The Changing Seasons, December 2019

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Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I’ve struggled to write this post.

As the year has worn on, I — like so many people — have become increasingly angry, sad, frustrated, disillusioned and, frankly, exhausted by the world around me.

Like many, I fluctuate between bouts of active optimism and periods of despair.

Despair’s had the upper hand this month, with the result that I’ve done very little and taken fewer photos than usual. Fewer still I’m happy with.

A pre-Christmas road-trip to see my dad and stepmother produced the best shots, and confirmed that I really like both Whanganui and the surrounding countryside — even (or especially) in stormy weather.

The approach of Christmas meant my son could be persuaded to pose for a photo — Grandma insisted and that’s pretty much the only reason he’ll agree. He’s successfully completed university for another year and is working long hours over the summer — looking forward to finishing his degree next year.

img_6190 The boy-child. Image: Su Leslie 2019

As always, some of my favourite images are of the small things — generally plants. We harvested the first of the plums just after Christmas; the tinsel bird-deterrent having done its job. The second plum tree is more fruit-laden, but they won’t be ripe for another week or two.

My principal gardening success at the moment seems to be with seedlings. The Kakabeak I’ve been nurturing for a few months is thriving, and it looks like almost all of the Kowhai seeds I harvested from our tree have germinated. Even the loquat seedlings are doing well. Gathered from a tree at my son’s flat, they took about three months to germinate but are now growing fast. The travelling hydrangeas are holding their own — but barely — and I may have to look beyond Google for advice.

I’m glad that 2019 is coming to an end.

I don’t normally buy in to the “New Year resolutions” thing, but this year I will be taking this socially-sanctioned opportunity to re-start and move into 2020 with the energy and enthusiasm I know I’m going to need.

img_6189 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Wishing you all good health, good friends, laughter, love, and the energy you will need in your own lives.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

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.

Update

Brian at Bushboys World

Sarah at Art Expedition

Marilyn at Serendipity seeking intelligent life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Jude from Life at the Edge

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

A wonderful Sheep

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons, November 2019

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Fern frond; slowly unfurling to release the seeds of new life. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I think if I had to find one word to describe myself at the moment, it would be introspective. Exhausted worrying about a world I have little power to influence, I’ve withdrawn to the personal, domestic space where my thoughts and actions can make a difference.

I began the month in New Plymouth, visiting the gardens — both beautiful and functional — of the Taranaki Garden Festival and Sustainable Backyards Trail. I met people who grow their own food on tiny suburban plots, others who are creating off-grid lifestyles, and some of the professional gardeners whose job it is to care for the area’s stunning Regional Gardens — at Tupare, Pukeitiand Holland Gardens.

I came home energised, inspired and with my head as full of free-range, sustainably grown, nutrient-dense ideas as I’d hoped. The gardens deserve their own posts (I am working on them, honest), but there was a lot to enjoy just travelling to, and being in, Taranaki.

Back in Auckland I haven’t strayed too far from home; venturing onto the (relatively) new ferry service from Hobsonville Point to the city one afternoon.

And walking amongst the lupin-covered dunes at Muriwai Beach.

Perhaps now that summer has arrived, I will feel more inclined to look outward.

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.

Update

Please visit these bloggers to see how November played out for them.

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Margaret at The Secret Diary of a Garden

Lani at Life, the Universe, and Lani

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

A Wonderful Sheep

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Brian at Bushboys World

Joining us for the first time:

Dawn at A Shared Space

Darren at Arty Plantsman

 

The Changing Seasons, September 2019

hokianga heads1001 Hokianga Harbour, above Omapere. The sand dunes on the far side are gradually being covered with forest. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My September began in Omapere, on the Hokianga Harbour — a long weekend for the Big T and I revisiting an area we first explored in our early days together. Without knowing it when we booked, we even stayed in the same place, though it has been transformed from a small motel into a larger hotel complex.

In the thirty years since we lasted visited, the giant sand dune on the western side of the harbour has begun to disappear under vegetation — an environmental success, but making the dune a little less spectacular.

On the other hand, the foreshore at Omapere is disappearing into the sea. Along the beach was clear evidence of massive erosion, including several houses and large areas of reserve that have collapsed into the beach. Enormous concrete barriers have been placed on the lawn of the hotel to “protect” the building, but I suspect that if T and I were to visit in another 30 years, we’d need to find alternative accommodation to stay on dry land.

My gardening efforts this month have been very modest; lots of planning and tidying, some helicopter parenting of a few seeds and seedlings, and trying to enjoy the spring flowers before wind and rain destroy them.

T and I celebrated my birthday with a few days in Wellington — my favourite home away from home. T hardly ever visits our capital city, so it was fun playing tourists together. As always seems to happen when I visit, the weather was good for most of our stay and the clouds were rolling in as we left — perfect.

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.

