Cloud layers: missing the big skies

Cloud formation, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. Su Leslie 2011

Cloud formation, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand. Su Leslie 2011

I love to travel, but hardly ever seem to do so. Everyday life, a partner whose working live is travel-based and my finances all conspire to keep me away from scenes like this.

So I’m posting this not only because of the actual layers of cloud – which I think are amazing – but as a kind of “dream board” image, to remind me that it’s time to strip back the layers of complexity and obligation in my life, and find what’s really important to me.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge word is layers. Check it out here, or visit some of the other interpretations of the theme that I enjoyed:

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

Peeling Back the Layers


Six word Saturday: enjoying an early morning power walk

Flax in flower; Hobsonville, Auckland

Flax in flower; Hobsonville, Auckland

Ignore motorway noise; concentrate on views.

Here are some other Six Word Saturday posts I enjoyed:

Six word Saturday


Imagining what lies behind

Although I seldom write fiction, I am a story-teller. Or maybe more accurately – as story-maker. I think it’s combination of curiosity and an obsession with narrative form, but I find myself looking at everyday things and wondering what lies behind the things I can see?

Behind glass.; office workers still at their desks late on a Friday night. Were they behind in their work? Or doing something behind others' backs?

Behind glass. Photo Su Leslie 2010

Office workers still at their desks late on a Friday night. Were they behind in their work? Or doing something behind others’ backs?

Behind the building.

Behind the shops. Photo Su Leslie 2013

Erving Goffman (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life) wrote about front and back-stage behaviours; about the way we present ourselves to others and the things we prefer kept private. We think about and use physical space in the same way. The front of the shop is open, welcoming designed to attract and invite. But out the back it’s a different story. In this photo of a back alley behind some designer clothing stores, the expectation of the building’s owner is  probably “out of sight, out of mind”. However, in amongst the neglect, a street artist has has chosen to tell his or her own story behind the “official” facade.

Standing behind the man waiting. Photo Su Leslie 2012.

Standing behind the man waiting. Photo Su Leslie 2012.

I’m always slightly nervous about taking photos of strangers, and often end up with shots of their backs. In this case I suppose it’s appropriate. What is this man’s story? For whom was he waiting? What would their meeting be like? What lies behind the myriad little actions and decisions that got him to that place at that time?

This post was written as part of Sue’s Word a Week challenge at A Word in Your Ear. You can see Sue’s post here. And here are some other posts on the theme I liked:

A Word A Week Challenge: Behind

A Word A Week Challenge: Behind

Travel theme: connections

Everything is connected by Peter Liversidge, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Everything is connected by Peter Liversidge, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Photo: Su Leslie 2013

When I saw Peter Liversidge’s whimsical illuminated sculpture, I wished it was night-time, so I could find out if everything really was connected.

This post was written in response to Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack.

Here are some other “connections” I enjoyed:

Travel theme: Connections

Travel theme: Connections

Six word Saturday: on the human condition (or something)

Individuals, like sand. Small, but unique.

The beach, the world. Get close in, really look. Every one is different.

Individuals, like sand. Small, but unique.

Here are some other bloggers “Six Word Saturdays” that I enjoyed:

Six word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Thankful Thursday: enduring love


I woke up alone this morning; the Big T is in Melbourne for the week.

This is not an unusual event. Our relationship has always had periods of separation, usually necessitated by business travel. In the early days I was the absent one, but for the last decade or so, T’s work has taken him away from the boy-child and me for sometimes as much as two weeks in four.

Mostly I’m ok with that and it’s what our son has grown up with. To be honest I really, really need space and I’m only half joking when I say that separation is part of the secret of our success (27 years together).

chris mcm wedding

Of course, it’s much more difficult for T. He’s the one folding himself into tiny airline seats, living out of  a suitcase and waking up in the middle of the night not sure what city he’s in, let alone which hotel and where’s the toilet!!! He’s the one who comes home to find the boy-child has grown an inch, I’ve redecorated the back room and a million little decisions have had to be made without him. The narrative of his home-life is a book with a whole lotta pages torn out.


That doesn’t change the fact that I woke up alone this morning and I really missed him.


