The Changing Seasons, August 2019

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In an extremely dreary month, I resorted to buying cut flowers to inject a little colour. Image: Su Leslie 2019

August is often a month in which I feel like hibernating. This year, with rain every day (yep, actually every single day), cold winds and heavy grey skies, I really haven’t felt  like venturing far from home. I know I’ve been busy at home — I’m just not quite sure what I’ve been busy doing.

My photos offer a few clues.

There has been a lot of baking this month; mostly sourdough-based. I’ve been making a sourdough wholewheat bread for a few years, and was getting quite reliably good results until a few months ago. My most recent loaves aren’t developing the gluten properly, and I’m obsessively testing variations on my recipe to understand what is going wrong.

I’m still not sure, but in the process of experimenting I’ve made a lot of sourdough pancakes/hotcakes (excellent for breakfast with berries), some good banana bread, a tasty wheat/rye loaf — and the best basic San Fransisco-style sourdough of my bread-making “career.”

In other news:

I discovered the multiple-exposure function on my camera and have had fun with that.

A bunch of supermarket tulips brought some much-needed floral inspiration as the weather has hammered my neighbourhood’s gardens.

In Whanganui last month I found three bags of dyed, carded wool for felting at $4 per bag. I couldn’t resist buying them, and have had a couple of attempts at wet-felting. I’m not at all happy with the results so far, but — like sourdough baking — I am determined to learn this skill, even if it’s only to make myself a scarf.

And in a moment of (probable) insanity; I decided to refurbish our dining chairs; bought from IKEA over 20 years ago.

I started out just thinking I’d smarten up an ugly, but comfortable $5 op-shop chair. Then I realised the colours I had in mind would work really well with our dining room furniture.

Somehow, I transitioned from that one little “paint-and-upholstery” job to making new seat frames for six chairs (bonus: I learned how to use a jig-saw); stripping and painting six grubby, waxed, wooden frames (plus one that was varnished); and upholstering seven chairs in turquoise and white striped canvas. Only one is completed so far — and boy have I learned a lot from it!

Not captured in the photographic record; I’ve also read more than usual (fiction and non-fiction); and completed the first assignment in a NZ Certificate in Horticulture course I signed up to. As you do …

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

Take a look at these lovely bloggers’ August posts:

Sarah at Art Expedition

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Jude from Life at the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Little Pieces of Me

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

DJ Ranch

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Brian at  Bushboy’s World

Gill at Talking Thailand

A wonderful sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Changing Seasons, July 2019

Photo 30-07-19, 3 53 18 PM Tongiriro River, Turangi, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

My July began and ended with travel, leaving the in-between bit less than memorable.

Work took the Big T to Melbourne, and I joined him for a long, sunny weekend. Melbourne is a city I know well, so seldom do touristy things there. Instead I’m happy to walk the different neighbourhoods, visit galleries, drink far too much coffee, and enjoy the vibe.

Last week I drove to Whanganui to see my father, tacking on a side trip to Palmerston North and an overnight stay in Turangi on the way home.

Whanganui’s an attractive city with a thriving arts scene (definitely a bonus), but what makes the trip even better is that it takes me through some of the North Island’s most rugged and beautiful scenery.

Looking at the photos I’ve taken this month, street art and stunning sunsets seem to predominate. I was about to sigh wistfully and say it would be wonderful if every month offered up such treasures — but I suspect I really just need to look harder.

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.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — July 2019 for these awesome bloggers:

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Jude at Life at the Edge

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Brian at Bushboys World

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

DJ Ranch

A Wonderful Sheep

Ju Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Gill at Talking Thailand

The Changing Seasons, June 2019

img_4792 Waikato morning. Image: Su Leslie 2019.

It seems like winter arrived with indecent haste this month. Cold air, lowering clouds, morning mists, not to mention the odd thunderstorm or two. On a scale of one to indoor beanie-wearing, we seem to be hovering on Ugg boots.

The first half of the month disappeared in a haze of flu-recovery, but in the last couple of weeks, the Big T and I managed to get away for a long weekend in Tauranga (with a detour to Field Days), and discover a regional park that could become our new favourite place.

img_4776 Field Days, Mystery Creek, Waikato, NZ. Not really doing justice to a four-day event that attracts over 130,000 visitors. Image: Su Leslie 2019

We’ve been telling ourselves for years that we really should go to Field Days. It’s a huge agricultural trade show, and useful for the Big T to do some business networking. But it  also gives a fascinating snapshot of an industry that has both real and mythical significance to the NZ economy and psyche.

