Our children were all three still in primary school when we moved into Fairview. Within months I received my first paying guest and our children had to learn a new set of rules: ask before you take fruit out of the fruit bowl, tell me when you finish the juice or milk, no sport equipment lying around, no loud music, no loud shouting and the one that drove them to distraction - no telephone calls on my dedicated guest house telephone number! This was prior mobile telephones and even though we had a private number too, their friends would phone on the guest house number and that would not be tolerated as their teenage calls could go on for hours.
In 1994 we moved from Namibia to a town called George on the Garden Route in South Africa - we found this 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.
We embraced the challenge to restore this historic George landmark – always bearing in mind that the challenge in restoring and maintaining any old building remains to stay true to the authenticity of the structure. We are so thankful that the grounds remained large enough to give the house a garden it deserves too.
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.
In March 2008 we had as guest the granddaughter of one of the Stander daughters. She sent me a poem written by her grand-mother. On weekends the daughters would stroll down to the Kat River and obviously, the young Maria met a young man from the other side of the river whom her parents did not approve of.
George wat nie veel geskiedkundige argitektuur het om mee te spog nie, kan gelukkig nou tog groots wees op die Kaapse Georgiaanse styl woning, Fairview wat met groot sorg en toewyding gerestoureer is deur die huidige eienaars, Mev Philda en Dr Desmond Benkenstein.
Alhowel reeds in 1841 tot stand gekom het, is meeste van die dorp se karaktervolle en geskiedkundige huise gesloop. Fairview wat terugdateer na 1861, dien vandag as 'n gesinswoning en as smaakvolle ingerigte gastehuis. Die gasteboek getuig daarvan dat toeriste vanoor die wêreld dit 'n verruklike ondervinding gevind het om hier tuis te gaan.