Hats and High Teas

It has been so cold in Cape Town for most of this week. We had horrid weather on Monday, stormy, dark and wet with howling wind. Lola decided she was cold and needed to snuggle up under my neck despite me trying to work.

Last Sunday we held a family Zoom meeting with my kids and my Mom. As it was so cold we are all wearing our woolly PJs and robes. #DontJudgeUs

We had a lot of laughs and acted silly and talked over each other as we always do.

You need these interactions with your loved ones for your mental health and for theirs. I know that it perks my Mom up a lot and I love seeing the kids all interacting with her.

Monday rolled around fast enough as it always does. We were running out of groceries but as the weather was so bad we just decided to make do. I got creative and used up the last bits of various items in the house. I toasted thick slabs of ciabatta, made guacamole and slathered it onto the bread, popped on some soft poached eggs and topped it with Serrano ham I had lightly grilled. I cooked frozen chips in the air fryer to go with it. It was divine and perfect for a cold day.

On Tuesday Norm had to go to court as he was subpoenaed to testify in a case that has been ongoing for a few years. I am not keen on him going into such a crowded environment but he has no choice. Due to the heavy rain people were all clustered close together in the overhang at the entrance. The case was again postponed and he did not have to spend all day there as expected so he stopped on his way home to shop for us.

I had back to back meetings this week as a previous client has contacted us to kick off a second phase on a project I did last year and I am fully engaged with my current project. I may have to juggle both clients until the end of the year but we will see what we can work out. As long as I can continue to work from home I hope I can manage both.

That night I had chicken breasts to cook and I fancied something spicy so I made a spicy chicken bowl. I chopped a yellow pepper, 2 small onions and 4 chicken breasts and fried it all until cooked through. I then added a splash of tomato passata, a squidge of tomato paste, a little water, a packet of El Paso taco seasoning mix, garlic, chili, paprika, onion powder and chili powder. I boiled a few ears of corn on the cob. Once the chicken had simmered a wee bit to let the flavours soak in I served it on rice and topped the bowl with the fresh corn that I had cut from the cob and added a dollop of sour cream. I wish I had some cilantro/coriander but it was still very yummy as it was.

The next night I chopped up an onion and fried that with beef mince. Once browned I added curry powder, chili, garlic and cumin and a bit of tomato passata, tomato paste and beef stock and let it simmer. I steamed pumpkin and then pureed it and stirred through butter, cinnamon and honey. I baked some woolies chicken samosas and made guacamole to dip them in. I also boiled the last of the corn and roasted some sweet potato slices. The sweet pumpkin went beautifully with the spicy beef.

On Wednesday evening I put a beef roast and carrots into the slow cooker. I cooked them in organic beef broth and cream of mushroom soup. The next morning Norm peeled potatoes and put them in the slow cooker with the beef and carrots. The electricity was off for 2 hours in the afternoon but the potatoes still had enough time to cook and at 6pm we had a scrumptious dinner ready with minimal effort.

On Wednesday evening Panda started barfing and continued to barf all evening. He could not even keep water down. He woke in the middle of the night to drink water which he did manage to keep down and the next morning he was a bit perkier and his eyes looked clearer. He would not eat his breakfast though. Midday he started being sick again even though he had only ingested water. As he is so small I was worried about him becoming dehydrated and Norm took him down to the vet. The vet diagnosed it as gastro and gave him 2 injections and one of them must have hurt as he yipped and turned around and tried to bite her. She also gave him some oral medication which she said dogs always hate but Panda lapped it right up off her finger. He is such a gannet. He had another dose of the oral meds 2 hours later and then we gave him poached chicken breast which he ate and managed to keep down. It looks like it was indeed just gastro as he is back to normal. It worries me so when he is ill. He has been very cuddly since then and won’t leave his Dad’s side.

On Saturday I ventured out of my cave again for my 2nd emergence from the house. My friends Bronwyn and Mel had invited me to High Tea at the Hout Bay Manor. It is a set menu and you must book in advance.

We decided we had to wear a hat as Ladies Who Do Fancy Things would do. The goal was to wear a ‘hat to suit our personality and who we are’. I opted for my fascinator which is feathered, fun and fabulous. The feathers represent my Cherokee heritage and I think I am a lot of fun and that I am pretty fabulous (although many would disagree on the latter two, they do not matter!).

We were blessed with a gorgeous, warm, sunny day. Norm drove me as I thought I might have a cocktail (but did not). When I arrived they had staff in the portico to welcome you and check you had a booking. You had to sign in and give all of your contact information should they need to notify you about exposure. They made sure you were wearing a mask and they had you step into a bath of disinfectant for your shoes and spray your hands with disinfectant. It eased my anxiety about my first proper public outing (the optometrist does not reallllly count does it?).

