Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A lesson in History

The 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:

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 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 cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and 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 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 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 entranceway. Hence the saying a "thresh hold."

Getting quite an education, aren't you?

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 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 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 the imbibers 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 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

Educate someone...Share these facts with a friend.


J@n!ce said...

Thanks for sharing this post on history. Now I know why we carry a bouquet of flowers on our wedding...

I think its true abt the loaf of bread cos we only eat the middle... LOL :D

LadyJava said...

Wow GK!.. this is the best history lesson I've attended... can i carry a bouquet too when my apt suddenly stop its water and a wake sound so frightening and yet so hopeful but I guess lots of incidences like that happened eh.. that's why pple practise it now..

Where are you by the way?? Course? Vacation? History Class??? lolzz

Take care ya GK.. Missed me at my blog lahh!!!


Adrian said...

Janice!!! Can you imagine that the bigger the bouquet the smellier the bride LOL

I don't liek to eat bread that much...more a rice person!! hehe
Wife can eat bread plain though! :)

Cheers Janice!! :)

Adrian said...

LJ!! For you maybe you need two bouquets LOL Just kidding!!! hehehe

Wakes sound like fun but nowadays becuase of science and forensics death is more permanent so if someone "woke up" from the dead we'd all run helter skelter LOL

Busy lah LJ!! Will be for a while...and yes I'll post about it soon! :)

Cheers my friend! :)

LadyJava said...

lolzz GK.. I think I'll need a whole garden of flowers....lolzzz...

Yeap.. would not want to attend those kind of "wake"...lolzz..

You take care ya GK!! See you soon :)


Monday Morning Power said...

I could have lived out my entire life without know any of this and been just fine. Thanks for sharing... thanks a lot!

Adrian said...

LJ!! A whole garden LOL Hope not lah!!

Yeah a wake like that is not what I would be expecting...although I've actually stayed for many of our family members who passsed away. Well not alone but with my brother and cousins. And one time we actually heard the gate open and whistling (my uncle who passed away loed to whistle) in the middle of the night. Creepy...but we weren't scared...uncle only mah!! LOL

Adrian said...

Mel!! LOL!! I guess I didn't enrich your life with those wonderful facts hehe

Cheers and TGIF to you! :)

LadyJava said...

"Loed"?? lolz GK.. you mean liked right...hehehheahhahha... aduh sakit perut ku laughing (only coz of the surgery wound lahh)...hehehhhe

Have a great weekend GK


Adrian said...

"LOVED!!!" LOL Okay LJ you got me...I really must pay more attention to my spelling!!

Hope you are recovering well and they do say that laughter is the best medicine after all!!! LOL

Cheers LJ!!! :)

LadyJava said...

heheehhe GK...Cheers!!

Adrian said...

Cheers LJ!! :)

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