This jigsaw puzzle of Moscow is only the third one we have completed since the lockdown and I must admit that I enjoyed doing this one a lot more than the last one which was the Venice puzzle – the sky of which did more or less defeat me – but thankfully not Jack.
This one too had a lot of sky.
With careful scrutiny of the accompanying small poster it was fairly easy to figure out all the very different designs on the buildings, steeples and onion domes. Now we just have to decide which puzzle to do next, New York which looks fiendish or London which is not nearly as attractive as this one is – sorry London.
I think that a lot of us have been doing jigsaw puzzles during this strange time of self-isolation and lockdown. Purely by good luck I bought a box containing four jigsaws a couple of months ago so we had a choice of ‘doing’ Venice, London, New York or Moscow. I opted to visit Venice first.
Maybe I should have been a wee bit choosier because it was an absolute swine of a puzzle and it almost beat us. Truly I suppose it did beat me as after leaving it alone for a few days then going back to it thinking I would be able to solve it just like that – as sometimes happens with difficult cryptic crossword puzzles, I was sorely disappointed – it was still a swine.
It was the sky that almost defeated us, there are just no clues to go by, the blue being all one shade. I gave up and went out to weed the garden, and Jack continued. At one point he got down to just three pieces – BUT THEY DIDN’T FIT IN ANYWHERE! Careful scrutiny revealed some possible mistakes and eventually after picking out some likely pieces the puzzle was completed by Jack. I was still weeding.
He thinks that there are some parts of the water and sky which might not be correct but it’ll have to do, towards the end this one was definitely not good for my mental health so it might be a few weeks before we tackle another puzzle!
Winter is jigsaw puzzle season for us but we hadn’t done any for over a year, it seemed that we might have a jigsaw free winter because I just didn’t see any in the shops that I wanted to do, but when I saw this Queensferry Harbour one I had to buy it. At first – as often happens – I despaired of being able ever to complete it, but in the end we managed it within five or so days.
On Sunday the day dawned bright with a blue sky – and no rain. We had been looking forward to going to an annual book sale for ages, south of Edinburgh but it was cancelled at the last minute. Presumably the organisers thought that not many people would turn up due to the coronavirus being around. It meant we felt at a bit of a loose end so we decided to drive to South Queensferry – the scene of the puzzle – and had lunch there. I took just a few photos.
Yes, by then it had started to cloud over a wee bit, but it was still a nice wee change.
On the way back home we dropped in at Tesco supermarket intending to do our normal weekly shop and were greeted by empty shelves. Such a sense of panic with many people and I couldn’t help thinking that they probably didn’t have enough room in their freezers to accommodate everything they were buying – there was no meat left, or even eggs. I suspect a lot of the food would end up being wasted. Crazy.
Lah di dah, lah di dah. Can you tell that I’ve been watching Annie Hall?!
I think I can safely say that I won’t be doing any more jigsaw puzzles this winter, this one of a British Railway Cotswolds poster has cured me of my passion for them – for now anyway.
I truly almost gave up as it was fiendishly difficult, I know it doesn’t look like it would be from the photo of it, but it was so hard that it took most of the enjoyment out of it for me.
Even when we did get to the stage of only having about 30 or so pieces left to fit in, we realised that some of it must be wrong. I must admit that it was Jack who had the patience to go over it with a magnifier and find the wrongly placed pieces. A nightmare!
We’ve just completed our second jigsaw puzzle of the winter. It’s one that Peggy brought over from TN when she visited us last summer. It’s a Charles Wysocki puzzle called Whaler’s Bay, I think that naive (folksy) American style is lovely.
This is the second Wysocki puzzle that we’ve done, I must admit I found the first one to be more difficult than this one, maybe I’m just getting used to the different styles now. There is quite a difference between US and UK puzzles, going by these ones anyway. We managed to do it over two days and a Brit one normally will take the best part of a week with the same number of pieces – 1,000.
I think I’ll be starting another puzzle soon – going by the weather forecast it looks like we’ll be staying at home over the next few days, it’s going to be freezing here!
Winter means jigsaw season for me, so between Christmas and New Year I cracked open this one of a vintage railway poster from the 1930s. I love these posters – and jigsaws, so for me it was a perfect combination. The puzzle has one thousand pieces and I think it must be the most difficult puzzle I/we’ve ever tackled.
After a couple of days I nearly gave up because I seemed to be almost at a standstill, but eventually we made some decent progress, it took almost a week to complete it though.
We have another couple of new puzzles to do over this winter. The masochist in me almost tidied this one away to start another one, but the sensible bit of me decided to leave it a wee while before starting another one.
