The Birds and the Bees

One thing about living in Africa is that I am confronted with how privileged we are on a regular basis. Especially when something happens in one of the townships and you see people losing what little they have and then just getting on with life.

There were 2 fires in our village this week.

On Sunday morning 140 shacks were destroyed in Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in Hout Bay but luckily it seems that no one was injured.

Roberto Quintas, the local government Councillor, has said that due to grant funding budget cuts by the national Department of Human Settlements, the city is unable to provide starter kits. The area will be cleared and people will be allowed to rebuild their shacks with whatever building materials they can find.

We put together some bedding and other bits and pieces and Norm dropped them off. This really makes you appreciate your blessings and all that you may have.

On Tuesday Thula Thula, the NGO who do fire relief in our village, provided relief items to over 140 families who were victims of Sunday’s fire. Victims were invited to shop for clothing and received blankets, groceries, toiletries and essential baby items where needed.

There was a second fire in Hangberg but I cannot find any thing online about it so it must have been minor, I hope no one was injured in that one either.

If you would like to donate to Thula Thula you can do so HERE.

This week I was chatting to a friend of mine from High School. He is one of the few schoolmates who actually follows me and interacts on Facebook, many have either blocked, unfriended or unfollowed me due to my being so vocal about politics. Some of my family have blocked me and Norm because of the same reason. My friend has 2 sons, one of whom is a fierce Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist and one who is the opposite. I would struggle with that level of delusion and it seems he does too. It would make family get togethers almost impossible.

He and I were chatting about politics, our children, changing views on sexuality, genders, gender roles and so many things. He is much more open in his views, maybe because he has traveled outside of the narrow minded little corner of the world we grew up in. One thing we chatted about is how our children’s generation is much more open to accepting the non-traditional roles society had prescribed for our generation. My daughter Caitlin is always willing to do anything around the house from wiring to woodworking. Her partner Wes is an amazing cook and a real foodie and Caitlin is not so skilled in that area. So Wes does the cooking and Caitlin does a lot of stuff around the house. She mentioned getting organisers for her tool box so Norm and I were joking about Cait having a toolbox and Wes having cookbooks. Their relationship works well for them and I am happy that they found their balance.

The youth seem much more proactive and socially conscious in many regards. This week the vaccines were opened up to the 18 to 35 age group and on the very first day they were eligible they showed up in the tens of thousands according to Prof. Mosa Moshabela.

All 3 of my kids have registered now for the vaccine. Trevor and Caitlin made appointments and go in on Monday and Lily will just do a walk in. That makes me very happy. Even though Lily and Josh have had the virus I feel better with them both being vaccinated as they have jobs where they interact with a lot of people.

Lily has had more bad luck in that her garage flooded. She had all of her items she was renovating in there but managed to get them all out safely. Poor girl she has had such a hard time, first her beloved Toothless and now this. I cannot wait to see her on my birthday and give her a big mommy hug.

Norm and I spent last Saturday afternoon sorting the last of the 2 guest bedrooms. We discovered I gave away all of the sheets for the double beds when I did my big clear out. Oops. We managed to find one set of sheets and a duvet cover. I had bought a new duvet inner and 4 more pillows so both beds are dressed and we are ready to have the kids come and visit for my birthday in September. I put out a very old quilt made by my grandmother which has never really been used as I decided there is no point in preserving it, so I put it on the bed and it looks lovely.

I posted last week about how excited I was over my new bird feeder. On Sunday we discovered that the feeders were being swarmed by bees which was putting off the birds. Not only was it deterring the birds, the bees were falling in and drowning. With the shortage of bees the world has I was not keen to be contributing to that issue.

I asked online and I was advised to lessen the amount of sugar in my mixture and to stop adding the food colouring to the water as it is bad for the birds apparently. I did so but now the birds are not really interested in it. I am going to paint the bottle red this weekend to try and attract more birds. I want to get some gauze or netting to stop the bees falling into the opening. My new feeder has little fake flower plug things to stop the bees being able to access the liquid but the bees managed to dislodge one of them and still invade it. With the less sugary water neither birds nor bees are keen. I have other bowls of water with stones in them for the bees and butterflies so hopefully the bees will go back to using those and I can get the right balance for my feeders. I get so much joy from sitting in the garden watching the birds.

Last weekend the weather was nice so I did a bit of painting. I am repainting the little stool I decorated (badly) recently and I also did a base coat on this little purple table I have had for years. I will paint it white and put it in the new bathroom with a luscious green plant on top. Hopefully I will finish painting both items this weekend.

