The Magical Loretto Chapel Staircase

Loretto Staircase

Loretto Staircase

In 1872 the Bishop of the Santa Fe Archdiocese, Jean Baptiste Lamy, commissioned the building of a Convent Chapel to be known as ‘Our Lady of Light Chapel’. It would be under the care of a group of nuns, the Sisters of Loretto.

A French architect, Antoine Mouly, created a beautiful chapel with flying buttresses, tall spires and wonderful stained glass windows imported from France. Although on a much smaller scale, the chapel resembled the famous Sainte- Chappelle in Paris.

At the end of the building of the chapel, Antoine Mouly suddenly died and his builders realised that he had not shown plans for a staircase up to the choir loft.

Because the chapel was so small, it would not be able to accommodate a normal staircase. Actually, at that time, a ladder was often used to gain access to the lofts but this was not going to be possible for the nuns, wearing their long habits.

According to the legend, the nuns took to praying for an answer to their huge problem. For nine long days they prayed to St Joseph for his help and the next day, a scruffy stranger appeared who told them he would solve their problem. Overjoyed, the nuns agreed to his only demand, that he be locked into the chapel and not to be disturbed until he had finished.

Loretto Staircase Spiral

Loretto Staircase Spiral

The stranger disappeared into the chapel with just a few primitive tools, including a saw, a square and some warm water. Three months later, he emerged and when the nuns walked into their chapel, they were greeted with a wonderful sight. Up to their loft, was a carved helix shaped spiral staircase built from non-native wood.

It ascended twenty foot into the air and seemed to hang with no central support. but the central spire of the staircase had been made narrow enough to serve as a central beam.Nowhere was it attached to any pole or any wall, no metal nails had been used, only wooden pegs or dowels.

The nuns were in awe of the stunning staircase, they searched out their stranger to thank him for his wonderful work but he had disappeared. They never saw him again and for them, St Joseph himself, had come to build their staircase.

Loretto Staircase Base

Staircase Base

But it is believed the ‘stranger’ was the young talented French builder, Francois-Jean Rochas, who was only in his early thirties when he built his staircase. (Later he was living in a isolated cabin in the Dog Creek region, even after having been warned there were robbers around. Francois-Jean was discovered in1894 with a bullet to his chest at only fifty years old.)

The nuns and the young female students of the Loretto Academy loved their new chapel with it’s legendary staircase. Ten years later, in 1887, a railing was added for safety and the outer spiral was fastened to it’s adjacent pillar.

The Loretto Chapel was eventually closed but is now a museum and a wedding chapel, so many people can enjoy the sight of the beautiful staircase.

Jo Tempest.

Signs You Are Getting Older!

Getting Older

Getting Older

As we get older , certain things happen to us apart from our bodies aging, our minds change and in many ways for the better. See what you think.

1. When I was a child, I thought having to take a nap was a punishment, now it is a treat.

2. Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer and come out two sizes smaller and wrinkle free.

3. Getting ‘lucky’ means walking into a room and remembering why I am there.

4. The biggest lie I tell myself is that ”I do not have to write that down, I will remember it.”

5. My people skills have improved, I no longer tolerate idiots.

6. I talk to myself because sometimes I need to hear expert advice.

7. It is still fun to jump in a puddle when wearing wellie boots.

8. Standing back and letting your children make their own decisions.

9. Not having to do piles of washing and ironing at the end of a busy day.

10. Finally, stop worrying about the world running out of wine as it is too terrible to contemplate!

So, there you have it, a few of my observations on getting older and of course as always, I like to look at life with my usual humour. It helps!!

Jo Tempest.

Flight 2017

Boarding on Flight 2017 has been announced.

Flight 2017

Flight 2017

Hope you have checked in only the BEST souvenirs from 2016 in your luggage.

The BAD and SAD moments if carried, MUST be thrown away in the garbage bins on arrival.

The flight will be 12 months long, so loosen your seat belt and RELAX.

The stop-overs will be:

Re-fueling will be at:

The following menu is offered and will be served during the flight:

+Cocktail of friendship
+Supreme of health
+Grating of prosperity
+Bowl of excellent news
+Salad of success
+Cake of Happiness

All accompanied by Bursts of Laughter

BUT remember, you will enjoy these meals as well as the journey a lot better if you talk, share, smile and laugh together. Sitting silent will make the flight seem much longer.

Wishing you an enjoyable trip on board FLIGHT 2017.

Jo Tempest.

A Jar Of Thankfulness

Thankfulness Jar

Thankfulness Jar

A New Year and new hopes for a better future are probably on the minds of many of us at this time.

Maybe you have had a hard year and feel it can only get better in the days to come. However hard life is, I am sure we all miss moments of joy between the stress of everyday life.

So, why not try a little experiment. Every day, write down at least one small note about something that has made you happy on that day and put it in a jar.

Make sure you do it every day, as there is always something that makes you smile, even if it is as simple as hearing the birds singing in your garden or a beautiful sky.

