Monday 22 August 2022


At first, when the month approaches, I think of hiding. As though I can out run or camouflage myself against my own birthday. Why would you want to do that? you may ask. I’m not sure. A cumulative sense of feeling unanchored, lost, a questioning of the new self - are you the one I was supposed to be? Or have I let you down? 

But there were garlands woven by my mother, and my hands clasped, and kissed in the old Arabic style by my father, and his extravagant praise for the worth of his daughter in his life. 

A day earlier had seen us at Badger’s Wood, despite the heat and drought… the redwood stood tall and resplendent and the unbonsaid bonsai looked spectacular. 

Colette and Joseph made my birthday a day of delights and tales and cake, Mary Oliver poetry recited by me, a giant bear cuddled by Dad and even a tiny muntjac flew across the bottom of the lawn by the pond, just a little birthday wave. 

On the day of, I had afternoon tea with Victoria and Freya, and later dinner again with Mum… in between a gentle massage at the Grenville hotel spa and even my first delicious Margarita by myself on the hotel lawn, not a soul in sight, just Deborah Levy and I…

Dad’s blessings came earlier in the day. Later I found myself walking into the incense of St Paul’s Cathedral Church as evening Latin mass drew to a close. I wished the best for my loved ones. I thought of suffering. And I prayed for guidance in my own life, moving forward. Where to now, dear self of 44, where to now?