Poetry in music: intoxicating lyrics

"'Cause tomorrow's keep on blowing in From somewhere." Bic Runga, Listening for the Weather, 2002. Storm surf at Takapuna Beach, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

” ‘Cause tomorrow’s keep on blowing in from somewhere.” Bic Runga, Listening for the Weather, 2002. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

NZMM2016_jpg

This week at Where’s my Backpack, Ailsa’s Travel Theme word is poetry.

As someone with very little musical ability, but an enormous love of language, it is usually the poetry of the lyrics that draws me into a song.

I could probably have chosen any of Bic Runga‘s songs for this post. Her single Sway was voted the 6th best New Zealand song by members of the Australasian Performing Rights Association, and I will enthusiastically warble my way through every song on her second album Beautiful Collision if there’s no-one around to hear me.  But I’ve chosen Listening for the Weather, because I just love the opening lines:

Listening For The Weather

So, I’m listening for the weather,
To predict the coming day.
Leave all thought of expectation
To the weatherman.
No it doesn’t really matter
What it is he has to say,
‘Cause tomorrow’s keep on blowing in
From somewhere.

All the people that I know
In the apartments down below,
Busy with their starring roles
In their own tragedies.

[Chorus]
Sunlight sends you on your way,
And those restless thoughts that
Cling to yesterday.
Never be afraid of change.
I’ll call you on the phone.
I hate to leave you on your own,
But I’m coming home today.

And this busy inner city
Has got nothing much to say,
And I know how much you’re
Hanging ’round the letterbox.
And I’m sure that as I’m writing,
You’ll be somewhere on your way,
In a supermarket checkout
Or a restaurant.

I’ve been doing what I’m told.
I’ve been busy growing old,
And the days are getting cold,
but that’s alright with me.

[Chorus]

Yes I’m coming home today.

I’ve been doing what I’m told.
I’ve been busy growing old,
And the days are getting cold,
But that’s alright with me.

[Chorus]

 

Will it be as good as it looks in the book?

Recipe books, garlic, tomatoes and basil. Preparing to make Spanish Braised Chickpeas. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Recipe, tick; ingredients, tick. Looking forward to dinner. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

With the Big T working in Melbourne pretty much every week, and the boy-child electing to spend his evenings with friends, I’m doing a lot of “meals for one” at the moment. The bonus is that I get to cook stuff that doesn’t have to please anyone else’s palate. The downside is that I’m running out of ideas.

But an afternoon spent poring over some recipe books has provided plenty of inspiration.

Now I just have to remember to scale the recipes down, so I don’t drown in leftovers.

This post is written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge, which has as its theme dinnertime — and for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack. The theme there this week, is books.

 

If I just lay here ….

Sunset, Puniawia, Tahiti. Photo: Su Leslie, 2010

Cocktails at sunset, Puna’auia,Tahiti. Photo: Su Leslie, 2010

Mellow is a not a word that I’d use to describe myself. Even on the most peaceful tropical holiday, I’m the photographer — always on the move — rather than the one relaxing by the lagoon. Perhaps I should take lessons from my cat.

As mellow as it gets. My fur baby on her favourite rug. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

As mellow as it gets. My fur baby on her favourite rug. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Or listen to more music. The title of this post comes from the song Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

This week’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack is mellow. You can see Ailsa’s photos here.

Travel theme: tiny

Seldom seen in my garden, a tiny ladybird on a lemon tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Seldom seen in my garden, a tiny ladybird on a lemon tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is “tiny.” Here are a few shot of little things that have caught my eye.

