Wednesday 25 December 2013

Christmas thanks and wishes

Just a very small part of the special toys I received in 2013!
Last year at Christmas I posted my special wishes for 2013 and am truly amazed that almost all of them came true! In the picture above you can see just a tiny tiny fraction of the wonderful designer's and craftsmen's work that I acquired for my now fairly impressive collection (if I forgot something then I beg forgiveness - I just ran out of space for the photo!)

I am very lucky that I am able buy so many wonderful toys every year and am extremely grateful to my very forgiving wife who lets me get away with spending all our money on such frivolous things (even if it prevents her buying one more Mulberry handbag for her equally important collection!) - she also seems to tolerate me clicking, jingling and swearing continuously beside her with only a mildly acerbic glare! My skills don't really seem to have improved much and I confess that I am still not very bright!

I also count myself very lucky that I have been asked to be a member of the editorial board of the CFF journal, the only print puzzle journal in the world. For me this allows my love of writing to continue on paper as well as on line. I am humbled to amongst some of the greatest puzzlers in the world on that board and to be allowed to edit and even write an article or two for them - I will try to be worthy.

My greatest pleasure has been to become part of an international community who share thoughts and ideas so freely and support each other with such gusto. I have a steadily enlarging group of friends whom I have mostly never met but with whom I communicate back and forth many times - this includes designers, craftsmen and puzzlers. These conversations can continue for weeks and are a constant joy to me. In fact last week I was amazed to find myself "chatting" with a puzzler in Hong Kong, a puzzler in China and another in America all as separate conversations but all at the same time. As an old fart, I have to say "Ain't the internet an amazing thing?"

I now find myself receiving up to 10 emails every day via this blog or personal messages via Facebook or the forums. These emails are from people wanting help to find a puzzle, advice for what to buy or even to track down a designer, they may be asking for help to solve something (I try not to give outright solutions, but usually find just a small nudge is all that is required) or sometimes provide support to fix something which may be faulty. I try to respond to everyone quickly but occasionally I may need to work first! But no matter who it is or what they need, it is always my pleasure to help them and the thanks I receive in return is a marvellous reward.

So my wish for 2014?
Well last year I wished for the incredible limited edition burrs from Brian and Sue Young (MrPuzzle) and actually got them! I have solved 3 and am spreading the experience out over the year! So obviously my wish for 2014 is to buy the next limited edition puzzles from them.

In my work I see an awful lot of pain, fear and suffering (and dare I say it death). Unfortunately with my current special interests I seem to see a lot more than my fair share of dreadful cases! Every day I count myself very lucky to be healthy and happy and able to pursue this wonderful hobby. As a result of this my real Xmas wish is for you in the puzzle community to have a great Xmas and a happy healthy New Year. As my friend Michel always signs his emails:
"Lets keep puzzling!"

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