The Changing Seasons, May 2021

Storm surge, Tapeka Point, Northland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

I like visual metaphors, and the shot above does rather sum up my month.

Several whanau members are experiencing health and other crises; the most serious being my seemingly indestructable mother hospitalised twice in the last couple of weeks. It’s made me very aware how much on-going worry and helplessness destroy motivation and productivity; despite my best efforts to manage anxiety by keeping busy.

Eco-printing on silk with eucalyptus and pohutukawa leaves. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Work in progress; felt slippers for the colder weather ahead. Image: Su Leslie 2021

It’s only taken a year to get around to it … Refurbished telephone table. Image: Su Leslie 2021

The “before” shot, telephone table. Image: Su Leslie 2021

There have been some high points in the month, including a rainy, but relaxing weekend in the Bay of Islands with the Big T.

Russell, Bay of Islands, NZ. Once described as “the hell hole of the Pacific.” Image: Su Leslie 2021

Sunset, Russell wharf. Image: Su Leslie 2021

On the car ferry, Opua, Northland. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Late afternoon, Langs Beach, Northland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Langs Beach, Northland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Mangawhai Heads, Northland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

And an afternoon wandering around the Auckland waterfront, enjoying the last of the sunshine.

Viaduct basin, Auckland NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

I’d thought that taking a break from blogging would re-awaken my enthusiasm, but — perhaps because there’s so much else going on — I’m not really feeling more inspired or engaged than before. And while I don’t plan to abandon ZimmerBitch altogether, I suspect that posts will continue to be fairly infrequent.

I am happy to carry on hosting The Changing Seasons for a bit longer, but if there is anyone else who’d like to take it on, that would be wonderful.

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.

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

Natalie from Little Pieces of Me

Ladyleemanila

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju-Lyn from Touring my Backyard

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Brian from Bushboy’s World

Sarah at https://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com/2021/06/06/the-changing-seasons-spring-edition/Art Expedition

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

LightWriteLife joins us this month

The Changing Seasons, April 2021

“The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing.” — Kenneth Grahame. Image: Su Leslie 2021

It’s a strange contradiction that while April has been my most sociable and outward-looking month in a long time, I’m remembering these thirty days mainly as a time of introspection.

The month began with a trip to the theatre. Dreading the CBD’s nightmare roadworks, T and I caught the ferry from Devonport, had a meal, strolled around the waterfront and sat down to one of the most interesting productions we’ve seen in a long time.

The Haka Party Incident was visually stunning verbatim theatre (1) that tells of a few moments in history which changed race relations in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In 1979, after enduring several decades of Auckland University Engineering students staging a highly offensive mock “haka” as a capping stunt, a group of young Maori activists confronted the engineers during a rehearsal. Punches were thrown, arrests were made, and institutional racism was laid bare.

But the engineers never again performed their “haka”.

T and I are both graduates of Auckland University (T of its Engineering School) and though the haka party incident was before our time, it is part of our collective history. To see events that we understood from the perspective of Pakeha teenagers, re-told 40-odd years later was a sobering and quite empowering experience.

An evening in the city. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Carved entrance to Te Wero Island, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Really, April has been all about a road-trip to visit my father and attend a workshop on eco-printing/dye on fabric. I love solo travel, and having seven days to visit people and places I love — and learn a new skill — was absolute bliss.

I’ll write a separate post on what I learned in the workshop, but here a few shots of my efforts on the day

Laying out the plant material to be “printed”. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Bundled, “cooked” and then unrolled to reveal what’s been imprinted. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Hanging the results out to dry. Image; Su Leslie 2021

Looking back on the photos I shot while away pretty much confirms my obsession with desolate landscapes, lowering skies, quirky buildings and food.

Celeriac soup at The Kirk, Hamilton, NZ. Delicious! Image: Su Leslie 2021

Homemade preserves for sale at The Creel Lodge Cafe, Turangi, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Carrot cake and a flat white. The Black Stump Cafe, Pahiatua, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

You know you’re in the country when … Reading material at The Black Stump Cafe, Pahiatua. Image: Su Leslie 2021

“By far the greatest and most admirable form of wisdom is that needed to plan and beautify cities and human communities.” — Socrates. Seen in Whanganui, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Love the name! Probably just as well they were closed. Whanganui, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

A great Arts’ Centre, and ‘Ghost of the Huia’, sculpture by Paul Dibble. The Square, Palmerston North, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

What were they thinking? Brutalism in The Square, Palmerston North, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Tui Brewery, Pahiatua, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Pohuturoa; volcanic rhyolite plug. Waikato, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Because … why not? Replica Dutch windmill in Foxton, NZ. Opened in 2003. Image: Su Leslie 2021

It didn’t seem as run down when I stayed here in 1980. Gretna Hotel, Taihape, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2021


(1) Verbatim theatre “uses pre-existing documentary material as source material for stories about real events and people, frequently without altering the text in performance.”


