Things I Love Archives

I Just Want To Write!!

Love to Write - Jo Tempest

Love to Write

I am writing the seventh book in my ‘Bad Girls’ series…..Early Female Writers, and I am loving it, BUT I so empathize with my girls.

There they are trying to write masterpieces amidst having numerous love affairs, having a hoard of babies and travelling around Europe with men who just do not understand!

Here I am in a foreign country, battling with all the differences, regular power cuts, water off for days, organising my move back to England, cleaning out the wood-burner, washing clothes, and Laurel and Hardy…my two lovely cats!!

I love them dearly but in they come demanding food, cuddles, be dried when it rains…I forgot to tell you, it is winter here so days of endless rain….and it goes on and on, the endless demand for my time. I just want to WRİTE!!!!!

It’s a Catch 22 situation: to be wealthy enough to have someone clean and cook for you, you have to have written books that earn you lots of money. I am trying to do that, as it would be wonderful to be able to just sit at my laptop, do my research uninterrupted and produce a masterpiece, while a lovely lady is feeding me and making sure my house is clean.

Oh well, I can dream, but in the meantime I will slave away at both my chores and my laptop and I WİLL finish this book. I have to say it has been one of my favourite to write and it will be out later this year…..Eventually!!
Jo Tempest.

Origins of Scrabble

I bet there is nobody reading this who has not played a game of Scrabble in their lifetime! I love the game along with many of my family and friends.
But when did Scrabble come into being? Of course, I am going to be able to tell you after having done a little research.



It started when an American architect, Alfred Hosher Butts, created the game in 1938 from an earlier game know as ‘Lexiko’.

The two games had the same set of letter tiles and Lexiko was originally know as ‘Criss-Crosswords’ because of its similarity to cross-words puzzles.

Alfred H.Butts manufactured a few sets but he was not successful in getting any of the major game companies interested.

Alfred H. Butts-Criss-Crosswords

Alfred H. Butts – Criss-Crosswords

Then in 1948, James Brunot, a resident of Newtown, USA, and more importantly, a owner of one of the few Criss-Crosswords games in existence, bought the rights to manufacture the game from Alfred Butts, in exchange for granting him royalties on each game sold in the future.

James Brunot did not change much in the game apart from slightly re-arranging the ‘premium’ tiles and simplifying the rules of the game. And of course, he changed the name to what we all know and love…Scrabble…which means, ‘to scratch frantically’.

By 1949, James Brunot was manufacturing Scrabble, with the help of his family, in a converted schoolhouse in Dodgingtown, Newtown. Around 2,400 games were made but the family was losing money.

James Brunot

James Brunot

According to a very nice legend, the big break came for Scrabble in 1952, when the President of Macy’s, Jack Srauss, was on his vacation and played the game. He loved it and was surprised to learn his store did not stock Scrabble.

That quickly changed and he ordered that a large order be placed with James Brunot. Within a year, everyone had to have the game in their home.

Later in the same year, James Brunot found himself unable to cope with the demand for the game and so sold the rights to the Long Island based company, Selchow & Righter.

First Scrabble Edition

First Scrabble Edition

They had originally turned the game down when they had been approached in the past but were quite happy to now take on the game.

In it’s second year of manufacturing, they sold nearly 4 million games. In 1955, they started selling Scrabble to England and Australia, and as they say, the rest is history!

Now, of course, we do not have to have our opponent at the same table, we can play on line with distant friends, which is how I play most of my games at the moment, but when I am back in England for a visit, I love to play Scrabble with my sons…even if they win most games!

Jo Tempest.

The Bee’s Knees

Bees Knees!

Bees Knees!

I was chatting with my Turkish girlfriend, Aysun, a couple of days ago and used the expression ‘The Bee’s Knees’ and she looked at me bemused until I gave her the explanation.

That got me thinking as to where that phrase came from and then to thinking it would be fun to research a few more we often use without thinking, so here you are!



