It was built for family and friends – and for acquaintances who would soon be friends. The family room was Harry’s pet project and from the day it was finished, it opened its arms widely to travelers from near and far. Continue reading
“But where will they stay?” asked Emily. “We’ll sort out something,” reassured Harry, “You must tell them to come.” It was the perfect excuse – he’d been itching to build for some time. In his mind’s eye, he’d already envisaged it: a beautiful space, large enough for a small family if necessary, where dinner guests, hunting companions and friends could stay over when they came to visit. Riley, Harry, Bridget and Bernadette, whoever it might be… all the nearest and dearest people he and Emily had gathered around them over the years – and those who were still to come.
This was the first time his darling Emily would have her extended family visiting them, here in their little slice of paradise. Emily’s cousin had (for once!) given plenty of warning, sending word that he would like to pay her and Harry a visit the following summer. He would travel with his wife and two children and already Emily was planning activities for her young second cousins. Hunting for shells and other treasures on the beach, perhaps riding horses along the dunes. “You are most welcome to join us here for as long as you may wish to stay,” Emily wrote to them. It had been so many years since they had seen each other. “It would be our great joy to host you.”
And so the matter was settled and Harry arranged for extra accommodations to be built. “It must be a generous space, in every way” he declared, “able to welcome them all, in comfort and elegance.” “Are you sure it’s a good idea?” asked Emily, “What if they don’t end up coming?” “No matter,” declared Harry. “In that case, the rooms will be filled with hunting guests and dinner guests and anyone who may wish to use them!”
Without further delay, the quarters were begun and – impressively – they were finished in no time and beautifully furnished to receive their guests.
Of course, no sooner had the first guests departed than the room was filled again with the excited chatter of Emily’s sister Katy visiting from the Rand, with the guttural laughs of Riley and Harry, and with the French murmurings of Bridget and Bernadette. The family room was here to stay, and it wasn’t long before Harry and Emily’s home became known far and wide as a beacon of hospitality in this wild corner of Africa.