Last image: 2020

Last image 2020: SD card. Su Leslie 2020

Last image 2020: phone.

Brian at Bushboy’s World had the fun idea of posting the last photo of each month, without editing or explanation.

The rules are simple:
1. Post the last photo on your SD card and/or last photo on your phone for the 30th November.
2. No editing – who cares if it is out of focus, not framed as you would like or the subject matter didn’t cooperate.
3. You don’t have to have any explanations, just the photo will do
4. Create a Pingback to Brian’s post or link in the comments
5. Tag “The Last Photo”

The Changing Seasons, December 2020

Metaphorical, as well as literal sunset. Napier, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Well, 2020 eh! What can I say?

In my January Changing Seasons post I wrote:

… Having got through Christmas without the usual stresses, I gave myself time to think about, and write down, some goals and plans. Against the backdrop of a troubled world, they are very modest and focused on how to live simply and gently. My strategy, I decided, would be summed up as proactive hopefulness.

I’m thinking again about goals for the year ahead, and realise that they are much the same. But the world has become more troubled, and I’ll have to work harder at proactive hopefulness.

To help me (and because it seems I’ve taken very few good photos this month), I’m going to revisit the changing seasons of 2020 through some of the images that gave me hope, or pleasure, or pause to think.

January

An invitation to tea. Image Su Leslie 2019

The first virtual afternoon tea. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Not so much the image as the monthly event that began with this piece of plum cake. It seemed to strike a chord and many of us have enjoyed sharing virutal kai and korero during the year.

February

Girl in a field. Cornwall Park, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2020

In February, this image spoke to me only of the drought then (and still) afflicting my city. Within weeks, the large out-of-shot wedding of which the girl was a part would been impossible as the country went into Covid-fighting lock-down.

March

Sometimes, you just need yellow flowers. Image: Su Leslie 2020

A long weekend in Christchurch allowed us to reconnect with whanau and celebrate the emergence of a new city from the devastation of the 2010-2011 earthquakes. A walk in the botanic gardens produced this shot, a reminder of how much beauty can be found in nature, if we choose to see it.

April

Lucas Creek at Greenhithe Wharf. Feeling lucky to live in such a beautiful place. Image: Su Leslie 2020

During the five weeks of Covid-19 lockdown, we rediscovered our neighbourhood through daily walks. Even after 20 years here, I never tire of this view of the Upper Waitemata from our local wharf.

May

Experiments in PhotoShop. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Inspired by other bloggers creating clever and beautiful images in PhotoShop, I spent an afternoon learning to use some new editing tools. This is definitely the best of my experiments.

June

Turning homegrown fruit into marmalade. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Our citrus trees provided a bumper harvest year — with the orange (planted by mistake I think) producing more fruit than we could eat or give away. I am grateful for this harvest and for land on which to grow food.

July

Waikato sunrise at Mercer, NZ. Image; Su Leslie 2020

As Auckland traffic has become more and more horrendous, very early starts are the most sanity-preserving option for road-trips south. In winter, this has the added bonus of arriving at Mercer in time to watch the sunrise from the banks of the Waikato River. No matter how often I stop here, the view still fills me with joy.

August

Tui in a cherry tree. Image; Su Leslie 2020

I never tire of watching our native birds, and celebrate the fact that tui seem to be returning to our neighbourhood in greater numbers every year.

September

Tākapu (Australasian gannet), Muriwai colony, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Wildlife photography is not my super-power, but occasionally I take a shot I really love. Finding gannets not in motion is difficult; finding a pair not completely surrounded by others was the real challenge.

October

Aotearoa New Zealand voted to give the Labour Government a second term.

Although already demonstrating feet of clay on some really important issues, the Labour government we elected with a resounding majority proved at least that New Zealanders will choose inclusion over divisiveness, and kindness over bullying and intimidation.

November

First pohutukawa blossom. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The arrival of pohutukawa flowers is a sure sign summer is approaching.

December

Christmas window, coffee shop Hawera, NZ. Image; Su Leslie 2020

A very wet day in Hawera, and I had to stop and admire these very clever Christmas decorations. I’m sure they made others smile too, and I can only hope that the cups were bio-degradable.

Image; Su Leslie 2020

As I write this, the most difficult year many of have experienced is almost over. It would be lovely to think that we can draw a line under 2020 and move on. But the reality is that tomorrow will almost certainly be as difficult and dangerous and stressful as today.

So I’ll raise my glass simply to a new day. I hope that for all of us it is only one of many, and that in each of those days we find purpose and joy.

Aroha nui


About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly 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.

But in the end, it is your changing season, and you should approach it however works for you.

