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  #1  
Old 02-16-2006, 05:17 AM
hblueeyes hblueeyes is offline
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Default A little history - very interesting

Always wondered where these phrases and sayings came from? Read on...

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 from 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.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the
house had
the privilege of the nice clean water, next all the other sons and men,
next
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
beneath.
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 a bed. A bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded
some
protection; hence canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt, and 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
entryway; hence a threshold.

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 a high acid content
caused
some of the lead to leak 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 the upper
crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. 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 bonehouse and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out
of
25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside, and they
realised
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, 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
real
truth...

Whoever said that History was boring?

Me
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Old 02-16-2006, 07:28 PM
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Christine Christine is offline
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Loved reading your bits of history. Do you have any more tid bits? Can you imagine being the poor graveyard worker and the bell rang?
I guess they didn't embalm people in those days....
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Old 02-22-2006, 07:44 AM
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Why do we park in a drive way and drive on a parkway?
Why are they apartments when they close together not apart?
?
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Old 03-30-2006, 11:50 PM
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Lori Ann Lori Ann is offline
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Interesting bit of history.....



Lori Ann
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