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Some Old Sayings...Clarified

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May and they still felt pretty clean in June. However since they were beginning to smell 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 men 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 with thick piled straw and 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 came the saying it's raining cats and dogs.

There was nothing to stop things 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 them afforded some protection. That's how the canopy bed came in existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt floors. 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 the floor to help keep their footing.As the winter wore on they would have to add more thresh until when you opened the door some would slip,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. Everyday 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 the next day start all over again. Sometimes the pot had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence came the rhyme; Peas Porridge Hot, Peas Porridge Cold, Peas Porridge In The Pot Nine Days Old.

Sometimes they would obtain pork which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over they would hang up the bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth for a man that could Bring Home The Bacon. They would cut off a little to share with their visitors and set around Chewing The Fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach into the food causing food poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so tomatoes were considered poison.

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 whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen tables for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

In old small villages local folks started to run out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and take the bones to the bone-house and reuse the grave. When opening the coffins 1 Out of 25 were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying some alive. So they would tie a string to the wrist of the corpse, lead it thru the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Thus someone could be Saved By The Bell or was considered a Dead Ringer.


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