Posted in Nature

Puzzles and Otters

puzzle_handsThis Christmas, we decided to send Cobble Hill jigsaw puzzles to our three grandchildren families. The puzzles were images of dinosaurs, birds and marine life. They are designed so that the size of the pieces changes from left to right. This allows the youngest grandchildren to match the larger pieces, and the parents can work on the smaller pieces.

The puzzle can be seen to be a metaphor. It is a problem to be solved. Each age group works on the puzzle pieces that they can handle. The community (family) work together, applying their particular skills to complete the puzzle (or solve the problem). From a fragmented image, we derive a holistic picture.


puzzle_birdCountLast Thursday, it was the Christmas bird count. It was a cold (-15C) windy day. The birds were sparse. In the morning, we walked up the Inglisville Road to the top of the mountain, and then back down through our property for lunch at home. In the afternoon, we went down through Andrew’s property to the Annapolis River. We saw a Golden Crested Kinglet flitting around the upper branches of the poplars. On the river, we spied a Common Merganser.

puzzle_ottersThe Annapolis River was full of floating ice pans. The highlight was to see two river otters who were curious to see two humans on the bank.

The otters reminded me of Gavin Maxwell and his book Ring of Bright Water. Maxwell went with Wilfred Thesiger to see the Marsh Arabs in Southern Iraq. The otter was a gift from Thesiger to Maxwell. Later Maxwell established an otter sanctuary near the Isle of Skye in Western Scotland. Not that far from where George Orwell (Eric Blair) ended his days on Jura.puzzle_iceBooks

Today, I am struggling to finish reading John Sutherland’s book, Orwell’s Nose: a pathological biography. It describes the importance of smells to Orwell and Orwell’s England.

Best wishes for the New Year 2019 to all readers.


Thanks to David Colville for reminding us about the Christmas Bird Count. Edward Wedler for his graphics contribution.


Gavin Maxwell. 1960. Ring of Bright Water. Longmans.

John Sutherland. 2016. Orwell’s Nose. Reaktion Books.

Cobble Hill puzzles Cobble Hill puzzles


One thought on “Puzzles and Otters

  1. I remember Ring of Bright Water. I haven’t thought of it in years. A lovely thing it is. And OTTERS! Wonderful creatures and I am so glad to hear they live on “our” river.
    Happy New Year!
    Anne C.

    Liked by 1 person

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