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Chester jigsaw

         Chester… In 1500 pieces …

         I’ve had this jigsaw in the cupboard for a while, waiting for the opportunity to do it. It’s the biggest jigsaw I’ve done as an adult, I quite possibly helped with one this size when I was younger because I sort of remember either my Mum or Dad (or both) having a jigsaw set up often on the kitchen table, and anyone who was passing just picked up a piece or two and put them in.

         I bought this one in a hospital visitors shop, I’d been “invited” to attend one of those hospital appointments offered to women above a certain age… Another milestone I had been avoiding since we moved, but they finally caught up with me and invited me to attend, in Bournemouth, so Hubby and I made a day of it. I believe this time we went by car because although we’ve been from Weymouth to Bournemouth and back again on the train before (and a very scenic train ride it is too) I don’t recall carrying a jigsaw home. On the way into the hospital we passed the hospital shop and I just glanced at the jigsaws, I didn’t have the mental clarity at that particular to take a look. When we arrived at our waiting area there was a partly done jigsaw on one of the tables, a great idea from someone, as it completely calmed any anxiety and when I was called, I put the box of pieces down to hand over to the next lady. Of course small gestures like this are a thing of the past now and sadly I suspect will not return, as we’re never expecting an “after covid” time to arrive.

         On our way out I stopped at the hospital shop and picked out this jigsaw, I recognised the picture as Chester straight away, and the age of the picture made it even more appealing. Not to mention the size… 1500 pieces… I realised then why I had chosen such a large table for the kitchen.

         I almost always start a jigsaw by finding the edges and putting together the rectangle frame to work within. This time if turned out to be more than a challenge than others I’ve done. It seems the edge of the jigsaw is bigger than the edge of the picture on the box so I could see what the second row of pieces would be, but not the outside row. I managed most of the edge ok, but without the exact picture I had a couple of bits which looked right, but weren’t, meaning the edges didn’t join up properly and it had gaps. Being a second hand jigsaw, I began to doubt it was as complete as the previous owner has written on the box, however, I moved one or two pieces around, swapped a couple of very similar pieces and everything carried on fine.

         I was reminded of the job I used to do in my supermarket overnight before we moved. My official job title was “visual merchandiser”. You know when you go to the supermarket and something you usually buy has been moved and you have to look for it ? Well, guilty as charged, that was me.

         To be fair, it wasn’t my idea to move things, just my job to do the moves. But during a stint of “Day walking” I compared my job to a jigsaw from a jumble sale or charity shop, sometimes I was given a simple plan of the shelves and only needed to move a couple of items, other times I would be given a huge plan with lots of moves. Often half of the stock I was supposed to have was cancelled or not available, and I had to fit other items in instead. These were the moves which really resembled the charity shop jigsaw, one which had been dropped on the floor with another, and then the wrong pieces put back in the box. These were the puzzles I enjoyed, and as with most things, if you enjoy doing them you are good at it. (even if I do say so myself) I was good at it.

         After many years of working at my supermarket, moving through many different positions in store, I finally found a part of the job I liked… Then I gave it all up to move into the unknown. I moved from life in the twilight zone working nights at a huge store to working part time days in a little corner shop… I stepped into Semi-retirement by my seaside… The result ? … Now I can quite comfortably spend time putting 1500 pieces of a real jigsaw together on the kitchen table.

         I’m starting to build up a collection of favourite jigsaws. Some I’ve already done more than once, and left myself a message written on the inside of the lid… Ready to start again next time.

          More from before: Remembering “Chester” and visiting in September 2020. 

Cathedral

In my memories, Chester and York seem to have merged into one place. York has York Minster… However, Chester has Chester Cathedral.

One of my earlier memories from Chester Cathedral is that of Eldest Daughter’s graduation from Chester University.

It’s a bit of a sketchy memory now, I have photos to help me to remember, they help to keep the colour in the memories and stop them fading to grey.

I remember sitting inside the cathedral, without a good view of the front, but I can also remember watching the ceremony on a screen near my seat.

I can remember the photos being taken on the day though, a couple of Eldest in her robes in one of the Cathedral doorways with Hubby, myself, and Mum-in-law, and another of Eldest and myself, standing in the Cathedral gardens with each other’s hats on.

I have a very vague memory which doesn’t seem to fit in, a memory of waiting in line to pick up graduation robes and hats, of pinning safety pins in strategic places to keep said robes in place, and of waiting for a professional photographer to do his thing.

I’m guessing the preparation and photographer thing would have taken place on the morning of the ceremony.

          More from before: Remembering “Chester” and visiting in September 2020.

Dinky doughnuts

One of the places we visited on our staycation this year was Chester. As usual, Hubby did most of the organising and arranging, and I just added a little input to the location, and tagged along.

Chester doesn’t just have a complete old city wall to walk around, pretty shopping streets and a river, it also has memories hidden deep in the back of my little grey cells. Eldest Daughter went to Uni in Chester, and I spent more than a few weekends visiting during that time.

I have very few complaints about my seaside, Weymouth, however, there is a very distinct lack of doughnuts. This was solved last summer by one of my favourite shops “Lazy Lunches” when they installed a doughnut machine in their takeaway business, unfortunately, they’ve called it a day and moved on so at the moment, we can only buy freshly made doughnuts on high days and holidays when the fairground arrives, bringing its doughnut stall with it. However in Chester, in the most unlikely of places, under the East Gate clock bridge, they used to have a doughnut shop during Uni times… And it’s still there.

When I first saw it on this visit I was a bit worried that it might have been caught up with the virus because it was way past the opening time with no sign of life inside, but I needn’t have worried, the following day we walked up the steps to our walk around “Chester wall” to the accompanying scent of freshly cooked doughnuts…

… And called in to partake in one of my favourite pastimes, eating doughnuts, once we had finished the full circle walking route up above the streets and houses.

The doughnut lady said that they had escaped the virus lockdown because they were a takeaway business and were able to stay open throughout.

She said she personally had been selling doughnuts there for about ten years, but when she had taken over the property, it was already a doughnut shop run by the people before her.

          More from before: Remembering “Chester” and visiting in September 2020.