This has been a week of great sadness and tragedy interspersed with brief moments of happiness.
Norm was away on business from Sunday afternoon until late Monday night when Caitlin was kind enough to go and collect him from the airport. Normally for such a short trip he would just leave his car at the airport, but his car is still in the garage. I am so worried about what it is going to cost. Just one part was quoted at R18k from the Opal dealer but the garage managed to find the part second hand in a scrap yard but I am sure the bill will be a bit scary as there were major problems with the engine. It is over 10 years old and that is somewhat to be expected.
The tragic news started to come in on Monday when I woke and saw that over the weekend my friend from back home in the US had lost her home in a fire. She has small children and this must be so incredibly traumatic for them all. There is a Go Fund Me account for the family and if you are in a position to donate I would be most appreciative. The link is HERE.
Then on Tuesday we heard that our friend Anthony, or Flying Ant, as he was affectionately known, had fallen to his death in a paragliding accident. Norm knew Ant well as they were both very involved in security patrols and responses in our little valley. They sometimes had coffee together and Norm had a lot of respect for Ant. I did not know him very well personally but I have often used his aerial photography in my blogs and would see him out and about in the village. He even took my son up in a tandem jump a few years ago.
As Ant was so young and well respected this has hit the village hard. I cannot imagine how his widow Bev is coping, they seemed to be a couple who were truly in love. This was not the first marriage for either of them and from personal experience I know that marriages a bit later in life can result in very strong bonds, you both know what you want from a partner when you are a bit older. From what I have heard Bev also lost her first husband in a tragic accident. It is just so sad and heartbreaking.
On Wednesday night everyone in the village agreed to hold a tribute and light a candle on our balconies or in our windows to show our sadness and respect for Ant. Norm and I participated.
I hope knowing how many people were grieving for Ant brought Bev at least a small comfort.
To add to the tragedies swirling around us, I contacted a friend this week only to find out that she has just had a double mastectomy! The family had kept it private and she only let me know after the fact. I then read on Facebook about a childhood friend in the US who lost his wife this week from cancer. It is a horrid disease.
I also read about another friend from school who is in hospital with pneumonia.
So much sadness and tragedy.
But our lives must go on, we must try not to get too overwhelmed by the sadness.
Work has been very intense as we are wrapping up our deliverables and on Wednesday I had nothing to take for my lunch and I used OrderIn to order from Knead. I chose the BBQ Pulled Pork Taco @ R82.00. The pulled pork was nicely done, the food was intact when it was delivered and I have no complaints about it. It was tasty. I wasn’t too keen on the tzaziki sauce rather than sour cream, but hey ho, it did not kill me.
It was really warm on Wednesday when I got home from work and so Norm cooked dinner for us on the gas grill. He made fillet steaks and corn on the cob on the braai and I made a salad for us with cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese. It was all delicious.
Norm finally received his police clearance certificate in the post, he needs it for lodging his application for a spousal visa. He had applied for this certificate months ago and had rang the post office as it had not yet arrived. He was told by the post office that there was a major backlog of post sitting in containers in Johannesburg. Apparently this Post Office backlog happens every year.
Yet another example of the gross incompetence prevalent in our state owned enterprises.
On Thursday night we decided to braai again as we still had corn and salad fixings so Norm bought some chicken sausage and cole slaw and we had that for dinner.
The one bright moment in our week was that we have decided to go to the US to spend Christmas and NY with my Mom and family. Norm has to leave the country as his visa runs out and so we decided we might as well just bite the financial bullet and go over. We will pay it off throughout the year. Life is too short to worry about finances. It always works out in the end. I am trying not to think about the 33 hours of travel to get there, I am not good with flying and the whole experience stresses me but I am trying to focus on the end goal of time with family and friends.
Norm and I have decided to make more of an attempt to be sociable. We realised that we have become hermits. When we first met over 20 years ago we were both big party animals. In fact we met in a bar, doing tequila body shots! Then once we were married we were out most nights either at the pub, out dancing or on a mad bender. In Northern Ireland we often just had open nights at home where I would cook a big pot of chili and anyone who wanted to pop in could do so, we would play music, sing, and have a laugh with whomever popped in to join us that week. We were also very social when we lived in England.
When I moved to South Africa I was on my own for a few months and so I was trying to make a social circle in my new country and I would go for drinks after work with my new colleagues or just go off exploring with my friend Mandi who was also living in Hout Bay when I emigrated here. Then when Norm joined me in SA we were often out for drinks during the week and on most days over the weekends. Then when my daughters moved in with us to attend Uni we preferred to spend time with them and we started staying in more for family time. We eventually ended up becoming almost reclusive and only going out if invited to join others, seldom organizing anything that did not involve just our family or one other couple who we often hung out with. Then my daughters moved out, my friends’ marriage broke down and Norm and I continued our pattern of rather staying home with the animals and being cosy on our own.