There are no fixed rules around post length or photo number — just a request that you respect your readers’ time and engagement. (1)

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.

Update

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Margaret, at From Pyrenees to Pennines joins us this month

Natalie at Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ladyleemanila

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Sarah at Art Expedition

Gil at Talking Thailand


(1) 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 recently posted images on your blog, it’s probably not a good idea to use them again unless they help to tell your story. 

Virtual afternoon tea, December 2020

Christmas shortbread cookies. Image; Su Leslie 2020

Wherever you are, and whatever is happening in your world, Kia ora koutou katoa  (Greetings. Hello to you all)

Way back in January when Del and I started talking about a virtual tea party, we had no idea if anyone would read our posts — let alone want to join in. We just saw it as a fun way to share our love of kai and korero.

But perhaps because this extraordinary year has isolated, confined and frankly frightened so many of us, the idea of sharing virtual food and drinks doesn’t seem so strange after all.

And so we’ve reached the final tea party of 2020 and once again you’re giving me the chance to let you know how important you — my blogging whanau — are to me. Over the years you’ve shared your thoughts, stories, advice and support and I’m very grateful for that.

In an ideal world, I’d invite you all round to mine for a meal. But as that isn’t going to happen any time, I hope this will do instead.

Lettuce cups. Image; Su Leslie 2020

For many of you, Christmas is a mid-winter festival, and most of the associated foods are more appropriate for cold weather. But my Christmas will be spent in a humid Auckland summer, and my food choices reflect that.

Pomegranates don’t grow well here, so we only have them when they are imported from the US. And this is pomegranate season. I’ve used the tart juicy little arils as garnish on some lettuce cups — filled with orange, a feta/ricotta mix, mint and walnuts — and with some pea, feta and mint fritters. The recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple.

Yes, my garden is full of mint and it’s a taste I associate with summer.

Thank you Yotam Ottolenghi for this yummy and easy recipe. Image; Su Leslie 2020

The iced Christmas tree shortbread biscuits above were a bit out of my comfort zone, but I confess I did have fun making the little squiggly things — eventually.

And for those who aren’t fans of royal icing, I also baked some plain lemon shortbread and dusted them with rosemary flavoured sugar.

Lemon-rosemary shortbread. Image; Su Leslie 2020

Chocolate dipped strawberries. Image; Su Leslie 2020

And to finish … some fresh, locally-grown strawberries dipped in dark chocolate.

And maybe a glass or two of bubbles.

The invitation

I’d love to hear from you. How are you doing in this Covid-crazy world? What’s making you happy or pissing you off?  Your comments make blogging so much more interesting.

And if you’d like to contribute a post of your own — even better. Maybe a shot of your cuppa and/or whatever you’re having with it. A recipe if you like.

I’ll update each of my posts with a ping-back to everyone’s in the same way as I do with The Changing Seasons.

#virtualteaparty2020 for anyone on Instagram who wants to post images (or video?)

Update

Janet from This, That and the Other Thing has baked some delicious black forest biscotti.

Sarah at Art Expedition has made beautiful matcha and redcurrent cookies; her take on the German classic “Angel Eyes”. They look so delicious.

Joining us this month, Thistles and Kiwis has baked up a storm with some tomato toasts, buckwheat chocolate chip cookies and date scones (you all know my weakness for scones). Please pop over and say hi.

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind has laid a beautiful table in her outdoor lounge area. She has lots of yummy things to eat; including fresh cherries.

Lois from … On Pets and Prisoners … has joined us on her beautiful rustic horse. I love the magic of the blogosphere.

Aggie at Nomad joins us with a lovely tin of Farrah’s toffee. Yum!!!

Deb from The Widow Badass has shared her Christmas culinary adventures in a post that will have you laughing out loud.

Irene at My Slice of Mexico takes us on culinary Christmas tour of Mexico. And as always she includes links to her recipes.

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful has baked scones (one of my favourite things to eat) and served them with lemon curd (one of my absolute favourite things to eat).

Yvette at Priorhouse blog has some zesty lemongrass tea to accompany a delicious chicken salad.

Coconut macaroons and ginger orange tea with Ladyleemanila? Sounds delicious.

Maybe you’d like to try Cranachan and raisin spice cake with Del at Curls n Skirls?

Save the date: Thursday 17th December

Virtual Tea Party; an invitation

As it’s the final tea-party of 2020 — and to thank you all for embracing this wacky idea of mine — I’ve been busy baking a few extra goodies for us.

I’m letting you know in plenty of time to work up an appetite, and I might even manage a preview next week!

Looking forward to seeing you all on the 17th.