Fascinating History Archives

The Angel Makers Of Nagyrev

Zsuzanna Fazekas - The Angelmakers

Zsuzanna Fazekas

The village of Nagyrev in Hungary was a very dangerous place to live early in the twentieth century, if you were seen as no longer needed!

Mrs. Zsuzanna Fazekas was a middle aged midwife who arrived in the village in 1911, without her husband (no one knows what happened to him).

Between that year and 1921, she was imprisoned ten times for illegal abortions, but was always acquitted by judges sympathetic towards abortion. She soon found an assistant, Susi Olah, who was going to be her supportive helper in her new vocation.

In Hungarian society at that time, the teenaged bride would have her husband selected for her by her family and would be forced to accept that choice. Divorce was never an option, even if the husband was abusive or an alcoholic.

During WWI, all the able bodied men were sent off to fight in the Austria-Hungary war, and rural Nagyrev became an ideal location for Allied prisoners of war. They were allowed a lot of freedom within the village and many of the local women took a prisoner, sometimes more than one, as a lover, while their husbands were away fighting in the war.

When the war was over and the husbands returned, they rejected their wives’ affairs and wanted to reclaim their wives. It was at this time that Zsuzanna, along with Susi, started plotting to help the unhappy wives of the village. She was boiling flypaper and skimming off the residue, which was a very effective, deadly poison. This poison was then sold to the wives with instructions as to how to dispose of their unwanted husbands, with the words, ”Why put up with them?”

Sometimes not just the husband, but other unwanted relatives were also poisoned to free the way for the wife to live her life as she wanted, and also to gain her inheritance.

By the mid 1920’s, Nagyrev had earned the nickname, the ‘Murder District.’ Zsuzanna was a busy lady and it helped that her cousin was the clerk who filed all the death certificates. Between them, they would put down causes of death such as drowning, illnesses, etc., to cover up the truth.

The murders became public in 1929 when the editor of a small local newspaper received a letter accusing the women from the Tiszazug region of poisoning members of their families. Eventually, the authorities exhumed dozens of bodies and found the large majority had been poisoned. Over thirty local women and one man were arrested.

Zsuzanna could not face conviction and poisoned herself before she could be taken away by the police. Eventually, 26 women were tried. including ‘Auntie Susi’, as she came to be known, who was executed, along with one other woman. Twelve other women received prison sentences.

The authorities decided that all the local village women had been gripped by madness for many years, brought on by their promiscuity. This was the only explanation that they could come up with.

What an amazing story and I have decided to include it in my new ‘Bad Girls’ book, due out later this year, titled Female Serial Killers. It is a scary book!

Jo Tempest.

The Interesting History Of Paint

Dendera Temple Paintings

Dendera Temple Paintings

Like me, have you recently been down to your Local DIY store, walked along aisles of paint in every colour and finish, to select what you need for your home? I am sure you have, but have you ever taken the time to think about how the amazing selection of paint arrived on those shelves?

Well, if you haven’t, then I am going to tell you, because these sort of facts fascinate me, and you know I like to write about them.

Paint appeared 40,000 years ago with the earliest cave paintings, where they used pigments of colour from plants and berries and their fingers to spread the paint. Much later, in Dendera in Egypt, the 2000 year old walls showed fantastic painted images that were still bright, even though they had been exposed to all weathers. The Egyptians worked with six main colours: Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Black, and White.

They didn’t seem to mix their colours to produce new ones at this time. Their paint was made with egg yolks to create a substance that would stick to the walls. To this would be added the pigment from plants, soil and sand, having used water or oil as a base.


Emerton Manby

Emerton Manby

Paint was here to stay and in 1718 ‘A Machine or Engine for the Grinding of Colours’ was invented by Marshall Smith of England. His machine greatly improved the grinding of the pigments to form the paints. Not long after, a company known as Emerton Manby advertised their paint at really low prices due to this new machine.

The painting of houses quickly became very popular. Their advert read, ‘One Pound of Colour ground in a Horse-Mill will paint 12 yards of work, whereas Colour ground any other way will not do half of that quantity’.

By the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, paint was being ground in steam-powered mills and the lead in the paint was being replaced by a white derivative of zinc oxide. Into the 19th Century, many houses were painted inside. This was not just for the decorative value, but also because paint helped to stop the walls rotting, as well as reducing the damp. By this time, linseed oil was a common additive to paint, as it was a cheap binding agent.