Then on New Year’s Eve one year later, sit with a glass of wine and read through all the notes you put in your jar.

I guarantee you will have forgotten most of them and they will make you realise that maybe life is not quite as hard as you thought it was.

Happy New Year and I wish much happiness to all you lovely readers.

Jo Tempest.

Merry Christmas To All My Readers

Merry Christmas All My Readers

Merry Christmas To All My Readers

Kevin Richardson the Lion Whisperer

Kevin Richardson and Friends

Kevin Richardson and Friends

How ever many times I watch a video of Kevin with his lions, I am always in awe of this man.

He was born on the 8th October 1974 in Johannesburg, South Africa and at college, started studying zoology but gave up because he thought his career would never to be working with animals and that it could only be a hobby. He then started courses in anatomy and physiology to become an exercise physiologist.

When he was 23 years old, Kevin had the chance to work with two six month old lion cubs, Napoleon and Tau. Rodney Fuhr at the Lion Park recognised something special in Kevin and asked him to come and meet the two cubs.

The work was originally part time but Kevin knew this is what he wanted to do. He had such an amazing way with these beautiful animals and was soon making documentaries that generated volunteers and income to help support the Lion Park Sanctuary.

Although Kevin’s specialty and deep love is working with lions, he has also worked with hyenas, cheetahs and leopards. It seems his magic works with many types of animals.

Now Kevin runs the ‘Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary’ in Pretoria. He truly loves his lions and they love him. He has fed, lived, and slept with his huge cats and although he has been scratched, bitten and punctured, it has never been malicious, always just in play.

Kevin will always point out that he only interacts with lions that he has known since birth and that is how such a mutual trust and respect develops.

He said,”A lion is not a possession. It’s a sentient being, so you must pay attention and develop your bond like with any relationship”.

Kevin is very concerned about the African lion population, during a fifteen year period, it has fallen from 350,000 to a scary 25,000. And unfortunately the African government still supports the paid killing of large game due to the huge income from eager foreigners.

But Kevin will carry on his work to ensure the safety of these magnificent animals and allow us to watch his amazing relationship with ‘his friends’.

Jo Tempest

Cats of Selimiye

The one thing this village can boast, apart from beautiful views and blue sea, are really sweet cats. We keep them under control by having a neutering programme in place, but there are still quite a few street cats.

The good thing is that they are all well fed, especially in the summer by all the local restaurants and we make sure they are feeding stations in the winter.

Anyway, I thought you would like to see some of our local residents.

Jo Tempest

Black Beauty - Cats of Selimiye

Black Beauty

Cat Puzzle - Cats Of Selimiye

Cat Puzzle

Comfy - Cats Of Selimiye


Fluffy Twins - Cats of Selimiye

Fluffy Twins

Female Serial Killers- Jo Tempest

Click Cover To Download

As you maybe know, I have recently published published a new book in my ‘Bad Girls’ seriesĀ  – Female Serial Killers – 13 True Stories of Embittered, Extreme and Evil Women.

I thought it would be fun to give you an excerpt from this book to whet your appetite so that you want to read more. Do not read this book late at night if you want to sleep well!

Belle Gunness was born on the 11th November 1859, near Lake of Selby in Norway, and christened as Brynhild Paulsdatter Storset. Her parents…had eight children, Belle being the youngest. How could they have possibly foreseen their little daughter would be the central character in a true life horror story!

…Sheriff Smutzer took a team of about a dozen men back to the farm and ordered them to start digging in the hog pen area. On the 3rd May 1908, they unearthed the body of Jennie Olsen, Belle’s foster daughter who had supposedly gone off to a girls’ finishing school. The dig was about to become a scene of unimaginable horror…The team worked for days and found body after body.

It was believed, after a thorough investigation, that something like 30 men probably met their fate on the farm, but they were not all found. The remains of 12 people were unearthed but the digging was done in a much cruder way than if it were to be done today…Another two coffins were filled with the remains of seven unknown victims and these were placed in the paupers’ section in the La Porte Pine Lake Cemetery.

After each murder, Belle would carry the man’s body down to the basement (with her great size, she was quite strong enough to do this on her own), where she laid the body out on a table and efficiently cut the body up into pieces. Belle had learned this skill from her dead husband, Peter, who had worked butchering hogs. Then, after she bundled the body parts into sacks, Belle would bury them in the hog pen, or in the grounds surrounding the house.

This is just a small excerpt from one of of 13 true stories of Female Serial Killers.

Click on the book above coverĀ to download to your Kindle, or any device using Amazon Cloud.
Jo Tempest.

A Different Kind of Wedding

We have a lot of weddings in our village but it took me quite a while to realise this was not a ‘normal’ wedding.

I watched lots of photos being taken of the happy couple but then they headed for the sea…eventually I realised it was a photo shoot!

Thought you would like to see the results…interesting!

Jo Tempest.

The Wedding In The Sea

The Wedding

Wedding Dip

Wedding Dip

Wedding In The Sea - Selimiye

Wedding In The Sea

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.

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