Winters in the UK are very different than they are in western/central Canada; even in the cities. In Canada electric forced-air central heat is taken for granted. Here in the UK there are other ways of heating a home’ oil-fired heating, natural gas, wood, peat, and coal, too. This month’s Happy Days At Work puzzle depicts a winter scene of The Coalman in the 1960s making his deliveries to families so that they can keep their homes warm.
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Thanks goes to Ravensburger for sending us this fun puzzle to share with you. Our particular street doesn’t have any ‘real’ fireplaces, though the streets on either side of us do, so we do see bags of coal on the back of a flat-bed truck occasionally driving by to deliver to these single-fireplace homes; or in the older Victorian area of town, where there are 5, 6, 7, or more chimney pots visible on the rooftops.
The place I stayed for my first two months in Belfast was indeed heated entirely by a single coal fire for the three-story building! There was many a day that I spent wrapped up sitting in front of the fire to keep myself warm in this damp climate. It’s such a difference from the dry cold of home. Fourteen years later, and the damp still penetrates my bones.
The Coalman puzzle arrived late one morning, and I had it completed within the next 27 hours. I like the 500-piece puzzles for their pretty pictures and their quickness of completion. Sometimes you just need a little break from reality; you may have company coming and don’t want a big puzzle taking up your space (the Puzzle Handy is great for sliding your puzzle under the sofa out of sight in a hurry, if needed), or you have another project coming up or that you’re working on and you don’t want to be too distracted.
Are you like me and once you start a puzzle you can’t walk past without sitting down for ‘just one piece’ and the next thing you know, three hours have gone by?
This is me, and I have a few projects I need to finish up in the next month so I didn’t want to start something long-term just now. But something smaller to allow me to sit down and relax for half an hour or so (or an afternoon) was just what the doctor ordered when the last round of colds finally knocked me down.
The edges and centre pieces were quickly sorted out after the puzzle was opened and before lunch was begun.
I returned with the children after lunch to fit the frame into shape, work on the bright red truck, the stripey grill, and the holly bush in the foreground.
Next on our agenda was to whip some of the people into shape, build the houses, and some of the tree tops peeking up from behind the homes.
The cloudy sky was our next challenge. the pieces were easy enough to differentiate from the snow-covered road. the sky had just a little more contrast in some areas that makes it more realistic, as well as being helpful in piecing it together.
Finally it was time to finish up the last handful of pieces needed to click into place at the bottom of the puzzle. The straight lines and curves of the tire marks on the road is useful for this.
What a lovely scene! I can hear the crunch of the tires packing down the fresh snow on the road; the cheerful voices of the children having fun; the friendly chatter amongst neighbours and the coalman himself as talk of weather and upcoming celebrations are discussed. Winter scenes like this do make me homesick for Canadian and Japanese winters. This puzzle is a keeper to do again next winter!
We’ve had quite a cold winter here in Northern Ireland so far, and there’s more to come in the next few days. Putting together a good puzzle is a great way to spend your time warm indoors with a cup of raw honey and freshly squeezed lemon tea while the winds howl outside the window. Just be certain to not try to take pictures before you move your cup…take it from me! Thankfully, Ravensburger puzzles are top quality and with a quick pat down with a bath towel, all was okay once again and there wasn’t any lasting damage.
There’s something alluring about a roaring fire, and that’s one thing that I do wish our home had; but there are other reasons that I’m glad we don’t have one. So I do live vicariously when we visit others and they have an inviting fire burning, warming the room and making everyone there feel cozy, warm, and relaxed.
Ravensburger Happy Days At Work No.11 – The Coalman, 500pc Jigsaw Puzzle is available through fine retail stores and Amazon.co.uk.
The Ravensburger Puzzle Handy is also available from Amazon.co.uk and retail outlets.
If you enjoy a good puzzle, check out these other 500 piece Ravensburger puzzles we’ve reviewed:
- Happy Days at Work – The Teacher
- School Sports Day
- A Day at The Beach