Last week I had to leave work midday on Wednesday to go to collect Norm at the airport. On the way home I was starving so we decided to hop off the motorway in Constantia and stop for a quick lunch at Mugg & Bean.
Norm was a bit jet-lagged and just ordered a blueberry muffin. I was ravenous as I had not had time for breakfast and so I ordered a couple of items off of their tapas menu.
The top pic is the Mini Hasselback Potatoes, described as deep-fried Hasselback baby potatoes topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon bits & chopped chives, served with a side of M&B salsa & guacamole. This dish was R38.90.
The lower picture is of the Buttermilk Fried Chicken: sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken strips served with a side of sweet chilli sauce. This dish was R49.90.
The hasselback potatoes did not even vaguely resemble a hassleback potato, other than the fact they were potatoes. A hassleback potato should be sliced across the top and fried or roasted in butter or oil so that the skin crisps up. Sort of like a potato wedge and a baked potato had a baby. HERE are some pics of what they should look like. The potatoes at Mugg & Bean were just boiled baby potatoes with some toppings thrown on. Granted they were tasty toppings, but they should just call them boiled potatoes with tasty toppings. The buttermilk chicken strips were crispy and nicely cooked and I enjoyed those. I also enjoyed the potatoes, but I would have enjoyed them more if they were crispy. I give my meal a solid 3 Kitten Stars.
I took Norm home to have a wee nap and I worked from the lounge with Lola kitty sitting in my lap. It was a rather lovely way to work. The dogs were insanely happy to see their Daddy and did not leave his side all day.
That night we had a quiet night in as Norm was pretty tired from his trip.
The following day Norm had a meeting at the City of Cape Town offices which are across the road from my offices and so he walked over to meet me for lunch after he finished. We went to The Lunch Depot nearby. I often pop in here for a quick bite if I am not getting a take away as it has a nice seating area. Norm ordered a breakfast wrap with egg and bacon and I ordered the salmon salad.
It was very nice, the salmon was fresh and the salad crisp and not overly doused in dressing. My egg was not over boiled. It was also nice to spend time with Norm after his trip. If I do not take a lunch in with me I do not often make the effort to eat something so fresh, I usually grab a toasted sandwich at the local cafe.
After work on Thursday Norm cooked us dinner and it was so nice to have home cooked food. He made chicken sausages, sweet potato mash and cole slaw. There was enough for my lunch the next day as well which stops me wandering off to eat unhealthy things.
On Friday I had to go to the traffic department to renew my drivers’ license that had expired back in April when I wasn’t looking. I was advised to arrive before they open at 8am and I was standing in the already long queue at 7:40 but there were probably 20 people ahead of me already when I arrived. Once they opened the doors we all moved to the appropriate window and formed another queue there. Out of boredom I started chatting to the people around me in the queue. I am not good with crowds or with people getting too close to me. I had already been annoyed by a woman smoking in the queue and had made a mental attempt to relax and let my tensions and stress go, just to avoid throttling someone in the queue. The cop shop was too close by for any nonsense of that nature.
There was an african man and a coloured woman behind me in the queue and the woman was chattering away to the man. He was pretty quiet. She was telling him that she works as a housekeeper in Gardens and that she only has a learners license and she had let that expire which meant she had no license at all. She said she had taken the morning off of work to sort it out. She tried to grill him on his personal info but he was very closed mouth and all she could get out of him was that he drove a ‘goods delivery truck’ which was pretty strange as he had no license. I know he did speak English as I had already asked him the time earlier. We started talking about expired licenses and how the police departments are so rubbish at managing their data. I told them the story about trying to renew my car license and the car license department sending me across town to pay off a fine which the traffic department did not even have down on their register. Of course I spent half a day queuing at various departments to discover that.
I joked about how I was so panicked once I realised my license had expired and how I had been driving extra carefully to avoid getting stopped and how I was worried that if I got stopped that I might get chucked into Pollsmoor Prison. Then I laughed and said ‘I am not even sure if they put women into Pollsmoor.’ My new friend then said ‘Yes they do, I was in Pollsmoor once’. She told us a story about once when she was younger and was protesting and was picked up and put into prison for 24 hours then released. She talked about the high number of mothers who are raising their children in prison. What a sad story that was. It is good that the babies get time with their mothers but sad they would spend their first months or years in a prison environment.
