Life, glugs and other things

Where to even begin!?

The last month and a bit has been something else – I, honestly, don’t know where to begin.

I guess I can start with my biggest distraction – Eevee. If you read my last blog post, you will know that my sweet kitty, Persia, died very suddenly 2 months ago. It was the most terribly, emotional, guilty month that followed – I missed her so much (and still do), I felt guilty for what had happened, that I couldn’t do more for her, etc. My sister convinced my husband that it might be better for all of us if we get a new kitten because Persia had left a hole in our lives – not only mine, but in Jemima’s (our other cat), and our house felt empty and sad. Queue the ginger and white fur ball, Eevee (yes, she is named after a pokemon, getoverit):

20161120_192312

The sweetest, most affectionate kitten I have ever come across, and does she love her adopted mamma. I have never had a cat that greets me at the door for cuddles the way that this one does – sufficed to say, I am besotted.

On another note, I began physio about a month ago too – I have been having niggling pain in my back for ages and have been, diligently, ignoring it until it got to a point where it wouldn’t go away and it was affecting my ability to do simple things – like dry my feet when I get out of the shower, so I called up and booked a session with a physio, which has transpired into ongoing sessions with the physio that included acupuncture and the most painful “massage’s” I have ever had. She literally “massages” my back with her elbow while small talking with me…and expects me to legibly answer her as I go red in the face while gasping for oxygen and making indentations in the “massage” (torture) table with my clenched fingers while, simultaneously, trying to stop myself from launching through the roof and subsequent 30 floors of the building.

The acupuncture is easy peasy in comparison.

Anyways, as a rule, I am allowed only swimming as exercise, which has now been extended to light yoga and sitting on a stationary bike for 20 minutes (thank god for Netflix is all I’m saying about this one). Today, my swimming session was followed by a very tough 10 minute sauna session. Hard life, innit.

Jean and I spent a weekend in Edinburgh this last weekend, which was fantastic – if you havent been, you should go! Shan’t go too much into it (because I couldnt be arsed to give more details than this…sorry folks), but, apparently, we bought the Scotland chill back with us, because London has gone arctic this week. I’ve reached the point where I dont care if the gas bill is going to cost me the equivalent of my annual salary, as long as the heating is on, life is good. Also, who says cats need to go outside – going outside requires leaving a window open, and under no circumstances shall a window be open for more time than it requires to (quickly) replenish the air flow in the house, and then it shall be closed – with haste, and an impressive slam.

On the bright side, everything is delightfully christmassy which is my favourite part of this time of year. This weekend Im going Mary Claus on the house…not that I have high hopes that the christmas tree will survive longer than a day with Eevee in the house. Her favourite toys do include, after-all, rolly cigarette filters (she actually steals these from Jean or from his bag and runs away with them because she knows we’ll take them away from her), a catnip mouse, a potted plant, Jean’s laptop bag, Jemima – and anything that is not specifically a toy but that can be played with especially if she should not be playing with it…like christmas decorations. Her favourite toys are definitely NOT anything that is specifically a cat toy.

Enough drivel for one day.

Peas.

Good night, my fluff

Its taken me the better part of two weeks to be able to put this down in words, but as you may know, my poor kitty, Persia, was sick and at the vet 2 weeks ago. On the Friday evening, I received a call from the vet to tell me she had tested positive for FIP, which is a fatal virus that 70% of cats dont survive. He had said that they has been treating her for it since she arrived on the Tuesday prior and that they would continue treating until the following Monday. If no improvement by the Monday, we’d have to make a decision on what to do. This devastated me. I sat in my sister garden crying my eyes out for ages, and then laying on her bed staring into space for hours after that – how had this happened to my cat?

At 8am on the Saturday morning, I got a call from the vet which I missed. As soon as I saw the number when I picked up my phone, my heart dropped into my stomach. I dialed back, spoke to vet and heard the words that broke my heart…my poor, sweet girl had passed away in the night. She had just been too sick.

