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
Here are some facts
about the 1500s:
Most people got married in June becausethey 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. Baths consisted of a big tub
filledwith hot water.
The man of the house had the privilegeof 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 underneath. It
was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs,
cats and other
small animals (mice rats, and bugs) lived inthe roof. When it rained it
slippery, and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof,
hence the saying, "It's raining cats
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 otherthan dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor"
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the
winter when wet, so they spread thresh, (the
straw left over after threshing
grain) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they
kept adding more and more thresh until when you opened the door
it would all start slipping outside.
To prevent this, a piece of wood was placed in the entrance way-hence,a ";thresh hold."
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 leftovers in the pot to
get cold overnight
and then start over the nextday. Sometimes the stew had
foodin it that had been there for quite awhile, -- hence the rhyme,
"peas porridge hot, peas porridgecold, peas porridge in the pot nine
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which
made them feel quite special.
When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.
was a sign of wealth that a man"could bring home the bacon."
They would cut off a little to sharewith guests and
would all sit around
and"chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made o fpewter.
Food with a high acid
content caused some of the lead to leach on to 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.
Most people did not have pewter plates,but
had trenchers. (a piece of
wood with the middle scooped out like abowl). Often trenchers were made
bread which was so old and hard that they could use them for
quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of
times worms and
mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldytrenchers, one would get "trench mouth."
Bread was divided according to status.Workers
got the burnt bottom of
the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, the "upper
Lead cups were used to drink ale orwhiskey.
The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead
and preparethem 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 and see if they wouldwake up * hence, the custom of holding a"wake."
England is old and small and they started
out running out of places to
bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a
and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffinswere 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 "deadringer"And that's the truth.
Who said that History is boring!