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 how it was in the 1500s: (ewwwww) 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. 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 were bathed. 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 little or no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the dogs, cats and other small animals (mice rats, and 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 really 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 floors were usually 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 on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more, thresh until when they opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence, a "thresh hold." Folks 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 the 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 a high acid content caused some of the lead to leak onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous. Most people did not have pewter plates, but had "trenchers." A trencher was a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were also made from stale pays and bread which was so old and hard that they could use them for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed and a lot of times worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. Often, after eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth." Bread was divided according to status. Hired workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and special guests got the top, or "the upper crust." Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock a hefty drinker out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would find these folks passed-out and take them for dead. They would then be prepared for burial. A part of this preparation was that they would be "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 they started out 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, one out of twenty-five coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized that in spite of holding their "wakes" they still had been burying some people alive. So they began to tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground. Above ground the string was tied to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night to listen for the bell. Hence, the beginning of the term, "graveyard shift." If the bell rang, that person was, "saved by the bell!" If, after a week passed and the bell did not ring, the person was considered a "dead ringer." Whoever said that "History" is boring.