If it’s winter it’s jigsaw season and this is the second one we’ve done this winter, well it hasn’t really felt cold enough until recently.
This one is called The Homecoming, and it’s by Tomas Kinkade. It’s very American, a soldier having come off a bus draped in flags/bunting, and a yellow ribbon tied to the tree.
It was a gift from Peggy Ann when she came over to visit us last year. It’s the first US puzzle we’ve done and it seemed quite different to me as there were quite a lot of very odd shapes to deal with, but when you look closely at it now, they don’t really look all that different.
It was the usual thing with me and jigsaws – 15 minutes after beginning it I was cursing myself for doing so, then I found myself still up at 1 am – absolutely obsessed by it! It ended up being good fun although when it was finished there seemed to be one piece missing – nightmare!
After crawling all over the rug several times I found it, completely hidden in the pattern, I only found it by touch, the photo below is of our new rug which covers most of the living room laminate, I’m just not a fan of laminate in my living room and a large rug was easier than getting a fitted carpet in there, I couldn’t face moving all the furniture out again.
I love the rug, but if you drop something small on it, it’s very difficult to find it again!
For me winter is jigsaw time, so over the Christmas holidays I completed my first jigsaw of the year. At times I almost gave up on this one as sometimes I sat there for over an hour and only placed a few pieces of the puzzle. It’s the most difficult jigsaw that I’ve ever done. It’s an ArtPiece Puzzle made by Pomegranate. It’s the first one I’ve done by that maker and I have to say that the pieces fit together so tightly that you can actually lift the whole thing up off the table, with no fear of any pieces falling out, it’s a solid sheet. Sadly the colours haven’t come out quite as well as I had hope they would in the photograph below.
It’s called Plum and Peach Bloom by the American artist Gustave Baumann, although I didn’t realise he was American at first, well look at the name! he was born in Germany and went to America when he was ten years old apparently. When I first saw it I thought it was a puzzle made from something painted by the Swedish artist Carl Larsson, they have quite similar styles I think.
The peach and plum tree blossom just about did me in, but as ever it was really satisfying when I placed the last piece into it.
You can see more images of Gustave Baumann’s work here if you’re interested.
I really like his work, he seems to have been keen on painting woodland areas, and as I love trees, that’s fine by me.
On a completely different subject – we haven’t been anywhere interesting over the last couple of months, mainly because it has hardly stopped raining. But Jack has done a post on Bladon which we visited during the summer. If you want to see what Churchill’s resting place looks like, you can see it here.
You know it’s still winter when you’re still in jigsaw puzzle mode. It’s too cold for gardening and you don’t want to spend all of your time reading and jigsaws somehow fit the bill.
I just had to buy this one of The Trossachs, because it’s just about my favourite part of Scotland and I also love the artwork which features in these old railway posters, plus this puzzle came with a print of the scene which I can frame and add to my wee collection of reprint British Railway posters. The artist was John Littlejohns and it was painted in 1930. You can see more images of his work here. You can see more images of The Trossachs here.
Somehow when you see the puzzle all finished, it doesn’t look like 1,000 pieces, but it is. I could hardly fit them all on to the table to begin with – now for the next one!
As it’s Burns Night tonight I made the vegetarian haggis from the recipe which was in the Guardian earlier in the week. You can see it here. I’m not inflicting a photo of my version as haggis is never appetising looking but it tasted good anyway. I changed it slightly, substituting soy sauce for the Marmite as I hate the stuff and I added more pulses in the shape of haricot and cannellini beans. I also halved the quantities as there are only the two of us around the table nowadays, but I still have plenty leftover – so no cooking required tomorrow, luxury!
Below is a photo of the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle which we began about a week ago when the weather was really cold and we were just semi hibernating. It didn’t take us as long as I thought it would. The worst part was definitely the road/pavement at the bottom of the picture, the cobble stones. I originally thought it was Starry Starry Night (or The Starry Night) but it isn’t. It’s The Cafe Terrace at Night.
Now when you are reading or saying van Gogh remember to pronounce the ‘gh’ properly – a lovely guttural sound as in the word ‘loch’ – none of this Vincent van Go nonsense! In fact the first G should be guttural too.
I’m now searching for another jigsaw puzzle which I bought recently, it’s of a British Rail poster of The Trossachs. I tidied it away before Christmas and now I can’t find it, don’t you just hate when that happens. That’s my excuse for preferring clutter, at least then I know where everything is!
Have you seen the Laurel and Hardy film which is about a disaster which befalls Ollie when Stan starts a jigsaw puzzle – hilarious.