Beating Lockdown/Jan blues…

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.


18 thoughts on “Beating Lockdown/Jan blues…

  1. Rachel says:

    Another great blog! I’m 24 and I love doing puzzles as well! You’re definitely right, they help me with my anxiety. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

  2. Sydnee Coleman says:

    Lovely blog Mr. H, I quite love puzzles but I’m more for the picture, then the puzzle it self. My best puzzle was a 1000 piece Wizard of Oz puzzle that I finished in 4 hours. Lately (even with quarantine) I just can’t seem to find the time (or space) to do a grand puzzle but I would like to again. Maybe I’ll ask for one of these Wentworth puzzles for my birthday which is this Wednesday Jan. 20, or maybe I’ll buy it myself, lol.

  3. Lorraine says:

    I love the blog today Dom. I would never have been considered cool either. I love crossword puzzles and quizzes (although not too good) and have a paint by numbers to attack at some stage. I think I need more than a cup of tea to tackle it though. Delighted to see that your lovely puzzle is the right way up todayDom, well done Have a week.

  4. Paula says:

    I loved this. I’ve started doing jigsaws during lockdown and it has helped me cope with anxiety. Can’t wait for the Brothers Trust one.

  5. KerriK says:

    Puzzles are great, We are in lockdown as well and not able to visit or see anyone… I live alone and puzzles are what got me through Christmas break, the best is when you have a documentary going on in the background and your furbaby curled up next to you as you work your way through the puzzle.

  6. Victoria says:

    Lovely blog, Dom!
    You’re not old at all. I’m 15 and I enjoy puzzles with my mom. It’s a nice way to kill time. Nothing wrong about it.

    (I do want to point out, however, that my mom does most of the puzzles and i semi-help. A Christmas gift from my dad’s aunt was a puzzle that she immediately took and did when we got home)

  7. Vanessa says:

    I do not consider the tea, the puzzle and all that stuff from older people, I think it is rather from someone healthier and smarter

  8. Derek Shakespeare says:

    You’re no older than me Dom,far cooler I’m sure,and you even have a dog!! I’ve always been convinced that dog owners,on the whole,are better people. As for jigsaw puzzles- ideal to pass the time,especially during lockdown, as a break from anything with a screen! Enjoyable blog,as ever. Keep well and remain safe

  9. Lisa says:

    Being a nursery nurse I do lots lots of puzzles with the children, the excitement a child has when it’s finished is brilliant and even more so when they are aloud to mess it up!
    Then the famous words “let’s do it agin”

  10. Hannah says:

    I can assure you even my children love jigsaw puzzles! They’ve became a little escape to get away from things I’ll have to look up your type!

  11. Mashaal says:

    The thing about jigsaws is that it draws you in for hours yet feels timeless
    And the puzzles themselves are timeless as well—for all ages except for the young ones (ages 5 or less) that tend to throw the puzzle off the table…
    Regardless, looking forward to the BT jig saw xx

  12. Sara says:

    Not sure if I’m allowed to use brand names – but have you tried the Wasjig puzzles Dom, where you don’t have the picture on the box to follow, the puzzle is what one of the characters can see? I thoroughly recommend them – hours of frustration – particularly the one set in road works with about 300 different traffic cones of varying sizes! (I will check out the Wentworth puzzles also)

  13. Isabella Benz says:

    Are any of us really considered “cool”? Our personal quirks surely are our downfall as soon as we believe to have found our way to the top.
    I recently worked on a beautiful teacup puzzle with my cousin and aunt. Taking two trips and hours of concentration (and even more wine), we finally completed it next to the roaring evening fire. Not only was the masterpiece worthy of framing, but the bonding was one for the books. You really learn a lot about someone when you’ve been staring at the same pieces for 2 hours and still can’t find the right one…

  14. Rachel Conrad says:

    I really enjoyed the blog this week!

    Puzzles are fun, and in my opinion, the best are the floor puzzles (6’ x 10’). They’re super easy, but just as satisfying.

    Those puzzles look really cool, and satisfying (wood clacking wise)!

    Looking forward to next week’s blog!

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