Jigsaw puzzles, brains and other grey matters

At Redwood Library we have WiFi  and we have jigsaws. Hard to believe they’d even be in the same room together, let alone the same sentence. But WiFi is the library flavour of the month and  jigsaws are hot news after a 26 April article in The Press (you can read it in Press Display) which featured a lovely lady who uses jigsaws as stress relief after the quake.

There are no books called Jigsaw Puzzles through the Ages or The Dummies Guide to Jigsaws. I know because I looked. However, several community libraries have a jigsaw exchange system which works like a treat.

So far, it’s mainly senior citizens who avail themselves of this service, and when they are all up and jigging, as it were, they may be doing more than just passing the time pleasantly, according to the excellent book Secrets of the grown-up brain by Barbara Strauch.

Strauch would probably be a fan of using jigsaws to help stave off Alzheimers, provided you did them whilst jogging, or at the very least with your left hand (assuming you are right-handed), whilst drinking a glass of red wine and snacking on blueberries. Then, quite possibly, you may never grow old at all. Strauch gives a cracker example of the world’s oldest woman, who took up fencing at 85 and lived to be 122. But you know jigsawing will be a better fit than fencing in most retirement units.

Still I worry about the lovely lady in The Press – how quickly can she get her puzzle under the table? I’d hate her to get to piece number 2499 of a 2500 piece puzzle only to find that the next quake means she has to start again!

8 thoughts on “Jigsaw puzzles, brains and other grey matters

  1. cloudy5 28 April 2011 / 9:47 pm

    oh robertafsmith I do love your blogs. they always make me laugh and this one is no exception! the thing about jigsaws is the concentration and time required to do them, oh and the space without clutter and the lack of interruption, need to cook meals, find socks, drive people, hang out washing, fill hot water bottles, find lost library books (ahem), feed cats, write thankyou letters to mother-in-law, nag children and/or husband….is that 9pm…need to go to bed now, maybe tomorrow. roll on alzheimers, then I won’t remember who these people are, never mind where their socks are. (being flippant here, promise I will jog with the crossword eating blueberries tomorrow)

    • robertafsmith 2 May 2011 / 4:00 pm

      I’ve been in Sydney – keeping the brain cells alive and kicking coping with self check-in and self passport control, not to mention the parking pay machines at the airport. Where were the blueberries when I needed them?

  2. Tom 29 April 2011 / 11:09 am

    That puts me in mind of a joke Harry Hill used to tell about his elderly Grandma: he went round to visit her one day and found her at the kitchen table saying “Harry I can’t get on with this jigsaw of a rooster, it doesn’t look anything like the picture on the box and all the pieces are the same”
    His reply was “Nan, that’s a box of cornflakes”

    • robertafsmith 2 May 2011 / 4:04 pm

      Fantastic Tom, both corney and flakey!

  3. Rachael 29 April 2011 / 2:51 pm

    We like to “get jiggy with it” in the staffroom at Upper Riccarton Library. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type!

    • robertafsmith 2 May 2011 / 3:57 pm

      It’s one I never thought I would have to visualise either!

  4. julesw 2 May 2011 / 3:22 pm

    I, too, was in admiration of the jigsaw lady as featured in the Press. How, I wondered, does her back manage a 3,000 jigsaw when mine gives out on only a 500 piece? Yet another reason to feel nothing but total admiration for our older citizens – many of whom have weathered some quite dreadful circumstances with the greatest sense of humour and a quiet fortitude e.g. the dreaded chemical toilets – the ones that weigh a few hefty kilos and have to be lugged up to the other end of the street to be emptied, above head height & inbetween torrential blasts of rain …

    • robertafsmith 2 May 2011 / 3:58 pm

      Yes, she did look very poised – I wonder if we will be like that – you know when?

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