Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Jigsaws’

Storytelling Starters ~ A Kind of Liberation

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

When I came downstairs this morning (and we’re still in Wales), I found that Paul was already seated in front of our current jigsaw puzzle. Of course this represented a dilemma for me. Breakfast or jigsaw? I love doing jigsaw puzzles (as does Paul!) and whatever the jigsaw that’s being done at the moment proves a real draw when we’re on holiday. It can even distract attention from a bright sunny day (today is actually damp and drizzly) or, on this occasion, from the prospect of breakfast.

This morning, I womanfully resisted the call of the jigsaw (it happens to be a picture of small children at the seaside) long enough to eat my porridge. By this time, Paul had moved on to other things. So I managed to have a nice long uninterrupted time alone at the jigsaw table while, meantime, suppressing the thought that actually I needed to be coming upstairs to my computer to write this blog.

Well, here I am at my computer and quite happy too. For now I can report on the pleasure of beaches. This week in particular it was Whitesands – Traethmawr – which triumphed. The tide was a long way out, the beach was emptier of people than I’d thought it would be and walking across it felt enormously liberating. At some point on the walk I thought about how much I’ve been a lover of Whitesands since childhood. My family started coming here when I was quite small. My father would get me to help dig out a boat in the sand which, of course, would have to be defended from the incoming tide. My mother would sit beside a rock quietly drawing and painting. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Enough

Saturday, September 25th, 2021

The jobbing gardener in our Pembrokeshire village hasn’t been round as we’d hoped to attend to our small patch of garden or to clear away his plastic sacks which have been lying idle outside since we were last here. But, hey, that’s par for the course. We hadn’t really expected anything different. He doesn’t depend on us for work and according to friends down the road, gardeners and other local workers have been saying yes to jobs that people want done – but not till after Christmas!

Ah! Lockdown! It has left lots of things in its wake, good and bad. Meantime, the birdsong here in Mathri, where we arrived on Wednesday, has been so beautiful I just have to stop quite frequently and make time to listen. Not that time is under pressure in this quiet place. That’s one of the things I love about it. I feel I have time to think, time to do a jigsaw and time to rest (much needed).

Of course there are many other pleasures too. One of the unexpected ones was finding our fridge packed with good things to eat when we arrived. That’s my friend Beryl for you! Quiche, cake: it’s all there waiting, and all Beryl-made, of course. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Jigsaw living

Saturday, July 10th, 2021

Jigsaws can be fun. I like them. Paul likes them. Every now and again we have a spate of jigsaw-doing. These last few days we’ve been occupied with a new 1,000-piece one. At various points, one or other or both of us will sit there for an hour or two. Sometimes, we just wander by and try filling in a piece or two. I wonder who first created the idea of the jigsaw. I must try finding out.

Of course, I’ve also now started thinking about the jigsaw as a metaphor, an image for the way we humans go about things and the peculiar miscellany of tasks we sometimes find ourselves tackling. At various points, perhaps, we’re planning to go on a little trip. So we try jigsawing together into one weekend or one week or a fortnight all the various thoughts we had prior to setting out about the places we’d like to visit, the kinds of things we’d like to do. Lying on a beach, going out for a nice meal, visiting that relative or old friend who lives in the area, reading that good book we’ve already begun, taking some excellent photos, having a long walk or several – oh, the candidates are almost endless. How on earth can we put together the mental jigsaw picture that will incorporate them all?

And of course, the weekend trip away is just one challenge. What about every day? I know that during the last few days, I’ve had numerous plans in mind. Pick up the plastic bags full of previously-loved clothes (horrid phrase) that are currently lurking in the sitting room and take them down to the charity shop as previously determined. Get out the small step ladder and feather duster and whisk away the cobwebs that have formed high up in the conservatory ceiling. Be in touch with the numerous kind people who’ve recently asked me to let them know the plans for my forthcoming chemotherapy treatment. Oh the list is virtually endless. And in its way the list is also a bit of a puzzle because, to be manageable on any one occasion, it has to alternate strenuous tasks with easier ones, simple tidying with heavy lifting etc. etc.

Oh the jigsaws of many kinds that we’re all engaged in a lot of the time! They are puzzles in the sense that, for me at any rate, they have to balance the hard work with the cups of coffee, the yukky stuff with the lighter tasks. And meantime, if possible, I always have to try and avoid becoming distracted. For instance, I know that, lurking in one or two of the parts of the house that need attending to, there are cardboard boxes that will undoubtedly turn out to contain fascinating – and hence distracting – old letters and old photos.

Ah well! When I get overwhelmed by the difficult tasks, I must remember. Laid out on the kitchen table (and currently preventing the eating of meals there) is that delightful Cloudberries jigsaw. Skyline is its name and the picture is a harbour with a multiplicity of towers and spires and sails.  It’s attractive. This morning, however, it won’t get much, or indeed any, attention. There are far too many other things to do. A planned phone conversation with the friend I call my Book Pair to talk about Shadows on the Rock, the Willa Cather book we’ve both been reading. An overdue phone chat with my sister. Changing the sheets on the bed. Checking my emails. Making a shopping list. And, oh yes, actually getting dressed since, right at the moment, I’m still in my dressing gown. Happy days! It’s the jigsaw of life.

PS: My top picture is of Skyline – work in progress. Below is a piece of life-jigsaw, taken about ten years ago and sent to us this week by the good American friend who made it, a video of us singing one of the most loved Welsh folk songs, Ar Lan y Môr (Beside the Sea). Please excuse the warm up bit we haven’t managed to edit out!