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.

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

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish from Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Natalie from Little Pieces of Me

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Ju-Lyn at Touring my Backyard

Brian from Bushboy’s World

Out of the Cave joins us this month

The Changing Seasons, March 2021

Image: Su Leslie 2021

For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.

Douglas Adams

Well, that pretty well sums up my month.

Ok, so that’s not quite true. It’s more that my days seem to contain fewer moments I want to photograph. That’s partly about the rhythm of my life, and partly that I’m increasingly focused on photography as an expression of creativity, rather than a place-holder for memory.

In other words, I still want to record the fact that my scarlet runner beans are growing, but damn it, I want the shot to look pretty!

New shoots; scarlet runner beans. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

So perhaps my month has been less a Douglas Adam’s quote than a Robert Louis Stevenson one.

Almost literally.

With the temperatures dropping a little and a bit more moisture in the air, I’ve been spending more time in the garden, and it seems to be springing back to life (ironic, given that it’s autumn here).

Flower buds are appearing; beans are offering us a second crop; figs and feijoas are ripening — and we have so many chillies I’m in serious need of some new recipes (or more freezer space).

Poblano chilli. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Scarlet runner beans. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Feijoas. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Feijoas. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Fig. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Just picked. Image; Su Leslie 2021

Chrysanthemum buds. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Hibiscus. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Cosmos bud. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Chrysanthemum buds. Image: Su Leslie 2021

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

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju-Lyn from Touring my Backyard

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish from Writer on the Edge

Margaret at Pyrenees to Pennines

Marilyn from Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Natalie at Little Pieces of Me

Ladyleemanila

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Joanne at Following a Bold Plan

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

The Changing Seasons, February 2021

Image: Su Leslie 2021

“Try to represent … the notion of time without the processes by which we divide it, measure it, or express it … We cannot conceive of time except by distinguishing its different moments.” — Emile Durkheim, French sociologist

I quote Durkheim here because I’m struggling with the experience of time right now. In the seemingly relentless cycle of hot dry days and humid nights, time is hardly more than arbitrary changes in the calendar date on my phone, and a slowly increasing number of images in the folder labelled February.

Those images tell me that I’ve baked quite a lot, visited a couple of cemeteries to research Headstones and Hidden Histories posts, and enjoyed a couple of spectacular sunsets.

Coconut cookies. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Raw caramel slice. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Scottish oatcakes; recipe here. Image: Su Leslie 2021

After a bit of experimentation, I have an oatcake recipe I’m happy with. I’m posting it separately here, so if you do want to try it, you won’t have to wade through my ramblings first (one of my pet hates with online recipes).

I’ve been meaning to write about Ellen Melville for a while. She was one of the country’s first woman lawyers, a city councillor for many years and a powerful advocate for women’s participation in public life. I’m still doing research to add colour to her story, but will post it as a Hidden History when I’m done.

A story to be told. Image: Su Leslie 2021

The stories of Freda Stark and Thelma Trott could hardly be more different to that of Ellen Melville — but are totally fascinating. This post may take me longer, as there seems to be a resurgence of interest in Freda Stark, and I’m determined not to just re-hash old material.

As a clue to how interested I’ve become — T and I made a 200km round trip last Saturday to see a play called Freda Stark — The Musical.

I hate musicals.

And to be honest, I hated this one more than most — but that’s another story to be told.

A story to be told. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Freda Stark — The Musical may have been disappointing, but we had a really good lunch at Saigon Noon in Hamilton.

Ok, not as interesting as our food, but when it arrived I was too busy eating to take photos. Image; Su Leslie 2021

And a stop at Mercer on the way home offered a beautiful sunset.

Sunset, Waikato River at Mercer, NZ. Image: Su Leslie

The following evening, a walk on Auckland’s Tamaki Drive produced a similarly spectacular sunset.

