Most people know that I love puzzles and horses, so I was delighted when my son gave me this crystal horse puzzle for my birthday recently.
I had done these puzzles before and looked forward to completing this one.
Inside the puzzle box were 98 pieces of complicated and impossible looking clear plastic pieces, and one ridiculously basic instruction sheet. Was it my imagination, or did this puzzle look so much more complicated than the others I had done before?
For some reason, I decided to start with the horses head and quickly managed to assemble nearly 20 pieces, including the front legs.
That was when it began to go wrong. None of the pieces seemed to fit, and it was beginning to look as though a piece could be missing. I continued to try them all, but eventually stopped for the day sensing defeat waiting just out of sight.
Today, I abandoned the head and turned my attention to the rear end of the horse. This was such an intricate puzzle, the pieces were small, fiddly and impossible to see clearly, for they were three dimensional with several layers and shapes in each piece, and my eyesight is not what it was. Using the chart and the numbered pieces, I sailed along and was soon halfway along the horse’s body before being stuck again.
Round about now I was wondering if I was getting too old for such a tricky puzzle, and I ended up walking away, feeling inadequate.
I spent a long time looking at the charts, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong when something occurred to me. To read the chart correctly, you have to locate the number on the grid before you remove a piece from the framework. The pieces themselves are not numbered, and this was where the problem lay.
I double-checked the frames that the pieces were fixed to and it would seem I had one of them the wrong way around. This meant I had been using the wrong pieces.
For two long hours I struggled to continue, but with a sinking heart, I realise that this might be one challenge too much. I might just have found my nemesis.
So many years doing puzzles of every denomination and I had managed to find one I just couldn’t do.
With a heavy heart, I had another look at the incomplete horse. I even watched someone assemble the same horse on YouTube, but it didn’t help me at all.
Then I remembered how I usually deal with frustrating jigsaws, trying every piece systematically until one fits. I sat down with more optimism than I thought possible and after a few minutes, a piece fell into place. The puzzle God must be smiling today, I thought and promptly fitted a few more.
Thirty minutes later, I slid the fixing rod through the horse’s body and fixed it onto the stand. The puzzle was finished and my sense of achievement knew no bounds. Not least because it meant I hadn’t lost my Mojo after all…