It seems that I have become a bit of a dissectologist.

That might sound like something Jack the Ripper used to get up to in his spare time, but it is the dictionary word for people who solve jigsaw puzzles.

It started last December, when I faced the annual dilemma of what to buy my wife for Christmas.

Coming up with a different present every year is such a conundrum - but I applied some lateral thinking and decided to get her a puzzle.

As I chose one with a lovely but corny Parisian street scene, however, doubts set in.

How can I put this tactfully?…

Well, jigsaw puzzles are especially popular with elderly people, and although we are not young, it did seem like we were heading for a slippery slope.

A vision crossed my mind of Darby and Joan putting on their slippers, preparing a cup of cocoa and tuning into The Archers before settling down to an evening of puzzling.

Were we ready for this?

Another problem I have had with jigsaw puzzles is they are not like crosswords, where you are never sure of completing them.

You always finish a jigsaw in the end, like a word search, which makes it less of a challenge and (if I am honest) it seemed a bit pointless.

Faced with very few alternative present options, however, I decided to go ahead anyway, and once the turkey leftovers had gone, my wife began the puzzle.

Then I made the fatal error of wandering by and fitting a couple of pieces together.

Before you know it, it is past midnight and we are saying: “Just one more piece and then we’re going to bed.”

It’s the telltale sign that you are hooked.

An hour later we were still saying we really must go upstairs, and decided to set ourselves ground rules for subsequent days.

No doing sneaky pieces in the daytime, no puzzling before 8pm or after midnight.

We still couldn’t decide whether it is the greatest use of our spare time.

But if you look it up, you will find that plenty of people, including medical professionals, say jigsaws come with many benefits.

They point out - and if you think about it, it’s true - that it’s a good way of exercising your brain and improving all kinds of skills through practice, including spatial awareness, concentration, attention to detail, strategy-forming and the ability to turn images around in your head.

A jigsaw is also a kind of memory game, and keeping that part of your brain sharp can only be a good thing.

Perhaps even more importantly, perhaps: sitting down to tackle a jigsaw puzzle is a cheap and cheerful way to distract, relieve stress, lower your blood pressure and generally bring calm to an otherwise hectic and crazy world.

And anyway: it was fun.

So that’s it, and I have said my piece.

A thousand, to be precise.