‘The Bee’s Knees’

These days we tend to use it to signify an ‘outstanding person or item’ but it was first recorded in England in the late 18th century when it meant someone or something was small and insignificant. Then in the 1920’s, American slang became popular and ‘The Bee’s Knees’ changed to being what it is known as today.

Other American slang used around that time included ‘The Canary Tusks’,
The Flea’s Eyebrows’ and ‘The Cat’s Whiskers’, which is still used today.
The switch in meaning for ‘The Bee’s Knees’ probably came about as it was similar in pattern and structure as the other sayings.

‘A Pig’s Ear’

A Pig's Ear

A Pig’s Ear

This phrase originated in America in the 1850’s and became a variant to ‘In A Pig’s Eye’. It is used as an expression of incredulous disbelief, similar to the phrase ‘Tell İt To The Marines’.

To ‘Make A Pig’s Ear’ of it came about in the mid 20th century to mean completely botch something or make a complete mess of something. It first appeared in print in the 1950’s in the well known Readers Digest.

A similar phrase, ‘You Can’t Make A Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear’, dates back as early as the 16th Century. The famous English clergyman, Stephen Gosson, published a romantic story in 1579 known as ‘Ephemerides’.

In his book, the expression referred to people engaged in hopeless tasks. He used the words ”Seekinge too make a silk purse of a sowe’s eare.” The language has been adapted to new English but we still use the phrase today. (Also  English Cockney rhyming slang for ‘A Beer.’)

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie’

Let Sleeping Dogs...

Let Sleeping Dogs…

We use this phrase when we want to say ‘Do not instigate trouble’ or ‘leave a situation alone, otherwise it will cause trouble.’ It was first heard as early as the 14th Century when the English writer, Chaucer, used it in his story ‘Troilus and Criseyde ‘.

It was also used in the French language around the same time. ”Ne Reveillez pas le chien qui dort” translates to ‘do not wake the dog that sleeps’. That phrase probably originated from the Latin phrase, ‘Quieta non movere.’ Do not move settled things.
‘Heard It On The Grapevine’

On The Grapevine

On The Grapevine

This is my favourite one as regards to it’s origin.

This phrase is used to say that ‘you have heard unofficially’, rather than through an official announcement. It originated in America in the 19th Century. A very clever man, Samuel B. Morse, invented the telegraph system.

It required thousands of metres of telegraph wire to be installed and fixed to huge telegraph poles, that were place several metres apart along the proposed routes. The wires were fixed very high above the ground.

As communities watched the erection of these poles, they often commented that the poles and attached wires looked like the strings that were used to train grape vines to climb. So the telegraph system soon became known as ‘The Grapevine.’

Then, during the American Civil War, the telegraph system became such an important aid, as information could easily be passed across the States. But it also had another use during the Civil War, as rumours were also deliberately sent through the telegraph system to confuse both armies. When people were asked whether a particular story was true, they would often reply, ‘I heard it through the grapevine.’

So there you go! Hope you have enjoyed this little bit of information, great little conversation pieces for your next dinner party!

Jo Tempest.

Zodiac Signs and Their Angels

In all the years I have been interested in Astrology and Angels, I never knew each sign had its own angel, until I recently read a book on angels. The names of the associated angels do vary from different writings, but these I am going to tell you about come from some of the earliest observations, and I like the idea of that.

I do believe we have angels around us all the time to keep us safe and help us on our journey through life. Sometimes they leave us signs that they are around for us and I am often finding a beautiful feather in the most unlikely of places.

I keep them all and I was amazed as to how many I now have. One day I will do something with them but I am waiting for the right inspiration.

Anyway, back to our Zodiac Angels, here is a list for you to learn who is around for you on a daily basis.
Capricorn Angel


Capricorn ~ Angel Casujoiah helps you to be careful and responsible for all you undertake on a daily basis.


Aquarius Angel


Aquarius ~ Angel Ausiel keeps you idealistic and also brings out the humanitarian side of your character.



Pisces Angel


Pisces ~ Angel Barakiel helps you in your artistic endeavours as well as helping you emotionally.




