The Changing Seasons, May 2020


Grounded. Dinghies at Island Bay, Auckland. Image; Su Leslie 2020

I’ve taken fewer photos this month than in any other since my days of film-camera ownership.

Basically, I haven’t been out all that much, and there are only so many photos I can take of the few remaining flowers in my garden.

Covid 19 restrictions have largely been removed in New Zealand and we are being bombarded with media messages to travel; see the country, spend whatever income we’re still earning on hotel nights and boutique pinot noir; go bungy-jumping, horse-trekking, white water rafting — whatever’s on offer in a country that has steadily replaced productive industries with tourism. Now the overseas visitors are absent, we’re practically being told that it’s our patriotic duty to replace their greenbacks, sterling and yuan with our own dollars.

Not only that, if we don’t do it NOW — the visitors will soon come back and the country’s beauty spots will once again be overcrowded and over-priced.

So far, I’ve resisted.

It’s not that I don’t want to support small businesses and their minimum wage staff. I do.

But I also want the people of this tiny, achingly beautiful country at the arse-end of the world to pause, and ask ourselves if we really want to instantly undo the little bit of good that a human lock-down has done for our environment. Do we really want to throw ourselves into budget-price camper vans and burn as much fossil fuel as possible in the time we have? Do we want to trample barely-recovered walking tracks in fragile eco-systems? Pollute the waterways? Buy stuff we don’t need and generate rubbish we can’t actually get rid of?

New Zealand is a wonderful country. We do a lot of things well, but I fear that we’re squandering the opportunity to build on our success in fighting off (at least the first wave) of a pandemic. In our rush to “rebuild” our economy, we’re wrapping ourselves in all the old assumptions and ideologies that were steadily, gradually destroying not only the natural environment, but also our society.

This is not the post I set out to write. And I suppose it’s not even particularly appropriate under “The Changing Seasons” headline.

But it’s the post I need to write; because my fear is that we’re not changing. We’re allowing ourselves to be sucked back into old ways and old thinking. We’re grounded; upturned dinghies dragged out of the water and going nowhere.

I don’t exempt myself from this. And it’s evident in the (few) photos I have taken. The subject matter, the point of view — even the editing — all reflect a sensibility that I have been holding onto for perhaps too long.



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

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Little Pieces of Me


Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Dawn at A Shared Space

Natalie the Explorer

Suzanne at Life at No. 22

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind










Delicate colours


Misty morning, Hobsonville Point, NZ. Image: Su Leslie

The rain has arrived in Auckland, and with it the cold swirl and creep of winter. There is no softness in the colours around me; the world is a washed-out, exhausted grey that seeps into my head and muddles my thoughts.

My to-do list feels like the stuff of fantasy. I half-expect to find “slay dragon” and “retrieve missing chalice” alongside “phone Mum” and “buy potting mix.”

Fortunately (for my participation in this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge at least), trying to bring order to my photo archive also appears (somewhat optimistically) on the list.

So, a dip into images past; softened by memory and a certain amount of editing.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | delicate colours

Friday flowers

img_7179 Image: Su Leslie 2020

It hasn’t been a great week, one way or another.

I’ve broken a tooth; inflicted a ridiculously painful-for-its-size cut on my finger tip; been for a mammogram (routine but always stressful); had a massive wasps’ nest removed from the ceiling cavity directly above where I sleep, and wasted far too much time trying to buy a tripod in camera shops that seem to employ the sort of men (where are the women in camera shops?) who should only exist in fiction (I’m thinking here of  “Hi-honey-I’m-home” 1950s sitcoms).

Worst of all; I feel bad for feeling bad. Apart from the broken tooth — and the possibilities inherent in the mammogram — it’s all pretty minor stuff. In a world of people doing it really tough right now, I’m not even on the scale.

That didn’t stop me buying flowers to cheer myself up though.

On the plus side, I bought them from a small, local florist who had only been in business a few months before Covid 19.

On the minus side, they’re out of season cut flowers with a carbon footprint I don’t even want to think about.

On the plus side, photographing them has provided me with shots for #fridayflowers.

On the minus, I’ve learned that flowers which look great in a vase don’t necessarily photograph well.

On the plus side, I’m going to shut up now, pour myself a glass of wine, and try not to think of reasons to get stressed about that.

Film Friday: Only Lovers Left Alive

CP58948 OnlyLovers.pdf.pdf

Only Lovers Left Alive, Jim Jarmusch, 2012. Advertising poster.

I was in my twenties when I fell in love with Jim Jarmusch. In the beginning it was Stranger Than Paradise (1984), but we traveled Down By Law (1986), and on to Mystery Train (1989) until that final Night on Earth (1991).

Like many youthful romances, it didn’t last; I grew tired of the road (1), we drifted apart and before long completely lost touch.

I tried to reconnect over Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), but it just didn’t work. I was resigned to reliving my memories of that early magic on borrowed DVDs.

Then in 2013, I saw a glimmer of hope. Another chance. This time the attraction wasn’t really my former auteur-crush, but his new film’s stars; Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and John Hurt. Based on past experience, I’d pay to watch them watching paint dry.

And that is how Only Lovers Left Alive comes to be on my list of great, watch-again-and-again-and-never-get-bored movies.

Have I mentioned that it’s a vampire movie? No? Well that surprised me too. According to my usual “will I enjoy this film” checklist, if any of the actors are sporting overly long canines, the answer is probably “no.” If the aforementioned canines are bloodied, it’s a resounding “thanks, but no thanks.”

Let’s just say, I’m rewriting the checklist.

Only Lovers Left Alive IS a vampire movie, but it’s also so much more. It’s a really tender love story, a (very dark) comedy, a celebration of art and creativity, and a cautionary tale for our sickening world. It’s packed full of musical and literary references (spoiler alert: Christopher Marlowe DID write the works of Shakespeare — and he was a vampire), haunting cinematography, and a luscious soundtrack.

I hadn’t really expected there to be much chemistry between Swinton and Hiddleston (playing a couple married for over 500 years), but somehow it works. I’d probably have suggested he get a haircut, but that’s quibbling.

Here’s the trailer, and if you haven’t seen this quirky gem — add it to your lockdown list.

Oh, and as for me and Jim. I wasn’t crazy about his next film Paterson. I haven’t seen his  latest, The Dead Don’t Die, but it’s a “zombie comedy.” Not really my favourite genre, but I loved Shaun of the Dead, so who knows.



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 the latest post by Darren and Sarah.