Jigsaws

Picture of jigsaw. Old fashioned train and bus passing milk churnsUntil this New Year, I’d not completed a Jigsaw puzzle for about a million years.

Last year I had played with a few iPad Jigsaw puzzles, but although I enjoyed doing them, I found the process difficult and frustrating, due to the limited space.

Early in the New Year, when we stayed in a Staffordshire cottage with Karen and Dave, Karen and I had a go at one she’d been given for Christmas (or which she found in the cottage – who knows!) Now, I enjoyed that and found it quite relaxing.

Another friend, Carol, who does Jigsaws all the time, insists that they help to maintain our memory function as we grow older, I do hope so! They certainly help with concentration. Carol gave me a puzzle to get started with – and off I went. The first, Jigsaw-1, was hard … I liked the subject but the colours were quite dark and it took most of January to complete.

I bought another one in late January whilst I was up in Kendal. I’d arrived early for my meeting at the college (I was their LSIS LiT Grant Project ‘critical friend’), so I had lunch in the town and wandered around the charity shops. This one was Jigsaw-2, it cost me £2 and took an age to build. I did have help though – Karen and Dave popped over for a weekend and she filled in some of the blue-sky bits; Carol and John are always popping in so Carol couldn’t resist doing some of the white bits.

When I published the picture of Jigsaw-2 to Flickr, Claire responded from Ibiza – saying that the view was of Santorini, in Greece. And so it was – just search for Santorini on Google and compare those images to the Jigsaw.  The colours were vibrant and it was sad to be finished with it. However, I now had the bug, so I bought another in Slaithwaite’s own charity shop for 50p. (50 pence!!!) which became Jigsaw-3.

Now, this one had lots of blue sky and it took a while to complete but even so, it was very very relaxing. When you’re faced with a sky full of blue, the technique is to look at the shape of the piece and compare the slight changes in shading – as I say, this improves concentration. Still not sure about memory though.

Anyway, I’m going to try and do one a month this year. Watch this space 😉 (or Flickr).
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The Shroppie Fly

It has not been easy getting back into the swing of work related things this year. There is not much new work around but I still have some residual work with the RSC-YH and RSC-SE. I did have some dates in my diary, but catching people during the first two weeks of September to arrange other meeting dates has been (is) difficult. So my diary now is made up of preparation for gig dates, meeting people to try and generate work dates and phoning-up to organise meetings and gigs dates.

The preparation dates are OK, because I give myself time to ‘prepare’ and find it hugely enjoyable because as I consider new ways to deliver something (or just to update) I’m also learning. The meeting people dates are frustrating because nothing comes from them immediately, or they get cancelled. Phoning-up days are similarly frustrating (as I say, early September is not the best time for doing this) and tend to end up with a batch of emails having to be sent.

Still, since we got back from the USA http://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com (July 31st – August 26th) we’ve managed to resist slipping into a boring routine. Last weekend we went looking for another car to replace Sharon’s clapped out Subaru. For me, this is a tedious trail of agencies that never seem to have the model you’ve researched and wanted. Auto Trader is especially frustrating because by the time you ring them to see if the car is still there – it’s gone. We eventually found a Renault Megane Saloon, which seemed to fit the bill (3 years old and only 12,500 miles). So, we came away to do the research – which proved to be positive. However, our plan to swap Sharon’s car may have to be changed to replacing my car or not buying it at all – for reasons I can’t go into now but will explain in good time.

The previous weekend we spent in Chirk with Karen and Dave. That was a pleasant change. I love Wales and the border country around Karen is particularly nice. Having said that, we spend most of our time in Shropshire checking out the canal system around Audlem. This is an especially nice part of Shropshire, where history becomes a relaxing walk along the towpath. Karen’s son Andrew, his wife Ange and baby daughter accompanied us on our walk and during our meal at The Shroppie Fly alongside the towpath in Audlem.

I’ve also made two visits to Wetherby recently, for discussions about my trip to Prague next week. This visit follows the workshop we delivered in Wetherby during the week that the volcanic ash cloud erupted. Many of the delegates (project partners) were greatly delayed by their cloud and had to lay out extra expenses just to get home. We also met this team in Vienna in May. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/?s=Vienna In Prague Sharon and I will represent Khawar and TLC at the climax of this project.