Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The 16th Century revisited

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 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 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 bed-room where bugs and other drop-pings 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.

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 left-overs 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 the 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, thus someone could be, saved by the bell or was considered a ..dead ringer..


A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

Thank you for some interesting facts. Really appreciate the thought put into this post.

Love for a Happy Wednesday!

A Lady's Life said...

thanks for the visit free spirit

Fifi Flowers said...

Love the raining cats and dogs painting!

Baron's Life said...

Great post LadyL!
excellent job

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this and learned a few things on your post..Thanks

A Lady's Life said...

welcome JDS:)

A Lady's Life said...

luv your site fifi
Thanks baron. love the pug. Those sure are cute little dogs.:)

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

I've read some of these before, your Graveyard Shift could also be known as a Dead Ringer. OK Morbid thought, I do slip sometimes.

A Blessed Day is wished for you.

A Lady's Life said...

Nah ! O. F.
Every little bit helps us to learn and absorb. I love comments with more info. lol
Besides, there is nothing morbid about a good death.You fight for a good life but when it's time to die, you also want a good death.And the grave yard shift is very familiar to me since I always wish it was day lol
Take care.:)

Maude Lynn said...

This is an amazing post! What cool stuff!

A Lady's Life said...

Thanks Mama Zen Yours is as well.:)

Vicky said...

Very interesting post! Wait till I share with my hubby the origins of the poster bed and canopy :) He will definitely get a charge out of that!

Thank you for your kind comments on my blog! Doesn't Surrey have a hockey team in the BCHL? Several of our local boys have played for Prince George in the past :)

Jientje said...

This is a very interesting post, I learned a lot of new things here!

Lyrically speaking said...

OMG, this was so funny, brides starting to smell? lol, great post, I really enjoyed

A Lady's Life said...

Thanks for visiting guys.
I am not into hockey. My boy is a soccer lad.But he is big now so Mama will soon have empty nest syndrome lol.
So enjoy while you can :)