But this is not a sad post. It’s Thankful Thursday and I am thankful. For the times we do spend together; for the home we’ve built; the friends we share; the beautiful, funny, caring son we’re raising – and most of all, for the love we have that’s strong and enduring and still intense enough that I needed to write this.

Thankful Thursday is an occasional prompt to remind me that life is mostly pretty good. Here are some other bloggers Thankful Thursdays that I enjoyed:
Thankful Thursday: Getting Stuff Done

10 Things Tuesday: Hobsonville hiking songs

Early morning walk: Hobsonville, Auckland.

Early morning walk: Hobsonville, Auckland.

Although I love music, I don’t listen to a lot. I work in silence; usually drive in silence and tend to play music only when I need a certain mood – and then I’m really particular about what I’ll listen to.

The exception is when I’m out walking; then I just tend to put my playlist on shuffle and take pot-luck. One of the things that struck me about today’s playlist was that while none of these would make my Desert Island Discs list, I have at sometime in my life loved all of them and I didn’t once feel the urge to re-shuffle.

1. The Beatles were the first band I ever remember listening to; probably the first grown-up music I ever heard – courtesy of my older cousins.

2. I only knew of Ryuchi Sakamoto from the film ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ until I went to his 1996 concert at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Again, this track isn’t one of my favourites, but I still enjoy it very much:

3. My dad was a George Shearing fan, and although he seldom played his LPs, I remember this from childhood too.

4. Pick a Tracy Chapman song, any song … I like them all:

5. I was a totally uncool teenager, for whom music barely existed. I was vaguely aware of girls in my class going a bit mental for Gary Glitter and David Cassidy, but I couldn’t really figure out the attraction. I do remember liking this, so obviously it was the music rather than the musicians I liked.

6. I first heard the Hollies ‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s my Brother’ when I was about 12 and a teacher played it to us in an English class. I didn’t particularly like it until this version was released, and although I am probably being appallingly sentimental, I love it:

7. There was a time when I thought SuperTramp were gods:

8. For me this song will always be about a rainy day picnic at Piha, West Auckland.

9. No words required; just one of the greatest bands ever:

10. As above, one of the greatest song-writers ever:

A delicate balance

"True strength is delicate." -- Louise Nevelson

“True strength is delicate.” — Louise Nevelson
Photo: Su Leslie 2013



1. Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way: a delicate flavor; a delicate violin passage.
2. Exquisitely fine or dainty: delicate china.
3. Frail in constitution or health.
4. Easily broken or damaged: a kite too delicate to fly.
5. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination: a critic’s delicate perception.
6.   a. Considerate of the feelings of others.

      b. Concerned with propriety.
      c. Squeamish or fastidious.
7. Requiring tactful treatment: a delicate situation.
8. Fine or soft in touch or skill: a surgeon’s delicate touch.
9. Measuring, indicating, or responding to very small changes; precise: a delicate set of scales.
10. Very subtle in difference or distinction.
For as long as delicate flowers grow alongside roads and buildings, we have hope.

For as long as delicate flowers grow alongside roads and buildings, hope lives in my heart.
Photo: Su Leslie 2013

Rather like “eerie” which was the subject of yesterday’s post, delicate is a very nuanced word.

I’m a robust, and fairly buxom, woman (Reubens-esque on a good day) who has grown only gradually from feeling like a totally klutzy child into an adult  comfortable with, and able to celebrate, my body. I have dark eyes and (once upon a time) dark hair, and could not – under any circumstances – be described as delicate.

But delicate is a word used often to describe my gender; and in literature, art and popular culture, delicacy has been regarded (by men at any rate) as a desirable trait for women. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons for my very ambivalent relationship with the word.

There are of course some images that ” delicate” connotes with which I am comfortable; pale, fragile blooms, handcrafted glass art – or a parent holding their newborn, muscles straining to achieve a gentleness perhaps unknown.

“The heart of a man’s like that delicate weed, Which requires to be trampled on, boldly indeed Ere it gives forth the fragrance you wish to extract” — Edward G. Bulwer’Lytton.

 This post is part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme:

Here are some other posts you may like:

Travel Theme: Delicate

Travel theme: Delicate

11-1-13 Travel Theme – Delicate