It was bigger, noisier and more confusing than I expected, but I am glad we went.

 

 

 

After exhausting ourselves looking at diggers, chainsaws, water flow indicators (as you do) and the latest from Swanndri (iconic Kiwi clothing — what’s not to love about scratchy woollen bush-shirts?), we headed to Tauranga where the skies were blue, and the weather practically tropical (for a while at least).

 

 

 

While we were there, the Tauranga Art Gallery had an exhibition of work by local artist, Natasha Cousens. Called ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ it consisted of sculptures created from clay, fibreglass and textiles; all referencing the wildlife imagery common in fairy tales. It’s the artist’s first solo show, and I found the pieces slightly disturbing and sad, but beautiful and exquisitely made.

 

 

 


A rainy-day visit to the Mahurangi Peninsula, just north of Auckland allowed us to discover Scandrett Regional Park. Formerly a farm owned by the Scandrett family, the park still contains the old homestead, with its beautiful cottage garden. Around the coast a little, at Scott’s Landing in Mahurangi Regional Park, the rather grander Scott family homestead still exists too. Both houses have been preserved; the latter by the Auckland Civic Trust which holds occasional open days.

 

 

 

During June I’ve taken part in 30 Days, 30 Songs, hosted by my dear friend Sarah at Art Expedition. It’s been lovely to each day choose a piece of music and reflect on what it means to me. There has also been a certain amount of self-imposed stress, deciding what’s in and what’s not. So you won’t be surprised that I’m going to sneak an extra track into this post.

I love Sentimental Walk, from the 1981 film Diva. It is very like Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie No.1 — another piece I love. Both make me think of Paris, but also of wintertime rain.

You can hear Sarah’s latest musical choice here.

 

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.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — June for these awesome bloggers:

Ladyleemanila

Little Pieces of Me

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Jude at Life at the Edge

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

A Wonderful Sheep

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Yvette at Priorhouse blog

Gill at Talking Thailand

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

The Changing Seasons, May 2019

This may be a lousy representation of my month as a whole, but I think it’s a fairly good visual metaphor for my flu-addled state right now.

I’m not likely to get a proper Changing Seasons post up for a few more days, but for all the fit folks who have their monthly round-up ready, go ahead and ping-back to this post and when I get a full post up I’ll copy the blog roll to that too.

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.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — May for these awesome bloggers:

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Little Pieces of Me — and here

Marilyn at Serendipity — seeking intelligent life on Earth

Jude at Life at the Edge

A Wonderful Sheep

Sarah at Art Expedition

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at the Widow Badass

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Mick at Mick’s Cogs

Ju-Lyn at All things bright and beautiful

Pauline at Living in Paradise

 

 

 

 

The Changing Seasons, April 2019

helix ferns Fern leaves in decay. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I guess is says a lot about my April that I’ve got to the 30th and am casting around for images to post for the Changing Seasons.

It’s not that I haven’t taken lots of photos; more that they don’t seem to speak coherently of a month that has breezed over me, leaving little trace of itself.

As I write this, the sky outside is unbroken blue, and apart from a neighbour’s Japanese Maple, the trees I can see are green and still carrying a full complement of leaves. It’s autumn Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

The shot above was taken on the bush trail on Mt Manaia, on the Whangarei Heads. The Big T and I explored some of the track last weekend — stopping before the steep summit climb in deference to my arthritic knee.

It’s a beautiful place (both Mt Manaia and the Heads generally), and was surprisingly quiet for a glorious day at the end of the school holidays.

fern fronds Fern fronds. Image: Su Leslie 2019

It took me a while to realise that the delicate intertwined spirals are fern fronds. As the leaves on each frond die, they curl in upon themselves. Where several leaves are in close proximity, they become entwined. If I were going to try and wrest Deep Meaning from it, I’d suggest it is a metaphor for how, as we age, we seek out and need the support of others — creating strength and beauty through unity.

Feel free just to enjoy how cool it looks.

In the absence of anything much to say about April; here’s a pot pourri of my month:

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.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — April for these awesome bloggers:

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Yvette at priorhouse blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Jude at Life at the Edge

New to the Changing Seasons this month A Wonderful Sheep

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Gill at Talking Thailand

Deb at The Widow Badass


  1. The line of course is “it’s life Jim, but not as we know it” from the 1987 song “Star Trekkin” (The Firm). Those who have closely studied the texts say that such a line was never uttered verbatim in Star Trek.

