Fairview Homestead | Philda Benkenstein
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Garden Room / 02.04.2020

This small,12 m², freestanding Garden Room, built more than 150 years ago as a storeroom and today used as a quaint guest room in the garden for friends and family - and the odd guest in need of overnight accommodation. We fitted it with a coffee station, bar fridge,...

My Guest House Life / 12.12.2019

9 people sharing, 8 people asking, 7 agents phoning, 6 guests a-parking, 5 children swimming, 4 telephones ringing, 3 drop-ins knocking, 2 couples asking, 1 call for 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 27 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).

This year we will be spending Christmas on the Namibian coast, leaving Fairview in the capable hands of Thereasa. We will be accompanied by our two Namibian born children and their small families. Most of the time will be spent on the coast - a week in Walvis Bay where Desmond can windsurf to his heart's content and a week in Swakopmund where the children can play in the rock pools and the parents can laze under umbrellas. 

And on that note we would like to wish all our guests (and potential new guests) a blessed Christmas season.


My Guest House Life / 28.11.2019

As a Guest House, I joined an accommodation bartering site called Swop and Stay.  I love their website - the swops work on a point system (you do not have to stay with the establishment that you host) The automated swop process, once you have accepted the swop request, makes the process of gaining or losing points so much easier.

Swapping accommodation with fellow accommodation providers makes so much sense. Not only do we get to stay for free, but we also get to establish network opportunities and we get to learn from each other.

Food and Feast / 13.08.2019

The peppadews growing at Fairview self-seeds and we find ourselves in a constant supply of these deliciously piquant little peppers. The green shaped ones will all turn red at some stage - I quite like the look of a combination of green and red in one jar. I use it in omelets, pasta dishes, in salad and stuffed with cream cheese it makes a lovely snack served with an ice-cold beer. When we lived in Shoal Lake in Canada, I had a Ukranian neighbour (Baba Stech) who taught me a thing or two about pickling, but a word of special thanks have to go to David Elston who got the plants from us, but took the pickling process to the next level. I gladly share my recipe with you:

Garden Room / 27.06.2018

When our children were still in school they formed a band and, as you know, a band needs to practice. When you grow up in a house that is your home as well as a guest house that proves to be a problem. Our children's solution was to claim a small storeroom below the swimming pool as their little music den. They called it Shanty 21. I asked Alex: 'why 21?' and he answered: ' every abode needs a number...' I suppose when you are 16 years old 21 sounds like a grand number to be. Shanty was kitted out with seating - discarded rickety chairs, logs covered with old carpets, lots of candles and cobwebs for ambiance - the perfect music den. The words 'herein lie the sound of music' were added next to the crude signage of 'Shanty 21'.

Fairview Homestead, Heritage matters / 12.02.2018

We bought Fairview in 1994 and took up the challenge to restore this historic George landmark. People often express their surprise that we had the property listed immediately after we bought it. There is a general misconception that when you buy a heritage property you will not be allowed to alter your home or to add modern conveniences. Heritage properties adapted to modern-day function will ensure that they are preserved for future generations. Tips for living in a listed building: