This blog post has nothing to do with gardening, cooking, craft or sustainability but, because I have so many readers in Australia, I thought you might like this little memory.
When I was a child we were kept amused by a range of activities. One of our favourite pastimes was jigsaw puzzles. The really big ones were constructed on pieces of painted hardboard that my father salvaged when he replaced the boxing below the banisters with fancy wrought iron scrolls. These boards were slid under the sofa when we were not working on them (an ideal way to mislay pieces) or sometimes placed on the dining table and covered with a cloth so that we ate our dinner off them. I don’t really remember many specific puzzles except for the Jig-maps: jigsaw puzzles in the shape of countries/continents, so no straight edges, with pictures representing iconic scenes or objects from the different regions.
I don’t know how many of these we had, I only remember the British Isles, New Zealand and Australia. The two former countries held less interest for me than the latter for some reason. I was fascinated by Australia, particularly the pictures of the windmill, the koalas, some big train, a boomerang and the Sydney Harbour Bridge; but more than anything by Tasmania. You see, in the version we had, Tasmania was a tiny jigsaw in its own right – not attached to the main continent. I loved making up the representation of this apparently wee island and placing it wherever I liked around the coast of Australia. My favoured spot for it was off the northern tip of Queensland, but I was happy for it to move around on a whim.
And so, all these years later, despite now knowing exactly where Tasmania belongs, to me it will always be a magical, untethered island, free to circumnavigate Australia. I find it hard to believe reports from Narf of cold winters as, surely, it should just migrate north to warmer climes; and when it’s too wet – why not go somewhere drier?
More recent versions of the jig-map appear to have Tasmania fixed in one spot… it’s just not the same!