Border Lines

Berwick, North Northumberland: Food-Travel-Culture-Community

Words in my window: August

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Sometimes it’s the crusty bits around the edge and other times it’s the gooey bits in the middle

So said my brother. And, as ever, he’s right. Maybe with his picture of an underbaked cake he intuitively realised I was alluding to the thing that so often stalls progress and stymies action: PERFECTION. How many people want to do things but never do because they fear they won’t be good enough (I know I do)? How many people enjoy a slightly underbaked cake with a slightly gooey centre (I know I do)?  Exactly.

Linked to this is a thought which cropped up when I was chatting with someone who’d recently been dealing with cancer. We agreed that cancer and such life-shortening and life-inhibiting illnesses change your perspective on life. ‘Don’t put off joy,’ said my friend. She didn’t mean get out there and do what you want to do, no matter the consequences. She meant don’t forget to pause and take pleasure in the here and now. The gift of the moment, if you like.

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I had thought about NO/FLIES/ON as in ‘no flies on him/her’ for this week. But, as I fiddled with my letters, I realised how delightful it would be (for me!) to create a palindrome and see if anyone noticed. Of course they did! Someone also spotted ‘stealth’ in these words – whether sinister or comforting, predatory or protective, I don’t know.

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It’s a strange thing with these words and the lack of punctuation. SO/LONG HOT/DAYS could easily be read as ‘So, long hot days…’ However, the clouds were gathering in late August and most people responded with teary emojis (although my friend the anagram hunter came up with ‘Solo thong days’ – which sound a tad lonely!).

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I had intended ‘Define kindness please’ for the last week in August. However it’s really hard to fit eight letters on a line of my box. Anyway, DEFINE/KIND/PLEASE is more enigmatic – indeed one person pointed out that it could refer to the species humankind as well as to a characteristic. However, most people went with the characteristic. The idea that kindness is  ‘not causing harm’ came up as did the, to me, more proactive ‘show it’. Perhaps my favourite response was ‘I see you’, with it’s suggestion of real interaction and understanding. To me, ‘I see you’ holds a promise that is linked to the ‘don’t postpone joy’ comment at the beginning of this piece: KIND/KINDNESS is a gift which we have the power to share with others in any given moment of time.

Of course, in a different context, ‘I see you’ might have altogether more sinister overtones. Fortunately my radar in my words earlier in the month was not on!

I leave you with a picture of my family enjoying perfection in the rock pools of Spittal over the other side of the Tweed from Berwick.

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