Update

Because I’ve been a bit slow this month, four of my fellow bloggers have already posted their Changing Seasons;

Ju-Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Jude from Life at the Edge

A Wonderful Sheep

Please pop over to see how September played out for them, and also:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Brian at Bushboys World

Gill at Talking Thailand

The Changing Seasons, August 2019

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In an extremely dreary month, I resorted to buying cut flowers to inject a little colour. Image: Su Leslie 2019

August is often a month in which I feel like hibernating. This year, with rain every day (yep, actually every single day), cold winds and heavy grey skies, I really haven’t felt  like venturing far from home. I know I’ve been busy at home — I’m just not quite sure what I’ve been busy doing.

My photos offer a few clues.

There has been a lot of baking this month; mostly sourdough-based. I’ve been making a sourdough wholewheat bread for a few years, and was getting quite reliably good results until a few months ago. My most recent loaves aren’t developing the gluten properly, and I’m obsessively testing variations on my recipe to understand what is going wrong.

I’m still not sure, but in the process of experimenting I’ve made a lot of sourdough pancakes/hotcakes (excellent for breakfast with berries), some good banana bread, a tasty wheat/rye loaf — and the best basic San Fransisco-style sourdough of my bread-making “career.”

In other news:

I discovered the multiple-exposure function on my camera and have had fun with that.

A bunch of supermarket tulips brought some much-needed floral inspiration as the weather has hammered my neighbourhood’s gardens.

In Whanganui last month I found three bags of dyed, carded wool for felting at $4 per bag. I couldn’t resist buying them, and have had a couple of attempts at wet-felting. I’m not at all happy with the results so far, but — like sourdough baking — I am determined to learn this skill, even if it’s only to make myself a scarf.

And in a moment of (probable) insanity; I decided to refurbish our dining chairs; bought from IKEA over 20 years ago.

I started out just thinking I’d smarten up an ugly, but comfortable $5 op-shop chair. Then I realised the colours I had in mind would work really well with our dining room furniture.

Somehow, I transitioned from that one little “paint-and-upholstery” job to making new seat frames for six chairs (bonus: I learned how to use a jig-saw); stripping and painting six grubby, waxed, wooden frames (plus one that was varnished); and upholstering seven chairs in turquoise and white striped canvas. Only one is completed so far — and boy have I learned a lot from it!

Not captured in the photographic record; I’ve also read more than usual (fiction and non-fiction); and completed the first assignment in a NZ Certificate in Horticulture course I signed up to. As you do …

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.

Update

Take a look at these lovely bloggers’ August posts:

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Jude from Life at the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

DJ Ranch

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Brian at  Bushboy’s World

Gill at Talking Thailand

A wonderful sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons, July 2019

Photo 30-07-19, 3 53 18 PM Tongiriro River, Turangi, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My July began and ended with travel, leaving the in-between bit less than memorable.

Work took the Big T to Melbourne, and I joined him for a long, sunny weekend. Melbourne is a city I know well, so seldom do touristy things there. Instead I’m happy to walk the different neighbourhoods, visit galleries, drink far too much coffee, and enjoy the vibe.

Last week I drove to Whanganui to see my father, tacking on a side trip to Palmerston North and an overnight stay in Turangi on the way home.

Whanganui’s an attractive city with a thriving arts scene (definitely a bonus), but what makes the trip even better is that it takes me through some of the North Island’s most rugged and beautiful scenery.

Looking at the photos I’ve taken this month, street art and stunning sunsets seem to predominate. I was about to sigh wistfully and say it would be wonderful if every month offered up such treasures — but I suspect I really just need to look harder.

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 the Changing Seasons — July 2019 for these awesome bloggers:

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Jude at Life at the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Brian at Bushboys World

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

DJ Ranch

A Wonderful Sheep

Ju Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Gill at Talking Thailand

The Changing Seasons, May 2019

This may be a lousy representation of my month as a whole, but I think it’s a fairly good visual metaphor for my flu-addled state right now.

I’m not likely to get a proper Changing Seasons post up for a few more days, but for all the fit folks who have their monthly round-up ready, go ahead and ping-back to this post and when I get a full post up I’ll copy the blog roll to that too.

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 the Changing Seasons — May for these awesome bloggers:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me — and here

Marilyn at Serendipity — seeking intelligent life on Earth

Jude at Life at the Edge

A Wonderful Sheep

Sarah at Art Expedition

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at the Widow Badass

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Ju-Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Pauline at Living in Paradise

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons, April 2019

helix ferns Fern leaves in decay. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I guess is says a lot about my April that I’ve got to the 30th and am casting around for images to post for the Changing Seasons.

It’s not that I haven’t taken lots of photos; more that they don’t seem to speak coherently of a month that has breezed over me, leaving little trace of itself.

