted for a singer called Janelle Botha who was performing at what appeared to be a small venue in Cape Town called the Cheeky Bean Cafe. It was a really cheap entry of R30 and there were only a few people saying they were attending so I thought it sounded like a nice cosy environment in which to gently dip our toe into the Cape Town scene. We thought we might meet some friendly women who could direct us onto our next venue.

Norm had to take Caitlin to the airport that day and had a busy day chasing around trying to sort his visa (that is a blog all on it’s own) so he decided to have a chilled night at home. Rosie and I booked an Uber and set off into town in high spirits. We did not know exactly where we were going but once we got to Somerset Square the driver got out of the car and spoke to the guards and found the venue and dropped us right outside. There were less than 10 people there all of whom were sitting outside smoking, however all of the inside tables had signs saying ‘Reserved’ on them. We walked up to the bar and were approached by a very pretty and friendly member of staff who asked if we knew about the cover charge. I said we did but it looked like the tables were all taken. She said they would ‘sort something out’ for us. She told us to pay at the bar when Rosie offered her a R200 note for our joint R60 cover charge. I placed an order for a round with the bartender and also handed over R100. The barmaid then gave us a sour look and asked did we not have anything smaller. We dug around and came up with exact change which she took. We got our drinks and we asked the first waitress again where could we sit? She said they would ‘sort something out’. In the meantime we went to sit on the couch in the corner of the room. As soon as we sat the grumpy little barmaid stomped over and started ranting again about us not booking. We told her the invite said nothing about booking being required, besides which they took our entrance fee! You cannot make someone pay entrance and then tell them there is not enough room for them. We got up and moved to a table which had become available outside but it was a cold evening and I was dressed for being inside in a bar, not sitting outside. Besides which the smell of cigarettes was overpowering. I was freezing cold and very hungry. We again asked about a table inside for the third time when Rosie went for a new round and the grumpy barmaid shouted ‘I don’t know you!’ which seemed a bizarre thing for a manager of a public venue to say. We clearly were not welcome and she seemed to be rather angry about us being there and asking for a seat apparently! Why did they not just ask a group at a bigger reserved table whether we could join them? The singer was average but we would have enjoyed the event except that the manager was so unwelcoming and unpleasant that I phoned Norm and begged him to rescue us. He was not happy as he had driven all the way to the airport and had just arrived back home and had to come back to the city. He kindly agreed to come through and collect us and we all drove down the main road until we spotted a Hudsons Burgers and parking available just across the road and we were lucky enough to get a table with a stunning and friendly waitress who was very efficient and had us all munching happily on a burger in no time at all.

I was feeling so traumatised by the horrid experience at The Cheeky Bean Cafe that I even had a milkshake to cool me down.

Our waitress asked us where we were from and when I said ‘Hout Bay’ she looked perplexed so we had a laugh and explained how a Scotsman, a Northern Irish woman and an American all ended up together in Africa. She really was lovely. She proved to me again just how the waiter or waitress is such a big part of your overall experience.

When we got home we enjoyed relaxing on our new sofa which I bought second hand from a friend. Our old one was lovely but Norm hated it and I knew that this one was really well made and comfy and as I am a red freak I bought it spur of the moment.

I love it so much! It was a bit of drama getting it home as it poured with rain and it was being temporarily stored on a patio but luckily it did not get damaged. The dogs are baffled by the change as the back is not cushy enough for dogs to be draping over it and there are no blankets covering it like we needed with the creamy sofa so there are no hidey places for them under the blankets. It has just confused them terribly.

I was off work on Thursday as it was Freedom Day in South Africa and Rosie had booked to go to Robben Island. Norm and I drove her to the waterfront and put her onto a boat then we had some shopping to do and a nice afternoon together planned. We did the things we needed to do and then we went to the Zeitz MOCAA and were pleasantly surprised it was free as it was a public holiday. We went to the 6th floor and grabbed a table with a gorgeous view all around us.

We ordered a simple lunch of chicken and chips. We were a bit naughty and both indulged in the gorgeous looking desserts we saw being served. I had a piece of the Red Velvet Cake of the day.

Norm had the lemon meringue with coconut sorbet.

Norm and I had over 4 hours to kill in total. We wandered through the Zeitz after our leisurely lunch even though we saw most of the displays recently, but we saw some new items and noticed things we missed the first visit. Afterwards we walked about outside the silo and spotted that the Chavonnes Battery Museum had a sign announcing a Mandela Photography exhibit was on. It was R100 entry each but profits go to youth development so we decided to bite the bullet even though we only had less than an hour before Rosie was due to arrive back.

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Mandela photo exhibition

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After that we sat by the water at the arrival point waiting for Rosie, it was a moody and dark and somewhat gloomy day inland but when she returned Rosie said the weather was gorgeous at sea.

On our way home we drove up to the top of Signal Hill so that Rosie could see the beautiful view of the city laid out below but as we drove up the mountain, the already dreary weather turned worse and a thick mist rolled over the city. Rosie hopped out and tried to snap some pics, I snapped this pic of her snapping a pic which I thought looked quite cool.

That evening we took Rosie to Papino’s for dinner, one of our fave venues which only locals have discovered. Norm and I both had our usual, the hollandse biefsteak but Rosie had lamb shank and raved about it. Ours was as divine as it always is.

On Saturday Rosie attended the sweat lodge I mentioned so Norm and I dropped her off and then popped out for lunch. We stopped in at Pastis in Constantia as it was a lovely sunny day and it feels like you are in a pub garden in Europe when sitting there outside under the vines.

We had two of the items on special and shared them. We ordered fishcakes and Portuguese calamari. The fishcakes were a bit gooey for my taste and the calamari was a bit chewy despite the coating being a bit insipid in colour. It was OK but nothing amazing.

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Calamari and fish cakes

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We were enjoying sitting in the sun however so we decided to linger and have dessert. I had the lemon meringue.

Norm had the cheesecake.

We woke to a sunny morning for Rosie’s last full day and Rosie and Norman headed off early to catch the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. After they returned home Norm dropped Rosie and I at Dune’s on the Beach for a late lunch.

The venue has a gorgeous setting of simple picnic tables under umbrellas with a sand floor. We got a seat under the shaded area at the back of the restaurant.

I ordered the chili poppers for us to nibble on as starters.