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Olde English History

English: Music for Pease Porridge Hot.

English: Music for Pease Porridge Hot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is  something for history  buffs:

There is  an old Hotel/Pub in Marble Arch, London , which  used to
have a gallows adjacent to it. Prisoners  were taken to the gallows, (after a
fair trial  of course) to be  hung.
The horse drawn dray, carting the prisoner, was accompanied by an armed guard, who would stop the dray outside the pub and ask the prisoner if he would like ”ONE LAST DRINK”.
If he said  YES, it was referred to as “ONE FOR THE
ROAD”
If he  declined, that prisoner was “ON THE WAGON”. So  there you
go.

They used  to use urine to tan animal skins, so families  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 survive you were, “Piss Poor”,  but worse than that, were the really poor folk,  who couldn’t even afford to buy a pot, they  “Didn’t have a pot to Piss in” & were the  lowest of the low.

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  1500’s:
Most  people got married in June, because they took  their yearly
bath in May and they still smelled  pretty good by  June.
However,  since they were starting to smell, brides  carried a
bouquet of flowers, to hide the body  odour. 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 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 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 entrance-way. Hence: 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, 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 talking 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 ”The 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, thread 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”

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This entry was posted on December 9, 2012 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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