Ares Angel


Aries ~ Angel Haniel keeps you confident and assertive in your daily life.



Taurus Angel


Taurus ~ Angel Asmodel is there to make sure you are being practical as well as reliable.



Gemini Angel


Gemini ~ Angel Ambriel shows you how to be social as well as adaptable in daily life.



Cancer Angel


Cancer ~ Angel Muriel is helping you to be sympathetic and sensitive to all those people around you.



Leo Angel


Leo ~ Angel Verchiel is responsible for you being an open and generous person.



Virgo Angel


Virgo ~ Angel Hamaliel makes sure your analytical mind keeps working efficiently.



Libra Angel


Libra ~ Angel Zuriel (the Prince of Principalities) keeps you on the right track of always trying to be diplomatic and create harmony around you.


Scorpio Angel


Scorpio ~ Angel Barbiel keeps your powerful and intense personality in check!



Sagittarius Ange


Sagittarius ~ Angel Hamaliel wants you to always be optimistic as well as adventurous.



Twelve different angels with twelve very different roles but always around; how wonderful is that!
Jo Tempest.

My Love of Sewing

1949 Singer Sewing Machine

1949 Singer Sewing Machine

I love to sew but do not have a sewing machine, as there always seems to be something else I need to spend my money on. But I have a lovely friend here, Jenny, who has a beautiful little hotel called ‘Jenny’s House’.

Anyway, she realised I was sewing my curtains by hand and offered me hers to use. What bliss!

Around the same time, a friend posted this on FaceBook which made me giggle and I so want to share it with you….then I will give you my version.

Advice From The 1949 Singer Sewing Manual

1……Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do…never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

2……Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing.

3…..When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress.

4…..Keep a little bag full of French Chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals.

1940s Dress Pattern

1940s Dress Pattern

5…..Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick on. If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in, you will not look neatly put together and you will not enjoy your sewing as you should.

This is Jo Tempest 2015

1….I do not usually know what I am going to sew, I wait to be inspired.

2….The sink is full of dirty dishes but the bed is made! There are lots of other jobs İ should be doing, but keen to sew!

3…..Not looking very attractive as still in my pajamas.

4…..No French Chalk!

5…..Hair in a scrunch, cleaned my teeth but no lipstick. If a friend drops by, they will just be impressed with my sewing!

As you can see, a lot has changed in the last 60 years, but I am so happy sewing on my borrowed Singer sewing machine. Thank you so much, Jenny, and I hope your dogs loved their coats I made them for the cold winter nights.

Jo Tempest.

Kindles Are Here To Stay!


Bad Girls Series Kindle

Bad Girls On Kindle

I am sure all you Kindle owners reading this article, love your e-reader. No more filling up your suitcase to have books to read on your holiday, or making room in your bag for a book to read on a journey. To have an unlimited choice of books is just heaven,;just check out the lists and hey, presto! There it is, downloaded and ready to read.

Kindles are like what the arrival of paperbacks were to hardcover books so many years ago. The first paperbacks appeared in England and Ireland around the mid 1850’s. when Simms and McIntyre of Belfast. and Routledge and Sons of London were founded. They started mass producing yellow paperbacks of existing works and they proved so popular.
They distributed them through W.H.Smiths newsagents who had kiosks at most of the British Railway stations. This was a great marketing ploy as so many people travelled by train at that time.

Then with their success, Penguin’s publisher, Allen Lane, became interested. He started with ten re-print titles, the first being Andre Mauroıs’ Ariel. He would purchase the paperback rights from publishers, then order large print runs, for that time, around 20,000 copies.

At first, booksellers were wary of placing large orders until Woolworth placed their first large order, and then, as they say, the rest is history. Paperbacks later appeared with illustrated covers to tempt their readers.
The literary establishment had been against the arrival of the paperbak; they believed it would harm the book industry. But what it did was to make books available for all classes of people, not just the elite.

