Monday 21 August 2023


In the weeks leading up to my birthday, I try to be intentional about my gratitude. Here I still am, loved. 

I tend to myself in the ways that will fill me up for the unknown times ahead. I took the bus into town, crossed Parker's Piece and stepped into a cosy salon for a massage with baobab oil - seed oil from the tree of life (they say). I tried to infuse colour with my nieces' tenth birthday balloons in the conservatory (slightly deflated, but with original illustrations), birthday nails the colour of birthday balloons… flowers everywhere… 

Mum made a roast chicken with sweetcorn, mushrooms and potatoes on the side… And our beloved friend Joan Church whisked up the legendary chocolate cake she knows I have loved since my first bite in hospital in 2009 while I was still being weaned off a feeding tube… she learnt it was my birthday at 5pm and by 7:30 she was at the door, a cake with still warm icing, fresh from the oven, in the boot of her car!

Over the next few days, other friends stopped by. Dr Kumar with plums and then tomatoes, Dr Ly with walnuts from Vietnam, Sammy stayed the weekend while there was a wedding in the family... and a week after my birthday, I fulfilled a literary challenge set down by my friend Firdaus - to pick up the threads of my novel again! 

I sit in the conservatory and place a few sentences, a few words... like a few daubs of paint onto a canvas. A slow slow writer I am when it comes to fiction. Memoir and poetry come fast like trains and wind. A novel is slow pressure cooking for me. But if I don't keep at the cooking, a piece of my heart's desire continues to remain unfulfilled. So en avant! The poet warrior has work to do. A work of love, she hopes...


  1. How my heart leaped to see your link at What's Going On?!! Yes, here you are, loved. By your fans, your wonderful family (I cant believe your nieces have turned ten!), your friends, and the lovely WonderDog Sammy. Thanks for this, my valiant friend. You bring sunshine everywhere you are.

  2. I feel the love in your words and photos, Shaista! Something to be grateful for indeed. So nice to meet you, another one of Sherry's friends, here at What's Going On?

  3. "The poet warrior has work to do. " And days like this make that work easier!

  4. How lovely to see you Shaista! Thank you for the gift of your beautiful words and photos.