Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You Mean You Have to Take a Bath More Than Once a Year?

Sent to me by a friend, who had it sent to him by a friend, who ... never mind:

THE 1500's

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:

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 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."

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."

Great stuff!


Blogger Tanya Espanya said...

Don't hate me for this link...


Feb 14, 2007, 6:10:00 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

I was gonna say, man the 1500s were really friggin' busy huh?

Feb 14, 2007, 7:28:00 PM  
Blogger Zed said...

Thanks Tanya. Just what we need, even a bit MORE 1500s info.

I guess someone changed the wording a bit, but yep its from the internet, stolen by some guy, who gave it to my friend, who gave it to me. It's like that game "telephone." Remember that?

Dale: Who knew?

Oh, I saw REAL snowflakes today, finally. I won't need to cut out any paper ones for a while. So glad, I was exhausted from all that work and the little bits of paper on the floor.

Feb 15, 2007, 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Scarlet said...

Great reading. Thanks.

Feb 15, 2007, 2:07:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

A truly informative post, Zed!

Feb 15, 2007, 9:04:00 AM  
Blogger Tanya Espanya said...

That link I attached in my previous comment is from, an urban legend and myth debunking site...which is why I didn't want you hating me for bursting the fake info bubble of the 1500s.


Feb 15, 2007, 9:49:00 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

Oh well, still fun (false) info, Tanya. It would have been nicer if it were true but... I'm going back to snopes to see what they have to say in detail.

Feb 15, 2007, 1:10:00 PM  
Blogger Tanya Espanya said...

Zed, if you've gone to Snopes, then I guess we'll see you back here sometime in the summer. I swear, that side is amazingly addictive...I love it!

Feb 15, 2007, 1:15:00 PM  
Blogger Zed said...

Okay Tanya, now that I checked out I see a good part of this is "leg pulling"--but they've got great info over there! So whoever passes here and reads the 1500s article, head over to:

for a more accurate rendition (and additional interesting info).

I'm only going to babysit 3 days a week now, Tanya, rather than 6. Sorry! lol

Feb 15, 2007, 1:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Feb 15, 2007, 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

That was great stuff
thanks Zed!


Feb 15, 2007, 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Oh sugar, does that mean I have to take my bath this month?

Feb 15, 2007, 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

The garlic necklace I wear is starting to annoy people...

Feb 15, 2007, 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger Teena said...

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!! I love baths!

Feb 15, 2007, 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger Zed said...

Sans, don't take the bath, just change the garlic.

Teena, I love baths as well. I stay in for at least an hour. I look like a "white prune" on exiting.

Feb 16, 2007, 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

I relented and had a bath. The water was 4.5 billion years old though...

Feb 16, 2007, 4:00:00 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

What's that smell? Oh hi Sans!

Aren't the real snowflakes pretty Zed? We had a big bunch of them show up too.

Feb 16, 2007, 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

Sans, if it had only snowed in Scotland, you could have bathed in the snow (in your jammies of course, so as not to frighten the children)--and to avoid arrest.

Dale, the freshly fallen snowflakes are so beautiful. And below my apartment there's a small park with a very slight hill. All the kids were out trying to sled, the key word here being "trying."

Feb 16, 2007, 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...

I am going to be cremated. I wonder if it would be worse to be cremated alive...

Feb 17, 2007, 7:24:00 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

Live cremation's nasty, Mr. Fab. If I were you, I'd first do myself in using another method, and THEN get cremated. Or maybe you should just stay alive. That would work too.

Feb 17, 2007, 11:49:00 PM  

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