The Changing Seasons, November 2020

Raglan Harbour, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. — Douglas Adams

You know when you have a great idea, and it seems quite straightforward.

So you invest a bit of time. Then it starts to get complicated, and there’s a deadline.

But damn, it’s a great idea and you’re not going to be beaten or back down.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, the idea was simple. With Covid and whatnot, it’s been a very virtual year, and I thought it would be nice to post people actual Christmas cards (with hand-written messages), instead of just sending emails or texts, or trying to remember my FaceBook password.

And because I’m quite arty, I thought I’d make the Christmas cards.

But since I didn’t fancy doing 20 or so watercolours, and my lino-cuts were a fail last year, I thought I’d take some nice photos and get them printed onto cards.

And then, because I love food, I thought the photos should be of Christmas goodies. Which of course I’d have to bake.

You see where I’m going with this?

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. — Douglas Adams

Plan B 1/2 — the baking left a bit to be desired. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Suffice to say, I’ve learned a lot about cookie-making, royal icing and bokeh.

But. I barely managed to post my overseas cards before the van arrived to empty the box on the last day NZ Post claims they will deliver them by Christmas (and no, I’m not holding my breath).

And. I am rather pleased with them.

I would show you, but as I don’t know your postal addresses, I’ll almost certainly end up using the images here anyway, by way of a Merry Christmas to you all.

So from where I’m sitting now, my November has been one long baking, icing and photographic session.

But the month started with a short trip to the Waikato, during which I did no baking or icing and very little food photography, unless you count shots of food trucks at Gourmet in the Gardens, at Hamilton Gardens.

This is a weekly event, run every Sunday night over summer, and it was fabulous. The Rhododendron Lawn becomes a vast picnic area, ringed by food trucks serving some really nice food.

I chatted to one of the organisers and was really impressed by how carefully thought-out the whole event is. They even bring in a caravan containing a couple of dishwashers, so that all of the cutlery and crockery can be reused. Apparently the forks and knives came from cleaning out practically every thrift shop in Hamilton.

We spent the night in Hamilton, and drove home via Raglan (only a short detour), which became a longer detour as we explored the Te Akau area on the north side of Raglan Harbour.

One road in, one road out. Thirty or so kilometres of gravel road through some really pretty countryside, and a wharf at the end with some very cool rock formations.

I don’t know if our trip counts as supporting the local tourist industry, but it did confirm that we probably won’t be buying land at Te Akau — unless we also bought a boat that would get us across the harbour to Raglan (about a 10 minute trip).

That’s unlikely, as neither T nor I are natural sailors.

Rock formations, Te Akau Wharf, Waikato. In the background, Raglan. Ten minutes by boat; 90 minutes by road. Image; Su Leslie 2020

The Changing Seasons, contributor’s guidelines

In the last couple of Changing Seasons posts, I’ve talked about the guidelines for this project and sought feedback on them.

Based on this, and my own thoughts I’m suggesting the following — only slightly amended from the Cardinal’s original — guidelines.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly blogging project where bloggers around the world share their thoughts and feelings about the month just gone. We all approach this slightly differently — though generally with an emphasis on the photos we’ve taken during the month.

For many of us, looking back over these photos provides the structure and narrative of our post, so each month is different.

Others focus on documenting the changes in a particular project — such as a garden, an art or craft project, or a photographic diary of a familiar landscape.

Or you might like to share a recipe or instructions for something you’ve made — or just show us what you’ve done.

Post length and photo numbers

There are no fixed rules around this; just a request that you respect your readers’ time and engagement.

If you find you have more than 20 or so photos, you’ve either had a pretty exciting month, or should consider not showing them all.

Similarly, if you’ve already posted an image on your blog, it’s probably not a good idea to use it again — unless it really helps to tell your story. 

Tags and ping-backs

Tag your photos with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

Create a ping-back to this post, so that I can update it with links to all of yours.


Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind


Natalie the Explorer

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful

Pauline from Living in Paradise

Brian at Bushboyโ€™s World

Sarah at Art Expedition

81 thoughts on “The Changing Seasons, November 2020

  1. What a lovely thought, Su, and judging from the photos the cards are really beautiful. I shall await their arrival on the blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m never organised for Christmas… ever! Even less so this year as I don’t even know where I’ll be. Oh, well! It’ll come and it’ll go ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was thinking about how nice is to support food trucks and then you mentioned the reused cutlery. Great idea and a nice touch as almost everyone complains about broken plastic forks and knives too.