A small car anyway, these toy BMW Isetta's are truly tiny. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

A small car anyway, these toy BMW Isetta’s are truly tiny. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

A tiny, inverted world reflected in a randrop. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

A tiny, inverted world reflected in a randrop. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Seen on a Munich street, a tiny garden on the back of a small truck. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Seen on a Munich street, a tiny garden on the back of a small truck. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Small insect, small flowers. A tiny part of the food chain. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Small insect, small flowers. A tiny part of the food chain. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Cicada shell and shadow. Photo, Su Leslie

Cicada moult; tiny anyway, and even smaller against its shadow. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

An old-fashioned day out

Old and new Auckland. Visitors to the 175th Anniversary Day celebrations

Contemporary Aucklanders contemplate some old-fashioned modes of transport as part of the city’s 175th anniversary celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

It’s 175 years since the city of Auckland was established, and so our Anniversary Day celebration back in January was pretty special. One of the things I really enjoyed was a display of  large-scale photos from the Council archive showing how the city used to look. I have posted a couple of these images before, but I thought they were so appropriate for this week’s travel theme,  Old Fashioned, at Where’s my Backpack that I’ve re-edited and re-used them.

photo 2

A vintage car adds to the old-fashioned ambience of Auckland’s Anniversary Day celebrations. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

Old-fashioned oratory. A giant photo of Sir John Logan Campbell, one of the city's founding fathers. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Old-fashioned oratory. A giant photo of Sir John Logan Campbell, one of the city’s founding fathers.  I wonder what he would have made of the casual dress code of modern New Zealanders? Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Cars have changed a lot in the last 80 or so years, but the Auckland Town Hall looks pretty much the same. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Cars have changed a lot in the last 80 or so years, but the Auckland Town Hall looks pretty much the same. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

On today’s modern becoming tomorrow’s traditional

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, with the new buildings of the Docklands area in the background. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Generations of modernity. The Queen’s House,  the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and behind them, the new buildings of London’s Docklands area. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

 

The modernity of yesterday is the tradition of today, and the modernity of today will be tradition tomorrow.

Jose Andres Puerta

When The Queen’s House (1) was built for the wife of King James I in 1619, it would have been considered radical, unusual, and modern in the extreme.

Designed by Inigo Jones — regarded as Britain’s first modern architect — it is the first building constructed in the UK that consciously followed the principles of classical architecture, inspired by the temples and other buildings of ancient Rome and Greece. The Queen’s House now sits alongside Christopher Wren’s Greenwich Hospital (2) (better known now as the Old Royal Naval College) with its baroque Painted Hall, and both co-exist with the modernist glass towers of London’s Docklands.

Yinka Shonibare, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle. Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Yinka Shonibare, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The interplay of the modern and the traditional-which-once-was-modern is all around us.

I love the giant ship-in-a-bottle created by artist Yinka Shonibare. Using a traditional craft form developed by nineteenth century sailors (3), Shonibare created a very modern work of art in his replica of  HMS Victory. This was the naval ship from which the British hero Admiral Lord Nelson fought the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and on which he died during that battle. The ship’s sails are made from fabric bearing colourful batik designs commonly found in West Africa. By using this fabric, Shonibare acknowledges Britain’s complex colonial past and contemporary issues of immigration, ethnic identity, and cultural appropriation.

Nic Fiddian-Green, Still Water, 2011. Sited at Marble Arch, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Nic Fiddian-Green, Still Water, 2011. Sited at Marble Arch, London. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Bronze is a traditional sculptural medium, and horses a very traditional subject in art, but Nic Fiddian-Green‘s monumental, 10 metre high horse’s head at London’ Marble arch, is a thoroughly modern take on both form and subject.

The British Library, with St Pancras Hotel, London in the background. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

The modernist British Library, with the gothic-style St Pancras Hotel in the background. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015.

The British Library opened in 1998 on Euston Road, London. Designed by British architect Colin St John Wilson, it is the largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th century. The project took 37 years to complete and was highly controversial, with frequent changes to the design, specification, budget — even a total change of location (4).

The building’s design has been described as minimalist, brutalist, Scandanavian modernist. The Prince of Wales — famous for his loathing of modern architecture — apparently described it as resembling an academy for secret police (4).

The British Library has, as a neighbour on Euston Road, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (formerly the Midland Grand Hotel). Designed by English Gothic revival architect George Gilbert Scott, the original hotel opened in 1873. It closed in 1935, but was extensively renovated and re-opened in 2011. (6)

The irony of Gothic Revival architecture is of course, that even when it was new, it was never modern.

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. This week’s theme was modern.

(1) The Queen’s House, Wikipedia.