Auckland CBD from Tamaki Drive, Orakei. Image: Su Leslie

And a little later … Auckland CBD from Tamaki Drive, Orakei. Image: Su Leslie

Sunset, from Okahu Bay Wharf. Image: Su Leslie

Sunset, Okahu Bay Wharf, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie

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

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tracy from Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Suzanne from Life at No 22

Natalie at Little Pieces of Me

Marilyn from Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

XingfuMama

Ju-Lyn (who you’ll know from All Things Bright and Beautiful) has a new blog, and shares her month here, at Touring My Backyard

Tish from Writer on the Edge

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Sarah at Art Expedition

The Changing Seasons, January 2021

Image: Su Leslie 2021

January was a quiet month for me. An introspective month.

A largely stay-home time of tidying and organising and making.

Sewing days, and some new shopping bags. Image: Su Leslie 2021

… and the scraps from experimentation. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Alcohol ink experiments. Saving the “good bits”. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Alcohol ink experiments. Some pieces just work. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Alcohol ink experiments. Some pieces just work. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Scottish oatcakes; feeling pleased with my first attempt. Image: Su Leslie 2021

When I did venture out, my Covid-tracking app tells me that I travelled a narrow circuit between supermarket, DIY shop and library. Maybe that explains why there are so few photos this month?

But the last weekend in January marks Auckland’s Anniversary, so the Big T and I laid down tools and, on the last day of the month, went to the beach.

Port Waikato is a small settlement of mainly holiday homes at the mouth of the Waikato River. Even on a busy holiday weekend, it felt peaceful and uncrowded.

Estuary at Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Estuary at Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Fishermen, estuary at Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Slightly more exciting place to fish. Sunset Beach, Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Sunset, Beach, Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Sunset, Beach, Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Sunset, Beach, Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Sunset, Beach, Port Waikato. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Far from the madding crowd. Countryside inland of Port Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

Far from the madding crowd. Countryside inland of Port Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2021

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

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Natalie at Little Pieces of Me

Ladyleemanila

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Sarah from Art Expedition

Natalie the Explorer

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful

Brian at Bushboy’s World

The Changing Seasons, November 2020

Raglan Harbour, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. — Douglas Adams

You know when you have a great idea, and it seems quite straightforward.

So you invest a bit of time. Then it starts to get complicated, and there’s a deadline.

But damn, it’s a great idea and you’re not going to be beaten or back down.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, the idea was simple. With Covid and whatnot, it’s been a very virtual year, and I thought it would be nice to post people actual Christmas cards (with hand-written messages), instead of just sending emails or texts, or trying to remember my FaceBook password.

And because I’m quite arty, I thought I’d make the Christmas cards.

But since I didn’t fancy doing 20 or so watercolours, and my lino-cuts were a fail last year, I thought I’d take some nice photos and get them printed onto cards.

And then, because I love food, I thought the photos should be of Christmas goodies. Which of course I’d have to bake.

You see where I’m going with this?

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. — Douglas Adams

Plan B 1/2 — the baking left a bit to be desired. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Suffice to say, I’ve learned a lot about cookie-making, royal icing and bokeh.

But. I barely managed to post my overseas cards before the van arrived to empty the box on the last day NZ Post claims they will deliver them by Christmas (and no, I’m not holding my breath).

And. I am rather pleased with them.

I would show you, but as I don’t know your postal addresses, I’ll almost certainly end up using the images here anyway, by way of a Merry Christmas to you all.

So from where I’m sitting now, my November has been one long baking, icing and photographic session.

But the month started with a short trip to the Waikato, during which I did no baking or icing and very little food photography, unless you count shots of food trucks at Gourmet in the Gardens, at Hamilton Gardens.

This is a weekly event, run every Sunday night over summer, and it was fabulous. The Rhododendron Lawn becomes a vast picnic area, ringed by food trucks serving some really nice food.

I chatted to one of the organisers and was really impressed by how carefully thought-out the whole event is. They even bring in a caravan containing a couple of dishwashers, so that all of the cutlery and crockery can be reused. Apparently the forks and knives came from cleaning out practically every thrift shop in Hamilton.

We spent the night in Hamilton, and drove home via Raglan (only a short detour), which became a longer detour as we explored the Te Akau area on the north side of Raglan Harbour.

One road in, one road out. Thirty or so kilometres of gravel road through some really pretty countryside, and a wharf at the end with some very cool rock formations.

