If you received our 2018 newsletter, please ignore this post!
I send out what is meant to be a festive season greeting once a year …. But I am never in time! This year our newsletter (to our data base of over 6000 people), went out part way through January. And the most rewarding aspect for me is the number of replies I get from all over the world and several from guests who stayed many years ago. Usually the news is happy and positive; sometimes sad with deaths in the family. But in this fast-paced changing world, there is such a feeling for me of connection and continuation in hearing about guests lives, their families and where they are at. I think this reply sums it up beautifully:
January 2018 Newsletter
Liz at Lancaster news
Life at Liz at Lancaster continues much as always. We have remained no 1 on TripAdvisor of 301 ‘B&Bs and Inns’ in Johannesburg for another year. This is thanks to the wonderful team at the guesthouse with each one having amazing strengths. And we are even more fortunate to have such an amazing clientele, so many of whom are regular ‘returnees’. In September a family (who all live in far-flung parts of the world) hosted a 90th birthday celebration for their Mom here at Liz at Lancaster. And a guest from the UK who comes to see her mother twice a year said on leaving “I have just worked out that this is my 20th visit” … so she has been a regular for 10 years.
And from another regular guest:
I really cannot say how much I appreciate having a now familiar bolt-hole and new friends in Johannesburg, and appreciate all the extra thoughtfulness that you, Catherine, Tagala, and Thandie give to the times I stay with you. I have been telling everyone I know to stay with you 🙂
And we love this feedback from a first-time guest on the differences between preconceived perceptions of Joburg and actual experiences:
Paul was worried about staying in Johannesburg because it does have a bad press at home but we both agree so far it has been the best part of our holiday and we will recommend it to people along with your lovely guest house when we get back.
Those whom I have referred to will all recognize yourselves!
Flash flood in October
Liz had a wonderful 2 and half week trip to Ethiopia in September/October. However, the afternoon before she returned to Jozi from Ethiopia, Liz at Lancaster had a flash flood. The back wall collapsed bringing with it a wall of water plus of course concrete slabs and bricks. Fortunately the guest had not yet checked into the room. It was very consuming in terms of time, energy and head-space to get it all rebuilt, repaired, refurbed and up and running. But we did it! And the new look has met with great approval!! The coral-red colour has disappeared and the flatlet’s namesake now resides in pieces of stark white coral!
On the political front
The broader political situation in South Africa is a whole separate communication in itself. The country has been left reeling after the peeling away of the layers of corruption and state capture by the infamous Gupta family. However, although Zuma has put Zupta-allies into positions of power across the board, we are still left with an independent judiciary (who are dealing with Zuma’s criminal charges) and a free press who have been extraordinary in their exposure of the corruption. Almost all feel that Ramaphosa has been given a poisoned chalice with his new role as president of the ANC – with his top 6 comprising 3 Zumarites (and 2 of them with shocking reputations of corruption) as well an 80 strong National Executive which shows a continuation of the status quo rather than a new broom. 2018 is going to be an even tougher year politically and economically and of course SA’s major ongoing challenge (amongst many others) is the huge unemployment, and the horrendous gap between rich and poor. It continues to be a country of startling contradictions fraught with political tensions and yet also extraordinary goodwill. To our north, Zimbabweans have been filled with renewed hope now that the old man has finally left.
We hope that we will connect with many of in the upcoming year. Thank you for your on-going support and if you have not stayed with us, we hope that when you next enquire we will have ‘room at the inn’ for you. May 2018 be a safe, prosperous and peaceful one for you all.
All the very best from all at Liz at Lancaster: Liz, Mr.T, Catherine and Thandie as well as Rose and Alick