Interesting history

I don’t know how to link this article, but the paragraphs below aren’t my words. They belong to McCoy Anderson, it seems. The part about being piss poor and not having a pot to piss in was very interesting to me. I haven’t a clue as to if these are facts, but it still makes for an interesting read.

“Interesting history!

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 & 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 they still smelled pretty good by June. Since they were starting to smell, however, 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 fall off the roof, resulting in the idiom, “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, therefore, 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, leading folks to coin the phrase “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, subsequently creating 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, and thus 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 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, creating 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.

And that’s the truth. Now, whoever said History was boring?”

McCoy Anderson

Popcorn

Popcorn

Does anyone remember calling POPCORN to get the time? The above linked article tells about how the system came to be, and how and why it worked. It is a fascinating article. The number became obsolete fairly recently, since many of the current clocks set themselves, based on satellites and such. This is definitely worth reading.

Irish Dancing

Irish dancing

The above linked video tells about a woman who enjoys taking Irish dancing, even though she isn’t Irish. She has been accused of appropriating the Irish culture. She touches upon in this interview, telling about how she isn’t misappropriating the culture, and that she had to learn about the culture in order to fully understand the dances. I think it is full of very good information about not jumping to conclusions.

Reading chair from the 18th century

This photo was posted on a Facebook reading group. It’s of a reading chair from the 18th century. It seems to have all of its attachments which is apparently unusual.

It seems almost unnecessary these days, especially since that seat looks so uncomfortable. Then, I was reminded that books were heavier and rarer in that century, so you really wanted something to rest your hands. Keeping the candle close enough to give light was important, but keeping the candle from burning the books was even more important.

It seems to be missing a spot for your drink and your cat. I guess both of those would do potential damage to the book and the chair, though. Storage for your glasses might be nice, too.

It does look like a handy tool for heavier books. I am sure that any reader at that time in history would enjoy the chair.

Alcatraz: History and Design of a Landmark by Donald Macdonald

Alcatraz: History and Design of a Landmark

Alcatraz: History and Design of a Landmark by Donald Macdonald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the history in this book. It actually told more about the island than I anticipated. I was disappointed that there weren’t photos, only illustrations. I understand that a lot of the landscaping and the buildings have changed over time, but current photos next to the artist’s rendition would have been nicer and would have given a clearer idea of what the changes are.

The book would be good for anyone wishing to know the history and landscape of the island.

View all my reviews

The Elders on Occupation

The elders on occupation

The above linked article talks about the Native American Occupation of Alcatraz from the eyes of those who were there. Not a lot is written about the Occupation, but more and more people are talking about it and writing about it. I feel that it is a part of history, and we should be able to learn about it. I am glad that it is happening now, but it really shouldn’t have taken fifty years to get the information out in the open.