Where minutes seem to last for glorious hours

FANS of the TV programme 10 Years Younger will remember that every week its star was a dowdy, younger-than-she-looked woman. The challenge was to knock 10 years off her age using all the latest (often painful) technology.

Imagine then if there was a way of achieving this transformation without any pain whatsoever. In fact it’s pleasure all the way and it only takes a few hours.

This miracle, if you want to call it that, was achieved during a recent stay at De Oude Klok country guesthouse nearby Jeffrey’s Bay – where minutes seem to last for hours and all the stress of modern living is washed away in the blink of an eye.

The guesthouse, which was built in June 1973, is owned and run by former Karoo farmers Tish and Tom Spence who wanted to recapture a little bit of their previous life, hence the use of the word “country”. They also bought with them the old farm bell which was used to summon workers and which now stands as the silent guardian to a blackboard which welcomes guests to the B&B with a personalised message.

The farm-life atmosphere is also captured in the theme that echoes throughout the guesthouse, which takes visitors back to an era when elegance was the order of the day.

On arrival, guests are served a welcome ice-cold fruit juice – on an authentic willow pattern saucer, which is just one of the special touches which make any stay at De Oude Klok memorable.

There are just three rooms at the intimate guesthouse, with all the rooms tastefully decorated and featuring a small kitchenette area with bar fridge and microwave and an en-suite bathroom. The honeymoon suite has a stunning corner bath and candles are provided as a romantic mood-setter.

For the kids who want a taste of adventure without being exposed to the big outdoors, there’s a tent with twin beds and its own wardrobe, giving them a chance to experience what it’s like to “go camping” with none of the discomforts of being away from home.

Everywhere there are special touches, like a welcoming bowl of fruit with Lindt chocolate and a slice of cake.

But it’s not just the rooms that make De Oude Klok special: guests can also participate in two stress-busting activities organised by the ever resourceful Tish.

Offering a “holiday for the soul”, Tish takes interested guests on a one-hour meditation course which is taken at a pace that Tish determines with her amazing intuition into how the guest is feeling. You can sit back, listen to relaxing music and let go all the stresses of modern life. If guests still feel comfortable, they can sit in absolute silence for 20 minutes, learning to still the mind and be at peace with the universe.

“Silence can be very scary,” says Tish “So we only do this if I am sure it is what the guests want. It can be very emotional but it’s a chance to get in touch with your inner being.”

The meditation session would appeal to anyone interested in pursuing spiritual growth and transformation. Tish makes use of all religions to practise mindfulness, compassion and gaining inner peace.

The second relaxing activity she offers is a chance to dabble in water-colour painting.

“Adults can be very guarded when it comes to painting, so I encourage them to take a leaf out of the younger generation’s book by letting go their inhibitions and realising that it doesn’t have to be perfect. The emphasis is on fun and relaxation.”

And if meditation and relaxing art therapy are not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other options at De Oude Klok.

After a stunning salad lunch served with homemade bread, we opted for a walk collecting shells on the nearby beach, which in itself is also good for the soul.

So much so, that when we arrived on the veranda for sundowners overlooking the Indian Ocean, Tish remarked: “Wow, whatever you did, it must have been good. You look 10 years younger than when you arrived.”

In just half a day, we felt it too. Imagine, then, just how rejuvenated you would feel after a two-night stay at this remarkable and affordable guesthouse – and with petrol nearing the R13/litre mark, an added bonus is that the venue is less than 100km from Port Elizabeth.

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