Fairview Homestead | 7 days to Christmas…7 guests a-parking, 6 agents phoning, 5 children swimming, 4 people sharing, 3 drop ins knocking, 2 couples asking, 1 guest-house owner multitasking
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7 days to Christmas…7 guests a-parking, 6 agents phoning, 5 children swimming, 4 people sharing, 3 drop ins knocking, 2 couples asking, 1 guest-house owner multitasking

… and no golden eggs. Yes, it’s that time of the year again…

You have to understand – as much as I hate the start of blaring ‘Jingle Bells, jingle bells,jingle bells’ rocking in my ears while I’m shopping for our daily bread, eggs, bacon, mushrooms… IN OCTOBER! As much, do I love the advent of Christmas? I light my 4 candles in anticipation of the last candle – one on each Sunday and the last candle we light on Christmas eve. I hang an advent wreath on our front door, I use my navy blue cloth napkins with the golden stars that my children helped me to stencil on when they were small. There is always a small Christmas tree – often one concocted with thorn tree branches. In Namibia ( where we lived for 13 years) this is quite a traditional Christmas tree – the thorns are perfect to hang the tree decorations from and I also find the thorn tree symbolic of the thorn wreath that was put on Christ’s head during the crucifixion.

Our friends in the northern hemisphere probably find it incomprehensible that we can have Christmas without snow, but yes that is our reality: Christmas day temperatures average about 25 degrees Celsius. Some people do the whole hot meal with turkey and gammon, others prefer to go the more sensible route of salads and cold meat or salads accompanied by meat grilled over the coals (a braai).

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We normally close our guest house to online bookings over the December holidays so that our close family can selfishly enjoy their family home. We do have a select few guests who negotiate a stay over the festive season – they are the ones who can live with the fact that at this time of the year, you’ll find the deck chairs draped with diving suits; spear guns and fishing rods will be propped up against the walls; surfboards will lie on the lawn and lunches on the back porch can easily extend into cocktails in the rose garden before the braai fire is lit for dinner.

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Christmas dinner on the back porch with family and neighbors

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Philda Benkenstein
benkenstein@mweb.co.za

In 1995 we moved from Namibia to a town called George on the Garden Route in South Africa - we found a wonderful property,first registered in 1861. The place was very neglected, but I undertook to start a guest house, so that the house could at least pay for its own upkeep after the restoration, and of course - for Desmond's garden. That is the start of my life as a guest house owner and this is the story of a house and garden,lovingly restored and shared with our guests, with family and friends...

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