Sherwin Williams First Tin of Paint

Sherwin Williams First Tin of Paint

In 1866, the first paint to be used straight from a tin was invented by Sherwin Williams in the USA. It took him nearly ten years to perfect, but eventually he had a huge production plant set up and was exporting all around the world.

Paint was here in a big way, but then in during World War II, there was a shortage of linseed oil for the paint manufacturers, as it was needed by the forces, so artificial resins were invented to take its place.

They turned out to be easy and cheap to make, with the added advantage of holding the colour. They also gave a longer life to the paint and so were used in future paint production.

So, next time you wander down the paint aisles in your local DIY store, deciding your colour and paint finish, you will know a little of its history and can impress the salesman…who I bet will not know any of these little information gems!

Jo Tempest.

Edmonstone Teaching Darwin

Edmonstone Teaching Darwin

John Edmonstone was thought to be born in Demara, Guyana, South America. He spent his early years as a black slave for Charles Edmonstone, a plantation owner in Demara, also taking his surname.

He spent a lot of time with Charles Waterton, the son-in-law of his owner. He and Charles were both interested in the nature of their surroundings, the plant, bird, and animal life. Charles taught John taxidermy which he found fascinating.

John was eventually freed from slavery and arrived in Glasgow, Scotland, England with his former owner, Charles Edmonstone. From there, he moved to 37, Lothian Street,Edinburgh, where he worked free-lance for the city University as a taxidermist, creating exhibits for their Natural History Museum.

John also earned extra money by teaching some of the University students taxidermy. This was when he met one of the most important men in our history…Charles Darwin, in 1826. Charles lived just a few doors down from John in Lothian Street, with his brother, Eramus. Charles paid John to teach him taxidermy and they spent a few weeks together, not only enjoying the taxidermy but discussing where John had lived and his wonderful environment.

They also talked about his years in slavery and this affected Charles Darwin deeply. (He would become an avid supporter of slavery abolition in his later years) Writing to his sister, Charles told her how he was being taught taxidermy by an intelligent, pleasant, freed black slave from Demara.

Charles Darwin left for his voyage on the H.M.S Beagle in 1831, inspired by John Edmonstone in so many ways, and John had been lucky enough to have spent an enviable short time with a man who would leave us his greatest discoveries. It was certainly a meeting that they both enjoyed and never forgot.
Jo Tempest.

The Fascinating History Of Velcro

George de Mestral - Inventor of Velcro

George de Mestral

We have all used Velcro, which is the brand name for the commercially marketed hook and loop fastener. But do you know who invented it? Well, I am going to tell you all about its interesting history.

Velcro comes from the two French words, Velours (Velvet) and Crochet (Hook). It consists of two fabric strips, one has round dots or squares that fix to the other strip. The catching strip has tiny hooks that fasten to the loops and then can be easily separated by peeling apart.

The man who invented Velcro was George de Mestral, a Swiss electrical engineer, who lived in Commugny, Switzerland. In 1948, George was out hunting with his dogs in the Alps.

Burrs On A Dog - Velcro Inspiration

Burrs On A Dog

When he got home, he noticed his clothes were covered in burrs (seeds of the Burdock plant) and also the fur on his dogs. Putting one of these burrs under a microscope, he saw that it had hundreds of hooks. He realized that these hooks could catch on to anything with a loop, for example, clothing, hair, or animal fur.

George’s brain started buzzing with the great idea for trying to create two materials reversibly fixing together. But he would have to try to also create the hooks and loops!

Poor George’s idea was not very well received at first, so he decided to go to Lyon, in France which was the weaving center of Europe at that time. One weaver wanted to try out the idea and created cotton strips with hooks and loops. It worked but cotton was not a strong enough fabric to withstand constant use.

How Velcro Works

How Velcro Works

George decided to use synthetic materials as they would obviously be stronger and would have other advantages. They would not rot, break down, attract mold and of course, could be produced in a selection of thicknesses.

Nylon was the latest invention in synthetic fibers, and through a lot of trial and error, proved to be perfect when it came to producing the hooks. Especially when they were sewn under hot infrared light.

The problem now was to learn how to make the loops! Nylon thread, when heat treated, retained its shape and was quite resilient, but the loops had to be cut in just the right spot for the hooks to catch, especially when the whole point of the exercise was for the strips to constantly open and close!
George was extremely frustrated with his idea and was almost ready to give up.

Fortunately he didn’t and after using a pair of shears to trim the loops, he was able to create strips that matched perfectly. It took a further 8 years to produce the mechanism for weaving the hooks and then another year to create the loom to trim the loops. It was a ten year process from the start of George’s idea, but we are so happy he persisted.

In 1951, he submitted his patent and it was granted in 1955. (It actually ran out in 1978 but Velcro is still a registered trademark all around the world.)

Once the patents were in place, George opened shops in Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands and Canada to sell his invention. By 1957, he had branched out to the textile center of Manchester, New Hampshire in the USA.

The Montreal firm, Velek Ltd, acquired exclusive rights to be able to market the product in North and South America as well as in Japan. People were sure there would be a huge demand for this product. In August 1958, a famous columnist, Sylvia Porter, made the first mention of ‘Velcro’ in her well known column “Your Money’s Worth”. She wrote about how a ‘zipperless zipper’ had at last been invented!

Believe it or not, Velcro took time to be a hit with the textile industry, partly due to its appearance. It had an appearance of leftover bits of cheap fabric and was viewed as impractical. It wasn’t until 1959, after a fashion show at the Waldorf -Astoria Hotel, in New York, that people realized it could work by being incorporated into clothing.

But the real breakthrough was when it was used by the aerospace industry for space suits. It made it so much easier for the astronauts to get in and out of their bulky suits.

Velcro In Space - Chess Set

Velcro In Space

Later, by adding polyester to the weaving process, Velcro became even stronger. Scuba diving suits, ski suits, children’s clothing and shoes have all benefited from George’s invention.
Velcro even held together the human heart in the first artificial heart replacement surgery. Greg Chamitoff, the famous astronaut, had a chess board modified with Velcro. NASA used Velcro to stop things floating away in space. The US army had ‘Silent’ Velcro created so the enemy would not be alerted to where a soldier was hiding.
Quite an amazing invention that came from George’s day out shooting with his dogs and we have to thank him so much. After reading this article, just you look around your home and see how many places you are using Velcro. I bet you will be surprised.

Jo Tempest.

The True History of Zombies

The Zombie Mob

The Zombie Mob

Are There Really Zombies?

As Halloween is fast approaching, I thought you would enjoy this little piece of true history, quite scary and amazing as true.

Since the late 19th century, stories of zombies have become popular, especially in North America and Europe. Tales from the Voodoo culture relating how a corpse can be revived by a bokor, or sorcerer, have excited imaginations ever since. Stories of how the bokor retains control of the zombie as it has no will of its own can be seen when the zombie is wandering around aimlessly until it becomes focused on its prey.

They are depicted as hungry for human flesh, especially the brain! Zombie costumes for Halloween have always been a firm favorite, even Zombie prom costumes. But many wearing them probably do not know where the legends come from.

Zombies in fiction appeared as early as 1927 in the novel ‘The Magic Island’ by William Seabrook, but with the film in1968, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ by George. A. Romero, they have become too popular and have given birth to some of the best zombie costumes.

Since then, they have appeared in art, music and even foods! Such delights as ‘Zombie Blood, Zombie Jerky, Zombie Mints, and Screaming Zombie Energy Drinks.

But did you know there have been real episodes of zombies in the world? Here are three incidents that occurred in America in the last 200 years.


Vicksburg Zombie Plague

Vicksburg Zombie Plague

1863 was a very important year for the American Civil War. After New Orleans fell to the Union, the city of Vicksburg was the only Confederate holdout on the huge Mississippi river. In May 1863, thousands of Union troops arrived off the coast of Vicksburg demanding immediate surrender.

The Confederates refused and so the city came under siege. A month went by with heavy bombardment, and times became very hard for those within Vicksburg.

In June 1863, the city residents spotted the first Zombies and within days, there were dozens staggering around the city. The 30,000 troops guarding Vicksburg were unconcerned and actually practiced target shooting on the Zombies.

Unfortunately, being cut off by the siege, ammunition became scarce, so the Zombies increased in numbers. It has even been said that the Union forces actually let the plague continue as an act of war.

Eventually, when the Union Forces did enter the city on July 3rd 1863, they found hundreds of Zombies roaming the streets. Some were even wearing the Confederate uniform and had flag poles in their hands. At this time, there were no FVZA troops  (Federal Vampire & Zombie Agency), so the Union soldiers had to kill the Zombies. They soon learned that Zombies do not surrender like others in times of war. It is reported that somewhere around 2000 infected people were killed at Vicksburg.

