What possessed a near-middle-aged, near-penniless couple to flee the country of their birth, Southern Rhodesia, to abandon their careers, their business, their home, family and friends to seek a new life for themselves and their two sons in a strange country, thousands of miles away? Because that's what Pauline and Jeremy Tyndale-Biscoe [both second-generation Rhodesians] did...
The Southern Rhodesia where they were raised was a great place, an exciting place, to live...a vibrant mix of frontier spirit, progressive modernity and prosperity, well on its way towards being a well-managed, prosperous multiracial society. But the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, followed by almost 15 years of crippling economic sanctions and a long, bitter and bloody civil war ripped the heart out of the country and the soul out of its people. Convinced that it would be impossible to salvage a secure life for themselves and their children out of such political and economic chaos, Pauline and Jeremy decided that they had to leave Rhodesia.
But which country would accept - never mind welcome - a couple of middle-aged, financially-crippled political refugees, with two young boys in tow, as prospective citizens? They'd been rejected by Great Britain, but a casual remark by Irishfriendsprovided the answer: Ireland, a country about which they knew nothing, would accept them. And so, six months before Robert Mugabe swept to power to become Rhodesia's first black Head of State, they said goodbye to family, friends - and Rhodesia - and flew out to Ireland, where they were cordially welcomed and cared for superbly...It was, as they say, a very happy accident!
Armed with tenacity, ingenuity and survival skills, finely honed by their Rhodesian travails, and encouraged and assisted by an innovative Irish Development Authority, they developed new life skills and qualifications (Pauline studied and taught yoga and qualified and practised as a homeopath; Jeremy added water-colours and garden design to his artistic portfolio) and, over 18 happy years, worked tirelessly to fashion a new life and a new future.
But life wasn't meant to be easy. During this same period, Pauline and Jeremy also had to contend with certain deeply-sad personal events and difficulties which unexpectedly invaded their lives, challenges which were only overcome through their inventiveness,a deep love and unshakeable faith.
More books like this should be written. Their authors may not be famous. Their books may not be up there with the 'classics'. But what they do offer is a unique opportunity to enter and intimately share the lives of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations and, most importantly, to witness how they survived and re-built their shattered lives ....
SAVANNAH, SHAMROCK AND SIESTAS is a remarkable book... You should read it and re-live Pauline and Jeremy Tyndale-Biscoe's life in Zimbabwe...their new life inStrokestown and Tralee in Ireland...and, finally, the enjoyable retirement and magical lifestyle they discovered,again accidentally, on the Costa Del Sol in Spain.
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