The tale of visions, of me and how it all started…
Most people all over the world, I’m sure, dream of spending some time on a sun-drenched tropical island to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. White sand, crystal clear water, palm trees swaying in the cool ocean breeze. Paradise.
The thought of sitting back on a lounger with a pineapple cocktail in your hand, looking at the breath-taking ocean scenery and relaxing, getting rid of your daily stresses, can be quite inviting. Or reading a book while dangling in a woven hammock in the shade with a breeze blowing through the palm trees to tone down the tropical heat.
If you live in a country where it is mostly cold, very cold and rainy, like the United Kingdom or any of the Scandinavian countries, even somewhere dry and bare, this dream can become so important that you long to book annual holidays in the Caribbean or elsewhere like it. In paradise. Someone once told me it that is not only the rain, but the mud that gets them down. Well, you can put a whole ocean full of water on fine, white beach sand and you won’t get mud! Weekends away in beautiful places like those along the Mediterranean can alleviate this need for a tropical retreat but not quench it.
You need a real tropical island to truly get away from it all. Why places like Aruba, the Bahamas, the Caymans, Bermuda, Virgin Islands or any tropical island for that matter are popularly called a ‘desert islands’ though, boggles my mind. They are as far away from a desert as you can get. To my mind, ‘deserted island’ would be a more proper description of my dream tropical island. Just me, the trees and the ocean. Well, throw in a tall, dark stranger and it will be absolutely perfect.
But to write a story with only two people and an island would most probably lead to the title ‘Castaway’ or the classic ‘Robinson Crusoe’ and those have been done. Add a ship and some more people and you have the other classic ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’.
This brings me to my story. My love for island life originates from the days of my youth, the early eighties when the music of Goombay Dance Band and Boney M started becoming popular. I was a teenager at the time. The distinctive sound of calypso music, the steel drums and the happy beat immediately won me over.
For some reason, it made me dance, it made me happy. The words of their songs built within me an island dream. Mentions of ‘changing your name, taking a plane and flying away’, even the dark visions of Slavery, inspired me to learn more about the country. Now I love everything about her. Her history is fascinating and so is the supernatural association with spirits and ancestors and the Powers who control our environment and daily lives. Like the Loa of the Ocean, Agwe, and Sirene his female companion.
Is it strange then that about ten years ago, when I stopped working day and night at being a Horticulturist and Manager, I felt compelled to write a fictional story featuring Jamaica, then added a tall dark stranger (resembling Seal) and meshed it with my history as a washed up South African woman? South Africa of course has her own skeletons in the closet of the past which are also aired during the growth and development of the story. My own experiences with the supernatural feature here and there, as do certain parts of my own life and my love for animals and our environment. Which parts are fiction and which parts are true you ask? Not telling!
My first manuscript Visions of Blue thus was born and later in 2016, a sequel called Visions of Rain was added. I am currently busy with the third book in the trilogy, Visions of the Past.
They all contain mainly the same characters and although there are some supernatural occurrences, they are mostly modern fictional interracial romance novels showing that we are all one people. Humans. In the third book of the trilogy – to be published within a few months, I delve deeper into the spirits of the past. I can’t say more at this stage (spoiler alert).
Which brings me to more about my chosen dream location, Jamaica. Call it déjà vu if you want, but I recognize places, nature areas and old towns which I come across during my research although I have never had the opportunity to visit Jamaica. I dream about places before I actually see them in print. Some people may think that I am crazy but those of you who believe in reincarnation can bear me out. I firmly believe that in a previous life, I lived on the island of Xaymaca – as Jamaica was known. Xaymaca means the land of wood and water. I have immersed myself in the history of this magical place, the music, the slavery, the natural beauty. I wrote a little poem for this country of my dreams during the hurricane Matthew scare, inspired by a rock (roughly shaped like the land mass of Jamaica), which I came across during my beach walk one morning.
Jamaica land we love
Land of wood and water
Where out of many you became one
You are a rock
Surrounded by the ocean
Prey to Mother Nature’s fury
Teetering on the edge of the Cayman trough
But standing firm in your history
Your people, once free – then cruelly enslaved
To be free again but filled with the cries of haunted souls
Dragging the scars of centuries
Into the Age of Aquarius and onwards
To the cave of Cacibajagua*
Where we will meet again – those who came before…
(*Cacibajagua is the ancestral cave where according to belief – the Taino/Arawak people, the original races which inhabited the Caribbean – originated from.)
The history of Jamaica is fascinating, the slavery archives and chronicles tragic, and above all the people wonderfully interesting and colourful. The National Motto ‘Out of Many, One People’ and their National Anthem ‘Jamaica Land We Love’ describe their country to a tee. Jamaica is such a colourful country, made up by the combination of many cultures (almost like the Rainbow Nation of South Africa), and that shows in the local lingo/patois. I would like to share some of my favourite words and expressions, taken from jumieka.com.
piiniwali – firefly
bununununus – delightful (remember the Boney M song?)
fululups – nonsense or folly
zutupek – monster
Ef guot eh nuo di saiz a hih byain, ih hudn swaala mango siid. If the goat knew the size of its behind, it wouldn’t swallow mango seeds.
Yu kan aid fi-yu grandi ina di kobod, bot yu kyaan mek im na kaaf. You can hide your grandmother in the cupboard, but you can’t stop her from coughing.
Wen fish koh frah riba batam se haligeta dong de, biliib im. When fish comes from the river’s bottom saying alligator is down there, believe him.
Not all of Jamaica is happy, there is the tragic history of the genocide of her original peoples, abuse and over utilisation of her natural resources, heart-breaking years of slavery, disease and oppression, a bit of homophobia and violence – all leading to a less than powerful current economic situation. Saint Thomas, the parish where my story is set, is the poorest of fourteen parishes as it is mostly agricultural. I want to help this country in any way I can, so throughout my story I highlight things that can be done to alleviate the poverty, and recommend foreign investment in sustainable, ecologically sound development and social upliftment projects. But the story mostly revolves around human interactions in beautiful natural sceneries.
That brings me to my third book, a collaboration with my daughter Izzi. It is a guide to organic home gardening and simple guide to those who wish to transition to vegetarianism.
I firmly believe that the violence in our world will never cease as long as millions of animals are cruelly confined, tortured and killed DAILY for the gluttony of humans. Children are so accustomed to seeing dead animals on their plates during their meals and as such have no problem with other violence. It is time to set the truth free and empower the consumer. Meat does not grow in sealed packages on supermarket shelves – the origin is pain, suffering and death. There are so many alternatives available to meat and we highlight the more easily obtainable and affordable options in our book. It is so pleasing to eat a vegetable or meal that you have grown yourself. This way you can also ensure the quality and pesticide free nature of your food. And save money! If we all come together and say no more selfish and greedy tastes for blood whether it be under the banner of food, clothing, sport or ‘education and research’, we can heal this world of ours. I sincerely hope that you enjoy my books, and find something of value in them.
About the author
Inia Jardine Inia was born and grew up in Cape Town South Africa. Various factors made her feel very different, inadequate. She never felt accepted by the people around her and turned to books and music for nirvana.
After working hard to find a permanent niche for herself, she found that place amongst animals – as they are non-judgemental and they love unconditionally. There is nothing as rewarding as the trust of a wild bird or animal. This intense love for animals sadly prevented her from completing training for her dream career, that of Marine Biologist. Zoology practical training at University during her BSc studies sadly still involved compulsory animal dissection as it does today and she could not stand that. She subsequently switched to Horticulture.
Later adult friendships with colleagues and people from all walks of life, all races and cultures, opened up a universe very different to the conservative lily-white world of her youth. Her career took her through many opportunities where she managed to rebuild some self-esteem and reach top management. She has a brilliant twenty-year-old daughter who currently works on a wine estate to enable her future studies in Chemistry. After the recent very sad final partings with her beloved cats, Inia who is now semi-retired, lives with her two parrots by the ocean she adores and states that she is – ‘way past her sell-by-date’. But she still dreams.
Click the titles or images to go to Amazon.
This book- the first in a trilogy, is about Lilia, a South African woman with interest in the injustices of the past (and present), who leaves her unhappy country for the United Kingdom. While on a working holiday in Jamaica she meets Jonah, a Jamaican Professor of Geology. Their souls connect, they fall in love and in a little in lust, and make their way through many events together.
This book is suitable for more mature readers or the open minded – as it has some erotic content. It is about change, about growing and evolving. It is also about love, friendship, give and take, trying to survive the curve balls life can throw at you by standing up for each other. It touches on vegetarianism, slavery and compassion, and the reader is sucked into a gorgeous but different world with real, well developed characters and places. No stereotypes.
At the end of the book you can’t wait to continue the roller coaster ride of the character’s lives and you will not have long to wait as the sequel is available right here, Visions of Rain. The third book in the trilogy, Visions of the Past, is due before March 2017.
Visions of Rain starts where the first book in the trilogy, Visions of Blue ended, in Jamaica at the glorious Gorgoleta Boutique Hotel. The new investor from South Africa, Udo Daboui arrives with his daughter Aleesha and her friend Rain, both in their twenties. They meet Lilia and Jonah, main protagonists of the previous book and owner of the hotel as well as Mr Coelho, Cuban businessman and owner of the land, his companion Jalade and her thirty-something son Omar who are from Trinidad & Tobago.
The story takes us through the initiation and execution of a brilliant community project in St Thomas, one of the poorest areas in Jamaica which desperately need investment and jobs, a trip to South Africa with a visit to the Apartheid Museum, and many other adventures.
In this multi cultural novel wherein the tenets and principles of racial harmony, compassionate living, charity and kindness are woven through, you will discover a very sexy tale of people finding and enjoying each other.
We are introduced to practitioners of Wicca and get to know the hardships of lovable LGBT characters, whilst delving into the past where Agwe and Sirene, rulers of the ocean, get involved. There will even be an attempted murder and a death to deal with!
The characters evolve in their own ways, some gravitate towards the good and others towards the bad side of life.
You will read the story and take a journey with the characters – furthermore, you will be left with a wish to visit Jamaica to experience her beauty as well as the lovely people who call it home. You will want to see South Africa in order to experience her hopeful present and sad past. You will consider living more compassionately towards others of different persuasions as well as hopefully consider living with kindness towards innocent animals. You will be richer for the experience.
Enjoy, and remember that the third book in the trilogy will be available soon.
Inia and Izzi Jardine
This book is a simple, unpretentious vegetarian cookbook & guide to growing your own vegetables & herbs. We have compiled it so as to be your guide for making the transition to vegetarianism/veganism.
Assembled over the years, first by using ‘meat dishes’ without the meat in order to still enjoy our favourite tastes, gradually we began to experiment and combine different and new ingredients and flavours.
Insipred by the Ital principle we aim to eat vegan whenever possible, but advise you to ensure that if you do not choose the vegan way, that all dairy, eggs and honey you consume should be from free range, well cared for animals who are not subjected to any form of cruelty. This basically means that you should steer clear of mass produced, commercially farmed products.
Assisted by Lilia Hibbert, Jalade Granville and Izzy Jardine, three other passionate vegetarians from Gorgoleta, Place of the butterflies as featured in the Visions of Blue Trilogy, I bring you this starter guide to a diet based on cruelty free ethics and delicious food.
If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!