(2) Old Royal Naval College website

(3) Ships in Bottles Association of America

(4) British Library, e-architect.co.uk

(5) Fiona MacCarthy, ‘A House for the Mind’, The Guardian, 23 February, 2008 (online)

(6) St Pancras Reniassance Hotel, Wikipedia.

Unexpected lakes

Submerged fields and fenceline, Kaipara, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Submerged fields and fenceline, Kaipara, Auckland. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

While life after Tuesday night’s storm has returned to normal for us, I am aware that for many recovery will not be so quick. Damaged homes and businesses will take days and weeks to repair, and although most of the fallen trees have been cleared, swirling debris is everywhere – spread by high winds.

It was a fierce storm, yet I was still surprised yesterday to find whole fields submerged when I ventured beyond the edge of the city, to Auckland’s rural north-west.

It was a beautiful day, and I was happy with the images I shot. But for those who own the land, and for whom it is an integral part of their livelihood, the artistry of blue sky and marshmallow clouds reflected in flooded fields is no compensation for the damage caused by nature.

This week Ailsa at Where’s my Backpack challenged us to show the unexpected.

Here are a few other posts on the theme that I enjoyed:

The Unexpected

Travel Theme: Unexpected

http://ilargia64.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/unexpected-my-golden-butterfly/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/travel-theme-unexpected/

Weekly Travel Theme: Unexpected

http://lenzexperiments.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/surprise-surprise/

http://nowathome.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/travel-theme-unexpected/

http://hamburgundmeehr.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/travel-theme-unexpected/

http://traveltalesoflife.com/2014/06/06/travel-theme-unexpected-the-co-ed-turkish-bath/

Travel Theme: Unexpected

http://figliodelgiaguaro.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/travel-theme-unexpected/

 

Travel theme: close-up

Lichen found on rocks, Whakapapa Village, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Lichen, Whakapapa Village, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

It’s only been two weeks since my little road trip to see my dad, but already memories are fading.

One of the highlights of the trip was the drive up to Chateau Tongariro and then up the Bruce Road to the chairlifts at the Whakapapa Ski area.

Living further north – and on the coast – I am always exhilarated by the mountains, especially the spare and rugged plant life. I loved the gorgeous lichens and heathers I found.

Heather, Mt Ruapehu, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

Heather? Or some other tough high altitude  plant. Mt Ruapehu, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

But perhaps the best “close-up” was the Chateau itself. Built in 1929, this hotel is a New Zealand landmark (I hate using the word “icon” – but it is). It was designed by New Zealand architect Herbert Hall, but modeled on the resort hotel at Lake Louise in Canada. From the 1930s until 1990, the Chateau was owned by the New Zealand government through the Tourist Hotel Corporation, which ran a number of hotels around the country. Since privatization, a new wing of 40 rooms has been added.

I’ve only stayed at the Chateau once; several months into my first job out of university I was sent to a conference there. Young, gauche and slightly out of my depth, I nevertheless had a wonderful time – feeling very grown up and sophisticated.

First glimpse: approaching the Chateau Tongariro. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

First glimpse: approaching the Chateau Tongariro. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

chateau

Up close. Definitely one of my “happy places.” The Chateau Tongariro, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. Here are few other close-ups I’ve enjoyed:

http://politonomicsandtravel.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/weekly-travel-theme-close-up-3-05-05-14/

Close-up

http://whichwaynow101.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/travel-theme-close-up/

Travel theme: Close-up

http://exxtracts.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/travel-theme-close-up/

http://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/travel-theme-close-up/

http://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/travel-theme-close-up/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/travel-theme-close-up/

http://witrianphotofolio.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/travel-theme-close-up/

http://pommepal.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/travel-theme-close-up/

http://shootngo.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/travel-theme-close-up/

Travel Theme: Close-Up

http://shaanthz.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/travel-theme-close-up/

http://ahecticlife.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/travel-theme-close-up/

 

 

Yellow is the colour of happiness

Once happy to pose for the camera. The boy-child at South Head, Kaipara, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2002

Once happy to pose for the camera. The boy-child at South Head, Kaipara, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2002

As the boy becomes a man, gone are the yellow t-shirts, the sunny smiles and sadly, the golden hair – now almost always hidden under a cap or beanie.