Hawaii 1892

Around the beginning of the 1890’s, Hawaii was being pulled one way by the native islanders who wanted the islands to remain independent, and the other way by the rich and powerful sugar cane growers who wanted to join the United States of America.

Queen Lili'uoakalani

Queen Lili’uoakalani

Queen Lili’uoakalani, who came to the throne in 1891, brought in measures to weaken the strength politically of the cane growers and increase her own power. Unfortunately for her, in August 1892, a Zombie plague, started by the Chinese sugar cane workers of Oahu, spread to Honolulu.

More and more Zombies were being seen staggering out of the jungle. The terrified islanders soon took to their canoes to try to escape to other nearby islands.

The poor Queen had no choice but to ask the USA for help. FVZA troops arrived in the Autumn of that year and very quickly took back control of the city from the Zombies. But the surrounding areas were much harder in which to find all the Zombies, and so more FVZA troops were requested.

The sugar cane growers used this chaotic time to depose the Queen by creating a coup, even though many of them had left the islands as soon as the plague broke out. It has even been said that the sugar can growers purposely used the plague to help their cause!

Around 2000 people died in this Zombie plague, placing it in the top 3 in the USA history.

Key West Florida 1935

On Labor Day, 2nd September 1935, a major hurricane arrived at the Florida Keys.

Florida Zombies 1935

Florida Zombies 1935

With the destruction, came infected rats who now roamed the Islands, and the next morning, the first Zombies appeared. At first, many of the islanders mistook the Zombies for dazed hurricane survivors, so the plague soon spread across the island. With no way to escape the island due to damage to the roads and bridges, many islanders leaped to their death into the sea rather than face the voracious Zombies.

Within a few days, once again, the FVZA troops arrived on the island and had to begin the extermination of the Zombies. A total of nearly 3500 people who had been infected were destroyed. This was actually a huge number considering the Zombie plague vaccine was available at this time.

So, if you were one of those people who thought Zombies were just the imagination of writers and film makers, think again!! When you are next wearing a scary zombie costume, you will know they really existed.

Jo Tempest.

The Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

Pere Lachaise Cemetery Statue

Pere Lachaise Cemetery

This may seem a strange subject for my blog but it is a fascinating place, I promise. It is the largest cemetery in Paris covering around 110 acres, taking the name from the confessor to Louis XIV, a man called Pere Francois de la Chaise (1624-1709). He lived in the Jesuit house that was rebuilt on the site of the chapel in 1682.

The house was bought by the city in 1804 and Napoleon established the cemetery in the same year. It was originally laid out by Alexandre Theodore Brongniart, and extended many times over the following years. The cemetery opened on the 21st May 1804 to a cautious public.

The first burial in the cemetery was a little five year old girl called Adelaide Paillard de Villeneuve. She was the daughter of a door bell-boy from the Faubourg St Antoine. It was only a temporary arrangement and her grave is no longer in the cemetery.

Napoleon, now Emperor of France, had declared that ”every citizen has the right to be buried regardless of race or religion,” and he probably meant that also it did not matter what status you held in society; that is why Adelaide was allowed to be buried in the new Paris cemetery.

Anyway, many residents of Paris felt the cemetery was too far from the city as it was then, and were not choosing to be buried there. As for the many Roman Catholics, they did not want to be buried in a place that had not been blessed by the church. By the end of the first year of opening, there were only thirteen graves.

What happened then was what would be known as today, a massive marketing campaign. Firstly, with much exposure to the public, the remains of Jean de la Fontaine (famous writer of fairy tales) and Moliere (famous playwright) were buried in Pere Lachaise. This prompted a few more burials in 1805 (44) and by 1812, there were just over 800. This was not as many as were expected and so another marketing campaign was started.

In 1817, the purported remains of the famous lovers, Heliose d’Argenteuill and
Pierre Abelard were transferred to the cemetery. The canopy of their monuments was created from fragments of the Abbey of Nogent-sur Seine. Single people looking for love, or lovers, would leave letters at their tombs in hope of improving their love life.

This new burial created what the committee wanted; there was a clamour of requests to be buried at Pere Lachaise. By 1830, the official records show that nearly 33,000 had been buried in this beautiful Paris cemetery.

