Tui feeding in kowhai tree. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Maybe I’m stretching the definition of elusive a bit here. Tui are abundant in our garden at the moment, with record numbers feeding on the kowhai, flax and fuchsia in the neighbourhood.

Photographing them is a different matter. Today is the first time I’ve managed to get close enough to focus my lens on the birds and not just the foliage.

Images: Su Leslie 2019

Ragtag Daily Prompt | elusive

Psychedelic memories

Bush walk trippy. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I was probably about eight or nine the first time I heard the word ‘psychedelic’. My dad brought home a poster that he thought I might like for my room. I don’t remember what it was a poster of — just that it was wildly colourful and my mother vehemently disapproved of it.

Her disapproval was certainly due to the fact that it was wildly colourful, and therefore didn’t fit with the cream, beige and tan aesthetic she imposed on our decor.

She must have been losing the “discussion” with Dad about the suitability or otherwise of my poster, because I clearly remember her saying — in the sort of tone you’d use to if the neighbour was dealing drugs from his kids’ Wendy house — “it’s psychedelic.”

Image: Su Leslie 2019

Ragtag Daily Prompt | psychedelic

In the pink

The pink onsie

The boy-child; healthy, happy and rocking the pink onesie. Image; Su Leslie 1998

Don’t you love looking at old photos of your kids?

I remember taking this shot, and more particularly remember my mother’s reaction to me dressing her grandson in pink (and lavender, lime green, red …)

That was over 20 years ago, and I had thought such outdated notions of gender-based clothing (not to mention toys, games, behaviors, etc) was steadily being consigned to the dustbin of history. Then last week I had a conversation with my sister in law about how her mother complains that my four year old niece is always dressed “like a boy” — in blue!


Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | pink

What really takes my breath away …

img_3361 Muriwai beach, Auckland. Walk far enough and you can almost ignore the tour bus parties destroying the rock pool eco-systems with their sunscreen, body lotions and general stupidity. Image; Su Leslie 2019

I live in a country that earns quite a sizeable portion of its living out of being breathtakingly beautiful.

It is true that these days human impacts on land and water are beginning to show, and we’re increasingly like a hung-over media celeb, relying on Photoshop to pixel over the cracks. But it’s still relatively easy to turn a corner or crest a hill and find a vista so beautiful you can be forgiven if you forget to breathe.

I wouldn’t say I’ve become inured to such beauty, but if I’m honest, what really takes my breath away these days is the appalling ease with which my fellow New Zealanders (and some of the paid guests we’re taking in to help pay the bills) feel it’s ok to desecrate our environment. Apart from the terrible damage inflicted on landscapes, waterways, eco-systems and wildlife, it’s biting the hand that feeds.

This is death by a thousand cuts; dumping litter, over-fishing, clearing forests to create dairy farms, freedom campers who (literally) leave their shit behind, people who turn every available patch of grass on a beach reserve into a de facto car park because someone else did it first, a national mindset that says dairy farming and tourism are GOOD FOR GROWTH and let’s not look too closely at the negative impacts … the list goes on.

As always, the prescribed treatment for my chronic environmental grump is to get out the door and connect with the little miracles of nature that also take my breath away.

Posted to the Ragtag Dail Prompt | breathtaking

Working in colour


Getting ready. Image: Su Leslie 2018

All the spring-cleaning and re-organising of my stuff that’s been going on has revealed the true extent of my fabric stash, and I am determined to start using it.


Green certainly seems to be my colour. Image: Su Leslie 2018

These shades of blue and green seem to form the palette of my life, and I think look really good on my newly painted work table.


New work table, new enthusiasm. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Sanded, sealed, splashed and sealed again; our old table repurposed. The surface is smooth enough for working with fabric, and waterproof so I can use it for painting too.

It’s amazing how having a fun, colourful workspace improves my enthusiasm for a project.

Of course the painting helps. I bought it about 30 years ago from a friend who in turn bought it in an art school graduate show. I love the colours, and the landscape is Auckland’s west coast, probably either Piha or Te Henga beach.

Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt | colour



Making a feast of the garlic chive flowers. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Last autumn, a large clump of garlic chives in my garden flowered prolifically and proved incredibly popular with the neighbourhood bees.


Bee buffet. Image: Su Leslie 2018

I spent part of one afternoon mesmerised by the sheer number buzzing around the flowers, and trying to capture the scale of the feast with my camera. Photos just don’t do it justice, and I didn’t think to switch to video mode.

Less enjoyable, but no less fascinating, last year I watched a preying mantis make short work of a monarch caterpillar. It really was a bit gruesome, but of course not all of nature’s creatures are as attractive as bees.


Preying mantis devouring Monarch caterpillar. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Or perhaps vegetarianism is easier to watch.

Posted to the RagTag Daily Prompt | feast

Six word Saturday: on the human condition (or something)

Individuals, like sand. Small, but unique.

The beach, the world. Get close in, really look. Every one is different.

Individuals, like sand. Small, but unique.

Here are some other bloggers “Six Word Saturdays” that I enjoyed:

Six word Saturday


Six Word Saturday