I don’t know if our trip counts as supporting the local tourist industry, but it did confirm that we probably won’t be buying land at Te Akau — unless we also bought a boat that would get us across the harbour to Raglan (about a 10 minute trip).

That’s unlikely, as neither T nor I are natural sailors.

Rock formations, Te Akau Wharf, Waikato. In the background, Raglan. Ten minutes by boat; 90 minutes by road. Image; Su Leslie 2020

The Changing Seasons, contributor’s guidelines

In the last couple of Changing Seasons posts, I’ve talked about the guidelines for this project and sought feedback on them.

Based on this, and my own thoughts I’m suggesting the following — only slightly amended from the Cardinal’s original — guidelines.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly blogging 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.

Or you might like to share a recipe or instructions for something you’ve made — or just show us what you’ve done.

Post length and photo numbers

There are no fixed rules around this; just a request that you respect your readers’ time and engagement.

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 already posted an image on your blog, it’s probably not a good idea to use it again — unless it really helps to tell your story. 

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

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity, Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Xingfumama

Natalie the Explorer

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful

Pauline from Living in Paradise

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Sarah at Art Expedition

The Changing Seasons, October 2020

Work in progress; a metaphor for life. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Mulch.

If October could be summed up in one word, that word would be mulch.

It’s been a good month for gardening with lots of warm, still days, so the Big T and I have been super-busy making new borders and raised beds, sewing seeds, weeding, planting and transplanting — you know the drill.

Early on we took possession of a mulch mountain and have gradually eroded it to barely a hillock. 

And while the garden now looks significantly different, it’s really not photogenic. But with luck (and a bit of rain), by November’s Changing Seasons, I’ll have something to show you that looks more interesting than relocated piles of mulch.

In the meantime …

Garden success #1: transplanted lemon verbena thriving. Image: Su Leslie 2020
Garden success #2; kaka beak (Clianthus maximus) grown from seed. Image: Su Leslie 2020
Garden success #3; experimental wicking garden. Beetroot almost ready to harvest. Image; Su Leslie 2020

Apart from gardening, I don’t feel as though I’ve done mulch at all in October (see what I did there).

NZ’s general election seemed to split the month in two, and it’s only with hindsight I realise how anxious I was about the outcome. In the end, the Labour Party made history by being the first under our proportional representation system able to govern outright. While this does mean the government can’t blame inaction on conservative coalition partners, it also means that the Green Party, despite an increased number of MPs, won’t necessarily have a place in government. And NZ’s woeful record on addressing climate change and basic issues of social justice will probably remain woeful.

But in the spirit of accepting personal responsibility for our part in the climate disaster, T and I abandoned the car and took a ferry into central Auckland on a recent visit to the art gallery.

I continue to play with art materials; more for the joy of experimenting than with any particular result in mind. Alcohol inks and air-dry clay are my current favourites.

About the Changing Seasons

In last month’s Changing Seasons post I asked for feedback about the guidelines for posting, which have been unchanged since this challenge was established by Cardinal Guzman in 2015.

Thanks for all your comments.

The general feeling seems to be that we’re mostly happy that the structure allows us to share our reflections on the month in whatever way suits us, and the guidelines are mainly for anyone new to The Changing Seasons.

The things that were mentioned were the limit on photo numbers and the requirement to only use new images. Most people who mentioned the shot limit agreed it was a good idea (though we all admitted to exceeding it).

I am aware that most of us follow a very large number of blogs and do so actively — engaging with the content beyond simply hitting the “like” button. My own view is that having people read my blog is a privilege I must continue to earn by doing my best to be interesting, and respecting the value of your time and engagement. For me that means editing the text (and then editing it again) and trying to only use images that help tell the story.

As for the requirement to use new images; I’ve always seen that as a request not to bore readers by recycling shots they have already seen.

I had planned to include draft text of some updated guidelines here, but as I’ve already written more than usual, I’ll do that in a separate post.

Until then, feel free to add comments to my musings, and of course link to this post in your own so that I can update accordingly.

Update

Tracy from Reflections of An Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Ladyleemanila

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Suzanne from Life at No. 22

Pauline from Living in Paradise

Natalie from Natalie the Explorer

Lani from Life, the Universe and Lani

Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful

Brian at Bushboy’s World

Gil at Talking Thailand

The Changing Seasons, May 2020

img_7241

Grounded. Dinghies at Island Bay, Auckland. Image; Su Leslie 2020

I’ve taken fewer photos this month than in any other since my days of film-camera ownership.

