The Changing Seasons, April 2020


No hamburger for me. I celebrated the end of Level 4 Covid 19 lock-down by getting my feet wet. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The concept of The Changing Seasons should be more appropriate this month than ever before.

Aotearoa New Zealand has, in the last few days, moved from the highest level of Covid 19 lock-down, to one in which a great deal more freedom of movement is possible, and where a large number of businesses have been able to re-open.

In some ways, nothing will ever be the same again. But as I woke to the sound of early morning traffic, to read about ridiculously long queues of cars and people outside fast-food outlets, any hope that 33 days of lock-down would promote reflection about how we might live better lives has been dashed. It seems that we are a nation of impatient, car-addicted, junk-food guzzlers.

Though I may not have joined the 3am queue for a burger or three (who does that?), nor have I learned a language, mastered the guitar or even cleaned my ovens. In fact, I can’t really point to anything in particular and say “I did that as a result of Covid-19.”

Apart from a few days at the beginning when I almost believed that Some-Good-Will-Come-From-This, I’ve really just spent the last month fretting about work, income, my son, real estate prices and how long it would take before we collectively start trashing the planet again.

And I think my gallery of images for the month reflects my mood; a bit of sunshine, a lot of dying leaves — and a trip to the beach this morning.

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 visit Pauline’s beautiful garden at Living in Paradise. She and Jack have been hard at work and as always it’s a visual delight.

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani shares some thoughts and interesting images from her month in Rayong, Thailand.

A Wonderful Sheep brings us a lovely hopeful post with beautiful images of her “side of the mountain” in glorious springtime.

Tish at Writer on the Edge has been busy in her garden and allotment. Please pop over and see the fruits of her green fingers.

Sarah at Art Expedition has not only taken some beautiful photos, but also baked the most delicious-looking ….  No. I’m not going to tell you — you have to visit her post to see for yourself.

Come and enjoy a walk with Tracy from Reflections of an Untidy Mind. As always her photos are lovely and her thoughts clear and well worth hearing.

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking intelligent life on Earth has worked her creative editing magic on some lovely images of the wildlife around her home.

Gill at Talking Thailand shares a walk and some spring-time flowers in the garden.

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc has shared some thoughts and images from lock-down in Tasmania.

Darren at The Arty Plantsman has shared some joyous images from his garden and you must visit to see his beautiful pencil drawing.

Visit Little Pieces of Me  to see some beautiful nature photography, and some thoughts on the times we’re living in.

Ju-Lynn at All Things Bright and Beautiful  will make you so hungry looking at all the delicious food her family has been making in the lock-down.

Yvette at Priorhouse blog shares some recipes, including a chia seed pudding.



Film Friday: Tampopo


Tampopo (Japan, 1985). Director Juzo Itami.

Films about food feature so regularly on my roll-call of film favourites that I could fill a year’s worth of Film Friday slots with the various delights of culinary cinema.

But however long the list and whatever my current favourite, Tampopo will always hold a very special place in my heart. Like a first kiss, or the first bite of a Thai fish cake (when you’ve grown up on classic “Kiwi” tucker), Tampopo was a revelation; an experience unlike anything that’s gone before.

It’s been called the first “ramen western, but it’s also a comedy, a gentle almost-romance, a bromance and a play on so many film tropes and genres that it’s hard to keep up.

At its heart is a quest for the perfect ramen. The genius is that this quest involves tough-guy truckers, a young widow and her bullied son, some homeless people, a rich elderly man, a few heart-of-gold punks and an assorted cast of Hollywood stock characters played not so much against type, as alongside but in a wholly different cultural context. Not forgetting some salarymen, a group of young women learning western etiquette, a dying housewife, a couple of con artists, and a gangster and his girlfriend who inhabit an almost entirely separate movie.

It’s messy, crazy, cheesy, sometimes quite erotic, seriously good fun.

And no matter how often I watch it I always end up craving a bowl of noodles.

About Film Friday

Sarah at Art Expedition, and Darren, The Arty Plantsman have initiated this great new blogging project. You can find out more and see their chosen films for the week by visiting Darren’s and Sarah‘s latest posts.



To touch a hundred flowers


Rhododendrons, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, NZ. Image; Su Leslie 2019

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

Of all the things I long for when the current rahui ends, long walks in public gardens is high on my list. In the meantime, I’m searching my archives for garden-visits-past.

Today we’re in Pukekura Park — in springtime.  Covering 52 hectares in central New Plymouth, the park first opened 1876. The boating lake was built in 1878, and in 1931, the Tea House was added — a gift by a former mayor and his wife to mark their golden wedding anniversary. Walking trails take you through fern glades and rhododendron dells, over bridges and alongside the lake. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place. Perfect for a Friday Flowers stroll.


Film Friday: Strictly Ballroom

MV5BOTU5ZTBlMWEtNGQzNi00MDNiLTk4NjEtNTQ1MTg5MzBhYzQ3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTE1NjY5Mg@@._V1_ Publicity poster, Strictly Ballroom. Image from IMDb

Music, dancing, romance, rivalries and political machinations — what’s not to like?

Strictly Ballroom (1992), is Australian film-maker Baz Lurhmann’s directoral debut. Set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing, it’s a story about love and friendship, about following your dreams, and about doing the right thing when it really matters.

It’s also incredibly funny. And tongue-in-cheek. And uplifting. All of which I need right now.

You can find out more about the film and see a trailer at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) here.

And hopefully you’ll be able to watch the video below of John Paul Young singing his 1977 hit Love is in the Air, which he re-recorded for the Strictly Ballroom soundtrack.

Now get up and dance.

Fun fact:

The hit British TV programme Strictly Come Dancing gets its name from this movie — in case you didn’t know.

About Film Friday

Sarah at Art Expedition, and Darren, The Arty Plantsman have initiated this great new blogging project. You can find out more and see their chosen films for the week by visiting Darren’s latest post. Sarah is taking a break this week.