11817065_10153543913610701_6814757604141479850_n

I cant explain how I felt after that. I am sure any person who has lost someone close to them would know – I am not saying that a cat is a person, but my cat was my family…she was never just “a cat” to me. She was every bit a part of my life, as real to me as any one of my human family members, and I miss her so very much.

I have been struggling to cope with the fact that she became so ill and passed away so quickly. I mean, one minute she was fine, the next she was gone. I guess that’s how life and death works though.

Jean and I went to see her that Saturday afternoon to say our goodbyes – it was one of the worst moments of my life thus far. The amount of pain, heartache, emptiness, despair, sorrow. I cant even explain it. I said to Jean that it felt like it was my fault because we had wanted to let them outside and not 4 months after moving into a house with a garden she had gotten sick and died. At least I have solace in the fact that we gave her the best life that we could; that we rescued her from a terrible shelter fate; that she was loved and loved us (as best a cat can – but I have no doubt that she did).

Jemima has been missing her sister cat – she meows a lot for no reason and is particularly affectionate and needy – even to me, whom she usually runs away from.

I read a great blog quote the other day that explained this all very well:

There are heart cats, and there are soul cats. Both are wonderful.
A soul cat, in the words of artist-writer Joyce Fredericks L’Heureaux, is “a sensitive, warm companion…affectionate and moody personality; the soft and gentle friend who reminds us that it is okay to be ourselves.”
These are the cats who become our kindred spirits. Losing them is much like losing a second self, and we don’t get over the loss. There is no statute of limitations on grief over a cat, any more than there is on grief over a human.

Rest is Peace, my little Mungo. I miss you every day.

11745852_10153520001775701_2263590748038030654_n

 

Take me to Copenhagen

I haven’t been to many countries, but out of the few that I have, the Scandics were always my favourite. My weekend trip to Copenhagen cemented that for me.

I mean where do I even start?

Firstly, London can take its over priced mediocre food and get bent. Really. There was not one bite of food that I had in Copenhagen that wasn’t utterly delicious. Every coffee that I drank was tasty – nothing bitter, nothing too strong – all just right. The food is so flavoursome and rich – and real. I had a simple breakfast at a quaint cafe in Nyhavn which consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, some sausages, Danish cheese, fruit, yogurt, shaved nuts, some blueberries and honey – and some Smørrebrød (which is just butter and bread, but it was insisted that I call it this)…and yes, if it sounds like it was a lot of food – it was. I only needed to eat breakfast and dinner there, because breakfast kept you going all day (which I attribute partly to the rich, real-ness of the food – it is nutritious enough to keep you full – and there was enough of it…and it was tasty enough to want to inhale it).

14590245_10154615593550701_899520547673304495_n

Food aside, the city itself is wonderful. It is mostly flat (both in terrain and architecture), with not many buildings being higher than 5 floors. Everything is well spaced – not like London – and there is a massive bicycle culture. I was planning on hiring a bicycle and cycling around, but, thankfully, I was a bit hungover and decided against it…having spent some time outside observing bicycles after that, I am convinced I would have died – I mean, driving a bicycle (problem one) around millions of other cyclists (problem two) on busy roads (problem three) on the wrong side of the road (RED LIGHT problem four). By the end of the weekend, I was very wary of stepping off a pavement for fear of it being  a conspicuous bicycle lane that would result in either a collision or an angry Dane shouting angry illegible words at me.

It was colder than I had expected and went a bit under-prepared and so ended up wearing everything warm that I owned every day, but I dont mind the cold, so I was mostly quite happy.

We spent the first night at the Ibsens hotel in the north of the city…all I’ll say about this hotel is A. they have the comfiest beds I have ever slept in and the warmest duvets that make you feel like a little baby kangaroo in its mother’s pouch (I loved them enough to actually go and buy one of these duvets, which is on this winter’s list) and B. traditional Danish local produced continental breakfast buffet…OMG. (Can you tell that I loved breakfast?) The next day saw us at a meeting with the client we went to visit, who kindly took us to the top of their 19 floor building for spectacular aerial views:

14492323_10154613644210701_7870891244749895505_n

That evening, we went off to Copenhagen Food Market for dinner and drinks with friends of mine from South Africa…if you are ever in Copenhagen, do yourself a favour and go here! Its a huge warehouse type vibe on Papirøen (Paper Island) that houses loads of independent street food vendors with a communal bar area in the middle…try the Basil Collins cocktail (if you are into gin and yumminess),but beware…I was quite hungover the next morning thanks to these babies. As for the food – everything looked and smelled amazing, but I had the Brazilian mixed meat dish which I devoured.

