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Author Topic:   True or false?...a little amusement.
posted 04-17-2003 06:01 PM           Edit/Delete Message

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
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,
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 dogs, cats and
other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it
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. that posed a real problem in the bedroom where

bugs and other droppings could really 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
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 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
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 high acid content
caused some of the lead to leach 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 "upper crust."

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. 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
"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 thought 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."

'Demeure par la verite'
Visit; Gordon's Scottish Castles Resource Page

Erik Schmidt
Senior Member
posted 04-19-2003 06:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Erik Schmidt   Click Here to Email Erik Schmidt     Edit/Delete Message

posted 04-20-2003 05:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
And all that just in Scotland !

posted 04-22-2003 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Levan   Click Here to Email Levan     Edit/Delete Message
Gordon, Gordon... some of these spurious word meanings have been lurking around the net for ages!

A little truth (actually, I liked the bogus explanation of this one as, like all the best tall tales, it is tinged with a few facts that almost make it credible):

Threshold - a 10th or 11th century word. The 'thresh' part means 'to stamp, trample or step' as in threshing wheat; the 'hold' part usually refers to 'ownership' (such as, 'to have and to hold' and 'household'). literally, a threshold was the first place you stepped when entering your property.

I'll leave some of the other true explanations to other learned folks!


posted 04-24-2003 06:59 AM           Edit/Delete Message
Okay I'll own up, I was sent this by e-mail, but the funny (or sad) side was that it was sent with informative intent, and seriously.
I've seen this one lurking around, and it had been doing the circuits for a while. But when someone sends you it to try and correct you when you've tried to be helpful.......

All times are PT (US)

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