Friday, September 29, 2006

Some interesting historical facts.

I was checking out some dude from England's blog, why? It was listed on some chic from California's blog as an interesting place to look. Anyway, he had some interesting things:

It's not so bad these days after all! 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 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, 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 entranceway. Hence the saying a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

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. 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 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, 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 ! ! !

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The blonde and the bookstore

I LOVE bookstores. Case in point......took a few minutes to visit our local bookstore, didn't want or need to buy anything, just wanted to go in and smell the books. That's right, just smell the books. It relaxes me, brings a little bit of peace into my chaotic heart. I'm easy to entertain just let me loose in Barnes and Noble for a couple of hours I'll walk out with the kind of relaxed look that many have to smoke something illegal to get. I not only enjoy inhaling new book smell but also to touch them. Not too long ago I checked a book out at the library that had never been checked out before. I was the first one to read the words in that particular book, to stretch the spine correctly so the pages will never fall out, the first one to become immersed in the characters the author brang to life for me. Mine was the first date due back stamped on the little sheet adhered inside the cover. I mentioned to the librarian my excitement at being the 'first' and she said she gets the same feeling. Only one that loves to read can share that excitement. There is something magical about getting lost in the characters of a well written book. I love finding the newest book written by one of my favorite authors on the shelf when I walk into a book store, I know that I will have hours of enjoyment escaping into another world. So today I walked into The Book Clinic, touched a few books, inhaled the scent of said books, talked to my friend behind the counter and walked out the door feeling just a little better for that fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes well spent.
We had our fourth annual Garden Railroad get together this past weekend. I'll write about that at another time. I'm still enjoying my bookstore high.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

One damp blonde

I'm typing this as I'm looking out the window of our local coffee shop. We live in a rural area where the only way we can have high speed internet access is by going via satellite internet. Usually not a problem unless it's raining or snowing, it's currently r-a-i-n-i-n-g cats and dogs, literally. I can hear the meows and rowfs as the rain hits the ground. It's supposed to rain all day and into the night, so that's why I made a trip into town and am enjoying the solitude of the coffee shop. Okay that's not the only reason, since it's raining all the guys are home from work today and I was starting to get a little testy, on the edge of screaming testy. I figured for the sake of my men I should go away for awhile and I feel much better.
I'm in major cleaning mode. This weekend is our annual train weekend. So I must clean the kitchen as other women will be using it, that means even cleaning the stove which isn't usually a prioity for me. That's another reason I'm testy, I don't enjoy major cleaning mode. I enjoy the results but not the process.
Reason number three for testyness......if I'm honest with myself (Iusually try to be)I'm feeling a little neglected. Yesterday was my birthday and I got - cards - now here's where I have to fight feeling like an ungrateful whiner but I admit it just didn't seem like enough. Between you and me I'll not tell my guys cause they're patting themselves on the back that they remembered the day and gave me - cards-I was even kind of expecting that the dishes would be done when I got home from work. I may stop at the store, buy an angel food cake (my favorite) stick some candles in it and sing to myself. Oh, the dishes were still in the sink when I woke up this morning, the magical dishwashing birthday fairy didn't even show up like I wished for as I went to bed.
Okay I will put away my pity party violin now, pack up the laptop and head home.
I purpose to enjoy my cleaning, knowing that after everyone is in bed tonight I'll be able to sit in the living room with a hot cup of tea, listening to my angel clock tick and feel GOOD cause my house is clean the night before company comes, not an hour before. I may just go to the library and get a nice little book to enjoy too. I feel better already.
By the way, it's good to blog again. Life has been wild! I look foward to cooler weather and the chance to get reaquainted with my friend the internet.