Basically, I haven’t been out all that much, and there are only so many photos I can take of the few remaining flowers in my garden.

Covid 19 restrictions have largely been removed in New Zealand and we are being bombarded with media messages to travel; see the country, spend whatever income we’re still earning on hotel nights and boutique pinot noir; go bungy-jumping, horse-trekking, white water rafting — whatever’s on offer in a country that has steadily replaced productive industries with tourism. Now the overseas visitors are absent, we’re practically being told that it’s our patriotic duty to replace their greenbacks, sterling and yuan with our own dollars.

Not only that, if we don’t do it NOW — the visitors will soon come back and the country’s beauty spots will once again be overcrowded and over-priced.

So far, I’ve resisted.

It’s not that I don’t want to support small businesses and their minimum wage staff. I do.

But I also want the people of this tiny, achingly beautiful country at the arse-end of the world to pause, and ask ourselves if we really want to instantly undo the little bit of good that a human lock-down has done for our environment. Do we really want to throw ourselves into budget-price camper vans and burn as much fossil fuel as possible in the time we have? Do we want to trample barely-recovered walking tracks in fragile eco-systems? Pollute the waterways? Buy stuff we don’t need and generate rubbish we can’t actually get rid of?

New Zealand is a wonderful country. We do a lot of things well, but I fear that we’re squandering the opportunity to build on our success in fighting off (at least the first wave) of a pandemic. In our rush to “rebuild” our economy, we’re wrapping ourselves in all the old assumptions and ideologies that were steadily, gradually destroying not only the natural environment, but also our society.

This is not the post I set out to write. And I suppose it’s not even particularly appropriate under “The Changing Seasons” headline.

But it’s the post I need to write; because my fear is that we’re not changing. We’re allowing ourselves to be sucked back into old ways and old thinking. We’re grounded; upturned dinghies dragged out of the water and going nowhere.

I don’t exempt myself from this. And it’s evident in the (few) photos I have taken. The subject matter, the point of view — even the editing — all reflect a sensibility that I have been holding onto for perhaps too long.

 

 

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

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Sarah at Art Expedition

Little Pieces of Me

XingfuMama

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Marilyn at Serendipity Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Dawn at A Shared Space

Natalie the Explorer

Suzanne at Life at No. 22

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons, December 2019

img_6179

Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I’ve struggled to write this post.

As the year has worn on, I — like so many people — have become increasingly angry, sad, frustrated, disillusioned and, frankly, exhausted by the world around me.

Like many, I fluctuate between bouts of active optimism and periods of despair.

Despair’s had the upper hand this month, with the result that I’ve done very little and taken fewer photos than usual. Fewer still I’m happy with.

A pre-Christmas road-trip to see my dad and stepmother produced the best shots, and confirmed that I really like both Whanganui and the surrounding countryside — even (or especially) in stormy weather.

The approach of Christmas meant my son could be persuaded to pose for a photo — Grandma insisted and that’s pretty much the only reason he’ll agree. He’s successfully completed university for another year and is working long hours over the summer — looking forward to finishing his degree next year.

img_6190 The boy-child. Image: Su Leslie 2019

As always, some of my favourite images are of the small things — generally plants. We harvested the first of the plums just after Christmas; the tinsel bird-deterrent having done its job. The second plum tree is more fruit-laden, but they won’t be ripe for another week or two.

My principal gardening success at the moment seems to be with seedlings. The Kakabeak I’ve been nurturing for a few months is thriving, and it looks like almost all of the Kowhai seeds I harvested from our tree have germinated. Even the loquat seedlings are doing well. Gathered from a tree at my son’s flat, they took about three months to germinate but are now growing fast. The travelling hydrangeas are holding their own — but barely — and I may have to look beyond Google for advice.

I’m glad that 2019 is coming to an end.

I don’t normally buy in to the “New Year resolutions” thing, but this year I will be taking this socially-sanctioned opportunity to re-start and move into 2020 with the energy and enthusiasm I know I’m going to need.

img_6189 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Wishing you all good health, good friends, laughter, love, and the energy you will need in your own lives.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

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

Brian at Bushboys World

Sarah at Art Expedition

Marilyn at Serendipity seeking intelligent life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Jude from Life at the Edge

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

A wonderful Sheep

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful