With much anticipation, My Grandma is Like the Sea LAUNCH DATE REVEAL (drum roll) is… 26 August 2021! A date deliberately chosen to fall during the summer time in Europe AND CBCA Book Week. Given this, I would like to transport you all the way to the Dalmatian Coast, which has heavily influenced the illustrations in the book.
The smell of sea and salt wraps everyone in a blanket of warmth…
Lots of sun-kissed days have been spent roaming the cobbled streets of Mali Ston, on the southern Dalmatian coast in Croatia, gaining knowledge and wisdom from the elderly, and embracing the exuberant radiance of the youth.
A lady with joyful eyes walks the medieval streets with a basket of freshly picked grapes. Children are scattered around selling decorated shells by the sea. A gentleman is found working in his magazin (storeroom) whilst storing supplies for his fishing adventure that night. Another mladić (young gentleman), has just been tending to the salt beds. Mmm salt.
The smell of sea and salt wraps everyone in a blanket of warmth. Every one is moved by the charm and serenity of this place.
The restaurants are traditionally full of life, nurturing those who walk in through its doors. The aromatic delight of fresh buzara, woodfired seafood and rosemary fills the air.
I dive into the water and swim all the way to kaše, which was once used as a breakwater structure to protect moored boats and the enclosed harbour. Oh no, I stepped on a sea urchin again… when will I ever learn? But it’s okay, for I can just stumble over to one of the following restorane (restaurants) at Bota Šare or Kapetanova Kuća, or the kafić (café) at Hotel Ostrea for a Stonska Torta (cake) and some sladoled (ice cream)… not to forget some wine from the surrounding region – and all will be better.
My friends, most of which are family, sit around and chat. The elder and younger generation combined – all together. We also sing, have a laugh, shed a tear or two and rejoice in the embrace of a real hug. A real one! Sometimes the summer heat and vino makes us a feel a little outside of ourselves. We end up philosophising or playing up as if we were children again. One of us may also be brave enough to pull out the guitar and perform solo. But the rest of us can’t help but join in. That’s what humans do, right?!
Fjaka has hit us and we find it hard to conjure enough energy to get up and move on. I planned to climb the walls today. I guess I’ll just let it slide. Maybe a siesta will work better. I can always climb the walls tomorrow, I quietly promise myself.
In the meantime, we hear about the Orada fish that likes to eagerly get a mouthful of the much awaited full grown oysters and mussels. But we know it’ll be okay. It’s the same story EVERY year. My grandad always, ALWAYS spoke about the dreaded Orada fish. Only this time around, this year – 2021 – the story of the Orada fish isn’t told to all the usual faces – me included, as we’ve been restricted from travelling and moving around freely.
A story of love, wisdom and connection…
So, I’ve created my own story to share… of love, wisdom and connection, inspired by the teachings of my grandmothers. From me to you. To all children. And to the adults who still need to nurture that inner child and remember you belong no matter where you are in the world!
For those in Australia – hardcover version of My Grandma is Like the Sea will be available from HERE.
For those outside of Australia – the book will be available from Amazon and other selected retailers.