At the first window we gave over our documents and they were stamped and stapled together and we were given a new form and told to go to window 14. I thought she said window 16 and wandered vaguely around for ages looking for the non-existent window 16 until a member of staff realised my discombobulation and redirected me to 14.
I had gone to the effort of getting a letter from my optometrist as I had just been the previous week for an eye test. I had assumed this meant I could skip the eye test at the licensing center, however this form was not even looked at despite me waving at everyone who would listen. I had no choice, I had to press my eyes against the eye test machine. I have such germophobia and this was freaking me out.
There were 3 women working in this area testing your eyes and then taking your fingerprints. One woman was shouting abuse at the African man who had been behind me in the queue (he got ahead during my lost foray looking for the imaginary window 16). She kept shouting ‘do you speak English? do you understand what I am saying to you? can you not figure out which way the letter is pointing? what is your problem?’ in a constant stream. She had the poor guy so stressed out he did not know what was happening. She sent one guy off to see an optometrist. He obviously failed. The 2nd tester was coughing so much I thought her lung might land at my feet any minute. She was weeping continuously from hacking. She sounded like she was either very ill or about to die. Either way, she should not have been at work hacking her germs all over the testers. The 3rd woman was the one I ended up with and she seemed the lesser evil of the choices available. She was a miserable cow. She spoke to me like I was a simpleton. I passed and I managed to resist shoving that fingerprint scanner up her ample backside so it was a win win.
As they test both your actual sight as well as your peripheral vision I had to alternate between taking off my glasses to take the peripheral exam and putting them on to take the vision test. Eventually I managed to complete my test. The same woman who does the fingerprints asks you to move your chair back a bit and then snaps a pic when you are peering confusedly at her and looking your most unflattering. I had gone in with 4 decent ID pictures.
But they stapled the nice pic onto my temporary license and will use the horrid pic snapped by Miss Grumpy Pants where I look like I could move an 18 wheeler worth of storage in the bags under my eyes. Added to this virtual indignity is the fact that I ended up with itchy, swollen eyes the following day, most likely the start of an eye infection from the shared germs of all of humanity squinting into the exam thingy since 1943. I used a few hot compresses over the weekend and the pain has lessened but not gone away. My immunity is pretty rubbish it seems.
After we finished with the eye exam and fingerprints we were directed to ‘windows 4 to 8’ except there was only someone working in window 4 and so we all queued up again at this window. I then started chatting to a tiny Jewish woman, she said she was a researcher and I wondered if she was associated to UCT as I had done a project there for the research department. I thought what a small world we live in but I could not grill her for info as she was called up to the window and after that she left as she was finished. I can almost guarantee that I could have discovered a common acquaintance within few degrees of separation if we had continued our conversation.
I found the whole experience a bit stressful as I do with anything ‘official’. But after just under 2 hours I was finished and on my way to work. I have to go back to collect my license in 6-8 weeks which means queuing up again but hopefully that step in the process will be quicker than applying for the renewal of my license was.
On Friday night Norm popped out for fish and chips for us as we were both too tired to go out and I refuse to cook on a Friday. We built a big fire and started watching a new series called ‘The Good Cop‘ with the bizarre combo of Josh Groban and Tony Danza. They play a father and son combo and it is really corny but somehow it kind of works. It is very superficial and a bit funny so it is perfect background kind of TV, you don’t have to play too much close attention to keep up with it. I will give it about 3 and a bit Kitten Stars.
We had no appointments on Saturday morning and Norm had some work he needed to do so he went to the shop and got pastries and made us frothy coffees and I settled in bed with Lola on my lap and a still warm chocolate muffin to keep me amused while Norm worked. Later he finished up with what he needed to do and I showered and we headed off to Simon’s Town. I had been very keen on going to see the Tibetan Monks who were visiting South Africa.
They were going to be creating mandalas in the places where they were being hosted. “A Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation of a spiritual symbol representing a cosmic universe of celestial bodies made from coloured sand. Usually four monks work side by side to create this two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional ideal universe. This painstakingly time-consuming procedure is a very rare sight to see and the monks will construct the sand mandala design of Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion to generate strong compassionate and peaceful energy. To symbolise the transitory nature of life, the sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed.”
I have no artistic skills at all but I would find it hard to eliminate something which I spent so much time creating.