Today, the cemetery will still accept new burials but there are strict conditions for that to happen. The only people that can be buried there are those who live in Paris or who have died in the city. There is a waiting list but there are few plots available now, as there are a million people buried there to date. You can visit the cemetery and obtain a map to guide you to many famous grave sites; it is truly fascinating as the many visitors discover. In fact, as I also discovered many years ago, and both my sons have done since.
You can find graves belonging to:

  • Sarah Bernhardt…………French stage and film actress.
  • Maria Callas……………..French opera singer ( her ashes were stolen but when recovered, scattered into the Aegean sea, but her urn was returned to the cemetery)
  • Nancy Cunard…………..English poet and activist.
  • Alexander Khatisian…..Prime Minister of Armenia.
  • Edith Piaf…………………French singer ( known as the little bird)
  • Jim Morrison……………American singer with the Doors (his grave is guarded due to graffiti etc)
  • Richard Chenevix………Irish chemist.
  • Frederic Chopin…………Polish Composer( his heart is entombed inside a pillar in Warsaw in the Holy Cross Church)
  • Marcel Proust……………..French critic and novelist.
  • Oscar Wilde………………..Irish poet, playwright and novelist (his beautiful art-deco monument was regularly kissed by people wearing red lipstick and so now, after repairs, his tomb is encased by glass)

Many of the Rothschild family are buried in Pere Lachaise and they have family vaults. As you wander around the cemetery, you will find graves belonging to people from all around the world: French, Italian, English, Dutch, Irish, Belgian, American, and more.

If you are in Paris, it is definitely worth a visit as I discovered. I have posted a photograph of a tomb I found over 20 years ago on my visit; unfortunately I cannot remember who it belonged to. It was not a well-known person but I loved the statue, so if you visit and find it, please let me know.

Jo Tempest.


Oscar Wilde's Tomb

Oscar Wilde’s Tomb

Georges Rodenbach

Georges Rodenbach

Pigeon Family Grave

Pigeon Family Grave

Holding A Head

Holding A Head

Nicholas Hedges

Nicholas Hedges

Sleeping Couple

Sleeping Couple

Grave Cluster

Grave Cluster

Reclining Man

Reclining Man




Every Woman’s Dream, A Self Cleaning Home!

Magical Brooms

Magical Brooms

I am sure all you women out there are thinking this is really a dream, but to one woman it wasn’t.

In 1915, Frances Gabe Bateson, who lived in Newberg, Oregon, USA, had had enough of doing housework. So she invented and patented her own self-cleaning home. Frances designed her house so that each room had a 10 inch square “Cleaning, Drying, Heating and Cooling” device on the ceiling.

To clean her rooms, all she had to do was to push the button in each room and the process began. Each unit sent a powerful spray of soapy water around the room. It then rinsed and blow dried the room! Every room had also been designed with a sloping floor so that the water would drain away efficiently.

I don’t know about you, but I get instant visions of the Disney film, Fantasia, with the wizards apprentice getting out of control with his cleaning and water everywhere!

But Frances seemed to have got her system to work quite well. She stored valuable objects (items that could not get wet) under glass. Her toilets, bath and sinks were also self cleaning, with her kitchen cupboards doubling up as dishwashers. Even her closets did not escape her plan. Her clothes were cleaned and dried while they hung in their closets.

She held 68 patents to her designs but I do not think they really caught on. I am sure that most people who could afford her designs could also probably afford cleaners, so they did not have to change their home.

But, Frances is a girl after my own heart, as I would much rather spend time doing anything else rather than be cleaning. I hasten to add that I do drag myself away from the more interesting occupations in my life and clean my home when necessary!!

So, let’s finish this article with a few words from Frances G Bateson…..

“Housework is a thankless unending job, a nerve tangling bore. Who wants it? Nobody! With my jaw set hard, I was determined there had to be a better way!”

And she did!



Jo Tempest.

Tesla 1890

Tesla 1890

Free electricity for everyone in the world! In today’s life, doesn’t that sound wonderful? “But a dream,” I can hear you saying. Well, it was a dream of a man called Nikola Tesla. He was born in Croatia in 1856. He was the son of a pastor, and his father expected him to enter the church.

But his mother had much more imagination and she soon realized her son was a small genius. She put him into high school and later university. Tesla had the unique ability to design completely in his mind and whilst he was studying all his other subjects, he was storing all his inventions for the future.

He badly wanted to go to America, and by 1900 he was living in New York. He immersed himself in an electrical world, supplying many amazing inventions for industry.

