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

On reflection: road-trips and garden walks



Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Almost three weeks of a persistent low-grade snuffle and sore throat has left me weary and foggy of brain. Not at all helpful when there is so much to do and so many decisions to be made about the new life the Big T and I want. So I’ve snuck off for a change of scenery and mini road-trip. I do my best thinking in the car and out walking so with a bit of luck, I’ll get home with renewed energy and a less foggy head.


Hamilton Gardens, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

A walk around Hamilton Gardens today has helped. The sun was shining and everything seems lush and verdant. In a tiny corner of the tropical garden the marriage of earth, sky and water reminded me how simple our needs really are.

A thought that could guide my decisions in the weeks ahead.

This post was written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

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.