The good old days
Facts from 1500’s
English materials by Veronica Gilhooly
© Learnwell Oy 2008www.thelanguagemenu.com FactsPage 1
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 from the 1500s:1.
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath inMay and they were still smelling pretty good by June. However, even in June they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowersto hide the body odour.2.
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the househad the privilege of the nice clean water. Following him,the same water was used by the other men, the sons, the women, and finally the children. Last of all came thebabies. By then, the water was so dirty you couldactually lose someone in it. Hence the saying,
"don't throw the baby out withthe bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs -- thick straw, piled high. It was the only place for animals to get warm. Soall the dogs, cats, and other small critters (including mice, rats, andbugs) lived in the roof. When it rained, it became slippery andsometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence thesaying,
"it's raining cats and dogs."
The roof was not always effective in stopping things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, wherebugs and droppings could mess up your niceclean bed. Thus, a bed with big posts and asheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That is how
came into existence.5.
The floor of the house was dirt. Only the wealthy hadsomething other than dirt. Hence the saying,
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery whenthey got wet in winter. So, they spread thresh on the floor to help keeptheir footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until when the door was opened it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in theentryway which came to be known as the
Food was cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that always hung overthe fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They mostly ate vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eatthe stew for dinner, leave the leftovers in the pot, and then start overthe next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been inthere for quite some time. 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,they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of both wealth and that a man could