Now the Kindle has arrived, and it has also revolutionised reading. The choices are endless and the prices of the books are so reasonable. Saying that, Amazon and Hachette are at loggerheads as Amazon wants to keep the prices down for Kindle, while Hachette wants to charge higher prices. Amazon argues that there is no printing, returns, warehousing costs, or transportation costs, etc., so the books should be low priced.
That is Amazon’s aim, to continually provide low priced downloads and I am sure you, as Kindle readers, welcome that.

For me, it is great to know that my ‘Bad Girls‘ series will always be available to my readers at a great price, as I am adding more books to my series all the time.

Welcome to the world, Kindle! I am sure you are going to just grow and grow in popularity. There will always be a place for books in our lives. They are so beautiful to own, but a Kindle fits in a bag so well!!

Jo Tempest.

The World’s Largest Angel

Angel Of The North

Angel Of The North

Anthony Gormley, born in 1950, is the youngest of seven children born to a German mother and an Irish father. He grew up in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire in England. He studied archeology, anthropology and the history of art at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He later went on to do a post graduate at Slade Fine School of Arts at University College, London.

Before long, he embarked on his passion for sculpture and when the ‘Angel of the North’ was being considered, it was Anthony who finally got the commission to create this wonderful piece of art. He using mainly the British lottery funding available totaling almost a million pounds,starting the project in 1994 and the Angel was finished in 1998.

It was built in three parts at the Hartlepool Steel Fabricating Company with the body weighing 100 tons and each wing weighing 50 tons. It’s placed at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear in the North of England. It stands 20 meters (65feet ) tall with a wing span of 54 meters (175feet). That’s bigger than a Boeing 757 jet! It weighs a massive total of 200 tons and contains enough steel to make four chieftain tanks. It has been built to withstand winds of over 100 miles an hour as it is so exposed on the hillside.

Below the Angel, there are huge concrete piles that go 20 meters into the ground to anchor it safely to the rock below. The weather resistant cor-ten steel used to build the Angel contains a small amount of copper which has formed a wonderful patina on the surface that mellows with age.

It is truly a magnificent sight and can be seen for many miles around the area and we are very lucky Anthony had such great vision for ‘The Angel of the North’.

Jo Tempest.





Weird and Wonderful Shark Facts

Whale Shark | Jo Tempest

Whale Shark


Sharks have always fascinated me and I think they are quite misunderstood.

There are stories in books about these interesting creatures and, of course, too many movies that are often very scary.

But I am going to share with you a few really interesting facts about many types of sharks that I bet you do not know. 

Weird And Wonderful Shark Facts

  • Sharks can see behind them almost as well as they can see in front of them. 
  • Sharks ears are on the inside of their bodies. 
  • A shark can go for at least 6 weeks without eating. The record is held by a Swell Shark in an aquarium who didn’t eat for 15 months. (maybe he was just a fussy eater) 
  • A Bull shark is the only shark to be able to live in salt or sea water. They can do this by regulating the salt and other substances in their blood. 
  • You can tell the age of a shark by counting the rings that form on its vertebra. This is very similar in how you age a tree by counting the rings in the trunk. 
  • A sharks body has no bones; their skeleton is made up of cartilage. 
  • Sharks need up to four days to digest their food That could be because they are well known to eat a lot of rubbish, even such as a suit of armour. True!! 
  • Some sharks can live to be up to a hundred years old. 
  • Natives of the Pacific Islands often used shark teeth to make harpoons and weapons. 
  • Female sharks are longer than male sharks. 
  • Believe or not, sometimes sharks can be fussy eaters. They can take a bite of something and if they don’t like the taste, they spit it out and move on to a new prey. 
  • Wobbegong Shark | Jo Tempest

    Wobbegong Shark

    The Wobbegong and Angel sharks are so flat, they look as if they are part of the sandy sea bottom. 

  • In Borneo, the saw from the Sawfish shark is covered in cloth and hung over the cradle to stop babies crying. Scary! It is probably why they stop crying! 

Well, there you go, a little information about these wonderful creatures to impress your friends.



Jo Tempest.