With our new determination of getting out more we went down to the village on Friday night after work. I had seen that there was live music outside at The Vine so we decided to check it out.
When we arrived the patio at The Vine was rammed with people and kids and Norm was struggling with his allergies so we thought that sitting under a tree outside might not be the best solution for him and we decided to rather have dinner at our friend Spiro’s restaurant next door. We were early so we had no trouble getting a table.
I did not manage to Ninja a pic of Norm and so we get a pic of his grumpy face.
Spiro was working the crowds and he brought us some snacks to occupy us while we waited on our food to arrive. Norm ordered the Biftekia for R145 which was like a big meatball with feta cheese inside and he really enjoyed this dish, he said it was something he will order again. If he has salad instead of chips it is low carb.
Sorry about the typically dreadful nature of my photos, it was dark and I am blind.
I had a few dishes from their meze menu. I had the Naxos for R65 which is the greek equivalent of cheesy onion fries. I love these, they are crispy and full of yummy flavours.
I had the crispy squids for R70 and the chicken livers which are in a creamy sauce and come with wedges of pita bread for dipping in the delicious sauce.
We were so full up that we could not be tempted by the dessert which Spiro was trying to get us to try so we compromised and took home a slice of the Baked Baklava Cheesecake that Spiro and Julie’s daughter Mary had made. It is so divine and delicious. We had planned to share it later that night but someone (me) greedily ate it all when someone (Norm) was not looking. Oops.
We decided to watch a film once we got home and we watched Outlaw King which is a film about Robert the Bruce.
I have to confess I fell asleep but the bits I watched were very good!
On Saturday we had a busy day planned and so we were up and out early. I had a hair appointment booked for 10 and Norm dropped me on Long Street and shot off to the V&A Waterfront to run some errands and shop for the braai we were attending later that afternoon. We recently bought a new printer and it has decided it likes to eat paper and has proceeded to do so for every item we try to print. So he had to return that and he also had some other things he needed to do.
I had my hair coloured, cut and blow dried and when I finished I messaged him and he came back to collect me and we headed off to the Northern Suburbs. (I dunno why I capitalised that except it is feckin far away.)
We were invited to a housewarming party for Sue, a woman I first met on Twitter years ago but have only met in ‘the flesh’ a few times. But she is a nice person and we are being sociable so off we went! Norm had picked up a poinsettia for a house warming gift, some drink for me as he was driving and some healthy snacks and some meat as Sue was providing the salads and breads. We managed to find her new house with no issues, it is such a charming house! She was very lucky that she had very little to do to be able to move in, it is modern and airy and was nicely maintained by the previous owners. I did not know anyone else who was attending and I am so socially awkward when it comes to meeting people. I quickly got a cider down my neck to assist me with that challenge and everyone was very friendly and welcoming and we met some lovely people.
Then a guy named Stephen arrived a bit later and when he was introduced to me I just felt an instant kinship to him! He and I pulled up chairs in the shade in the garden and started chatting away. Within 5 minutes we had found a common friend, there was far less than 6 degrees in that separation. I mentioned Hout Bay and he said ‘oh do you know Melody Diamond’ and I said ‘YES I love Melody!!’ And he explained to me that he had met Melody via a Facebook group page and that Melody had been so helpful to him, this group had set up a Go Fund Me account which raised money to get new teeth for Stephen as he had a gum disease and his front teeth all fell out. He was depressed and struggling to get work and this group did so much to help him. His teeth look amazing!
Stephen and I realised we had lived very near each other throughout several of our moves – we both seem to have itchy feet! It seems we circled in each others peripheries for years until we finally collided in a garden in Durbanville.
I also had a long chat to two young people who were there whose names I did not catch and after talking for so long it is then too awkward to ask! But we talked about so many things about spirituality, energy, positivity, religion and shamanism. It was a lovely afternoon with good food, good conversation and I really enjoyed it.
Usually I am terrible at small talk, I find there is a fine line between being friendly and being overly intrusive and I am not good at walking that line. As an only child I am not very skilled at making friends so I usually find these situations painful. But maybe because Sue is also a bit of an introvert, her friends are also of that nature and so we were all in the same awkward boat, but whatever magic was at play, it all worked.
We left late afternoon as Norm had to walk the dogs and our house alarm had been going off all afternoon as the wind was insane. We had the security company pop in so knew there was no safety issues but we did worry about the neighbours who had to listen to our alarm.
We decided to watch a film last night after we got settled in and we chose The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as it is a Coen Brothers film and we enjoy their work.
It was a series of short stories revolving around life in the old West and what a challenge it was just to survive. It is a black comedy full of irony and if you have an aversion to tragedy this is not the film for you to watch, however it seemed the perfect end to our tragedy laden week.
Life is just a series of happenstance occurrences and we are all lucky to get out of it alive.
Until next time, hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them.
Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x