Gone too the days when I could pick up my little bundle of exuberance and hug him close – on my terms rather than his.

I spent much the boy-child’s early years suffering from post-natal depression and didn’t enjoy a lot of the time I spent “being a parent.” But for a constellation of reasons, I was a very full-time parent, and so alongside the hours and days of boredom, anxiety, desperation and sometimes rage, were others filled with laughter and learning, beach trips and baking, singing silly songs and a quiet sort of happiness and pleasure in his company.

I’m counting down to the boy-child’s sixteenth birthday and trying to capture and save memories. Because in the words of Joni Mitchell:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Til its gone

And I make no apology for including the Counting Crows cover Big Yellow Taxi. The band features heavily on the soundtrack to the boy-child’s early life.

This post was written in response to Ailsa’s Travel Theme over at Where’s my Backpack. You can see Ailsa’s post on “yellow” here or read some other posts I’ve enjoyed:

Travel Theme: Yellow

http://samokan.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/summer-and-autumn/

http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/travel-theme-yellow/

2-11-14 Weekly Travel Theme: Yellow (Iteration Department)

http://lingeringvisions.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/travel-theme-yellow/

Travel Theme: Yellow

http://prettypacked.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/the-yellow-brick-man/

http://k2incanada.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/travel-theme-yellow/

http://sunriseadventures.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/travel-theme-yellow/

http://sasieology.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/travel-theme-yellow/

Travel Theme: Yellow (The Hidden Valley)

2-8-14 Travel Theme Yellow (Kidnapped Edition)

http://suitcasey.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/travel-theme-yellow/

http://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/gala-dali/

http://timwolversonphotos.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/travel-theme-yellow/

http://soletusknow.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/travel-theme-amarelo/

http://emiliopasquale.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/travel-theme-yellow/

And here is what has gone before in this countdown:

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/wordless-wednesday-bright-eyes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/10-things-tuesday-hes-ready-to-leave-home-when/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/on-writing-wishes-and-not-re-inventing-the-wheel/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/six-word-saturday-who-said-boys-cant-wear-pink/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/when-two-heads-are-so-much-better-than-one/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/family-photo-friday-kids-no-more/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/three-weeks-out-and-ive-organised-nothing/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/on-the-importance-of-grandparents/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/on-counting-and-gender-stereotypes/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/getting-over-the-grumps/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/weekly-photo-challenge-object/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/six-word-saturday-on-being-allowed-a-weekend-sleep-in/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/on-raising-children-and-not-getting-enough-sleep/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/back-to-school-for-the-last-time/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wordless-wednesday-remembering-birthdays-past-and-counting-down-to-a-big-one/

A green green goes green … or something like that.

garden4Ailsa’s “Green” theme  (Where’s my backpack) got me thinking about how the word has so many connotations; the colour, the sense of environmental responsibility – and also “green” as in inexperienced. And that got me thinking about my garden.

Last November, lots of seeds and seedlings.

Last November, lots of seeds and seedlings.

Even though I’ve owned my house for 12 years and wanted a vegetable garden for about that long, this last year is the first time I’ve had one.

And it’s been wonderful. It’s lush and green – despite the drought in Auckland. It’s great for the environment – food miles have become food metres and my plants thrive on the compost we’ve been creating from household waste.

Yesterday's harvest

Yesterday’s harvest

And although I’m totally “green” as a gardener and have made lots of mistakes (note to self – courgettes take up a lot of space and although they look great, they’re still courgettes), I have also grown a lot of fresh tasty organic food for my family, friends and neighbours.

Finally, if green is the colour of calm, then my garden has achieved another purpose. The time I spend planting and thinning and weeding and just generally pootling around eating the tomatoes and radishes and bell peppers is perhaps the most relaxing time in my life at the moment.

The radishes and courgettes are gone. Cucumbers are just hanging on and tomatoes are having a second crop. But the herbs and peppers are still thriving.

The radishes and courgettes are gone. Cucumbers are just hanging on and tomatoes are having a second crop. But the herbs and peppers are still thriving.