Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Hooptedoodle #399 - Time Out for a Jigsaw Puzzle

 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.

12 comments:

  1. Tony, you only have time for a jigsaw if you’ve painted ALL your figures!

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    1. That's harsh. How would it be if I had to finish painting another unit before I could start a fresh jigsaw?

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  2. The Current Mrs Broom is a great one for Jigsaws. I’m not sure if she’s ever tried the baked bean one, which sounds totally mind bending, but she did have a go at a number of 3D ones while we were in France. I’d like to see someone try storing one of them in that there fancy case!

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    1. I think I've seen 3D puzzles which build up into a famous castle or similar - is that the sort of thing? Good for her - I wouldn't be able to visualise what I was building.

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    2. I’d do a 3D one if it made a scale model of a Vauban fortress. One depicting Lille would be awesome, but I’m not demanding. I’d settle for the citadel at Blaye.

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    3. I think that's very pragmatic - a sensible approach.

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  3. I like jigsaws - I have never attempted the baked beans one but I did do six Dalmatian puppies wearing red ribbons on a white background, which was enough for me.

    I prefer steam trains and WW2 RAF aircraft most of all. Properly Old School!

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    1. Sounds very good to me! My earliest exposure to jigsaws was when I was about 7 - my parents sometimes used to leave me with neighbours downstairs (Mr & Mrs Francis) when they went out to the cinema on a Friday night, which was OK because I got to stay up late, got to listen to radio programmes I would never have heard otherwise (Dick Barton and Journey into Space) and got to do some big jigsaw puzzles. These were stored in sweetie tins, and never had pictures, so they were quite challenging - I remember there was a scene from King Solomon's Mines (presumably the 1937 movie), a picture of Tower Bridge and one of the ceremony of Trooping the Colour (I think). I also learned that the last piece of the jigsaw was sometimes missing, which seemed like a law of Nature - why always the last piece? - that was worth thinking about...

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  4. Doing the map puzzle without a guiding image looks like great fun. I really like map jigsaws. Would you have stuck with it if it was the baked beans one? I do jigsaw puzzles rarely but when I do part of the attraction is seeing an attractive image emerge from the chaos, and while the baked beans one would certainly be a challenge I don't think I would enjoy it because the end product would just be a picture of a load of baked beans, as opposed to an antique map or nice picture of trams.

    My earliest jigsaw memory is being taken to a jumble sale at the local church hall when I was very small. At one stall they had a Winnie the Pooh jigsaw to which I took a shine, and because at that tender age I honestly didn't realise you had to pay for these things I just picked it up and took it away without the stallholder even noticing. I recall that it had a piece missing so the last laugh was on me.

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    1. Thank you for coming out about your introduction to crime - 43 Hail Marys and you're cool. Next?

      Funny about that missing last piece though, eh? No - I couldn't manage the baked beans puzzle at all - very risky.

      I remembered last night that I once bought some "guaranteed complete" used jigsaws from a church garden fete - all packed in plastic bags, without guide pictures. Come to think of it, I don't think I did them all, but the point of this digression is that the first one I attempted - some fishing boats in Poole harbour - came out very nicely, and there was an EXTRA piece. This must have been around 1980, but I remember wondering whether there is some mischievous sprite that swaps pieces between puzzles in the dead of night, and how weird it would be if the extra piece was actually the missing bit of King Solomon's Mines.

      Fortunately, Real Life came along and snapped me out of it all immediately afterwards, but it does make you think...

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    2. Mystery upon mystery...the extra pieces probably come from the same place that socks go to after you put them in the wash.

      I imagine the Winnie the Pooh jigsaw was probably only about 20 pieces so a single missing piece represented a significant loss of information!

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    3. I think that's right - it could be down the back of the sofa. There was a time in my life when I was seriously affected by the thought that one day someone would dig down to our civilisation and find a complete stratum of Bic pen-caps, but I like the whiff of Conspiracy Theory here - I think there may be a cabal of child-eating dyslexic Santa-worshippers whose influence extends to screwing up everyone's jigsaws and spreading rumours about the next Spurs manager [who is going to be Trump btw - you read it here first].

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