I still buy Ronan a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas every year. I have done all his life – yesterday, I finally asked if he still likes to receive them. He does, luckily. I have always taken the view that it’s good to give my children something to play with as well as more expensive, sensible or extravagant gifts. I gave him one for his birthday this year too – I’d bought it with Christmas in mind, but I can’t keep something for months, I just give it more or less straight away. It would have been an unbirthday present if July hadn’t come along just at the right moment.
The reason the subject came up was that I’d bought myself one, for the first time in years. No particular reason, I just thought it would be relaxing. Concentration without thought and I could listen to the radio or keep an eye on the tv at the same time. It’s harder than I remember, though. All those little pieces to sort out! It was also an error of judgement to buy a two-sided one, it’s harder to sort out the pieces.
Ronan is a kind boy and, when I said It’s hard to distinguish the shades of colour by artificial light at my age, he agreed that his youthful eyes don’t find it easy either. The shades of brown in Rembrandt’s Night Watch were tricky, he said. I’d forgotten I’d bought him that, when I was in Amsterdam some years ago. I remembered the Panorama Mesdag, which he said was the hardest one he’s ever done.
Anyway, I’m persevering and getting back into the patient rhythm of it. Awfully easy to lose an hour or so in the afternoon, though.
The cat is remarkably good and, though she sometimes sits on it, she doesn’t knock it over or lose any of the pieces for me. So I don’t try to keep her off the table. That would make her contrary.