3 November 2000

A piece of the action and jigsaws with rural flavour

IF someone had told me as a teenager, while I was cutting up frozen swedes and turnips for the cattles winter feed in The Mearns, or even as a 20-something student sitting high up on a combine harvester in beautiful Wiltshire, that one day I would undergo my own version of rural diversification and find myself designing and manufacturing jigsaw puzzles, then I doubt if my response would have included "good gosh – really", writes James Grant Watson.

But here I am, working for The House of Puzzles, in Invergordon, Ross-shire, manufacturing some of the most beautiful 1000 pieces, and 500 piece, jigsaws available. Their wonderfully shaped pieces have captured the puzzling publics imagination.

Probably because of my rural roots, many of our titles have a "country feel", whether it is an old Grey Fergie or horses ploughing. With few of my colleagues having country ties, wails of "not another tractor" were heard. However, another tractor found its way in and the old Fordson Major has been added to the new range, "The Shires Collection".

Besides our own jigsaws, we manufacture conventional 500 piece jigsaws personalised to an individual customers requirements. These unique jigsaws carry the customers picture and logo, and, up to 150 words of text on the box lid.

The House of Puzzles has produced a range of 500 piece jigsaws for AGCO Limited, parent company of Massey-Ferguson Tractors, Coventry. These jigsaws cover the history of Massey Ferguson down through the years and are available exclusively from Massey Ferguson dealers throughout the UK and Ireland.

The popularity of jigsaws is not limited to any one group and attractive packaging and presentation, an appealing picture, and a short story on the box, make for a perfect gift this Christmas.

Inquiries: The House of Puzzles (01349 853886).

Sending Christmas

cards can do more

than keep you in

touch with people –

choose the right

ones and they can

provide support for worthy causes. The Royal Veterinary College Animal Care Trust is appealing for funds for a new equine clinical centre. It will be unique in its provision of combined veterinary hospital facilities and equine sports medicine. The Trust has a wide range of modern and traditional cards for sale (01707-666237).

Children learn best when they are having fun and that is particularly true when learning a foreign language. Encourage budding French speakers in the run-up to Christmas by giving them an Advent calendar and advent stickers (£5) and a nativity video (£12) from Ecole Alouette, the Kent farm-based French school. Children can learn four traditional French carols and four Christmas songs while watching the nativity story unfold. A CD of Christmas carols and songs and a piano score are also available (01843-843447).