This is the second post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar tutorials. This week I have selected a post that is close to my own heart. Distractions….I love Codewords….and also online solitaire, which I have been playing for over 20 years.
Puzzling It Out 2018 by Cathy Cade.
I confess to being a puzzle addict.
I started with codeword-type logic puzzles until I discovered sudoku and its variants.
Since I retired, I tackle anything that looks interesting: puzzles I would previously have dismissed as too challenging and time-wasting.
Guess what? They weren’t as demanding as I’d thought.
Learning to write has brought similar experiences. At first, I was ambivalent about spending time on practice exercises or writing group assignments that took me away from whatever story I was working on.
Now I know better.
I’ve found that polishing an unpromising pebble of a topic can turn it into a little gem. (I have yet to produce any diamonds.)
My confidence is improving. Each time, the task is less daunting, the writing freer, and the polishing a little easier.
I don’t have so much time for puzzles since I started writing.
For the last week or so I haven’t had much time for blog writing either, so here’s something I made earlier…
Puzzling it out
When my school reports said, ‘Could do better if tried,’
I was miffed, ’cos I’d done all the homework required.
Back then, crosswords were boring and WordSearch was worse.
But those Codeword-type puzzles – they captured me first.
No questions involved to mislead or confuse,
no anagrams, numbers or puzzling clues.
Then, with husband, and children, and gainful employment,
I had no free time for such trivial enjoyment.
Not with meals to be cooked and house-work overdue,
weekend laundry, and ironing, and shopping to do…
Till the morning I picked up a free daily rag
when the book I’d been reading was not in my bag.
I’d a seat on the train and there wasn’t much news,
and the schoolboy beside me was rattling through
the Sudoku on page twenty-eight. I’d not tried ’em.
Not numbers – since school I could never abide ’em.
How hard could it be? So I read the instructions.
Just logic, deduction, and no calculations.
The two-star was easier by far than it looked.
We pulled into my station – by then I was hooked.
So, from there, in my lunch break the five-star I’d savour,
and pick up some more with the evening’s free paper.
Then – one lunchtime – that dunderhead from Personnel
flashed a Killer Sudoku. It sounded a bell
when he said, ‘I like these,’ with a smug kind of look.
I thought – if he could do them… and bought a whole book.
At home, as the children grew up and moved on,
I’d more time in the evenings with all of them gone.
New puzzles – like Gogen – appeared now and then.
I ignored number crosswords but mastered KenKen.
In retirement, with no work to tax my mind much,
I tackled Kakuro, cross-numbers and such.
Though it’s true, even with the solutions to hand,
cryptic crosswords are often hard to understand.
I once thought them too hard so I didn’t even try.
What might I have achieved if I’d aimed for the sky?
I need to get out more, my children have said,
Go cycling, or walking, or swimming instead.
For, what use is an exercised mind, keen and taut,
if entombed in a body that’s ground to a halt?
©Cathy Cade 2018
What is your favourite time-waster?
Cathy published a book late last year and it would make a great gift for the younger members of the family – never too early to buy books for Christmas (there.. I have mentioned the C word!).
About The Year Before Christmas
Emmie the Elf, works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas
A review for the book
A lovely story, well written and illustrated.
An ideal read book to read with young children.
Available in print: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728
About Cathy Cade
After a career in libraries, I began writing in retirement and have had stories published by Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in the anthologies To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018 and Where the Wild Winds Blow from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. My verse The Year Before Christmas, recounting the story of Emmie the elf, is available from Amazon and Smashwords.
I hope to publish a collection of my short stories later in 2019. Watch this space.
I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens most of the time, surrounded by flat but ever-changing fields. At other times I live across a garden fence from London’s historic Epping Forest.
Connect to Cathy
Thanks to Cathy for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over there to discover more for yourselves.. thanks Sally.