Here's a bit of trivia for you...hope you enjoy!
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May,
and were still smelling pretty good by June. Because they were starting to
smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the b.o.
Baths equaled 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
so dirty you could actually loose 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.
was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the pets...dogs, cats,
and other small animals, mice, rats, and bugs lived in the roof. When it
rained it became slippery and sometime 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
problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could really mess up
your nice clean bed. So they found if they made beds with big posts and hang
a sheet over the top, it addressed that problem. Hence"THOSE BEAUTIFUL BIG
FOUR POSTER BEDS WITH CANOPIES.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence
the saying "DIRT POOR."
The wealthy had slate floors which in the winter would get slippery when
wet. So they spread thresh 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 start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed at the entry
way, hence a "THRESH HOLD."
They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung over the fire.
Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate
vegetables and didn't 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 in there for a
month. Hence the rhyme"PEAS PORRIDGE HOT, PEAS PORRIDGE COLD, PEAS PORRIDGE
IN THE POT NINE DAYS OLD."
Sometimes they could obtain pork and would really feel special when that
happened. When company came over, they would bring out some bacon and hang
it to show it off. It was a sign of wealth and show that a man could
really"BRING HOME THE BACON." They would cut off a little to share with
guests and would all sit around and"CHEW THE FAT."
Most people didn't have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood
with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trenchers were never washed out and
a lot of times, worms got in the wood. After eating off wormy trenchers,
they 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, or the "UPPER
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes
knock them out for a couple 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 to see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of
holding a "WAKE."
England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury
people. So they would dig up coffins and take their bones to a house and
reuse the grave. In reopening these coffins, one out of 25 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
dead person and
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 to listen for the
bell. Hence on the "GRAVEYARD SHIFT" they would know that someone was "SAVED
BY THE BELL" or he was a "DEAD RINGER."
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Jul 02 2000 - 19:02:13 PDT