Jigging About in Lockdown

If you were hoping for a lively post about home-based boogie, you will be sadly disappointed and I recommend you look away now.

But if, like us, you have re-discovered some gentler pursuits during lockdown, grab a cuppa and snuggle down (click any picture to enlarge).

Hub and I both used to enjoy doing jigsaws as children.  Hub once tackled a 5,000 piece affair, juggling several boards of pieces which had to be gently eased from under the bed to be worked on. I tended to go for smaller puzzles and have fond memories of one in particular – it was a circular and very beautiful picture of the signs of the zodiac.  Because it was round, the individual pieces were satisfyingly odd.  I also remember one that was a picture of Scottish mountains.  Little did I know then that I would now be living (relatively) near by!

And talking of Scottish mountains, we had this jigsaw of Ben Nevis and Glen Coe in the cupboard for ages.

I think I might have bought it on a holiday as a souvenir and then just put it away.  But anyhow, we decided to liberate it from the darkness when lockdown took full hold and we have not looked back since.

This puzzle was extremely challenging and back-breaking with lots of time spent leaning over to look closely at whether pieces did in fact fit together, or whether it was just wishful thinking.  I really felt that my core muscles were getting a good work out – so fringe benefits there.


It required lots of organising and peering through a magnifying glass but we got there in the end!  I baked a celebratory madeira cake which unexpectedly came out looking like the summit of Ben Nevis – perfect!


Buoyed by this success we went on to our second puzzle – a complete contrast to the first picture-wise but no less difficult as it turned out.  This image is by the magnificent Jackie Morris, who collaborated with Robert McFarlane on the wonderful book The Lost Words.



We lulled ourselves into thinking that it would be pretty straightforward, but no.  Hub regularly had to resort to trying literally every piece in every place.  I did not have the patience for that and admired his perseverance from afar.  But overall, this was a really lovely project to work on.


So what next? We have just started this one, which is a painting by Helen Madeleine McKie created in 1948 to celebrate the centenary of London’s Waterloo Station.  It shows the same scene in both peace and war.  Her attention to detail is incredible.


I have been reminded with all of this that jigsaws are a bit like pets.  They demand all of your attention; you cannot resist stopping as you walk by; and they very much take precedence above everything else that may be going on.  We don’t normally have our table out full like this, and even so, we have spent much of the last few weeks perched at the end when eating to give the jigsaw all the space it needs. Quite right too. 🙂




30 thoughts on “Jigging About in Lockdown

  1. One of the things that people have been missing where I live, Liz, is a communal jigsaw which is laid out in the hobbies room. There’s always one on the go and anybody can just stop by and fit a few pieces in when they feel like it. Of course, with social distancing that’s had to stop because who knows how many germs may be hanging about on those tiny pieces. I know that for some people who live here it’s been a major loss.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s interesting that some of the main jigsaw retailers are sold out of many products, so I think you are right about that resurgence. As you say, definitely a positive!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The first and last look pretty challenging. I do remember coming in from seeing friennds one evening around 11 pm and finding ourselves still wearing our coats at midnight having restarted the jigsaw we’d left on the table. They are very satisfying as I’m sure that cake was, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh how I love your jigging. As you know I am a big fan of puzzles and do them all year round. I used to do it a child too. My biggest as a child was 3000 of a David Hamilton picture a girl with flowers, I remember. I find puzzling relaxes me as you say you focus on it and all your other thoughts are gone, bit like meditating. Your designs are great and varied. You got a big table you are lucky and still have enough space to eat there. 🙂 I have it on a puzzle board, I can close and push under the sofa. My pieces are sorted on 3 different card boards according to shape. So I do it mostly on the floor. Once done I pass it on to a friend, who passes his puzzles to me, after that it is charity shop, where I get lots from usually as well. They get around and are shared.
    Love your Ben Nevis Cake.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How fun. We have a puzzle set up in a room off the main office at school. It is a way to destress. If any one of us starts feeling a bit bonkers, we go in an plunk a few pieces into the puzzle. You can tell the kind of day by how much progress is made. Do you break them down when you are done?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a perfect way to deal with the day’s trials and tribulations. And yes we do break them down – it always feels wrong somehow. But we tape up the boxes and put them on the charity pile so someone else can enjoy them some day.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh, these are great puzzles. My daughter and I have had a tradition of doing one at Christmas but we hadn’t done one for a while. However, we did last Christmas and it was great fun. We have an abandoned one at the end of the house, because she lost interest in the image (an old map). It’s interesting isn’t it, because you have to be interested in what you are putting together, in seeing it come to life. Anyhow, maybe I should get it back out to the warm end of the house (we are moving into cold weather) and see if my husband would like to do it with me. We have done them together in the past – the last being a circular yellow one called The Yellow Peril. It was plain yellow! And sometimes it took an hour to get one piece done.

    I love the cake looking like the mountain, and I love that you eat your meals around the current puzzle!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally agree about the importance of being drawn to the picture, otherwise there is little incentive to get stuck in. Your yellow one sounds very difficult indeed!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. What beautiful jigsaws they all are, Liz. I’ve seen the two Waterloo paintings and they are wonderful social history, and for many years you could stand at Waterloo and see exactly where things had been. You both have great Depths of patience to complete them. I love your thoughts about the meditative aspects.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have been following the adventures of Jigging About as the events unfolded around us. I am reminded of a conversation with Don, a few years back, about how he approaches projects, especially ones that are spacial rather than linear. He said that he viewed a large project and even a small task like a jigsaw puzzle. You know the pieces will fit, but you must have patience and confidence that you will find the pieces that fit together. Every time a piece “finds” another piece, it is a major accomplishment that must be celebrated. The end will come (the picture on the box confirms this truth) but the journey is even better than the conclusion. Hugs and much love coming from Vancouver.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Now, that is some organised jigsawing! Very impressive, I’m more of the aimless rooting through the pile until a piece catches my eye, type of guy. I also had a round Zodiac jugsaw, if I remember rightly lots of vivid coloured borders around the sections, I wonder where it went to…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A lovely calm, relaxing activity. We haven’t started a jigsaw yet but if we are ‘locked-in’ for the foreseeable future we may well start one. I don’t think we have any complicated ones ‘in stock’ here at the moment and we have plenty of other projects but it’s good to have the option in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love jigsaws, especially the fine art ones and the photos of scenery and cottages etc. Yours look extremely challenging! I was recently introduced to Jackie Morris’s blog by another WP blogger in which she not only showcases her artwork but also has a ‘Journal’ section which is very interesting. If you don’t already follow her here is her link – http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk/index.htm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think JM’s work is the perfect antidote in these stressful times. You are so right about the loveliness of her website. I have ordered her latest book The Silent Unwinding, which I can’t wait to see and hold!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is just lovely! How do you find such stunning jigsaws? I love the ordered way those pieces are laid out, awaiting their place in the puzzle! As for Jackie Morris and her work, I too have The Lost Words here and I agree, it’s a perfect antidote when life gets stressful. I wasn’t aware of her website or of her most recent book. I’ll be paying a visit very soon! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We already had the map one, and managed to find the others with extensive searching online. It was tricky though – everyone seems to be flocking to jigsaws so most are out of stock. We haven’t yet been able to find our fourth one…..

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.