    And funnily, with all your Christmas-themed photos on IG, I never put 2 and 2 together. They turned out spectacularly. The reds are warm, and they have a lovely holiday vibe.

    Lastly, love the Douglas Adams quotes. I have to say it, after all, my silly blog name is paying homage to him. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was super-impressed with the cutlery/crockery system. They literally had a truck with a couple of dishwashers, and a bunch of people going round collecting used stuff and loading/unloading the washers. Very slick!

      With the photos; these are my test shots, but because WP doesn’t show the photo captions anymore on a tiled gallery, that really isn’t obvious. But I guess it does mean I can post the “real ones” during December.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – Nov 2020 – Life, the Universe, and Lani

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  5. A fun saying here in Florida, where so many people have boats (we don’t). “The happiest day in a man’s life is the day he buys a boat. And the day he sells the boat.”
    During Hurricane Sally, the large marina downtown, where I have taken many a photo, was completely destroyed. It was awful to drive there and see the dock gone and the boats submerged, some with only the bow sticking up from the water. Millions of dollars worth of boats gone. I can imagine the insurance companies going nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would be true here too. Auckland is sometimes called “The City of Sails” and because of the Americas Cup, has a strong connection with sailing.
      It’s just not my thing really.
      It is terrible to see storm-damaged boats — though we’ve never had anything quite as serious as the hurricanes you get.


      • It’s awful and depressing. The marina is still closed to all traffic as the city contemplates rebuilding. This year was an exceptionally bad hurricane season–which ends tomorrow. Ironically, it has been raining since yesterday….๐ŸŒจ

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is terrible to see parts of our landscape in the aftermath of destruction. Almost 10 years after the Christchurch earthquakes, there are still terrible scars on the landscape, though fewer as time passes and the new city arising is very beautiful.


  6. Pingback: The Changing Seasons ~ November 2020 – Tish Farrell

    • Thanks Tish. It was definitely one of those ideas that wouldn’t have stood up to rational examination. But now it’s done, memory is sanding off the rough edges and the experience will be remembered fondly and without splinters. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Since I post almost all the pictures I take, if I can’t use pictures taken throughout the month, I won’t have anything to post except the pictures I didn’t like enough to post in the first place. It’s not like we are getting out much so the number of pictures is limited. I’m hoping that will change SOON, but in the meantime, we are waiting it out — and hoping that eventually, there WILL be an end. I’d hate to think this is our permanent state of affairs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are a talented and experienced blogger Marilyn; your posts are interesting and not repetitive. But Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ve seen blog posts that have dozens of images that are variations on the same theme and donโ€™t add to the story. Editing is a courtesy to our readers (like including links ๐Ÿ˜ฌ)


      • I try not to show the same pictures over and over, though I have favorites, that I admit, i show more often because I’m proud of them and showing it once isn’t enough. i don’t have a lot of pictures like that — maybe a dozen or say — and a few of them are Garry’s, not mine. And some stuff comes up in challenges because i don’t get out a lot anymore. I pretty limited to local stuff — and a new picture of the stone bridge looks remarkably like at least a couple of hundred previous shots — depending on the season. Sort of like Monet and his water lilies. Not taking vacations has made a huge difference.

        At least once a year, we used to get away. We didn’t have the money for the last couple of years and even if we had the money, there was no way to go anywhere this year. Maybe it’ll be better next year. We live in hope. it’s why I haven’t been taking any bird pictures lately. They are all the same birds and I have SO many pictures of them, if I take new ones, they will look exactly like the old ones. Even the plants are the same. Only the squirrels have changed from grey to white. This is a big deal for me, but I realize not necessarily a big deal for other people.

        I don’t understand people who won’t edit their pictures. I know people who are basically very good, but they seem to feel that editing is cheating. But EVERYONE who has been a serious photographer edits. Ansel Adams edited a LOT. Before eletronic editing, we spent hour in a dark room with some serious lethal chemicals. I’m amazed we’re alive to tell the tale.