The next day was spent milling around Freetown Christiania and Christiansborg Palace which, as far as i can tell, it a formal residence for the Danish Royal family. We then walked around one of the main shopping districts, took a quick trip up the round tower for more aerial views:

14611025_10154613606555701_6765150031513306616_n

Later, we headed to the Meat-packing district (Kødbyen) for dinner, but it was jam packed, so we ended up at a quaint little restaurant close to the area in Vesterbro (which I was staying in anyway). I had guinea fowl for dinner…the chicken of the roads as I called them in South Africa. Again, totally delicious.

Freetown Christiana is like an independent part of the city which the police tend to turn a blind eye on – it is mostly run by hippies, is very dilapidated and graffitti’ed and felt very gritty to me. Tourists arent really allowed to take pictures because of the possibility that you might catch a drug deal in the act while snapping away (not a word of a lie…this is legit)…read about it here. Sufficed to say, I strolled, I stole a few snaps and I left.

My last day was an early one, where I went down to Nyhavn for a stroll and the aforementioned breakfast – I am so glad I went…

14522942_10154615593665701_4453223503651374344_n14650673_10154615593775701_2586482771723851075_n

After a glorious morning stroll and some souvenir buying, I met Vicky and Jack at the National Museum where we educated ourselves before heading back to our respective residences to collect our bags and head off home.

If you have not been to Copenhagen, book a flight right now and go. You wont regret it one bit and, like me, you’ll never want to leave. I mean, it is totally on my list of places to live when we decide to vacate the UK one day in the far future.

Peas x

How the mighty fall

For various personal reasons, I wont divulge too much personal information this time around, but all I can say is that I am never going to comment on how well my life is going or how happy I am ever again because it seems to set a series of events in motion that cause utter catastrophe. At the moment, if I could choose to live someone else’s life, I would.

This is all entirely personal – work is going well, I passed my probation (with flying colours, if that is possible), and I am really in the swing of things now – some days, the methodicalness of work is all that keeps me sane.

The point I wanted to write something today is because I feel that many people just dont understand some things. I am referring specifically to being a pet owner. My sweet, lovely, precious, poor fluff, Persia is currently sitting in vet hospital on a drip undergoing loads of tests. She became ill a few weeks ago when we noticed she wasn’t herself. We took her to the vet, she had some blood tests, shots and fluids, and went home. She seemed to get better for a day or so (which we have attributed to the fluids she received to re-hydrate her). Fast forward a week and she had stopped eating and drinking too. I rushed her off to the vet yesterday (Tuesday morning) where she has been kept overnight having received more blood tests, xrays, a drip to re-hydrate her and god-knows-what-else. The vet has called and said to me that – well, he said a lot to me, but for brevity sake, she could have one of three possible things wrong with her…one of which is incurable and untreatable. She’s 5 years old for heavens sake.

The reason for this post is that other people, who dont own a pet or perhaps dont love animals (or just dont understand), probably think that I am severely deranged to be upset about my cat. I mean its just a cat after all?

Is your child “just” a child?

No. If she was just a cat, I wouldn’t have forked out £1000 to move her to England with me. She is a member of my family and a piece of my heart. So when I am told, in jest or not, “oh, just put her down”…well, I’ll remember to suggest the same next time your child has to go to see a doctor.

All Im saying is that, while cats may not mean much to many people, they mean a lot to their owners – they are not disposable house ornaments. They are family members, and their family members also deserve a little compassion when they are sick.