The Changing Seasons: March 2019

Photo 8-03-19, 6 04 49 PM (1)

Storm clouds on the horizon. Symbolism in retrospect — taken exactly one week before the Christchurch terror attack. Big Omaha Wharf, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2019

This is the most difficult Changing Seasons post I’ve ever written.

How do I describe the way a month that could easily have passed without comment suddenly became one that no New Zealander will ever forget?

Because at 1.40pm on Friday 15th, a terrorist murdered fifty Muslim men, women and children practicing their religion in two mosques in the city of Christchurch — and changed this country for ever.

A terrorist left 48 more worshipers with serious physical injuries, and hundreds more to deal with the psychological trauma of having witnessed the carnage or dealt with its aftermath.

A terrorist shattered families, brought fear and anger to the Muslim community, defiled a city trying to rebuild itself after deadly earthquakes, and dragged these little islands out of our illusion of peace and safety.

In the two weeks since, we have seen the best and the worst of humanity. Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis have turned up at mosques and vigils and rallies to offer condolences, flowers, cards, food, music, prayer, haka, hugs, tears and above all — aroha, or love.

Our Prime Minister has behaved with sensitivity and compassion that is being admired beyond our shores.

Our government has tried to put aside politics and act decisively to make legislative changes to gun and other laws.

And the racist underbelly of our society is being exposed and scrutinised like never before. On the plus side, when people are coming forward to talk about the abuse they routinely experience in this country, they are being believed at last. On the minus, the xenophobic violence and hatred continues.

It is too early to know if this act of terrorism will (ironically for the terrorist) bring about positive change in New Zealand, or if, when the next big news story comes along, we’ll go back to “business as usual.” I hope for the best, but truthfully am not that optimistic.

So what do I have to show for March? Certainly not photos of candles and placards and grieving. Others have done that (sometimes beautifully) but for me personally, it has felt intrusive.

So here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts this month.

Food features heavily as usual. The Big T and I celebrated his birthday a week before the Christchurch attack with lunch at the Sawmill Brewery in Matakana. A beer tasting tray and some shared plates of delicious food — perfect. And I’m still grappling with sourdough pizza; trying to make a base that is light, crispy and easy to work. I’m not there yet, but my boys aren’t complaining.

 

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.

Please visit these amazing bloggers for their perspective on the month just gone:

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Suzanne, at Being in Nature joins us for the first time.

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Lindsay at Squeak of a Nuthatch

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ladyleemanila

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

 

The Changing Seasons: February 2019

Still life with gym shoes, water bottle, towel, keys and muscle rub. Image: Su Leslie 2019 Still-life with gym shoes. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Ok, let’s just get it out of the way. I’ve joined a gym.

It wasn’t entirely by choice, but I finally sought help to manage my arthritic knee, and this is part of the programme.

I don’t like gyms. Even when I wasn’t middle-aged and overweight, I was still uncoordinated.

And philosophically …. people getting in their cars to drive to a brightly-lit, air-conditioned building full of expensive equipment designed to simulate the exercise humans evolved to get doing that thing called living? I know that’s simplistic; I am genuinely concerned about the environmental costs.

But it seems to be working. After just a few weeks, I have significantly better flexibility and strength.

So having more or less captured my month in one image, here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts.

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.

Please visit these amazing bloggers for their accounts of the month just gone:

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind — this is divided between two posts; so make sure you see both Part 1 and Part 2.

Marilyn and Garry at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Judy at lifelessons

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Sarah at Art Expedition

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Gavin at Firehorseworld

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

The Changing Seasons: January 2019

all done with a chainsawStihl more to do. Image: Su Leslie 2019

There are worse metaphors for my month than the Big T’s chainsaw.

There have been days when I’ve effortlessly cut through “the big stuff”, and others when it’s felt like my plans and good intentions have been chopped off at the knees.

But overall, we managed to tackle some jobs that have been over-long in the “too hard” basket, and reward ourselves with a few escapes from our normal landscape.

I’ve already posted shots from most of these trips, (very poor planning) so here are a some from a long-delayed visit to The Lighthouse (see below), an exploration of the walk and cycleway under Mangere Bridge (we weren’t even sure it existed), a visit to the beautiful Northland beach at Whananaki where T and I once camped, and a few days in Rotorua.