        Even when I worked in a darkroom, I developed and processed pictures. Most of what we now do on a computer, we could do (in black and white) in the darkroom. Color had to be sent out. We were a lot more economical though. It cost real money to process a role of color shots!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m with you on editing. Even small tweaks can make a huge difference and ultimately, I think we should be trying to give our readers/viewers the best experience we can. Not being respectful of the audience is one of my pet hates, and with so much content vying for my attention, it’s easy to just bypass the self-indulgent and long-winded. But maybe that’s the copywriter in me speaking ๐Ÿ™‚


          • There are a lot of people I just plain like. I know they aren’t brilliant, but I enjoy them. I sometimes communicate less, but I think that’s a sign of the times. I’m not communicating much and I think I’m forgetting HOW.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Once upon a I time, back in Jerusalem, a friend gave me two lithographs. I liked them enough to have them professionally framed. I took down the picture that was over the sofa and put up the new pictures. Which is when I realized the walls were darkened from our gas heaters (we didn’t have central heating), so we got someone to repaint the living room. That was when I realized the sofa needed reupholstering.

    Those two free lithographs wound up taking six months of contractors and about $5000. Things never stay simple for long ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You know, you could take your beautiful Christmas Cards (and I’m sure they are beautiful) and put them in a photo frame and email them to all the overseas people for whom you don’t have addresses. If you work it right, you could become a business. Electronic cards are quite the thing these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Marilyn. I probably will use them in emails too.

      Iโ€™m not a huge fan of electronic cards โ€” those Iโ€™ve received seem to be gimicky animated gifs. I have a friend who scans actual birthday cards and emails them to me. He knows where I live, so I can only assume he buys one card and emails it to everyone he knows.


      • We have ONE company that makes really beautiful cards with music. Not gimmicky and real cards. It’s a subscription — $20/year — with unlimited cards. I’ll send you one. They don’t HAVE to me a sneaky way to advertise something, though it frequently is.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. My month in lockdown has been dull, dull, dull. But I have been baking, which is a bad thing as there is only the OH and I to eat the results. I have booked lunch out next week and a trip to a garden as I am going somewhat stir crazy and oh, how I wish I was back in Raglan – 6 years ago and it still feels like yesterday!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m ashamed to say we have been watching Frasier. It is so very sexist in that dumb male sort of way. Poor Roz. I would smack them in the kisser if that was me. Still, beyond that, the repartee is quite clever. My TL has been watching Homeland. It contains the usual tropes. Often I ask for the plot summary. That is all I need. Still it is nice to have a female character as the lead. I couldn’t watch Tim Minchin’s show that you recommended. It is on Foxtel here and we don’t subscribe. Plus the youngest man has been watching YT videos all day. Thankfully he has just had a job offer flipping burgers. Better than nothing I guess and he can still continue his study next year.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Just ready to head to bed but trying to catch up on posts I missed earlier today. I’m glad I made it here to see and read how productive your November has been. The cards look lovely and the food looks a/o sounds delicious. But where oh where has the year gone??


    Liked by 1 person

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  14. So love to get your Changing Seasons posts Su. I think I will have cancelled Christmas this year. It will be all too hard for me not being able to get about.
    I will do mine soon and link back. As usual I will have broken all of your rules ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – November 2020 – Reflections of An Untidy Mind

  16. Douglas Adams cracks me up! Thought that flittered across my mind as I read the 2nd quote is that he is has Winnie-the-Pooh vibes … I’m not sure if that’s complimentary to either he or AAMilne, but there you have it: the impact of my sometimes very random brain.

    Projects: the exhilaration and the bane. Yours was ambitious and you birthed such beauty!

    The Hamilton Gardens visit looks like such fun …. will they have more occasions as summer approaches?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. That looks like a fabulous way to have spent your November, Su. I am sure the recipients of the cards will love them, albeit they may not appreciate the amount of effort that has gone into them. And we can enjoy them too and get a glimpse into your creative process.
    Perhaps you have another trip planned to Gourmet in the Gardens this summer? It looks so very vibrant and even better when you can let others worry about the cooking for a change.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Wow! Your Christmas card project is one hell of a project, Su! So much work in advance! I’m deeply impressed (and feel quite lazy in comparison for my Christmas cards that I hope to get ready this week and send them). I would love to do the same but these days all my energy goes into eating cookies instead of making them! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m really such a sloth! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Those Gourmets trucks are great and love the idea of the reusable cutlery!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: The Changing Seasons: November 2020 – All things bright and beautiful

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  21. I love your creative ideas Su, the Christmas card idea is a beauty. And I can emphasis with the deadline quote, I am a classic procrastinator…Where does the time go… I will keep that Hamilton Garden food event in mind if, and whenever, we get to visit NZ again. Those rocks are a fascinating formation, a great little side track road trip too. I’m a couple of days late this month, but here I am, made it again… I think I actually managed to add your link into this months post too…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: The Changing Seasons – November 2020 | Art Expedition

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