Something that a lot of people have been rediscovering during the various different versions on lockdown over the past 12 months is the joy of jigsaw puzzles. For me it started with a cheeky little Christmas stocking filler on loan from Siggy’s sister’s household. Siggy gave up trying to help with this after a while and left me to complete it pretty much by shape rather than any other method. I guess it was a good starting point for some of the frustration which is often associated with doing jigsaws.

If these photos help others with the same puzzles to complete the jigsaws then that’s great…

Next came a surprise from Amazon Vine in the form of a retro Blockbuster VHS style boxed iconic E.T. poster jigsaw. In terms of the quality of the jigsaw itself I was a little disappointed – after only one build (taking us around 4 hours) some of the pieces were already looking a little dog-eared with the picture coming away from the card. In terms of the difficulty of the 500-piece puzzle itself I would say that there is an interesting variety of piece types and a lot black among the trees in the poster making that particularly area the most challenging. After that the edges and the moon took more time than expected. All in all a good jigsaw for the ‘medium level’ enthusiast and nostalgia fan. Shame about the cardboardy pieces.

Sucked in by the packaging I bought a Jaws jigsaw from the same series. Jaws almost broke me. First time around I discovered that at least six pieces were missing and once a free-of-charge replacement arrived, it was the amount of blue second time around that had me resorting to working by shape only. When I closed my eyes at night and saw jigsaw shapes, so I had a little break. 

You can probably guess that I regretted getting The Breakfast Club one for Siggy before we even started on the white/pink sections. Again the pieces were rather flimsy but at least the box looks cool lined up with the others.

Next, really just to complete the available set, was Animal House. I remember my dad taping the film for us off telly and leaving us (me and my older sister) to watch it. I’m not sure if he realised how rude the film was (I was only about twelve at the time) or whether this was his way of giving us the ‘birds and bees’ talk without actually having to say anything. Anyway, I preferred Porkies. Again same crappy pieces and with less blank space rather easier to do than the other 3 in the series.

Oh boy. The Marvel puzzle was my first 1000-piece Clementoni puzzle and what a relief to not feel like you were going to knacker the pieces if they didn’t fit together properly. Quality of manufacture was tip-top. Difficulty was pretty high on this despite the amount of detail – the picture on the box wasn’t detailed enough and in the top corner actually obscured by the marvel logo. i tried naming all the characters but probably only managed to identify about 50%.

Then, another loan. I remember the edges of this Times Square puzzle being a bit of nightmare and then also the street level area mixing up with the people along the bottom. So again quite a difficult puzzle but immensely satisfying to complete and fun to see all the detail hidden within the artwork.

Then Amazon’s algorithm kicked in and offered me this for review on Amazon Vine. It’s an Andston 1000-piece quality wooden jigsaw, 75 x 50cm, with a lettering matrix on the flipside to stop you going completely insane. Even better quality than the Clementoni puzzles with some really tricky areas. The wet pavement area was particularly puzzling. Again really nice detail in the artwork, although I wouldn’t have spent money on it myself – the subject matter is not exactly up my rue.

And then ‘the widow-maker’ a 2000-piece bespoke jigsaw gifted to me on my birthday. Yes that’s me and a rare sighting of the lesser-spotted Siggy in her shorts. I wish the chap who took this photo had pointed the camera down a bit, but hindsight is 20-20…

This took 9 weeks to complete and I counted about 640 pieces of sky. And the path wasn’t that much easier either to be honest. As you can see, it’s so big I haven’t put it completely together yet as we have nowhere to store it in one piece and no frame big enough to accommodate it yet. Such a Herculean task needs to be framed.

So a brief pause with the words ‘I never want to see another bloody jigsaw as long as I live!’ echoing in my head. But then, back to Santorini with this loan puzzle from Siggy’s parents. They picked it up for a bargain price in The Works and it was surprisingly well manufactured. At 500 pieces, it was a doddle.

Next was another 500-piece puzzle from Clementoni’s splendid ‘Museum Collection’ – Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Completed over the course of a wet weekend. I recall the edges being a bit of a nightmare.

Starry Night was a bit of a warm-up for a jigsaw my mum got me for Christmas from a home-delivery team-makers called Rington’s. It’s a celebration of their products over the years and featured a surprising number of Royal commemorative ware. Interestingly there’s some M. C. Esher style impossible geometry in the middle of the puzzle that threw me a bit, and also the teapot in the middle with the Queen Mother on it has been reversed so the writing is back-to-front. Bit of a dozy move on Photoshop for the designer I think. The blue and white stuff was perhaps the most difficult to complete and the yellow roofed vans the easiest starting point after doing the edges. Like most people I always start with the edges.

After tea comes supper – another Crimbo pressie and a 1000-piece Clementoni ‘Museum Collection’ jigsaw – Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Lots of interesting detail in this initially rather plain looking image. Fascinating use of light and shadow and at least two figures who look more feminine than masculine. Is that Mary sat by J.C? I’ll let you decide.

And then finally, and most recently, yesterday in fact I did this beauty. it’s another 1000-piece Clementoni and back to the ‘film’ poster theme. There was nothing really that difficult about this one apart from the edges which were an absolute nightmare to get right. Oh, and the lettering was quite tricky too – a lot of very similarly patterned pieces to figure out. There’s a similar puzzle for Season 2, but I preferred this one (plus it was a couple of quid cheaper). I kind of zoned-out doing it while listening to ‘The Taskmaster’ podcast.

I’m keeping an eye out for more Museum Collection puzzles, but I don’t think I’m going to rush into anything. After all that, I might actually be a little puzzled out and the weather is slowly getting better, so maybe I’ll turn my attention to the garden…

And for those of you expecting to see a certain Mr Smith gettin’ jiggy with it then here’s the video to avoid your disappointment –