I thought you might find this interesting, I
Not so boring history!
Next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water
temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be...Here
are some facts about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May
and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to
so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the
custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house
had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then
the women and finally the children - last of all the babies. By then the
water was so dirty, you could actually lose someone in it - hence the saying:
"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." ~
Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw-piled high, with no woodunderneath.
It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other
small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained, it became slippery
and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof - hence the saying:
"It's raining cats and dogs."
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a
real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up
your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top
afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence. The
floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the
saying: "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the
winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their
footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when you
opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed
in the entranceway - hence: a "thresh hold."
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always
hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.
They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat.They would eat the stew for
dinner, leaving lefto vers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over
the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a
while - hence the rhyme: "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge
in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of
wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon". They would cut off a little to
share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat." Those with
money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid
contentcaused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead
poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400
years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous. Bread was divided
according to status. Workers got the burntbottom of the loaf, the family got the
middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes
knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take
them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen
table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and
drink and wait a nd see if they would wake up - hence the custom of holding a
"wake." England is old and small and the local folks started running out of
places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to
a bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25
coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they
had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the
wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and
tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night ("the
graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the
bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."
And that's the truth... (and whoever said that History was
boring)! ! ?
have a good summer!