“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and to attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you;” This passage in the Bible from 1 Thessalonians 4:11; could not be more appropriate as a personal mission statement that I adopted many years ago.
We continue to be grateful for the wonderful privilege of staying in such a beautiful place. Every morning when I walk out the front door of our house, I am greeted by a new painting that God has created of our valley. Late afternoons we enjoy the peace and tranquillity that settles all around us.
This past year has seen the guest house much busier than the previous year, our occupancy in the second year is more than 50% higher than the first year. Our tea garden has also grown by almost 10%. Significantly we have seen an increase in functions and group bookings, both in the guest house as well as the tea garden. What we enjoy the most, is seeing guests that stayed with us before, return for more of the peace and beauty and delicious food at Over the Mountain.
We became more involved in the community by actively contributing our time and expertise. I now serve as treasurer on both the Herold Community Police Forum as well as the Outeniqua Tourism Association. The Police Forum, an initiative between the community and the local police, presented three successfully delivered events (a youth day, woman’s day and a men’s day), that saw hundreds of participants in each of the days. Police statistics showed significant reduction in criminal activity before and after each of these events. Herold Primary School asked Estelle to teach Maths for the Grade 6 and 7’s, once a week, on a voluntary basis. It gives her great pleasure to help change their attitude towards Maths and to see their faces light up when they suddenly have a better understanding of previously impossible concepts to comprehend.
We continue to be so proud of our staff. It is such a joy to see how they have grown in confidence and ability. We now have 6 full time staff and 3 part-time support. Hansie continues to tend and develop our beautiful garden while Jonathan does general maintenance and continues to help Gerrit with the building renovations. Sanna remains our best housekeeper in the world and is assisted by Anna and Maureen. In the Tea Garden Ronel and Michaela, with the help of Stacey have become invaluable in the success of our business. Our greatest pleasure this past year has been the addition of Liezl, our chef, to the staff. Estelle’s life has taken a huge turn for the better when Liezl joined our team.
Some of the most obvious changes and improvements are the following;
- During the past year, we completed the renovation of one of the bathrooms and the kitchen in the old Farm House.
- The major project that we tackled and completed during the year was the renovation of the main kitchen in the Police Station building.
- Upgrading our borehole and water system after we lost our regular water supply from the neighbouring farm.
- We finally got around to putting a floor in Gerrit’s workshop and cladding it.
- The fireplace in the main lounge and reception area has also received a facelift.
- Estelle continued with upgrading of the linen and improving the décor in our Guest units.