Lost in translation
Some people, sniff, some people just catch colds and shake them off. Not me. The colds I catch invariably mutate into secondary infections and more. And my doctor invariably insists on steam inhalation and worse.
It was no different this time, either. He prescribed medicines, steam inhalation and told me to stay in bed. I could vegetate in front of my computer; it is very restful, I said longingly. Nothing doing, he said.
"I know you." He said sternly. "Just go home, climb into bed and stay there for a couple of days."
Easier said than done. I know I am feeling wretched, but I just can't sleep during the day. So I collected the printout of the latest Genius crossword, and my crossword paraphernalia, a couple of old favourite novels and settled in bed.
Soon enough, I hit a roadblock in the crossword. I have been doing it off and on, it is a toughie and the last six solutions are proving elusive. I can't solve it feeling miserable as I do. I don't feel like reading. In serious trouble, is Missus Em.
Brainwave! Totter out of bed, get the latest jigsaw puzzle. Open the box. Make a beginning. Bed rest seems a wonderful thing now.
Some people don't get the point of jigsaw puzzles; some don't have the patience to create order out of the chaos of the tiles. Some people are philistines. I like jigsaws. I am not a fanatic about them like I am about crosswords, but I enjoy doing jigsaws and the rush of pleasure in fitting the last piece and seeing the complete picture. Read a lovely article about it.
There is something about finding the right tile and fitting it in, seeing the picture forming that is very conducive to thinking things through. As a part of your mind is devoted to finding patterns and colours, and fitting the pieces together another part will quietly tick over, and I find that as the puzzle gets closer to completion I'm closer to solving some entirely unrelated question, which has been nagging me, too.
This is a 1000 piece puzzle, Van Gogh's Café Terrace at night.
It's a lovely painting and considering it's a night scene, the colours are amazing. The warm yellow light, the way it colours the cobbles, the blobs of stars, and the texture of the tree and the awning…There is no true dark here, the luscious violets and greens and deep blues are hypnotic.
Now the thing to do when you tackle jigsaws is to get the perimeter sorted out first. So I spent a happy half an hour fishing out all the pieces with a straight edge, and I laid my feverish hands on all four that had two straight edges with great glee. I haven't found the corners this quickly ever. Ha. Bed rest has its uses.
Looking at the picture of the puzzle, as I sift the pieces for straight edges, is an education: I handle the pieces and think 'ah ha that is part of the tree, the café, the cobbles, the sky', and can't wait to get started.
Once most of the perimeter pieces are found, assemblage starts. I find that sorting pieces by colors piling them separately helps, as it helps to finish the part of picture that uses them. So I next grouped all the pieces I could find of the tree, the sky, and the cobbles, the greens and yellows of the awning. This also helps to switch from a part of the picture to another. When you just can't make any connections in one area, you find that working on another area refreshes the eye, and the jigsaw grows.
Jigsaws are not a hobby for impatient people. I take four or five days to complete a 500 piece puzzle, as I do have other things to do and my Sacred Duty as well. But this is the biggest I have attempted.
I have the tree assembled, and the darkest of the cobbles are coming along nicely and when I can't see the patterns in the cobbles I am piecing together the luminous sky. I am having much fun and the infection has mostly cleared up. I am back online and will get back to you soon.
And about the title of this post, go here.