You think you have it rough....

11.03.2004

You think you have it rough....

The next time you are washing your hands and complain
because the water temperature isn't how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts
about the 1500's:
These are interesting...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
smell, 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 big tub filled with hot water. The
man of the househad 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 wood under-neath. It was the only place for animals
to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals
(mice, bugs, etc) lived in the roof. When it rained it
became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip
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 areal problem in the bedroom where
bugs and other droppings could 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 added more thresh until when you opened
the door, it would all start slipping outside.A piece
of wood was placed in the entrance way. Hence the
saying "thresh hold".
Getting quite an education, aren't you?
In the 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 to the pot. They ate mostly
vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat
the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to
get cold overnight and then start over the next day.
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 content caused some of the lead to leach
onto the food, causing lead poisoning 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
burnt bottom ofthe loaf, the family got the middle,
and guests got the top, or "upper crust"
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The
combination would sometimes knock the imbiber 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 if they would wake up. Hence the custom
of holding a "wake".
England is old and small and the local folk started
running out of places to bury people. So they would
dig up coffins and would take the bones to a
"bone-house" and re-use the grave. When re-opening
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 would tie a string
on the wrist of corpse, lead it through the coffin and
up through the ground and tied 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... Now, whoever said that History
was boring!!
Educate someone...Share these facts with a friend