Regular Random: five minutes with the Big T’s new coffee pot


The Big T’s latest op shop find; the $20 coffee pot. The cups are mine. Image: Su Leslie 21018

At the end of our Waikato weekend, the Big T and I called in to the St John’s charity shop in Ngatea; leaving with a really pretty Japanese vase, a silver (plated) coffee pot and a loyalty card!!

The Big T loves coffee and has started buying interesting vessels for the making and serving thereof. I thought the little red stove-top gadget he got a few months ago was a good bargain, but this latest find was even better.

It took quite a lot of polishing to get it looking like this. Luckily T likes shiny things and is happy to put the in the required effort.

Regular Random is a photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist. Please pop over and take a look;  and if you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to not interfere with the subject, instead see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post.



Rice paper rolls filled with Asian slaw and peanuts. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Apparently there is scientific evidence that we really do “eat with our eyes first” — which probably explains why so many people enjoy colourful food, nicely presented.

My lunch today was these rice-paper rolls — filled with a mixture of shredded red cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, spring onion and peanuts along with mint, coriander and basil. They are quick and easy to make (especially when there’s a container of filling already in the fridge), and although I haven’t acquired the knack of wrapping them neatly, they tasted pretty good. Especially with a little bit of hot plum sauce for dipping.

The plate was made by Merilyn Wiseman and the cup by Andrew van der Putten, both New Zealand ceramics artists.

Lens-Artists photo challenge |colourful

The Changing Seasons: August 2018

It’s been a busy month, and not always in a good way. I feel that I’ve wasted spent far too much time on household admin stuff. As the month closes, I’m still waiting on others’ to provide information I need to make decisions and cross these things off my “to-do” list.

One the plus side, there’s only so much book-keeping and financial planning a person can do before they lose the will to live (for me that’s not very much), so there has been plenty of need for distraction. This has mostly taken the form of still-life photography (much of which you’ve seen), trying to improve my embarrassingly basic PhotoShop skills, and spending quality time with my journal and some watercolour paints.

The Big T and I have only managed to escape the city once — for a long weekend in the Waikato. The weather was mostly great and the scenery awesome in that green hills and big blue skies kind of way — especially on the day we went to explore Kawhia, on the west coast.


First glimpse of Kawhai Harbour. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Although it’s only about 60km from the nearest town, Kawhia feels quite remote. The land is mainly farmed or forestry and there is only one other settlement on the way there — Oparau, with its “sells everything you could ever need — at a price” general store and the bike fence.

bike fence1

Oparau — where old bicycles go to die? Image: Su Leslie 2018

I don’t know if it’s a Kiwi thing — do people in other countries adorn fences with collections of found objects? We have the bra fence in Cardrona, Central Otago; several jandal (think flip-flop) fences (Foxton, Kaeo and the Bay of Plenty); a hubcap fence in West Auckland; and apparently more than one bike fence.

I didn’t count the number of bikes cable-tied to the fence in Oparau, but the installation stretched for at least 100 metres.

Kawhia is a tiny settlement nestled inside a large, flat harbour. The tide was out during our visit, so I’ll spare you shots of the muddy estuary — except this one of the Kawhia Museum, because the building is so pretty.


Kawhia Museum, housed in what was once the Council office. Kawhia, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The ocean beach, a little beyond town, was beautiful and almost deserted. It is a hot water beach, which means you can dig a hole at low tide and soak in the naturally hot spring water that seeps through the sand.

This sounds like a great idea, and unlike the more famous Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel, there weren’t thousands of other people trying to do the same thing. But it IS still winter, and it’s impossible to dig a particularly deep hole, so the prospect of having a warm bums and legs while the rest of us froze just wasn’t that appealing.

Our trip home involved a detour to Te Aroha for coffee, and Ngatea for a fairly disappointing lunch. Luckily the local St John’s charity shop was open and turned out to be a treasure trove. The Big T and I both left with goodies — and we now have a loyalty card. I’m not sure quite what that says about us.

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.


Please check out these bloggers and see how August played out for them

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Klara’s Brussels in August

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Marilyn at Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Max at Cardinal Guzman



A buyer, not a shopper


A jumble of impressions. Reflections in a shop window, Richmond, Yorkshire. Image: Su Leslie 2013

I’m not a shopper — certainly not a recreational shopper. Unless I have an actual need for something, I tend to avoid retail spaces. And when I do need to buy, I try to avoid malls and chain stores.

Essentially, I don’t like being sold to. I don’t like busy window displays and overloaded “specials'” tables. I dislike the loud music that seems to have become normal, and above all, I dislike being followed around a shop by a sales assistant trying to “help” me.

I’m a buyer, not a shopper.


Covent Garden Market, London. Su Leslie 2013

I do like markets; especially the kind giving artisan producers a chance to sell the fruits of their labour. I like the sense of engagement, a chance to talk to people who make things and whose passion for what’s on sale is genuine and infinitely greater than that of a shop worker whose minimum-wage income needs to be boosted with sales commissions.


First Thursdays, St Kevins Arcade, Karangahape Road, Auckland. Su Leslie 2016

And markets are often held in interesting spaces. I am just as likely to enjoy the architecture and ambience as any of the products for sale.

Unless it’s a real bargain.


Spotted (but not bought) at Takapuna Market, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2015

But then there are the things I would feel uncomfortable about buying in any regular “shopping” place — like an animal.


Piglets for sale out of a trailer, Kerikeri Market, Northland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017

I have no reason to believe this pig breeder doesn’t look after her animals, but personally, I’d want to know more about potential purchasers than just that they could stump up sixty bucks.

Shopping is this week’s theme at Debbie’s One Word Sunday



Regular Random: five minutes with a cup of rose tea


I found some rose tea in the pantry, and although I love the way rosewater is used in Middle Eastern cooking, I’ve never really taken to roses in a tisane.

But the little buds look so pretty — and I am trying to cut down my coffee consumption — so I will make a few more cups, and try adding some extras like honey and lemon to change the flavour a bit.

Any rose tea drinkers amongst you with tips on brewing or flavouring?

Regular Random is a photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist. Please pop over and take a look;  and if you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to not interfere with the subject, instead see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • have fun!
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post.