Sleep Records

I am so effing tired this week, and I cant for the life of me say why. Im getting my usually 7-8 hours of sleep every night, but I feel like I could sleep for another 4 hours and still not have had enough. I suspect all this travelling may have something to do with it…although I haven’t even really traveled this week – with the exception of a very quick trip to Reading for a meeting. I know I have weekends to sleep in, but, to be honest, the satisfaction of waking up mid-week and being able to say “Im going to sleep a bit more” is far immenser (…is that a word? I dont think so) than being able to sleep late on a day that was intended for sleeping late.

Speaking of travelling – I mentioned that I have Copenhagen and Amsterdam coming up in September…I also have a day trip to Belfast next month, and a potential weekend in Edinburgh in November, which I am also planning on getting Jean up for as he hasn’t yet seen any of Scotland. Much excitement. Im also trying to find a good destination to take Jess to for her 21st next year. I was thinking of Alicante. This is all in addition to needing to buy our tickets back for our 3 weeks holiday in Cape Town for April…although if I leave that until October, it wont be the end of the world.

With much excitement, we are braai’ing this weekend. Because I have, effectively, been deprived of this birth right for the past 2 years, I still get excited every time we braai. And now that we have our own braai, all the better (if you have comments about the fact that it is a gas braai and, therefore, not a real braai…get bent. This is England, not South Africa – we do the best we can).

Things at home are now back to normal – well, “new” normal, as we have an extra body officially living with us. I was saying to Jean that I really do love having Jess live with us. Its nice to be able to meander into her room and flop on the bed with her, or stand in the kitchen, and talk shit. I think my mom is still getting used to this idea of her having her own life and her own space thing…shan’t mention why, but it was a lol.

Tonight I am going to a BBQ at a colleagues house for our team. Judging by the amount of alcohol that been bought and the extra amounts being brought by everyone else, tomorrow is going to be a nightmare. Thank Ra I didnt plan any meetings for tomorrow. I still have a standing plan to attempt to go to gym…I dont think its very realistic, but Im giving myself kudos for even thinking I might be able to do it.

Anyway, that is my drivel for this week.

Peace!

As you like it

4 weeks ago, I started the Ultimate You Challenge, which is hosted by South African health group SleekGeek. The premise is that you compete in this challenge as motivation to change your life and adopt healthier habits (diet, exercise, etc). I started it on a whim, opted with a paleo lifestyle…and away I went. 4 weeks later, Im 6.5 kg down, Ive started going to gym again regularly (well as regularly as my work day allows, which in the past two weeks has been not much), Ive stuck to paleo (mostly)…Ive had a few cheat days, which I dont like to call a cheat because I chose to eat whatever it was that I ate knowing it wasnt paleo. The point is that I enjoyed whatever it was and then carried on with my paleo lifestyle…I didnt destroy an entire day with eating a load of junk. More importantly, I feel so much better on the inside. I feel healthy and together, which is what is important.

Moving countries plays havoc with your life in so, so many ways. It is a MAJOR life change in every day – diet included, and it has fully taken a long time to get my head back in th right space to focus on health.

Last week (probably to my detriment), I discovered this range of amazing, paleo sweet treats called Nak’d…everything is fruit and nut based, but it tastes so moreish and divine. I’ve been good about limiting my indulgence….except today. I think I went a bit overboard today. Shh. Whatever. Think I’ll hold off on the Nak’d bars for a few days before I end up putting on 6 kgs worth of dates and cashew nuts.

Tomorrow is my little brother’s last day of his 3 week holiday in the UK – I cant believe it is over already. Much has happened over the last 3 weeks…my mom has moved out of her house and into ours for a few days before my brother leaves, after which she moves in with friends for a few months. My lounge currently look like a storage container (and so does my garage) and, at any given time, there is a live body or two (be that a human 0r a feline body) strewn across some piece of furniture…5 humans and two cats in a 2 bedroom house is a bit of a lol. Jean said to me on Sunday that the neighbours must think something along the lines of “those effing South Africans…they get a two bedroom house and move 6 families in”.

