Many people’s first response to the theme was to think of borders between countries.
Abigail and Kieran managed to time their trip to Edinburgh to fit in perfectly with the August challenge. It was surely nothing to do with the dates of the Edinburgh Fringe. Surely.
Kieran says, "Crossing the border into Scotland by train is now a more mental than physical event. No announcements, no passport checks; just get off at the other end and go on your way. This quiet transition still feels like a holiday, though. The ocean's always bluer on the other side!"
Abigail writes, "Visiting Scotland, we didn’t so much explore the border as explore across the border, in the beautiful, craggy, bustling city of Edinburgh. We caught the last few days of the Fringe, ate and drank artisan Scottish chocolate, and rummaged around reputable and dusty Edinburgh bookshops.
"But climbing up to the top of Arthur’s Seat (the main peak in Holyrood Park, at the centre of Edinburgh) we could see, in miniaturised and panoramic splendour, the buildings and hills about 800 feet below; where we couldn’t help but be reminded of borders. We picked out (or did our best to guess) the border between the district of Leith - where we were staying - and the city. We saw the crest of Edinburgh Castle amid the rambling streets, shops and peaks of houses; its history embroiled in the struggle between bordering nations. And we saw the vast lustre of the Firth of Forth, where the border of the land begins to melt into the sea.
"On our train home, we passed a sign to the north of York - Edinburgh 200 miles. It seemed surreal that we could be so far away, so soon."
Allysse spent time at this liminal space and created a beautiful, meditative short film titled Moment of Zen. Allysse says, "The end of England, the border between land and sea. It wasn't quite a microadventure as there was no sleeping outside (but in a hotel room instead). I did quite a few walks along the coast, explord the antique shops in the area, ate good food, and generally lazed about on pebbles and sand dunes."
Clare went on a county border crossing extravaganza on one of her very long training walks along the Stour Valley Path, from Cambridgeshire to Suffolk to Essex. "We cross the border to Essex," Clare writes. "Essex! It takes ages to drive to Essex and I’ve just Bloody well walked here! Incredible! My mind well and truly blown. Go me!"
Dan and I also explored some borders closer to home. We went swimming in the River Rother where it marks the border between East Sussex and Kent, and went for a long evening walk along the Sussex Border Path between Hawkhurst and Flimwell. It’s interesting to think about times and places in which features like rivers and ridges and woods have acted as easy to read (and easy to enforce) borders for a non-map-using population.
Our monthly themes are always open to interpretation and Mags went all out with this one, including county border crossing, a cute dog and a visit to Pevensey Castle. "The original structure was a Roman Saxon shore fort built around 290AD," Mags says. "Once the Romans had left it was reoccupied by the Normans in 1066. It was abandoned again at the end of the 16th century until the ruin was acquired by the state in 1925."
Nikki writes, "Last month in Melbourne, the government announced an initiative called Border Force, an operation that would allow authorised officers to request the visa documents of "any individual we come across". Any person with a hint of decency could see this initiative would result in harassment of people of colour on the streets of Melbourne and a snap protest was arranged within an hour (mostly via Twitter) - I had the good fortune to be available so went along to show my support. The good news is the protest was a 100% success with first the press announcement being cancelled, and then the entire operation. It was pretty great to feel part of something that made a difference."