But inventions need backing in a financial way and Tesla, like many others at that time, had to turn to the great financiers. J. Pierpont Morgan was very interested. He came from a family of self made men, and from an early age, his father taught him how to manage the family assets. J.P. Morgan finished his schooling and went to work as an accountant for the New York banking firm Duncan Sherman and Co. He left them to go and work with his father, whilst at the same time increasing his personal assets.

Tesla and His Tower

Tesla and His Tower

So, the two of them came together, and J.P. Morgan did invest a lot of money in Tesla. The scientist created many electrical wonders, but his dream of free electricity for everyone was always in his mind. In 1901 he began work on a global system of giant towers that could relay news, etc, but they could also relay electricity.

He built a 200ft tower structure to become his ‘test tower’ at Shoreham, Long Island. The problem was that to obtain further funding from J.P. Morgan, he had to disclose more information than he wanted. This alerted J.P. Morgan as to where Tesla was heading, and so in 1906, he withdrew his funding.

For a top financier, the idea of millions getting free electricity was a nightmare. It’s thought that he also spoke to other financiers, telling them of Tesla’s idea and to advise them not to invest in him.

Tesla In His Lab

Tesla In His Lab

Tesla then found himself in an impossible position, and had to concentrate on inventions that he could be paid for. Not much later, his laboratory was burnt to the ground and along with it, all his dreams of free electricity to the masses.

It was never learnt who destroyed his laboratory, but there were many theories at the time. Then, in 1917, his huge experimental tower structure was also destroyed.

So, you had the great inventor Nikola Tesla meeting the great investor J.P. Morgan. All is good whilst money is being made, but once someone wants to give something free to millions, then everything changes.

Tesla In Later Years

Tesla In Later Years


Tesla was known as the Father of Electricity, but I think he thought of himself as the Father Christmas of Electricity, wanting to give everyone in the world free electricity.

Nikola Tesla died in 1943 at the age of 87, having contributed much to our lives, but not having succeeded in his most ambitious dream.







I love Doing Jigsaws

Spilsbury's First Jigsaw Puzzle

Spilsbury’s First Jigsaw Puzzle

How many of you are like me and enjoy the challenge of a great jigsaw? I love to do one around 2000 pieces; anything smaller seems too easy, and I did one once that was 3000 pieces!

I use a large pin board so that I can slide it away when I have to pull myself away from it (which is hard ) and to keep my cats, Laurel and Hardy, from destroying all my hard work.

Then I got to thinking about when jigsaws first became available and so did a bit of research on the history of jigsaw puzzles.

They were originally created by painting a picture on a flat rectangular piece of wood and then the picture would painstakingly be cut into many pieces using a jigsaw. That is where the name comes from.

A London engraver and map-maker called John Spilsbury became the first person to create commercial jigsaws, around 1760.

Jigsaw Puzzle Cutting Press

Jigsaw Puzzle Cutting Press

Now jigsaws are usually made of cardboard, although many for young children are made from wood, as it makes the pieces easier to handle.

The process is that the chosen artwork is glued onto cardboard and fed into a press. The press will then force a set of hardened steel blades of selected shapes through the cardboard, to cut the picture into the required number of pieces.

A press of upwards of 700 tons is needed to cut a standard 1000 piece jigsaw into pieces!

By the beginning of the 1930’s, hydraulic presses were in common use for the production of mass jigsaws and allowed the industry to grow to enormous proportions.

World's Largest Jigsaw

World’s Largest Jigsaw

Now, you can find amazing choices of jigsaw puzzles up to around 9000 pieces, and you can even find 3-dimensional, as well as acrylic, challenges. The largest jigsaw puzzle ever completed in the world was put together in the former Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong.

Seven hundred and seventy-seven people constructed the jigsaw, containing 21,600 pieces, and it measured an impressive 58,435 square feet. Not one you could do at home!

So thanks John Spilsbury, for starting production on something that has brought pleasure to millions of us around the world.

These photos are of some of my favourite jigsaws that I have done over the last few years.

Jo Tempest.

Girl Jigsaw Puzzle

Exotic Young Girl

Boat Jigsaw Puzzle

Boats In The Marina

Beautiful Shoes Jigsaw

Beautiful Shoes Jigsaw

The Rules Of A Good Wife 100 Years Ago!