Mel had already arrived and was sitting at our table wearing her hat. It was covered in plants as she owns both Ladybirdland which is a landscape gardening business and Potted Up, which is a succulents retail business.

Bronwyn arrived shortly after I did and she looked so cute in her Mad Hatter hat which suited her wacky personality.

We were quickly served pots of tea with adorable little milk bottles and then big wooden platters of savoury sandwiches and pastries arrived shortly thereafter. The chicken pies are the little round pastries and they were my personal favourites.

The next round of deliveries were the cake towers full of gorgeous sweet items. This is the serving for one person!!!! The cupcakes were light as air and the icing was not too overly sweet or heavy. The brownies were soft inside and crispy outside as brownies are supposed to be but so seldom are in SA. The pastry on the tarts was light and crisp and the fruits on the fruit tart were fresh and beautifully arranged. It was all amazing.

It was quite an impressive spread! Even I could not finish it all and I am a total piggy.

It was so lovely to catch up with Mel and Bronwyn as I am so terrible about using phones that I am out of touch with everyone’s lives. We had a fat chat and a lot of laughs.

It was a fabulous day and exactly what I needed. I will definitely book to go again. I may take my daughters there next weekend if it works out as Lily and Josh are coming down to Cape Town for a wedding and it is the weekend before my birthday.

This week the topic I researched to help me understand historic racism in the US and to support Black Lives Matter was “Bleeding Kansas“. According to Wikipedia “Bleeding KansasBloody Kansas, or the Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations in Kansas Territory, United States between 1854 and 1861 which emerged from a political and ideological debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas.”

The map above was designed to demonstrate the comparative area of the free and slave states and the territory open to the battle between slavery or freedom. Portraits of John C. Fremont and W.L. Dayton are on the borders of the map.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 overturned the Missouri Compromise’s use of latitude as the boundary between slave and free territory and instead instituted a policy known as popular sovereignty in the Kansas Territory. Popular sovereignty meant allowing the settlers to decide by vote whether the territory would be admitted to the Union as a slave or as a free state. The purpose of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was to open the country to transcontinental railways. This 1854 bill to organize western territories became part of the political whirlwind of sectionalism and railroad building, splitting two major political parties and helping to create another, as well as worsening North-South relations.

Activists from each side flooded the territory in an attempt to influence the outcome and gain control, leading to violent, often deadly, clashes that helped pave the way for the American Civil War (1861-65).

Rival governments had been established in Kansas by late 1855, one backed by pro-slavery Missourians, the other by antislavery groups. Hostilities between armed bands seemed imminent in late 1855 as well over a thousand Missourians crossed the border and menaced Lawrence, a free-state stronghold. On May 21, 1856, ruffians actually looted Lawrence. In response, several days later abolitionist John Brown orchestrated the murder of five proslavery settlers along Pottawatomie Creek. Four months of partisan violence ensued. Small armies ranged over eastern Kansas, clashing at Black Jack, Franklin, Fort Saunders, Hickory Point, Slough Creek, and Osawatomie, where Brown and forty others were routed in late August.

John Brown’s sons were involved in the abolitionist movement in the territory and fearing attack from pro-slavery settlers they had summoned their father. Confident he and his family could bring Kansas into the Union as a “free” state for black people, Brown had gone west to join his sons.

Over the next several years, Brown’s efforts in Kansas continued, and two of his sons were captured and a third son killed by pro-slavery settlers. The abolitionist was undaunted, however, and Brown still advocated for the movement, traveling all over the country to raise money and obtain weapons for the cause. In the meantime, Kansas held elections and voted to be a free state in 1858 after much bloodshed.

Even in our current elections people will go a long way to uphold their racist beliefs.

As mentioned in my last blog we have now moved to Level 2 in SA. The count in South Africa for the number of people tested is 3,535,067.

In comparison to the rest of the world, South Africa is still holding at 5th worse for total number of infections. We are steadily creeping up on the count of deaths per 1 million of the population & are now 29th in the world.

The graph below shows that the infections in the Western Cape province where we live have now started to drop off while unfortunately the infections in the province of Gauteng are on the rise.

The outbreaks are often clustered in the informal settlements. Due to the close proximity of the shacks and the high number of residents which are often sharing the shacks, social distancing is almost impossible. Many of our retail workers and health care workers live in informal settlements and they are on the front line keeping the shops and hospitals operational.

Image Credit: Nic Bothma/EPA, via Shutterstock

To end with a bit of feel good positivity, I share the performance from Jennifer Hudson at the Democratic National Convention. This is one of my favourite all time songs and I hope a Change is Indeed Gonna Come. I hope the US voters realise that Biden and Harris are the only hope for a sane next four years. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, I wish you all peace and love. I hope you are able to isolate at home, if not please wear a mask and stay safe.

Until next time, socially distant Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0

One thought on “Hats and High Teas

  1. Pingback: Something Borrowed, Something Blue – Kitten in the City

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