I received a few more bits of decor for the house. I ordered a bamboo soap dispenser, loo brush and a bath tray for the family bathroom. The soap dispenser and the loo brush arrived yesterday.

I also ordered some fairies for my succulent garden from House of Mystique. The whole process was fraught with nonsense. I ordered them via their website and I paid the amount due via a payment gateway. I then got an email from them saying the site did not charge me shipping and I must pay another R100 for shipping before I will receive the items. That really annoyed me, it is not my fault their website is rubbish and I suspect that practice of requesting additional money after paying the invoiced amount is actually illegal! However I had ordered a little fairy house from another site and I wanted these fairies so I gave in and grumpily paid the extra R100 (about $6.50). The fairies arrived the next day, packed only in a soft plastic envelope and wrapped in thin bubble wrap. One of them was broken in 3 places and the other was missing a wing.

I emailed and received no reply, I then posted on her Facebook page and still no response. I then sent a private message on FB and I could see she had read the message but she did not reply. She replied to my email that afternoon and said that she would take it up with her courier, however it was not the fault of the courier, she did not pack them properly as they are very fragile. She has said she will refund me but she has not done so as yet.

On Monday we were up and away early as I was booked in to get my 2nd COVID vaccine. I was booked at the CTICC and they were so well organised! I arrived at 9am, there were people directing you to the appropriate parking area, then to the entrance, then to each section. I did not have to wait anywhere there were plenty of staff at each step of the process.

On Tuesday afternoon I had another outing, I should really pace myself from all of this excitement. I even drove myself which I have only done once or twice since lockdown. I headed into the city to get a hair cut by the lovely Leandra at Pause. She could finally cut off all of the previous hair dye and it is all natural now. I am loving my grey and I had forgotten how black my hair is naturally as I have lightened it for years. Of course it will never look this sleek and tidy when I style it myself but never mind, a good cut will always look nice no matter how poor my styling skills. It is also a simple shape that can stay nice when it grows out so there is no requirement to keep it trimmed frequently.

This week I won another prize. This time it was via Instagram from the artist Nina Minke Holloway. It is 2 little prints which are on a card and can be framed. I chose the little bird one on the right and Nina threw in the extra one on the left.

I had a frame I was not using and I put Mr Birdy in it. I love it.

I cannot wait to get our other items back from the framer so we can finish off the rooms upstairs. Hopefully they come next week.

Now for my weekly COVID information. As mentioned above, the youth have meant that SA has now exceeded 10million vaccines! The specific total is 10,431,124. That is a million since last week’s statistics. In the USA 200,421,787 people have received at least one dose and 169,998,983 are fully vaccinated. In the UK 47,516,505 people have had their first vaccine and 41,332,128 have had their second dose.

In the ranking of total cases per country, the US has remained in 1st place with 38,398,596 total cases, SA is still 17th with 2,666,964 cases, and the UK is still 6th with 6,429,147 cases.

For the grim statistics of numbers of deaths, SA has stayed at 16th for total deaths on a global scale with 78,983 lives lost. For both the UK and the USA there has been no shift in rankings since last week. The UK is still at 7th place with 131,487 deaths and the USA is still holding on to 1st with 644,281 lives lost to COVID and related illnesses.

For the more even ranking of deaths per 1 million of the population there has been a shift for all 3 countries. The UK has now dropped 2 spots in the right direction to 22nd with 1,925. The USA which has moved up to 20th place with 1,934 out of 1 million on average passing from COVID. Unfortunately SA has moved up another spot to 41st with 1,313 people out of a million of the population dying from the virus or from related illnesses. That is up 3 spots in the last 2 weeks. Hopefully with the surge in vaccines things will start to improve.

There are several unique challenges SA and other African countries have. Access to the internet and skills in using electronic systems is a challenge for registration as is access to a vaccination site due to lack of transport or being too rural. This week when our gardener Mzudumo came to work Norm registered him on the government site and the following day he drove him out to a vaccination site and waited for him and brought him back home. He will take him back in 6 weeks for his second vaccine.

This morning Norm is in an online conference and I have been blogging. I am going to go outside and do some painting and then I want to do some cleaning as the house is still dusty from the renovations. Caitlin is popping in later to borrow Norm’s saw and collect some bits and pieces I am giving her. It is always lovely to see my babies.

I hope you have all had a great week and I hope you enjoy your weekend. Be grateful for all of your blessings and keep safe. If you are medically able to do so, please get a vaccine.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox

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