Saturday, 1 May 2010

Where Did That Saying Come From?

A friend sent me these notes about how some well-known sayings came about - here are some facts about England in the 1500's - fascinating!

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.  The man of the house had the privilege of the clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and the children.  Last of all were babies and by then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.  Hence the saying "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water."

The floor of the house was dirt, only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor."

Those with money had plates of pewter.  Food with a 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 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."

Sometimes people could obtain pork which was a special occasion.   When visitors came over they would hang up the bacon to show off.  It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon."  They would cut of a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat."

They were running out of spaces to bury people, so they dug up coffins and take the bones to a bone-house and re-use the grave.  When re-opening the coffins about one out of every twenty five were found to have scratch marks on the inside (yikes!!!) and they realised they had been burying people alive.  So they would tie a string onto the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin, 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.  Someone could be "saved by the bell" or a "dead-ringer."

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