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Many things including the yearly bath

Posted by Lotg on August 06, 2003

A friend emailed all the following to me. I have no idea where she got the information, and cannot vouch for the accuracy. But I'd be curious to know if anyone else can vouch for their accuracy.

* * * * * *
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
smell
so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. 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 wood
underneath.
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 the term: "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 leftovers 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 content
caused 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 burnt bottom 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 and 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...

Now, whoever said that History was boring !!!!!