The Eldest of the Daring Daughters tells me it is tantamount to cheating. This is a rather worrying verdict on one
who was brought up by a mother who insisted that cheats never prosper. What is more, she used to explain to my Little Sister and me, should you be inclined to cheat and thereby win a prize without anyone ever suspecting you - why, the prize will be worthless
because you will know, yourself, that you didn’t win it fairly. She was very good at such home-spun wisdom, my dear mum, now I come to think of it. I don’t think I reckoned much on it at the time but it is amazing how, in my adult life, so much
of what she taught me has guided my path through life’s challenges.
You are dying to know, I am sure, how I have been found out to be cheating - I promise
you it isn’t as bad as you may be thinking. Apparently, according to my daughter, only a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle counts. All those 500 piece puzzles with which I have been occupying my spare moments - to any true Jigsaw Puzzler, they are cheating. I
It’s a while since I bent for hours on end over a jigsaw. There always seemed to be too much else to do and it was such a bother having to
clear the dining table of puzzle pieces every time we wanted to eat. Which was, let’s face it, three times a day. Then when Mr B was away, first in hospital, then in a nursing home, for those two long months over Christmas and the New Year, I needed
some comforting company, Home Alone as I was and with nobody to share meals with I didn’t even need to clear the table. So my dormant romance with the jigsaw was reawakened....
I have now completed seven puzzles on the trot. There were two topical snow scenes over Christmas, followed by jigsaws depicting: (i) the Rialto bridge in Venice; (ii) garden birds; (iii) a patriotic scene with the Red Arrows flying over Buckingham
Palace; (iv) London sights; and (wait for it!) (v) a greengrocer’s shop. Each one had exactly 500 pieces, meaning I have fitted 3,500 small cardboard cut-outs into their rightful places.
Encouraging me in my new addiction is the Youngest of the Darling Daughters who bought me the first of my seven puzzles and has since gifted me another two. She explains that this is only fair as we have been sharing the fun,
(and the puzzles) each at our own dining tables in our own homes. We send each other photographs of our progress on each puzzle, starting with the picture of the completed edges. This is usually followed by another couple of photographs with accompanying messages
such as “Aaargh, this is more difficult than I thought it would be!” or, more hopefully: “Making progress!” There is always a photo of the completed puzzle so that the other of us can comment: “Lovely! Well done!”
Now here’s my confession. I don’t have any inclination to challenge myself with a really, really difficult jigsaw. I don’t hanker after the (in)famous baked
beans jigsaw, for example, and while I have enormous admiration for my Little Sister (who is excellent at jigsaws, as at so much else) I can’t see myself tackling the New York Skyline which was so very difficult, apparently, that my sister went so far
as to number the backs of all the sky pieces in case she ever felt inclined to do the puzzle again. I like jigsaws with bright, colourful pictures of fascinating people (you should just see the customers in the greengrocers shop) and interesting places, especially
places I have been. I know in theory I should challenge myself more but...
We did have a perplexing time over ordering the Rialto Bridge puzzle (chosen because
I remember a delightful day there with Mr B while it was where my daughter spent her honeymoon.) I sent the website link to my daughter so that she could order it from the Amazon Jungle for me. Was I sure, she came back to me, that this was the one I wanted?
The screen shot she sent me showed a rather dopey-looking angel accompanied by a couple of white rabbits. “Angel with Bunnies” was the puzzle’s title - not quite my style.
It took a bit of to-ing and fro-ing before the correct jigsaw was ordered. How we had nearly ordered “Angel with Bunnies” we will probably never know.
It’s a puzzle...