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Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Jigsaw Lady: Part Deux

Who remembers the Jigsaw Lady?

It occurred to me the other day; as I was trawling through my terrible terrible memory for any bits and pieces I should mention from my Primary School years, before I finally up sticks and move on to the Secondary phase of what I laughingly call my education; that I had never told about the slightly weird (at the time) and possibly tragic (in hindsight) little postscript to my tale of the kindly old lady who did jigsaws and played Scrabble.

It was a good long while after our initial meeting with the lady in question; we had moved on with our adolescent lives and had, if I'm honest, completely forgotten that she existed. Until the day I turned up to 'call on' Ian and found the dustbins stuffed full of jigsaw boxes, and the bin alcove overflowing with them too. There were hundreds of the things.

Of course, being the intrepid Sherlockian geniuses that we were, we immediately deduced/jumped to the conclusion that they must have come from the old lady over the road who loves jigsaws. Stands to reason, am I right?

Ian's weekend guardian, the delightfully crotchety Bob*, insisted that we go and find out what was going on and why was his yard suddenly full of someone else's rubbish and also what was she doing next Friday night and did she fancy going out for an Indian? So off we trotted.

Her back gate was wide open. Her back door was wide open. Her curtains were all shut. Noises were emanating from her house; scary, bangandclash noises; and suddenly we were much endowed in the shaky scaredy-catness. I nudged Ian to go in, he backed off and nudged me forward, the curtains upstairs twitched and we both ran like buggery.

I don't remember what we told Bob; maybe we made something up, maybe we told him the truth, maybe he lost interest and never actually asked us again; but the fact is we never did get to the bottom of what had happened. We convinced ourselves that we knew; the story we told ourselves, because we were cruel little shits at heart, was that the old woman had gone senile and/or completely barn owls.**

Looking back of course, it's far more likely that she had died, and that the noises and the dumping of her beloved jigsaw stuff in neighbours yards was just her family/landlord clearing out her house (and being a bit cheeky about it); if we had looked in a few other yards, I'm sure we'd have found piles of stuff there too.

So that one very pleasant day that we had spent with her was to be our only. I wonder if she ever watched out of her window, to see if we were coming to say hello, and wondered why we never did. I hope it never hurt her feelings too badly.

* Bob is dead now. This has just occurred to me, as I was writing this post. He was in his 80's at the time, and not in the rudest of health, so yeah, he's dead now, and probably has been for some time. I don't know why I felt the need to add that here but... yeah.

** Barn Owls is TM Brendan Kingston of the Unspoiled podcast. If you don't listen to that, you most definitely should. Read A Song of Ice and Fire first though, fair warning.