A highlight of that trip was the Redwoods Tree Walk; 28 connected suspension bridges, up to 20 metres off the ground in the midst of the redwood forest. I hate heights — but it was fabulous. It is open until 11pm, and the forest is lit up at night, but there were massive queues the evening we considered it, while we had the daytime walk almost to ourselves.

It hasn’t felt like a particularly creative month. I messed around with a design for a tote to hold a couple of bottles of wine, on the basis that this (suitably filled) would make a good gift. The design is good, but I’m struggling with execution.

In the kitchen, my sourdough obsession has produced a few attempts at pizza / pizza bread. I’m definitely getting there, and T is happy for me to keep experimenting!!

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

Ladyleemanila

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

The Covert Novelist

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Deb at The Widow Badass

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Jude at Living on the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Ruth at Ruth’s Arc

Sarah at Art Expedition

Yvette at Priorhouse blog

 

 


The Lighthouse is a work of public art by NZ sculptor Michael Parakowhai. It’s sited at the very end of Queen’s Wharf in the CBD and from the outside, is a 1:1 scale replica of a New Zealand “state house” of the 1950s. The interior is completely open and contains clustered neon lights and a large scale statue of Captain Cook (there is an identical sculpture in the New South Wales Art Gallery).

It’s an interesting work — with the interior defying expectations. I didn’t manage to capture any particularly good interior shots, but there is one in this article. And uou can read more about it 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.

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

The Changing Seasons, November 2018

IMG_2725

New growth, grapevine. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Time’s a strange thing. It is defined by its measurement, objective and increasingly precise. Yet even as we observe the system, we experience time in our own unique and subjective ways.

I think about this every month as I begin to write my Changing Seasons post, aware that I experience the passing of different months in very different ways. Indeed I would say I’ve experienced November as almost outside of time, anchored by neither nature nor culture.

In my garden, plants seem to be flourishing, but not in dramatic ways. Blossom has given way to fruit but none of it is ripe. About the only thing that’s noticeably grown is the grape vine.

IMG_2726

It never bears fruit, but in the words of 10cc “it hides an ugly stain (alright, fence) that’s lying there”. Image: Su Leslie 2018

In all the years we’ve lived here, the vine has never produced grapes. Its utility lies instead in covering — at least for a few months a year — a particularly ugly fence.

I am a utility gardener, and while I appreciate the masking properties of the vine, I want more from it. In one of those moments which, in a movie would carry ominous soundtrack warnings, I thought it might be fun to try cooking with the vine leaves.

Fondly imagining some tasty little herby halloumi parcels, I set off across the lawn with my secateurs.

IMG_2728

Fresh vine leaves. Image: Su Leslie 2018

Online, I found lots of advice on blanching the leaves for preserving, and lots of recipes using preserved leaves — but not a lot on using blanched leaves more or less straight away.

With our little vine I can’t really harvest enough leaves to be worth preserving — and besides I wanted to cook NOW.

“NOW” has proved to be a very fluid term. It took me the better part of a day to figure out a combination of blanching, soaking and simmering that would render fibrous leaves edible, turning a quick snack into an edible marathon medal.

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Blanched, soaked, simmered; topped with a slice of halloumi and fresh herbs. Good to go. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The parcels themselves are pretty quick to make. I added my new favourite herb combination of oregano and lemon thyme, and cooked them in a lightly oiled skillet for a few minutes on each side.

 

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Halloumi-stuffed vine leaves with quick-pickled red onion and pomegranate seeds. Image: Su Leslie 2018

The verdict: the dish worked quite well. The pickled onions and pomegranate seeds balanced the salty cheese and I liked the background taste of the herbs. The leaves were ok; still a bit chewy and fibrous, and I wouldn’t serve them to guests.

The idea of garden to table living is incredibly appealing to me, and is indeed what I am aiming for eventually. In that context, the time spent fiddling about cooking leaves doesn’t feel wasted, and I’m not disappointed in the final outcome. I have discovered reserves of patience and tenacity I don’t always think I have, and learned quite a lot about a food I’ve only ever eaten in restaurants and as a take-away.

When I look back on my November, I realise I have spent a great deal of it on projects like this; learning and practicing skills that haven’t necessarily produced the kind of results I would want to photograph, but have changed me for the better.

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

Little Pieces of MeChanging of the Season — November 2018 and Changing of the Season — November 2018 (Riding Edition)

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky

Mick at Mick’s Cogs