A lot of work is going on here at present, trying to restore some order to Chateau Foy after the sale of my mother-in-law's house, which has involved an astonishing amount of stuff passing through here on its way to the saleroom, or the charity shop, or the tip. One useful side effect of this is that we keep finding things that we had lost or forgotten about. Last week we found this item behind the sofa in the Garden Room (aka The Ironing Room or The Music Practice Room):
It is a Jumeo PortaPuzzle - a very handy item, which will keep your unfinished jigsaw puzzle flat and safe - you can even zip it shut and take your puzzle around to someone else's house - whatever. You may well own such a thing. This is quite a big one - it's about 32.3 inches wide - big enough for a 1000-piecer, which is why behind the sofa is about the only place we could have stored it.
OK - this is not an advert for PortaPuzzles, nor even for the benefits of tidying up, but the discovery of this lost treasure did encourage me to dig out one of our jigsaws and have a go. My puzzle of choice was a 400-piece job we have had for a couple of years; it's a custom puzzle depicting a map of our home county. It's not the entire county, of course - the big towns and the old coalmining areas are mysteriously excluded, so it's a sort of cute, tourists' view map of our county. This makes an interesting little challenge; the puzzle comes without an illustration. It would be possible, of course, to get hold of an actual map, and use that as a master, but that would definitely be cheating; the objective here is to complete the puzzle from one's own knowledge of the area. I spent a fascinating couple of days trying to locate all the farms and tiny hamlets, and there was an insane afternoon when I placed all the sea pieces by measuring the gridlines and checking for a match.
Anyway - not much more to say about it really, but I'm reminded that jigsaws are good fun, I am pleased with my knowledge of the area, and I am encouraged to try another puzzle next week. I have an unopened 500-piece picture of Port Isaac, which will do nicely. The map puzzles are made by Butler & Hill, if you are interested.
It did occur to me that carrying one of these map puzzles around in your car in case you get lost would not be a great plan, unless you had plenty of time.
I was discussing with the Contesse the most terrifying jigsaw we had heard of - the winner was a large puzzle showing only a coloured picture of baked beans - a bath full of beans, in fact, cropped so that only the beans were visible. That's pretty bad, but we understand that some maniac also produced such a puzzle, but printed on both sides with different, though similar, photos of baked beans. That's certainly a bit extreme.