Weird But So Wonderful


Fabulous Hybrid Enrique Gomez De Molina

Fabulous Hybrid

I just love what Enrique Gomez de Molina creates. He is a guy from Miami whose father was a taxidermist before working for The Miami Museum of Science.

Enrique was working as a painter and sculptor, mainly in bronze but was getting very little recognition for his work.

Then he had the idea of creating creatures by taxidermy, mixing up real body parts of animals, birds etc., such as crabs with squirrels and swans with antelopes.

But in 2011, Enrique found himself in trouble with the police. He had been buying the creatures he needed for his art from Ebay and it appears they were not all legal.

Some of them were endangered.


Fabulous Hybrid Enrique Gomez De Molina

Fabulous Hybrid Enrique Gomez De Molina

Queen Of The Desert

Queen Of The Desert





He pleaded guilty in November 2011 and was sentenced to 20 months in February 2012 for trafficking in endangered and protected wildlife. He had not obtained all the correct permits he needed to bring the skins and other remains he needed into America.




Enrique stated that his art was to bring the public awareness to the dangers faced by different species of animals, birds and reptiles. 

Before Enrique went to prison, his art was selling on the Internet, at Exhibitions, and also at the Scope Art Fair in Miami.

Some of the larger pieces were fetching big money. In fact, I am sure that now he is even more notorious, they will keep on selling. They are truly amazing and beautifully created.

I am sure that even while Enrique is in prison, he will be creating something. A true artist never has idle hands! 

Personally I would love to own one, how about you?



Jo Tempest.



Amusing True Court Stories


Amusing True Court Stories | Jo Tempest

Amusing True Court Stories

Sometimes we just need to read something that can make us at least giggle, but better still laugh out loud.

When I read these, I just had to share them with you so make my day, laugh away and remember they are all from TRUE court records!


Attorney…………………..The youngest son is 20 years old, how old is he?

Witness…………………….He’s 20 , much like your IQ!



Attorney……………………….Were you present when your picture was taken?

Witness…………………………Are you sh……g me? 


Attorney……………………Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

Forensic Pathologist…….The autopsy started around 8.30pm.

Attorney…………………………And Mr Denton was dead at that time?

Forensic Pathologist……If not, he was by the time I had finished! 


Attorney………………………Now Doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep,

he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?

Doctor……………………Did you actually pass your Bar Exam? 


Attorney…………………What gear were you in at the moment of impact?

Witness…………………..Gucci, sweats and Reebocks. 


Attorney…………………Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition

notice which I sent to your Attorney?

Witness………………….No, this is how I dress when I go to work. 


Attorney……………….. What was the last thing your husband said to you that morning?

Witness………………….He said, “Where am I ,Cathy?”

Attorney………………..And why did that upset you?

Witness………………….My name is Susan! 


Attorney………………..How was your first marriage terminated?

Witness…………………By death.

Attorney……………….And by who’s death was it terminated?

Witness…………………Take a guess!


Attorney……………….Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead


Doctor…………………..All of them, the live ones put up too much of a fight! 


Attorney………………..Can you describe the individual?

Witness…………………He was about medium height and had a beard.

Attorney……………….Was this a male or a female?

Witness…………………Unless the circus was in town, I’m going for male! 


Attorney………………..Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?


Attorney………………..Did you check for blood pressure?


Attorney………………..Did you check for breathing?


Attorney………………..So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?


Attorney……………….How can you be so sure, Doctor?

Doctor…………………..Because his brain was sitting in a jar on my desk.

Attorney……………….I see, but could the patient have been still alive, never the less?

Doctor…………………..Well yes, it’s possible that he could have been alive and practicing law! 


Attorney……………….She had 3 children, right?


Attorney………………..How many were boys?


Attorney………………..Were there any girls?

Witness………………….Your honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney? 

 Well, I hope these have given you at least a giggle, and I think the last one just about sums up the thinking of most of the witnesses above! This wonderful collection came from a fun book called Disorder in the American Courts and I am sure it would be worth reading the rest of the stories. It is always said that fact is often crazier than fiction! 

 Jo Tempest.

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