This is long but you may find it interesting…
They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so familiesÂ used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken & sold to the tannery…….if you had to do this to surviveÂ you were “Piss Poor”
But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn’tÂ even afford to buy a pot……they “didn’t have a pot toÂ piss in” & were the lowest of the low
The next time you are washing your hands and complainÂ because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it,Â think about how things used to be. Here are some facts aboutÂ the 1500s:
Most people got married in June because they took theirÂ yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good byÂ June.. However, since they were starting to smell… Â Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.Â Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when gettingÂ Married.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The manÂ of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, thenÂ all the other sons and men, then the women and finally theÂ children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was soÂ dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence theÂ saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the Bath water!”
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with noÂ wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to getÂ warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs)Â lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery andÂ sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof…Â Hence the saying “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
There was nothing to stop things from falling into theÂ house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugsÂ and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence,Â a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the topÂ afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came intoÂ existence.
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something otherÂ than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor.” The wealthy hadÂ slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,Â so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep theirÂ footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until,Â when you opened the door, it would all start slippingÂ outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.Â Hence: a thresh hold.
(Getting quite an education, aren’t you?)
In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a bigÂ kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they litÂ the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostlyÂ vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat theÂ stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get coldÂ overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stewÂ had food in it that had been there for quite a while. HenceÂ the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peasÂ porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they couldÂ obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. WhenÂ visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to showÂ off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring homeÂ the bacon.” They would cut off a little to share with guestsÂ and would all sit around and chew the fat.
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with highÂ acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food,Â causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often withÂ tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes wereÂ considered poisonous.
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burntÂ bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guestsÂ got the top, or the upper crust.
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combinationÂ would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead andÂ prepare them for burial.. They were laid out on the kitchenÂ table for a couple of days and the family would gatherÂ around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wakeÂ up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.
England is old and small and the local folks started runningÂ out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffinsÂ and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse theÂ grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffinsÂ were found to have scratch marks on the inside and theyÂ realized they had been burying people alive… So they wouldÂ tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through theÂ coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.Â Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all nightÂ (the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someoneÂ could be, saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.
And that’s the truth….Now, who said History was boring???