Which of us doesn’t wish to be regarded as cool? To be considered chic and hip. From our school days onwards, we are aware of social hierarchies and where we sit. Being cool is mostly associated with being young and might explain why people are afraid of growing old and why plastic surgeons are even a thing.
Personally, I am liberated from this un-winnable race since I have never been cool. This week, my cool looking son came in to our middle room, took one look at his dad and announced flatly…
‘…blimey dad, you are properly middle aged. You’re like a little old man.’
What prompted Sam to be so cruel?
Was it my slippers? My mug of tea instead of a beer. My sensible winter jumper, perhaps. My listening to speech radio instead of music or a football commentary and with only my little Staffie for company…
Perhaps all of these were contributors but what really clinched it for him was that I was completely ensconced in a jigsaw puzzle.
Regular readers will know that I am partial to a jigsaw – you may recall our jigsaw wars last year and our ‘Cans’ jigsaw which now hangs in this very same room. But my current jigsaw is a puzzle with a difference and I feel a need to shout about it. Younger (cooler) readers might wish to stop reading now and pass this blog to your parents because what I have to say is important and especially so in lockdown…
We are all familiar with Jigsaw puzzles. An attractive image, it can be anything but typically a farmyard scene or a village fete that is cut in to pieces of varying shapes and sizes – that all somehow and painstakingly fit together and can absorb many hours of our time.
The ten piece jig-saw for toddlers right up to puzzles with thousands of pieces for the enthusiasts and with ascending degrees of difficulty. An ocean scene perhaps where one sea horse is indiscernible from the next. Good luck with that. But whatever the image, however many pieces and degree of difficulty, we understand the task and we know the method. Start with the edges. Establish the dimensions. The corner pieces are always a breakthrough…
But let me introduce the Wentworth puzzle – a complete game changer.
Solid wooden puzzles, they are fiendishly clever and exquisite to look at and feel. I could try to explain what makes them so different but much better if you watch the 1 minute video on their website, which shows much better than I can describe.
My mum put us on to them. She has been extolling their wonders for ages but I didn’t take much notice until this Christmas day and presents were unwrapped. Puzzles for everyone and very timely with the new lockdown awaiting us all.
A festive image of Regent Street was my challenge. A famous London street that I know so well. Just along from The Comedy Store, I used to park on it for many years when such a thing was possible. The scene is particularly beautiful and evocative of a bygone age. The old London buses I used to ride but are no longer. Similarly the taxis and indeed even shoppers and people who have all but vanished in lockdown.
Five hundred pieces – consuming many hours of happy torment, hunting down taxi hub caps, head lamps and various bobble hats.
More expensive than traditional card puzzles but I promise, worth every penny and for the therapy alone of being liberated from our devices. The joy of doing something together, not to mention the satisfaction of clicking pieces in to place and the image slowly emerging.
The vaccine might do for Covid – but jigsaws can counter the heightened anxiety that is afflicting so many people in lockdown. Something to be become utterly immersed and not another box-set.
Like the forthcoming Brothers Trust mugs which are made in Staffordshire (an English county also responsible for the world’s most beautiful breed of dog) I am delighted that the Wentworth puzzles are Made in England also and stand-by – because a Brothers Trust Wentworth jigsaw puzzle is surely on the horizon. Mrs H is already on to it. I spoke with their MD this week and it was heartening to hear that their puzzles are sold throughout the world and they are struggling to keep up with demand. They explained that Hugh Jackman is a fan. On his Instagram @thehughjackman – I note he has completed a 1000 piece beast, thereby proving his super-human credentials.
Readers of this blog who make a purchase, you will not be disappointed. You will get lost in your puzzle. Time will evaporate and for the entire process, you will think of me – good thoughts and bad.
I expect to be deluged in Thank You emails and comments – but only in due course, because these are not easy puzzles to complete. Multiple sessions are required. The more eye balls and fingers the better. All ages can contribute and all help is welcome. Bonding will occur in this common purpose. A shared experience and result. A communal experience we are all better off for and why I am excited for the Bros Trust puzzle to come.