Sometimes it almost feels like paradise

Auckland lies on an isthmus between the Waitemata and Manukau harbours. The Waitemata, on the east coast, is the better known and much more popular, with most of the city’s best swimming beaches and easy access to open water for sailors.

The Manukau, by contrast, is a huge, relatively shallow and largely enclosed harbour, accessible from the Tasman Sea only by crossing the treacherous Manukau Bar.

This afternoon, the Big T and I took advantage of some rare sunshine to drive out to Cornwallis, on the Manukau.

I’m glad we did.

While this is obviously not a six-word post, I am sharing it to Six Word Saturday, hosted by Debbie at Travel With Intent.


Nature’s sculpture. Su Leslie 2018Nature is the finest sculptor. Image: Su Leslie 2018

I’ve never grown out of the desire to pick up (and bring home) random beautiful objects I find while out walking.

Auckland’s coastal geology is predominantly sandstone, a rock easily smoothed and eroded. I love the spare, sculptural forms that result.

Forecasting the weather


… next minute. Closest lightning I’ve experienced for a while. Su Leslie 2018

From the west-facing window in my office I can see the Waitakere Ranges on a clear day (on most days actually).

I can also see the rain coming.

Sometimes the light just before a storm is so clear it makes the view almost a parody of leafy suburbia.

Today was such a day.

About two minutes after I took this, the house shook in the most amazing lightning strike. Judging from the intensity of the flash and my neighbours’ reactions too — I think we must have pretty much been Ground Zero.

The Changing Seasons: June 2018

Low cloud hangs over hills and the Whanganui River at Papaiti Road, Whanganui. Su Leslie 2018

Late afternoon rain clouds, Papaiti Road, Whanganui. Su Leslie, 2018

While some months can certainly be summed up in a single image, June hasn’t been one of them.

The first part of the month was shaped by my father’s admission to hospital. He’s nearly 86 and has a series of medical problems. On the plus side, this means that any change in his condition is taken seriously by his doctors and he receives swift and usually excellent care; on the minus side it’s incredibly worrying for my step-mother and for me.

Visiting my dad entails a six-hour drive through some of the North Island’s most beautiful countryside (well it would be six hours if I didn’t stop to take so many photos). Whanganui itself is a lovely place and turned on one day of glorious sunshine during my visit.

My drive home was also favoured with brilliant — if not particularly warm — sunshine. An early morning stop in the small town of Hunterville revealed these beautiful frosted roses in a series of little gardens lining the main street.

Back home, and relieved that my dad is recovering, I could turn my attention to a project I’m working on with artist Claire Delaney to document the life of her studio over a year; this month hanging out at a couple of weekend workshops as well as a regular weekday class.

June has been particularly special in the studio as it’s where Claire hosted the launch of a book she illustrated. Dining with Vikings, written by local chef Penny Webster, is part cook-book, part family memoir.

The shortest day has now passed, and while the weather will undoubtedly get worse before it gets better, we are now heading back towards a time when the outdoor furniture will be covered in food rather than leaves.

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


See how June has played out for other bloggers:

Max at Cardinal Guzman

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Garry & Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Joanne at My Life Lived Full and Following a Bold Plan.

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Klara who’s joined us again from Brussels.

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Deb at The Widow Badass

Mick from Mick’s Cogs


Tote-ally chuffed (yep, pun intended)

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Weekend craft project; my new tote bag. Su Leslie 2018

I’m doing the happy dance today. My feeling-a-bit-meh-stay-in-and-sew project from the weekend has turned out way better than expected.

Sewing is one of the many things I do with considerably more enthusiasm than skill. But for all that I often hate the results of my labours, I do really enjoy the processes.

The tote was meant to be a simple solution to my twin problems of having a) lots of art and craft materials, and b) no dedicated space in which to use them.

A couple of weeks ago I realized that my stuff was  dispersed through pretty much every room in the house. A huge tidy-up followed (you know the one that includes thoughts like “so, that’s where the screen-printing ink ended up” and “hm, don’t remember buying 10 metres of white satin ribbon”).

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The art bag. Su Leslie 2018

My tote isn’t quite that ambitious. It is designed to hold an A4 watercolour pad, paints, pencils, brushes and assorted painting doo-dahs and I’m happy to report that it does this rather splendidly.

BUT … it’s also much nicer than I anticipated and it seems a bit sad to keep it at home, lurking in a closet or corner.

SO … I’ll probably test-drive it as a new handbag. And I guess I’ll just have to make myself another art bag.