The Changing Seasons, December 2018

Photo 22-12-18, 4 10 55 PM Waiting for the music. Part of the tableau inspired by Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party”, created in The Masfield Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

December has been another month of relative inactivity, with few photos added to my archive.

Unexplained pain in my right leg has kept me from traveling much (a visit to Hamilton Gardens notwithstanding) — or even walking far. A post-Christmas visit to the doctor is planned.

But beyond that, I seem to be living in a curious limbo. The Big T and I have talked for years of selling up and leaving Auckland, but while our enthusiasm for a life-change is undiminished, work, families and a host of other roadblocks have continually flung themselves in our path.

At times I feel I’m living in The Eagles’ “Hotel California”

“… you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Photo 22-12-18, 4 09 34 PMThe Mansfield Garden, Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The reason for my visit Hamilton Gardens (apart from testing my pain threshold) was to see the newest creation — The Mansfield Garden  — named after New Zealand author Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923).

The garden recreates the setting of Mansfield’s short story The Garden Party (1922), complete with the facade of the family home, lawns, Ford Model T on the drive, a pond and a tennis court upon which a marquee has been erected to cover tables laden with carefully recreated facsimiles of the food described in the story.

Written a year before Mansfield’s death from pulmonary tuberculosis, The Garden Party tells the story of the wealthy Sheridan family as they prepare for, and host a garden party. During preparations, they learn that a working-class neighbour has died suddenly. While Laura, one of the Sheridan daughters, believes that the party should be canceled as a mark of respect, the rest of the family disagrees and the party goes ahead. Later Laura visits the dead man’s family with a basket of party leftovers, and is taken to see the body, laid out for the wake.

The story is seen as a reflection on Mansfield’s own impending death. She had been diagnosed with tuberculosis several years earlier, at the time considered a death sentence.

The Mansfield Garden is lovely; both as a recreation of the story’s setting, and as a beautiful space in its own right. It was incredibly busy when we were there, and the light was quite intense, so I took very few photos.

I guess I’ll need a return trip on a quieter, more overcast day.

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.


Pauline at Living in Paradise

Little Pieces of Me

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

61 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, December 2018

  1. That Mansfield display looks enticing and I will put it on my “to do” list when we come to NZ. Hope you find out what is wrong with your leg and get it better. Jack has knee problems now and so we don’t get around so much, and when we do it is slowly….It is hard to make those big life changing decisions, but you will when the time is right. Maybe this will be the year of change. Good luck with whatever you do

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a bright day day there on your trip, Su. The tableaux are fascinating.
    That sore leg must be getting you down. You had that when you visited the sculptures in Sydney! Hope you can find out what is causing the problem.
    I’ll post my month in the new year when my internet plan kicks over. I’m shut inside on these hot days and cannot do any binge watching!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We read a volume of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories for O Level. As with many of the authors which were enforced i’ve never been tempted to go back to her, though I know I have read this story much more recently, maybe in a collection of women’s writing. Sorry about the leg: hope you get that resolved soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Anabel. I will find out what’s causing the pain one way or another — not k owing drives me nuts.
      I had to read Mansfield at school too, and remember that I found the characters quite unlikable. I read The Garden Party again the other day, and it reminded me of John Buchan’s stories — upper class protagonists congratulating themselves for sympathising with the “lower orders” — represented as horribly cliched and one dimensional. The garden’s nice though 😀


  4. So sorry to hear that you are being laid-up by a bum leg. I hope it’s a relatively easy fix and you are mobile again soon. Being on the sidelines from an injury is never a good place to be.

    Best wishes for the new year, Su. Perhaps 2019 will be THE year you and Big T finally make the big move 🙂

    Is it safe to assume you will be continuing the monthly Changing Seasons feature in the new year? I hope ….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear that the leg is still giving you pain. It is horrible how disabling it can be when your mobility is compromised. Loved reading about and seeing this garden. I really enjoyed my brief (and wet) visit to the Hamilton Gardens where I concentrated on the Paradise Gardens. I would another longer visit.

    Maybe this year the time wasn’t right for the life-change. It will happen. Sometimes you have to force it. I’m only too aware of how fast life is passing by and hesitating isn’t making me any younger.
    Wishing you all the best for 2019 Su. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a lovely and beautiful house and gardens! That tableaux with the piano is fascinating, I suspect they need to cover it everytime it rains, unless they dismantled it on the inside.
    And I’m so sorry to hear about your new leg problem – please take good care! I know how awful it is not to be able to get around as much as one would like too. 😦
    Does putting it up help? I hope it’s nothing serious and will keep my fingers crossed for a very speedy recovery!! Sending huge hugs to comfort you! Xxxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Sarah. Resting the leg definitely helps, but it’s so boring!!! And hugs help 😀😀
      I wondered about the instruments too, but suspect they may not be real, but constructed props like the food. The tennis court is fenced off from visitors, so you can’t get close to take a look, and it was to busy to investigate the house facade closely. I would like to go back when it’s a bit quieter.

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. I’m a fan of the film Mansfield Park (Jane Austin) and had no knowledge of Mansfiel’s Garden Party. Was totally confused and had to look everything up to make sure I had gotten the right idea….
    Sorry to hear about your pain. I experienced just today a unholy pain very suddenly in my knees. All of a sudden I couldn’t stand on one leg such was the weakness of said knee…. I blame the humidity of the day but it’s probably old age and MANY falls – first when skiing, later on when I lived in UK and my many little incidents when falling over cobble stones and wet leaves etc. I very much hope that a solution to your problems can be found as it really creates a lot of misery and down-time.
    Thank you for this very interesting and inspiring article. I guess this is the equivalent of me visiting the Giverny Gardens (Monet’s gardens)…. Always good for a day out!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sorry to hear that your leg continues to bother you, Su. Glad you are getting it checked out! I don’t have your reason for inactivity but nonetheless I am all out of creative fire these days. I hope to turn that corner soon. All the best for 2019, to you and yours!


    Liked by 1 person

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