As I write this, the sky outside is unbroken blue, and apart from a neighbour’s Japanese Maple, the trees I can see are green and still carrying a full complement of leaves. It’s autumn Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

The shot above was taken on the bush trail on Mt Manaia, on the Whangarei Heads. The Big T and I explored some of the track last weekend — stopping before the steep summit climb in deference to my arthritic knee.

It’s a beautiful place (both Mt Manaia and the Heads generally), and was surprisingly quiet for a glorious day at the end of the school holidays.

fern fronds Fern fronds. Image: Su Leslie 2019

It took me a while to realise that the delicate intertwined spirals are fern fronds. As the leaves on each frond die, they curl in upon themselves. Where several leaves are in close proximity, they become entwined. If I were going to try and wrest Deep Meaning from it, I’d suggest it is a metaphor for how, as we age, we seek out and need the support of others — creating strength and beauty through unity.

Feel free just to enjoy how cool it looks.

In the absence of anything much to say about April; here’s a pot pourri of my month:

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 the Changing Seasons — April for these awesome bloggers:

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Yvette at priorhouse blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Jude at Life at the Edge

New to the Changing Seasons this month A Wonderful Sheep

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Gill at Talking Thailand

Deb at The Widow Badass


  1. The line of course is “it’s life Jim, but not as we know it” from the 1987 song “Star Trekkin” (The Firm). Those who have closely studied the texts say that such a line was never uttered verbatim in Star Trek.

The Changing Seasons: March 2019

Photo 8-03-19, 6 04 49 PM (1)

Storm clouds on the horizon. Symbolism in retrospect — taken exactly one week before the Christchurch terror attack. Big Omaha Wharf, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2019

This is the most difficult Changing Seasons post I’ve ever written.

How do I describe the way a month that could easily have passed without comment suddenly became one that no New Zealander will ever forget?

Because at 1.40pm on Friday 15th, a terrorist murdered fifty Muslim men, women and children practicing their religion in two mosques in the city of Christchurch — and changed this country for ever.

A terrorist left 48 more worshipers with serious physical injuries, and hundreds more to deal with the psychological trauma of having witnessed the carnage or dealt with its aftermath.

A terrorist shattered families, brought fear and anger to the Muslim community, defiled a city trying to rebuild itself after deadly earthquakes, and dragged these little islands out of our illusion of peace and safety.

In the two weeks since, we have seen the best and the worst of humanity. Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis have turned up at mosques and vigils and rallies to offer condolences, flowers, cards, food, music, prayer, haka, hugs, tears and above all — aroha, or love.

Our Prime Minister has behaved with sensitivity and compassion that is being admired beyond our shores.

Our government has tried to put aside politics and act decisively to make legislative changes to gun and other laws.

And the racist underbelly of our society is being exposed and scrutinised like never before. On the plus side, when people are coming forward to talk about the abuse they routinely experience in this country, they are being believed at last. On the minus, the xenophobic violence and hatred continues.

It is too early to know if this act of terrorism will (ironically for the terrorist) bring about positive change in New Zealand, or if, when the next big news story comes along, we’ll go back to “business as usual.” I hope for the best, but truthfully am not that optimistic.

So what do I have to show for March? Certainly not photos of candles and placards and grieving. Others have done that (sometimes beautifully) but for me personally, it has felt intrusive.

So here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts this month.

Food features heavily as usual. The Big T and I celebrated his birthday a week before the Christchurch attack with lunch at the Sawmill Brewery in Matakana. A beer tasting tray and some shared plates of delicious food — perfect. And I’m still grappling with sourdough pizza; trying to make a base that is light, crispy and easy to work. I’m not there yet, but my boys aren’t complaining.

 

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 these amazing bloggers for their perspective on the month just gone:

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Suzanne, at Being in Nature joins us for the first time.

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Lindsay at Squeak of a Nuthatch

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ladyleemanila

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

 

The Changing Seasons: February 2019

Still life with gym shoes, water bottle, towel, keys and muscle rub. Image: Su Leslie 2019 Still-life with gym shoes. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Ok, let’s just get it out of the way. I’ve joined a gym.

It wasn’t entirely by choice, but I finally sought help to manage my arthritic knee, and this is part of the programme.

I don’t like gyms. Even when I wasn’t middle-aged and overweight, I was still uncoordinated.

And philosophically …. people getting in their cars to drive to a brightly-lit, air-conditioned building full of expensive equipment designed to simulate the exercise humans evolved to get doing that thing called living? I know that’s simplistic; I am genuinely concerned about the environmental costs.

But it seems to be working. After just a few weeks, I have significantly better flexibility and strength.

So having more or less captured my month in one image, here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts.

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 these amazing bloggers for their accounts of the month just gone:

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind — this is divided between two posts; so make sure you see both Part 1 and Part 2.

Marilyn and Garry at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Judy at lifelessons

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Sarah at Art Expedition

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Gavin at Firehorseworld

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

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.

Update

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