Avid jigsaw puzzle fan, 96-year-old Tweed Heads South resident phyllis Barnett has just completed a 6000 piece puzzle after seven months.. Photo: SCOTT POWICK
Avid jigsaw puzzle fan, 96-year-old Tweed Heads South resident phyllis Barnett has just completed a 6000 piece puzzle after seven months.. Photo: SCOTT POWICK

Age is no barrier for Tweed’s puzzle queen

PATIENCE is a virtue – and for those who love jigsaw puzzles it’s a necessity.

For spritely 96-year-old Phyllis Barnett of Tweed Heads South, it is all part of the challenge and it seems the bigger the jigsaw, the better.

Not one to let age slow her down, Phyllis has just completed a massive 6000-piece jigsaw of a house and garden, a feat that took her seven months.

The completed puzzle now dominates the lounge of her residence and while many would be satisfied – and relieved to have finished it without losing a piece, Phyllis is already tackling her next jigsaw, a mere 1000-piece challenge.

Daughter Robyn Kirkbusch said her mother started taking up jigsaws and puzzles when she retired and had been an avid fan since.

“It is wonderful for Mum. it keeps her mentally sharp and gives her something to look forward to each day,” Ms Kirkbusch said.

“She has her routine where she writes down how many pieces she has been able to add to the puzzle daily and while sometimes she might get a bit frustrated, she always comes back to it.”

Phyllis is not daunted by the size or complexity of the puzzles, especially like the massive one she has just completed.

“I just like doing them,” she said.
“It’s the challenge of working on them and having a go.”

With good eyesight and a sharp mind, Phyllis tackled the project which kept her occupied over the months.

“The hardest thing was matching up all the greenery in the gardens and trees,” she said.

Ms Kirkbusch was proud of the mother’s achievement and also her patience and determination.

Avid jigsaw puzzle fan, 96-year-old Tweed Heads South resident phyllis Barnett has just completed a 6000 piece puzzle after seven months.. Photo: SCOTT POWICK
Avid jigsaw puzzle fan, 96-year-old Tweed Heads South resident phyllis Barnett has just completed a 6000 piece puzzle after seven months.. Photo: SCOTT POWICK

“I would sit with her some days and try to help but I’m afraid I’m not a big jigsaw person and would have to leave her to it,” she said.

“What I think is really good about people like Mum doing puzzles is that it does keep them mentally sharp and stimulated and gives them a challenge in life to do.

“And she isn’t slowing down. She is halfway through the 1000-piece one and when she finishes, she’ll probably go and get another.”

As for the massive jigsaw which Phyllis completed, its future is uncertain.

“We have glued and kept some of her other puzzles but this one is way too big to go anywhere,” Ms Kirkbusch said.

“We may have to dismantle it.”

There is no prize for guessing what Phyllis Barnett might be getting for Christmas. The only question is just how big the puzzle will be.



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