I’m doing a different kind of list this week: rather than our usual Listly, I thought you might like to see what’s been happening in my little garden lately. A kind of Gardening 101, if you will.
Feeling bored today? Got nothing to occupy you except work, labour and hard graft? Well, be bored no more. Let’s play a game that will brighten your eyes, sharpen your intellect, and drive you nuts, all at the same time.
I discovered the show, Only Connect, a while ago, on BBC. It’s a game where I like to play along and shout out answers, encouraging the contestants by calling them idiots and ninnies for not seeing what’s blatantly obvious from my comfortable sofa at home.
Here are the rules:
We are presented with 16 tiles, each of which has a word or phrase. We must find the connection between 4 of them, creating 4 groups of 4 connected words. Simple enough.
Mwa hahahaha, no it’s not.
The presenter of the show, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, encourages us to join the on-screen contestants by playing along at home, but I’ve never bothered. At least, not until yesterday.
You can play the game in Canada (and elsewhere, I assume), so I’m sending you the link. I think you’ll really enjoy it. Each game takes 3 minutes, so it’s not like it’s a time-waster. Unless you play like me – I went from Wall 1 to 79 yesterday. Don’t tell anyone. So what if the ironing didn’t get done. I can always do it tomorrow. Or next week. What-evah.
Click here to get started. Once you have it up on your screen, it should look like this.
If you don’t trust my instructions for game play, you could always click on the “How to Play” button. Personally, I consider rule-reading to be boring and a waste of time. Far more fun to just dive in and hope for the best! But, if you insist, go ahead and read that little section first. I can wait.
Are you done now? Good.
Now things start to speed up a bit. 16 tiles will be revealed to you. It’s your job to sort out the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, Bert from Ernie. The timer starts immediately and there’s no time for a cup of tea here. Get started clicking on tiles which you think are linked.
Word to the wise: if it looks obvious and easy, it’s probably wrong. This game insists you think. How annoying, right?
Word to the unwise, part two: it’s a good idea to say the clues out loud. Sometimes your brain picks up on links faster that way. Now, this is Wall 1, so you’d think they’d ease us into this slowly and simply. Ho, ho, ho, that’s a good one! Nope, the clue-wranglers at Only Connect are a fiendish bunch.
Living here, I found the bridge names fairly easily, and figured out there was a connection with varieties of crab. But that was as far as I got. You might find it helpful to have the volume up, because then you can hear the dulcet tones of Victoria telling you you’re not working hard enough, or voicing disappointment at your last attempt.
I’m a glutton for punishment because I actually enjoy hearing her tell me to pull my weight.
As an aside, I’ve got a major crush on Victoria. She’s Oxford-educated. A top poker player with winnings over £1mill. A journalist. In short, she’s no dummy. Her wit and intelligence shine through with each show and if this were a perfect world, she’d be my best friend. She’s been quoted as saying she often stays up till 6 am, “(s)moking and drinking and gambling. But I like cooking and gardening too, which makes me sound like a very strange mix of an old lady and teenage boy.”
What’s not to like, right?
Okay, back to the game. Your 3 minutes are up and, surprise surprise, you’ve lost. Don’t feel bad. In the 79 times I’ve played, I’ve only solved the wall 3 times. And the fun doesn’t end with sorting out the tiles. For bonus points, Victoria wants you to point out what the connection between the tiles is.
Keeping in mind this is a game for people familiar with the UK, it still requires general knowledge and an ability to think “outside the box”. How I loathe that expression, but in this case, it’s true.
I’m not the only one who enjoys this game, either. Fans send in their own walls, and, having played a few of those, I can attest to their evil brilliance.
I no longer mock and spit vitriol at my TV screen when I watch contestants on Monday nights. They have my sympathy and respect.
Give it a try, I really think you’ll enjoy it.
I’m taking a hiatus from our blogging hiatus, just to fill you in on some of what we’ve been up to this week.
As usual, I knit everyone’s Solstice gifts: a big squishy cowl for Rachel, and a more gentlemanly bandana-type neckwarmer for Adrian, and socks for Mitchell:
It’s been chilly and snowy, sometimes to excess, but at least Ottawa escaped the giant ice storm that hit Toronto last week. And our morning walks have been stunning some days…
Solstice was the usual blend of chocolate, gifts, warm family times, and lazing about, followed by a wonderful meal. And this year, we were invited to our friends’ house to share their family’s Christmas dinner, as well. A surfeit of wonderful company and great food!
And today, we’re driving to Montreal to spend the day with Mitchell’s dad…always a fun trip!
I know you and your family are all together in Whistler, so I’m looking forward to your update when you get a chance to take a breath…meanwhile, hope you’re having a relaxing, loving, enjoyable Christmas break. Catch you on the flip side!
Isn’t it funny how you can live in a place and not really see it?
I started thinking about that this past summer, as I walked Maydeleh each morning along the river pathway near our house. I’d been using Instagram, the photo-sharing site, for a while, but it wasn’t really until mid-summer that I began to get more intentional about it.
We’ve lived in this house for 13 years now, and you’d think I’d be familiar with every inch of the terrain around us: the post-war two-story tract houses, the towering maples planted along the street, the well-trod path along the banks of the Rideau River.
But once I’d begun committing to taking at least one photo per day, I started seeing things differently. Scenes I was used to passing without a second thought suddenly became photo-worthy:
Armed only with my trusty iPhone (4, not even 4S!), I started scanning the world around me with a keener eye, looking for just the right shot. And tiny things—details I wouldn’t have noticed—began to leap out at me, demanding to be seen.
My new Instagram habit has encouraged me to start noticing things I never really thought about before: composition, colour, lighting. Keeping in mind, of course, the limitations of what amounts to a pretty rudimentary camera.
I’ve been paying special attention to the changing seasons this year, too. I used to whine interminably as winter approached; now, I see it as a chance to view the same scene differently. I still whine, but more softly. I think.
While I still focus mostly on my #morningwalk (that’s the hashtag I use on Instagram, in case you want to see more), I find I’m also seeing the world differently. How many times have I walked across this bridge without bothering to admire the Canal or the surrounding scenery? These days, nothing escapes.
I don’t delude myself that I’ll ever be a great photographer, or even an especially good one. But since I became an “Instapro,” as Rachel calls it, I’ve found my eyes have opened.
What about you? Do you Instagram? Has it changed anything about the way you take pictures? Don’t be shy—share!