Shall all your cares beguile

rotorua gardens_1Not only music, but gardens, for a while shall all my cares beguile. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The human voice is the first and sometimes the best musical instrument. I love the music of Henry Purcell (1659-1695), and really like the simplicity of this song:

Music, music for a while
Shall all your cares beguile.
Shall all, all, etc…
Shall all your cares beguile
Wond’ring, wond’ring
how your pains were eased, eased, eased
And disdaining to be pleased
‘Til Alecto free the dead
‘Til Alecto free the dead
From their eternal bands
‘Til the snakes drop, drop, drop
Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop from her head
And the whip,
And the whip from out her hand
Music, music for a while
Shall all your cares beguile.
Shall all, all, etc…
Shall all your cares beguile
Shall all your cares beguile

I’ve heard it sung by a number of different people, and this, by countertenor Philippe Jaroussky is my favourite.

My dear friend Sarah at Art Expedition is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs for the month of June. You can see her latest post here.


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.


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

DP Photo Challenge #3: 


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“Garden as though you will live forever.” — William Kent

Gardening is both an act of faith in the future, and an investment in it. At a personal and a global level, we need plants to sustain life.

My little garden is flourishing right now and giving me enormous pleasure, as well as putting food on our table.


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

As the Big T and I plan our escape from the city, there is quite a lot of uncertainty about where we will g, but top of my wish list (along with high-speed Internet and a good local cafe) is space for gardens and maybe a little orchard.


Image: Su Leslie, 2016

It’s taken me a long time to grow a real connection with the food I eat, and the environment I inhabit. That is something I want to carry into my future.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is future.

Six Word Saturday: out of town for the day


Detail, Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The Big T and I headed out of Auckland for the day to visit Hamilton Gardens (voted International Garden of the Year 2014). A four hour round trip — but totally worth it.

Learning to live with a little less

In Thinking it Through, Tony Watkins asks

What do you give to the person who has everything? Probably the greatest gift would be the ability to live with a little less. Far more than any consumer addition, they will treasure the ability to be free.

A single plum ripening on my plum tree.

A single plum ripening on my tree.

The quote is from a piece called “Living with a little less”, and it’s stuck in my head for the last week or so; becoming  a lens through which I see more clearly the things that are going on in my life at the moment; from de-cluttering my house, to planning meals around what’s ripe in my garden, to the way I am looking at tv advertising, politics, the environment … even trying to improve my health can be understood as living with a little less … of me.

Much of Watkins’ piece is about the process of design, suggesting that good design can be either additive—beginning with the core of form or function and adding what is needed to achieve that; or subtractive—starting with the outer limits and taking away everything that isn’t needed to achieve the design goal. (Thinking it through, p. 16)

One of the things I relish about Tony Watkins’ writing is the way ideas move so fluidly—from comment on architecture to the observation that:

The powerful philosophy of the consumer society moves us into an additive mode of thinking, but even the wealthy reach a point where they feel the need to have a garage sale.

In global terms, I am one of the wealthy—and now it’s time for my garage sale.