Shaping the image in my memory

img_6608

Waiting for rain, Highway 22, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships!” — Ansel Adams

It’s Saturday evening and we’re driving through drought-struck farmland in the north-west Waikato. Rain clouds have flirted shamelessly with the skyline all day, but the land remains parched and disappointed.

Rounding a corner, we see a distant hill quite dramatically lit by low sunshine breaking through the clouds. It’s beautiful and stark and emphasizes how dry the land has become.

T stops the car. I hop out and wade through long, brittle grass. As I’m fiddling with the camera, a police car stops to check that we’re ok and that the car hasn’t broken down on this very quiet stretch of road. T assures him we’re fine and I wave my camera ineffectually to establish my bona fide. He nods and zooms off — possibly a tad faster than might be strictly legal. But I suppose there have to be some compensations for patrolling country roads on a Saturday night.

When we finally get home (after quite a few more photo stops), I download the images. “Cop-stop hill” is too dark and doesn’t have the contrast I remember, but the bones of the shot are good and all the pixels I need are there, just waiting to be tweaked.

Thank goodness for PhotoShop.

And for Debbie at Travel with Intent, whose weekly quote challenge gave me the perfect excuse to tell you the story of this image.

Friday flowers

img_6589

Queen Anne Lace. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Even though it’s a natural part of the plant’s life-cycle, the drying of these flowers reflects rather well the state of our gardens here.

And with only a few (still very welcome) showers forecast for the weekend, it looks as though the current drought isn’t over yet.

img_6590

Queen Anne Lace. Image: Su Leslie 2020

“When the well is dry, they know the worth of water.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Care to join me for a cuppa? I

virtual tea invitation feb2020 Afternoon tea, al fresco. Raw chocolate peppermint slice, with lemon balm and peppermint tea.  Image: Su Leslie 2020

The cold has lingered longer than expected, so despite putting in the hard yards reading recipe books and magazines, I wasn’t up to baking for our afternoon tea.

Instead, I nipped out and bought some raw chocolate peppermint slice. Dairy and gluten-free, it’s made with nuts and coconut oil and cacao, with a little coconut sugar for sweetness.

A bit creamy, quite minty and delicious, it’s kind on my recovering immune system. And did I mention it’s delicious?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my eating habits style preferences lately. I know friends and family would like me to just “come out” as a vegetarian, or a vegan, or gluten-free, dairy-free — a label they could get their heads around. But the truth is; apart from baked beans, cooked avocado (yes, I’ve actually been served that), pizza with sweetcorn and/or pineapple, and anything swimming in salad cream — I’ll eat pretty much anything.

And if someone else has cooked it for me, I’ll say thank you and find something — however small — that I can truthfully praise.

I’m trying to find a way to explain that my food preference are really a food philosophy. I want to “do good”; for my physical and mental health, for my bank balance, for small businesses, and for the environment. That means I eat home-grown where I can, buy as much as possible from local, preferably organic growers, avoid foods and manufacturers I believe to be harmful or unethical … and a bunch more considerations I won’t bore you with but which make trips to the supermarket time-consuming, frustrating and really difficult without my strong glasses to read the small print.

I know that’s a roundabout way of selling you on the raw vegan mint slice, but it really is delicious.

And the drinks …

Despite the dry weather, my herb garden is thriving, so I’ve harvested some mint and lemon balm to brew our cuppa. There’s raw honey from my friend Duncan’s bees to sweeten it, and some local lemons if you’d like to add a slice.

But if you’d prefer, I can make you some builders’ tea (old-school with milk and sugar if that takes your fancy).  Or there’s some Sencha green tea if you’d like something lighter that’s not mint! Both of these come from my local tea shop.

So pull up a chair and let’s put the world to rights over afternoon tea.

The invitation

I was so pleased to get positive feedback on my last tea party, that I’m going to continue to post once a month — mid-week, mid-month probably — at least for the rest of 2020.

I’d love to read your thoughts on the food, the drinks, whatever I’m rambling about. A few words about what you’re doing/reading/making. What’s making you happy or pissing you off?  Your comments make blogging so much more interesting.

And if you’d like to contribute a post of your own — great. Maybe a shot of your cuppa and/or whatever you’re having with it, A recipe?

I’ll update each of my posts with a ping-back to everyone’s in the same way as I do with The Changing Seasons.

#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)

I’d love to be part of a global rolling tea party. Hopefully a few of you would too.

Update

Brian at Bushboy’s World has polished the silverware and provided some music.

Del at Curls n Skirls has brought some delicious “traditional bread and butter sandwiches, hot buttered toast, and maybe a few raspberry jam sandwiches, .. and a fresh Raisin Spice cake.” Yum!

Sue at Words Visual enjoyed tea (or coffee) with friends. And it was obviously delicious — judging by the empty plates and cups.

Anabel at Glasgow Gallivanter has shared not only a rather sumptuous cream tea (in a beautiful wee cafe), but shared her thoughts on eating ethically and well too.

Purples and blue

There’s definitely some colour-coding of what’s blooming — and fading — in my garden.

Friday Flowers