All Hail The Queens

This week has been quite eventful. Regardless of your feelings about the monarchy and the royal family, it is a sad event when a family loses their matriarch, much less an entire country loses their figurehead.

I am not particularly a royalist by any means, however my marriage to Norm has resulted in many interactions with the royal family which has brought a level of humanity to them that many may not be privy to.

My first interaction was an event put on in Cape Town when Norm and I were living in Northern Ireland. We had brought over a group of teen and young adult athletes for a tour. The British Consulate brought over some dusty old royal to an event we attended and we went down a handshake queue which this lil ole country mouse had never done. When I got to the Duke I shook his hand and said ‘blimey you feel like a cadaver, you’re freezing!’. Apparently that is not the done thing and I was quickly ushered along down the line.

Oops.

Several years later when we were living in England, we were invited to one of the Queen’s Summer Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace. We got dressed up in the boiling heat and took the train from the Midlands, then traipsed across London, up and down the stairs to the hot and sticky underground then walked ages across the rolling gardens of Green Park to the palace. I was in heels, a frock and a hat as per the suggested attire and I was a sweaty, sore, hungry, grumpy kitten. After we stood in the entrance queue and gave them our invites and were deemed acceptable, we quickly got stuck into drinks and nibbles and when Liz came out to make her appearance I yelled ‘Coooeeee’ and wiggled my fingers in her general direction. That got me a glare from a few old dears (and my ever embarrassed husband). Where is everyone’s sense of humour?

Even once we were living in SA we were still invited to many events. The one that sticks out for me was meeting Prince Harry while attending a British High Commission Photography exhibition at The Battery (link to previous blog). I am directly to Harry’s right grasping my empty wine glass. Harry was ever so charming and lovely.

We went to various other events over the years but the most impressive was when Norm received his investiture at Windsor Castle. Yes, that is me beaming proudly from the front row. Norm’s Mom Mavis was still with us then and she is to my left and Norm’s brother is on her other side. As Mavis was in a wheel chair we were sat at the front.

To be recognised for your work and receive an M.B.E. is an honour and I am incredibly proud of Norman and his work in sports development that merited the M.B.E. as well as his continued work in the area of child protection and protection of the vulnerable in sport.

However, I am also able to express my continued despair and hatred of colonisation at the same time that I am able to express my fondness for Queen Elizabeth. The Queen spent her life working, granted while living in the lap of luxury, however she was born into the life and the role, the same as all of us are born into our fates.

I am sad at her passing but I would love to see the monarchy abolished and compensation paid for the lands and the families torn apart and damaged from colonisation. Not that some of the damage can be reversed or even have a financial value placed on it, however that is another story for another blog.

RIP Elizabeth you were a grand dame.

Like many Queens, my birthday has always been a time of massive celebration for me. I would party for at least a week, booking dinners with various people at multiple venues, scarfing delicious and often expensive food and drinking nice wine. But maybe it is my advanced age or maybe it is my new found agoraphobia, but this year I did not want any of that fanfare, all I wanted was to have my family around me and that is exactly what I got!

This visit even my SIL Josh managed to get off of work and he drove Lily and Trevor down from the Garden Route on Friday. They arrived about 6pm to be greeted with great excitement from Pixie and Panda (and me of course!). It just so happened that Norm was out walking Finn when they arrived so when Finn returned and met Josh and Trevor for the 1st time they were already in his territory. Finn adores Lily so much and if she was keen on Josh then Finn decided he would be too.

Animals always love Josh and Trevor so Finn eventually climbed up, wrapped his ‘arms’ around Trevor and proceeded to lick his face and head all over. Animals know!

Caitlin came over to hang out with us and we ordered Thai food for dinner that night. The weather was dire so we built a big fire in the lounge and chilled out, chatting and catching up.

Saturday was my actual birthday and we all got up and about early that morning and Caitlin came over to join us. We decided to do a home version of a High Tea.

Norm gave me the most beautiful bunch of proteas, a bird journal and a reference book I had asked for and he replaced the 2 battery lights I had bought in error with solar lights that look so cute in my fairy garden.

The kids gave me some beautiful serving ware pottery from Wonki Ware. The designs and colours will go so nicely with my existing serving items and the bits I have painted recently. I love them so much!

On her way over, Caitlin stopped at 2 different bakeries to pick up some pastries for us and some gluten free bits for Trevor.

Norm popped down to our well-stocked, local market and picked up some freshly baked breads, a variety of cheeses, cold meats, dolmades, crackers, dips and other bits and pieces. Caitlin and Lily made some cucumber and creamed cheese sandwiches and I had some olives in the fridge that we added to the bounty.

We had planned on sitting outside in my lovely garden but due to the howling winds we decided to serve it at the bar which worked fine. Finn slept at our feet and was very well behaved.

