• Andrew Atkinson speaks to author Irene De Vilder, 24, following in the footsteps of Rojales based grandparents, Danièle Gourdon and Mark Durman, a former British Army Officer, who served in the Cold War.

DUTCH born Irene De Vilder, who was in attendance at the Autumn Book Fayre and Writers Exhibition in Campoverde, unexpectedly became the co-author of BIBO, a publication for students.

“It was never really the idea to become an author, however, my grandparents have been publishing books for some years,” said Irene, co-author of BIBO, published in four languages.

BIBO, written by Irene and grandparent Danièle, said: “When my grandmother asked my help for her latest book I happily accepted the invitation.”

BIBO, amongst other things, covers the organic and inexpensive household guide for students and how students solve domestic and medical problems, when living alone for the first time.

“Living in a student’s accommodation in Rotterdam, I am often facing some problems which I cannot easily solve,” said Irene.

“Also, I am very much for ecological solutions, so when my grandmother came to me with the idea of an ecological household guide for students like me I was excited,” said Irene.

Irene, who speaks Dutch, English and a bit of Spanish, said: “My grandmother speaks French and English, so together we managed to get everything written in all four languages. “Coming from the Netherlands, English was easy to learn. I learned Spanish when I was living in Mexico for some time with my ex-boyfriend.”

Irene, who said the biggest benefit of being bilingual is while travelling, added: “It is a great passion of mine.”

On her grandmother, Irene said: “We come from completely different generations, so that is interesting.

“I would tell her all the things I struggle with and she would investigate, or know from experience what the solution would be.

“I liked doing a project with her, because normally our lives are so different. We didn’t agree on everything and had long discussions about some things, as we are both stubborn!

“But in the end, we always found a solution and it has brought us closer to each other.”

Speaking about author grandfather Mark Durman, Irene said: “He is a former British Army Officer, who had a very high rank at some point during the Cold War.

“He has written all his life, but in his retirement, he now writes Novels, publishing four Novels to date, all based on his own experiences, with a bit of fiction from his imagination. “His books are published by Pegasus, with his latest book ‘Adsum: Mission and Passion’, very popular!”.

On the publication BIBO, Irene said: “An example is when I have dinners with friends in my apartment, I am always left with candle wax on my table cloth, that I can’t get rid of, or red wine stains.

“So I told Danièle and she would know what to do. For example, she would spill red wine on her carpet to see if her solution actually worked.

Irene: Ambitions, after completing Masters, are to go wherever life takes her. Photo: Andrew Atkinson.
Irene: Ambitions, after completing Masters, are to go wherever life takes her. Photo: Andrew Atkinson.

“If it didn’t work, she would try other ways, until the stain was gone. That is the great thing about the book, every solution works, because it’s all been tested in many different ways!”

On Spain, Irene said: “I went to Barcelona with a friend for a week, we pretty much hopped from one restaurant to another, with some sightseeing in between.

“She took the flight home, but I decided to stay longer in Spain as we are on the brink of having another lockdown in the Netherlands.

“I took the train to Alicante and stayed with my grandparents in Rojales. I usually visit them in the summer, along with my sister or the whole family. “Rojales is different this time of year, but I enjoyed our dinners by the fire and watching TV from the couch.”

Having studied at University, Irene a Bachelor in Design from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam, said: “My next plan is to do a Master in fine arts in Rome or Lisbon, I am still deciding over which school to go to.”

Irene’s biggest influence in her career is Niki de Saint Phalle, an artist who, by making sculptures and designing houses, created her own perfect world.

“My ambitions, after completing my Masters, are just to go wherever life takes me – and to do what interests me at that moment.

“Right now I am looking for work in the yachting industry, until I start my Master,” added Irene.