IPP 37 2017 - Paris 


So I told you this was going to be a very busy year for me, containing more puzzles than I had ever built before, including something very special. 

This year I managed to attend my first IPP, number 37 - Paris. I knew this was going to be a big event for me, so I wanted to enter it with a bang! Overtime I have become very close friends to a good few puzzlers, two of those being Peter Hajek, and Allard Walker. Now I know these two are both always in the exchange, so in my wisdom I asked them both a question?


"As this is my first IPP I would like to do something different. I'm going to get the chance of meeting so many, that I chat with often via email, I'd like to meet them face to face with a puzzle! So would you like me to make an exchange puzzle for you? Can I be your assistant? So as you exchange I can help hand out the puzzles, and get to meet all these people with something I have designed and made" 


They both said YES!! I could not choose between them, so I said yes to both.


Oh crap what am I gonna do now??? The only thing that I could think of, that I could make in the amounts needed was locks, I made some enquiries with some manufacturers to buy lock parts directly, so I could make my modifications and assemble. I came up with two ideas. I showed them the ideas, and we agreed on each of the designs. I called them Haleslock 3 & 4. I pondered on this for sometime, I wasn't sure if I should call them that as I know how people like to collect full sets of things, because I do to, but I made so many it didn't feel right not to. I made a LOT of locks that took a lot of my spare time away.


Both very different in there solutions, in the end I was very pleased with how they came out, I made extras that have all been taken away from me. I hope if you collect my locks you will be able to find them out there, good luck!


I was Peter Hajek's assistant at the exchange, how did I choose (they both agreed to have me again!) I didn't. They played Rock, Paper, Scissors for 14 hours straight, Peter won somehow............I  had T-shirts made up for us all on the day, Shane, Peter, Allard, & Louis. Rainer received the final custom shirt, Popplock wearing a HalesLock shirt :-) I wished! 



Haleslocks 3&4. Peter Hajek exchanged #3, Allard Walker exchanged #4
Allard's finished exchange lock after he added "his touch"
Team HalesLocks ready to exchange !

The Jabberwocky Project


About 18 months ago I was approached by Steve Miller & Peter Hajek and asked if I was interested in helping with a collaborative project to build a puzzle chest, with 15 contributors all adding something. A list of names was being drawn up to build the team, some accepted, some didn't. When I got to see the list of names, I just couldn't turn down the opportunity to join in. Every single person that agreed to join are absolutely top notch. A truly jaw dropping list. Then the penny dropped and I think I crapped my pants (as my mate Chinny would say) How the hell can I stand shoulder to shoulder with all these great artists? After the clean up I decided I'd go for it anyway :-) The task given to me was to lock this thing up, so of course the lock is my contribution. It's the first and most likely, only complete custom lock I'll ever get to make. While deciding on what I was going to build, I put it to Steve that the only way I could do this is if I could find someone to make CAD drawings for me to build a custom lock.


Even with the epic amount of work Steve had on his plate as project lead, he agreed to help me with the drawings, without his help it would have never been possible to make this lock, I cannot thank him enough. Once I had the initial design I asked Rainer to have a look over this with me, now this was no spoiler, Rainer was asked to join the project but unfortunately was unable to commit because his hands have been so tied on his latest project (yes he's new creation has been going on even longer than this project!) So as he knew the project existed I thought it best to ask him to go over the design I had. Rainer helped out with some advise, which was so good of him as I know he is a VERY busy man, but when this man tells you it's a hugely complicated design, you crap your pants... AGAIN!!


 Peter Hajek and myself have helped Steve along the way, we have had many trips and meetings as well as hours and hours of our time helping this come to life. The whole group communicated though an app called Basecamp. It worked out really well as ALL of the contributors worked together to help eveything fall into place. The help and advise from everyone will make this chest enter the puzzle history books. I don't think I could have worked with a better, stronger or more supportive team. 


Anyway we now move on to IPP to reveal what we have all been up to. The project is not completely finished yet, some hold up's for a couple of us, but its truly something to be proud of. I'm sure you all know by now, but here are the contributors, in no particular order. 


Stephen Miller - Lead

Peter Hajek 

Kelly Snache

Robert Yarger 

Gary Foshee

Kagen Sound

Stephen Chin

Yoh Kakuda

Mike Toulouzas

Perry McDaniel

Simon NIghtingale

Neil Hutchison

Peter Wiltshire

Brian Young

Shane Hales 



At long last we can tell you...The Jabberwocky project. 15 of us have been collaborating for over 18 months to build this masterpiece of a puzzle chest.

So how was my first IPP?


My heads still in a spin! For a moment I thought I was safe from speeches, full of wine, then Jerry Slocum asked me to step up to say hello to everyone on the mic at the founders meeting (I was not prepared for that!) to the moment I left, was fantasic.


Every single person was so welcoming to me, I felt right at home. 


Rainer Popp helped me with my table on sales day (thanks Rainer!) Thanks to everyone that purchased something from me for your support, I hope you are happy with your puzzles - I was cleaned out!


It was a trip that I'll never forget for many reasons. Thank you all for making it so special.


I'd also like to thank all the generous people for the lovley gifts I received! Thanks to, Stephen Chin, Brian Young, Boaz Feldman, Tyler Somer, Steve Miller, Steve Nicholls, Nick Baxter, Jerry Loo, Dor Tietz, Peter Wiltshire, Gerard Darby, And finally my mate Ali Morris. Supurb gifts gentleman, I'm still struggling! 


Lets also not forget the Organisers of the event either, a huge thank you to the host Frans de Vreugd, who didn't take a breath I'm sure, Nick Baxter, and the many many others that made this years IPP Paris possible. 





Sad news


While at this years IPP, we recieved some very sad news. I'm so sad to say that Laurie Brokenshire passed away. Laurie will never be forgotton by our whole puzzle community and more, he has left a huge hole in our hearts.


We also got news from Sue Young that Ray Mead had also passed away. I didn't know Ray, but he had been going to IPP since 1996! Another friend that will be missed by many.

Take great care everyone. Hopfully I'll be seeing you soon!