Granny Mouse, a glorious place to unwind…

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Autumn leaves along the path

It was a glorious autumn morning, a chill filled the air and all around the plane trees were shedding their leaves. Our welcome was warm and our new suite absolutely superb. It didn’t take long for us to forget the hectic work schedules we’d left behind.

My husband and I had been invited up for a couple of days to check out the area. As would be expected, I was interested in finding out what made this wonderful establishment ‘tick’ from an environmental and community aspect. Daryl however, fly rod in hand, had an ‘appointment’ with a wonderful stretch of Midlands water…

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Our ‘home’ for the weekend

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…and a few things from ‘Granny’s’ house to make you feel right at home!

Renowned for its home from home hospitality and elegant comfort, Granny Mouse Country House and Spa invites relaxation. The by-line that says ‘Welcome Home’ is evident at every turn – wonderful sofas invite you to curl up with a book, quirky décor from yester-year reminds one of Grandma’s home and delicious cappuccinos and wonderfully wholesome food are all served with a smile. And it’s no wonder, as Granny Mouse owners, Gill and Mark, are actively involved in every intimate detail at the hotel, and committed to empowering their staff wherever possible.  A number of staff members are currently on a development path, including Wayne the current GM – he was front office manager and has been groomed through the ranks to his current position. Vincent the restaurant manager was a barman and is currently studying to get his qualifications in F&B as a manager. Busi started in the scullery and is currently their head waitress and is about to commence training as a restaurant manager. Cynthia, who also started in the scullery and is now junior chef de partie responsible for all the breads.

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So very inviting!

This philosophy of empowerment does not only apply to F&B staff – Lauren started as Spa therapist and is now on a management programme as she has been promoted to head therapist. Zinhle joined Granny Mouse as a waitress and is now a Spa massage therapist and is busy working through the different modules to qualify as a Spa therapist. Gill laughs when she tells me this story, “it caused a bit of concern in this conservative community, but the wonderful thing is that those who questioned this appointment now make use of it the most!” I couldn’t agree more, as my one hour back massage, professionally administered by Zinhle, was over way too quickly.

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Leaves, glorious leaves…

I savoured the relaxation for longer than I should have then took a walk through the beautiful gardens, enjoying the playful way the leaves swished in the air before landing gracefully on the ground. I love this time of year, piles of leaves everywhere –a nightmare for the gardeners though, whose constant job it is to keep the pathways clean. “Just leave them” I though to myself, suppressing the urge to jump onto the mound of leaves like a kid. So this is what Granny Mouse does to you? I continued down the path with a smile, admiring the fountains.

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The water pours over repurposed corrugated iron

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My favourite… a repurposed fireplace!

The fountains are something of a talking point here. They are all repurposed in some way or other – using corrugated iron from the old roof sheets, old taps from bathrooms and even an old fireplace! When the owners bought the property, much renovation was required and a new block of suites was constructed – barely any rubble was carted off to landfill as most was repurposed or used as fill for the new build. The new build offered the opportunity of adding new greener options, a wonderful idea but one that was fraught with problems. The newly installed low-flow shower heads had to be replaced due to some guests demanding high water flow showers, and the low energy lighting ‘was not bright enough’. But never to be deterred, a plan was in place to replace with the more costly option of LED lighting.

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A screen wall built from reclaimed bricks

Perhaps electricity and water are not a strong point, but they certainly make up for this with their small carbon footprint where recycling and procurement is concerned. Being located in a dairy area, it is obvious that the milk, cream and butter are local, but chatting to the executive chef, I learn that the bacon, chickens, eggs and even the beef comes from ‘just down the road’ as do most of the fresh vegetables and some of the fruit. Evan takes delight in stretching the boundaries where food is concerned, and challenged me to try something different. And this I did with a desert of chocolate coated camembert truffles… delicious.

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Just the place to enjoy a tasty treat

Granny Mouse is definitely a great place to unwind, whether it’s serious relaxation and pampering onsite, or more actively enjoying the breath-taking scenery of the area and all that the Midlands Meander has to offer. And yes, if you’re wondering, my husband enjoyed the ‘relax’ just as much as I did, and caught a few brown trout too – catch and release of course.

www.grannymouse.co.za

words & pics – Tessa Buhrmann

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