Grandma completes two of the world's largest jigsaw puzzles
You might feel pretty chuffed with all the puzzles you’re completing in lockdown but grandma Anne Tempest has got you beat.
The grandma-of-four from New South Wales, Australia, has completed two of the largest puzzles on the planet.
The 65-year-old completed a 24,000 piece, 14ft 7in-long jigsaw called Life in 2015, and a 33,600 piece wildlife scene measuring a whopping 19ft 7in last year.
Retired receptionist Anne can’t put a price on what she’s spent on the hobby over her lifetime, but with individual large puzzles selling for more than $1,200 (£600) each, plus the cost of display boards and dozens litres of glue, she admitted it could easily be thousands.
Anne is now delighted that people across the globe are turning to puzzles as a way to keep their brains active during lockdown.
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She says the activity has bought her family closer and has tips for other hopeful puzzle aficionados.
Anne explained: ‘I’ve always loved jigsaws, and I’ve got more interested as time’s gone on.
‘It’s a sense of achieving a personal goal when you complete it that is so satisfying.
‘People in my town call me The Jigsaw Lady and say I could be the world’s biggest fan and should be in the record books.
Growing up, Anne’s mum would do the puzzles but she and her five siblings weren’t allowed to touch them.
And now her husband isn’t allowed to come near them or help her.
Once complete, breast cancer survivor Anne would break apart her jigsaws – even those with 12,000 or 15,000 pieces – and put them back in their boxes, sometimes calling friends first so they could come round and check out her latest creation.
But it was when she completed Life, billed as the biggest in the world at the time, that she began to consider displaying her handiwork instead – and the piece now hangs in her local hospital, Corryong Health.
However, Anne says one of the pieces is upside down and it’s driving her mad.
In 2016, Anne turned her attention to her biggest puzzle to date – the 33,600 piece wildlife scene, which again at the time was advertised as the largest on the globe.
It took her a whopping three years to finish when she lost a piece along the way.
It now hangs in Australia’s National Zoo and Aquarium.
She said: ‘When I thought I’d lost a piece, I was absolutely devastated.
‘I was even looking accusingly at our two dogs thinking one of them could have eaten it.
‘Then, when I opened one of the other bags years later, there was an extra piece – it was in there. I was so relieved to find it.’
Anne said her tips for anyone starting a new jigsaw hobby during the coronavirus lockdown is to pick an image with many different colours, to make sorting the pieces easier, and always start from the frame and work inwards.
And gran-of-four Anne admitted she is already indoctrinating her grandkids into her obsession, by buying them puzzles they can complete together.
So far, just one has escaped her clutches in her lifetime – an 18,000 piece challenge which she began eight years ago in 2012, but still hasn’t got round to completing.
She now has her sights set on purchasing her biggest challenge to date, a 51,300 piece, 29ft 5in long new release she hopes could one day be displayed in an airport.
In January when Australia’s raging bushfires came within three miles of their home, Anne had worried about her jigsaws being destroyed.
Anne said: ‘When the bushfires came, I knew I couldn’t take the jigsaws with me – but if they had gone I would have cried.
‘I don’t necessarily work on my jigsaws every day, but a rainy day is always a jigsaw day.’
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