I went along to the London Puzzle Party
at Camden Lock last
night, which is an event run, once a month, by the wonderful
little shop full of mechanical puzzles called Village Games.
I've never been along to these before, but I guessed I might
like the community, after all I look with envy at the
Gathering for Gardner and
Burning Man events in the USA.
I arrived at the shop in Camden, to be greeted by Ray the
owner, he very kindly showed me some of the most popular puzzles
and took me on a tour of the books. Ray tells me that he
cannot compete with the likes of ebay and amazon on the books,
and therefore is not going to restock any of the shelves with
books when these ones disappear.
Ray showed me where the evening event was taking place, and I took
my place at the table.
very kindly introduced me to all the people round
the table, and he explained that his passion was the
sliding block puzzles. Martin has some amazing pictures
of his collection online.
John arrived soon afterwards, with his pockets full
to bursting with little wooden blocks in odd configurations,
his passions are the cube puzzles and number theory.
The owner of Grand Illusions
shop arrived next, his
name is Tim
and he travels the world in search of interesting
gadgets. This evening he had brought along
- a yo-yo in the shape of a cone
- a device that gives you the impression your eyes are over 10 inches apart
- a smooth mirror, which when a light is shone upon it,
reflects a picture onto the wall
Robert is the resident genius, he is a wonderful 81 year
old chap who hasn't missed a single one of these events.
was there, author of some of my favourite books, I showed him a wonderful
little thing on knot multiplication
who is the resident Go expert talked to me about the
London Open and a possible get together for kids who liked
When pressed, Simon recommended a book called In the Beginning
which will have to be sought out.
I sat for most of the evening scratching my head over various
interlocking 3-d puzzles that were thrust into my hand, I think
I solved about 2/3 of them, but I wouldn't want to be in a competition
against any of these chaps.
When time was finally called, I was accompanied back to the station
who explained to me that his passion was impossible objects.
One of his favourites is the corkscrew opener (with cork) inside a bottle,
as these objects go naturally together.
Suprisingly though, it isn't the puzzles themselves that seem to light
up this room, it is the interest they all have in other people, how they
solve the puzzles, what alternative solutions they might give, and
any new ideas.
Thanks to Ray for organising this event, it was great fun, I recommend
it highly to anyone who enjoys Recreational Mathematics and Puzzles.