As a result of my departed step father (if you dont know this story, then all you need to know if that my mother’s husband is a massive doos (for those non-south africans: directly translated it means “box”; indirectly translated it means he is a c**t) and that he deserves only the very worst things in life. Like piles, tinnitus, possibly a bit of syphilis, his car being keyed, tyres slashed…basically anything that makes one really, REALLY miserable and uncomfortable for the rest of their forlorn, miserable life)…as I was saying, step father + collateral damage = cat. Our poor (depending on how you look at it) family cat, Mau was rendered homeless by this move and was due to live with my sister. We discovered within the first 12 hours of his being at her home, that he is a vicious mother trucker of a cat and that her cats just couldnt deal, so he had to be re-homed (again). This is where the “depending on how you look at it” comes in. Keran managed to find him a home with a lovely old bat near Kensington palace (no less) who is retired, alone and wants nothing more than a companion cat whom she can spoil (doesnt seem too poorly now, does he?). He has been renamed to Lucan (what?), but he is adored by this lady, which we are so grateful for. Even if he has a weird name. We also have visitation rights and first claim if she pegs…which we hope she doesnt…obvs.

Well…this has been a lot of rambling this post. I guess the only things left to mention are that I am going to Copenhagen and Amsterdam in September for work…which shall transpire into weekends spent in both cities. I plan to plan (?) it so that Jean can fly up to Amsterdam and spend the weekend with me..which shall essentially be my 31st birthday celebration (red light district and hash brownies…um…). Much excitement….and stoked to be back in a job where I get to travel a little bit.🙂

Anyway…to everyone who moaned at me for not blogging often enough, are you happy now?🙂

Peace x

Like a room without a roof!

I am in such a great place at the moment – I woke up this morning singing to the bluebirds while they sang back to me. Okay, not really…firstly, I cant sing, and secondly, there are no bluebirds where I live – but that’s how I feel🙂

We are loving our new home. It is amazing what difference living in a house and having a garden makes. We dont feel trapped in our space, our cats are able to roam around freely and we have an abundance of space. Last night, as we sat outside chatting and drinking coffee (for Jean) and tea (for me), a fox meandered across our garden a few times – not bothered by our presence or the cats at all, it was quite lovely.

Jean and I spent a good few hours gardening (yes, you read that correctly) on Sunday. We ripped out a flowerbed full of, what appeared to be, weeds (if they were actual plants, they were very ugly and weed looking), dug a proper flowerbed, pulled up some grass and toiled the soil. Next weekend (or today f my husband feels so inclined :P) we’ll be planting the bunch of flowers we have bought for the new flowerbed – which includes lavender, sweetpeas, sunflowers…and some other flowery stuff. Including a rose bush.We also have a farm’s worth of vegetables and herbs to plants, but that might be a job for another flowerbed and a homemade greenhouse.

Work is also going well. After two years in the UK, I ave finally found my place. I’ve found a company and a brand that I believe in and support as much as I did with dg Store (the company I worked for before I left SA). Its a place that recognises potential and encourages people to do and be their best, and rewards their employees in abundance. I cant even explain how happy I am to be at this company, and it makes all the difference in my life in general.

Part of my extreme happiness today is that, by the end of July, I should be able to book flights back to Cape Town for a 3 week holiday in April next year. I cant flippen wait!! I said to Jean that I amazed that I feel so excited bout going back on holiday, but I really am so excited. I cant wait to see my family and my friends, and to chill out in the sunshine, and shop til I drop (…because exchange rate. And end of summer sales. HELLO).

Speaking of travelling and being in the UK 2 years – 28th June is officially our 2 year UK anniversary. How fast the last 2 years have gone – and how accustomed to life we have become here. I often think about how weird things, that were normal to me, will be so strange when we go back to Cape Town on holiday. Like having someone pump your petrol for you (whaaattt!?) and not having self service check out in supermarkets (which means I have to talk to the teller :/)…and the currency! Rand notes and coins really look very odd to me now. Also, actual sunshine for extended periods of time NOT interrupted by rain😀

Anyway, enough dreaming for one day!

Mush!