Fairview Homestead | Philda Benkenstein
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Does the world really need another pancake recipe, is a good question to ask at this stage... I thought I'd share my story of how I became known as the 'pancake-asaurus' in our family. Yes, that was one of those little family words that we took the liberty of making up based on the amount of fluffy Canadian pancakes I could pack away, leaving my bigger brothers in the dust at age three. As I've mentioned on my blog before, my childhood was filled with vibrant adventures with my family that took us from living in a desert country on the West Coast of Africa to a small village in Canada where my father worked as a doctor. If there's one thing that the Canadians added to our quirky array of culinary favourites it is breakfast pancakes with maple syrup and bacon. To this day when we have family gatherings it usually involves my father (who's specialties include this, and cooking fish to absolute perfection) to don my mother's apron and get his hands dirty

I recently found the old Garden And Home Magazine (October 1998) with the article of our house - talk about a blast from the past: Romancing an era - a long-neglected historic George House gets a make-over... Because it was partly hidden behind high boundary walls, the true beauty of Fairview only became obvious once I drove through the new gates. Then the regal proportions and straight-lined design of the double storey dwelling, circa 1861, could be properly viewed.

We have just harvested the first beans of the season. I just have to share  our daughter's memories of harvesting beans with you: Long before I knew I would make a career of my passion for food, my childhood summers were marked by warm evenings congregated around the kitchen table, top- and tailing beans. In winter, my brothers and I were asked to squeezed one liter of orange juice per day as part of our daily chores and together with the bean harvest, these were the rhythms that marked the seasons of my childhood. As long as I can remember my father has been a keen vegetable gardener. He fought the odds in the harsh Namibian climate by building an elaborate shaded frame over his vegetable garden; and during one short summer spent in Canada, filled our basement with the sweetest sweet corn and buttery new potatoes. My mother has had to become very creative with my father’s harvests, be it spinach, broad beans or rhubarb there is always more than needed! She’s had to come up with a number of ways to preserve and capture the deliciousness for another day or season and this broad bean and garlic spread is just one of those recipes.

Certainly one of the joys of running a guesthouse is that you never know quite who will walk through the door...   imagesOne of my favorite stories is of when I had Robert Redford and Winnie Mandela staying over - well, maybe not quite: I received a call from a gentleman in San Francisco with a voice a smooth as Robert Redford's (I looove Robert Redford...) He told me that he had just e-mailed me a request for accommodation, but that he was phoning to make sure that I would not have a problem with his partner being black. That's where Winnie comes in.  

About a year ago my daughter introduced me to the joys of Pinterest. What an amazing way to organize your thoughts, plans and to get inspiration. (For inspiration  you may look at my Pinterest board  http://www.pinterest.com/phildab/linnekas-laundry-room/ ) And my other favourite: Houz As a guest house owner, the linen cupboard can be both a frustration and a joy - depending on how the Fairview Homestead linen cupboard users use or abuse it. Now I am not naturally the tidiest person on earth (my husband and daughter are...) I have to work at it. And for that, I need rules that I as well as the staff have to adhere to. We sort, fix or discard every 3 months.

One of the sites we market on, just asked to give the 'house rules' Which had me thinking... In the end this is what I gave them:  Fairview Homestead is a 7 bedroom guest house in B&B style - that means we, the owners, live on the premises. Our guest rooms are private, but we have a communal lounge/breakfast area for the guests. The only rules I can think of are : no non-paying guests in the bedrooms for longer than 10 minutes ; no cigarette buds in the garden, no unsupervised children in the swimming pool, be nice to the hosts...

Last Saturday evening we went to bed early as we only had one couple staying - only to be cruelly awoken at 11.45 by the gate bell being rung - repeatedly...  As I have a slight hearing impairment the bell is set to ring very loudly and to discourage people from ringing it repeatedly it is also set to ring loudly at the gate. Desmond went down to open the gate as we could see that these people were not taking 'no'  for an answer. To my surprise I could hear that he was actually booking them in - we normally, as a security measure, do not take off-street  bookings after hours. It transpired that they had made an online booking earlier and for some reason the text message notification never came through on my mobile phone, so I did not know about their arrival as I  never checked my computer between returning from a late afternoon movie, making dinner and retiring early. That they did not think it unacceptable to book in nearly midnight without prior arrangement just added to the chain of events of how things go very wrong when they start going wrong.