However the Buddhists believe that in order to be at peace we must let go of our connections to earth bound objects and the concepts of ownership. The mandalas represent the transient nature of the objects, people and places in our lives.
Our lives change on a continual basis, I have had a year or so of adapting to the temporary nature of ‘friendships’ which is something I have never really had to deal with as I have seldom lived in one place long enough to out live a friendship. Instead I have friends in all of the places I have lived or worked and maintain these long distance friendships however I can.
My lifestyle has changed greatly over the last decade as befits the shift from the mid-forties to the mid-fifties. A decade ago I still felt like a young person, ready to party the night away, however tipping over past the age of 55 has made a shift to the amount of energy and zest for life I can summon up. I am not bothered to go out most nights. I am quite happy snuggled up with my hubby, any kids who may be around and our animals. There are always at least 5 beings, even up to 8 of us just hanging around. That is my little world and all that matters to me. I have drawn inward.
We are terrible about inviting people around. If we are invited to anyone else’s we always show up, and if people were to pop in unexpectedly to see us we would be very pleased, as long as they do not mind witnessing us in our fluffy jimjams at 7pm. Ok, me, it is only me. Norm sits around the house in shoes and trousers. Shoes, for god’s sake!
It was a stunning, sunny day with only a breath of wind on Saturday. We drove the long way around the mountain to avoid paying the toll at Chapman’s Peak. It is still a beautiful drive so it was not really a hardship. We spotted the sign for the Simon’s Town Museum and we pulled into the parking lot. There was a stunning view from the front of the museum.
We went through to the room where the monks were busy with the mandala and saw the altar they had set up on the side of the room, the room was smelling strongly of sage burning to cleanse and purify the air.
In the center of the area marked off with a divider was the mandala with only 1 monk remaining at work.
The mandala itself was well underway by the time we arrived as they had begun the ceremony the previous day. We sat and watched the monk work on the design until he broke for his lunch. I was mesmerized by the intricacy of the design and the skill of the monks in placing the coloured sand with the small devices they used.
The monks all began their prayers in another room and so we drifted off back to the car and headed to the habour for lunch. We went to Bertha’s and we were given a table right by the sea with a stunning view of the harbour.
It was a stunning sunny day perfect for dining outside.
I started out with a strawberry daiquiri.
Norm ordered the calamari.
I had the half kilo of prawns with chips.
I had the peri peri sauce with them and they were very nice, perfectly cooked and nicely seasoned. I really enjoyed them.
After we ate we went for a walk along the little pier by the harbour.
We then walked up through the shops and back to our car and headed back home. I was really craving an ice cream and so we decided to stop at the Constantia shops and also do a little shop of items we needed. On our way to Pic and Pay we popped into Tasha’s Waffle House.
Their ice cream was delicious and we did our shopping then headed home.
We had a relaxing evening and later when we felt a bit nibbly we decided to have an easy dinner and we made cheesy scrambled eggs, bacon and avocado and served it on the croissants that Norm had bought that morning when he nipped out for milk.
Sunday I was up and out by 10 as I had drumming at Eagle Owl Lodge. It was a lovely 2 hours of singing spirit songs and drumming. I always feel so energized from those sessions, I really love them. I drove back home and collected Norm and we went out for lunch. It was a stunning, hot sunny day and Hout Bay was rammed with visitors. We had been going to go to the harbour and have lunch there but decided it was too busy and rather just went to Woodcutters Arms. We grabbed a seat in the beer garden.
Norm settled in with a chilled glass of wine.
I had the daily roast, there was a choice of lamb or beef. I chose the beef.
Norm had his beloved scotch egg starter and a chicken caesar salad.
Norm only rated his salad 3 stars as he said the chicken was overcooked and it was all a bit bland. My roast was 4 stars, the beef was very tender if a bit well done for my tastes. The main issue with eating at this venue is that they allow smoking in the areas where they serve food which is a bit off putting. I also want to enjoy the sunshine sitting outside, I just do not want to inhale copious amounts of smoke while trying to enjoy my food.
To carry on with my ice cream addiction I had the white chocolate and oreo sundae.
I finished every drop of it and really enjoyed it.
After lunch we came back home and I sat outside with the pups enjoying the sunshine, it was a beautiful day.
It was a really lovely weekend and it was so nice to have Norm home with me again and our lives back to normal.
I hope you all have a wonderful week.
Until next time, kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0