Lily had come up with an idea for us all to do a craft after tea. We are an arty family and love this sort of activity. However, I am the clumsiest klutz and I drop everything. The girls brought their glue guns and the materials. I flipped the little sticks around and around trying to get them into the right position, but sometimes they landed glue side down on to my fingers. Hot glue hurts like heck! Super glue does not hurt but it impairs you with a layer of gunk hanging off your finger. This would be the perfect time to commit a major crime. I have no fingerprints left after my superglue and hot glue interactions peeled them off. But we had a lot of laughs in the process.

In the afternoon the rain cleared and the wind died down briefly so we all sat basking in the warmth of the sunshine for a little bit. Finn was fascinated with Trevor.

The sun was in our eyes so we all put on my gardening & swimming hats.

That night we just ordered pizza as we were not terribly hungry after snacking all day. Which was just as well as I only ordered 5 pizzas, not 6. Oops. Never leave me in charge!

We went out on Sunday morning to take pics in the daylight of our little fairy bits. How adorable do the little pieces look mixed in with the plants and pots?

The cute little gnomes Norm detests also look so perfect with the pieces we made!

We have had some storms and the pieces have withstood the weather so far. Finn chomped on one of the tables on Tuesday when Mzudumo left the back gate open. Never mind, I can glue it back.

The kids drove back early on Sunday so that they would get home before it was too dark. It was just so lovely having them here.

Sunday was a miserable, cold and windy afternoon. Norm built a big fire for us and we watched a few films. The animals were exhausted and just wanted to sleep.

We woke on Monday to an alert that there was a protest in our village and that the roads leading to the traffic circle by the police station were blocked. The taxi association (which is just a group of gangsters) were protesting the fact that they have to share the route with the MyCiti buses and were demanding compensation from the local authorities for the alleged impact the MyCiti public transport bus service was having on its business in and out to Hout Bay. Incidences of public violence included the stoning of private vehicles and MyCiti buses in and around Suikerbossie and Hout Bay Gateway Circle, as well as the burning of tires at the Circle.

The Public Order Police (aka the ‘riot squad’ or ‘POP’) arrived and fired rubber bullets and stun guns to disperse the crowds. We could hear the sirens coming into the valley but luckily could not hear the ‘gunshots’. It is still very traumatic and stressful to know that this chaos is happening just down the road from us. The area is damaged by the protestors so the impacts endure long after the actual rioting is over. The tax payers have to pay for the damaged busses and the roads to be repaired.

The drama continued into the early evening. All of the delivery services were unable to function due to intimidation and some of the restaurants could not open as their staff could not make it in to work. The rioters do not care that they are impacting other people’s safety and income.

Everyone was on high alert all week hoping it did not kick off again.

The local provincial governing party, the DA, did a test on contactability of the SA police stations (SAPS) via the details listed on the government website. SAPS is ‘National’ so is owned by the primary party, the ANC. In Cape Town we also have a ‘Metro’ force. Shockingly, only 44% of the 270 SAPS stations around SA that the DA phoned answered their phones at all. Most worryingly, 40% of these 270 SAPS stations had faulty numbers or were not operable and the remaining 15% did not even answer their phones after 2 minutes of ringing. Our police minister is an ignorant bully and our government is made up of gangsters so what should we expect?

That is something that drives me insane about this country but if I choose to live here, I have to accept the crime and corruption as well as the beauty and magnificent weather.

Anyway.

I put my new flowers right next to my desk so I can gaze at them all day. The colours are really exceptional.

I’ve cooked all week, but not always by choice! On Monday we could not get to the shops due to the violence and riots and the food delivery services were intimidated into closing. Luckily I had some frozen kingklip (fish) and some fries in the freezer so at least we did not starve.

Norm managed to get to the shops on Tuesday and that night we made our fave fillet steak and halloumi salad.

On Wednesday night I cooked some Kassler Chops and I really fancied a big plate of veggies so I sliced up some baby cabbage and fried it in butter, steamed some cauliflower and sprinkled it with lemon and popped some sweet potato cubes into the air fryer.

On Thursday I made a big pot of chili con carne and we invited our friend Mark over to have dinner with us. Finn was over the moon to have a visit from Uncle Hunter too of course. I made some over cooked dry quesadillas and sides and we were well fed.

Last night Norm and I had left over chili as we still had enough for one more meal. Once again I made guacamole and put out salsa, cheese and fromage frais as well as chips.

Last weekend the pots I had ordered from Toby, ‘That Pot Guy‘ were delivered. I ordered a set of 3 nesting ones which I will plant up later today.

Toby also has a Spring Special on offer of a darling little pot filled with the most divine succulents. At R160 for the pot and the plants that is for free! Toby packages them up so sweetly too.

I have ordered another bigger pot to go by my new paving. I love supporting local artists and brands. I’m finding that I am getting a lot of friend requests from friends of friends. Most of them want to market their brands or products to you but as I also have a ‘brand’ to market I am happy to do reciprocal support. However maybe some of these new contacts do not seem to see my writing as a ‘brand’ because I do not benefit from it financially, so support is not always reciprocated. Navigating human interactions is always a challenge to me. I think too much about motives due to my issues with trust.

But I’m trying………….

Until next time. Have a wonderful weekend and week ahead.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxoxox

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