The Changing Seasons: July 2020

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“By all means use sometimes to be alone. Salute thyself; see what thy soul doth wear.” — George Herbert. Early morning, Waikato River at Mercer, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I consider it a success in life that I can accept (if not entirely understand) the ebb and flow of my emotional state. I’ve learned to recognise when I’m struggling, and not to make the bad times worse by beating myself up about having a bad time.

I’ve also learned that eventually (so far) I will find something — however small — that triggers joy and that a little turn of the screw in the right direction can re-set the machine and get the cogs moving again.

July, it has to be said, has been a month largely lacking in cog action.

A short road-trip (in lieu of visiting my dad) provided an opportunity to read, think and relax away from all the usual chores and responsibilities. I didn’t venture too far from home, and despite the rain and school holidays, enjoyed re-visiting Hamilton and the small towns of the Hauraki Plains. It struck me though, that even as we’re being told the country is open for business, Covid 19 has taken a huge toll on many small communities, especially in the tourist-dependent hospitality sector. Those cafes that were open at all were operating shortened hours — which led to some “interesting” ad hoc meals.

Even the wonderful Hamilton Gardens seemed straggly and bare, with several of the themed gardens closed. I know that is partly a consequence of the time of year, but suspect the vastly reduced number of visitors has provided an opportunity for low-impact maintenance and repair.

Since my return, I’ve pottered about and made a little progress on a few projects, but generally got to the end of each day and wondered where the time had gone.

As the month-end approaches, I’m feeling a sense of being able to draw a line under July and move into August with some enthusiasm. I’ve got two weeks to prepare for the first “posh” dinner I’ve hosted in years, and I suspect I’ll be testing a few practice dishes on The Big T (like he’s going to complain).

I’ve also set myself the challenge of doing one creative, just-for-fun thing every day in August (is Arty August too cheesy a title). I have a few biggish projects that can only be done in stages, but think I need to also set little goals — like a daily doodle or something similar. In announcing my intention, I’ve made myself accountable; if only to my end-of-August Changing Seasons self.

 

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 find out how July played out for them:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ladyleemanila

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Sarah at Art Expedition

Suzanne from Life at No 22

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

A Wonderful Sheep

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Gill at Talking Thailand

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

On reflection: road-trips and garden walks

 

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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.

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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

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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.