Vintage Romance

Vintage Romance

I am not sure if the rules of a good wife are actually that different now, but see what you think. There are a few that us girlies would not find too useful now! Truly, these were written 100 years ago.

How To Be A Good Wife In The Good Old Days 

  • Don’t expect a man to see everything from a woman’s point of view. Try to put yourself in his place for a change.
  • Don’t expect your husband to be an angel. You would get very tired of him if he were.
  • Don’t pose as a helpless creature who can do nothing for herself; don’t drag your husband away from his office to see you across the street; don’t profess to be unable to take a journey on your own. It is true that the weak, clinging wife is often a favourite, but she is equally often a nuisance.
  • Don’t despise sound common sense because he doesn’t indulge in brilliant inspirations.
  • Don’t be talked down by your husband when you want to express your view on any subject. You have a right to be heard.
  • Don’t nag your husband. If he won’t carry out your wishes for love of you, he certainly won’t because you nag him.
  • Don’t think you can go your own way and be as happy as if you pulled in double harness. In all important matters you want to pull together.
  • Good Wife

    Good Wife

    Don’t return to old grievances. Once the matter has been thrashed out, let it be forgotten, or at least never allude to it again.

  • Don’t hesitate to inconvenience yourself to give him a den all of his own. He’s really a good fellow, and a lot of his worries will melt away if he has a place to himself for a while. When he is out, the den will be yours.
  • Don’t open the door for yourself when your husband is present. He would open it for a lady guest; let him open it for you. Besides, your boys will not learn the little courtesies that count nearly so well by precept as by example.
  • Don’t be satisfied to let your husband work overtime to earn money for frocks for you. Manage with fewer frocks!
  • Don’t pile up money for your children. Give them the best education possible, and let them make their own way.
  • Don’t exercise your passion for economy on your husband’s linen. Don’t expect him to wear his shirts and collars twice because the laundry bill is so high, and don’t grudge him a couple of handkerchiefs a day. If necessary, you can wash those yourself. Anyhow, rather economise on your own or the household washing.
  • Don’t object to your husband’s life insurance. He will die none the sooner because his life is insured, and if you should unfortunately have to end your life without him, it may be a great help to you.
  • Don’t greet him at the door with a catalogue of the dreadful crimes committed by servants during the day.
  • Don’t let him have to search the house for you when he comes home. Listen for his latchkey and meet him on the threshold.
  • Don’t omit the kiss of greeting. It cheers a man when he is tired to feel that his wife is glad to see him home.
  • Don’t ‘fuss’ your husband. Mistaken attentions often annoy a man dreadfully. If he comes home late after a busy day, and has a quiet little supper alone, he doesn’t want you to jump up like a ‘jack-in the box’ with, ‘Would you like more pepper darling?’ and present him with the cruet from the opposite end of the table, when he already has one in front of him. See that everything is conveniently placed for him, and then leave the man alone until he has fed. Let him feel your sympathetic presence near him, but occupy yourself in reading, or doing needlework: anyhow, don’t ‘fuss’ him.
  • Couple 1900

    Couple 1900

    Don’t refuse to see your husband’s jokes. They may be pretty poor ones, but it won’t hurt you to smile at them.

  • Don’t try to excite your husband’s jealousy by flirting with other men. You may succeed better than you want to. It is like playing with tigers and edged tools and volcanoes all in one.
  • Don’t object to your husband getting a motor-cycle; merely insist that he shall buy a side-car for you at the same time.
  • Don’t say golf is such a selfish game, and a married man ought to give it up.
  •  Don’t take your husband on a laborious shopping expedition, and expect him to remain good-tempered throughout. If you want his advice on some special dress purchase, arrange to attend to that first, and then let him off. Men, as a rule, hate indiscriminate shopping.
  • Don’t be sarcastic about your husband’s taste in dress. Be gently persuasive, and train his sense of fitness.
  • Don’t refuse to entertain your husband’s friends on the ground that is a ‘bother’. Nothing pains a man more than finding only a cold welcome when he brings home a chum.
  • Don’t think anything too much trouble to do for your husband’s comfort: remember he is occupied all day in working for you. Don’t be afraid of thinking and planning and working for him.
  • Don’t arrange for the chimney-sweep to come on the day your husband happens to be staying at home. He won’t like either the sooty smell or the subsequent upset for cleaning purposes.

Interesting, isn’t it, so many of these you could take into our lives today, just in a different context. But of course, we are always the perfect wife or partner! 


Jo Tempest.





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