Looking for a little personal space


Gannet colony; Muriwai New Zealand. Su Leslie 2017

“The crowd intimidates me, its breath suffocates me. I feel paralysed by its curious look, and the unknown faces make me dumb.” — Frederic Chopin

I suspect that if there is, somewhere, a photo of me in a crowd, I would be the embodiment of Chopin’s words. As far as I know, there isn’t.

But I wonder; could introversion ever be a character trait in gannets?

Given their highly communal breeding and chick-rearing habits, it’s not a trait that I’d wish on them.

In response to Debbie’s Quotation-inspired challenge at Travel with Intent

“… taken in wine is good for melancholy”


Buckwheat flower (fagopyrum esculentum). Image: Su Leslie 2019

According to Culpepper’s English Physician and Complete Herbal, buckwheat also  “provoketh urine, increaseth milk, and looseneth the belly.”

And to think, I just planted it to attract the bees.

Friday Flowers


dewdrop bokeh Water on a magnolia leaf. Image: Su Leslie 2018

“To abstract is to draw out the essence of a matter.” – Ben Shahn

The more photographs I make, the more I realise that I’ll never capture everything in a scene. And the more I try, the busier and more confused my images become.

I’m learning to focus my brain as well as my lens; to make judgements about what is important to me; what I want my image to say. Sometimes that means taking an image into the realms of abstraction.

img_6015 A starfish in the tide. Image: Su Leslie 2018

“The less there is to look at, the more important it is that we look at it closely and carefully.” ― Kirk Varnedoe

img_6013 Cactus leaves. Image: Su Leslie 2018
DSC09393 The storm. Image: Su Leslie 2013

“What does that represent? There was never any question in plastic art, in poetry, in music, of representing anything. It is a matter of making something beautiful, moving, or dramatic – this is by no means the same thing.” – Fernand Leger

img_6014 Tulips. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | abstract

The advent of the advent calendar-free Xmas

advent calender

The Boy-child’s Advent Calendar 2017. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Advent Calendars weren’t part of my Presbyterian upbringing; so I was largely unaware of them until the boy-child was little and he began to receive as gifts the kind with little chocolates behind each window. Then a cousin sent him a lovely quilted version with numbered pockets to be filled with goodies.

Despite its Winnie the Pooh fabric, the Calendar remained in use until my son left home, and probably would still be pressed into service except that I can’t find it.


The boy-child’s advent calendar; made by a cousin and given to him when he was four. Image: Su Leslie

For the last couple of years I sought alternative solutions; the row of goodie bags that could be hung in a flat bedroom, a box with numbered envelopes.

I’m not sure whether it’s a lack of imagination or a general ambivalence towards Christmas, but this year we’re going calendar-free and I wonder if he will even notice.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | calendar

The Changing Seasons, November 2019


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.


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