Jigsaws in 2023

24000 pieces this year, similar to last year, though I seem to have done a bunch of 2k-4k ones this time, which made things tricky. Outside the Star (4k) was definitely the hardest due to all those cobblestone pieces that looked like bits of building. And to top it off, there were 4-5 pieces missing too. Gah. I just let the spinning wheel decide my puzzle (except for the Allegory of Sight ones, which were a DDD theme puzzle), so I was pretty ambivalent about a lot of them really, but like usual I warmed to all of them. The Starry Night in particular was more fun than I thought (and easier). Jigsaws To Do pile is now 124. Yikes.

Jigsaws in 2022

Yes, I’m still buying here and there, and thanks to Kim’s Op Shop and Elke, I’m still adding to “the pile” (which now numbers 105), cheaply for the most part. I managed around 21k of pieces this year across 18 puzzles (biggest was 3/4s of a 5400 piece masterpiece), down a bit from previous since I truly did burn myself out on that Degani 8k a year or two back and couldn’t face anything too large and long again.

I’ll call 2022 the year of the missing pieces since 6 of my puzzles ended up being short a piece or more (including 2 brand new ones). Luckily the polish Puzzle Manufacture one was able to be replaced. I started using the Picker Wheel website to add drama to the selection process (so far I’ve obeyed its command without question), and have finally created “to do” and “done” Google Photo albums.

Jigsaws in 2021 – still buying, slowly doing

Thanks to my pusher Elke Scheepers in Perth, I’m continually being tempted by art puzzles. She messages me once a week with “Ooh, not far from you” and leaves it up to me to disappoint her by saying nope, I have enough, it’s too far, I already have it etc.. Since I gave my piano away to Ben and Oui In November, I’ve rejigged the hobby room, so that I can finally do larger puzzles, but due to circumstances (later dinners and then regular TV with Kim, CoHousing Zoom calls, after work jogging, you name it) I’ve actually done less puzzling since. Hope to pick things back up next year. but here’s the slideshow from 2021. About 34k pieces this year, although many/most of the smaller <1500 ones I did completely without looking at the box, the mystery of which I found a real love for.

Another pleasant few months spent

 This Dutch print is probably the best jigsaw gift I could have received and I’ve struggled to choose a successor. We’re loaning our house out to Michael and Jenny when away in Whoopi this year and they’ll need this space, so no new 3000+ piece puzzles are being started now. Took about 9-10 weeks and a ton of fantasy baseball podcasts to do this beauty.

Some easier 2016 goals knocked over

I don’t know what it was about this year which made me write down some Post-It note goals and want to actually do some of them. I’ve read about people hitting middle age and sensing the tightening of time they have left, which leaves them feverish till the end; ambivalent years in their 20s seeming wasteful in hindsite. Maybe I’ve become one of those people.




Finished a 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle which took me about 5 months in the end. It only cost $1 – a shrewd buy from Kim at an Op shop up north. Choosing a 1615 Belgian civic parade or “Ommegang” ticked all the right boxes (historic, low countries, and fine detail) which generally draw me to a picture. At one point it sat untouched for 6 weeks around Christmas, when I’d done all the easier bits (top 3rd) and had to identify maybe 2000 single pieces and place them in their spots – never connecting them all till right near the end. That was exhausting, and the lighting and uncomfortable seating didn’t help. But I’m really pleased I did it in the end – many cups of herbal tea (and dry biscuits) later. Now I want to go see a real one!


Then War and Peace got read. When I heard the series was coming on TV this year, I knew that my 2013 purchase needed to come off the shelf, and at first I was worried with all the French phrasing interspersed amongst the Russian to English translation, but it was quite a pleasure to read really. Apart from a tedious Epilogue which I think Tolstoy intended to prove his rigour but to a modern reader seemed like the same argument twisted 20 ways to fill pages, it was surprisingly breezy and fun. I didn’t really know what to expect, not an anti-war piece; Tolstoy at pains to point out the fate of the naive, seeking glory or the blind worship of the Tsar, and scornful of those wishing to summarise the result as a series of won or lost encounters. General Kutuzov seemed to be the anti-hero, unpopularly retreating again and again to save the Russian Army, at the risk of being un-Russian but in doing so, gaining eventual victory but lifelong ignomony amongst his peers. Loved the 6 part series on the BBC too. 4.5 stars.